The 2013 Star Wars Spring Ashes Tournament was held at Ace Comics Annerley recently and it saw Ace Comics solidify its place as an LCG force to be reckoned with by winning both the Netrunner and the Star Wars Ashes trophies. This result came as no surprise however. Out of the 13 players that participated at the tournament, 12 of them were representing Ace. One player turned up to represent Gauntlet and no one was there representing any other store. This has sparked some to question whether Ace should be hosting these events or should some of the other stores host it on order to drum up a player base. It was the other stores’ loss however as the prize pool was nothing short of freaking awesome! Up for grabs were a quality Rule and Make case, store gift vouchers, FFG prize support and the all important Ashes Trophy! We have a round by round analysis of the event starting with round 1. In the following image you will see that we have come up with a way to graphically represent what a person was running. The Icon on the left, above and below each player’s name represents the faction the deck was affiliated to. The icon on the right represents the faction whose pods made up the majority of each deck. Each chevron in between represents the each pod and is colour coded to reflect the faction of that pod. Light grey chevrons represent neutral pods.
Dutch opened up his tournament account with a cracking start against Marcus, thumping him 8-0. Marcus made the rookie mistake of using a Smugglers & Spies only objective in a Rebel Alliance affiliated deck. Marcus had to switch the decks affiliation card to make the deck legal but doing so broke his light side deck’s synergy. If Marcus didn’t have the right objectives in play he couldn’t play half the cards he needed to. Chris and Brad locked horns and there was nothing separating the two. Literally. They ended up scoring the first true draw of the tournament. Nerdy Cat started off strong against Ben in a rivalry that has become affectionately known as the Battle of the Bens. Interestingly enough Nerdy Cat decided to run with two 11 pod decks. Many would argue that a deck size that large becomes too inefficient but that didn’t stop him from coming away with an 8-0 opening round. A lot of pressure was resting on the shoulders of Kuso to have a strong start, being the only non-Ace player in the tournament. Alas this was not to be the case. He came up against first round opponent Tristin and the two were well matched. Both players won a game but the match was won by Tristin 5-4 through the modified result.
Marcus decides his next move carefully. It didn’t help in the end.
Next up was a battle of the Dark Horses. On one side we have Tobias. On his first ever tournament (The Star Wars Regionals held at Presents of Mind) he came out of nowhere to slaughter everyone and take out the title after only having learnt how to play the game two weeks prior! On the other side we have David who hails from all the way out at Dysart, Central Queensland. He is an unknown element to the tournament who chose to represent Ace as its the first store he has actually played the game at. The stage was set and the match didn’t disappoint. The match had to be decided by modified result and it went to Tobias by a hair. For Roman this was his chance to prove himself. With work commitments preventing him from making the regionals and half of the league at Ace, this was his chance to shine. Roman is a contributor to Top Tier Gaming’s website and is someone who understands the game on a deeper level. He’s the sort of player who can tell by the objectives you have in play how many Twists of Fate to expect. He was an incredibly tough opponent for Dan to be facing on round 1. Sadly this was not to be Dan’s day as he was convincingly defeated by Roman 8-0. With Mitch scoring the first round bye the ladder looked like this;
Click on each ladder image to get a clearer view of the information. My apologies for how these turned out. On the left is each player and their position and on the right is their tournament points. You can easily see that at this stage of the game’s development its hard to go past Smugglers & Spies and Sith if you want to build a tier 1 deck with half of the field running that combination. But it is no guarantee of success. If it were we would see the the top 8 made up mostly of that combination but instead players running that combination are spread out all over the ladder.
Round 2 saw some interesting results. Mitch was eager to participate in the competition after scoring the first round bye and his first opponent was Nerdy Cat. Mitch had a strong start making sure that every decision Nerdy Cat had to make as a painful one. Mitch took the first game but it was a long one. The result being that the second game went to time. According to the Tournament rules if a match goes to time you play until the end of the light side’s turn. After that if there’s still no result the game is scored as a tie making the final result 6-2 to Mitch. A lot of players were surprised by this outcome pointing out that a timed win scores more points than a modified win. This led some to question how that is even fair? Surely it encourages players who win the first match to stall for time if they think they cant win the second game. It is certainly something that warrants further scrutiny but thankfully this was not a major issue for this tournament.
