Monday, September 30, 2013

Weiss Schwarz USA World Grand Prix 2013 Qualifiers: Boston Battleground Games & Hobbies report: Card Clusterfuck Catastrophe in Cambridge

Comic insisted after NYC that we go to the remaining Boston qualifier and dragged Ken and I along.
To be honest I hadn't even played a test match since NYC except for one test match against my own Love Live deck.
In the end I did do the switch in of 2 search Kanades for 1 hand encore Tenshi and 1 bond Otonoashi, though the second search Kanade was switched at the venue on the spot after discussing with Ken.

Comic (Ed) did all the driving this time (3 hours each way), we left after eating ramen at Mitsuwa (it was during a Hokkaido festival, and they had flown in chefs from Sapporo to cook miso ramen.) and arrived some time after midnight at Alex's (official Vanguard USA judge, won the 1st USA WS nationals with Melty Blood, technically qualified for life so he can't play in any of the tournaments except Nationals) house.  Jeff (Moku, ramen king, vagabond roommate) was at a wedding so the house was rather empty.

Alex actually cleared up something for me about the Vanguard World tournament last year, in fact it was 7 out of 8 players that were supposed to be DQed in top 8.  The keyword is supposed to, the Bushiroad USA Vanguard organizer said he had the president of Bushiroad there and wasn't about to DQ 7 out of 8 players in top 8.  And so NO DISQUALIFICATIONS actually happened in top 8, even though people had marked cards up the ass.  This is why Alex has rather soured on Vanguard after that tournament.

Anyway this tournament was different than NYC in mood, we were actually scrambling for 9 players because if we had 8 and under there would only be 2 qualifying slots instead of 4.  The store organizer literally picked someone who had just come into the store and gave him a vanilla deck to play with, he also had a friend come play who didn't have his own deck (he got a vanilla deck too).  Alex said there was only one person to worry about, some crazy Korean dude that he knew that was at Nationals last year.  Anyway with 9 people exactly we had a tournament, obviously the chance of playing Comic or Ken was extremely high with 4 rounds of Swiss.  Apparently there were FIVE Da Capo decks in rotation and the store organizer was looking for top 4 Da Capo as a troll (those were the vanilla decks he had handed out!)

Round 1 versus Dog Days: Red Yellow Hero Royalty Squirrels (0-0)
First round versus Comic. Tutor Kanade made a first turn appearance, and immediately I realized one of the extremely annoying things about her, that is you can side attack her to ignore her ability completely and still do full damage.  My intention was to let people kill her on their turn so I could get an important card to play on my turn, but I totally forgot about side attacking to ignore her effect.  I am forced to run Kanade into something to get Hand Encore Tenshi on my turn as I don't see her in my hand after clocking.  Level 1 hits and I have a decent field including God Tenshi and Hand Encore Tenshi, however on Comic's turn he does Millhi's summon and gets Cinque out.  Cinque proceeds to reverse God Tenshi (I hand encore her) and that is the last thing he ever does.  On my turn I tap Hand Encore Tenshi to give her 1k, she already has +500 from assist Yuri, I then play the 3.5k event, then finally I play a climax.  13.5K God Tenshi squashes Cinque under her shoe, and Comic chooses not to use the stock to encore him.  Time is called around this time at 35 minutes.  I feel pretty good about myself, and Comic takes a long time on his turn to figure out what he wants to tutor with Couvert.  I say "take your time" (this becomes important later) as he seems torn between change Couvert, brainstorm Rebecca, and Level 3 Couvert.  In the end Comic goes with change Couvert, and then just like the last tournament when he hits level 2 a ton of shenanigans happen on his side of the board.  Comic has two change Couverts, changes into one Level 3 in his clock.  Next turn, he uses clock manipulation loli to throw another Level 3 Couvert into his clock, and then changes into that as well.  It is around this time that 10 minutes left is called, to which I call "that's bullshit" but I start to get very agitated over, as we're both still in mid to late Level 2 and I had told Comic earlier to "take his time" during his seek, which I am immensely regretting now.  After killing one of the Level 3 Couverts, Comic plays another Level 2 and once again clock manipulate lolis the recently deceased level 3 back into his clock and changes into it.  The final field on both sides looks like two? level 3 Couverts on his side vs assorted level 3s on my side with Comic at mid level 3 and me at 3:1 when time is called on us.  I am extremely unhappy about this, and proceed to first blame comic, myself for letting comic take too long, and then randomly saying that the timer must have been wrong and that there was no way we had run out of time.  Alex isn't helping, as he's dancing around like a clown singing "double loss double loss!" in a sing-song voice.  Comic, in response to an incoming double loss, proceeds to forfeit, as forfeit is technically instant and would override both of us losing to time, making it the second fraudulent win I've had over him in two tournaments.  The judge at the store isn't sure about this, so they proceed to consult the head judge.  I'm not happy about anything and everything and insist a mistake must have been made somewhere.  So after some deliberation with the head judge, it's ruled that the forfeit takes precedence over the time up double loss.  I check both Comic and my top deck, and it would have been really close, Comic would have lived on his turn for sure because of three cancels, and I would have lived if he had overshot damage by one at all on his next turn.  I couldn't remember the triggers at the time.  We proceed to clean up our cards when it is then revealed that the judge had called the time early (like I had desperately said out of anger) and that we had in fact not run out of time.  I probably got twice as angry at hearing this, and we had to wait again as we consulted the head judge about what to do, since Comic had forfeited already and the game had been ended.  In the end Comic was given a loss and I was given a win, and I was in an extremely sour mood.

