Didn’t you gun Force of Will Last Week? Why on Earth did you enter a Fow AGP? The story of losing to yourself: How to improve as a card gamer

Gosh that’s a long title. However, it accurately represents what happened today (and is hyperbolic which is a plus). My buddy (the one who got me into and brought me back into Force of Will) was like “there’s a Force of WIll AGP in NJ, let’s go to it” and I was like “sure lol sounds like fun. If only I had known that a long day of losing money, misplaying and as a result blaming myself was to follow.

 

Our Deck and the Messy Store of How We Made It

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So what initially roped me back into this game was the remaking of my favorite Ruler Valentina as a bizarre fusion of her and Pricia (another character I liked except for the fact that she killed Valentina). My buddy and I decided we would both buy her and try to build the best UB (blue/black) control deck possible. He affectionately named Pricentina Control.

 

Main Deck and Quick Card Analysis:

  • Invading Demon of Water, Valentina/Valentina, Released Terror: Makes all Dark/Water spells shrink a creatures Def/Atk respectively by the spell’s CMC, makes certain spells like Space Time absurd)
  • Space Time Anomaly x4 (Best card in the deck by far, triggers favorably with Valentina, won me games I had no business winning)
  • Leviathan, First of the Sea x1 (Win Condition, worked for my buddy not for me, more on this later. Also this posr may be crazy long. I apologize for not mentioning sooner)
  • Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic x3 (Amazingly useful and versatile, allowed many resonators to be killed, but lost to effects already activated very hard)
  • Black Moonbeam x1 (Not that useful, but necessary)
  • Horn of Sacred Beasts x1 (Useful once, otherwise dead)
  • Heavenly Instrument Hydromonica x1 (I only resolved the stack effect once, otherwise I sided it out almost every game)
  • Deathscythe, the Life Reaper x1 (Amazing with Soulhunt, I was never unhappy to draw into it/have it)
  • Valentina’s Reach x2 (Worked out will for my buddy, I only resolved it once and it barely mattered)
  • Marybell, the Steel Doll x1 (Drew it, swung with it once, honestly not even sure about it)
  • Aretemis, the God’s Bow x4 (Useful, but only fringe most creatures were too big, but it combo-ed will with Space Time)
  • The Nameless Mist x3 (Amazing card, did its job efficiently though I fought more creature decks so it missed a lot)
  • Captain Hook, the Pirate x2 (Very powerful when I managed to cast it, won me a few games, but I almost always had to bounce creatures except in round 2)
  • Lapis Dark Storm x2 (Very powerful and dumb, but I only resolved it 3 times, one of which it did nothing)
  • Separation of Body and Soul x4 (A great card in this deck only due to Valentina’s minus effect, a definite 4 of)
  • Hera, Goddess of Jealousy x3 (I literally destroyed my own Regalia all day because only one of my opponent’s played any)
  • Soulhunt x4 (Easily the second best spell in the deck, with no resonators it was very easy to get 2 for 1s with this card, it was especially nasty with Deathscythe as it could be added back to hand)
  • The Scorn of Dark Alice x3 (Insanely useful against the many creature decks I faced, better than Mist for me at least)

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Stone Base:

  • Ruler’s Memoria x1 (Getting it of the way first. this was the worst card in the deck, it entered the field tapped on my first turn 3 times, one time costing me the game, it’s one of the only cards getting cut)
  • Remains of Attoractia x4 (A very good card that I missed read and used incorrectly until round 5 as a result)
  • Water Magic Stone x1 (I wish it were darkness, but this is where my buddy and I disagree, more on that later)

Magic Stone of Dark Depths x4 (No complaints)

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Side Deck

  • Girl in Twilight Garb/Dark Alice x1 (Sided into her once, won the game, but due to glaring misplays I never used her again all day)
  • Black Moonbeam x2 (Useful and necessary evil)
  • Deathscythe, the Life Reaper x2 (Needed to sure up J-Ruler match-up, honestly I wish I had more just for the soulhunts)
  • Schrodinger, the Fallen Black Cat x1 (For Dark Alice, I drew into it and it was pretty dead in hand)
  • Riza, First of the Dead x4 (Legitimately useful in one game and trash in the other. I can’t complain though card was solid overall)
  • Melder, Last of the Dead x3 (Trash, awful trash, 2nd worst card in the deck and getting cut to 1 if it stays in at all, we had so much removal it never mattered, minus 800 and we have to be dying, terrible)
  • Prison in the Lunar Lake x2 (Best card in the side, always a blowout when resolved and searchable off Riza)