David faced off against Kuso and it wasn’t a pretty sight. David handed Kuso an 8-0 defeat, all but destroying his chances of a top 4 berth. Next Dutch and Roman clashed. This was another supremely close match as both players had to give it their all to ensure victory. In the end it had to come down to a tiebreaker result and Roman came out on top 5-4. Much to Brad’s dismay Marcus had a lucky break with his light side deck, drawing exactly the objectives he needed to make his deck work. The match was over fairly quickly as he dispatched Brad 8-0. Also winning 8-0 were Tobias over Trisin and Chris over Dan. Dan just wasn’t feeling it this tournament. His strategies weren’t coming off for him so in the interests of eliminating the bye he decided to bow out of the tournament. Ben J scoring a bye saw the ladder look like this:
You’ll notice a column of numbers in brackets. That number represents that players current strength of schedule. The number at the end preceded by an arrow is the trend for each player. How high they climbed or how far they fell up or down the ladder compared to last round. Controversially Mitch’s 6-2 win ensured he stayed on top of the ladder. Tobias’ win escalated him to the 2nd place spot beating Roman down to 3rd on strength of schedule. Dutch, David and Chris had to be separated by strength of schedule which was not to Chris’ benefit. Chris was the only player not to lose a match yet strength of schedule placed him lower than the other two. Dutch and David earned their 12 points through an outright win and a modified loss. Chris earned his 12 points through an outright win and a 4-4 true draw. But here’s the rub; strength of schedule is calculated by totalling the points your opponents have scored. In a modified win Dutch’s and David’s opponents scored 5 points each where Chris’s opponent only got 4 points from the true draw.
This flaw in the strength of schedule system put Chris at an immediate disadvantage. Nerdy Cat’s 6-2 loss violently ejected him out of the top 4, dropping 5 spots to 7th but it is an outright 7th. If his result had have been 8-0 against, he would have had to go to strength of schedule against Ben J and Marcus. Brad and Kuso took a massive dive from their defeats which is in keeping with the unforgiving nature of the game.
Round 3 began and things started to get interesting. 4 of the 6 games ended in an 8-0 result. This meant we were to see some extreme swings in the ladder’s standings. Tobias’ careful deck building and strategy saw him take another victim 8-0, a result that Mitch did not want to see. Marcus’ deck troubles plagued him again and he lost 8-0 to Nerdy Cat. Tristin Conquered Brad and Dutch took down Chris. If Kuso were to have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the top 4 he needed a strong win now, but was denied a full win to a game that went to time. He won his match 6-2. Roman v David was the match of the round. Both of these players have a long history of playing card games together and it all came to a head in this game. After a game with much to-ing and fro-ing where neither were giving an inch the game resulted in the tournament’s second true draw. The ladder now looked like this:
Tobias claimed the top spot after his win over Mitch who in turn spiralled down the ladder to 6th! This was a drop of nearly half the field which is quite significant. Its hard to find a tournament where this doesn’t happen to someone. You play strong, you do well then one loss later and its a long way down. This is mainly caused by the Swiss draw system pitting winners against winners. It makes the stakes incredibly high in the later rounds to make sure you come away with some points. Dutch’s win sent him higher into the top 4 and Nerdy cat’s win injected him back into the top four. Roman’s 4 points were just enough for him to cling to 4th spot.
Round 4 saw another pile of extreme results that made sure that no one was safe! The biggest game was between 1st and 2nd placed Tobias and Dutch. Neither of them wanted to see an 8-0 result go against them but that’s exactly what one of them got. Tobias handed Dutch a whooping and left him without any points. Roman thrashed Nerdy Cat ending his dreams of a top 4 berth. Kuso had a strong win against a troubled Marcus. Mitch and David both needed a strong win to reignite their finals hopes. Mitch managed to secure one against David in an outright 8-0 win. The other two games were tight. Chris just getting one up over Tristin and Brad and Ben’s match was as tight as it gets with the tournament’s third and final true draw, leaving the leaderboard looking like this:
Please note: there’s an error in this graphic. David dropped 4 spots instead of climbing 4 as the arrow suggests.
