By: Chris “Chibi” Michaelis
By Mike Morrissey
In order to truly understand my perspective on the tournament you have to understand my background in TCGs. I have been playing Magic since I was in high school. I started Magic around the time of Ice Age/Mirage. I had taken breaks in my playing but I have been steadily playing for over 10 years. I’ve dabbled in Yugioh, Pokemon, and Vanguard. In my opinion, those games always will be focused on a certain demographic instead of a game that appeals to everyone. Magic has its problems too, for example a large majority of the players are male. Skills learned in Yugioh don’t translate over to other games because Yugioh doesn’t evolve it just makes bigger and better things every set. Yugioh doesn’t teach resource management, how to successfully determine whether or not to mulligan cards/a hand, etc. Pokemon is better at teaching resource management but it doesn’t have instant speed interaction. The major complaint about Vanguard is that it is too luck based.
The reason that I was interested in Force of Will (FoW) is because while the game has a different look than Magic (anime apposed to fantasy), the game has similar mechanics to Magic. My favorite part of the game was that they were able to eliminate, to an extent, two of Magic’s biggest flaws: Mana Screw/Flood. The ruler is similar to the commander in the Magic format Commander. There are slight differences between the games that make them unique and for me enjoyable.
From seeing the people that played FoW in my local stores, I was making an assumption that the player base was mainly a transfer from Yugioh and other non-Magic games. Magic players tend to believe in the supremacy of their game, it sometimes comes off as arrogance. To be honest, I too had a certain level of confidence coming into the event that bordered on arrogance. I don’t have a lot of respect for the game of Yugioh and its players. I have many friends that have transferred over to Magic from Yugioh to become successful because they took their psychological skills and testing skills learned from Yugioh to a game that has better gameplay and rules. Most of those friends have never looked back from leaving Yugioh.
Enough of my banter, let’s get to my matches.
Round 1 vs. RWB Grimmia:
I mainly tested against Abdul, Bahamat, and Odd Grimm. I had no idea what I was up against in this one. I proceeded to get smashed in two very non-interactive games. I started to have a bad feeling about how my day was going to go. I learned that Grimmia can be powerful especially when using a lot of humans.
Round 2 vs. Tanto Cure Dude
I was already in a foul mood going into Round Two due to the fact that I had lost Round One. To be honest, I don’t even remember what my opponent was playing. I do remember that he had Tanto Cure sleeves and playmat. To his credit, he was very nice even though I was being an asshole. I quickly smashed him. I just wanted to win all the rest of my matches and dream crush my opponents.
Round 3 vs. RWB Lumia
This match up was close and Lumia’s ability is very useful. I had to kill my opponent’s Lumia so that he couldn’t cast the cards hidden with it at the end of his turn. The following turn I cheated in Gilles with Jeanne and killed him. He had the answer in the three cards tucked with Lumia. Overall, a better more interactive match than my first two.
Round 4 vs. GWU (U is Blue) Scheherazade
Scheherazade control using Xeex and Cake Zone with Cats. At this point I had yet to win a Game One. I was able to draw better in Games Two and Three making it able for me to win on the back of powerful spells like Thunder and Split Heaven and Earth. I was becoming less of an asshole at this point and I started relaxing. I realized after this round that I had a chance if I just kept focused and played well.
Round 5 vs. GBU Scheherazade
I lost Game One yet again. I was surprised to see Scheherazade instead of Abdul here. I thought that he might sideboard into Abdul but he didn’t. I was able to get around a few tricky Mephistopheles (Meph) and take this match. In this match I realized that my opponents didn’t really understand chasing with Fiethsing. I obviously couldn’t counter Fiethsing but I was able to do tricks with Duel of Truth and my resonators that they targeted with the Fiethsing prevention ability. I won another tough one.
Round 6 vs. Another Opponent I Can’t Remember
After talking to my friends that I came to the tournament with, I found I was doing a lot better than them. No offense to my opponent, I was on such a euphoric high that I can’t remember my opponent. I just remember losing Game One again. I won the match and had a lot of steam going into the last two rounds.
Round 7 vs. Bahamat
I had to play my friend Alex Javed in this match. I told him that I had yet to win a Game One and he laughed. I beat him Game One ending my streak of Game One losses. He won Game Two and consequently I won Game Three. The secret to this match was resolving Jeanne and staying out of burn range. The games were close and I was thankful to move on. This match surprisingly was the first match I had that was close to going to time. I won the match with less than three minutes on the round clock.
Round 8 vs. GBR Scheherazade
Another interesting choice of Scheherazade over Abdul. This was against Ken, the player who eventually won a trip to Japan. It was at Table Two and I knew at this point if I won I was in. Ken was talking to the people around us about getting paired down because he didn’t have a loss yet. That changed. I crushed him in two games, mainly due to Jeanne and Gilles again. I ran real hot in the match. It seemed like whenever I needed a card I drew it. I remember a few particular plays that were amazing for me. I played Breath of God for free on Jeanne to protect her from a Stoning to Death. Off the Breath of God, I drew another Breath of God. That pretty much sealed the game for me. In Game Two I was down to one card in hand after he had removed my Jeannes from the game with Stories Told in 1001 Nights. My opponent was tapped out resource wise so I had one shot, one opportunity (Que the Eminem). I drew Gilles, called my sixth stone and swung for exactly 1200 killing him. This was my most epic match of the day. My opponent played well, he understood chasing, and it was very interactive. It just goes to show that skill is great but skill combined with luck is unbeatable.
Top 8 vs. Abdul
This match was streamed so you can see what happened to me. I have to say that I paid for being lucky against Ken by getting extremely unlucky as it pertains to draws in this match. I had tested this match heavily because I was convinced that Abdul was the most oppressive J/Ruler in the game. Some people question my keeping Tinker Bells in my deck for Game 2. I felt that I needed to be more aggressive in order to beat him and taking out Tinker Bells would take away from my one drops. I didn’t draw well either game and my opponent was a very good player. I can’t take anything away from him, he played well and did what he was supposed to do.
Overall, I was not surprised that I exceeded my expectations for the event. I felt like I could have done better in Top 8 and I was very disappointed that I didn’t win a trip to Japan.
Chibi: What was your MVP card?
Mike: Jeanne D’ Arc was by far my MVP. She is difficult to remove, especially combined with Breath of God. She also was able to cheat Gilles into play and that usually was unexpected and back breaking.
Chibi: Which card underperformed in your deck that you felt should not have underperformed?
Mike: I think I had too many Duel of Truth in my main deck. I should have balanced it with Rapid Decay. I would also switch out the King’s Servants for Little Princes
Chibi: Did you have any unique tech added to your deck that enabled you to out perform other players who used the same deck?
Mike: No one really played my deck. It was really a homebrew that I made to beat the decks in the meta that I expected. I think that I would be difficult for players to pick up and expect to win. I had a lot of time into testing and tweaking for the tournament.
Chibi: Do you have any particular strategies or combos you strive for?
Mike: The deck was designed to be aggressive and have burn for late game reach. I liked having the Jeanne/Gilles combo and Duel of Truth/Snow White combo.
Chibi: What would be considered an optimal hand for you post mulligan?
Mike: Tinker Bell, Hunter, Thunder, Jeanne, Gilles
Chibi: Do you feel other players play this deck incorrectly?
Mike: I don’t think other people play this deck. If they did, they would have to test a lot in order to give themselves a chance to play the deck correctly.