dominion   

Updated Nov. 10, 2014

2014 WBC Report  

 2015 Status: pending 2015 GM commitment

Mark Giddings, NY

2014 Champion

Event History
2009    Arthur Field     236
2010    Arthur Field     140
2011     Randy Buehler     112
2012    Chad Weaver     127
2013    Brandon Bernard     119
2014    Mark Giddings     108

Euro Quest BPA
Event History
2009    Sceadeau D'Tela     52
2010    Edward Fear     49
2011    Haim Hochboim     54
2012    Sceadeau D'Tela     42

 Laurels

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Arthur Field       SC    10     90
   2.  Chad Weaver        PA    14     60
   3.  Mark Giddings      NY    14     56
   4.  Sceaudeau D'Tela   NC    12     52
   5.  Haim Hochboim      il    11     50
   6.  Brandon Bernard    PA    13     40
   7.  Randy Buehler      WA    11     40
   8.  Edward Fu          NY    11     40
   9.  Rob Renaud         NY    11     38
  10.  Edward Fear        NY    10     30
  11.  Thomas Tu          NJ    14     28
  12.  Andy Latto         MA    10     26
  13.  Duncan McGregor    on    14     24
  14.  Derek Glenn        KY    12     24
  15.  Laura DeWalt       MD    11     24
  16.  Nick Ferris        MD    12     20
  17.  Jon Senn           PA    11     18
  18.  Conal Jaeger       VA    14     16
  19.  Cal Doughan        PA    12     16
  20.  Lee Nguyen         PA    12     16
  21.  John Fanjoy        VA    09     16
  22.  Jason Pollock      PA    10     15
  23.  Patrick Richardson VA    13     12
  24.  Andrew Emerick     CT    12     12
  25.  Dan Eppolito       CA    11     12
  26.  Gordon Rodgers     PA    11     12
  27.  Bill Crenshaw      VA    10     12
  28.  Helen Powell       MD    09     12
  29.  Luke Koleszar      VA    10     10
  30.  Doug Galullo       MD    12      9
  31.  Mary Ellen Powers  VA    11      9
  32.  Michael Eustice    PA    10      9
  33.  Tim Tu             NJ    14      8
  34.  Rob Kilroy         PA    12      8
  35.  Tom DeMarco        NJ    09      8
  36.  Jeff Mullet        OH    11      6
  37.  Dan Gottlieb       NY    10      5
  38.  Ben Scholl         PA    13      4
  39.  Steven LeWinter    NC    12      4
  40.  Aidan Czyryca      MD    11      4
  41.  John Ostrander     NY    09      4
  42.  Alexandra Henning  PA    09      4
  43.  Ziad Munson        PA    10      3
  44.  Donna Davis        PA    12      2
  45.  Donna Dearborn     MD    09      2

2014 Laurelists
Repeating Laurelists:

Duncan McGregor, on
2nd

Conal Jaeger, VA
3rd

Chad Weaver, PA
4th

Tim Tu, NJ
5th

Thomas Tu, NJ
6th

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC
2009-10

Randy Buehler, WA
2011

Chad Weaver, PA
2012

Brandon Bernard, PA
2013

Mark Giddings, NY
2014

Players huddle for warmth. If its not the dismal swamp in Lampeter, it's arctic cold in the ballrooms. If only we could average them.

Scenario boy Birnbaum is a euroweenie? Forgive Marvin, Dockter, Dominion is one sweet game ... even crusty old wargamers like it.

2012 champ Chad Weaver vs Taylor Tu.

GM Nick Ferris oversees his finalists.

Accountant Dominion ...

Power to the People

The 2014 WBC Dominion boondoggle saw the penultimate gathering of deck-builders and deck-shufflers at the Lancaster Host Resort and Casino. (It's a casino, right? You mean that gentleman in the lobby wasn't a legit blackjack dealer? I am so embarrassed ...) Rumors quickly spread that the preliminary rounds of Dominion in 2016 would be played in ski gondolas whilst summitting the mountaintops of Seven Springs, a rumor which many players hailed as "at least a little warmer than Host Ballroom B." But over a hundred players huddled together for warmth in the qualifying round late Thursday evening. Dominion's 2013 Champion, Brandon Bernard, kindly started a bonfire in the ballroom corner fueled by spare Copper cards.

With the release of the last Dominion expansion--Revenge of the Shuffle--since last WBC, there was concern that the fervor over Dominion would start to simmer. Those concerns quickly evaporated when the ballroom filled with players eager to see what challenges would await them this year. Unlike previous years, there was an abundance of copies of the base set of Dominion and even a decent quantity of its first expansion, Intrigue. The GM was particularly grateful to all those players who heeded his requests to bring Intrigue, and he rewarded their efforts with a base-set-only opening round, suckas! But no longer content to subject his victims--er, players--to two more sets of vanilla base set, the GM threw a wrench in the works, and any Dominion player worth his 7 Copper should be able to spot the trick to this year's prelim sets.

