2013 Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game North American Champion
Who is Robert Graves?
Robert Graves began playing Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game at the end of May 2013, just one week before the Regional Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. There, he took first, but taking first place in the Regional Championship was just the beginning for Robert. A little over a month later, he headed north to Indianapolis to compete in the 2013 North American Championships at Gen Con Indy where he once again emerged victorious. Although he enjoys playing Chaos, Robert cleared the field at the North American Championships with the Empire and their allies, the Wood Elves, leaving a trail of burning capitals behind him and stepping up to take his place in the Hall of Heroes!
In His Own Words:
I started playing card games in middle school. The first card game that I played was Magi-Nation Duel. I played it until the game went out of print after its fourth set. Once that fell through, I started playing Magic: the Gathering. I've been playing card games competitively since about the time I started high school. I've spent the most time playing Magic: the Gathering, but I've been to events for World of Warcraft TCG, Versus System, and most recently the Fantasy Flight Living Card Games. During my time playing Magic I've been able to compete at the National Championships a few times, and I also went to their Pro Tour once. I still play the game regularly. I play each of the other Fantasy Flight LCGs with the exception of Call of Cthulhu.
In addition to playing card games, I'm an avid board gamer. I regularly try to organize nights to play board games with my friends, as well as setting up demo events for games at my store. My favorite board games are probably Arkham Horror, Chaos in the Old World, Lords of Waterdeep, and 7 Wonders.
On Preparing for Tournaments:
When I’m not playing card games, I work at a game shop in Louisville called Something 2 Do, where I’ve been working for about two years now. We run weekly events for all of the LCGs and have a rotating tournament as well. My preparation for events is usually attending my local store's Living Card Game night, which includes tournaments for each of the LCGs. I was unable to attend the regionals for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game and Star Wars™: The Card Game, but I finished in the top eight of the Android: Netrunner regional we held.
On the 2013 North American Championship:
The North American Championship at Gen Con Indy 2013 started off with me playing against Brian Chellgren, who is also a player from Louisville. Despite coming from the same city, I hadn't actually been able to play with him before. I did have one of the more exciting starts against him when I played six of my cards on turn one against his Dwarves. In general, I don't mind the matchup against Dwarves because I don't feel like they put down enough pressure early, and all I feel like my deck needs is time to set up Judgement of Verena (Core Set, 49) to reset them to nothing.
I played against another player from Louisville, Gene Beeber, who I actually came to Gen Con with. Games against Dark Elves are always close, but I was able to cast Judgement of Verena on turn two or three after he had invested a few units or supports to the board. Then I used that setback to take control over the next few turns.
The third round was against my eventual Top 4 opponent who was playing an End Times deck that was built to put an army of large monsters into play pretty consistently on his second turn. I had seen him playing to my right earlier in the event and I knew that what was most important in the matchup was having an early Hidden Grove (Omens of Ruin, 7) and Long Winter or Pageant of Shrikes (City of Winter, 97) so that I could survive the attack from the turn my opponent cast End Times and follow up with a Judgement of Verena on my turn. We split the first two games but the third game he was able to cast End Times on turn two when I had nothing for it.
In the fourth round I played against one of the remaining undefeated players who was playing some kind of Empire control deck. I don't know if there were cards he was playing that I didn't see, but the matchup felt favorable for me because he was trying to control things that don't matter much to my deck and his lack of pressure gave me the time I needed to set up a Judgement of Verena that effectively ended the game for him.
The Elimination Rounds:
My Top 4 match was against my opponent from the third round. My plan was the same as before, and just like in the Swiss rounds we split the first two games. In our second game I was actually devastated by his End Times, which in addition to providing him with an army of large units put all my copies of Pageant of Shrikes into my discard pile, effectively negating my ability to ever cast Judgement or have Hidden Grove protect me. In our deciding game he took his mulligan only to end up with a hand that never contained an End Times, and I advanced to the final match.
My final opponent was also playing End Times, but he was using a Chaos capital instead of Orc. His deck also featured Summons of Chaos, and a combination of cards that gave him alternative ways to attack me, rather than being totally reliant on End Times. My deck's plan remained the same. I needed to set up a Hidden Grove to defend myself and let him cast End Times or Summons of Chaos before reseting him back to nothing with Judgement. I was able to do so fairly easily in the first game. The second game, I lacked a Hidden Grove and ended up taking a ton of damage from an early Swarm of Bats. I wasn’t able to stabilize after my Judgement cleared his board. In our deciding game, though, my deck was running smoothly again, and I used my Friedrich Hemmler and Forest Dragon to attack my opponent’s Kingdom and Quest while Hidden Grove kept his units from damaging my capital at all.
Robert Graves’s 2013 Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game North American Championship Deck
Restricted Card: Innovation
Unit (21): Bladesinger (x3), Forest Dragon, Friedrich Hemmler (x2), Huntsmen (x3), Nimble Spearman (x3), Peasant Militia (x3), Shadow Sentinel (x3), Spellsinger (x3)
Support (17): Church of Sigmar (x3), Contested Village (x3), Hidden Grove (x3), Light of Morrslieb (x2), Red Arrow Coach (x3), Shrine to Taal (x3)
Tactic (12): Innovation (x3), Judgement of Verena (x3), Long Winter (x3), Pageant of Shrikes (x3)
Quest (0): None