Hi, it’s Bill Parousis and I’m here to share my experience at the Toronto Ashes Player Circuit Tournament that was held on November 5, 2016 at 401 Games. We had a great turnout at the event and even had Yannick and his friend Pascal traveling from Ottawa to participate in it. Thanks for making the trip to Toronto! Your presence was greatly appreciated. I hope some of us can make it up there soon for a tournament.
The breakdown of the Phoenixborns was as follows: 3 Victoria, 3 Brennen, 2 Jessa, 1 Lulu, 1 Maeoni, 1 Aradel.
In the weeks leading up to this event I was working on a Rin deck, but it wasn’t going so well and decided the night before the tournament to switch back to Jessa. I went with a variation of Fear the Bear with illusion in it. I added 3x Hidden Power and tossed in 1x Shifting Mist. I also added in Blood Chains, because I love the synergy with Chant of Revenge and Final Cry.
My first game was against Cameron who was running Sleepytime Victoria. Cameron was using Abundance and I believe by the second or third round he had both Summon Shadow Spirits and Summon Shadow Hounds fully focused. Yeesh! It was a pretty intimidating spellboard to say the least.
I remember this being a grudge match and it came down to the wire. Cameron had 2 life left and I made a critical mistake. I decided to use Molten Gold to go for the kill and had it Vanished. In retrospect, I’m not sure if it would have made a difference if I did something else that turn. Cameron won on the next turn with a huge swing. This was a really exciting game and we were both talking a great deal about it afterwards.
The next game I played was against Scott who was playing Aradel. This was my worst match in the tournament. I made a big mistake that lost me the match when Scott swung in with two bears and I blocked with my own two bears. He then went on to kill both of them using Frost Bite. I didn’t even notice this, because I’m not use to playing against decks with Frost Bite in them. After that it was game over for me. Scott is a worthy opponent and I definitely learned some lessons in this match.
My last match was against Jordan who was playing Brennen. Jordan got the jump on me early on by summoning some spiders, but decided not swing at me with them. I was able to ping them down and was eventually able to get some big units out. Eventually I had two bears and a hammer knight and was able to make a big swing for the win. I think the highlight of this match was seeing Jordan play Flash Archer.
Top Eight Finals
At this point I had one win and a bye. I didn’t think I had made it into the top 8, but as it turned out I was tied for eighth place and I believe I won the tiebreaker with blood points. I was so glad I made it in and was able to play some more Ashes. In my first game I was going up against Alfredo who was first place with a record of 4-0 using a very similar deck to Sleepytime Victoria.
That 4-0 record was scary, but I had some experience playing this deck against Cameron and came close to beating him, so I felt I had a chance to win. I realized in this game that getting monks out was a good idea, because the main units attacking are Shadow Spirits and Shadow Hounds. If anything swings in at me I can block and kill them instantly with just a monk. This also allowed me to easily trigger Screams of the Departed. Similarly, if I swung in with a bear they either had to take it on Victoria or I kill the illusion summon and then do screams.
The other big advantage I had was Fear. I was getting Fear into my hand because of Abundance and using them against his Shadow Hounds. In the end, I was able to win and didn’t take too much damage. I realized after this game that Jessa was probably the worst matchup for Sleepytime Victoria.
I was supposed to play Scott next, but he had to leave so I ended up with a bye.
Funny enough, I was playing Cameron again in the final match. I did lose in our first match, but at this point I was familiar with the deck and realized how powerful Jessa was in this matchup. I decided to follow a similar strategy as I did in the previous match and basically go after units and focus on screams damage. Later on, Cameron quoted this as death by 1000 cuts. That’s Jessa for you.
To make matters worse, I think I got to play at least two of my Fears against his Shadow Hounds, which really hurts Victoria’s dice advantage. I also knew that Cameron was going to be exhausting all my bears (hence the name Sleepytime Victoria) so I would summon them knowing they would get exhausted and then once I felt he’d run out of things to exhaust with I’d play a big unit like Hammer Knight. This strategy seemed to work out well.
I did much better in this game than I did in our previous match, which was very close. In the end I used Molten Gold to close out the game. I knew Cameron only had a single copy of Vanish and saw that it was meditated before so I knew it was safe to play it. It was exciting to have a rematch as the final game, especially considering how crazy are first game was.
And that’s how the tournament went! This was the first time I had won a tournament and it was a pleasant surprise considering I barely made the top 8. I’d like to give a big thanks to Austin Mills and Nick Conley for organizing this event. It was super fun! Thanks to all the participants. I love the group we have in Toronto. I’d also like to give a big thanks to Brendan Miller for running this tournament and so many other Ashes tournaments in Toronto. Brendan also recorded all the final matches so you’ll get to see those soon! Hope you enjoy them. I almost forgot…thanks again Tony Stellato for not coming and letting someone else win for a chance! 😛 I kid, I kid!