(Metagame Archive) The Light of Play: PC Predictions Follow-up

By Jason Grabher-Meyer
Okay, so Tim and I had a blast putting together lists of things we thought we’d see, or just plain wanted to see, at PC New York. The event itself was incredible, but having a little checklist of stuff to look for made it that much cooler. Here’s how my predictions worked out . . .
 
1: Yes
 
Boliver Trask on turn 1 in the Curve Sentinels mirror will decide a huge number of games over the course of Day 1. It’s an incredibly underrated play given how ridiculously important it truly is.
 
And boy did it ever. Day 1 and Day 3 saw a ton of people mulliganing into Boliver Trask. Even with a lower emphasis on Betrayal in the environment than some had expected, turn 1 Boliver was still a supreme advantage. The outcome of a ton of matches hinged on this play, and it was a major factor in the finals between Hager and Bernstein.
 
2: No
 
EMS will make the Top 8.
 
Okay, so this one’s arguable. New School is an evolved version of EMS. But really, it’s so drastically different that I think it deviated from the spirit of my prediction. EMS is dead. Long live the new EMS!
 
 3. Yes
 
A lot of people will play Juggernaut in Curve Sentinels without Betrayal. They will be eaten in mirror matches like delicious street-a-pitas by New Yorkers.
 
Oh, how they were mauled! A ton of people ran Juggernaut without Betrayal and paid the price. Granted, some (such as Ryan Jones) did it and managed just fine. But many, many people were street-a-pita’d for not quite knowing how to run Juggernaut.
 
4. No
 
The much-hyped Mark City deck will have an impact. Stunning new archetype? Complete ruse? Either way, the truth will leave some surprised.
 
For those who missed it, Mark City grew from a bit of leaked information into a very large, very amusing ruse. Courtesy of a few of the members of Team Realmworx, the rumors about this “hot new deck” were propagated and grown for quite some time before PC NY. They culminated in a decklist and article by David Spears claiming that members of the team would be running the deck. The deck, which was based on incorporating Lost City in a Magneto build of Curve Sentinels, was just horrible enough to be hilarious, but not so poor as to be totally unbelievable when backed by players like Spears, Ryan Jones, and Vidianto Wijaya. Unfortunately, no one fell so hard for the joke as to change to running it last minute, so the rumor’s impacts were minimal. But it’s still, you know, funny. Sadly, not as funny as I’d hoped.
 
5. Yes
 
Teen Titans will see a huge resurgence in popularity compared to its recent $10K showings. Those that chicken out of Fantastic Fun at the last minute will default to it.
 
Despite the wide sweep of Curve Sentinels decks, Teen Titans were still represented a lot more than most expected, while FFun was practically abandoned. Not much to say about it—FFun is incredibly difficult to play at the best of times, and with multiple pieces of tech that easily slip into the top decks of most metagames, its run was limited from the beginning. It will still definitely see play, and it will garner attention from time to time, but it seems as if the first chapter in its story has ended.
 
6. Yes
 
A lot of disappointed FFun players will not make Day 2, despite the deck’s incredible potential. Tech, bad luck, and a lack of familiarity with the deck will be at fault.
 
Well, I wouldn’t say a lot of people played FFun, but of those who did, not many made Day 2. I’ll go ahead and take the point.
 
7. Yes
 
Flame Trap and Have a Blast! will see more play than expected.
 
While Have a Blast! saw some play, Flame Trap saw a great deal. The final numbers once decklists for the event are processed should be terribly interesting in this regard. Meanwhile, Flame Trap made it into two Top 8 decks, and it will likely see a boost in play in the near future.
 
8. No
 
Someone will end up with a double Antarctic Research Base in an FFun mirror, courtesy of our old pal Relocation.
 
Nope, the environment in general just isn’t ready for Relocation to see more play, and this past weekend it did not. However, with Mojoverse seeing an explosion in play, this may finally be a viable card again. Virtually all big archetypes are running locations now, and most are worth stealing under the proper conditions (USS Argus outside of the mirror match is certainly the exception.) I honestly think that Relocation will see some experimenting over the next few weeks.
 
