Just when we thought GenCon couldn’t get any better it was time to play in the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch (FTDM). In the car on the way to GenCon, Marc and I agreed that FTDM was the event we were most looking forward to playing. Although we wanted to win and were apparently the favourite team heading in to this years’ tournament, we really just wanted to have a good time and enjoy the experience. We got that and then some.
I’ll start with the big news – we won the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch! That’s right, after all the hype and all the trash talk we finished first. Team Moose Hockey Maple Syrup Eh, or as we were called at the table, Team Canada, emerged victorious. The guys over at the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch website will be providing a blow-by-blow of the event so I’ll just hit the highlights here.
For those not familiar with FTDM here’s the short, short version. Two teams with four players each, create level 1 characters and then they face off against each another. It’s PC vs. PC and not the usual PC vs. monsters. Whenever your character is killed the opposing team gets a point and at the beginning of your next turn you re-spawn at full health. The only things you don’t get back when you die are action points and daily powers.
Team Moose Hockey Maple Syrup Eh was originally a team of three (this name was bestowed upon us by Jon Green, the tournament organizer, we did not pick it ourselves). We formed well before GenCon, practiced, schemed and refined our characters, but we had no idea who our fourth member would be. A week before GenCon we got an email for the FTDM guys; an 11-year-old with almost no gaming experience was assigned to fill our vacancy. Apparently we were heavy favourites to overthrow last year’s champions, so I suppose the organizers figured they’d level the playing field a bit by giving us a noob. As it turned out our fourth member did just fine.
In order to create some team unity and possibly to intimidate our opponents just a little bit, I bought us matching Canada hats for the tournament. They might have looked silly, but we wore them with pride (even our 11-year-old honorary Canadian late addition to the team).
When the day came to play in the qualifying round only three teams showed up; one team bailed at the last minute. Fortunately the organizers had planned for this eventuality. So instead of two teams facing off against each other all three teams duked it out for supremacy. Having 12 PCs on the map instead of the intended eight made for a very target-rich environment and certainly made tactics critical.
The first map we played on was the Court of the Storm Lord. Of the two preliminary maps this was the one our party was most concerned about. However, after the one-hour match was completed we had finished in first place with the most kills. This guaranteed us a spot in the semi-finals.
The second map was The Citadel, the map we all felt most confident with. We ended up finishing second this time around, but it didn’t matter as we had already earned our spot in the next round.
When we returned six hours later for the finals we found that we were pitted against a team of four players who until that day had never played 4e. They knew 3.5e so they weren’t completely lost, but they were still getting the hang of the pre-gens they were using. For the semi-final match we used Interecion In The Feywild. Our core three had played this map before and knew that there was an incredible amount of random elements involved. We ended up winning this map by one kill, a victory that was much more difficult that I think any of us expected give our opponents unpreparedness. A valuable lesson was learned – never underestimate your opponent.
The final match was played on a map that looked like a Pac-Man game board. Every square had a pellet and as you moved over it you gained a +1 to the damage of your next attack. The power pills in the four corners bestowed vulnerability to all opponents currently on the map. Fruit prizes appeared randomly at the top of each round, each granting some beneficial ability to the PC who consumed it. All the twists and turns on the map made charging practically impossible so a lot of us spent multiple rounds running around the board eating dots and powering up.
We took an early lead but by the half-way point the other team realized that if they all ganged up on our softest and least experienced player they’d likely kill him every round. Fortunately for us this realization came a bit too late and we managed to keep our lead. The final score was 14 to 13. We won! It doesn’t matter how much you win by, as long as you beat the other team!
When the final score was tallied and counted we went nuts. There was cheering, high 5s, chest bumping, hugging, hand shakes, and possibly a few tears of joy. The team was ecstatic with our win. Winning was an unbelievable thrill. No matter what else happened during this year’s GenCon we were going home happy. This win was every bit as good as we’d imagined in the car on the way to GenCon.
I want to thank the Jon Green and Rob Waluchow for organizing the event. I’d like to congratulate all of the players who participated in the event throughout the day. Everyone brought their A-game and it showed. Despite the competiveness of this kind of tournament everyone was still very friendly. I’ll admit that I did a little bit of trash talking before every round and had we lost I would have had to eat crow, but it was always in good fun.
And finally I want to thank the rest of Team Moose Hockey Maple Syrup – Marc Talbot, Dan White and Riley Marks. It was truly a team effort and had we not worked so well together we certainly would not have won. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Gen Con when we can defend our 2012 Championship title.
In addition to winning bragging right (which we took full advantage of) we each also won FTDM 2012 Championship Dragon Chow dice bags and eight FTDM d6s. This was just icing on the cake. So again, thank you to everyone who made the FTDM possible at the 2012 GenCon.
For more coverage on the GenCon Tournament visit my teammate, Marc Talbot’s blog 20ft Radius, and of course visit the FTDM website for pics, descriptions of all the maps, interviews with each of the winners and a podcast recorded minutes after our victory (I’m sure we sound extra giddy in that one).