February 22nd saw one of the biggest player-run Transformers TCG events in the UK ever in the shape of Til All Are One, run by Mondo Spanner. Mondo had been planning this since just after the UK Energon Open, and very early on asked me if I would help with judging the event – it was actually one of the two events I was asked to help out with, the second being Gaming vs Cancer coming up in March.
Mondo’s event took inspiration from a post made by Ben Cottee not so long after the event, suggesting the community could have a 32-player event centred around winning a booster box. Mondo was the first person to take the plunge on this concept.
With the event being held in Northampton – a town right bang in the middle of the country – it was a bit of a long shot that anyone would come from the South (where a journey through London could end up meaning very long travel times), or from the North (which had been hampered by major train issues that day). However the event managed to pull players from all over, with three players coming from Poole and a fourth from Brighton, representing the South Coast, and three players came from Liverpool, representing the North. A huge host of players from varying corners of the Midlands also showed up, including familiar faces to the international Transformers TCG community such as Energon Open champion Ben Saunders, Bleeped Up Production‘s Mike Pye and the lads from Blues on Attack.
After a couple hours of casual games, the tournament began at around midday. Some quick notes on what was being played:
- At least 5 Galaxy Prime decks; a couple were running variants on the Daniel Arnold deck, but kudos to Ben Saunders for keeping it on brand by planning Ravage in his list. Also major shout out to Salty from Blues on Attack for playing an incredibly different healing variant that heavily abuses multiple Toolbox cards and other healing cards to keep Prime alive, instead of the usual approach. A very young player showed up with just Galaxy Prime and Thrust, immediately in the main deck.
- Several Octane lists, including one aggro Octane list.
- Multiple patrol-decks; the expected Air Strike Patrol decks were seen with General Prime and Springer (including the Overwhelming Advantage variant), but there were good showings for the General Prime/Off Road Patrol deck too, and a Lionizer/Battle Patrol deck. Y’all need to be reading Computron’s Lab article on Rescue Patrol!
- Some classic line-ups such as Bugs and Metroplex, plus rarer sights like Soundwave.
- Plenty of variants on the Cars deck; we saw two decks using Lockdown, and an all-police car line-up being piloted by Nick Petrasiti of Blues on Attack.
There was no Shockwave, nor Jetfire. I don’t recall seeing Firedrive anywhere in the entire tournament (but I might be wrong). Also, Daring Escape was absolutely nowhere to be seen, go us!
The most eye-catching line-up I saw was being run by Andrew Johns, running a dual Megatron deck of General and Lord in a Blue shell.
Despite a heavy showing of competitive decks, many of which were straight from the Energon Invitational or later competitive events in the US, the atmosphere at the tournament was one of the most chill I can possibly think of. There was not a single incident that I recall, honest mistakes were quickly rectified and very few judge calls were required.
During the entire 5 round event, we only ever saw one match go to time. The match was about to start its third game, and because it was a mirror match, the game had to go to its final tie-breaker – both players had to simply flip cards until one of them had more White than the other. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this happen, and about half of both decks were flipped before we had a winner.
I didn’t watch too closely most of the games during the first three rounds, but focused in on the top table matches near the end. Three players entered Round 4 with 3-0 – Ben Sime, Adam Paris, and Jon Jones.
In Round 4, there was an aggro-off between Ben Sime’s Springer OA deck and Adam Paris’s General Prime, both with Air Strike Patrol; alas it wasn’t an entirely close match, with the much more aggressive General Prime deck chewing out Springer. It didn’t help that Ben’s attacks seemed to whiff quite a bit, leaving one point of health left just one too many times. Meanwhile, Jon Jones playing Galaxy Prime and Jared Townsend playing Battle Patrol/Lionizer went right to the wire in the last couple of minutes; a possibly misplay from Jared that left him vulnerable to a well played Armed Hovercraft cost him the Round 4 game, leaving both John and Adam undefeated by Round 5.
In between games Adam had mentioned to me that whilst he was doing well, he admitted he hadn’t come across any of the Galaxy Prime decks; and of course that’d be his final match of the day. It was a tense match up (that unfortunately wasn’t filmed), with maybe only one point of damage in it for each game. My favourite point of the match was when Adam’s Air Strike were all on one health each, and seeing Jon squirm to try and find that Armed Hovercraft so he could wipe them all out, and then finish General Prime.
In the end, Galaxy Prime won out, making Jon the Til All Are One champion and winner of the Wave 4 booster box.
Whilst Jon was the big winner, there was a wide spread of boosters for all participants, and Manascrew even donated a Metroplex pack that was randomly given to the 12th place (the silver spoon as it were). Ben Cottee donated some third party toys for extra prize support as well; a third party Ratchet was given to Ashley Ward for coming last place, whilst Andrew Johns was awarded an Ultra Magnus for playing such a unique line-up on the day.
Big thanks and thumbs up to Mondo Spanner for running this event, and to Mark for being an excellent host – if you are in town, be sure to visit Manascrew, it’s an excellent shop. Also thanks to everyone who came and made this such an enjoyable event.
Travelling to Northampton from Seaford made for a very long day – travel time was between 3.5 and 4 hours each way – but it was a really great day. I got to show off my Skytread deck to a few folks before and after, I discovered Subway do a veggie meatball sub now, and I even came home to find pizza doughballs in the fridge for me.
I can’t wait for the next Til All Are One (Til All Are Two?), but in the meantime, if you’re in the UK and want to go to an event just like this, Gaming vs Cancer is just around the corner; and there’s more events in the pipeline too, join the UK Facebook group now!
Until next time.