Well here we go again, and like my 2nd report, another top 8 finish. Alas, that is where I would finish, 8th, and after a fateful run in with Chun-li, one of the two decks that had previously defeated my Alex in tournament play. Read on for a detailed account of my US Nationals experience!!!
Origins 2009! My one-year UFS anniversary and my first top 8 in a major (not just a regional) event. As some of you may know I was introduced to this game at Origins 2008 by Vermillion, Hata, Omar, Simon, and more on a Sunday a year ago.
Before I get into the nitty gritty (singles) I should briefly extend my report by touching on teams here. Unfortunately, and yet fortunately (got to bunk and play with 2 really great people – Don Schaffer and Allen B), my Calgary playgroup (that has breached our usual limit of 8 players and have just about hit 20 in the last month) was unable to muster any other attendees. This will change, and at least I could drag 3+ of them to Can-nats, Potm, and a regional this year ^^
Ps. Having read this they had better get their act together now for Gencon. I know for a fact (ok, I am bsing now), but I would have even done better in the top 8 at this event if I had Stampede City support down in Columbus this weekend.
Team US nats –
Dutpotd – me, Garett Brett – Akuma (starter) off evil-fire-void
Dschaffer – Don Schaffer – Ibuki (deadly ground) off evil-chaos
No forum activity – Allen (Legendary Legacy Master) Burney – Guy (promo) off fire
So yeah, we really all ran similar symbols for this 2 X Fire, 2 X Evil. However, we didn’t run into card pool issues because Allen runs some really bizarre stuff!!!
I chose Akuma because I needed to run something strong, and in my mind Akuma is the strongest character in the game (or close second to Chun-li). I ran a version with Spinta, Tiger Fury, and Mark of the Beast. I splashed Void (I ran 4 X Valerias = Manifest Destiny + Playing Matching Foundations = lock down on their turn + lock down on my turn after readying my Mani’s for more fun). I think I ran the wrong Void card though (it didn’t share two symbols, I wasn’t thinking when making this decision I guess), i.e. I think there would have been better. It did provide draw and life (you guessed it – Abellias), something that Evil tends to lack (short of Rejection, which I don’t run ever, and Chester’s which isn’t reliable gain). Personally I had a great time running Akuma, and only lost to another Akuma and some very overzealous attacking (Tiger Fury with a wrong damage count lol).
As a team we didn’t do so hot, finished middle of the pack with more ties than wins or losses combined. Albeit, what is important is that we had fun and learned a lot!
Singles US nats -
I ran Alex again, mostly because it is the final time I can run him with a clear shot at winning (i.e. pre Martial Arts Champ, and pre banning). So expect this to be the last report dominated by references to Mirage Body, well… At least as used by Alex ^^
I’m not gonna post the decklist again (it changed a bit from the Can nats version), if anyone wants what I went with feel free to send an email – firstname.lastname@example.org . A quick rundown of the updates, now 87 cards (up from 83), theoretically this should have improved my chances of ‘not’ hitting the 1s early in the game. Replaced Revenants as the splash with Torn Hero (Rev still in side board, as torn was prior). Ran Flames of Fame, Make a Difference, more anti-Chun-li 4X Psycho Style , 1 more Pommel, and 1 more Tag Along. Ran a few less attacks (from 14 in 83 to 13 in 87).
There were 6 rounds of Swiss for US nats, singles – I will try to document key things I remember the best I can. *** Reader beware, 5/6 of my Swiss rounds were against Evil… and the other a Chun-li. I had lots of fun!!!
First Round – vs. Chris, a player from Olexa’s gang – Scott Mence (Evil) – Side into Olexa
Not a whole lot to say about this game. I had a bad first turn of the first game (checked a 1 after 2 foundations), he attacked with evil attack string and I blocked a lot of it. I played out 4+ cards second turn. 3rd turn Mirage Body and dead.
He sided into Olexa, I took things a bit more slowly, recalling my match with Chubbs the day previous and Olexa’s typical tricks (albeit, this was Evil only Olexa, Chubbs was Air). Miraged after gaining board control with All’s big cards and Olcadon’s.
My record 1-0-0
Second Round – vs. General Reaction from forums – Chun-li (Air)
Uggh, Chun-li. Well, I practiced a lot against Chun-li, and upped the answers for her in my deck. I was outbuilt in the first game, and had to block a lot. I tried to kill him with Mirage Body on turn 4, failed to do enough damage. He couldn’t kill me either (even with Mirage’s effect) and the game went on longer. After a cycle by him and I he managed to draw more than 2 large attacks and kill me late game.
