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“The Houston Duel Masters Invitational”
The Place:
L. King Games
3001 Fondren Rd, Suite E
Houston, Texas

The Time:
Saturday, August August 6th, 2005
The Weapon of My Choosing:
Light/Water Craze Valkyrie Tappage Control

Rather than making our way out to Houston early Saturday morning we made the decision to drop some cash into the local economy and spend Friday night at a hotel. The entire family came, however Justin wasn’t going to be playing as he’s taking a reprieve from Duel Masters in favor of the resurging Pokemon. Tony (Pojos Rikabu Bishop), while listed as a San Antonio player, actually lives in Houston and would be arriving at the tournament site via his dad…hopefully. This was to be his third attempt at earning a free trip after earning two second place in both San Antonio and Austin!

Justin Stuffs his Face:

While Justin didn’t come to play, I believe he had a pretty good time, mostly thanks to the pool and cable TV at the hotel. Oh yeah, and he definitely ate his share of blueberry muffins, compliments of the hotel’s “Continental Breakfast.”

As we pulled up to the address my wife had put into MapQuest the large sign which said “Collectables” seemed to confirm that we had arrived at the right location. Wait…sure, that says collectables, but why does it say “Firearms” next to it? Curious, I peeked in the window and was provided with an amazing display of enough guns to take over half a dozen small dozen small countries.  It seems that 3301 Fondren was not exactly the right location. After quick stop into the cigar shop next door to check out a phone book I confirmed that 3001 Fondren was the correct address…whoops! Another few steps to go…

The Right Store:

While we almost didn’t make it to the right place, we eventually navigated our way to the correct location!

Ah! Now we had arrived at the right location! As we walked into the real L. King Collectables I immediately noticed why “Mr. King” was forced to limit attendance to 30 players maximum. Frankly, this would continue to be an issue through out most of the tournament as, even with a back game room, I found it difficult to navigate through out the entire store. Still, we all made do with what room we had available!

I immediately noticed Josh (pojo’s DK Torres), Joshua and his brother Johnathon and gave them a wave but had to be sure to register. As I awaited registration I recognized Gordan Kane, sporting his Pojo hockey jersey which I had to admire. Registration only took a few minutes and everyone was also given a free pack in addition to our Terror Pit and Invitational deck box! I sit down with Josh and company and tear into my pack and find…a Biancus! Oh…uh…wait…that sucked…oh well…I didn’t expect to get pack… 

Pre-Tournament Testing:

Josh (Dk Torres) tests his own take on Fire/Darkness before the tournament. 

Eleven o’clock rolls around (actual registration time) and no sign of Tony (Rikabu Bishop). Unfortunately, when we last spoke to Tony’s dad we had given him the address to the gun store up the road and he didn’t seemed to be answering his cell. My wife heads up the road and sure enough they are standing around looking puzzled outside of the gun shop (they hadn’t been there long, though). Fortunately, the actual start time for the tournament was noon, so Tony would still be on time.   

Over the next 45 minutes everyone hung out, played and visited. Trading was also exceptionally poor, but I didn’t manage to get a few cards here and there. Many of the cards I saw for trade happened to be in poor condition, forcing me to pass on them… 

About ten minutes after noon “Mr. King” began to call out for everyones attention. The rules of conduct were explained and pairing where placed on the tables. My bracket was to go six rounds while Tony’s was to go five. Before we go any farther –  

“The Weapon of My Choosing…”

Total Cards: 47
4x Saruis, Vizier of Suppression
4x Kanesill, the Explorer
4x Miele, Vizier of Lightning
4x Rom, Vizier of Tendrils
4x Magris, Vizier of Magnetism
3x Craze Valkyrie, the Drastic
1x Kizar Basiku, the Outrageous
4x Holy Awe
4x Emeral
4x Corile

3x Marinomancer
4x Hydro Hurricane
4x Terror Pit

Ding! Ding! Round One!