Round 2 versus Nanoha: Red Yellow Nanoha/Vita/Fate/Signum (1-0)
A nice person named Wei sporting a Fate-centric deck, I actually recognized a lot of the cards since I had bought a Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd A's box because the set had interested me.  Unfortunately, not having seen Nanoha sort of made me reluctant to actually make a full deck (no emotional investment!), but I still had an idea of what Fate's cards did.  My memories of this game are extremely hazy given certain other "incidents" in the tournament, so the report will be pretty vague.  I think I remember that Wei did not side attack tutor Tenshi for some reason, but instead reversed her on his turn.  A memory Fate showed up and went to memory as well.  At level 1, Sonic Drive Fate came out, and since memory Fate was in memory it was a 7.5k hand encore, however my field was something like two God Tenshis and another level 1 with Hand encore Tenshi from the earlier Tutor Kanade, plus Sonic only gets the 1.5k on his turn so his field was getting destroyed by 8K God Tenshis.  Near his refresh I counted the cards in his library to see if I could prevent his Lightning Fate from hitting and concluded that I didn't care because I was way ahead in the damage race and had a change Yuri into Level 3 in the works as well as stupid Yuri face climax when I hit level 2.  He was late level 3 when I hit early level 3 and put down Level 3 Signum, which removed one of my God Tenshis, but then I played Level 3 Tenshi and deleted his Signum.  He couldn't cancel enough damage from Yuri and Tenshi and died the next turn.

Round 3 versus Da Capo: PURE GREEN VANILLA with some backups (2-0)
The store owner's friend named John who was lent a pure vanilla Da Capo deck with some backups so we could have 9 people.  This game was streamed and it was absolutely ridiculous.  My turn: draw, clock, play Assist Yuri, Tutor Kanade, attack for 2.  His turn, draw, clock, play three vanilla 3k Greens, two soul climax, swing and HIT FOR 11 uncancelled damage.  I use tutor Kanade's death and my only stock to tutor a Hand Encore Tenshi.  My turn, draw, clock, play Brainstorm Kanade and Hand Encore Tenshi as I no longer have any stock to play the God Tenshis in my hand (oops).  Swing for 1, trigger 1, reverse a vanilla.  His turn, draw, clock, play a 1/0 vanilla in middle slot, swing for ANOTHER 6 uncancelled damage because of trigger.  I'm at 2:5 and he's at 0:6 when Alex points out there is a Level 1 while John is still at Level 0.  Time to call head judge for the second time that day.  In the end, while we could easily undo most of the turn as his deck was so hilariously vanilla, the fact I had leveled up off his second attack (to level 2) and I  could not remember exactly where my level up card suicider Yuri had been in the clock damage order meant that John got a game loss.  A rather wacky end to a rather wacky two turn game.