PRELIMINARY ROUND (Base Set Only)
Game 1 ("Player's Choice 1"): Adventurer, Bureaucrat, Cellar, Council Room, Feast, Library, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Remodel, Throne Room, Village, Witch
Game 2 ("Player's Choice 2"): Bureaucrat, Cellar, Chapel, Council Room, Festival, Gardens, Militia, Mine, Moneylender, Remodel, Throne Room, Village, Woodcutter, Workshop

14 Kingdom cards??? Was this part of the GM's continuing protest against the base-10 number system [GM note: binary4ever!]? Possibly, but even a GM can't break the most basic of Dominion rules--10 Kingdom cards or GTFO. This left players with the task of vetoing one Kingdom card each at the start of each game. In Game 1, many tables saw the veto of scary attack cards like Militia and Witch. Others favored killing cards with lots of text, because who wants to read a short novella every time they play a game? Game 2's popular veto was a little more consistently applied with nearly 80% of tables voting to keep Dominion's "broken" deck-trashing Chapel in the box.

Another treat greeted all tournament players this year, courtesy of Rio Grande Games and long-time WBC supporter Jay Tummelson. Every player walked away with a copy of the latest Dominion promo card. Called "Prince," this card released a few decent songs in the 80s and 90s before fading into obscurity and re-emerging in the new millennium, desperately trying to stay relevant. Oh wait, wrong Prince. The Dominion card by that name legitimized players who insisted on "forgetting" to shuffle certain cards back into their deck, perhaps hoping to keep them on the table to use turn and turn again for the rest of the game. With the help of the Prince, you can do that without being a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.

Two games later, a field of 64 was selected to advance based mostly on good looks and retaining consciousness until 11 o'clock at night. The qualifier's top players--placing first in both games--included veteran top finishers Chad Weaver, Thomas Tu, and Mark Giddings, along with just nine others. Dominionkateers didn't have long to wait for the next round, as a post-lunch Friday quarterfinal gave players their next test of wise card choices and skilled shuffling.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND (Base, Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity)
Game 1 ("Village People"): Bridge, Courtyard, Mining Village, Torturer, Trading Post, Bishop, Grand Market, Peddlar, Quarry, Worker's Village
Game 2 ("The Bishop's Revenge"): Colony, Platinum, Ambassador, Bazaar, Pearl Diver, Warehouse, Wharf, Bishop, Goons, Mint, Trade Route, Watchtower

No vetoes accompanied these card sets, but that didn't stop a number of playeres from lamenting the appearance of the dreaded Torturer. Indeed, the GM would regularly lock whining players in the stockade for several game rounds as punishment. Oh wait, wrong Torturer. Faced with choices of being Militia'd or gaining curses, players frequently opted for the less negative (VP-wise) discarding option, often leaving them without good Bishop-trashing cards in hand in Game 1.

Game 2 saw the reappearance of an angrier, Goons-accompanied Bishop by the Seaside. Many games quickly turned in favor of Trade Route-ing players, especially once the Trade Route featured four coin tokens. Others saw creative uses of Watchtowers and Warehouses to sidestep offensive play. Top quarterfinal players Thomas Tu and Chad Weaver (both 2013 laurelists) as well as John Ratanaprasatpom, Dylan Quintana, Jamie Tang, Eric Schlosser, and ten others completed the field of exactly 16 players moving on to Saturday's semifinal.

SEMIFINAL ROUND (Cornucopia, Hinterlands, Dark Ages)
Game 1 ("The Best Laid Plans..."): Farming Village, Harvest, Hunting Party, Menagerie, Border Village, Crossroads, Haggler, Oracle, Scheme, Tunnel
Game 2 ("Death Cart for Cultist"): Shelters, Ruins, Spoils, Cultist, Death Cart, Fortress, Junk Dealer, Marauder, Market Square, Rebuild, Sage, Storeroom, Vagrant

Making its WBC tournament premier in 2013, the Cornucopia and Hinterlands sets made a repeat performance in this year's semifinals, offering some players great rewards for varying their play. But with tempting cards like Scheme and Tunnel on the table, many players couldn't resist the urge to keep their decks limited to just a few types of Kingdom Cards. A lot of course-reversing and second-guessing knocked top players into third and fourth place Game 1 finishes.