9. Yes
 
Mojoverse will be run in a handful of Curve Sentinel builds, counter-teching Betrayal and providing random combat bonuses. It will be disregarded later anyway due to the difficulty of fitting it into the deck.
 
Wow! “A handful” was certainly exceeded—tons of people were running Mojoverse, and local card dealers were sold out of them by Thursday afternoon. The on-site dealers were frantically attempting to purchase them from those with extras to fill the incredibly high demand. However, I’m not sure it’s a trend that will stick, so the second part of my prediction seems like it may come true, as well.
 
10. Yes
 
Micro-Sentinels will be a defining card of the weekend, appearing in virtually every CS deck present.
 
Yyyyyup. Micro-Sentinels was dang near everywhere and even made it into four of the Curve Sentinel decks in the Top 8. It may dip in popularity as New School sees more play and FFun’s day in the sun wanes, but it will still be seen in many decks by the time Indy rolls around.
 
11. No
 
Knowing New York far better than Tim Willoughby, I will abandon him in Chinatown under the guise of appropriating the deep fried waffle-donuts native to the area.
 
Fact: I know New York far better than Tim Willoughby.
Fact: The so-and-so speaks passable Chinese.
Fact: The previously listed fact makes me sad. No abandoning Tim in Chinatown for me.
 
12. No
 
This will not prevent him from rocking me in our dual feature match coverage. Later, we will celebrate with Chinese waffle-donuts, for real this time. I will again leave him in Chinatown shortly thereafter.
 
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we didn’t even get to do our dueling banjos routine. We got Japanese instead of Chinese afterwards, too, so the fact that I abandoned him in a Sushi restaurant doesn’t truly count. Ha! I found one language he doesn’t speak.
 
13. No
 
Olav Rokne will claim the Vs. System Stylemaster Crown, narrowly stealing it from Tim and myself with his secret fashion tech—a daring scarf.
 
Sadly, Rokne couldn’t make it to the event, meaning we were not only not graced by his company, but I also had to put all my intentions about forcing catch phrases upon him on hold. I’ll have to Rok his world at a later date.
 
As a side note, the scarf thing was wrong, too. He informed me via email that he’d intended to wear a metallic green tie. Awesome.
 
14. No
 
Tim will be right and the Big Mouth Challenge will unhorse Ian Vincent as the sport’s reining champion. It’s still anybody’s game regarding who will have the honors of his title.
 
Tim bought some of the new starter decks, but he frowned on the idea of putting them into the mouths of strangers. See, it turns out they’re really an awesome product. So awesome that chewing on them just wasn’t fair. Great art, some cool effects, nice playability, and a very appealing price tag means I don’t get to eat them. Shucks.
 
15. Maybe
 
In an effort to drive alternative play formats, Jeff Donais will sanction the Big Mouth Challenge for future events. Terror will ensue and flavored promo cards will be released by next quarter.
 
This might happen. I’m personally pushing for signature Canadian flavors that only Jeff and I will understand. We spent a few minutes together just walking around asking Americans if they knew what butter tarts were. How can a country have no butter tarts? What is wrong with your nation? Honestly.
 
16. No
 
Star Canadian player David Fielder will finally get his ice cream, drawing the sordid saga that began at $10K Detroit to a happy close. Over 50 players will flock to him over the course of the weekend in order to understand this in-joke.
 
Friday night I stopped by one of those grocery-deli-bodega deals they have in New York. I picked up a pint of Haagen-Dazs “Dulce De Leche” and another of Ben and Jerry’s “Phish Food” frozen yogurt. Sadly, because I got no sleep Thursday night, it was all eaten by morning. I could feign regret, but man, have you tried Phish Food? It’s not just guilt free because it’s low in fat.
 
17. Maybe
 
Extended Art Overload will crack the $80 mark on eBay on the same day as its release.
 
Sadly, no EA Overloads have even been sold yet. So, while initial bids have already put this into the $20-$30 range, there’s no telling how high they may go. I’m standing by my initial guess.
 