Round 4 versus Da Capo: Blue Red newspaper SRS BSNS (3-0)
The crazy Korean Alex mentioned, and someone Comic had met last year at Nationals.  I believe his name is Hyeon.  Objectively, probably the best player there.  He was wielding nu-style newspaper Da Capo, a deck I knew was reasonably strong but had zero experience against.  I made a mistake of expending a lot of resources at level 0 (kept drawing level 0s) instead of purposely holding cards back for level 1 and hand encore...before I realized he had hit level 1 first instead of me.  He also side attacked tutor Kanade repeatedly as well so I had to wait a turn before receiving my hand encore Tenshi.  Let's get this out of the way first, Da Capo red newspaper level 1 is extremely strong.  I say this as an Angel Beats player.  Red thread Ricca, +2K on play Ricca, and +1k when attacking with others plus hand encore Ricca make a rather strong wall at Level 1 for Newspaper Da Capo that can also randomly burst Level 3s down.  Mid slot becomes sort of untouchable with Delusional Sara out as well.  Either way, my field was getting sort of wiped so my card advantage is draining fast, but the biggest thing I remember was a huge misplay while I was at 1:6.  Hyeong brings me to 1:6, and I have two change Yuris in my hand but only one Level 3 in my waiting room.  Instead of letting two slots on my field die however, I hand encore one back, further screwing up my hand advantage, because I didn't notice that I had two more level 3 Yuris in my clock to change into.  I realize this on my turn when I clock into Level 2, and have to overplay a character to attempt a double change.  Hyeon counters one of the attacks as well and reverses a change Yuri, but I'm down a card from the wasted hand encore when I already have very few cards in hand.  The end game is basically me with one level 3 Yuri and no cards in hand vs a full field, and then Level 3 Charles comes out and climax combo burns me to death.  That misplay was huge because having an extra card to hand encore would have kept both change Yuri's in play, one would have changed regardless while the other got reversed through counter, and he'd have to expend resources on both because next turn the other Yuri would change as well.  Also I'm pretty sure before refresh he noted every card in my waiting room lol so he knew how many counters I was running.

Round 5 versus Vocaloid: G/Y/Splash Red Miku/Rin (3-1)
We are now in top 4, so everyone has qualified.  At the moment top four is Hyeong, me, Ken, and the vanilla Da Capo deck that got a game loss from DQ lol.  Poor Comic is at 2-2 but his points aren't high enough, probably because he didn't fight Hyeong this tournament.  Anyway 1st and 4th square off (Hyeong newspaper Da Capo vs John green vanilla ice cream Da Capo) and 2nd and 3rd square off.  I've fought Ken so many times that we're really used to each other's decks and playstyle, so forgive me if I forget more details here.  I remember once freaking again tutor Kanade got side attacked.  Not only that Ken kept her alive for like 3 turns by side attacking through her with whatever he had on the field.  Either way this game was fairly normal.  Ken's level 1 was quickly trampled under God Tenshis with hand encore, his level 2 bounces back with change Miku into level 3 with full field backup and also a Starmine Len climax combo that rolls over my Tenshis, and level 3 is just wildly swinging at each other.  In this game, I'm the one that comes out on top, as Ken cancels nothing at mid level 3 while still having 5 climaxes in his deck near the bottom.

