#Monsterpocalypse – Moncon Single Monster Finals (by @wapcaplets)

When the dust settled at Moncon this year one of our GTA locals was left standing above the rest. The highest of props must be extended to wapcaplets who won the day! You may remember him from such posts as “Oh god, why is Osheroth Killing me?!” and “Oh god, why is Osheroth killing me again!?” He has written a post on his own blog detailing his experience on the road to the championship and has given me permission to shamelessly steal it. Enjoy!

Wappy Won The Belt?! Somebody Call My Momma!

MonCon 2012 was, for me, something that I’ll never forget. When Spazz and I are toothless old men living in the MonPoc retirement home and I start to lose my marbles I’m sure I’ll constantly be telling people the story of when I won the single monster tournament at MonCon 2012. This was the first time I’d even had a chance to take first place at a major event like this playing any game, let alone win. As we all know, Monsterpocalypse is one of those “any given Sunday” type of games where you can do your best to manufacture your luck but, at the end of the day, you still need stars to align (and, yes, that was a deliberate Cthulhu reference). Although I’m sure there will be a cavalcade of great follow-up content from MonCon 2012 from a variety of sources, I wanted to record some thoughts while these events were all still fresh in my mind. Here are some re-caps of every match I had starting with the wild-card round.

Wildcard Round vs. Dragon Graygol (Ultra Mechathugrosh on Grapple in the Garden)

I was really glad to get a chance to play against Dragon in the wildcard round. He and I happened to sit across from each other at dinner the night before and became fast friends with a lot in common in terms of our tastes in roleplaying games and affinity for other miniatures games like Blood Bowl. Additionally, I recently acquired an affinity for Mechathugrosh and have played a few games with him. Dragon is a very committed UCI player so I was definitely taking mental notes to see what tactics he would be employing. Dragon won map choice and we wound up playing on Grapple in the Garden. The game started out more or less as one would expect. Both monsters, being prolific healers, turtled up on our respective sides of the map. Collaborators, with their Underground Network, have a distinct advantage in the dueling turtles scenario over Mega Osheroth. Hellfonts can help my relatively slow units but the Nautilus Blaster is the hired gun that makes my unit attacks potent. He can get up-field with help from the Oppressor’s Tow but if I’m doing that it means I’m not healing with a Meat Slave that turn. Priority #1 in this game was taking out the buildings with Underground Network. If I’m remembering correctly, I had Skyscrapers on my side of the map in the following locations:

Between Marker and Armor Piercing and a bit of a luck I got rid of all of them within my first three total turns so the flood of Collaborator units on my side of the board was no longer a threat. The opportunity cost of doing so, however, was that Dragon had established a nice power base with Sun Drones and the like on his side of the board whereas I was compelled to destroy the buildings with which I could have made a power base. Shortly thereafter, Mechathugrosh was actually the one to say the proverbial “Times up, let’s do this” and came out from behind his screen of buildings and landed on one of the Power Zones in the middle of the board. He was now in a spot where he could screen with units and use Cloak from either the Shadow Gate or Elite Robo Brontox. At that point I figured that I needed to be aggressive. Between Repair and Restoration he had two healing abilities that relied on spending an A-Die which worked in either form. Mega Osheroth, while blessed with amazing healing abilities, needs units to be hitting attacks to heal with Leach and morphers to hit brawls on enemy monsters to heal with Vampirism and, sooner or later, some of those will miss. I sent my tentacles into the fray and, with Overload, managed a four or five damage monster turn by using Beat Back to push Mechathugrosh into a Skyscraper.

Mechathugrosh responded by throwing one of my Morphers into either the Imperial State Building or a Skyscraper (I forget which) for three damage and, shortly thereafter, my Morphers were formed. In that time, Mechathugrosh (still in alpha form), moved closer to my side of the map. There was more on the board than this next picture depicts but the figures important to this anecdote were set up something like this:

After spawning and moving I had five A-Dice left. Mechathugrosh had 2 health left and, in my head, I was thinking that I could do a two damage unit turn by blasting with the Spitters and Nautilus Blaster first (3*5 vs defense 3 from Weaken and Armor Piercing; 97% odds) and then brawling with the Oppressor and Elite Corrupter for a 2*2 attack vs. defense 3 from Flank and Weaken with a 62% chance of success. The latter attack was definitely sub-optimal but I had to take a shot at forming the alpha. The blast hit and I then announced the brawl at which time Dragon reminded me that his alpha had Flight. Crabadonk. I’d already rolled attack dice so I was stuck with what I’d positioned. At that point I thought I’d bungled the game. The only option that I had left was to take a desperation shot with the Tower of Corruption at 2*1 vs. defense 4 with a 14% chance of success. I rolled the dice and…

