Yes, I finally got off my duff and sat down with all the deck entries. Man, it was very difficult to come up with some finalists because there were a lot of really good decks. My final criteria was this:
Originality: MY GOD! Why aren't some of these decks totally taking over tournaments? The evil and deadly ways people came up with locking down or taking out an opponent were just evil. I can't say there was a clear winner in this department, but there were many, many totally new decks out there.
Complexity: Although I said you could use any cards as long as the deck wasn't a rare-heavy nightmare, I found some decks were a little too complicated for just anyone to pick up and see the kill method right off. There were few of these, but I felt if the "combo" had too many requirements, that the deck wouldn't be fun either.
Rare-Heavy: Pretty much everyone did a really good job on this. It was tough to judge though because there were a couple of decks like Eric Chima's Oath of Toasters (I think that was the title) that were a little pricey. (That was still a good idea, Eric.) I wanted to avoid these. Also, some decks had only a few rares, but these were often pricey and hard to get. These I hesitantly avoided depending on deck.
Use of "Sub-Optimal" Cards: Great use of this category. Istanbul's use of Spike Breeder, Almindra's use of Forsaken Wastes, TomB's use of Repercussion are just a few examples of great ideas from unused cards. These ideas are why we play this game.
Overall: If just looking at the deck got me excited, I added bonus points and there were a lot of those.
The hardest part about judging was that some of these decks functioned better in multiplayer than in duels and vice versa. This was something that I really wish I had taken into account earlier. However, since many of them were primarily duel-oriented, I decided that we will run a contest for multiplayer-oriented decks another time. Also, many of these really decks are hard to play against a net deck but would be fun against something with the same type of game play in mind. So I judged with that frame of mind as well.
So, without further ado, I will anounce the winners:
FIRST PLACE: Stupitog by Almindra
SECOND PLACE: Death by Dingus by Eric Chima
THIRD PLACE: Spike Breeder by Istanbul
FOURTH PLACE: Monkey Cage by Rob Pittman
Honorable Mentions include:
Repercussion by Tom Bergeron (slightly Rare-Heavy, but very original)
Thunderdome by Mike Marino (Rare-Heavy category with Pandemonium and late)
Worry Beads by Rob Pittman
Carnival of Souls by Aaron Duvall
Troublesome Spirit by Eric Chima
Please understand this was hard to judge. I am subconsciously biased towards certain deck styles and approaches and would have preferred to have a panel judge this for a fairer selection. The next contest will be run this way however.
To the Winners: Email me so I can get your address and send you your chosen card.
See you all in the next contest.