Game 2 I get Spinta’d twice but manage to build nonetheless. With the 4 momentum I drop a Ryu Shin Sho and kill him turn 4 or so.
Game 3 goes a lot like game 2, and with 4 momentum I try to kill again (last turn of game). He has one card in hand (high block) I know this, bitter, and Blood Runs True the Block (he was otherwise fully committed). He draws Willful with the Blood Runs True and plays it in immediate response… Block. Tie.
My record 1-0-1
Third Round – vs. Derek – Hanzo (Evil, Earth Splash, and odd Death Seal Chains possible)
This fellow was just one of the many nice new people I met on my recent journey to Ohio. I had leant him and his teammates a short grocery list of cards on this day (they all ran the same Hanzo deck) and was glad to see them all doing quite well early in the swiss rounds.
Playing Hanzo with an 87 card deck is a pain, because for every offensive (kick pusher) he drops I had to drop an equal defensive one. I started losing this fight around the time where he got 3 Revenants out… Luckily though I had a Tag Along, was good at baiting Blood Runs True with Blocks, and was able to have a greater ‘number’ of foundations out against him at any given point in time (Alex draws a lot).
He attacked after 6+ turns of posturing and counter posturing. I survived, Mirage Body, -> combo -> game.
Game two we didn’t have a whole lot of time and he was forced to try to kick me with time running out. I had more than enough defense out and survived. Responded with Mirage Body, -> combo -> game at time limit.
My record (come lunch) 2-0-1
Well, I am fairly happy, I know I can top 8 if I win 2/3 games after lunch, which is possible in my mind. Granted, I feel I can only lose and tie 1 game. My worst nightmare was a similar 3-1-2 record (same as Canadian Nationals) and a SOS issue where I miss out on top 8 based on breakers.
Fourth Round – vs. Shaneth – Hanzo (Evil)
Back to back Hanzos… yay space! Shaneth’s Hanzo was a bit faster than Dereks I found, probably because it was mono-symbol. It also run Yoga Adept and similar foundation that (along with BRT) gave him the edge in deciding what counter pieces you could get down. In other words, where Dereks deck addressed things once they were down (1000 years, and Inhuman) Shaneth’s addressed issues by not allowing them ever to get down.
The first game took a while, with Shaneth perhaps at odds with my vast amount of draw and pretty much unable to tWoP me for the kick kill. Eventually he doubles up on Rivals and starts to win the Olcadon’s war as well. Not long after he was able to push it through.
The second game I try to turn 2 him, trying to hard check the Mirage Body with 2 foundations out (needed a 4 at least ~75% chance). I got it, and went nuts, dropping a lot of foundations… Sadly I leave him with partial life and me with defenses. He uses my effect and drops some stuff but cannot go off. With my effect on the second turn of use I drop more and play the killing blow, unfortunately my BRT fails me again. Shaneth has a chesters in hand (+1 mid) and manages to play a his bitter rivals to make the attack onto his block zone. He has 2 ready foundations after all the enhance wars are complete. I again have a BRT!!! I BRT, he would normally need a 5 (4 speed attack +1 mod), I think assuming he checks a 5 (most of his deck) I need to hack at least a 4 (more than most of his deck). Guess what he reveals and draws?!? A Yoga Adept… -2, and he checks his 5 as predicted, fully blocked. He comes back and kills me as I committed my defenses out to earn the turn 3 attempt to kill. BRT officially hates me, sadly, I swing too far in this mindset and it bites me next match.
My Record 2-1-1
Boo. I want to win the next 2 games…
Fifth Round – vs. Chris aka Scubadude – Zi Mei (Evil, Fire, Death)
I think his only Death cards were Destiny, but as you will see it was worth it…
So, I start this game out amazingly well, I get Olcadon’s out and without him getting defense I select to get rid of his Chesters (I have 2 after turn 2 to his none), sadly, I give him Destiny. I do this at the beginning of a turn too, and a turn where I could have played 2 BRT = stupid of me. I play one of the 2 BRT knowing I now can’t even use it… But, at the same time, it is cursed for me as it led to my tie and loss earlier in the day. I draw a 3rd BRT and begin to really hate myself. At the same time I draw some nice attacks and figure I can kill him, I attack, Mirage Body, but can’t kill him… he has TOO many rejections, and I severely underestimated the power of the Gorgeous Team (stupid sexist card), and didn’t consider he had 2 out and the ramifications it would have on me. After my failed attempt at killing him he comes back with some attacks, and hits me fore 6 or so, but mostly builds. Now he has Olcadon’s defense, and his own Olcadon’s. I have no defense, but I do have offense!!!
