Hello, one and all. I'm kind of exasperated at the moment, so this could end up being rather short, I dunno. lol
I woke up around a quarter after five in the morning to do my usual rituals and eventually meet up with my group of friends at the local community college. A few people flaked in some fashion, a couple out of the day completely, others in their methods of travel, but after all was said and done we arrived at the venue around 8:15.
Ironically, it wasn't a very good day for trades. Since most people play Vanguard as a secondary or even tertiary game, there weren't many with decent collections, so unfortunately our group didn't snatch up as much as we would have liked that way. The vendors were pretty decent. While the stuff that was recently winning was overpriced to high hell (32 dollar Marks, lol), largely unproven decks got away with wondrous tags that were less than eBay and such, ie. $6 Battle Cupid, Nociel. There was a wide array of Bushiroad official sleeves (mostly BT07 variants, though) available; I got a set of LaLa sleeves myself just in case I'd need them.
Lots and lots of waiting later, we finally get ushered in and receive our swag plus paperstuffs. I took forever in writing down my deck list, but that's to be expected when you're mixing it up as much as possible and using a total number of cards with the longest names in the game greater than anything else out there (Tsukuyomi, hurr hurr). The event started around a half an hour late, and a fair few people were very disappointed that Doctor K was not in attendance to start us off. All the same, everything started off with huge enthusiasm!
Round 1 - Tsukuyomi vs. Royal Paladin
And right off the bat, a guy I knew. I was broadcasting my deck like no other, sleeving it with Full Moons. It ultimately wasn't a hindrance throughout the day, though. When I saw Drangal, I wasn't too terribly surprised, though I was expecting something else for whatever reason. Ah well.
I open the game with a Gemini ride. Bad news bears. His turn... no Knight of Quests, and no ride at all! He swung solo into my Gemini and managed to land a crit when I decided to not guard. Ow. From there on out I was on my auxiliary CEO plan, which of course ended up dominating the game while he struggled to make the grade and throw down columns that could at least do... SOMETHING. He did ultimately get a Soul Saver out there, but it wasn't doing anything to me without boosts, nor were his rears. Condolences aside, I got to move on.
Round 2 - Tsukuyomi vs. Royal Paladin
...again, though this time it was a stranger. This guy did play Godly Speed in his deck, but I was prepared for the worst. My ride chain went off, he missed his proper grade 1 but had the proper g2 and g3, plus a Margal, so he was able to pressure me with the counterblast. The first attempt was staved off with 20K shield, the second a null that I miraculously drew off of Petal Fairy the previous turn (I was prepared to not attack with my third column to protect myself, but when Chocolat appeared that game was over). Quick work from there.
Round 3 - Tsukuyomi vs. Gold Paladin (standard)
I missed my ride chain entirely, but I was fortunate enough to have 3 copies of Red Eye and two copies of Psychic Bird available to me in the first couple turns. He made the horrendous misplay of riding Gigantech Commander and calling Beaumains to the rear-guard, which my doggies (one boosted by Bird, even) were able to punish pretty hard. Next turn I was able to draw 4, but sadly I had to fight on with an incomplete soul. Ultimately, that made no difference. This came down to my being 5K short on my final push, and had I rode the CEO in my hand on that last turn (I was gone, I had no reason not to at that point, but I didn't...), I would have gotten a heal trigger to make that swing the end of it. Ah well. Being on the bubble, I started getting the butterflies.
Round 4 - Tsukuyomi vs. Royal Paladin
Wow, what are the odds? This fellow main decked Barcgal, which he played and used turn one after missing his Grade 1 entirely. He never did get that grade 1 to make the comeback. Sad day. My Grade 2s were happy to deliver a swift end.
Round 5 - Tsukuyomi vs. Kagero/Narukami
This one was fawkward~. His deck was incomplete, he got grade locked, and he kept blocking my Vanguard so my Petals couldn't sift the 4 G3s out of my hand. It came down to a moment where his G1s would have killed me with a critical due to my only having 5K available shield and a null. SUCKED. He didn't get it, though, and on my turn I rode the Full Moon with a complete soul to sift out all the garbage. I never thought I'd be so happy to draw 4 straight triggers. A few misplays on his end later, and the game was handily mine. I he did ultimately make it to the G3 Djinn, though.
Round 6 - Tsukuyomi vs. Gold Paladin (Aggravain and stuff)
Another incomplete deck by and large. He got locked for a turn while I got the nuts with multiple superior rides and criticals on most turns. By the time he made it to Grade 3, he had no cards in hand and couldn't stop my double Tom advances.
Round 7 - Tsukuyomi vs. Narukami (standard)
I saw the Saishin and was feeling like a boss. And I was - he wasn't able to make relevant columns that game. I think I say on Half Moon for an extra turn, but I opened with plenty of other G1 and G2 units to bumrush the everloving crap out of him, including my beloved Petal Fairy (who got my Full Moon to me!). Things didn't last long until I won.