Too excited about the incredible possibilities presented by the next-to-last Dominion expansion--Dark Ages--the GM didn't honor the tradition of debuting the next set in the tournament's Final. Thus, a handful of players saw Dark Ages cards for the very first time in Game 2 of the semifinals, and a few openly wept at the prospect of starting with something other than three Estates. Those who could look past the cards' darker, often more demented tints (Seriously? A card themed after the guy who goes around collecting dead bodies??? And it gives you four money??? Childhood, ruined.) locked on to several opportunistic strategies, many of which revolved around the almost-magic Gold-spawning Market Square. Almost every Game 2 table reported empty Market Square piles, and many of the winners had four or more of them in their finished decks.

Emerging victorious from the semifinal rounds were some new and familiar faces to late-round WBC Dominion. Returning to the Final for a second year in a row was Mark Giddings, hoping to improve on his third place finish in 2013. 2012 champ Chad Weaver, who finished just outside of wood ranking last year, aced his two semifinal games and also earned a Final seat. Joining them were Conal Jaegar, also with two winning games in the semis, along with Duncan McGregor, the only player to make the Final without two wins in the semis. Tim Tu placed fifth, finishing 4th in Game 1 and 1st in Game 2. Thomas Tu, who finished second the year before, finished 6th.

FINAL ROUND (Dark Ages)
Game 1 ("Darkest Before The Dawn"): Shelters, Ruins, Spoils, Armory, Beggar, Catacombs, Forager, Fortress, Graverobber, Knights, Market Square, Rats, Scavenger

The Dark Ages returned for Game 1 of the Final. Weaver drew the starting position, and before play began, all players were permitted to stack their starting decks as they desired--a setup which led to four very different opening plays. Weaver's 3-4 start brought him into a Market Square and Scavenger. Jaeger not only opened Silver and Silver, but he followed with two more Silver purchases in Rounds 3 and 4. Giddings saw the same opportunity as Weaver with a first-turn Market Square, but he continued with a Rats the next round, perhaps hoping to start a trash-into-Gold engine. McGregor's Armory and Forager opening left room for a more adaptive strategy.

In subsequent early rounds, Giddings improved his engine with a trash-managing Graverobber, firing off his Rats plus Market Square combo to pick up Province #1. Jaeger turned his four Silvers into the game's first Gold, eventually hopping on board the train for the Market Square after seeing it work well for Giddings, but he started to falter without actions to back up his riches by mid-game. Weaver went on the offensive, buying Sir Vander from the top of the Knights pile and balancing out his action-heavy deck with the Village-like Fortress. McGregor soon followed course, grabbing two Gold and Dame Anna (though not possessing a Market Square to make best use of Anna's trashing ability) with Province #2 not far behind.

In the game's third quarter, Weaver picked up two more Knights, a Beggar, and more copies of earlier purchases, but his late Golds only turned into a single Province in Round 11. Jaeger popped Province #3 and the last Market Square, but even with lots of Treasure in his deck, most of his remaining turns were just shy of 8 Money. Giddings was first to a second Province and spent a few turns completing his engine with a Catacombs, Fortress, and Beggar. McGregor pulled a Beggar and fired off its ability to add three Copper to his hand immediately, netting him another Province.

In the closing rounds, Weaver bought four straight Duchies but couldn't find his way into another Province and finished in last place. Jaegar's Treasure-rich and Action-light deck earned him a couple more Duchies, but he had an extra Province that Weaver did not and finished in third as a result. McGregor fired off his Beggar again and closed the game with a fourth Province. But Giddings' engine kept chugging along and helped him edge out Jaeger with a fifth Province for the win.

FINAL ROUND (All sets through Dark Ages including Promos)
Game 2 ("Promotional Consideration"): Potion, Ruins, Black Market, Envoy, Walled Village, Tactician, King's Court, Quarry, Watchtower, Throne Room, Fairgrounds, Vineyard

The second game of the WBC Dominion Final is traditionally wrought with peril. Two years ago, a combination of Alchemy's Possession and Seaside's Duration cards saw each player's own cards turned against them. Then, in 2013, a slew of Attack cards had players diving for cover that a Haven and Trader just couldn't provide. But the first tournament appearance of Black Market at WBC procured a variety of reactions from the final four. (For those unfamiliar, Black Market creates a deck consisting of unique copies of other Kingdom cards not otherwise in play.) McGregor quickly announced to the table that Black Market was his favorite card. Weaver, noting that his chances for winning depended on an unlikely combination of other players' finishes in Game 2, promised he would have a lot of fun with the Black Market. Giddings had a completely different reaction, almost lamenting his first round win and forecasting that the randomness of the Black Market deck might be his undoing. Jaegar kept his comments on the Black Market quiet--and his early plays would immediately reveal why.

