The 2011 DominionStrategy.com Championships
olneyce 45 Game 1 manzi 50
olneyce 33 Game 2 manzi 28
olneyce 9 Game 3 manzi 71
olneyce 18 Game 4 manzi 3
olneyce 16 Game 5 manzi 8
olneyce 89 Game 6 manzi 57
olneyce 29 Game 7 manzi 50
olneyce 0 Game 8 manzi -100
In a tightly-fought and thrilling Final, olneyce defeats manzi 5-3 to claim the 2011 DominionStrategy.com Championship.
In the Bronze Match, RisingJaguar defeats WanderingWinder 4-2 to claim third and a seed in next year’s tournament.
Videos for both matches have been uploaded by the players and can be found on the DominionStrategy YouTube channel.
The bracket for the final 8:
We caught up with olneyce after the match and asked him a few questions:
Congratulations on your win! Did you do anything to prepare for this match?
I made a concentrated effort to play games against high-quality opponents this week. And I also tried experimenting with some particularly wacky engines or alternative-VP strategies. I anticipated that curated Kingdoms were not going to be very amenable to straightforward Big Money approaches so wanted to get a feel for some complex engines that might not normally be available.
Walk us through the match and give us a recap. How did you feel through each game?
I posted a lengthy game-by-game run-down on the forum. Mentally, I felt good about the first game until 2/3 of the way through, when it started slipping through my fingers. I had anticipated seeing something along the lines of game 2 (extremely heavy with alternative Victory cards), so I felt pretty confident about that one. The lowest moment was certainly in game 3 when I thought I had executed the pin and then realized just how badly I had miscalculated, putting me down 2-1. But then I reeled off three wins in a row on boards that seemed very well-suited to my strengths (engines with multiple moving parts). At that point, up 4-2, I was feeling very good. Game 7 was a bit of a kick in the teeth, considering just how thoroughly I got beat, but I still felt confident I could get one of the last two games.
What did you think of the sets as a whole? Did any particular set stand out to you?
I really enjoyed playing with curated sets. The lack of wasted or redundant cards was awesome. You clearly can’t buy everything, but it’s fascinating to be forced to think very closely about why something might be included and what you will sacrifice by not going after it. Clearly the KC/Goons/Masquerade set threw me for a loop. The sixth set, with Governor and Goons, was a lot of fun to play and very difficult to conceptualize in mid-game. Apart from the pin-catastrophe, it’s probably the one I would play the most differently with the benefit of hindsight. And finally, the fourth set seems like a fantastic example to give someone who is trying to learn how to construct engines. There is so much potential, but you really have to be quite delicate putting it together to ensure you can chain the massive hands that you’ll need.
Which was your favorite game of the final?
Game 8, for the moment when a lightbulb when off in my head and I realized that I could Ambassador away all my copper. I always love games where much-maligned cards play a crucial role, so using Secret Chamber to win the tournament was a lot of fun. The other strong competitor for my favorite game would be #4, for the reasons explained above.
Having actually played all of the sets, which one are you going to vote for in the Kingdom Design Challenge?
Set 6. For the most part, none of the sets had a clear dominant strategy, but there was usually a general approach that was best. I think #6 was the one with the best balance. Clearly Goons were essential, but there was tons of creative space about how to supplement them. I think this would be the board with the best replay potential.
Game 3 featured the infamous KC/Goons/Masquerade pin. How did you plan to approach this board, during your pre-game analysis?
Very poorly. In most of the games I did a pretty good job of restraining my immediate impulses and considering the intentions of the designer. What traps did they lay for the obvious strategies? In this game, I did none of that and just rushed straight into the trap. Even with the benefit of hindsight I’m still not sure how to play this one.
Did you think there were any particularly lucky breaks that swung your way or manzi’s way during the final?
In game 4, Manzi drew his Masquerade and Silver as the 11th and 12th cards of the shuffle. Absent me making a mistake, I’m not sure if he had much chance after that opening. Similarly, in game 7, my Remake was drawn with 4 coppers. And by the time I had played my first Fishing Village, he already had Platinum, Grand Markets, and a well-oiled engine. Apart from those, I think the luck stayed fairly even.
We didn’t get a chance to play Game 9, which would have been Chapel, Fishing Village, Watchtower, Ironworks, Gardens, Bridge, Highway, Mountebank, Ill-gotten Gains, Goons, with Colonies. How would you have approached this set?
Looking at it now, I think I would just go for Ironworks/Gardens. However, in the heat of the moment I feel like there’s a strong chance I would have been scared off of the straightforward path and found myself in the weeds. There is a lot of awesome potential there to construct mega-turns, but I have a feeling it would ultimately be too slow to catch up to the simple approach.
Any concluding thoughts?
This has been an incredibly fun experience. I went into it with no real expectations, hoping to at least win a couple matches and get to face off against some of the very best players. I know there is a lot of chance in this game, and I could very easily have gone out long ago. So, I’m glad my luck held and also proud that I was able to capitalize on it.
Finally … which expansion are you going to claim?
Intrigue. I currently only have the base game. So as much as I’m excited about the upcoming expansions, I think I need to start building up the old ones first.
Game 8 … manzi -100? Did manzi resign?
ggs. Very well played by you both. Just don’t any of you finalists get any thoughts in your heads that you guys are the very best. There are still those up and coming newcomers and those that know not of DS.com/Iso and then those that just didn’t register for the tournament. Overall, stay on your toes.
Oh and, theory give yourself a pat on the back. You taught these fine fellows most of what they know after all 😉
For sure. Check out the leaderboard from just four months ago, and you’ll see me hanging out at Level 22.
Go back another month and I was in the teens.
I first started reading this blog and the forums at the end of September. It’s not a coincidence.
Can someone explain to me why exactly Manzi resigned in game 8?
Did you read olneyce’s rundown, linked from this article? If not you should.
Basically, all of olneyce’s turns were going to be pretty similar to his last two turns looked (except with more Grand Markets and an extra Caravan), because he’s drawing almost his whole deck every turn. Just imagine what the game would look like after 3 or 4 more turns like that one. Cursing manzi once or twice per turn would thoroughly demolish his deck which is already slow. (There’s no way his own Ambassadors could keep up. Even if he could Ambassador 2 Curses every turn, which he can’t, when the buy phase rolled around this would leave him with nothing more than a 2-4 card hand from his mediocre deck). But olneyce is also building up his engine very rapidly: he can grab at least a Grand Market or maybe two every turn IN ADDITION to giving out the double-curse. In short olneyce’s deck is rapidly getting better, and manzi’s deck is stagnating at best, deteriorating at worst.
If the game had continued olneyce would probably finish buying all the Grand Markets (probably two at a time), then buy Provinces (probably two at a time). If manzi didn’t send enough Curses back then a three-pile ending (Caravans, Grand Markets, Curses) would come quickly, and olneyce could easily ensure that manzi doesn’t catch up on points in that event, since he has so much more money per turn than manzi can match. Otherwise if necessary (probably not) he could use the Ambassadors to clear the junk from his deck, ensuring that his drawing power doesn’t wane as he adds Provinces. I imagine he could continue to buy at least one Province per turn until the end, even if he had to buy all eight himself! But maybe I’m biased by such an impressive finish.
I’m sure that if olneyce built up a big lead and there are still Curses left in the supply, he would just take them to finish the game.
Yeah you’re probably right that it would just end in a few turns with him buying two Provinces and a couple of Curses in one turn or whatever. Honestly though at this point he has his choice of ways to win; whether he wants to build up a huge score discrepancy or just end it immediately, he wins either way.
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