As the champion of the inaugural Challengestone event, I was invited back to participate in the second. Given the busy summer convention and tournament schedule, it turned out that actually finding the time to run the event was difficult. With the event planned to air at the end of June and so many other things like Dreamhack going on in the run-up to that date – including my trip to EDC Las Vegas – there were only a few small windows that were actually possible. We ended up recording the event on the Monday after I returned from the Magic Grand Prix in Charlotte, which would have been okay if not for the fact that I was up at 5 AM Eastern time for my flight home. When the actual event rolled around, I was totally exhausted and hardly in top mental form, which would come back to haunt me.
The challenge for this event was “True Highlander”. Each player had to build three decks of the *same* class using no more than one copy of any given card between all three of them.
My thoughts on the implications of this challenge was that it would lead to decks somewhat similar to those in arena due to lower consistency, albeit with a significantly higher power level thanks to the availability of Legendary cards.
I was somewhat torn on what class I wanted to play at first. I started with Warlock, but felt like it might be too difficult to effectively leverage the hero power without being able to play either a streamlined aggressive list or with enough lifegain and taunt-giving cards for a Handlock style deck – and then really had no clear vision of what to do with my third deck.
I moved into Mage after that, since the Mage hero power is one that is good in a variety of different deck styles, so it’s never going to be useless. I briefly considered Priest, but I felt that it would be difficult to build multiple Priest decks without access to key cards like Northshire Cleric, and a more aggressive Priest deck couldn’t make good use of the hero power, so it seemed like it would be hard to find a good use for many of the good neutral minions.
I decided to make one aggressive deck using many of the Mage spells and spell-synergy cards, one controlling deck using mass removal like Flamestrike and Blizzard along with big legendaries, in which I also included the powerful dragon synergy cards, and then one midrange deck using most of the Mechs and other individually powerful cards.
Here’s what I ended up with:
I think my decks were okay, though not great. I think the control deck was probably too inconsistent and too top heavy to beat aggressive decks reliably, and without a significant amount of lifegain, was particularly bad against the Hunter hero power – which, unfortunately, was what Silentstorm played against me.
Unfortunately, my play was worse than my deck construction, thanks in no small part to my sleep deprivation from my early morning flight. I actually made a game-losing mistake as early as turn two of the very first game, where I missequenced my Coin/Arcane Missiles and Mana Wyrm attack into a board of Haunted Creeper and Webspinner. If I just Coin first, attack Haunted Creeper, and then play Arcane Missiles, there’s a very good chance I kill pretty much his entire board with only one damage on my Wyrm. Instead, I randomly cast Missiles first, and ended up trading my Wyrm over two turns since his Spectral Spiders lived. I think my brain briefly was thinking of the Flamewaker effect rather than Mana Wyrm when I did what I did, since my actual play made absolutely no sense.
I kept thinking back and shaking my head at just how bad that play was through the rest of the games, which included several other outright blunders on my part, including playing a Hungry Dragon and hoping that my opponent got a Zombie Chow from it in order for me to stay alive when I had a Zombie Chow in my hand that I could have tried to give him with his Sylvannas trigger.
All told, I actually think even if I’d played better, it was unlikely that I would have won given the deck matchups. My control and midrange decks were likely too slow to have a good shot at beating Silentstorm’s Hunter decks, if only because of the hero power. But I certainly would rather have given myself a fighting chance rather than punting the games away like I did, now I just miss my klikk denne lenken games like crazy, in fact, I think that I may come back to them very soon.
I’m mostly disappointed that my result means that I won’t have a chance to play in ChallengeStone 3 again as the defending champion, since I’ve really enjoyed the format of the tournament both times, even if the most recent one worked out poorly for me. Who knows – maybe I’ll get a chance to do commentary since I won’t be playing! And next time I do get to play, I’ll be sure to get a good night’s sleep ahead of time…