Round 6 versus Da Capo: Blue Red newspaper the sequel (4-1)
Fighting Hyeon again, this time for pride.  As said before I was pretty sure he noted my counters in our previous match, however I didn't note his because I was unfamiliar with Da Capo and I'm also a huge scrub.  We both make rather obvious play adjustments, as we both slow play level 0.  And I mean SLOW play.  Doing very little damage, putting out very little cards, keeping hand advantage, trying to get to level 1 first before they do.  I think we traded single damage vs single level 0s for 3 or so turns back and forth.  (Put one down, kill theirs, he puts one down, kills mine, repeat)  I make one mistake here that in hindsight I feel was pretty significant, I leave his brainstorm alive in the front row instead of killing it.  Hyeon inexplicably hits level 1 before me again, moves the brainstorm into the back row and proceeds to start the Ricca train again.  Ricca hits me into level 2, and I have a field of brainstorm Yuri/God Tenshi/change Yuri with Hand Encore Tenshi and Level assist Tenshi in the back and attempt to kill off his entire field.  He counters on the left (his right) to reverse my brainstorm Yuri and save his hand encore Ricca, God Tenshi and change Yuri connect, and Yuri changes into Level 3.  Hyeon is still at 1:5 on his turn and thinks for a bit, then decides he needs to force himself into Level 2 now to deal with Level 3 Yuri.  He clocks himself, then brainstorms the last card in his library which is not a climax, refreshes, reveals three more cards, one of which is a climax, salvages a Level 3 Charles to his hand, then proceeds to play Level 2 Sara opposite my Level 3 Yuri.  He flips the top card, and unfortunately it is a climax, so Sara becomes rested.  Hyeon thinks a good while, then decides he can still kill off 11500 Yuri as he is 100% sure I have 0 counters left in my deck.  He moves Sara to the top right (his bottom left) in the back row, moves delusional assist Sara over top the top left, moves his brain storm to the front left, and moves the hand encore Ricca from the previous turn over in front of Yuri.  He then proceeds to play one +2k Ricca in mid, one +2k Ricca on the left, overplaying his brainstorm, and gives both 2Ks to hand encore Ricca, then he overplays the +2k Ricca in the mid with Red Thread Ricca which is now 8K cause of Delusional Sara and attacks into the center God Tenshi, bumping heads.  I take one damage and both chars reverse.  He then attacks the left empty slot with the remaining +2K Ricca and triggers a soul, and the last card in my deck is a climax, so it cancels the three damage, I then shuffle and take refresh damage.  Finally he attacks with a now 12K hand encore Ricca because of the first two attacks into my Yuri.  It's at this point in time that the judge points at the rested Level 2 Sara in the back and asks "why is she out at level 1."  Both of us do a double take, because we both remember talking about exactly what Hyeon was going to do to get into level 2.  Clock himself, force refresh, take damage.  However, Hyeon had forgotten to take the refresh damage.  Cue call to head judge Luke number 3 (man I'm sure he was sick of us by now.)  The reason my above description is so hilariously detailed is because we actually managed to rewind the entire turn.  Luke was basically like "you're both qualified, if this was Nationals this would be game loss for both of you as Hyeon was the one who had misplayed and you (meaning me) would have two warnings (because of the earlier shenanigans with vanilla Da Capo for not catching two opponents misplaying)."  Anyway, so we manage to undo my refresh and my refresh damage, put the last two cards in my library back, reverse all his attacks, undo all his triggers, and unsummon all his cards, properly send his climax (remember it was the top card and that is why Sara became rested) to clock as refresh damage so he hits level 2, and then proceeded to play from there.  However I had one final question for the judge, that was since we both knew everything in the other player's library and subsequent refresh, how would we play from there.  Luke said that the only fair way was to shuffle the libraries and waiting room before my refresh.  The two cards in my library (one climax, one not) were "shuffled," my waiting room was shuffled, and Hyeong's library was shuffled after he leveled up so all his triggers would be different, and we finally proceeded.  Of course the luck gods were very angry with me for being the bringer of misfortune, so my refresh damage this time was actually a climax, and then I triggered two more climaxes on my turn, bringing a rather swift anticlimatic end to a rather drawn out match.

So yeah, what a ridiculous tournament it was.  I qualified on Comic sandbag forfeit because of judge error, a game I should have lost to a super vanilla Da Capo deck playing at the wrong level, and then lost in Grand Finals after my opponent once again played a card at the wrong level.

Side note, I heard Syracuse was even worse.  Congratulations to my bro kazekoko from mizuumi/Rochester for winning that one, but he told me that some dude entered with Little Busters/Angel Beats/Kudwafter (illegal deck) and some other dude entered with SAO ENGLISH.  And they let the SAO English rock.  And they got 8 slots for a 14 person tournament lol.  And everyone that wasn't from Rochester was bads, Kaze said the other finalist he played used Vividred trial and had no clue what he was doing, he was amazed that he got to finals.  Also someone running Accel World trial beat K and made top 4 (lol K please swallow your pride and use a real deck and stop losing to garbage :V)

Double side note, after leaving Abington for the day, the next day we just hung around Cambridge and ate curry at Cafe Mami, and who should we meet waiting for his bus on the way back but Hyeon again.  Apparently Hyeon had qualified last year for Nationals with Angel Beats! and that was what Alex had remembered him for, and it would also explain once again the extreme familiarity he had with my deck.  I asked him if it was really true that he had played Da Capo at the owner's insistence instead of running his main deck Angel Beats, but Hyeon said he actually has five different Da Capo decks and loves the set.  I asked him if I should keep two tutor Kanades in and of course he gave the same answer a lot of other AB players do, "Get the 30 dollar promo!"  Damn it.  Either way we talked for quite a while longer about strategies/decks/meta/etc. before we finally had to go and wished each other luck at Nationals.  I was initially very resistant to going to Rochester for Nationals as it would probably be another day off in a month that I am already taking the first 2 weeks off in, but I think I sort of owe someone now to go, since he forfeited for me to qualify :V

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weiss Schwarz USA World Grand Prix 2013 Qualifiers: New York City Mage Gaming report

Initially I heard that Alex and Moku (two official Vanguard judges and the people who introduced the ex-Rochester members of our playgroup to Bushiroad games, also Moku is the clown in Japan who almost made me never start Weiss cause he kept taking us to the most expensive shop in Akihabara) were going but apparently they backed out cause they wouldn't be allowed to play or something like that.  The rest of our playgroup were all going to The Fall Classic in North Carolina (Super collaboration of NEC's Big Eric, Final Round's ShinBlanka, and East Coast Throwdown's SweetJohnnyCage and Li Joe) tournament so not many of us were going.  In the end it would just be me, Comic-Z (Ed), and sumazndude (Ken) going, with maybe Shing showing up later, as he had work.  Comic didn't think there would be many people because the numbers were sort of low when he qualified last year, he had heard of places where everyone who attended the event qualified.

So this day started with me waking up at 7AM because some dumbass named Comic-Z wanted to get dim sum in NYC near Ken's place.  Gotta get there at 11AM or earlier, he said.  The plan was basically driving to Palisades Park (an hour or so away from Somerset), parking in a huge Korean parking lot, getting on a 9:20AM bus to Port Authority and taking the subway to Chinatown.  Except the bus was really at 9:40 (to be fair he mentioned this exactly once), he just wanted me to be there by 9:20 (why?).  Either way, I ended up leaving at like 8, arriving at 8:40 (in time to see the bus an hour earlier leave!) because the drive was a lot faster than I thought, and waiting to 9:30AM because Comic of course wouldn't honor his own time of 9:20.  It felt like I was in grade school again when my parents would wake us all up early on Saturday to drive into the city to eat at a Chinese buffet.

And of course Comic didn't like the dim sum place.  It was ok, but I think I'd have liked having the noodle soups or something over the actual dim sum, didn't seem that hot and Comic was going out of his way to choose non-meat dishes cause he wanted different things (that he wouldn't like eating in the end)

September 14th 2013 2:30PM at Mage Gaming:
On arriving at the "venue," we were greeted by metal shutters in a rather isolated looking place next to an Adult goods store.  There was nothing indicating anything was alive within a block, much less a card store, it was sort of worrying.  A small group of people were hanging outside one of the shuttered doors, but there were really no signs indicating anything remotely existed in the vicinity, and so we walked past them looking like confused tourists.  Then Comic heard them talking about anime or something and spotted the Charlotte Dunois Cospa bag.  Instant #sadlife flag.  Talk to them, confirm this is the place, while waiting more and more people start walking toward the store.  One has a Miku bag, so obviously we are in the right place, just everything is shuttered up tight.  Finally owners come, open up the shop front, and we go down in, apparently 32 people pre-regged (Way more than I expected), and 22 showed up.  Quick glance at the decks being played in casuals told me that this store was actually pretty serious about the game and nothing would be easy.

Round 1 versus Persona 4: Yukiko burn (0-0)
A dude in a red shirt named Charles who apparently had come from mid south Jersey as well!  I saw him initially playing Angel Beats and I freaked out (people were making jokes about 6 Angel Beats decks in the tournament), but apparently he hadn't finished that deck yet and was using proxies inside it.  This made it really helpful during play as he didn't have to read my cards to understand them, but it also meant that he had experience with the deck.  In fact it seemed like EVERYONE in the store had experience with Angel Beats, apparently the player that wins casuals all the time mains it.  That being said, I was aware of this deck's play-style because Comic had tipped me off about it earlier, it'd be my first time actually fighting it though.  Either way, hand encore Tenshi did not show up, but his field presence was really weak at level 1 so it wasn't too much of a problem.  Level 2 got nasty very quickly, as hand encore Tenshi was still absent and two Yukiko in Yukatas showed up and one changed into Level 3 Yukiko burn.  At this point I had managed to get a change Yuri into Level 3 but Yukiko would just dance to another slot and burn, then hand encore when Yuri shot her in the face.  Level 3 was more of the same, instead there were now 3 Yukiko burns out versus my field of Yuris.  He triggered all his Yukatas but some lucky cancels more or less saved me at 3/6 and I won off that.  Upon talking with Charles more after the match he said he really wanted to play another Persona deck, to which I immediately answered "Junes?"  Junes is more fun for him it seems, even if it's considered weaker than Yukiko.  Unfortunately his Junes deck wasn't finished either by the time of tournament but I played his proxied version later while we were waiting for the Swiss tiebreaker calculations.  Who the hell said they had to be by hand, that's idiotic, especially when Vanguard uses calculators.

Round 2 versus Vocaloid: G/Y/Splash Red Miku/Rin (1-0)
Out of 11 people (Swiss, people at 1-0) in the store I had to play Ken.  Godamnit.  The day before we had played and I had gone 2-2 against Miku, leaving a rather sour taste in my mouth, before losing a 5th game to his test Kariya suicide fate deck and rage sleeping.  The reason was more or less that the losses didn't involve climax fuckery or anything like that, they flat out involved being unable to play things.  There was a turn I played a climax with an empty field and passed, those were the kind of games.  This game would prove no different, as once again hand encore Tenshi was no where to be found.  I managed to bump Ken into refresh before he could change his change Miku, but it didn't matter because one Level 3 Miku came out of his clock right after refresh.  His final field had two of those Mikus plus a Level 3 Rin, with no hand encore and no climax combos or level supports even a full field of Level 3s couldn't really fight back for board advantage, I was forced to attempt to shoot him down with Yuri.  Of course everything cancelled, and Yuri continued her amazing track record of firing blanks in times of need.

