15 May 2012

Nationals time

Warning: Beware of long post! I tried to make it easy enough to read...

Aaah, Nationals time. The second time I participated and I hoped to do a little better than last year. I remember last year, I got a mere 87th place out of about 120 participants. But that was the first year I was playing. This time around, I took my Chaos Dragon deck.

I got up at 7h, and took the train to Brussels. After a five-minute walk from the station, I end up at the Outpost of Brussels around 10h, where the tournament took place.

I thought that shop would be bigger; sine nationals attract about a hundred attendees each year. But I was wrong… It isn’t the biggest place, but apparently the organizers thought there wouldn’t be a hundred people because of the “economic crisis”. Guess what… there were 160 people, even more than last year! Woops! They hired the lounge bar next door to make sure all those people could sit and play. The top-32 tables and the feature matches were held in the lounge bar, the rest was in the Outpost.

Registration was slow (as expected), in that BIG shop [/sarcasm], so instead of starting out at 11 o’ clock, it ends up being 12h30 before we could really start. It was no surprise people started to get grumpy and hungry after a while. Most of them were there since before 10h.

In the meantime, I got to do some nice trades. I finally got that Hyper Psychic Blaster for my Psychic Gusto Deck & I finally got me a Trishula, the re-sealed Dragon of the Ice Barrier (now my Ice Barrier collection is complete! Hurray!). My friends, on the other hand, were hyping up on Cardfight Vanguard, that new trading card game. Since the Outpost was the first shop to actually sell these in Belgium, it was only a matter of time before they sold out. A lot of people were interested in them.

Somewhere between 12 & 12h30, all players get to sit down alphabetically, so that the judges could pick up the deck lists. The head Judge says that due to the late start, round 7 & 8 would be held the day after. I’m not pleased with the announcement, as I wasn’t planning on returning on Sundays (unless I would top, of course).

During this decklist-check, I’m seated in front of Max Van Nijverseel, the guy that got 4th place at YCS Toulouse. That guy’s huge! From the talks I had with him that day, I could hear he’s definitely one of Belgium’s finest players at the moment. Let’s just hope that 4th YCS place doesn’t get to his head.

Round 1: Vs Lightsworn-Chaos Dragons-something deck

A short while after that, we finally get to the first round. The first opponent speaks French and only a few words Dutch or English (great). But he understood the game mechanics well enough and my French is average enough to get the game going. I win the die-roll, so I go first.

  • Game 1: I get dragons on the field easily. I beat him fast!
  • Game 2: I open horribly, but he can’t seem to get stuff going either. Just like game 1, he isn’t using the effect of Eclipse Wyvern & I start to notice that he doesn’t have any dark monsters at all (HUH?). After a few turns, I finally can get Lightpulsar and Darkflare on the field, and I beat him down.
  • Result: OO

He explains (in his worst English) that it was his first big tournament and he was quite nervous. That would explain why he couldn’t get the second game.

Just before the second round started, my judge-friend came up to me and said: “Hey, I’m taking care of coverage today. Would you mind if I picked you to be one the next feature matches?” I thought about it. As I’m a fair-play guy, it’s only an advantage to be covered, as my opponent cannot cheat. So, I said yes. We got to play on the Gagaga Girl mats, which were beautiful! I wanted one of those :-P.

Round 2: Vs Grapha's minions (feature match!)

This opponent is a guy from my locals. The feature match made him obviously more nervous than he would be in a regular matchup (my fault I guess :-P). After re-rolling the dice for 4 times (lol), I end up losing the roll.

  • Game 1: I open up with Charge of the Light Brigade & Solar Recharge, together with a bunch of Chaos monsters (cool). I got Lyla to my hand, but he activates Mind crush and I have to say bye to Lyla (f**k). He buries his Grapha and he attacked me with Trance Archfiend (wait, that's all?). During the match he mistakingly draws after he played reckless Greeds. I didn’t notice it, but the judge did. He apologizes, but gets a warning and a replay ensues. His nervousness is getting worse and he can't focus anymore. Thanks to that, he forgets about that Grapha. I’m able to come back quickly and beat him!
  • Game 2: I start to wonder if he ended up with the same hand, but with a Dark World Dealing instead of Mind Crush, because again, he buries his Grapha & he attacks with DJ Archfiend. He’s able to get Grapha on the field this time around, but I get over his him with REDMD, banish the living sh!t out of him with Darkflare Dragon and beat the rest of Grapha's armies!
  • Result: OO

After the match is over, my friend-judge and another judge have a small discussion about how the first one forgot to start the camera (fail). So our match was typed out, but no video (too bad). Then I start hearing rumors about how the entry packs were going to be Order of Chaos instead of Galactic Overload. This caused a lot of irritation amongst the players, as people wanted GAOV, not ORCS.