You’ll notice some (+1) and (-1)s in this version of the leaderboard. They represent the 1st step a TO needs to consider when differentiating players. Have any of the players on the same amount of points beaten the others? If yes that player ranks higher, hence the (+1). Tobias held on to the top spot. Roman secured second spot with his convincing win. Mitch blasted his way up to 3rd with his win and the damage done to Dutch was not enough to knock him out of the top 4. Kuso’s late surge was only enough to get him to 6th spot but it was still a fantastic effort. The top 4 players made a final cut and the semi final pairings were Tobias vs Dutch and Mitch vs Roman. Dutch was certainly up against it with an opponent like Tobias. Tobias was the only player to win all 4 rounds of the Swiss draw. But as they say the bigger they are the harder they fall.
Dutch had a strong start and was able to capitalise on it securing the victory. Mitch and Roman’s game was a tough one but it saw Roman though to the final as well. Normally a 3rd place play off was to take place next but since the prizes for 3rd and 4th were identical (FFG prize support and $15 Ace Comics gift vouchers) they decided to shake hands and call it a day. This just left the grand final! Here’s what each of the finalists were running:
Roman Dark Side (Imperial Navy Affiliation) 2x Fall of the Jedi (Darth Vader) 2x The Emperor’s Web (Emperor Palpatine) 2x Counsel of the Sith (Advisor to the Emperor) 1x Ghosts of the Dark Side (Force Wraith) 1 x The Killing Cold (Icetromper) 1x Imperial Command (Admiral Motti) 1x Deploy the Fleet (Death Squadron Star Destroyer) Light Side (Smugglers & Spies Affiliation) 2x A Hero’s Journey (Luke Skywalker) 2x Secret of Yavin 4 (C-3PO) 2x In You Must Go (Yoda) 2x Questionable Contacts (Han Solo) 2x Asteroid Sanctuary (Millennium Falcon)
Dutch Dark Side (Imperial Navy Affiliation) 1x Reconnaissance Mission (Human Replica Droid) 2x Fall of the Jedi (Darth Vader) 2x The Emperor’s Web (Emperor Palpatine) 2x Counsel of the Sith (Advisor to the Emperor) 2x Imperial Command (Admiral Motti) 1x Defense Protocol (TIE Attack Squadron) Light Side (Smugglers & Spies Affiliation) 2x Questionable Contacts (Han Solo) 2x Asteroid Sanctuary (Millennium Falcon) 2x Raise the Stakes (Blockade Runner) 2x Trust Me (Lando Calrissian) 2x Across the Anoat Sector (Sleuth Scouts)
Unfortunately we don’t have a Final’s Video prepared just yet but look out for it in the coming weeks because the final was a brilliant game! Instead I have a “top 5 pods used” list for each side of the force so you can see which pods are hot at the moment.
Dark Side Top 5 Pods 1. [SITH] The Emperor’s Web x16 (Emperor Palpatine) 2. [SITH] Fall of the Jedi x16 (Darth Vader) 3. [SITH] Counsel of the Sith x11 (Advisor to the Emperor) 4. [NAVY] Imperial Command x9 (Admiral Motti) 5. [S&V] Lucrative Contract x8 (Outer Rim Space Pirates)
Light Side Top 5 Pods 1. [S&S] Questionable Contacts x16 (Han Solo) 2. [S&S] Asteroid Sanctuary x13 (Millennium Falcon) 3. [S&S] Across the Anoat Sector x12 (Sleuth Scout) 4. [S&S] Raise the Stakes x12 (Blockade Runner) 5. [S&S] Trust Me x9 (Lando Calrissian)
Its interesting to note here that each dark side faction has been represented in the dark side top 5 but only Smugglers & Spies pods exist on the light side top 5. Surprisingly no Luke or Home One. Thank you for catching up with our full coverage of the Ashes event! Watch this space for more coverage of up and coming star wars events including the finals for the Season 1 Star Wars League held at Ace as well as the Star Wars Nationals also at Ace late November. Also take a squiz at the forums where a competition is being held to win a core set and free entry into the Nationals event!
