Adaptive power disparity

The format

So far we’ve only seen tournaments where Adaptive is the format for the finals, meaning that in all likelihood both decks that reach that final table are exceedingly strong.

DecksOfKeyforge.com are running a league to practice for adaptive on their discord server, and I joined in. It’s not the exact practice I need for the vault tour, but it does provide one crucial bit of practice, and that is playing with a deck I’m unfamiliar with.

My first opponent was firesa, I don’t know their real name, but over the past couple of weeks that I’ve become more active in the community, they’ve left an impression of being a very strong player, which is great by me, more opportunity to learn.

firesa brought a The Apprehensive Slayer of Katsmarch to the match. No doubt a much stronger deck than the one I chose, Spontaneously Thinking Wolf. My deck can hold it’s own, with a 65% win the thecrucible. But that is not against the likes of Katsmartch.

The games

The first two games go as expected, with firesa steamrolling me with Katsmartch and then me steamrolling them with the same deck. Poor wolf didn’t stand a chance.

The bidding for Katsmartch begins, as per the rules with firesa bidding 0. I open my bid with 5, which is the highest amount of chains I am completely confident Katsmartch would be unhindered by. firesa counters with 6, and here it gets tough. bidding 7 means I draw 2 down on the first and second turn, quite a handicap. The main question is if this amount of chains will slow down Katsmartch enough for Wolf to establish a board or not, cause once Wolf has a solid board, Katsmartch doesn’t have the tools to deal with it. I decide to bid 7, and firesa lets me have it. The bidding is a lot more difficult when there is a big power disparity between decks, but in retrospect, I still think I made the correct bid.

Game 3 is where we get to see the true value of the format. Now it is a matter of player skill, and the ability of the better deck to handle the chains, which in turn is the skill of the bidders. I lose the match with Katsmartch. I could not keep up with Wolf’s strong board that firesa established, but it was not a steamroll. I recorded the game in order to be able to review it, and I have identified several weak plays on my part.

 

Reviewing my play

The first suspect is my lack of mulligan. My opening hand of Umbra, Ring of Invisibility, Murmuk, Nature’s Call and Labwork just doesn’t provide me much of anything. The Nature’s call is the only card with any value in stalling the game, and yet, I would much prefer Lost in the Woods, of which there are two in the deck.

The next suspect play is going Labwork archiving Nature’s call on my turn 1. the correct play here is the Umbra with Invisibility Ring. It allows a potentially stronger Logos turn in the future, puts something on the board, still allows me to play Nature’s call later if needed, and draws the same amount of cards.

I pay for my first play mistake dearly by drawing into my key charge. If I held onto the Labwork I may have been able to archive it, which may have made a significant difference down the line.

The next misplay is a couple of turns down the line. I have an empty battle line against: Tocsin, Master of 3, Succubus with Flame Wreathed and a Drumble. I’m holding Lost in the Woods and my Murmook, I play them, I select Succubus and pause. Master of 3 can kill my Murmook easily, but Tocsin can torture my hand, which is already suffering due to chains. I pick the Master of 3, which is definitely a mistake. I don’t get to keep the Murmook on the board anyway, and Tocsin makes my life miserable.

From that point onward, firesa put me on my back foot. I was fighting to stay in the game. With the huge board, it’s hard to say if I could have played it better, but I could have definitely put myself in a better position to win from earlier on.

My misplays aside, firesa is a very strong player, and realized Wolf’s strengths with ease and played it to perfection. I’m going to spend some time looking over their plays of my deck and see what else I can learn.

This league is a 16 player round robin, so 14 more matches to go over 5 weeks. I’m not sure I’ll write a post after every match, but I’m sure there will be some more content on the subject.

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