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Ok, so this is only a pseudo-Nationals report. And there’s a very strong reason for that:
I lost ALL the notes I took.
Those who played me, I apologize now for not knowing any names, period. The main reason I write down names is so I can try to remember them later. So, when this goes up and you see I didn’t use your name, feel free to shoot me an email at Cardz2004@hotmail.com and I’ll put you in my next article. And my apologies to for the lateness of the article too. It’s just taken me so long to recall all the details for the Saturday section (and its not even complete as is). That aside, let’s get to the pseudo-report.
I got to Origins on Wednesday and decided to just get my pre-registration badge, grab an Event Registration book and plan out my con that night at the hotel. I got to the convention early enough on Thursday that almost no one was in the event registration line. Score! I only got shut out of one tournament (Risk 2210. Sadness), that was OK. Everything else I wanted to do was open.
I usually use my first day at a con to go through the dealer hall and get as much free stuff as a I can. This includes playing a LOT of games I wouldn’t normally play, including but not limited to: HorrorClix, Warlord, and a game called Killer Bunnies. Now, I’d heard of Killer Bunnies before, but had never played it. I happened to be passing the booth right before they were starting a game. I decided to jump in and learn the game.
After playing for about ten minutes, I was hooked. Honestly, Killer Bunnies is the easiest and most elegant game I’ve played in a long time. And on top of that, I won my first game which entered me in a drawing for an uncut, signed sheet of cards that they were giving away at the end of the convention. I even got a chance to meet the creator of the game and he signed the giant card they were using for the drawing (Side Note: it makes a beautiful addition to my room right now). The guys at Playroom Entertainment are wonderful and, if you’re heading to any other major Conventions this year, make sure to check them out along with Looney Labs, undoubtedly the two most original and fun game companies out now.
As usual, I spent a LOT of time with Looney Labs, learning how to play their newest game (Treehouse) and playing in two of their tournaments that afternoon and evening. I ended up winning my first tournament ever at Origins (A Fluxx Worlds qualifier; the Worlds round was on Sunday at Noon). I also made the final table of Martian Chess that evening before going to play some late night Are You a Werewolf? Needless to say, I’m not as crazy as some Werewolf? players, so I didn’t stay up all night. I was helping out Looney Labs with a Teacher’s Hall Pass presentation the next day, so I needed some sleep.
Also on Thursday, I traded for most of the cards I needed for my deck. More on the deck I ran on Saturday’s report.
More or less did more perusing of the dealer’s room until the demo for Teacher’s Hall Pass. Then, at 2, I played in the Zendo tournament run by Looney Labs. I figured it wouldn’t go longer than 4 hours, so I should be OK. I didn’t have any more events that day and was just planning on trading for more cards that evening.
Well, I was wrong the tournament went from 2-10:30. Over eight hours of mentally draining, abstract thinking. Ouch. I did do very well in the tournament and made the final table (mostly through mental endurance) but lost on a very difficult rule (though not as difficult as the one in second round…). I was so drained after playing; I only played one round of Werewolf? and went to bed at my hotel. The next day was Nationals, and I needed to be at least semi-conscious to play the next day.
(Side Note: After finishing the Zendo tournament, I headed to the Food Court for a reaaaaly late lunch/late dinner at 11 pm. While there, I picked up the last cards I needed and noticed a growing trend: a lot of people were playing DragTrode and not LBS. Bad news for my deck…)
OK, so, the deck.
I decided to run MetaNite because it would more or less be viable in the next format and should punish many other decks in the format with a quick setup and early Crush and Burn or head-flipped Agilities. Here’s the initial deck list I decided to run:
DaMPer Ver. 3.1
3 Beldum d
2 Metang DX
3 Metagross d
3 Dratini d (Thunder Wave)
2 Dragonair d (Twister)
3 Dragonite d
1 Pidgey d
1 Pidgeot d
3 Holon’s Castform
4 Holon Transceiver
3 Holon Mentor
2 Holon Researcher
2 Holon Adventurer
1 Holon Scientist
1 Holon Lass
4 Rare Candy
4 Desert Ruins
1 POW! Hand Extension
1 ATM: Rock
1 Warp Point
2 Holon GL
Now, I don’t claim to be right all the time, so I decided to ask a couple of my other friend’s who play for their opinions of the deck. I got a few…interesting suggestions, but only one I would consider taking.
