Everything happens in July. My birthday, Lin's birthday, and our anniversary. We wanted to do something special to celebrate and we were all set for a vacation in Seattle when the UFS bug hit us. We had such a good time playing with the Dallas crew in the Arlington Regionals that we decided to hit up Worlds 09 instead! Neither of us had been to a major tournament before so we figured it could be fun; even if we lost every match we'd still be seeing a new place and meeting new people.
We're from Austin and for the past several months Austin has been in a drought. No rain, ever. Except on the day we needed to fly out of town. The thunderstorm of the year hit the airport right as we arrived. To make matters worse, when I rolled down my window to get a parking stub, it got jammed stuck and wouldn't close. Austin and its airport are well known for car theft. It wasn't exactly making my day that I'd be leaving my car in the long term lot with a window wide open. After parking, I pressed my weight against the glass (keep in mind I'm not exactly Ragnar's stunt double) and, after a considerably struggle, managed to push it up manually. I was overjoyed; immediately I turned to Lin and said: "That just made the trip for me!"
I kept that small victory in mind as our flight was delayed for hours to the point where we had to stay overnight in Dallas, our layover city. We didn't get into town until 11am on Thursday. We missed Team Worlds which really sucked for Lin as she was set to play on a team with some of the UK guys, including Mr. Viewtiful himself. She quickly got over it as soon as Legacy Worlds started.
I was running broken-ass Promo Yun-Seong for Legacy. I almost never play the same character card twice, so this was the first time I'd used him. I figured if there were ever an occasion to break out the big guns, this was it. I ran him off of air/order, with psycho focus/bird of prey (of course!), abusing Soul Power and Abelia's Friendship with Yun-Seong's re-ready ability. The real secret weapon was Homing Water Dragon Cane, which made my Bird of Prey's into multiples. T1 play Homing Water, Whereabout's Unknown, bring 'em down with Yun-Seong then psycho focus bird of prey w/multiple. Devastating when it works, but ultimately not very consistent.
This was proven remarkably true when I faced off against orange-card, blue-card master Scott Gaines. His Ukyo was/is beyond jank, and it was awesome! Equally ridiculous was his Ibuki. I think I got him once or twice but overall he won the majority of our games by far. In fact the rest of legacy worlds went very similar for me, coming down to a coin-flip. I kill you in one turn, you kill me in one turn, etc. Even though I placed last, I loved every minute of it.
Lin, on the other hand, owned in Legacy! Maybe I'll talk her into posting some details about her games, but she was running Mr. Invincible, Promo Rock, and running him damn well! She got 2nd overall, losing only to emptiness Tycho. I was so proud of her!
The next day was the main event, Singles. Lin was cosplaying Morrigan while playing Morrigan 3 (and using a Morrigan playmat). I was cosplaying as Travis Touchdown and was running Tira 5. My deck was designed to kill anybody that tried to build up walls or mill people out. It seemed from all the National/Regional reports that One Shot/Mill was very popular. Having never been to a major tournament, I took a guess as to what I'd be facing. Anyways, here's my decklist:
Character - Tira 5 (played off of Death/Fire)
4 x Seal of Cessation
4 x Shadow Exit
4 x No Memories
3 x Strife's Patronage
3 x Ultimate and Immortal
3 x End it All
3 x Fury of the North
4 x Lesser of Many Evils
2 x LK Arts
3 x White Magic
2 x Healer
3 x Buddhist Devotion
4 x Cursed Blood
4 x Hulking Brute
4 x Superior Balance (only played for the action side)
4 x The Street Life
3 x Greed's Influence
1 x Giradot's Leadership
1 x Free Will
1 x Flexible Body
1 x Menuett Dance (all I could get a hold of. My "surprise" kill condition if the Shadow Exits weren't going to work)
3 x Abelia's Friendship (to regen a bit against aggro decks and help build faster)
2 x MAC
2 x Destiny
Yes, a one shot deck! I know, I know, shame on me, but I'd never built one before (other than some of my old Tsunami Sabre decks) and thought this particular combination was pretty clever. Pop Lesser of Many Evils or End it All, play Shadow Exit, use Shadow Exit's enhance (Discard 1 momentum: For the rest of this attack's enhance phase your opponent may not play enhances on cards in their staging area). So basically no R's or E's from my opponent. Flying Power Bomb, Trolling, Rising Tackle, Oni Muso, Unorthodox Training were some of the only cards that could mess me up.