18. No
 
Your Move Games will have some sort of new and interesting deck. They’ve been suspiciously quiet. I’m taking five-to-one odds that they’ve broken Stilt-Man.
 
Nope. Apparently their secret tech was just Alex Shvartsman. With a Day 3 number 1 seed, I’d say it worked. He’s definitely got a lot that Stilt-Man doesn’t.
 
19. No
 
Someone will qualify for Day 2 with a completely netdecked Team TOGIT X-Stall build. Any well-teched versions that appear will do exceedingly well on Day 1.
 
Nope. Much to my surprise, no one played TOGIT’s build, indicating that despite people clinging to the old version, this deck is actually seeing some testing. Here’s hoping a revamped version finds some success soon.
 
20. No, but it’s my fault
 
Someone will use a bag of 50 I-don’t-know-whats to keep track of his or her endurance instead of pen and paper.
 
Unfortunately, this one’s my fault. I was going to get someone to use a bag of fifty delightfully monochromatic rubber frogs in a variety of colors as life counters, but sadly, I left the bag at home. If anyone will do this at Indy, I’m sure I can rustle up a half decent bribe. Extra points for running a single copy of Frog Man.
 
21. No
 
Two non-American players will Top 8.
 
Nope. Mutual failure for me and Tim, who made the same prediction. While Hans Joachim Höh came through, a severe lack of British players and unfortunate Day 1 showings from Canadians left us without our second non-American.
 
22. Yes
 
Betrayal will be the most loved yet also most maligned card of the event, winning as many games as it will lose for being a dead draw.
 
With so much Mojoverse running wild, and a fair amount of Juggernaut as well, Betrayal was a metagame call not even made by many of the top players. Though it saw a great deal of play, it didn’t see nearly as much success as most are used to.
 
23. Yes
 
Over the course of the weekend, someone will get a tattoo.
 
I’m not saying who, or where they got it. But yes.
 
24. No
 
Practice and instinctive play will take the limelight over new tech. At least one competitor will Top 8 with a deck that contains no tech whatsoever.
 
Much to my happiness, every single deck in the Top 8 had something cool and different about it. Alex Shvartsman came the closest to fulfilling my prophecy, but switching out Cover Fire for four copies of Acrobatic Dodge was his one stroke of decklist brilliance. An innovative Top 8? Glad to hear it.
 
25. No
 
There will be at least one mullet in the Top 4.
 
Despite some artificial mullet action from Dave Spears, none got into the Top 4. How disappointing.
 
26. Yes
 
Ryan Jones will reach all new levels of subdued and witty cynicism.
 
Yeah, I’d say so. The whole Mark City deal was pretty great, and some of Jones’s comments with regard to it and many other things were quite entertaining.
 
27. Yes
 
Someone who used to work at Score will get a feature match or interview.
 
Yup, I actually talked to several playtesters over the course of the weekend, perpetuating the idea that Score uses tactics similar to Manhunter Sleeper Agents.
 
28. Yes
 
Gary Wise will drop from Day 1 after staking out a chair massage station, planting a flag, and claiming it in the name of the Independent Republic of Spiel. That or he’ll dominate Day 2. Either way.
 
Yup, sadly Gary didn’t make Day 2. And when he tried to go get his massage, he’d found that Gabe Walls had already gone and told the staff he was Gary so that he could also claim his own massage later. We need an alternate art Betrayal promo with a picture of Gabe getting a rubdown.
 
29. Yes.
 
Yeah, those chair massages? Past abuses of pro-player perks will pale in comparison.
 
Yes. Despite the “one massage per person for the weekend” rule, many of the more . . . ahem . . . “creative” in attendance managed to mooch extra massages. Gabe’s just happened to be the funniest.
 
30. Maybe

Someone will go into a match with the intent of winning the other person’s pants.

Well, no one had their pants change hands in public . . . that I know of. But there were a lot of people and a lot of pants present this past weekend, so I’m not writing it off. To make up for my lack of information about this highly important milestone, I’ll be putting up my pants some time during PC Indy. In fact, I might do it a lot. I believe pants are society’s biggest tools of oppression, and not wearing any as often as possible is my form of nonviolent resistance.