I couldn’t believe it. The MonCon dice tray I received must have had some special mojo for that to happen. At that point, Mechathugrosh’s alpha form was destroyed and, along with it, the potential for healing through Restoration. We went a few more turns, time was called, and I wound up winning by one point of damage. Dragon was extremely gracious at, essentially, having a fluke cost him the game. At the risk of engaging in self-aggrandizing hypberbole, that 2*1 for four strikes was the butterfly flapping its wings that caused a tidal wave.

Quarter Finals vs. Bilal Muhammad (Mega Osheroth on Ramming Speed)

At this point in the tournament I was pretty pleased with myself. Although it was largely due to a low-odds dice roll, I had achieved my internal goal going into MonCon of achieving a top 8 finish. Although I tried not to have a defeatist mindset I knew that I was in for the fight of my life. Nothing more needs to be said: Bilal is the man. He’s a Gen Con masters champion and his skill with Mega Osheroth is superlative. If I had any advantage in this game it was that the pressure was off of me. If I’d lost the only reason I would have needed to give as to why would be that my opponent was Bilal. ‘Nuff said, no follow-up questions required. I won map choice and looking down at the map seeing ten Towers of Corruption was surreal. Even though Bilal had all of his figures equipped with base rings I was constantly distracted by wondering whether a given figure on the board was mine or Bilal’s. Bilal was definitely the aggressor in this match and crossed the centre line with his Mega Form first. I don’t remember the precise order of operations but the pivotal moment in this game came with my morphers forming Bilal’s Mega mid-board by using Beat-Back and Overload. I had one health left on my morphers and Bilal had a monster turn next with three health left on his morphers. Bilal left his morphers in the square of four that they appeared in after the Mega Form died and started attacking without moving any of them. He brawled one of my nearby morphers which formed them but I had left one morpher back and brought in Mega Osheroth there, well out of range of any further attacks that Bilal’s morphers could make. We then each took a unit turn and when I started my next monster turn my eyes turned to saucers. With a few steps I had an opening to smash two Morphers together for three damage and the win which I managed to hit. If you haven’t met Bilal he’s a giant of a man that could probably crush your skull if he felt like it but his temperament is among the most even-keeled, kind, and gentle I’ve ever met. When someone asked Bilal how the game ended all he said was, “He got me” which, in a funny way, was a really big compliment from this Monster of the Midway.

Semi-Finals vs. Jeremy Gremillion (Mega Vorgax on Boulevard of Broken Dreams)

Jeremy should have won this match. He knew the map better, positioned better, and made fewer (if any) mistakes. If there’s anything that puts an asterisk on my winning single monster at MonCon 2012 it’s this game. Jeremy won map choice and we played on Boulevard of Broken Dreams which was not something with which I was pleased. Such a wide-open landscape really reduces the effectiveness of my morphers’ Beat Back capability. I stuck a Privateer Press in the corner and clumped up my morphers. I stayed there for a few turns and Jeremy then brought Vorgax’s morphers down-field in anticipation of spawning a Chomper and doing a blitz attack with his morphers for two damage on each attack. The setup looked more or less like this:

Jeremy deliberated over this turn for a long time and, to make a long story short, time ran out before he could make his second attack. I had a real crisis of conscience at this point. The sportsman in me wanted to let him make the attack anyway but the competitor in me wanted to take advantage of the situation for a shot at winning it all. I left it up to the judges and would have been fine with either outcome and they ruled dice-down. That being said, I feel guilty about not speaking up at that point and lobbying for Jeremy to make the attack. Jeremy accepted the judge’s ruling like a true champion and just kept playing.

Jeremy, I know you and I spoke after the match and are cool but I’m asking you publicly in this blog to forgive me for being ruthless in this regard. I’m not normally a hyper-competitive person but that aspect of me came out in this game and likely cost you a chance at competing for first place. Thank you for being more gracious than I was in the face of a technicality that was to your detriment. You are a better Monsterpocalypse player than I am and it’s only a matter of time until the belt has your name on it.

