Greetings, free folk!
Whew, it’s already been a week since the end of Stahleck, and I’m still exhausted. No joking with this: Stahleck is a blast, year after year. So here I am, trying to share at least a bit of this awesomeness with you guys. I know it’s not the same as the fantastic broadcasting of the World Championship that we were able to enjoy thanks to the wonderful work of FFG, but it’s a start! The important thing I believe is to keep as communicated as possible the AGoT playing community.
As always, the very best thing of the European Tournament in Stahleck is the people that you meet there. To be able to see old European friends like Gualdo, Michael, Antti, Guilles, Manfre, Jakub, Michal or Jacek; and meeting new people that you get to know playing games, like Kevin and his group from the UK or Joseph from Paris, with whom I exchanged many cards and ideas, or the boasting rising Hungarian playing community with Isztvar as the new Melee Champ. It’s just fantastic.
It’s always the “revival” voyage of each year, that’s the best. To have a beer with old friends. To be able to spend a whole night playing games over and over again with friends like Jef, Asier… etc. To revival old adventures and recalling anecdotes from other years, we’ve had an awesome weekend. It was also a pleasure me meet again the great people from Barcelona like Harren, Sigilo or Matamagos, and my newly made arch-enemy Athos. I loved to speak with Doran about Lannister decks and about all the adventures that he had in Minnesota, that, truth said, gave me great envy.
I also wanted to thank Tiziano Baracchi: not only a fantastic illustrator, but a great GREAT guy whom it is always a pleasure to chat and joke. He’s always got this fantastic smile in his face, no matter how many hours he’s been patiently sitting attending any one that needs his attention. He always greeted the opportunity of signing the thousands of cards of his troop of fans, with his absolutely lovely wife always by his side. He even dedicated one of his prints for the next Battle for the Wall 2013, kindly given by Stukov from his prize of being 3rd classified. Thank you so much, Tiziano!
And again we cannot be grateful enough with Wolfgang and Yannick, that with their work and great predisposition made that this year’s Stahleck was, once again a perfect masterpiece of German machinery: all perfect and in time. Not a single mistake in the pairings, nor a false round, everything on time. Simple and effective. And I know by heart that that, in a tournament as big as Stahleck (130 players!) is almost a utopia. You have my outmost respect on that!
As for the tournaments and the winners: first of all we inevitably have to give congratulations to Istzvar, the great crazy Hungarian player that could open the beers with only his belt’s help and that won the Melee without letting go for a second the beer from his hand. Such an awesome guy can only design a card as crazy as him; I’m sure he’s going to provide us with lots of random fun moments. Also congratulations to Athos (Eduardo) that has become the very best Spanish Melee player, after winning his title in Battle for the Wall and getting to the finals in Stahleck. Way to go, Edu!
The Joust tournament had a very particular metagame that I believe would be really interesting to discuss in the proper thread. Congratulations to all those who made top for their great achievement. Because this year has been hard as ever to make the cut to the top 32, partly because the division in groups. 50% of the top was Spanish and that is an exceptional ranking! Furhtermore, 6 of the top 8 players were also Spanish. A fellow in the final… just that in the end an Italian won. Hehe.
Congratulations Stefano! You played an awesome tournament and you played all your games with wisdom, tranquility, sensibility and very good “driving”. He kept on playing and winning one rival after another, leaving behind such great players like Harren or Stukov. He chose the best house combined with the best agenda that led him to a very hard final where he had, a priori, a very bad pairing. As Spaniard, I have to say that my heart was with Humber, but as a lover of this game I believe that Stefano is the fair winner of this contest. GRANDE STEFANO!
Humber, on the other side, played his all time deck and made some serious damage. Minimum changes in a formula that, like the one of the Coca-Cola, will always work. Epic Battles, no Valar Morghulis, no fear and wanting to finish the game in 3-4 plots. His deck was completely outside the metagame and the consciousness of the majority of the players. Nobody could predict his moves and the development throughout the game, so stopping him was more than complicated. Even more when this year all the intrigue and control decks weren’t at their best at all. So who was going to stop him? No one. Almost not even Stefano could do it, as Humber started off the final as a real steamroller and could have perfectly won after a couple of real tense turns and was only one token away from the victory. Congratulations Humber!
3 days of great playing and fun, 130 players, the reunion of the European community of players. We want it not to stop for the rest of the year. An idea as arisen among some of the bigger playing communities around Europe in collaboration with the Stahleck organization team: to make a European tour of international tournaments with road to Stahleck. Two cities have already ignited this flame with their very own great tournaments: Madrid, with the second edition this next March of Battle for the Wall tournament (hoping to surpass the success of its first edition with 83 players); and Milan in May, with the first edition of Milano goes to Stahleck, that is expected to be a real blast. More countries also want to join, so we’ll keep you guys posted with news.
We really noticed some of the great absences: Maekar (and his beard), Arthur, Ticon, Rapeass, Jaelen… Usual suspects of these events and that were greatly missed. We really hope to meet you soon guys! Fortunately enough, we got to meet also fabulous people like Joseph. It was a true pleasure.
See you in the battlefield!
P.S. Here are some links you might find interesting. Reports from the Spanish community (lots of pics!):http://juegodetronos.com/masalladelmuro/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=572&start=60
And more pictures:
Álbum Stahleck 2012: http://s674.beta.photobucket.com/user/h