But how to make a 2 high, 4 damage attack lethal? Tira helped by adding damage equal to my opponent's ready foundations. Oh, you're building up a wall of Earth reduction? More damage for me! It was too slow to wait on that ability alone, so I added it some heavily costed foundations to help things along. The Street Life and Ultimate and Immortal both check 4, while Greed's Influence commits 2 foundations to play. May not sound like the most efficient pumps, but my speed boost, Superior Balance, benefited greatly (your attack gets +X speed. X equals to total difficulty of all commited foundations in your staging area). I'd use Greed's to commit my Giradot or my No Memories to make the speed ridiculous. Top it off with Fury of the North to get any remaining damage needed. Tada! Silly, eh? So how did it do?
My first match was against Goo, running a sneaky Kyoshiro 2 deck. It seemed innocent enough at first, as he played almost every foundation with a draw ability. I'm thinking "sweet, draw more cards, play more foundations, bwa haha." I had finally got all of my pieces in place and was ready for the kill when his deck went off. Amongst his foundations was a lone "Self-Sacrifice" that, combined with 14 cards in his hand and a throw, meant my entire staging area went away! I knew my deck would lose to Begin Anew, and this certainly proved it. He played some BRTs right after that and I was locked. We didn't have time to play out a second game, but overall it was a really fun match-up against a really cool deck.
MATCH 2 (1 loss)
Next up I was playing against John from da Bronx (with his least subtle accent ever) and his scary-fast Yang 2 deck. He killed me out of nowhere in the first game, but the second game I managed to get a bunch of Strife's Patronage and Seals early enough to stay alive and finally get a win with a 30 speed 20 damage Shadow Exit. Game 3 I didn't get out much defense but blocked a few key attacks and surprisingly finished him with my 1 Menuett Dance. This was my first win at Worlds (for any event) and I was relieved that I didn't burn up all my luck on my damn car window.
MATCH 3 (1 win, 1 loss)
Next match pitted me against Mitsurugi 7, the deck I would have run for teams. The gentleman I was playing against (sorry, I forgot your name) was running his with the Three Rites. I knew how brutal Mitsu could be, and how long it would take for me to get my Shadow Exit up to 30 damage. The details of the games are fuzzy now (took too long to start writing this report!), but I remember I killed him once with Shadow Exit, and then once with Menuett Dance (his KOF 06 provided me the momentum). Both games I was down to 3 health, so it was tense!
MATCH 4 (2 wins, 1 loss)
As fast as Mitsi aggro'ed, it was nothing compared to Felicia 4. Again, I've forgotten my opponents name, but he was wearing a badass hat made out of a Canadian beer case. I was finally against a fellow Canuck, (I'm originally from Toronto), but believe me when I say, the whole "Canadian's are nice chaps" thing is a myth as he spiked me so hard and so fast that I'd wondered if I'd even drawn my opening hand yet. The second game I thankfully got a plethora of No Memories, Seals, and healers out quickly. Building up enough to generate 27 damage was tough as he started looping spinta, to the point where I actually died from them alone. I blocked every one, but still took 2 each time. It was a long match, I was always one combo piece away from going off, but he was a great player and navigated to the win.