Round 3 versus Dog Days: Y/R Hero Royalty Squirrels (1-1)
And of course I get to play Comic now.  Much grumbling ensued about traveling to an out of state tournament to play my friends.  Comic had more or less destroyed his Da Crapo qualifying deck from last year and was running Dog Days.  He was going into this tournament down two climaxes he needed for a climax combo, as USPS sucks dicks and his cards from Tythanin hadn't arrived in the scheduled two day shipping time.  Anyway, I hadn't played Comic's new Dog Days before, his old one was pretty jank and relied on Millhi summoning Cinque, which Ken and I constantly called an unreliable combo that he should stop running.  He kept it in against Ken's advice, but he was also running Couvert change which I was unfamiliar with.  Either way, once again I didn't get hand encore Tenshi early enough in game, but Comic didn't get Cinque either, so his level 1 was a huge gaping hole.  However at level two Couvert came out, followed by Level 3 Couvert and Rebecca.  After attacking with Couvert, he proceeded to use Rebecca's climax combo to unsummon Couvert back to his hand, and next turn proceeded to clock her and play another change Couvert, to rechange into Level 3 to heal again.  It was a pretty interesting setup that apparently he got even more complicated versions off of later in the tournament, using Shift Couvert as well when he knew he had a good chance to draw the Level 3.  At level 3 my hand encore Tenshi finally appeared although damage race wise it was too late to matter, and Comic had a very good chance of killing me as all 8 of my climaxes were in the waiting room.  However Comic however played no climaxes and triggered nothing, and so I was brought to 3/5 and then to 3/6 off my own attack refresh to kill him.  Here is where I learned that Comic unintentionally sandbagged, as his last card in his hand was a 1k 1 soul climax.  As I had no more cancels left, he would have definitely killed me instead of me living at 3/6 and winning.  "I thought I would overshoot," doesn't cut it if I have no climaxes left Comic!  I won but mentally I was at 1-2.

Round 4 versus Railgun: Post-ban R/G (2-1)
Probably the best game I had this tournament.  Every other game, win or lose, was rather frustrating as even with 3 hand encore Tenshis she was just not showing up in hand, getting clocked from damage, getting put into stock, never in the waiting room when I triggered gates, etc. etc. etc. It was an unnaturally bad streak of having to play Angel Beats without the most important card multiple times and it was getting on my nerves.  This game however there was none of that.  Despite an early Komoe, I was able to keep pretty good field advantage for Level 0 and 1.  Tenshi was there, God Tenshi was there, and at level 1 my deck was playing how it should.  However, once level 2 hit, Railgun exploded.  2 Multiskills came out, and her unnaturally high (for an assist) power with Komoe still in the back row meant that suddenly I was looking at a 9K 2/1 assist.  A climax combo for stock and change Uiharu into a 13.5K Level 3 came out shortly after and killed off my Level 3 Yuri change, but I had a rather large hand size then from my Level 1 advantage to hand encore.  At level 3 he added a restricted Kuroko + Misaka to the mix, while I had a full field of Level 3s that were well under the 3K bonus all his characters had.  My hand size plus hand encore meant though he could not wipe my field easily, and we were both at low level 3 going into the end.  However on my turn when I attacked I triggered two gates and he cancelled those two attacks, I was forced again to attempt to shoot him for 4 damage before attacking with Yuri for two.  Of course the shot was cancelled, Yuri hit but couldn't do enough damage, and I died the turn after.  In the end we both threw everything our decks had at each other and his won, I died cause of the triggered gates but that's how this game works, so I had no regrets.

Round 5 versus Shining Force EXA: B/R splash (2-2)
3-2 would be the very borderline for top 8, judging from everyone else's win ratios, most likely it would come down to weighting.  With that in mind this game was make or break for both of us.  The player had very unique (graceful? robotic? professional? hard to describe exactly) gestures when he played, they were really interesting for me to watch and flowed in a rather beautiful manner.  I know it's weird to say something like that but it's really the thing that stood out the most to me for that match, because the rest was utter garbage.  Shining Force is a fairly vanilla set, it has a semi-free 7.5K like AB (just tap a magic char), it has a cool -1k debuff level 0, and it has a level 3 that comes out at level 2 if you have 6 climaxes in the waiting room.  Besides that it's nothing special.  However once again hand encore Tenshi decided to send herself off to stock or clock damage or wherever she felt like, just not on my field.  I had two climaxes in my starting hand and honestly I should have chucked them both but I felt surely that I wouldn't keep drawing climaxes.  I was wrong, I kept drawing climaxes and was caught with 3 climaxes and ironically Shiina in my hand at my first refresh.  It was over pretty fast, I did pull a 3.5 counter on his Level 3 when it came out but it didn't matter as no hand encore meant no staying power in the field and he kept getting enough stock from board advantage to expensive encore her.  Climaxes in hand meant no damage cancels and it was over pretty fast.