 
31. Yes. Oh God, yes
 
Vidianto Wijaya will receive at least two feature matches. Sadly, all of his dialogue will be censored out of the coverage because “Kids read this stuff! Oh god, he said that?”
 
Oh Vidi. Vidi, Vidi, Vidi. I can’t say what he said, but let me say that some of the things we had to cut were so funny that I may be taking out a Livejournal account some time in the future strictly so I can fill it with rejected quotes. Vidi will win a PC—it’s just a matter of time. In the mean time, he’ll continue being the funniest pro player we have.
 
32. Yes, but better
 
Jason Bagari will leave the event with at least twelve copies of every new promo released. He will not make Day 2. He really won’t mind.
 
I’m not sure how many new promos Bagari left the event with, but he did indeed just miss Day 2. What he didn’t miss? Making a massive trade for one of the world’s few extended art Savage Beatdowns. Cool.
 
33. Yes
 
Rich Edbury, if in attendance, will choose to play a deck he’s never even seen two hours before the event. He will qualify for Day 3 anyway.
 
Rich Edbury wasn’t in attendance. So I’m just taking the point due to my “if” conditional. Aah, templating.
 
34. Yes
 
Michael Jacob will effortlessly glide into Day 2.
 
Yes, yes he did. Finishing twelfth place overall, Jacob walked away with some well-deserved kudos and a nice wad of cash. Big ups to him for being one of the most well-rounded players out there.
 
35. No
 
Carl Perlas will play something very, very cool that will immediately receive deck coverage.
 
Sadly, Carl didn’t run any of the awesome stuff that I had the pleasure of playing against at $10K Detroit. His raw love of the game shone through a disappointing Day 1, though, and showed the world why he really is one of Team Realmworx’s premier faces.
 
36. No
 
Dean Sohnle will react to metagame hate against the FFun deck he created by just making a deck that wins on turn 3 instead of turn 5. Appropriately, he will name it something hilarious.
 
Dean did spectacularly, taking 25th in the event by the end of Day 3. Unfortunately, he didn’t do it with something new and wacky, so I don’t get a point for his success. With his status in the weeks leading up to the event seemingly locked in as “In Europe and Not Leaving for a While,” his attendance alone was a surprise, and his great finish is something to be commended.
 
37. No, finally
 
Those four guys who always show up to pro level events with F4 Beatdown decks will be in attendance.
 
Long have I questioned why F4 Beats continued to see play. Now, with no one running it in New York, I can finally rest easy. However, with some of the awesome new cards in the F4/Doom Starter deck, we may just see a resurgence. This time, there will be legitimate reasons for F4 Beatdown as a deck choice.
 
38. Yes
 
Ian Estrin’s hair will be assailed by rain, wind, hail, and possibly monkeys. It won’t matter—it will still remain perfectly in place. Tim and I will burn with jealousy.
 
Eff. Honestly, Estrin’s hair looks so good at all times that it makes me want to spit. But not at his hair. It would bounce right off and land in mine. That’s how invincible his coif is.
 
39. Yes
 
Someone will double-Boris and Reign of Terror four times on turn 5.
 
Yup! I saw it briefly. I didn’t want to interrupt the match and didn’t have time to get names, but it was awesome. I’ve never seen so many Teen Titans run so fast.
 
40. Not sure
 
At least five teammate vs. teammate mirror matches will occur on Day 1. Same team and same deck.
 
No idea. Next time I’ll stick to predictions that are easier to verify, like “I will wear a big leather trench coat all weekend” and “Tim Willoughby will have crazy hair.”
 
 
So, my final track record? Eighteen right, eighteen wrong, and four that were somewhere in the middle. Not bad overall, and Tim and I can compare scores later. You know . . . once he extricates himself from that Japanese restaurant’s basement.
 
The PC was truly an awesome ride, and some really great tech broke out—some more obvious tech that you’ve likely already heard about, and some that you may not yet have seen. Head on back next week as I start looking at the best tech in the post-PC and Green Lantern Corps-legal environment!
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: