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I've been preparing for the Shadespire Grand Clash at Adepticon this year. Since pretty much the time Shadespire released, and Adepticon announced that they would be holding a GC. It appears they have updated the event description to detail how the tournament will be run, and its ridiculous. They outline that the event will be 4 Rounds (Assuming Swiss pairings), and after 4 Rounds the top 2 players will play a 5th for the Grand Prize. Coming from a competitive card game background, this tournament structure devalues any intended "competitive nature" that GW insists exists in Shadespire. With the current event cap at 128 players, basic tournament math shows that after 4 rounds, you're going to end up with 8 undefeated players. Then it will cut straight to Top 2, based on breakers (Glory) to play a final round. That 5th round winner is the champion. This structure is absurd, and leaves 6 other players out of contention. They will be undefeated, which is all you can do in those 4 rounds, and still have no chance at actually winning. Hopefully in the future GW looks at the tournament models that are in place across other games. Then arrives at something more fair, and better decides a champion. For now it seems this is what we have to deal with, but it doesn't feel great going into the tournament anymore. Maybe I'm applying too harsh of competitive standard, but that's the claim that was made by GW. That Shadespire would walk a more competitive line. inb4: Score more Glory for better breakers! -- Glory is very poor way to decide tournament tie breakers. It's serviceable for a tiebreaker inside of a match to avoid it going to a draw. However, on a tournament level it's far too abusable to separate the difference between the quality of players in a tournament.
I just thought I would do a quick review about my time at the first Shadespire Grand Clash and my thoughts about it. Like most people who have seen it and played it, I think Shadespire is a great game. So when it was announced it was going to have a Grand Clash at Blood and Glory, I jumped at the chance to be able to play in it. It was interesting going to the event as I had a rough idea how the game worked but didn't actually get chance to play a game of it when it was released. As somebody who learns by doing things rather than reading about them, I was treating this as a fun event to play a load of games rather than have hopes of winning it or getting into the top 32 to get some of the prize support. GW was also at the event, providing prize support and running the event. I used the Sepulchral Guard as they are cool models and I ran a twitter poll to see what my followers wanted me to use. My initial thoughts with the warband, is that while they are slow and not very hard hitting, they seemed to have some good game control mechanics and numbers. This screamed to me that they could do the claiming Objectives game fairly well. My Power and Objective decks were centered around this as well as going for easy to do objectives (such as Stymied where you got a Glory Point if your opponent didn't use any power cards). Match One - Joe with Sepulchral Guard I'm not going to do a full turn by turn report as my memory isn't that good and I think it would be dull to read. This was going to be an interesting game as Joe hadn't played with Sepulchral Guard before or Shadespire! So as we were both in the same boat, our first game was very cagey as we were trying to work out what did what. Second game was bit quicker with both of us being aggressive. It was fairly close at the start of both games but Joe was able to pull more and more points due to getting better Objectives than me. I also made a big mistake in game two and left an opening for my Warden to get assassinated. Whilst not the end of days for me, it meant I had to take less risks with the rest of the warband. Match Two - Alex with Khorne Bloodbound After a mix up with pairings, both myself and Alex had been missed off the draw. Although Alex had won his first Match and I had lost mine, I was quite happy to play him as it kept things simple and meant no messing around with redrawing. This was Alex's first tournament and he seemed to be enjoying himself. He had done GW games before but had a bit of a break and rediscovered things with Shadespire and got entry to the event the night before! This game was fun as I had a grasp of the rules now and a rough idea how my decks worked and I played quite aggressively. Game One I was able to kill everything in Alex's warband but in Game Two he was able to get a win. We discovered we didn't quite have enough time for Game three but decided to play a round to work out the winner. I managed to get this due being lucky with my Objective Deck and claiming the objectives in my board getting me a win! Match Three - John with Orruks Last match of the day and it's against John with Orruks. I decided to keep playing how I have been and see how it works against the Orruks. This was a repeat of how my match against Alex went, with Game One being a slaughter to me and John got game two with Objectives. We had just enough time for a round of Game three which resulted in a draw! At the end of the event, I managed to come 41st out of 79 and I was quite pleased with this because I had no preparation time to practice the game or using my warband. I felt that I had played okay and not made many big mistakes (most of them were not playing a ploy or upgrade when I needed to but that's due to being unfamiliar with the cards), but I think the biggest issue I had was not playing fast enough. I think if I had played faster, I would have been able to get more Glory Points and wins which would have helped me place a bit higher (but not by much). I'm still learning but I think my decks need to be reworked. I was suspecting that dropping Objectives 1 to 5 from my deck might be a good option for me, which has sort of been confirmed with what I know of Rhu's deck (Rhu won the Grand Clash). Need to practice but I think I will be getting better at this game! Event Review I enjoyed the event. The venue is amazing and I thought the room we had was quite well laid out for all the people in the event. GW support was great, as the staff were on hand to help out with any queries and there was plenty of stuff to buy a day early! I only had two issues with the event. Firstly, the Match timings seemed very tight. I think if you had been playing a while, it would have been okay but I would say around a third to half the players had played less than a few games. For the future I would like to see this increased slightly. Secondly, was the wait time between Matches but I know it's quite complex entering all the results, especially when a lot of games were finishing right at the end of the round! So my advice to anybody attending an event, is learn how to play quicker!