Ken went 3-0 before going 3-2, he lost to Tsukaima and a quad-color!? SAO.  Apparently Tsukaima pulled some bullshit reversal out of complete board/level dominance, while vs SAO Ken just got...nothing.  He was the last person to qualify for top 8 post-weighting, where he proceeded to lose on stream in that hilarious match vs IM@S.  Full board dominance/damage lead/etc. to lose to repeated god cancels and a climax trigger.  I'd say his one misplay was the climax when IM@S was at 2/6 or so post-refresh, he had no reason to climax there and get all his damage cancelled, should have just chipped away with the huge advantage he had.  Comic actually sucked in his breath and walked away when Ken played that climax, because advising players is not allowed (cough I don't think this rule was very enforced though)

As for Comic, he went 3-2 but his weighting was not enough to qualify for top 8.  It was sort of annoying though because one of the players he beat left before the tournament ended and so basically ended up sinking Comic's ranking below top 8 to 10th or so.  If he didn't sandbag against me I think it would have been very different with a 4-1 record.

As for myself, I went 2-3 and placed 14th.  Apparently the 3 people who ran Angel Beats, including myself, got pretty shit on this tournament!  The main local AB player apparently got Weissed pretty hard, not cancelling damage and such...but I honestly would rather not cancel damage than not have hand encore.  No hand encore Angel Beats is not Angel Beats, and 4/5 of my games I was more or less not playing Angel Beats, but "deck with 7.5K level 1 and sometimes a level 2 change."  The game where I got everything I needed was against Railgun, and that was one hell of a game but I lost in the end.  We were more or less sharing sob stories, and he was talking about going to Syracuse to qualify.  I know Comic beat the third Angel Beats player he played right after losing to me, and that is also the person who left the tournament early.  From what I saw, his deck was more Tenshi-based, but Comic said he made some extremely questionable play decisions during their game.  The Railgun player and the Shining Force player both ended up winning their top 8 matches to qualify for Nationals, so kudos to them.  All in all, it was an ok first serious tournament experience.  The locals for that store were unexpectedly (for us anyway) prepared, a lot of A tier or post-ban S tier decks.  Post-ban Tsukaima, post-ban Railgun, post-ban IMAS, post-ban Disgaea (owner only! too bad he wasn't allowed to qualify), Madoka, Angel Beats, etc.  And then extremely solid mid tier decks (Bakemono, SAO, Nanoha, Miku, Persona), with some outliers (Shining Force, Dog Days)  I'm pretty sure the average skill level of the players there is higher than most of the other qualifying sites, but I can't say that for certain without actually going to those qualifiers.  None of the decks were poorly constructed except from what Ken said his first opponent was a jank Blue main SAO deck that just had poor chemistry and was crushed pretty fast.  I'm starting to seriously wonder if I should run Operation Tornado...I'm still too cheap to buy Promo Otonashi, 30 dollars is too much for one card (I say this while throwing tons of money at PSO2, I'm cheap in weird places,) the lack of hand encore Tenshi really weighed on my mind the entire tournament.  I could probably also run search Tenshi as well.  You'd think 8 gates and 3 of her would be enough..., and this doesn't happen that often when I play casuals.  Those games vs Ken the night before were definitely a harbinger of things to come though.  Comic is insisting we should road trip to Rochester but I'm already taking 3/4ths of October off from work...throwing in another holiday for the 26th/27th that involves 6 hours of driving is something I don't really want to do.  I also want to buy into another set because of my upcoming trip to Japan but I'm not sure which...I don't really have char love for any other sets besides AB and Nagato.  If I was going by mechanics I'd say Nanoha, but I haven't even seen that series so it's sort of whatever.  Haven't played Rewrite so that's out of the question, haven't played Disgaea past Disgaea 2 so I'm pretty ambivalent about that set as well.  Love Live is tons of fun but I'm hesitant to buy cards that I know will get obsolete if an extra set comes out (Umi I'm looking at you).  The set is weak at the moment but so versatile there's a lot of cool things to do in it.