Top seeded Kevin Mergen, playing Dementation bleed, chose to sit Matt Wedge's Prey. Matt Wedge was playing a finely tuned Una deck. Ira Fay attempted to 2nd Tradition a key action of Una's but the 2nd Tradition was stopped by a Direct Intervention from Ben Peal. Ben clearly was not thrilled by the idea of having Kevin as a heavy bleeding predator. Ira was very unhappy and agreed to layoff Matt Wedge and split the table 3-2 (Matt taking 3).
Matt was burning or torporing vampires at will. He seemed to have a counter for everything. He had multiple maneuvers, flak jacket, Ivory Bow, Owl Companion, Hawg, the Helicopter (at times), Ghoul Retainer (uses bow while minion is immortally grappled). Matt had free Skin of
Steel to prevent damage.
Even though Matt could kill at will, he said he would need about 12 turns by his estimate to obtain the 3 vps (destroy all vamps and bleed through all of the pool) and then Ira would get his 2 vp. Ira continued to build up and increase his swarm. Ira could have ousted Matt but didn't. However, a couple of turns later on Matt's turn (AFTER Matt had already used a built-in rush he had in play), Ira let Matt know that he no longer thought that Matt had the ability to keep
their deal. Matt disagreed but Ira had essentially announced his decision to break their earlier deal. Matt began rushing backwards.
Most of the discussion revolved around getting on Matt's good side and working with him. Ben Peal and Ben Swainbank kept throwing barbs into the discussions to subtly work things in their favor. Ben Swainbank seemed frustrated and sometimes seemed the only sane person at the table and kept trying to get players to just focus on their own preys rather than making deals. Ben's best point was to point out that Matt and Ira's 3-2 split couldn't happen if another player was ousted out of turn.
Matt ousted Kevin Mergen using Mylan's bleed of 1 to finish him off. Kevin was hampered by a hand of jammed stealth.
Late in the game, Ben Swainbank brought out one of the Madness Network he had in hand. Ben Swainbank seemed to be working for a bleed oust of Ira. With all players that Matt attacked (aka Everybody!) being forced to play with an open hand, everybody was able to play with
almost perfect information.
Ira drew a Bonding and, with only minutes remaining, made a lunge at Matt only to find that Una's Blessing of Chaos prevented Ira from playing the card. The spectators gasped.
Matt lunged at Ben to knock down voters. Ben Swainbank lunged multiple times at Ira via the Madness Network but came up short due to Ira's deflections. Ben Peal played a Parity Shift and took 4 of Swainbank's pool. With seconds left Ben Peal played a KRC to take down Swainbank and then got Ira next. Matt Wedge was next to go.
Ben Peal 4VP
Matt Wedge 1VP
Kevin Mergen, Ben Swainbank and Ira Fay 0 VP.
For players who liked lots of table talk and shifting alliances, this was a great game. I loved it to death. Very intense and great play when they were actually playing cards. For some there was too much talk going on but most of the spectators were hushed and very impressed with the level of play. In fact, the game was reminiscent of Ben's last NAC win with 2 fighty decks as his grand predator and great grand predator and again lots of table talk. This time the talking was much more interesting because of Una's terrorizing.
I also noticed how well most of the players took their demise. They reacted almost the same whether they were bleeding for 1 or for 4, torporizing or being torpored, ousting or being ousted--save for Ira but he had his own thing going.
Congrats to Ben Peal and all of the finalists for a very memorable game.