Photos and Coverage from Gen Con 2018
Gen Con 2018 was a hallmark event for the MetaX TCG – featuring the first cash prize tournament, which was still but “an appetizer” for the upcoming 2018 Organized Play season, it has created a lot of buzz around the game, helping new players discover it and causing many players who had lapsed after the slow follow up to Justice League to come back with renewed interest.
As this was a year that could not be missed, the MetaManiacs crew packed a small SUV with 5 nerdy men and began the pilgrimage from our homebase in Fargo, North Dakota down to the nerd Mecca of Indianapolis. The day-by-day story of this journey is below, along with all the MetaX coverage that came with it!
Wednesday began with an early morning pickup of all members, beginning our drive right around 6:15 AM. With a long drive ahead of us, several settled in to gaming – a group effort to revist the classic Mega Man X began in the back seat, with nerdy discussions on all things gaming in the front.
Once we had all settled in and the sun had fully made it into view, we got to our very first content of the weeken. Not ones to miss an easy opportunity for content, we had managed to set up the vehicle ahead of time to record our first of what will be a recurring series – The CarCast, a roundtable, hour-long discussion of all things MetaX, which you can check it below if you missed it when it was posted!
This was the first year we had the luck and luxury of winning the GenCon hotel lotto, and our lodging of choice was the Embassy Suites Downtown, which offered skywalk access to the con, two-room suites, free hot breakfast, and a wonderful free drinks and snacks hour each day starting at 5:30 PM that we did not take advantage of enough.
While it was nearly midnight in Indy at this point, several of us were up for a jaunt around the downtown area to reorient ourselves after a year away. I was glad we did, as not only did we find that the Soldiers & Sailors monument is particularly breathtaking at night – but we also got a visit from a rare Pokémon, Lunatone! This would not be the last time the phones and Pokéballs were pulled out over the weekend…!
Following the quick safari, we made our ways back to the hotel and hit the sack to prepare for the true day 1 of the con.
As GenCon began in earnest, the group separated to partake in a variety of activities. Some spread to various tournaments throughout the weekend such as the MetaX Sealed Deck events (where the value was absolutely insane), while others wandered the packed exhibit hall to see the sights and buy the goods. Several in our group had volunteered to help demo MetaX at the Panini Booth, and throughout the weekend it was constantly packed with new eyes and new faces learning the game – as well as some old ones stopping by to say hello.
The slick promo Mikasa being given out on Thursday and Friday sure didn’t hurt people’s interest, and all players demoing also got to take home a Demo Deck to show their friends. The Demo staff were kept busy, rarely getting a break with one attendee after another asking to try the game out, but there couldn’t have been a better team for it – everyone’s passion and excitement shone through, and we saw a lot of smiling faces – and purchased product – throughout the weekend.
The end of Thursday was marked with a visit to the Arcade to play the legendary Killer Queen with and against the Panini crew. This game is an absolute blast, an homage to the classic Joust with a bit more going on. I highly recommend fans of retro games and lovers of strategic team-based gameplay give this a look the next time they are able to find a cabinet.
Friday continued much as Thursday had – the group was split between events, exploring the exhibit hall, and giving their all to the swarm of attendees looking to try out MetaX. Many folks I talked to had just learned there was an Attack on Titan Trading Card Game and were excited to see how it plays – in those cases, I’m always ecstatic to teach because the game is so easy for anyone to pick up, and as one plays and learns it, the depth of gameplay really starts to reveal itself.
During the day, the booth was visited by well known DBZ (and more) content producer Didier Greenleaf, who sat down with designer Richie and brand manager Aik to do an interview about MetaX’s present and future. This was a fantastic interview with a lot of interesting insight from the duo, and I highly suggest fans of the game head over to Random Number Gaming to check it out.
While I failed to take many pictures of the day, I did get this interesting shot of a small band in full Star Trek appearance playing a secret concert in the gorgeous glass crossroads in the skywalk. #JustGenConThings!
