Hey everyone. I wanted to list out a brief review of my rounds and tournament experience at singles worlds this year. Unfortunately I don’t remember all the details of each match, but I’ll try to post what I do remember as accurately as possible.
For those wondering I played Promo Zi Mei running primarily off the Death symbol, utilizing a Fire kill. My deck list and thoughts about my deck can be found in the deck-building forum.
Round 1 (Opponent: John Macek playing Gill Order Defender Loop)
I knew this would be a fairly tough match. John is an excellent player and playing him in the first round I didn’t know what to expect from his deck. Luckily I always had one more negation piece than he was able to deal with and I was able to keep his loop at bay until I could kill him. I remember on one turn he went first and dropped Program Malfunction, Charismatic, Aquakensis, and something else. I followed up with a Oral Dead, Inhuman Perception, Martial Arts Champion, and Cursed Blood. That’s kind of just the way the games went. Result 2-0
Round 2 (Opponent: Osei playing Sagat Earth One shot Fury)
Again, I another great opponent and a scary match up. Much like John’s match up I always had one more control piece than he could deal with. I think Cursed Blood and my ability to draw using Hugo’s support, while stopping his draw with martial arts and inhuman really helped me outpace and eventually win. Result 2-0.
Round 3 (Opponent: Lin playing Copy Morrigan off Good)
I had a lot of fun this match. Lin is very friendly and I was happy to meet her this round. I think I was a bad match up for her deck and felt a little bad about how long it took to set up and kill her. She was a great sport however and even taunted me along the way telling me what I should do to speed up my kill. After our match I had fun switching decks with her and trying to kill her Zi Mei turn 3. Unfortunately I checked a two on a tag along and the kill became impossible. This was certainly the most fun I had all day and I hope you Lin and James are able to make more UFS events in the future. Result 2-0
Round 4 (Opponent: Mike Lowe playing Air Fio into Air Olexa)
Mike Lowe is my bane ever since US Nationals and his win over me in the finals. I’ll admit that I was thinking about our finals round during our match despite my best efforts to focus on the present. Game 1 Mike came at me hard and on turn 2 or three committed out on an attack string. Luckily I survived and the next turn commited down his one ready foundation and threw a Multiplied out Fury at him for 20+ damage. 5 speed is hard to block yo! Game 2 he switched into Olexa which turned out to be much better against me than Fio. On one occasion I made a bad play and threw my multiple completely forgetting about his hack. Shortly afterward he killed me with Snipes, Spintas, and M. Dancing oh my! Game three didn’t have much time and there was a lot of back and forth. With about 3 minutes left I went for the kill knowing that I probably couldn’t do it. I didn’t spend much time trying to work through what would happen, but there was only a few minutes left so I figured give it a try. When all was said and done I had sent my multiple through, but when I Saikyo-Ryu’d I saw 2 Mark of the Beasts. I could only ditch one and saw he’d block with the other. As time was called we shook hands and in my head I hoped I wouldn’t have to fight him again later. Result 1-1
Round 5 (Opponent: Andrew (NY) playing Order/Good Hilde)
This was a very scary match for me and I devoted nearly every card in my side board to dealing with it. He had my two biggest weaknesses Heel Snipe and Bringing the Master to his Knees. If I remember right I won game 1, lost game 2, and won game three. There was one string of responses that became a bit confusing and we misunderstood each other, but Andrew was a gentleman and we were able to rework what happened without too much trouble. Also noted after the match – Hope I don’t face that one either – yikes. Result 2-1
Round 6 (Opponent: Andrew Olexa playing Air Andrew Olexa)
Another tough match. My mind returned to round 4 playing Mike Lowe and the difficulty I had. Here I am sitting across from the man who earned the card he’s playing and a good friend of mine. We both needed a win to guarantee our spot in top 8 so the stakes were high.
Game one went my way and I was about to keep his spintas relatively at bay and uncontrolled his board until I could deal the lethal blow.
Game two I made a bit mistake and discarded the wrong card (A Tag Along) on my kill turn instead of his mid block and heel snipe. Right after I made the decision I realized I had sealed my fate. This was my worst mistake of the tournament. He half blocked and reversed with Heel snipe – committing Zi Mei and using two un-negate-able Chinese boxings commited my 2 all life is prey. I didn’t have the damage to kill him and the rest of my multiples hit for 3. Virtually committed out and defenseless he Danced all over me next turn.
Game three was a back and forth battle, but ultimately I held control the entire game, outbuilding him with cursed blood and hugo draw. I wasn’t in much danger of being killed. When time got low in the match I went for my final kill. Unfortunately there was a ton of fighting going on nearby and a lot of shouting. Around this time Andrew and I weren’t sure about a ruling on dead for 1000 years. This turned into a very unpleasant experience as we tried to sort out what was happening with all the chaos going on around us. I had trouble thinking straight and tried my best to remain focused and polite though it was increasingly difficult. In the end I walked away with the kill and the win, but felt awful that the experience had happened with my good friend. Luckily Andrew still made top 8 later which made me feel a lot better. Result 2-1
Round 7 (Opponent: Fred playing Fire 2 check Akuma)
Brilliant deck and a brilliant player, I had my hands full. Luckily we were both in with a draw, but decided to play it out to see what would happen and get some testing in. Game one I set up pretty fast and delivered the knock out blow.
Game 2 Fred owned me hard going first and completing decimating my board with his ability, Yoga Adept, Spinta, and intimidating presence. By turn 3 I knew I couldn’t win, but I struggled on anyway. Death awaited a few turns later.