MATCH 5 (2 wins, 2 losses)
My next match was against the one-shot King, Sagat 4. Being run by another fine gentleman who's name I've also forgotten (I'm sorry!), Sagat built up a wall of defense that would make Rock jealous. He went for the kill first, playing Tiger Fury and immediately dropping my hand with Ways of Punishment. I didn't want to remind him that, since I dropped all my cards, his turn would end after this attack. I ate 23 damage, and when he went to go play High Plasma Beam I reminded him of the stipulation. A look of "OMG" came over him. We both laughed about it, and then next turn I Shadow Exited stage right. Game two he did NOT forget the stipulation, and dropped my last card with Glare from the Abyss, and then I ate lethal damage. Game 3 he was commiting all my combo pieces with Program Malfunction, now that he knew what I was up to. I managed to get enough copies of what I needed to take the final match. Another fun, close match that really could have gone either way.
MATCH 6 (3 wins, 2 losses)
This round had me facing of against a fellow Texan, Shelby (AirCody), and his badass Fio deck. One thing past games against him had taught me was: when Shelby goes aggro, be afraid! His never-ending strings of Menuetts and Vibratos turn 2/3 overwhelmed me in game one (especially with my entire hand in my momentum). Game two I managed to get out seals and No Memories very fast and prevented my demise. I knew I was never going to build enough combo pieces as he was spinta'ing me like mad. He went all out and I survived with literally 1 health left. He was all tapped out, and I drew, again, into my 1 Menuett Dance. With all my damage boosting foundations to back it up, I took game 2. Game 3 went very similar to game 2, but in this case when I attacked with Menuett Dance he wasn't nearly as low on resources. He blocked enough to stay alive and finish me the next turn. The matches were down to the wire, and an absolute blast. I'm pretty sure Shelby's Fio would beat my Tira 9 times out of 10, so I was just glad to win one of the games. You are a great player, man!
MATCH 7 (3 wins, 3 losses)
My final match-up was against Shinji who was running Donovan 2. Despite us both being Texas players, we'd never really met each other, only seen each other at various local tournaments. We talked about how one-shot decks were lame (which I felt a bit hypocritical about, as I was running a one shot deck) and how the new rotation might rejuvenate the San Antonio play group (which used to dwarf the Austin playgroup, but is now almost dead). The games themselves were very quick. With Donovan he could attack early and often, while commiting any threats I presented. I was actually ready to Shadow Exit in both games, but his kill turns were just in time. For the first time all day I didn't draw into my one Menuett Dance (not like I really should have been counting on it), so I just twiddled my thumbs as he blitzed me. He seemed like a nice guy, not nearly as over-the-top as his online persona. Good luck resurrecting the San Antonio group, it was always fun playing with you guys.
So ultimately I didn't quite break even, but I still think I did alright considering the unorthodox nature of my deck. I suppose I could have just gone with Menuett all the way and skipped the shenanigans, but where's the fun in that? My final ranking was around 40ish out of 84. Lin's final rank was 24th, and she finished with a 4 win, 3 loss record. Still the best I've ever done wearing a 3-sizes-too-small red leather jacket!
That evening we hit up the RAM with some fellow Texans and Antigoth's crew. We all unwound and discussed what characters we would play in the new format.
Saturday rolled around and we decided to join the "play for a pack" event. We figured this would be pretty quick and that we'd get to see some of the actual convention. The event ended up taking all day, with Lin getting into the top 8. We never got to see much of anything but it was fun. I played my infinite-attack Mitsurugi (which I might post in the deck building forum) and did alright. Near the end a fire-alarm went off and we all evacuated.
After the event we followed a few people to Buca de Beppo where the ENTIRE UFS community was chilling outside waiting for a table. "there's no way they'll get seated" I thought but was immediately corrected as they indeed sat the whole group. Lin and I squeezed in there, but something felt wrong. This was the last night of our vacation and we hadn't even had our anniversary dinner yet. So we decided to bail and have an evening together, no offense to those at Buca. It sounds like it was a legendary evening.
Sunday we did some sightseeing around town and caught a late plane back to Austin. Thankfully my car was still waiting for me in in the long term lot.
Overall the trip was great. As we had hoped, we met a lot of cool people, played a lot of great matches, and got to see what top-tier UFS was about. Seattle will always be there, but Gencon 09 only happened once!