Friday’s evening was taken up by a group dinner with the other Panini volunteers and developers at the nearby Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo, where you walk through the kitchen to get to the seating, and where the portions are enormous and designed to be shared, yet daring (or foolhardy) men and women try to take them on solo regardless. If you want to eat a whole lot of Italian food, it’s certainly a place you can go. I still rate it 10/10 because we got to watch Jordan down the majority of a family sized ice cream dessert on his own.
Saturday saw the first Panini-organized cash tournament for MetaX – the $2K at GenCon. This event was revealed late and served in many was as a reward to loyal fans who have waited patiently for the full Organized Play plans to be revealed. The nineteen players who gathered for the event were treated exceptionally well with three free packs, both of the weekend’s exclusive promos, and a pile of early OP promos provided by Australian distributor and developers TAK Games.
The field included a wide variety of interesting decks, but notably very few focusing on the new traits released in Batman. Several variants of Hero and Villain decks were seen at the tables, archetypes which benefited greatly from the new support in Batman, and players included both new faces and old guard from Panini’s DBZ era.
After 5 rounds, the top 8 emerged showing a massive variety of decks, as listed below, and after a tight top cut, Nick’s stasis mill edged out Matt’s hybrid in a very close matchup and Nick took home the $1000 prize.
- 1st Place – Nick Glaser – “Hallowed be my Bane” (Stasis Mill)
- 2nd Place – Matt Smith – Unexpected Aggro/Mill
- 3rd/4th – Tim Batow – Bat Family Midrange
- 3rd/4th – Adam Tietz – Nightwing/Scout Regiment Team Attack
- 5th-8th – Dillan Straabe – Military Police Tempo/Control
- 5th-8th – Max Williams – Hero Goodstuff
- 5th-8th – Nick Wasinski – Hero Tempo
- 5th-8th – Ryan Lewis – Legion of Doom
All that said, all of the decks below were in contention with various matchup advantages and disadvantages, and even more unseen decks could have easily stood a chance against many of these. As our first snapshot of the MetaX metagame, this is a good omen of an open meta where skill and insight will serve to get a player much farther than simply raw luck – though some luck never hurts!
At the end of the page you will find all 8 deck lists in MetaManiacs-style image-hover format, so please enjoy perusing them at your leisure. We teamed up with Random Number Gaming to bring you deck profiles for the top two decks, so please see the videos below for RNG’s Deck Profile with winner Nick Glaser’s stasis mill, and our Deck Profile with runner up Matt Smith’s unique hybrid concoction.
Sunday proved the most relaxing day of the trip, as always – with the event behind us, many took to doing their last round of shopping and trying to get in a few more game demos. The Panini Booth was still busy the whole day, handing out copies of the Saturday/Sunday promo Eren Jaeger, and even ran out of Demo Decks right at the tail end of the event.
The job well done, things were packed and much of the Panini crew got together back at the Embassy Suites to finally enjoy that 5:30 free drinks hour – and enjoy it, we did, playing games and talking shop until our better judgment sent us to rest for the trip home the following morning.
Games played included The Mind, BarBEARians, Custom Heroes, and Gunkimono – and drinks included a lovely white Zinfandel, whiskey sours, Morgan/diets, and some wild house special vodka mix. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Gen Con without sharing one of Fargo’s specialties – chips and Village Hot Sauce, a cumin-laden delicacy from the far north.
All said, Gen Con 2018 was a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to make it again next year. The energy around MetaX is growing again as the details for the confirmed 2018 Organized Play season are ready to break at any moment. The Panini booth was larger than ever this year, and still was constantly packed with activity as attendees found it and realized their favorite characters had their own TCG – and an awesome TCG, to boot!
Next year, I hope to take many more pictures – and I hope to see many more familiar faces there as well!
Please enjoy the deck lists below, and until next Gen Con – take care, guys!