Birmingham (UKGE) Vault Tour main event writeup
I got the UKGE really early, got my pass and went in to the event hall. I had to sit and wait for almost 90 minutes before things started to advance. I was stressed, sleep deprived and excited.
Everyone got handed out 3 open decks (sealed) which they had to verify the deck name matched the deck names printed on the paper strip. We were then instructed to pass the decks around the table a few times.
30 minutes to pick, sleeve and register decks was plenty. When I practiced at home I kept it under 10 minutes to evaluate a deck. At the main event I took my time, about 17 minutes to evaluate the decks. We ended up standing in line way past the half hour deadline.
My three deck choices in the order I opened them, if you feel like trying to figure out which you would have picked:
The Fallacious Rogue Scammer of Tarsway
Sinrar, the Broken Sanctuary Wing Leader
I had a notebook with me, and I tallied up some stats about the decks to help me make my pick. I really should have prepared a template beforehand to not forget any stats.
Bonus Aember – 12
Dead cards (low impact) – 2
I think I counted the 2 Tremors, but it could have also been the 2 Full Moons because of only 5 Untamed creatures.
Artifact hate – 1
creatures – 5/8/4
I didn’t like the 4 Brobnar creature count, and was already looking to pass on it.
It didn’t look like it could do much, definitely lacks any option for big plays. The Doorstep is great, obviously, but the Two Sound the Horns means I either need to discard them, or risk skipping over key cards, due to the low Brobnar creature count. It’s not a terrible deck, but definitely not a top pick. I ended up ranking it third.
The Fallacious Rogue Scammer of Tarsway
Bonus Aember – 13
Dead cards – 1
I counted the Onyx Knight as a dead card because 11 of my creatures were odd powered. It actually ended up being quite useful. The real dead cards were the 2 Bordan the Redeemed.
Artifact Hate – 1
Board clears – 2
Carpet Phloxem and Unlocked Gateway. Carpet Phloxem was much less useful.
Creatures – 4/8/6
I liked the creature split here, calling Mars to get Proliferators and Harvesters off sounded pretty good.
Aember Control – 7
I erroneously counted Bordan the Redeemed as Aember Control. It’s not, it’s terrible.
Reap Hate – 3
I didn’t know how strong reap hate would be, but decided to count it separately to Aember Control. It ended up being pretty good in case of Joya, but only mediocre on the case of Sockworm.
I liked almost everything in this deck and I ended up picking it to play. I think it was the right choice, but I have not played Sinrar yet. I made a couple of bad assessments, but I’m still overall happy with the way I looked at the deck.
Sinrar, the Broken Sanctuary Wing Leader
Aember – 12
Dead – 1
Save the Pack without They’re Everywhere or Common Cold is just going to be ditched most of the time.
Artifact Hate – 2
I valued Artifact Hate pretty highly in this set, and this has good hate.
Board Clears – 3 + Three Fates
Save the Pack is going to be dead a lot of the time, but it is still a board clear. The two Carpet Phloxem are ok. I actually like Three Fates the best as my creatures all have low power.
Creatures – 9/6/3
My main problem here was the 3 Glimmers. They were unlikely to stick around long enough to reap, and I just didn’t see a main house I could come back to for reaping.
Reap Hate – 1
This deck was a close second, and I almost picked it. The three Glimmers and the Three Fates looked very appealing. On the other hand, three cards with Alpha was problematic. It also has Heart of the Forest, which I just didn’t think was very good without key cheats and I just didn’t want to deal with the decision of playing it or not.
I ended up ranking this second. DecksOfKeyforge ranks this about 10 points higher than Rogue. I may have picked the wrong deck, I’ll only know after I’ve had a chance to play this.
So I chose to play The Fallacious Rogue Scammer of Tarsway. I felt very confident about my decision, but I need to check if it was right by playing the others some.