As I sat across from Kelly he seemed to be one of nicest duelist I have meet. We made a little bit of brief small talk as I forced him to endured my long  period of riffle shuffling (I’m really picky about my shuffling).

(To the Left is me, your “ever-loving JMatthew” and to the Right is Kelly, my first round opponent)

His Deck: Darkness/Nature

Key Cards: Gray Ballon, Marrow Ooze, and a variety of Beast Folk

Kelly just couldn’t seem to get out anything against me and everything that he did get out I was easily able to tap and kill before it became a threat. Two games and the match was over before either of use knew it and if he was running a Fighter Dual Fang amongst all of those beast folk the big, green monster was never given permission to see the light of day.

Results: 2/0

Ding! Ding! Round Two!


While I don’t believe I had yet to play Jacob, I have run into him as previous Invitationals. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, however he seemed to expect a pretty desperate match as he spoke words of dread once he noticed he was playing me. Could that work to my advantage?

His Deck: HydroCutter (Guest starring “Big Al”)

Key Cards: Sarius, Aeris, Mist Rias and Big Al (aka Alcadies, Lord of Spirits)

Both Jacob and I came out over the first few round with pretty similar cards. About round three he managed to start killing my creatures. This wasn’t good as it gave him the jump. Soon enough Mist Rias hit the table giving him even more advantage as I struggled to find a way to take it out. Time was not on my side and soon Aeris hit quickly to be followed by Big Al…game over.

Based upon the events of the first game I knew I couldn’t beat him in the late game. Rush seemed to be the only answer – and rush I did. Before Jacob could react I had taken out four of his five shields…however it ended there. Jacob managed to set up a defense and soon I found the game was falling about and turning into nothing less than a mirror of the last. Mist Rias on the board. Draw, draw and draw. Aeris followed by Big Al and…JMatthew on a stick.

Results: 0/2

Ding! Ding! Round Three!


A certain sense of confidence told me this guy had to be a control player…was I right?

His Deck: 4CC Control (F/W/D/N)

Key Cards: Searing Wave, Pyrofighter Magnus and Twin-Cannon Skyterror.

Sure enough – control all the way. I started out pretty confident on the first game. As he played cards, I found a pretty easy way to take it out. Turn five Marinomancer turns up two Sarius – the board was rapidly becoming mine. Turn six I slap those cards town…his turn six he cast Searing Wave. Ouch. It’s downhill from here as he begins pounding away with a Pyrofighter Magnus and I can’t seem to come up with an answer. Soon enough he is also able to slap down a Twin-Cannon Skyterror which rapidly provides closure to the game.

Game two I find myself staring at an opening hand of all five and six casting cost cards – not good. Perhaps I will draw something. Well, I do draw…a few things. But not enough and Bal proves this as he performs yet another lethal Searing wave once again followed by a pounding from a Pyrofighter Magnus with a Twin-Cannon Skyterror finisher.

Results: 0/2

Ding! Ding! Round Four!


After three separate Invitationals, this was the first time I had ever been paired up against Josh. I had a pretty good idea what to expect, but I knew I couldn’t let up for a second if I was to beat him and pull this tournament out of the gutter.

His Deck: Fire/Darkness

Key Cards: Pyrofighter Magnus

First game I manage to beat Josh back most of the time however he still manages to take it from me. Second game he starts with what he believes to be a good hand, yet I am able to beat his deck into submission. Third game…ugh…okay – this isn’t my weekend as he yet again takes it from me.

Results: 1/2

Ding! Ding! Round Five!


Steven seemed to be a pretty quiet, nice and quite kid. I presume that he hadn’t done do well to be meeting me at this point of the tournament (I sure hadn’t – lol!)

His Deck: Water/Light/Nature

Key Cards: Eh – not sure.

Steven began the game taking a few of my shields relatively early, however his deck wasn’t a rush deck and he didn’t accomplish much more than giving me some card advantage. Patiently I built up my forces just in case he had a hidden bit of power that could be a threat. Finally I made a full assault and easily took all his shields.