When I arrived at the con and played with the deck a little, I decided 3 Mentor was overkill and I should do 3 Researcher and 2 Mentor. One person suggested I only go for 2 Researcher and 1 Adventurer and add in 2 Rocket’s Admin. Now, this thought had passed my mind, and I liked it. But I didn’t have the Admin to use. Luckily, he had one I could borrow. So now all I needed was a second Admin to put in my deck.
I found it and made the quick change about forty-five minutes before the cutoff began. I finished my decklist twenty minutes before the cutoff, got in line with a few friends from the Guardtower, and registered. Then the wait before the first round started.
When they announced there would be 9 rounds because of the 300+ players in the tournament, I knew this would be a loooooong day. Honestly, after the marathon Zendo tournament the day before, my mind was already fried. And another 9 rounds of more frying was just not going to be fun. But I knew I had to do well, as this was my only shot at a trip to Worlds.
OK, from here on out, things are going to be listed in a bulleted form of random points, all of which pertain to the day and the deck I ran. It’s going to be jumpy, so you may not understand it all. If you have any questions at all in this section, funnel them toward Cardz2004@hotmail.com and I’ll try to answer them there.
My First loss was in Round One to Lissanne. The only reason I remember this person’s name and no one else’s is because she has a similar problem to mine: our names are very unique. She, like me, has only met one other person who has their name spelled the same way. That said, our match wasn’t great.
Turn 2 90 damage to a Dratini d from a Dark Slowking. Now, I could have stopped this attack, but I simply hadn’t played this deck enough since I considered it pretty rogue. I even played the deck in Round 1 of Ohio States and just completely forgot how this deck played.
---(we played a second game since the first one took about 30 seconds from the start of time. She beat me again, but I actually got running after a few turns.)
My next match I got set up very quickly with a T1 Meta that netted a bunch of early cards a few early KOs with Crash and Burn. I never thought that evolving turn 1 would ever be a smart move, but this deck has proven it wrong, especially if you need the extra cards or need to charge up your bench ASAP.
--Insert lunch break after round 2, where I found the BEST peanut butter sandwich ever from Krema Nut Company, a company stationed out of Columbus. I had a PB Apple Cheesecake sandwich: Crunchy Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Cream Cheese, and Apple preserves. Put it on wheat with a large water: priceless. Can’t wait to try this at home.
Round 3: was another loss, but it was a long loss with us trading prizes until he knocked down my Agility-ing Draggy.
Round 4 I ended up beating the first DragTrode I saw all day. We were evenly matched all the way through and I happened to win on a fluke. I needed a Rare Candy to get out the Dragonite d in my hand to Charge a (L) energy from the discard to do 110 to an Active R. Sneasle EX for a 2 prize KO and the lead at 1-2. Rare Candy was card 4 in a well-timed Delta Control, allowing my to Mentor for a Dratini and Candy out the Draggy. After the KO by Metagross (I got the KO by Crash and Burning away all my energy), my opponent checked his discard pile. With that KO, I had ridded him of ALL of his energy. With no energy left in his deck, he scooped and conceded. Great match.
Round 4 started by wave of wins, but many by luck. I made it past Round 5 when my opponent (playing one of the few Machamp HL decks out there) had both his Pidgeot RG prized. I endedup getting both a Meta and a Draggy by turn 3, so he didn’t get to draw many prizes. And my Pidgeot d made its lone appearance in the tournament here, shutting down his Jirachi, which could have helped saved him.
--(Side Note here: The Pidgeot in this deck was a 2-1-2, but it became too cumbersome for the deck to support well. With the 1-1, I rarely saw it at all and NEVER saw it when I needed it (see game 7). I may be cutting it, depending what’s popular in the next format.)