I was pretty focused for all my games, but I made misplays in almost all of them. If I had better sleep, and came better acquainted with how those events run, I think I could have been more focused and played better. Lessons learn for next time.
I didn’t take notes about the game after each game as I was focused on playing and resting between matches. So some games I don’t really remember what happened. I also played a few other sealed events, and it’s all a bit jumbled.
My first opponent was visibly stressed, I tried to be pleasant and polite, but they seemed to already come with defeat in mind. I took the win handily and quickly, was polite and moved on.
Dan Hill came to the table with makeshift cube tokens and a playmat from another game. They stated they haven’t really played much keyforge and just picked it up. I don’t think I underestimated them, but I may have. The turning point of the game was when they played 2 Professor Sutterkin. I had a hand of 4-5 Dis cards, and a lone Mars card: Zysysyx Shockworm. I decided to play my Dis hand, which didn’t deal with their board. This spelled doom for me. At that point they had too much advantage from drawing 8 cards a turn, and playing the Shockworm the turn after was no longer enough to slow them down.
I don’t know if I would have played Shockworm it would have went any better, but not playing it was definitely a mistake.
They quickly drew into a hand full of bonus Aember in Untamed with a Key Charge and won.
My opponent was gracious but fairly evidently not focused. Maybe due to a loss. I was after a loss too and I was hard on the rules. They tried to play an Alpha card mid turn and I wouldn’t let them take back the previous plays. I’m slightly regretful of that, as the win would have been more satisfying had I let them play take it back.
In any case, I won fairly handily, and can’t recall much else from the game.
Game 4 and 5
I honestly don’t remember anything from those games. I don’t even remember the faces of my opponents, let alone their names. I remember feeling like I played well.
This was a super stressful game as it was all or nothing. In front of me sits down a person with a familiar face and a familiar set of tokens. I asked if I played them before, and they asked me if I played against their brother.
Robert Hill, like their Sibling, claimed not to have played the game much before. And yet here they were with a 4-1 result like me, someone who spent a good month preparing for the event.
Their deck was Jokely the Dramatically Rocket-Propelled which they may never scan. It had a wicked strong Brobnar with Drummernaut, Ganger Chieftain, Bingle Bangbang and Brammo. I know that in retrospect I should have killed Bingle Bangbang before it attacked into my Bordan the Redeemed (Damn you, such a bad card) and decimated my board. Their winning move was Soldiers to Flowers into a Key Charge, which I saw coming a mile away, and could not stop.
I’m still pretty salty about this loss, as they played extremely poorly. Not reaping with Brammo before returning it to hand with Drummernaut. Not pinging Bad Penny with Throwing Stars. And many more very basic misplays to my single bad play.
But sometimes deck strength and luck outpaces skill, it’s just the way this game plays. It means it is much more accessible to new players, but also means Vault Tours really need to be best of 3. I hope they change it.
I believe Robert Hill got a bye into top 16 and lost, but I can’t verify without the deck being scanned.
Aside from acquired a nemesis for the first time in my life: The Hill Family, I have learned I have room to improve. A 4-2 result was exactly what I was expecting. A 66% win rate is about what I get locally and on the crucible. I could definitely play better, and I’m looking forward to growing as a player, and taking you all on this journey with me.
I also got valuable Vault Tour experience. I have never attended an event of this scale, and having some experience will surely help in the future.
I hope to make it to another Vault Tour before the next UKGE, not sure when or where. Twice a year seems to be the maximum, since I have to fly in from Israel. If not though, I’ll probably be around at the next UKGE.
Lastly, and I also tweeted about this, I really appreciate the staff and general admin of the event. There were a few technical difficulties, but they kept the players updated on the situation. Everyone I communicated with was extremely gracious, friendly, and welcoming.
I’m probably going to write at least one more post about my general experience at the Vault Tour, some planning lessons and side events, so follow me on twitter if you want to know when my next post goes up. I’m also available on the sanctumonius discord if you want to engage me, my handle is Aurore.