THE BLACK MARKET
Bridge, Lookout, City, Alchemist, Menagerie, Harvest, Chapel, Altar, Pawn, Contraband, Witch, Sage, Lighthouse, Peddler, Develop, Scheme, Fishing Village, Treasure Map, Cartographer, Inn, Wandering Minstrel, Grand Market, Fool's Gold, Familiar, Catacombs, Junk Dealer, Upgrade, Conspirator, Gardens, Mountebank, Vault, Golem

Before starting, 32 one-of-a-kind Kingdom cards were revealed to be candidates for the game's Black Market, but each player was permitted to secretly cast a ballot to veto one. After the veto round, Gardens, Mountebank, Vault, and Golem were removed, leaving some highly desirable cards like Witch and Grand Market behind... along with a single useless Treasure Map. Additionally, players were directed to stack their decks again with either a 3-4 or 4-3 Copper start.

Predictably, most players opened with a purchase of a Black Market. Jaegar identified the other big strategy option in the game's two other Promo cards--Envoy and Walled Village--placing himself partially at Weaver's mercy for his Envoy draws. Those who purchased Black Markets in Round 1 followed them up with the obvious match of Quarry (a Treasure which discounts Action cards) in Round 2, while Jaegar grabbed a Silver and set himself up for another Treasure-heavy game.

Giddings hit the Black Market first, nabbing a Junk Dealer, followed by another Black Market card purchase. McGregor and Jaeger--who weren't reminded nearly enough about their rhyming names--both picked up Walled Villages in Turn 3, while Weaver's "fun" strategy called for a King's Court. In later early rounds, McGregor's early visits to the Black Market bought him Scheme and Altar, while Giddings found Cartographer and (what would turn out to be a very important) Witch. Weaver's first Black Market found Wandering Minstrel, but his second Black Market was played via King's Court, and his three consecutive Black Market pulled introduced Fishing Village, City, and Menagerie, the last of which one would expect to benefit greatly from having nearly 50 uniquely named cards in the game. Jaegar went Silver, Gold, Silver, Gold, Province #1, undoubtedly making a couple Black Marketeers question their strategies.

McGregor was the first to buy and play a Tactician, recognizing that the Black Market would allow him to use his Tactician's turn's Treasure cards while still giving him the full benefits of Tactician next turn. Meanwhile, Giddings had a couple more noteworthy trips to the Black Market with procurements of a Chapel and Lighthouse, the latter of which was more to prevent any other player from obtaining it and hiding from his Witch. Weaver, fearing Giddings' Witch, grabbed a Watchtower and found a Bridge and Develop in the Black Market deck. Jaegar continued his steady march with a Walled Village and Province #2.

The Giddings Witch proved enormously powerful, quickly clearing out the Curse deck and clogging the others' decks, particularly once he bought a King's Court. Jaegar in particular, once again forsaking Action cards, saw his Treasure-filled deck diluted with Curses. McGregor pulled more good cards out of the Black Market deck, Tacticianing roughly every other round for the rest of the game, but failing to pull many big-money hands. Weaver continued to make impressive King's Courted plays of Black Market, but as the Black Market deck thinned, he more frequently declined the remaining options.

One Black Market deck card which continued to elude players was the Grand Market which required a Copper-free money play. Indeed, it stayed in the deck until the penultimate round when McGregor snatched it up on a Tactician turn, along with a Duchy to go along with his only Province. Weaver struggled to come up with a strong play off any of his King's Courts, and his Cursed deck only made the problem worse, leaving him Provinceless. And while Jaegar staved off the attack of his own Curses long enough to pick up a third Province, Giddings and his Witch had already done more than enough damage entering the last few rounds of the game. Indeed, Giddings wound down his final plays with a few variety-rewarding Vineyard Victory cards, and the game itself came to a close when the Walled Villages and finally the Black Market cards themselves disappeared.

The final scoring was tense as each player's decks had radically different makeups at the end of Game 2. Weaver's math was easiest, with a couple of Estates and a bunch of Curses leaving him in negative point territory. McGregor, despite his half dozen semi-successful Tactician plays, walked away with just 10 VP to show for it. Jaegar's Black Market-less deck (except for the final purchase of the game) included three Provinces but too many Curses, giving him only enough to pip McGregor with 11 VP; McGregor's high score in Game 1 ultimately gave him second place in the tournament over Jaegar's third. Giddings, who barely made it out of the Quarterfinals as the 16th seed, scored 15 VP and completed his sweep of the Dominion Semifinals and Final.

 GM      Nick Ferris  [2nd Year]   NA
   nickferris@umbc.edu    NA 

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