…was another slugfest that didn’t get started for 20 minutes. This was against a Rogue MewEX deck that ran Raichu EX (yeah, I was rather confused…). I had two early Energy attaches, but he hit two good ER2s, sending me back to no energy. After that (about 3 minutes in), we spent 15-20 minutes setting up, but drawing NO energy. At about the same time, we both hit a Holon Lass and got a decent amount of energy. However, I was able to KO the pokémon he was powering up, leaving him E-less again. I was down on energy after a Crash and Burn, but I hit another Transceiver that I used to net a H.Lass, getting me the rest of the energy I needed to win.
--I can’t remember Round 7 other than I lost. I believe this was my loss to a well-tuned DragTrode, can’t remember. Help anyone? I know that this person had a PokeGym screen name because they asked me to list it. If you know who you are, email me please. You deserve credit for the win.
I hate to mention round 8 because it’s the win I shouldn’t have gotten. I was facing my only LBS of the tourney and we were both pretty even the whole way through. I got started VERY early with a t2 Meta. But we both started with active Holon’s Castforms, so we both stalled a few turns. I did get set-up with both a Draggy and Meta ds and ended up going up 5-3 on prizes. He endedup KOing a Draggy that was taking quite a few prizes and I returned the favor by placing a Desert Ruins and KOing his Lugia EX with a Meta d. I had a ATM: Rock and evolution in hand, ready to use when the damage got to 50 on his Candied Blasty EX. However, I never got the chance.
He played a Pokemon Retreiver to put Lugia EX, Holon’s Castform, and a Squirtle back into his deck. He then played Mentor to get back those three, benched the Lugia, and attached three energy, retreated his active Pidgeot, and then, just to make sure he was safe, the used Rocket’s Admin.
We both shuffled our hands into our decks and I was about to offer cut when I noticed something. I belive I muttered something to the effect of “Oh $#!*…” under my breath and then I said it: “Wait, you’ve played a supporter already this turn.”
He and I both stopped and chatted about if we remembered hands, and we more or less did. I called a judge and asked for the ruling. He got another judge who asked on the situation. We both told him, told him we remembered out hands, and he went to double check with the judges. We both deduced from our minor experience as judges that it should probably end up being a prize penalty, giving me the win.
--(Side Note: I hate winning any games by stupid technicalities, especially something as minuscule as this. Honestly, I’ve been playing two games for essentially 20-24 hours and he’s being playing this all weekend. WE’re both brain fried and neither of us want to admit the inevitable outcome of the judge’s ruling.)
The judge came back, confirming my worst fears: I would draw a prize because of the screw-up, giving me the win. I apologized profusely to my opponent and he seemed to shrug it off. But we both knew what this meant: only I had a chance at hitting top 32, seeing as how only a handful of 6-3s would make the top cut. I’d more or less kept someone from the Sunday cut because of brain-deadness.
--It is hear, after the ruling, that I discover that the judge’s are now giving us a thirty minute dinner break. I nearly cry right now, because it’s been a he*ck* of a long day and I really just want this tournament over now that I know I’ll have a winning record. (NOTE: my resistance had been shot all day, so I knew I wouldn’t make final cut with anything less than 7-2). I run in to Alex Brosseu (sorry for the misspelling here) and Ness on the way down the stairs to the food court. Alex remembers me from a tournament a couple years ago. That tournament just happened to be four years ago and I hadn’t seemed him since. He’s a great guy and y’all should get to know him
…Is a disappointment because of a t2 Menatric EX from him. I can’t get a single trainer out and stall on a Dragonair d for a few turns before dying to chump blocking. He played well and I just hit a poor start. Good game, just not for me.
I didn’t even stay around for standings. I went up to Loonely Labs, modded a game of Werewolf?, chatted with a friend who’s a Rabbit for about twenty minutes, and then left for my hotel room to sleep. Even though I didn’t make Nats: Day 2, I still had a big tournament tomorrow: Fluxx Worlds.
Slept in until about 10:30 and went straight to the Con without eating breakfast. Picked up a muffin and a coffee (yeah, needed caffeine for the first time all Convention on a Sunday…) at the Java Stop, and headed up to the Lab to wait for the finals of Fluxx to start. I played a couple rounds of Treehouse with some people and then the tournament started.