What came next was a Mega Form slug-fest. Mega Vorgax and Mega Osheroth are relatively uncomplicated. Mega Vorgax brawls with Lightning Attack and Mega Osheroth blasts, hopefully with Feeding Frenzy. Jeremy was too good of a player to leave his Mega Form next to any of my units and I was really concerned that his Lightning Attack would win him the game. Jeremy had a power base that was getting him at least 4 P-Dice with a successful power-up whereas I was only securing a Radar Array and a Power Zone for 2 P-Dice. I thought Jeremy was going to whittle me down. Between Monster and Unit turns, assuming successful attacks, he would be staying ahead on the damage curve by one point because he would be doing two damage consistently on each Monster Turn to my one. Then the dice turned on Jeremy. He missed a 3*1 Power-Up and a very crucial brawl which kept him from being able to do a Lightning Attack for four damage (and the win) with an assist from a nearby Chomper’s Feeding Frenzy. With the help of Weaken from my Cthulabite I just plain missed less and eked out a win. Fate is fickle and on this day it smiled on my dice and frowned on Jeremy’s. This was an intense game that took ten years off my life that I won with a big assist from Lady Luck.

Finals vs. Philip Rowland (Quantum Deimos-9 on Wrecking Ball)

I actually want to say very little about the actual details of the match at this point because it was filmed in its entirety and I believe that it is eventually going to made available for all to see somehow, possibly with commentary. All I can say is that I was feeling the pressure big-time. I skipped out on Attica to go to bed at a relatively early 12:45 AM to get some rest so that I could play well-rested the next morning at 9:00 AM in the finals. Philip’s opponent the night before was Joseph Leib playing Nova ESR and, while they’re both great players, I thought that Quantum Deimos-9 was a better match-up for me than Nova so I’m glad things turned out the way that they did. My eyes shot open at 4:45 AM and I was too anxious to get back to sleep. So, at the very least, I thought I could make good use of the time by studying up on Quantum Deimos-9. So, I pulled out the iPad and brought up his TC Wiki Page. As would be the strategy against any Quantum form, my #1 objective in this game was to deny my opponent power dice. With six or more P-Dice, Quantum Deimos’ biggest trick is being able to move a combined sixteen squares in a single turn (with four free diagonal moves for an effective move of twenty squares) with an investment of as few as four A-Dice. Within that move, as well, are two attacks, one of which has Toss. Staying in safe Throw lanes would be paramount and I actually wrote “Toss on Brawl” on my hand so I wouldn’t forget. I don’t think I can adequately get across how anxious and nervous I was before and during this game. I’d never competed for top prize at any major event before and who knows if I ever will again so I was really feeling the pressure. My mind could only think about the match. To give you an idea of where my head was at, I walked over to the pharmacy nearby to buy a caffeine drink and noticed about 30 minutes after I got back that I left my portfolio containing my passport, wallet, driver’s licence, credit card, and all my cash on the counter. Thankfully, the cashier was on the ball and put in a safe place. To Dale at the South Bixby CVS: I owe you a solid! Even in the very comfortably air-conditioned room where the match was taking place I could feel my body temperature rising from stress. I combated this by getting a large cup of ice and a towel and, between turns during the game, rubbed ice cubes on the back of my neck which took about fifteen seconds to melt. Again, I don’t really want to go into the details of the match so that people can enjoy it when it’s made available but it was a fantastic game. Philip was a true gentleman and it was a pleasure to play against him for the title.

Conclusions

I don’t think anything will ever usurp how great a feeling it was to come out on top at MonCon 2012. To win a major event playing my favourite game amongst a community of people that went from being online acquaintances to friends within a matter of hours once we all arrived at our Monsterpocalypse Mecca is something truly special. Although MonCon 2012 only concluded about 24 hours ago, I cannot wait to come back and start all over again. Some people asked if I was going to stick with Mega Ancient Osheroth and, although he will always have a special place in my non-Euclidian heart, he has earned a prolonged rest. I won’t say that I’ll never play him at a masters single monster event ever again but, for the foreseeable future, in his house at R’lyeh, Mega Ancient Osheroth waits dreaming. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really need to go attend to that red, glowing comet shard in my basement.