Welcome to Convention Recap Week! Gaming conventions are one of the highlights of being a gamer, and with HASCon right around the corner, we wanted to catch you up on some of the highlights of GenCon (the best 4 days in gaming!), and OmarCon (a mini-con at Omar’s house). GenCon recap is today, and look for the OmarCon recap later this week.
GDC goes to Gencon
GenCon 50 just happened. Hopefully you went. If you didn’t, don’t worry; GenCon 100 is only 50 years from now. I’m sure you’ll make it.
Here’s some things that happened:
We tried our hand at #BantheBannedList no-ban EDH, attempting to prove that our Social Contract street cred is tight. Instead, we had three players build various wacky Ashnod’s Coupon decks, one player (me) build a slightly-too-good, powered Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter token deck that ended up being pretty banally GoodStuffy, and one Ghostly player build straight up Storm Combo. After playing one miserable game, all we proved is that expectations and context are really important for having a reasonable Social Contract discussion before a game, even among closely-collaborating, great friends. Sad times.
So much to do and so little time… at least this is how I felt over our GenCon experience. Between vendors, artists, games to demo, Hickman’s killer breakfast, True Dungeon, the Mechwarrior pods where you control a giant Mech, and of course meeting all our Twitter friends! All that being said, I loved just hanging out at the house with the GDC peeps and friends (shout out to @RyanSwaney and @ItOmarHernandez). Games of #nobanlistedh (which I wreaked havoc on learning that Storm does in fact work in EDH), Legacy games with Mr. P, a little bit of booze, playing The Resistance (or yelling at everyone), a little more booze, and EDH (duh).
Also, this happened:
I’m sure there was so much more, but that’s what I can remember. Did I mention I can now drink my drinks out of a horn!?
Also I am not the spy!
He doesn’t write any more. He was there. He had fun. He won’t tell you about it.
As the one member of the team who makes an appearance every year, I can tell you that GenCon 50 didn’t feel a lot bigger than GenCon 49, 48, 47, 46, 45, or 44. That said, each year is its own unique experience; last year was awesome because it was me and my ladyfriend (plus Erik and his ladyfriend) against the world. This year we got the crew back together (minus the Australian team and Erik), and it was great. More than anything else, what turns my crank about GenCon is getting to see the cool people I have met along the way (special shoutout to Cowboy Kyle and Ced, with whom I played some quality games), and to meet new people. I’m already looking forward to GenCon 51.
Oh, and my personal highlight? Buying 85 pounds of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle cards that I’ll probably never play with and shipping them home in a 94 pound suitcase.
Also, any time I can wake up in the morning and see this…
GenCon was a whirlwind and a calm breeze at the same time. I never felt rushed to do a thing, but still felt like it was over in a heartbeat.
Gaming at the house was fantastic. The highlight for me was playing social deduction games – The Resistance was a total blast. Chris was not the spy – it was Dave more often than not. Yelling, pointing, booze…all good.
The ‘NoBanEDH’ experiment did fail, although Dave has it pretty right on for reasons why. We sort-of discussed the goal on our Slack chat in the months leading up to GenCon (“Can we prove that it’s possible to make fun decks and manage the format with the Social Contract even without a single banned card?”), but when we finally sat down to play, we just went for it. As it turned out, we needed to explicitly discuss what we were going for.
As far as I can tell, both Sean and Mr. P made fairly tame blue decks that focused on playing Ashnod’s Coupon, while Dave made a mono-green artifacts-matter Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter deck that, while not inherently broken, basically showed that when you slot a ton of powerful cards (on top of legal choices like Gaea’s Cradle, we ran Power 9 and Fastbond and was able to just make his deck explode), the deck is just going to…well, be better. It was hard to match the tempo it set. Chris, on the other hand, made five-color Storm, which did exactly what it seems like it would do, and garnered concessions from the table while effectively going infinite.
I made a Johnny, Combo Player deck that centered around artifacts. I included Power and Tinker, as well as Panoptic Mirror and, most importantly, Chaos Orb, the real theme of the deck. The goal, as it was, was to figure out ways to make token copies of Chaos Orb, so that I could put them in play – represented, of course, with the giant oversized promo Chaos Orbs that were printed a million years ago. From there, the line of play was to also try to win with Orb, via first animating it, then making it bigger by using Extractor or Arcbound Ravager to eat a bunch of artifacts. Ideally, the “combo” turn involved first activating Myr Incubator, basically nuking my deck to make a bunch of Myr that would get eaten by the ravager to in turn make a giant Chaos Orb. If evasion was a problem, I had sourced a Sword of the Ages as backup.
After the third draw-seven from Chris hit and made me discard the Chaos Orb for the third time, I threw in the towel. Lesson learned – the Social Contract is something that *always* needs to be used.
Past that, the awesome was non-stop. The group was killed off by a 90-pound elf maiden in our True Dungeon quest, and we played a ton of the MechWarrior battlepods. (I could have done that all weekend.) We drafted Modern Masters at the house, and it was typically rough for me…I hate drafting with a passion, and sucked at it. But gaming is still better than not gaming. EDH happened a lot – I found out that Izzet Judo is as consistent and balanced to the game as ever, Jund Lands is hit-or-miss (I spent more time shopping for upgrades for it than playing it), and Zur Astral Slide is a do-nothing deck that needs to come apart.
Tons of dealer hall action, lots of fun demos (T.I.M.E Stories, Arkham Horror LCG, Giant Killer Robots, Ascension, Dead of Winter), and great meals at The Ram, Scotty’s, the food trucks, and Harry and Izzys. Honestly, just being surrounded by the GenCon aura was worth it.
Real life can be a drag, and GenCon was a welcome respite from that with some of my best friends.
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So that’s it! We had a great time at GenCon. Did you go? If so, hit us up in the comments and let us know what your experience was like!