 

So first of all, just so you know how back we are. We forgot to buy all the cards for the deck. It took the great kindness of my roommate ( a Fow master and case opener) and literally the only two guys at the store who had trades to allow us to even play our decks. I tip my hat to both of them. Now for the most painful part of this…

Our match-ups…

 

Round 1: Vs Fiethsing Combo

Game 1 he opened the nuts going second dropping Gwiber into Captain Hook and I lost instantly. Game 2 I make my first misplay. I swap to Dark Alice and assume that the Valentina rock enters tapped if I don’t have Valentina. In reality it just costs you 300 life. So I go until turn 5 to make a play because I keep letting the stone enter tapped. My opponent bricks on stones until turn 6 and as a result I defeat him. Game 3 I go first, Ruler’s Memoria entered tapped preventing my turn 1 Scorn of Dark Alice. He combos-off turn 2 and kills me.

Loss 1-2

Round 2: Vs Sol Burn

Game 1 he burns me to 15, but I out-grind and defeat him, making the misplay of thinking that his World Flame card made me banish 2 magic stones…

So I literally put 2 of my stones in the graveyard…

Game 2 I make the misplay of not using Prison in the Lunar Lake on his Uther, Goddess allowing him to burn me out in the late game. Game 3 we end up in time and draw.

Draw 1-1-1

Round 3: Vs Lilias Petal

I knew going into this tournament how Lilias worked since he is innately unfair as he cheats in huge Chimera FROM HIS SIDE DECK. So knowing this I killed every resonator he played to prevent his ability. After he finally summoned his Chimera I killed it with Soul Seperate and then defeated him. Game 2 I side in Prisoner in the Lunar Lake and Riza to switch it out. Prison negates and kills 2 of his Chimeras leading to my victory.

Win 2-0

Round 4: Vs Lumia Mid-range (Against the event judge)

Don’t ask me why the judge for the event was in the tournament. Anyway game 1 he hits me with double Captain Hook (after I make the misplay of ripping a mana dork from his hand instead of it), but somehow I survive. I kill all of his resonators until he has to use his Melfee just to flip Lumia. After killing her I lose to the most absurd and stupid ruling in my card game career. Apparently there is an end of end phase phase…

So he cast a reanimate spell that said exile this creature during the end phase. However, he cast in the end of end phase phase…

So it didn’t get exiled…

It was a 900/900 flyer that killed me…

Game 2 I hold him down with Prisoner in the Lunar Lake until we go into time. I J-Activated Valentina and used Bows to kill his blocking mana dorks. I then top-deck 2 Space Times to kill all of his blockers and him on turn 3 of time.

Draw 1-1-1

Round 5: Vs Zero 28 Regalia

Game 1 I triple Space Time his Zero killing her. After which his crippled deck did next to nothing. Game 2 I do it again through his Zero’s Farmilar (by turning it into a bear and then using Black Moonbeam on Zero). HOWEVER, I make the misplay of first forgetting his 1 creature on board had flying (I could’ve killed it and maintained board control with Soulhunt) and also that Valentina’s ruler side could sack to creatures to destroy one…

I literally threw away a game I had won…

Game 3 I killed Zero again, but we go into time and the rules changed to highest life total wins due to it being the final round. I lose to his double burn spells despite easily having game if the match continued as I could’ve survived the burn with total board control.

Loss 1-2

My buddy’s match-ups (This is a first for me and I’m going by his brief descriptions)

Round 1: Vs Jank Lumia Aggro

Opponent’s deck was sub-optimal, easy win with Valentina attacks.

Win 2-0

Round 2: Vs Charlotte Hand Control

Due to Ruler’s Memoria not being a water stone he missed the OTK with Leviathan game 1. Then failed to win in time game 2.

Loss 0-1

Round 3: Vs Lilias Petal

Forgot how many Charlotte Transformation Magics he had in grave and failed to kill Lilias’ chimera as a result, died to the chimera and failed to win in time game 2 again.

Round 4: Vs Dark Alice Control

Got hit by double Lapis’ Dark Storm and lost Hook and Leviathan. Suddenly with no win-conditions he had no way to close out the game. Then once again lost in time game 2.

Round 5: Bye

We finished 16th and 18th place respectively.

Reactions, Reflections and Final Thoughts (The most important part I swear)

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This was a very eye-opening, agitating and useful experience. One that I need to take to heart and use to move forward as a card gamer. First of all I paid $40 to go to NJ to play in this. Once there I paid $25 to enter. Also because I didn’t get all the cards for my deck I had to pay another $10 to get the last couple cards. It is not worth it to pay this much money to scrub out.

