The record showing of 2022 was enough to secure Battle Line’s 2023 tournament a coveted Century spot. This year’s crowd was nearly as high, so hopefully we will be able to stay in.
There was one minor rules clarification that I will try to remember to put into the preview next year: If you play a Traitor, you must play the card you take on an open slot on your side. You can’t just discard it (like the Redeploy card lets you do)
We had 17 different pods this year, and they pretty much all finished on time, which was great, thanks to everyone for keeping us on schedule. GM Sean McCulloch lost his second match against Haakon Monsen but was able to beat Ed Welsh and Erik Heintzelman and advance on the tiebreaker. Assistant GM Bruce Reiff wasn’t so lucky- being placed in a pod of 3, he didn’t win a single game! (Well, his card lists a loss in his first game to pod winner Karl Bodenheimer and nothing written down for his second, so we’re assuming he lost that one too).
In other first round action:
- Two-time Champion “Big Jim” Kramer advanced on a tiebreaker over Jeff Cornett
- 2019 runner-up Richard Irving couldn’t lose in a tiebreaker to Jeff Mullet
- Nicholas Metzger survived an opening loss to Anthony Bosca to advance out of his pod. This would be Nicholas’s only loss of the evening, so maybe Anthony knows something the rest of us don’t
- John Ohlin advanced on a tiebreaker over Chris Greenfield
- Gordon Rogers advanced undefeated from his pod over Owen Kyrollos, Billy Burdett, and Dave Dentel
- Aaron Fuegi also was undefeated, winning all three games via breakthrough for a perfect 18 point first round score.
- Pete Staab advanced on the second tiebreaker from his pod containing Barrington Beavis, Max Duboff, and Joe Birnbaum. Then he dropped out of the single-elimination bracket so we would have an even 16 people there. Thanks, Pete!
- Kevin Wojtaszczyk, in possibly his first Battle Line tournament, advanced undefeated from his pod.
- 2022 runner-up Blair Morgen also went undefeated in his pod.
- Both Erik and Alex Schlosser were matched up in the same pod. Erik won the “Battle of the Schlossers” to advance.
- Sara Ward went 2-1 to advance over Andrew Bichard
- 2022 Champion Joe Mach survived a loss to Steven Raszewski to advance, winning the tiebreaker over Ryan Romanik
- Zack Goldstein went undefeated to win his pod
- Alyssa Morgan won her pod over former laurelists Stuart Tucker and Greg Staton
- Luke Heinz also went undefeated to win the final pod.
That left us with 16 pod winners, a perfect bracket. Even more perfectly, we had 8 people who went 3-0 and 8 people who went 2-1, so the first round just paired all of the (“better”) 3-0 people against the (“worse”) 2-1 people.
Reports of the first round are sketchy, because in Sean’s game against Gordon, we didn’t realize that we had accidentally set up 11 flags! The game did feel weird and long, but neither of us noticed until it was pointed out at the end. A rematch was proposed, but Gordon elected to let Sean’s win in the 11-flag game stand. Elsewhere around the room:
- Erik Schlosser knocked out defending champion Joe Mach
- Nicholas Metzger advanced over Karl Bodenheimer
- Alyssa Morgen and Blair Morgen both advanced to play each other in the round of 8
- Kevin Wojtaszczyk advanced over John Ohlin
- Aaron Fuegi took out Jim Kramer
- Zack Goldstein advanced over Sara Ward
Now we were in the round of 8:
- Sean beat Kevin with a hugely lucky initial card draw that Kevin almost, but not quite, came back from
- Blair Morgen beat Alyssa Morgan, guaranteeing Blair laurels in back to back years
- Nicholas Metzger kept winning, this time over Erik Schlosser.
- Aaron beat Zack to advance to the Semifinal
The two Semifinal games were both long affairs. In the first Semifinal, Sean’s victory over Aaron was probably due to Aaron having the first move of the game, meaning that Sean could just play over Aaron’s cards on several of the first card plays. It’s hard to come out from under that, and despite making it close, Sean pulled away as the deck ran out.
The second Semifinal between Nicholas and Blair went even longer, as there were several card plays after the troop deck ran out. The fighting centered around one column that had several tactics cards played on it back and forth. Eventually Blair’s hand ran out, and Nicholas claimed the flag and the victory.,/p>
The Final, in contrast, was much shorter. Sean quickly won a three of a kind battle on the far flag 8, but the main action was in the middle flags. Sean had two 10’s played on flag 5, but Nicholas made a straight flush there. Then, Nicholas made a higher three of a kind on flag 7. Flag 6 in the middle had Nicholas’s 9 and 8 of blue versus Sean’s 9 and 7 of purple. The Blue 10 and 7 had already been played, which meant that Nicholas had no chance at a straight flush. Unfortunately for Sean, Nicholas played the Purple 8 (on another flag) and the Blue 6 on flag 6 in succession. This turn of events meant that Sean also couldn’t make his straight flush, and Blue would have the highest flush. The only hope for Sean was that he would have a lucky tactics card, but alas, the Shield Bearers were no help there. Nicholas claimed the flag, and his first ever WBC championship! His family and friends all came down to help him celebrate, which was very heart-warming to see. Congratulations!
|Nicholas Metzger on way to Championship.
||Semifinal between GM Sean McCulloch and Aaron Fuegi.
|Finalists Nicholas Metzger and GM Sean McCulloch.
| Sean McCulloch [7th year]