Needless to say, I didn’t do so well. We played the first to win two games and I didn’t even get a win out of the three games we played (but I cam darn close in Game 2 until a Rotate Hands hit me upside the head). I still had a blast as the finals of NanoFictionary were going on behind us (and being filmed) and the creator of the game, Andy Looney, stopped by to check how things were going. Andy’s always fun to play with, irregardless of the game. And, while I didn’t get to play with him any this year, I can’t wait until next year when I get the chance again.
As for Pokémon Nationals, Day 2: it was becoming apparent to everyone that the big secret deck of the tournament was Exeggutor d and Raichu d from Holon Phantoms. I initially thought the deck would only be a flash in the pan, winning only this tournament, but then I started analyzing the existing metagame. The deck beats ANYTHING, hands down right now because of the heavy PokéPower and Body dependency. Watch out for this deck, all who go to Worlds; it could be the thing to take you down.
After watching a little of the Top 8, I headed to the Dealer Hall again for the drawing for the Killer Bunnies prize. I didn’t win the drawing but, as I’ve said before, I met some great people from Playroom Entertainment and learned a great new game (and even got a new game out of just being in the drawing!).
I left around 3 with the closing of the dealer hall and the finals of Nationals finishing up. I have to tip my hat to Martin, Pooka, and everyone else involved in the design of the championship deck. Y’all have created a monster that’s probably going to be around for at least a few format changes (my bet is on 3 years).
RaNd0m Thoughts…: While my personal list is pretty long, here’s the short list of well known players you should meet.
The Craig Family (from Florida): While this first group is a player, per se, the Craig’s are some of the nicest people you will ever meet at any major Pokémon event. Heidi checked my deck as I began my day and even checked with other judges and event managers when I started looking for my lost notepad (which I never found). The rest of the family are all great players and great people to meet and get to know at conventions and big-level events.
--To Miranda: I don’t care what you say next year; you are a Werewolf and I will find some way to oust you from the village. ;)
Phil (aka Gym Leader Phil): Phil is one of the most wonderful players I’ve ever had the chance to meet. He’s very knowledgeable about the game and is always a consistent judge. This is the first year I’ve ever had the chance to sit down and play games with Phil (not Pokémon, mind you; mostly Werewolf and a few games of Treehosue) and I must say I had a blast with him. He even offered to help get some cards for my final list, but I was able to get the cards and didn’t need to borrow them. Phil is definitely a high caliber player with great class to boot.
William Hung…:…has to be the most humble human I have ever had the chance of meeting. I’ve seen his playing and his playing is far beyond any level I could HOPE to dream to be on. And he’s very down to earth in any conversation I’ve ever had with him.
However, I’m a pretty shy person when it comes to meeting new people (I know, big shock), so I’ve never had that long of a conversation with Mr. Hung. However, I was able to strike up a short conversation with him at Origins about how he did and a few other things. And then I asked a question he’d probably been asked so many times before:
To autograph a card for me.
Now, I very much felt like a huge fanboy as I asked, as I’m sure he’s been hassled by the question all week. But I waited until he wasn’t in a conversation and was writing up some stuff for his report before I approached him. But he definitely impressed me with the way he handled all the random approaches from other people and is definitely one of the best strategists the game has. Will, if you’re reading this, I’d really like to get into a decent conversation with you about the meta sometime. You’re insights far exceed mine.
And that ends my report, and I have one more thing up my sleeve:
The autographed card from William Hung will be one of the prizes for my Deck Challenge, which has been extended to end after Worlds.
Honestly, I haven’t received many entries and I’m a little disappointed with what I’ve got. Only one deck has really made my jaw hit the ground, and that was only slightly jaw-dropping. I’d like a lot more entries, and I’m releasing a prized possession (an autographed card) as most likely the top prize for this contest.
So get those decks in for the contest ASAP. I’m looking for something highly original and makes my jaw drop. Should be fun!
Products I Found at Origins that You Should Find Too (because they’re fun!):
Looney Labs Products: www.looneylabs.com;
Krema Nut Company: www.krema.com
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