The Op’s headquarters may be nestled in the sunny bluffs of Southern California, but a snowstorm was no match for our crew’s fifth stop on The Op Games Road to Gen Con!
The Op Games Road to Gen Con 2023 Millennium Games – Rochester, NY
With Rochester’s largest selection of board and card games, accessories, and more, Millenium Games was a natural choice for hosting our Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances Gen Con Championship. Eight participants (and six inches of snow) greeted us on March 4.
The fourth event in the series drew eight participants, unfazed by the six inches of snow that had fallen overnight. Our staff for this leg of the tour included myself as the Head Judge, Bridgette Reuther (the Director of The Op’s Brand Management team) as our Event Administrator, Sales Manager Keil Brendel and “extended Op family member” Jim DiCamillo as our two Floor Judges. In addition to co-designing The Op’s Mountains out of Molehills with his brother (and Opster) Pat Marino, Jim’s been a playtester on Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances from almost the very start, so it was great to have him on-site to help answer questions and meet fans of a game he’d helped tune.
In meeting the Millennium Games staff on Friday night to plan our setup, we were thrilled to learn that despite the store having just received stock that afternoon, every copy of the Leading the Charge expansion had sold out by Saturday morning to customers determined to play the new characters in the competition! Several of those players were already there on Friday night, practicing for the event and comparing notes on strategy. The store manager introduced us to another fan of the game who, after debating whether or not he could commit then and there, ended up competing on Saturday! With game boxes open, characters out in the Arena, and hands full of cards, Rochester’s fans were ready to drop attack combos on rival Summoners.
A good mix of seasoned players and newcomers started off the gameplay at 1:00 pm. Karen Lanzafame and Kristen Pullen were among those we’d met on Friday, and both had their copies of Leading the Charge ready to go. Meanwhile, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena fan Rick Servello had only played the mobile phone with his daughters, never having tried the tabletop version. With encouragement from friends, he quickly read the rules and picked up a copy of the Core Set.
From the start, the teams fielded by players seemed to align with some of the strategies we saw at our first stop in Seattle. Sulley and Ariel were popular picks, usually alongside a designated offense character like Aladdin. In Rounds 1 and 2, Sulley appeared in 11 of the 16 team configurations, with Ariel in those combinations six times. Through those opening rounds, teams with the furry blue tank went 7-4.
In the final round however, only two players pulled off wins with Sulley, despite six running him overall. Those victories occured in games where both players ran Sulley, leaving two losses for Sulley where the rival Summoner had a plan to handle the most popular character in the tournament. Round 3 was proof that Sulley can’t always carry the team, and future players gained foresight on how smart counter picks in a draft can go a long way.
For a full spreadsheet of teams by player, game, and round, join our Discord Server and head to the Rochester RtGC Data
Road to Gen Con 2023
Mox Boarding House
Sat, January 14, 2023
Mox Boarding House
Sun, January 15, 2023
Sat, January 28, 2023
Coliseum of Comics
Sat, February 18, 2023
Sat, March 4, 2023
St. Louis, MO
Sat, March 18, 2023
Cape Fear Games
Sat, April 15, 2023
Salt Lake City, UT
Sat, April 22, 2023
Madness Comics & Games
Sat, May 13, 2023
Origins Game Fair
June 21 - 25, 2023
Glen Burnie, MD
Games and Stuff
Sat, July 8, 2023
Road to Gen Con 2023
In Round 1, when Kristen faced Larry, she showed that one way to beat Sulley was to turn him from a giant focal point into a sitting duck. Her own Sulley kept the pressure off of her Dr. Facilier enough so that the latter could close in on Larry’s 7-pointer before applying Flustered and Shrunken to keep him from hitting back effectively.
RJ Pollard also ran a combination of Sulley and Dr. Facilier, with Maleficent as his third. The villainess was his de facto MVP of the first-round match against Tim Fuller when he pulled off a 6-point Dragon Form to KO Tim’s Gaston. RJ also cited an impressive chain of Dr. Facilier's actions, throwing around status effects and cheap damage as a highlight of the match.
Maleficent was a leading factor again in Round 2 for RJ when he took on Jeffery Valentine. The game had another Sulley-v-Sulley matchup (they were hard not to find), but where Jeffrey went with the popular “turtle up, run Ariel defense, and swing in with Aladdin” strategy, RJ was again using Sulley to provide cover for the low-HP “magical” teammates. While Jeffrey maintained Aladdin’s Stealthy for much of the game, limiting RJ’s options, Dragon Form blazed in for significant damage on Jeffrey’s Sulley, and RJ just kept the pressure there. The clock put an end to the game, and RJ took the win 18-12.
Jeffrey picked up the Maleficent tech for Round 3 and ran her alongside his defensive Ariel/Sulley combo against Karen, who was taking the chance to play her new Leading the Charge trio. In that round, Elsa got the nod, teaming up with a heavy damage arsenal of Demona and Gaston. After the match, Jeffrey told us that the character he had been most nervous about facing in the match had been Gaston, and those nerves proved well-founded. Karen pulled off a full-damage Sheer Bravado against him and eventually went over the top, 25 to 20.
Rick and RJ went head to head as the final two undefeated players. For Rick, this was an opportunity to pull off an incredible “rookie run” victory. For RJ, it was about the win and pulling off the Dragon Form three-peat for a point of pride. RJ managed it mid-game, firing the attack off for five points of damage and pulling Maleficent out of KO range at a critical moment.
After four game rounds, the score had Rick with a slight lead, and the Turn Order token was inching toward the end of the line. RJ began Maleficent’s turn on a VP space, picking up the point, and moved into KO a weakened Aladdin for another 6. Rick had one final turn with Sulley, but in the end, RJ’s team was healthy enough to thwart any opportunity for him to close the gap. RJ bested Rick 22-17, taking home the Regional Champion title!
Congratulations to the Rochester
Regional’s Top 5 finishers
1st Place — RJ Pollard
2nd Place — Rick Servello
3rd Place — Karen Lanzafame
4th Place — Matthew Frank
5th Place — Jeffery Valentine
For more recaps, discussion, and statistical analysis, please join our Discord server and jump into the #disney-sorcerers-arena-epic-alliances channel. Look for Event Results and Updates threads there, and participate in the conversation!
Check back soon for our coverage of the upcoming tournament in St. Louis, MO, on March 18th!
- Disney Sorcerer's Arena