This is the most upsetting part though. I did not lose as a result of my deck being bad. In Yugioh and Magic I limit myself because admittedly I’m a very cheap person when it comes to buying expensive staple cards. During the last Yugioh regional I came close to building a perfect ABC deck, but did not go all the way and buy Dimensional Barrier and Pot of Desires ($55 and $70 respectively). Back when I used to play Standard I forced Mono-Red, not merely, because I enjoyed it, but because it was very cheap to build. This is the first time…

Well probably not the first time, but easily the most obvious time that I lost not because I skimped out on building my deck, but because I made misplays that were terrible in hindsight.

  1. Not knowing how my stones worked
  2. Forgetting Prisoner in the Lunar Lake
  3. Forgetting the enemy creature had flying
  4. Forgetting Valentina’s Ruler ability
  5. Not understanding how the phases and the chase worked

All of these painfully obvious things (except the last one because holy crud is that stupid) I allowed to happen and as a result I lost $75 along with almost every game today. My buddy also admitted that in addition to his poor match-ups and luck, he also lost due to misusing resources and also running out of cards.

On the plus side though our deck was solid. There was more times when I could have won had I not misplayed than times where I could not have won at all for any reason. Our deck did what it came to do. We killed creatures, disrupted the opponent’s hand and ultimately killed with powerful finishers.

Our Differences of Opinion on the Deck and My Future Plans with it

  • So my buddy and I came to a few very different conclusions on what to do with the deck. This could be useful to players interested in trying it out.
  • I say cut Ruler’s Memoria for a Darkness Stone, he says add a water stone. My buddy got way more use out of Leviathan today than I did. He dropped it and won all, but one game where it resolved. I played it once all day when I already had board control. I want to add another Scorn of Dark Alice instead of Leviathan personally.
  • I say cut Leviathan or side it for control, he says bump it up to 2 in the main. Again the card worked for me and did nothing for me. I think it’s too slow for the format, he thinks it’s our best win-con)
  • He says cut Captain Hook, I’m not sure. On the one hand we’re playing Captain Hook fairly on turn 5. That’s just to fair and slow for this format. Between enemy Hook’s attacking our stones and the general speed of the combo decks I admit Hook may be too slow for us.
  • I say add Alice’s Little Scout to soak up early game damage, he wants to add no resonators outside of finishers (and Riza in the side). Every game despite our discard and removal he took massive damage in the early game. I watched almost all of my opponents play the cat with the ability draw one when it enters the field. I think Alice Scout not only will block in the early game, but will also allow us to not lose card advantage.

We do agree though that Melder, Last of the Dead is useless. The deck has enough removal. Riza is more useful setting Prison in the Lunar Lake face-down than him. Furthermore, his -800/-800 ability at the cost of us being about to die (from Riza’s paying 1000) isn’t worth it when we’ve already lost so much life in the early game.

Parting Words (Gosh this was long)

I don’t regret today. I learned that I was too confident in my ability to play a card game with literally no practice after quitting it for months. That being said most of my problems came from simply not reading cards (especially my own). I want to believe that as a result of today I will do two things differently in the future.

I will never travel to major event without having full knowledge of my deck/side deck, as it’s not cost-effective to spend so much and lose.

I will never enter a tournament with a deck I don’t think can theoretically top. If I enter a Yugioh or Magic event ever again, I’m going to enter with a good deck. Hopefully, not the most expensive deck, but definitely not a deck I built on the cheap for fun that I think can cheese a few wins. I’ve always used the fact that because I didn’t have Dimensional Barrier, Pot of Desires or a full-power Abzan deck as an excuse to justify my losses. “I didn’t have the optimal deck so that’s why I lost” This was the first time it was incredibly apparent that I lost not to my deck, but too myself. As a result this was very frustrating and I’ll be burned out on Force of Will possibly forever.

I don’t see myself following the game after college. I only plan to keep cards of sentimental value, though I’m not sure if I’m going to try and sell the cards from this deck. I honestly believe that the only card game I’ll be able to play after college is Magic the Gathering, which is simply the most represented game in my experience.

Well I’ve droned on for too long, but I actually think this is one of the better posts I’ve made. I learned alot about my strengths and weaknesses as a player. I think we learn more from our mistakes than our successes and today taught me that more than any other tournament.

Thanks for reading as usual.

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