So at this point we sit around for ages waiting for the judges to announced the top 8. My one loss had the same record as I did at some point, but I wasn't feeling too confident I'd make the cut since all my opponents aside from him were just... awful or terribly unlucky. My friends go out for food, and when they made it back the pairings were announced. After hearing someone else called for slot 8, I was sure I was done, but when my number came up for slot 7, things got real. o3o
For the record, top 8 was 3 Tsukuyomi and 5 GP (2 of which I believe were Duke, one was standard with a single tech Duke).
Quarter Finals - Tsukuyomi vs. Gold Paladin (standard)
Screw this noise, this is a match-up I practiced a lot against one who goes by the name Nightmare on BYOND; he's essentially Kai in the grand scheme of things. The build wasn't amazing as far as I could tell, and I pushed him around non stop by dancing around his potential limit breaks by way of bullying a deadly Garmore + Charjgal rear column. This was the first opportunity of the day I got to legitimately use my stack, and it was too much for him to handle at that stage. For the love of all that's holy, Garmore isn't worth burning ups of 30K on... At any rate, he was looking forward to my taking the event after that. I was psyched!
Semi Finals - Tsukuyomi vs. Gold Paladin (Duke)
I was sure as **** I'd end up playing in a mirror match at this point since the Tsukuyomi decks all won their quarter final matches. This was perhaps the most intense game I've ever played. I lost the roll, and with my sub-par hand it was already looking to be in the dumps. But I wanted it! The trip, the glory, everything, so much. I had to try. He rode Mark, and I opted to not ride after missing the top check and having no G2 in hand. Calling a draw trigger behind my Godhawk, I swung for a critical hit (which was canceled with a heal). I got my Crescent next turn, and Half too. From there, however... the certain lack of Petal Fairy and legitimate columns (calling draws in front of vanillas ftw...) made things really, really hard. I ended up with a stack of 23 or so cards. Knowing that and the positioning of all my triggers, my Full Moon and shots are rear-guards, with columns on my end slowly emerging began to do work.
I exhausted all of his Marks, and it was coming down to crunch time. With so few cards left in deck, things didn't look great. I have only myself to blame, but I drew one card too many, which shafted me out of the potential double critical to Tom play that might have won me that game by dealing the last three damage. I decked out.
It was a crushing defeat, and I genuinely wanted to weep. Watching something of a dream slip from your fingers at the last second is really tough to swallow. I had a lot of moral support, though. Many thanks to my friends who kept me fed and hydrated in those last few moments, and those who helped me assemble the deck of my dreams. I'll never give it up.
I got a ton of praise and inspired many to never scoop it up in this game, but I don't feel I deserved it. All I did was something any seasoned Tsukuyomi player could, and I succumbed to rough luck as expected. Fighting tooth and nail does feel good, though.
We were not done!
Playoffs - Tsukuyomi vs. Tsukuyomi
Here we were playing for third. I lost the roll and opened with a decent hand after mulli, but he was not so fortunate. Riding Battle Sister, Cocoa, he sealed his own fate. I destroyed him. With no evident Red Eyes or CEOs to get him out of that jam, there was nothing he could do with a 9K Full Moon.
I'm the first alternate for Chicago if the champion or runner-up cannot make continentals for whatever reason.
Afterword - But wait, there's more!
EPIC ROCK PAPER SCISSORS A GO-GO. There was some leftover swag at the end of the day, so the few people that remained in the crowed played a giant string of jan-ken-pon to determine who got what, and it was GLORIOUS. Mindgames abound, I got my revenge on the champion in this little series of games, and a friend of mine managed to tie about 8 times straight near the end. It was glorious. The only thing that could have made it better was flashing an "o" sign at Doctor K if he were there to play some rock paper scissors. xD
On the topic of the tournament format; Best of 1 double elimination is not the monster many make it out to be. Many decks are bad choices in this kind of environment, admittedly, but the best players at the event DID make the top cut, so something about the whole thing worked. A handful of players were so profusely upset by the notion of qualifying for top 8 and not making the cut in the end, or over other results during the day. To them, well, I can't offer any words. Vanguard will be Vanguard, and if you don't have the balls to accept the nature of the beast, you shouldn't be playing it. Be polite, be graceful, and be humble. After having played in many tournaments thus far, I can safely say that best out of three would not make things significantly more favorable for the better players, because the game still is what it is. Master your deck, be on your toes - anything could creep up on you, and anticipating your opponent's hot tech is a skill in and of itself (oh boy, there was a lot of that running around today).
The event staff were really on the ball and kept things moving at a rapid pace for having no software and other such automatics available to them. Cool guys, every one, especially the head judge, JD. I'd have possibly joined them myself were it not for the fact there's only one of these in the area this year. They each got two BT03 boxes for their efforts.
By the way, everyone who made it to round 7 at this event missed out on free play, so as a result we were all given the promo cards we would have earned had we had the time ourselves. It was nice. I'll be putting that Sphere Magus to good use, I assure you! Now to get an SP Lozenge. I would have bought one from the vendors if they had it. xD
That's everything that comes to mind. Feel free to ask questions if you like, and do look forward to the vlogs my friend recorded popping up at some point in the near future!