What I learned by Going to the Origins Circuit 2022

First, let me start off with the fact that I'm a casual player. Don't have a regular play group at this time. And, I infrequently play online. All that means is that I'm an average to below average player. And what follows might be obvious to some, but it wasn't to me. :)

I decided to go to the Origins Circuit event (in 2022) about 2 weeks prior to the event. Next to this paragraph is a nice pic of a lot of Genesis fans at the Haunted Castle Gaming booth at Origins. This is why we go to conventions. Gaming conventions are social gatherings and I wanted to go, but I need a deck and a strategy.

I like Ra'Ha. She is/was not part of the meta at the time. The meta was all about Kunn, Idiris, and Nubia. Why Ra'Ha? To me, she is very fun to play. She has great range in her Awareness. I didn't think I would do well, so might as well play a fun champion. Plus, I thought I would learn more from playing her than the current meta. Make it a challenge for me... but obviously I had a lot of work to do to get ready.
My deck had the usual Bolt Shots, Al-Ilms, and Wind Slashes from Bellum and Axon. However, I needed to create a deck that utilized Ra'Ha's Awareness. I added lots of Mystical Spears and Martial Sentries. Mystical Spears are not used much, buy they are actually great. They do 3 damage, have an unusual Awareness, and offer a choice of costs. You can pay either Aura or Energy. Low on Aura in the late game? Pay Energy. Getting low on Energy? Pay Aura! It's a versatile card. All that means is that my strategy was to use space as defense. If I could keep my summons spread out and keep Ra'Ha at a weird angle, then I might survive long enough that my summons' and Ra'Ha's attacks would win the day.

With my deck and strategy decided, I asked a few people online, that I was sure not going to the event, for advice. The best advice I got was to practice against Kunn and Idiris. I did that every day by myself trying to learn why the meta is good. I learned that Kunn and Idiris are lethal hammers. Kunn can maneuver and deliver a devestating blow with Subjugation Strikes and Bolt Shots. And he can do it any angle he wants with his Dash ability. I also learned that Idiris is very dangerous from a distance. She keeps on fireballing until she runs out of Aura. Pretty lethal stuff.

None of these practice games deterred me. I was getting better at Ra'Ha the more I practiced.

I ended up winning 2 of the 3 matches in the Swiss rounds. Once against Nubia and once against Kunn. I lost to Idiris. This meant I was tied for 4th place going into the single elimination rounds. I lost in my first match up against Kunn ended up earning seventh place overall. Not bad for this average player, I guess. I did better than I expected. Most importantly I had a heck of a lot of fun and my opponents were all friendly, open to explaining things, and didn't mind my slow pace at all.

In playing against some really good players, I learned more about the game. My first game was against Nubia and I learned one more use of Kabus. To me, Kabus is a late game card when you run out of aura. Kabus costs a discard. Makes sense, right? But you can play Kabus on turn 1 for a really cool effect. So, you play Kabus and discard a Gilded Stag. Then you play Necro-Lich and you select Gilded Stag from your memories. Also, you place Gilded Stag around the Necro-Lich. Now you have 3 summons on the board. And you can spread them out a bit foiling a potential Landslide or Tsunami against you and your summons. Pretty cool.

Next I learned that Chronowalkers give you extra movement. Want to move one more spot in the middle of your turn? All it costs is 17 Aura, but with that you get a Chronowalker. Pretty slick.

I also learned the hard way that Meteorite can't be stopped. If your opponent backs away from you to get out of range of a Cognitive Restriction or something like it, and you have less health than your opponent, there might be a Meteorite in your future. If you're at less health than your opponent, which I was most of the time with Ra'Ha (she starts with 22), Idiris likes to Metoerite and Fireball in one turn. If Idiris does that 2 turns in a row, then Ra'Ha isn't going to last much longer. Not a healthy state to be in.

And finally, I learned how Feng can reduce the number of cards in my hand. This is very intriguing. Imagine playing Feng, whose ability includes Fire Shield. Fire Shield means she prevents 1 point of damage to a target in the arena. To me, this doesn't sound like much. However, it's swift and can be played any time. OK, so visualize I'm Ra'Ha and Feng summons a Barruk in front of me. A single Barruk is easy to kill. No biggie. I play Mystical Spear for 3 damage. Barruk goes down to 2 health. Cool. I play a Wind Slash for 2 damage. Should kill it, right? Nope, Feng prevents one point of damage. Barruk drops to 1 health and is still alive. I have to play ANOTHER Wind Slash. I've already invested two cards into killing this thing. I have to do it or the Barruk blitzes its way over and attacks me. It takes 3 cards out of my hand to kill 1 Barruk. Feng only used one card. That's not good math for me as the Ra'Ha player. Great math for Feng.
The Origins Circuit Event was a LOT of fun. And I learned so much about the game. Totally worth it.