I draw Ryu’s Shin Sho and with 2 Lord’s out I can’t help but try to kill him again. I have the damage on the attack, but after checking a 3 for the attack I lose too many resources and he is able to play 2 rejections, one connecting, and surviving again!!!
I now know, I need one of my many answers to rejection and gorgeous team… Sadly, my rejection answers are numerous, but my gorgeous team answers few (Chester’s, which I was losing quickly). I decide I need to turn my BRT’s into something useful and try as hard as possible to kill the Destiny that I GAVE HIM EARLIER!!!
Sigh. Long story short he builds, (can’t draw attacks), I build. He Olcadon’s me to death get’s #2 out me with no defense = yuck. I hang in the best I can, knowing that I need foundations to pass the checks. He gets another Destiny out, and my chances of kill are poor to say the least.
Near the end of the time limit he finally draws 5 attacks and comes at me… My board is full of useless junk, 2 Olcadon’s… All I can do is half block things (he has bitter, I don’t have anything useful as stated). He also has 3 BRT now and uses them to push attacks through. Lucky for me, I manage to half block the last attack after checking a 6 (after being misused by his final BRT). Draw… Phewf.
My Record 2-1-2
I am really mad at myself for blowing this. I know how to play against Rejection. After all, I played against it in 2 Hanzo’s and the Olexa sider (3/4 decks already…). Did I mention I hate Gorgeous Team? I do, sexist card.
Final Round (6) – vs. my teammate and roomy Don Schafer – Ibuki (Evil/Chaos)
My luck changes getting this matchup. Don is a great player, but we practiced against each other a lot on Thursday night (I recommended a few things for his deck even) and I knew I could beat it consistently. We are in a conundrum though, because there is an Alex with a 3-2-0 record ahead of me, and there is a Ibuki (Magnus) with a better record than Don. My luck kicks in again. The Alex got paired against Jeremy Ray and Seong Mina (very bad Alex match up). I tell Jeremy I will kiss him once he defeats my diversity problem, jokingly of course.
I spend more of this match watching Jeremy’s game with Noel (running the other Alex) and see that he does win game 1, but loses once Noel sides into Zi Mei (Fire) and rushes him with huge multiples.
They draw 1-1, and I beat Don as expected 2-0. Thank you for another great match Don! I’m glad we both had over 500 records heading into round 6, we both had a solid day.
My final Swiss record 3-1-2 (same as Can nats… will I beat SOS?)
Not sure if it even comes down to SOS, but I do squeek in as 8th. I almost jump out of my skin with excitement, sobered quickly by the knowledge that Mike King’d Swiss and that I would have to face a second Chun-li and Mike again (my one loss at Can nats).
Top 8 round! 1st vs. 8th – vs. my Canadian Brethren and diversity champ (my Chun-li thread wasn’t far off the mark btw) Mike Lowe – Chun-li (Air)
So, I can actually detail both of the games. That is what happens when you only get 3 foundations out and lose turn 3 (Chun-li’s turn 6…) It may not be dead on accurate, but this is how I remember it.
Sad thing is, I lost to Mike Lowe at Can Nats, and mainly because of bad checks. Well, my checks killed me and were the worst ever experienced by me, whose to say if I checked well I would have had a chance, his Chun-li and playstyle is that strong. I wanted to give him a run for his money, but ended up repeating with bad checks again… For this I apologize, honestly Mike – my deck does work most of the time lol.
First game, I lose the roll. I lose a lot of rolls, this was my 5th lost dice roll of the day, 2/7 ain’t bad? Yeah… not a good Meatloaf song… Mike is smart, he goes first… If he doesn’t and I pass things first turn, he knows I wouldn’t think twice about my first form being Dark Force and trying to end it then and there.
Mike plays 4 foundations… Great. I play one foundation and fail the second one, hitting a 1 when needing a 3. Great! At least he can’t respond with Chun-li… (well he was committed anyways)
Mike plays more foundations, I think 3 and a skull. I form with Alex, not wanting a lot in the pool when he responds with Chun-li. He skulls. I play pommel smash and get Chun-li, he blocks and reverses with Snipe, committing my one foundation… He pumps damage on the Snipe with standoff and I take 9. I play 1 more foundation and fail the next hitting a 3.
His turn he attacks with Spike and the one Multiple, checks well and pumps damage on the Spike. I block the first one, but the second deals 12 damage.
My turn I form with Alex, he tags along… I play action side Psycho Style and check another 1… yeah. I commit out to pass and play a couple foundations.
He plays some stuff to kill me and my measly foundations, pretty much I can’t stop standoff and I can’t block with what I have ready, especially when I check another 3 on the block = yuck.