Second game went pretty much like the first, expect I was finally, for the first game of the tournament, able to cast Hydro Hurricane. The game was quickly over.

Results: 2/0

Ding! Ding! Round Six


Wait? Hadn’t I already played Kelly? Uh…oh well…I guess every Invitational I’ve been to has made some sort of mistake…

Kelly had obviously learned a lot from this tournament so he definitely took something away from it. While he still lost to me in two, I had to actually fight for these games. Second game he managed to field an Ultracide Worm. The worm stormed through all but one of my shields until it finally shield-triggered a Terror Pit which slaughtered the beasty. The loss of this creature rapidly led to Kelly’s demise, but not before making me sweat.

Results: 2/0

This ended the tournament for me at 3/3 for matches. Definitely not good and I’m sure to loose tons of DCI points! Ouch! Oh well, everyone has a bad day – to bad it had to be at a 24k!!!

Final Results for the 15 and up bracket are courtesy of Gordon Kane, as I unfortunately didn’t manage to stay for the Top 4 face off…

Top 4: 15 and up


Aaron Janecke (4-2) vs Bal Reddy (5-1)

Aaron is playing Light / Fire / Dark (deck list is on ******** - posted by Immortal_Borg

Bal is playing a 4 color deck without Light (Hulcus, Pyro, Daidalos, Rikabu's Screwdriver, BAT, Bloody Squito, Rumbling Terrahorn, Corile - what else?)

Aaron won in 2

Gordon Kane (4-2) vs James Chang (4-2)
Gordon Kane was playing Light / Dark / Water (Initiates, Hand Discard, Energy Stream / Marinomancer)

James was playing a 44 card Fire / Dark where the only card that cost more than 3 was Terror Pit

(Rikabu, Rik's Screwdriver, Pyro, Comet Missle, Chainsaw Warrior, DFBC, Marrow Ooze, Lone Tear -- turns out that this was a variation of Mr King's deck -- he keeps his at 40, doesn't use Terror Pits and uses Critical Blade [James removed these])

James took Gordon with a Turn 5 and Turn 4 kill


Aaron vs James

James made quick work of this match too.

Oddly, Mr King congratulated James on winning the trip to L.A. -- and even when we tried to correct him and let him know the 15+ don't get trips, he steadfastly insisted he was correct.

Top 4: 14 and under

Tony (Rikabu Bishop) vs. Mohamed (Pojos Mohamed1111)

Tony sets his shields as he prepares for his first game of the semi-finals against Mohammed.

And the Other Two…

The rest of the Top 4 contenders consisted of these two players! And yes, that IS a girl player! Janice (DK Torres’ sister) was actually having a better day than her brother!


Tony (Rikabu Bishop) lost to Mohamed in a solid two games which both ended in a firm rush under the protective veil of Cryptic Totem.

Josh’s Sister takes he semi-final match in three games.


Mohamed takes Josh’ sister for the tournament win!

Mohamed takes Houston!

Mohamed proudly displays his 1st place prize bag. See ya in LA, kiddo!

Houston Invitational Bonus Photos!

The “GK”

The all-knowing, all-awesome, all-traveling (this is his 5th Invitational…so far) Gordon Kane.

Behind the Counter:

My wife sneaks around this counter for this view of nearly the entire store. Now you see what I mean by small ;).

All the King’s Men:

Some how we didn’t manage to get a picture of “Mr. King” himself and had to settle with this one of his lowly serf.

Backroom Action:

The 14 and under group was contained to the backroom, still they seemed to have about as much leg room as we did out front…


These two 15 and up bracket players struggle to finish their matches in time.


Gordon Kane faces off against “Immortal Baron” Sorry, next time I get your real name also IB!

Tony (Rikabu Bishop) Continues the Fight:

Tony blows his competitor away in this second round match.


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