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