After multiple stops on the West Coast, The Op Games Road to Gen Con 2023 moved east and headed through Kissimmee, Florida. Coliseum of Comics hosted our single February event and pulled in ten players from the area. Serving as Head Judge was The Op’s Director of Hobby Games, Pat Marino, alongside Jodi Wasserman and Nick Leslie of our Marketing and Sales teams, respectively. While I was not on site for the tournament, I was there in spirit, working remotely in case any questions came up!
The Op’s Road to Gen Con 2023 Coliseum of Comics Recap – Kissimmee, FL
The day’s theme was “consistency” from start to finish. Nearly all of the players stuck with their original team builds from the first to fourth rounds. Summoners attributed familiarity with each of their chosen characters’ patterns, strengths, and weaknesses as their primary motivation to stand by their teams through the whole event. Of the ten competitors, only three deviated from their Round 1 roster, and only Austen MacFarlane used more than two different lineups for the whole tournament.
Brandon Brownell a.k.a @Bee_tah, an avid participant in The Op’s Discord, has contributed to the forum with character frequency analytics throughout The Op Games Road to Gen Con series. Given the numbers Brandon has compiled with the other Discord regulars, he has surprisingly stuck with the steady team of Davy Jones, The Horned King, and Sulley, rather than switching things up along the way.
Ultimately, Brandon tells us, he simply likes the familiarity of his team (as did many other present on Saturday). Because he hadn’t spent a lot of time studying counter strategies to individual characters, he relied on what has proven to be successful for him, versus playing characters in which he’s not as well-versed… even if those inactive characters held innate advantages over his opponents.
Also top of mind for players as they got started, was the possibility of playing with or against the trio of characters from the Leading the Charge expansion. Since the set was appearing in some online shops and friendly local game stores (FLGS’s), there was the potential for Buzz Lightyear, Elsa, and Scar to find their way into the games. While Brandon had seen the characters and their cards in the Discord forums before participating, he hadn’t devoted much time to preparing to face them. No ground was lost without that prep, however, as it turned out none of the players were in possession of these characters before the event. Based on the interest, we can be certain many of Saturday's players will add Leading the Charge to their collections very soon!
After the last two tournaments, where Sulley and Ariel dominated the competitive meta, we saw a few shifts in the Arena’s most played characters. While the percentage of teams that enlisted Sulley rose slightly in average over the previous events, Dr. Facilier made a notable jump up the charts, appearing on half the teams played (20) for the entire day. Conversely, Ariel dropped precipitously, surfacing in only 5 team lists after appearing on 26 teams in the previous two competitions. Demona commanded the day in win percentage, followed closely by The Horned King and Gaston.
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
Game highlights included a first-round sequence in which Josh Mester (Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, Dr. Facilier, Jack Skellington) was able to put Dr. Facilier and Jack Skellington together to keep Austen MacFarlane’s (Davy Jones, The Horned King, Sulley) Horned King Shrunken for the entire game. Removing the ability for the Cauldron Born to attack effectively shut down Austen’s offense, and Josh rolled through the horde for a 13-point win.
In round two, it came down to a nail-biter when Matthew Simmons triggered the final round by reaching 20 points with his all-Oceanic team of Ariel, Stitch, and Davy Jones. His opponent, Lisa Marsella (Dr. Facilier, Stitch, Sulley), was holding on at 18 points though, and in her last plays, took down Matthew’s Ariel to go over the top, securing a 22-20 victory.
Matthew roared back in dramatic fashion in event round three when he faced Mark Czirr. Mark, fielding Dr. Facilier, Sulley, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, marched to a solid 19 points in the penultimate round of the match, but couldn’t quite trigger the endgame. Matthew was close behind at 18, and with a combination of VP spaces and three KOs in the subsequent round of the game, he racked up 17 points to take the game 35-19.
Also, in the third event round, Brandon took a loss to Nate Nuhrins (Gaston, Demona, The Horned King) when Nate upgraded Gaston and went on an aggressive tear. With Gaston recovering 3 HP after each KO punch he landed, the brawler consistently stayed out of KO range himself, limiting Brandon’s scoring opportunities. The combination of Gaston’s Overwhelm combined with The Horned King’s The Black Cauldron netted Nate double opportunities for spawning Cauldron Born, crowding the board and providing cover for the rest of Nate’s team.
From there, the two undefeated players, Nate and Colby Gerrish, faced off. Colby brought Jack Skellington, Dr. Facilier, and Davy Jones to the Arena, giving him a team that, on paper, has the tools to keep a squad built around Gaston or Demona in check. For a while, the two teams looked very balanced on the field, and going into the final round of the game, the score was tight enough that Colby was in a position to tie the game and send it into extra rounds. The clock was running down, and with a tie, Colby would win the entire event on tiebreakers. His team was low on HP though, and quick math showed that even with a tie at that moment, it was likely that Nate would rack up more KOs in the next round than Colby could keep pace with. Colby conceded, and Nate took the Regional Champion title.
Congratulations to the Kissimmee Regional’s Top 5 finishers!
1st Place — Nathan Nuhrins
2nd Place — Colby Gerrish
3rd Place — Brandon Brownell
4th Place — Josh Mester
5th Place (tie) — Kenneth Ossont, Matthew Simmons
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 be a part of the conversation!
Check back soon for our coverage of the upcoming tournament in Rochester, NY, on March 4th!
- Disney Sorcerer's Arena