Game 2 I decide to go first, to at least try to get a quick turn in and kill him. I play great foundations, passing Chesters and Bitter on 4s and 2 other foundations. 4 foundations out, I am only one short of last game on the first turn! Yay! Mike responded with Li and passed a 1 diff foundation. His first turn Mike plays Spinta, checks a 5, and pays the cost with the foundation he played on my turn… He takes away my bitter and my chesters. He goes on to play 4 foundations.
On my turn I form with Alex, I get to draw!!! I play a foundation. And he responds with Li. I play Tag Along on a 6, and check a 3, failing the Tag Along, he attacks with Spike (one multiple from the Spinta). I block one (the first so he don’t gain momentum) and take 10 on the second (pumped by counter the assault). I’ve taken 14. I play one more foundation and fail on the 3rd (4th card in pool), needing a 5 and checking a 4. I have 4 foundations out.
Mike plays another attack, this time dealing 8 damage, I am down to 6. I hit Li and get 3 more foundations out my next turn (hitting a 1 to end anymore…) and have 7 to his 8!
He attacks with Spinta, I now have 4 momentum (took away one of 2 standoffs), after his counter the assault and other random damage pump… I am staring at 13 damage throw, I half block but die.
I wasn’t in either of the games really; I drew Kuzuryu and finally a Dark Force on the 3rd turn of game 2, but didn’t have anything to push it through with. And playing it on a 7 after attempting to lock Li was not my idea of smart the way I was checking, and his numerous reversals that he could pass with his 8 foundations if my attack was even half blocked, me with 6 life… I had to hold on to the +1 highs that one more turn and attack with 7 foundations. The second Spinta is what killed me, i.e. block and take half.
Mike played perfectly, didn’t check anything other than 6s for his Spikes, and one 5 for his Spinta. He was destined to take it.
US Nats was a great deal of fun, I enjoyed watching all the games in top 8 thereafter, and was proud to be among the highest caliber I could have hoped for, and among friends. UFS community rocks!
-My playgroup back home for cheering me on – love you guys, enough to stop playing Alex solitaire, yes I enjoy you cooooooky bums that much
-Allen Burney, this guy is funny as sin and is a true Jugalo, he is the Legendary Legacy Master (he even sweet talked the badge lady to print it on his badge)
-Don Schafer, my other team mate who, slightly more sane than Burney, is also a load of fun, and a strong player with tons of promise
-All of the crews, and the individuals out having fun last weekend, from UFS House to Voltron and Olexa’s crew, to Tapout, Foxhound, Atliens and more.
-Jeremy Ray for beating/tying the other Alex giving me a better record 3-1-2 vs his 3-2-1, and then for not rolling a dice to see if you take a loss…
- Jeremy Ray for giving me some assets during deck check, making my life easy, I didn’t even have to ask, you just heard from someone I was looking, so great, I hope to repay you with good games and more hangouts in the future (and with your crew of course)
-My opponents for not messing with my SOS and at least winning a few games after fighting me ^^
-Vermillion for finding me Burney, and welcoming me to Ohio on Wednesday night, too bad you were ill the majority of the tourney and after, we would have had a grand time if not
-Hata for NOT designing Chun-li, but much more interesting and balanced character cards
- FFG and the prize support, quality stuff for top 8 players
-UFS House for winning a team asset
-Mike Lowe for winning the tournament within the tournament and diversifying out 2 other Chun-lis
-Shoemaker for cutting open Mike’s lip with a slap, and it wasn’t even Slapsgiving!!!
- Shajir, Keith, and Mike for being my Canadian team mates for the weekend, your support and friendship does not go unappreciated
-General Reaction and Shaneth for giving support to my firm belief that Nakoruru is the devil and hates me with a passion
-My deck for not crapping out on me too too much in Swiss
-Polka for not getting paired against me for another epic match!!! Also for the great trades ^^
-Matt Kohls for being a great guy, and doing his usual tallies before top cuts
-Jon Herr for not running Hanzo on Saturday
-Bittner for coming oh so close (we need a match btw, eventually lol)
-Not facing a Gill Arrow deck, I wanted to gain 5 life a turn and have you never kill me!!!
-Playing against 5 evil decks and 2 Chun-lis… 2 Hanzos as well (Evil decks)
-the lady at the hotel not letting Allen in at 3am on Friday night, making me put socks/shoes on and everything
-my checks in my top 8 appearance, even after I fixed the deck post Can Nats to lower the percentage from 4.5 to just under 4 – bah!
-Hanzo, no offense, but I hated you since release, you make Vega look bad and you kill with one attack, you check too damn well!!!
-My deck for crapping out on me too too much in top 8
-Polka for not getting paired against me for another epic match!!!
-The pretzels were too salty