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This year's Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game World Championship occurred at a great time for the game. The banning of Empire's 'Visit the Haunted City' and the institution of the restricted list created an environment in which multiple deck archetypes are possible for all six races. This was a stark contrast to the championship last year, where there were really only two deck types played. While this was very exciting, it also made it difficult to select what race to play in the event.
I felt that with the release of 'Swarm of Bats' and 'Warpstone Experiments' in the Legends expansion, that there would be a large amount of super-fast rush decks at the event. I decided to play a Dark Elf deck with a focus on unit removal supported by some support control and some discard effects. I felt that the Dark Elf Quest 'Offering to Hekarti' was so powerful against rush decks that it would be able to shut them down by itself. I also included the powerful chaos unit 'Sorcerer of Tzeentch' as it is incredibly strong against unit-based strategies.
Shortly before the event I considered removing the 'Vile Sorceress' for the tactic 'Black Horror' as I believed that 'Swarm of Bats' would be a heavily played card. Not doing this was my biggest regret as the Bats were common. I was fortunate to triumph without this change.
The road to the top four
My first round opponent was a very good player piloting a Dwarf deck that was an updated version of the winning deck from last years championship. He started the first game with the strong play of 'Mining Tunnels' and 'Contested Village.' Fortunately for me I had gone first and was able to play 'Burn it Down' to remove his tunnels and attached a 'Withering Hex' to his Village. After this, I was able to keep him from establishing anything in his kingdom zone and marched to a quick victory. The second game went even worse for him as I had a similar draw and his was much worse.
In the second round I faced a Chaos deck using powerful new cards such as 'Plague Bomb' and 'Karios Fateweaver.' I knew that this matchup could be bad for me if I let him utilize these powerful cards. I used a similar strategy to that of my first round, attempting to prevent him from setting up in his kingdom zone. This plan worked very well and I was able to prevent him from playing most of his cards that were four-cost or greater. He did get a 'Blood Knight' into play at one point that gave me quite a bit of trouble, but I was able to remove it with a 'Wight Lord' and cruise to victory.
In the third round I faced a super-fast Orc rush deck. I was able to win the first game handily, getting 'Offering to Hekarti' going early on. The second game was incredibly close as he started out with 'Spider Riders' and 'Swarm of Bats.' I decided that my best plan this match would be to attempt to out rush the rush deck! I played my own 'Swarm of Bats' on my first turn and followed it up with a second swarm the next turn, but missed dealing lethal damage by one. My opponent had even worse luck, as he added a 'Sneaky Git' on turn three but was unable to burn my zone with his attack as he missed with his 'Sneaky Git' activation and also only flipped one unit to pump his bats leaving me with one hit point left on two of my zones! I attacked him and destroyed one of his zones on my turn, leaving my fate to chance. He attacked again, needing an odd numbered card to let his Sneaky Git destroy one zone, while he attacked another. He flipped his top card and revealed another two-cost 'Sneaky Git' allowing me to scrape by!
In the forth round I was paired against another Dwarf deck. This time it was a deck that used the 'Grudge Thrower'/’Return to Glory' combo to recur and pump zero-cost units for giant attacks. We were the only undefeated players remaining and decided to take a draw as we were assured a spot in the top four.
The final rounds
In the top four I was paired against another swift Orc rush deck while my round four opponent was facing the Dwarf deck that I had played against in round one. I was happy to see that he had fought his way back to the top four after his poor draws in our first match. My semi-finals match was over quickly as I had 'Offering to Hekarti' in both of my opening draws. With this quest active he was not able to field a real offense and I found myself in the championship match for the second time!
Where as my semi-finals match went quickly, the other match went on for over three hours! All three of their games were very exciting with my first round opponent Rich Dalbo pulling out the victory. It was really exciting that the event would be ending with a rematch of our first round game!
Rich pushed me much harder in the finals than he had in our first match. Game one was pretty back and forth, but I was able to set up 'Walking Sacrifice' onto 'Offering to Hekarti' to prevent him from removing my unit using the always powerful 'Master Rune of Spite.' My discard really came through in this match as I pounded away at him with 'Shades' and 'Beastlord Rakarth.' The second game was very close as he got out all three of his 'Mining Tunnels.' I was able to keep him low on resources using my 'Burn it Down' and 'Withering Hex' as I did in the first game. I made one major error in this game as I let a unit in the kingdom zone live with 'Great Book of Grudges' attached to it. This allowed him to play enough units to make a lethal attack on my battlefield.
I was able to recover and removed all of his units in short order using multiple 'Slave Pens' to recur my 'Wight Lords' several times. Later in the match he was able to push through four damage onto my quest zone with some 'Grombrindal's Elite.' This left me precariously close to defeat against an opponent with nearly half of his deck in hand. However, all of the card drawing he had been doing left him with only one card remaining in his deck! If I would be able to hold out this turn the match would be over! He was able to get close, using a 'Demolition'/'Stand Your Ground' combo to return one of his units to play, but was not quite able to destroy my zone as he was so short on resources.
Once again, through a combination of a great deck choice, some timely plays and a lot of good fortune, I was able to win the title of Warhammer: Invasion World Champion! Thanks to all of the great opponents that I faced at Worlds both this year and last year and thanks to FFG for running a great event for a great game! Hope to see even more of you guys there next year!
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