Since I had time to spare, I buy 10 packs of Galactic Overload (since I wasn’t going to get anything from the entry). I open them, along with my mates and piss them off when we pull a Photon Strike Bounzer, a Night Beam, Evoltile Elginero & Light Art Hijiri and a few other good rares and commons. Yup, that was money well spent.

Round 3: Vs the Bugs

Another French guy, but at least this one speaks English well enough to have a conversation, even if he clearly wasn’t that talkative. Before we start, we finally get our entry packs, proving that it was ORCS we got (ugh). The only good card I pulled from it was Blade Armor Ninja. Then we roll dice, I lose.

  • Game 1: After he opens Tour Guide into Sangan, I still have no idea what he plays. It takes a few turns, but it ends up being Inzektors. But Darkflare, Chaos Sorcerer and BLS cause a lot of his combo cards to be banished, before he could draw into a Dragonfly. I sure love Chaos monsters :-P.
  • Game 2: He opens quite well and even though I put up quite the resistance, I can’t seem to draw a single Chaos monster. Even Lightpulsar refuses to go to my grave! Curses!
  • Game 3: This one goes back and forth. I refuse to give into his Inzektors and banish his Centipede, Tour Guide, Sangan and 2 of his Hornets (again he fails to draw Dragonflies). But as we go into time, he finally gets his Dragonfly, takes the upper hand with his last Hornet and takes the last of my life points.
  • Result: OXX

This was an exciting match, even though I lost in the end. At this time around, the time schedule for the nationals gets updated again, and apparently round 7 & 8 will be held today after all, but we weren’t going to get a 1-hour break between round 3 and 4. I’m pleased, but a few of the judges are complaining because it will be late when the tournament ends today.

I meet up with my friends. Several of them are able to keep a 3-0 score, but half of them had at least 1 or 2 losses.

Round 4: Vs the annoying bugs (again)

Another French guy, but he speaks English fluently and is quite the nice guy. We have a chat and help out the French and Dutch players next to us who apparently don’t understand each other. We roll dice, I win!

  • Game 1: I open up with 2 Wyverns, a few Chaos monsters and 1 Ryko. He destroys the Ryko instantly with Hornet and attacks. I then draw my third wyvern and realize there’s no more way out for me. I quickly lose.
  • Game 2: I can open quite well, but I mistakingly use my effect veiler as a monster instead of keeping it in my hand. Next turn, he summoned Dragonfly, which I couldn’t negate anymore. Well, I deserved that loss.
  • Result: XX

Round 5: Vs Skill Drain Heroes

Finally I face another Dutch speaking guy. And it’s a guy that doesn’t play Inzektors! I win the dice roll, so I start out.

  • Game 1: He flips Skill Drain early on in the game. I curse that card, since my MST’s are in my side-deck and Heavy Storm remained somewhere hidden in my deck the entire duel. I didn’t get Future Fusion, or the Lightsworn Support cards I needed. So when he gets Beast King Barbaros on the field, I have to face the truth. Skill Drain hurts.
  • Game 2: Obviously I side in my MST’s and hurray, I open with one of them, together with Heavy Storm! I use both of them (too) early in the game, but neither of them hit Skill Drain (I do hit Solemn Warning and Judgment). Not surprisingly, he flips his Skill Drain soon after and I have no way out again (DAMNIT!). I hit myself in the head for using that MST too early to be good, since I can’t get the other two in my hand. And then Karma laughs in my face, providing me with top decks like Ryko & Lyla.
  • Result: XX

At that point, I’m kind of pissed. The guy was nice, but I just got my third loss (again, due to my own mistakes), meaning chances of me getting top-32 were reduced to 0. When I meet up with my friends, most of them had 2 losses.

Round 6: Huh?

I sit down, rather ranked down after facing three losses in a row. The table area was quite empty, as three opponents don’t show up, including mine. The guy next to me starts the timer on his phone, saying that he missed the top 32 in Toulouse, because his last opponent showed up in the last seconds, stalled like hell and got the win due to time. He said that ever since, he’s making sure that doesn’t happen to him again. After two minutes my opponent shows up, he says I can have the win, signs the paper and walks off. Lol, what?

The guy that was timing calls the judge and he signs “no-show” on his paper. On my other side, another young player faces the wrath of the head judge after he has to admit his side-deck is in a box filled with other cards (hard to prove you're not cheating then,huh). Poor kid was nearly crying when he got a game loss.

Round 7: Chaos Dragons (lol, mirror-match)

The guy I face seems tired. When I talk to him about it, he says he hasn’t slept in near 48 hours. After the deck shuffle, I win the dice roll, so I begin.