SPOILER ALERT! Lastly we have for you an interview with the two finalists. If you would not like to know the outcome of the final until after you have seen the video, read no further until that’s been published and then come back and get some insights from our finalists!
Marcus: My names Marcus and I’m here representing BTGN and I was the TO for the first Star Wars Ashes Tournament and I’m here with Roman and Dutch who were the 2 finalists. How are you going guys?
Roman: Good thanks
Marcus: Okay so I’ll start with you Dutch, so how do you think you went today?
Dutch: not too bad until the last two games
Marcus: and what were you running, what did you bring to the table?
Dutch: Smugglers & Spies and Sith/Navy
Marcus: so were you inspired by current meta out there on the internet?
Dutch: I just wanted to use Han [Solo] eventually!
Marcus: (laughs) you just wanted to make Han work ?
Dutch: Pretty much!
Marcus: Okay so, in the final, how did you go?
Dutch: Terrible. I used all of my luck up in the Semi’s!
Marcus: So what went wrong?
Dutch: The cards I drew were not good enough to do anything against my opponent and he just kept putting stuff down and I just kept on going Great!
Marcus: Oh dear, and Roman how did you go today?
Roman: Yeah overall pretty good, a lot of tough matches. Even though I had some pretty good results, all the opponents were quite tough!
Marcus: And what were you bringing to the table?
Roman: I ran a Jedi/Smugglers combination deck and a Sith/Navy and that one was probably the one I worked on the most. I had a lot of things in there to counter everything. I thought people would be running a lot of character builds so Icetrompers found its way into the deck and it turned out to be Dutch’s demise in the end.
Dutch: Stupid Icetrompers (laughing)
Marcus: And how have you found that the new Edge of Darkness Deluxe Expansion has affected the game?
Roman: Yeah you’ve got to build decks now to combat character builds and the “Unblockable” builds. For people that don’t know that, that’s when you get your Sleuth Scouts and your Blockades [Runners] which can’t be blocked by units costing 3 or more and then you Swindle their characters that cost 2 [or less] and run in for unopposed damage, basically. So now you have to combat that as well as your Han’s [Solo] Luke’s [Skywalker] Yoda’s and everything, so it’s really opened up the meta.
Marcus: Certainly, and do you think any new cards might counter that strategy or do you think it will be more of a rock paper scissors scenario?
Roman: I think it will be rock paper scissors because once the Speeders come out if you can run a good Hoth Speeder deck it’s going to punish anyone who doesn’t run a Hoth dark side. Then people are going to think of that and they’re not going to run a Hoth [light side], relying on opponents running dark side Hoth to hope their character builds or Dutch’s builds just roll straight through it.
Marcus: There seems to be at the moment a consensus that Sith still seems to be the strongest of the dark side builds. Are there any thoughts on that?
Dutch: Navy is strong if you get the right cards for it, using your tractor beams and your talon rolls on your bombers and your tie fighters and also the tie assault squadron, that’s a strong build but [it’s] just trying to rely on too many cards and too many combos.
Roman: I would agree, Navy’s very good and it all depends on the player. I could run a tier 1 Navy deck and it won’t do me any good because it’s not my style of play. I think Sith and Navy both have tier one decks but it comes down to player preference.
Marcus: Well congratulations to you Roman, you have won the new Rule and Make case, the trophy for your store, Ace Comics and the season 1 league kit and congratulations to you too Dutch as you won the $30 store gift voucher for Ace Comics and Games and thank you for joining us for what was an awesome event!
Marcus: and thanks to Marcus for running the event today and Ace Comics for hosting the event! Also a big thanks needs to go out to Michael at Ace who kept the shop open until the close of the event and to BTGN for making this event a reality!