Game 3 went much better for me and I had a control base that was nearly untouchable. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, I flipped 3 furies early and though I had my board set for the kill couldn’t find the fourth. With time running out I drew into my last hand and still no fury. I had 3 cards left in my deck – 1 of which was a fury. I played a fire foundation to hulking brute and draw into it, but flipped the last fury on the check. Fred breathed a sigh of relief and we shook hands and took the draw. Result 1-1
Time for top 8. Swiss champ curse many shouted. I promised myself that if I was lucky enough to make it to the big show again I must win!
Top 8 – First Round (Opponent: Danny Fung – Fire Hilde)
A little luck. This was a bad match up for Danny since he didn’t run heel snipe or bringing the master to his knees. Instead he played riskier and ran the cobra blow for the turn 1 or 2 win. I knew that as long as I played a seal going first or a no memories or seal going second I should be fine. Game one I got lots of control very fast and eventually killed him turn 5 or so. Game 2 he went first and dropped a seal to try and kill me the next turn. Unforunately, he flipped a 2 and failed. I played out my hand 5 foundations and a saikyo Ryu. He played out all his hand but 1 card trying to catch up. My turn 2 I Furied took his hand away and killed him.
Danny is a stand up individual and a great friend. He was extremely kind both before and after the match. I’ve always liked Danny, but I do even more after getting to know him better this year at worlds.
Top 4 – Second Round (Opponent: Garett playing Good J. Talbain)
A relatively new player to the UFS scene, Garett is a brilliant player and the kindest person you could hope to meet. Both playing cards and hanging out, he is the kind of guy you’d be lucky to call a friend.
As we sat down to play I thanked him for defeating Fred. I did not want to risk another game 2 against Fred as I had played earlier. This was not to imply that this match would be easier, but I figured if I could stop his Dark Forces I’d be ok.
Game 1 – I held on to my good low blocks (Oral Dead) and played out as much control, card draw, and cursed bloods as I could. Luckily for me Garett ended up drawing no Red Lotus and a bunch of generic/non-control foundations. I think I killed around turn 6 or 7 after I had the damage pumps I needed and had just been 6 HS.
Game 2 – He built much better and I dug in for a longer and much more dangerous game. I feared the Heel snipe! When I was finally ready to consider killing I still hadn’t seen any of my furies, by now I only had about 20 or less cards left in deck. With one seal on the table he plays a collecting data. I did a crappy job and totally abandoned any type of poker face. I searched my discard pile and my hand to be sure – yup no attacks. I sealed the action and breathed a sigh of relief. Then the worst happened another collecting data! No frickin way. [Aside – many people criticized me for not having a momentum outlet, but really 1) who collects data and 2) what are the odds I wouldn’t flip 1 or have one by then] As he laid down the card I think I let out a yell of some kind removing any doubt that he hadn’t just destroyed me. In that moment he found all 4 of my furies and into my momentum they went. I probably should have conceded here, but figured since there was no time limit I’d fight on and make him kill or mill me. Kill me he did about 2 turns later – on to game three.
Game 3 – I’m nervous, but know that I need a seal or attack turn 1 to make sure the unthinkable doesn’t keep me from returning to the big dance. I play conservatively and am relieved when he mulligans 2 collecting data and a heel snipe. Again I bring the control and he brings a little control. He attacks fast on turn 3 I think it was. Again I was holding the Oral dead of doom and canceled only the necessary enhances even weighing my options and allowing the dark force enhance through. I knew I had to block this or die. Luckily I was able to do so and that was pretty much that. I believe I killed him next turn when he was pretty well committed out.
Top 2 – Finals – (Opponent: UK Joe playing Order Rush Donovan)
I knew this would be tough. I hate it when people throw multiple attacks at me and his deck certainly did that.
Game 1 he threw everything including the kitchen sink at me bringing me all the way down to 5 life by turn 3 or 4. I then retaliated, committing down his remaining ready cards and Furying for the kill. This game was very close and I won by the skin of my teeth, excellent game.
Game 2 Control comes faster and stronger than game 1. After a lot of work Joe gets to the point he can resolve a spinta, but forgets to. As I go for block I shockingly remind him that he missed it, but then cruelly tell him it’s too late now. I felt bad bringing it up and then telling him sorry it’s too late, but Joe understood and was a real gentleman as always. He knew that in a casual game I would have let him, but this was for a character and I couldn’t. At this time he pretty much said, “That cost me the game.” He was right. He never recovered and I set up an unstoppable death shield. Unfortunately I again couldn’t draw my Furies and flipped them all. I had to cycle and drew into two Furies with about 17 cards left in my deck. Joe keenly went down to one card in hand using experienced and I had a feeling I was walking into a trap, but decided to discard it anyway. Bam! Warriors Path. I discarded my attack and Joe drew 3. The audience buzzed with curiosity. I played another Fury much to Joe’s dismay and negated, canceled, and committed everything on my way to victory, in the end giving each of my multiples +10 damage per All life is prey. Result 2-0
I could hardly believe it. After my third trip to a singles final for a card I had finally sealed the deal. UFS house members now all had characters. We completed the trifecta! I felt so lucky and honored that things worked out the way they did. Though I was undefeated I found many skilled opponents and had lots of down to the wire matches. I’d like to thank everyone who supported me through the rounds and over the years and I very much appreciate the handshakes, pats on the back, and good luck wishes.
To all my opponent’s thank you for being so gracious in defeat. Please believe me when I say I’ve been there and I know how it feels. Everyone I played was 100% class and I will never forget the experience as long as I live.