  • Game 1: I open up with chaos card and LS support, so I pass. He profits from it and gets Spirit Reaper on the field, attacking me. He picks Lightpulsar Dragon for discard (he’ll regret that) and didn’t get that Chaos Sorcerer (lucky me). Next turn, I get the Lightsworn engine working, get Future Fusion in my hand, get all my boss monsters on the field and try to go for an OTK. He prevents that, thanks to Gorz, but he ends up losing anyway.
  • Game 2: I open bad, he opens Future Fusion. He wins, period.
  • Game 3: This was one of the most exciting games of the day. He tries stuff by getting Darkflare Dragon in the grave. I draw Victoria, revive his Darkflare Dragon & banish it for my Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon (lol, Victoria Win!). But I can’t get the win yet. He’s good! He comes back and ends up reviving my BLS. I feared I had no outs with Lyla being the only card left on the field. But then I draw Divine Dragon Apocralyph and get an idea! I summon it, use its effect to get REDMD back to the hand, overlay him and Lyla for Maestroke, detach Apocralyph to turn that BLS face-down, remove Ryko & Apocralyph to summon Lightpulsar from my hand. Banish it to summon REDMD, special summon the other Lightpulsar from the grave and smash for game! Thank you Maestroke!
  • Result: OXO

I thanked the guy for the exciting match. He smiled, but hoped the tournament would be over soon. I asked him: “So you can go to bed?” No, he said. “I still need to go out with my girl tonight”. Ouch, wonder how that turned out for him?

Later on, the judges put up the standing after round 7 (First standing I’ve seen today). I was in place 63 of the 160. Cool, still in top-64. Top 32 was impossible, but if I could remain in the top 64, I would still get those Qualifier sleeves. But 63th place is cutting it, so I had to win next round. Several of my friends were nervous too, because they had two losses. They couldn’t lose another one, or they would be kicked out of the top-32. That situation made the last round the most exciting one.

Round 8: Chain burn

The last one is Dutch speaking as well (hurray). I lose the dice roll.

  • Game 1: He opens Pot of Duality and reveals Jar of Greed, Legend of Yata-Garasu and Morphing Jar. For a moment I feared he was playing empty jar, a deck my I have a bad matchup against. But for some reason, he picks Jar of Greed instead of Morphing Jar (huh?). After getting a few monsters on the field, I notice it isn’t an empty jar deck, but rather a chain burn deck. I tried getting to his life points asap, but he ends up countering me with double Just Desserts and finishes me off with Secret Barrel.
  • Game 2: He stalls and draws massively again. But this time around, he doesn’t have that Swift Scarecrow in his hand, so I quickly kill him with my boss monsters.
  • Game 3: All or nothing. Both of us were fighting to remain in top-64, so it was hard vs. hard. I get monsters on the field; he can counter with cards like Lava Golem. But I won’t go down that easily. I use his Ojama tokens to get Scrap Dragon and Catastor on the field. Both our life points go down, but neither player is giving up. Then he gets Metaion, the Timelord on the field. He would’ve killed me if its effect would’ve worked, but my Effect Veiler prevents him from attacking. When it was my draw phase, I started to wonder how to get over that card, as attacking it was out of the question. I knew it was just a matter of time before he activated another Just Desserts or Secret Barrel. In the background I hear “TIME!” and realize I had to do something, or I would lose (I was slightly behind in LP). I draw into Eclipse Wyvern and my first thought was “Bad topdeck”! But then I noticed I still had Lyla on the field and remembered that come-back move from last round. I overlay Lyla & Eclipse Wyvern to create Maestroke, the lifesaver. And yes, he saves my butt. I use his effect to put that Metaion face-down, then destroy it with Scrap Dragon’s effect and attack for game with all my monsters.
  • Result: XOO

The game is over and we’re both happy with the exciting match.

Final standings came out, while I drank another juice. I ended up being 43th place (of 160 attendees). I was quite happy with the result, even if I wasn’t in the top-32 (wasn’t my expectation). But being so close to that top-32 made me feel a little bitter about my mistakes in the matches I lost (the so close, yet so far feeling).

Next to the ex-champ from my locals, one of my teammates (the best player) topped too, so he would be coming back on Sundays. After talking and joking around with all the guys from locals, I walk to the train station and head home. By the time I started walking, it’s already 21h, so it was past 23h when I got home. A long day passed by, and I was happy.

After hearing from my team later on, that teammate got to 7th place and apparantly one of the only Dino Rabbit players at nationals actually won over all the inzektors! No matter how many Inzektors topped, it's Dino Rabbit that wins again! (I felt happy again!)

Pros for today:

  • Good trades and awesome GAOV-pulls.
  • Doing a coverage match and winning it 2-0!
  • Maestroke the Lifesaver being the best addition to the extra deck I had in months.
  • One of my teammates getting 7th place! Congratz to him!
  • Dino Rabbit beating all the inzektors (loving that result!)
  • None of my opponents being bas*ards (unlike last year), some of them were really nice.

Cons for today:

  • The not-so-great organization of the tournament (location, timing, changed time-schedule)
  • Not getting GAOV as entry packs, but ORCS
  • Making mistakes causing me to lose two matches.

So, that was me at nationals. This weekend it's European Qualifier. We'll see what my deck does there, with the nice addition of Photon Strike Bounzer :-P

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