The weekend started Friday at 3 AM when I started my drive to the Chicago airport where I'd be catching my flight to Providence. A ton of traffic and 4 hours later I was catching my flight with my good friend Ben and fellow ARG member Cordero!
After hanging out at the convention center and getting a few games in I met up with the rest of the ARG gang at Fire & Ice and enjoyed an incredible meal with incredible company. After about an hour or so of just relaxing, it was time for business and I was left to ponder about my deck choice on the walk back to my hotel room.
When it came to my deck this was a really different event. Before, I usually had my deck down and would spend the few days before the event deciding on maybe 3-4 cards in the main and trying to figure out the best side deck to counter both what I expected and what I saw Friday at the convention center. While I knew I was going to play Wind-Ups because of the insane speed, consistency and combos, I actually had 3 completely different builds to choose from. The first was a deck Samuel Pedigo and I had been working on for the past couple days that was built for maximum consistency. Choices like Pot of Duality, 2 Mystical Space Typhoon, 2 Rat, and more were all present in our deck. He actually ended up using it and started 8-0 only to get insanely unlucky and lose the finals 3 rounds to finish 8-3 and miss the top cut.
The second deck was something I had actually been testing for weeks coming up to the event and something my friend and fellow teammate Bobby Barone was trying to push me to use. The deck was built to control the pace of the game until you were able to draw all the combo pieces you needed to go off exactly the way you wanted to and basically secure the game. The deck uses cards like Tragoedia, Cardcar D and Effect Veiler to control tempo and was extremly good in the Wind-Up mirror. The only problem was drawing Tragoedia at the wrong time (anytime outside of early game, basically), staring at Cardcar Ds in your hand instead of having actual plays when your opponent went off and you weren't able to stop him, etc. The deck just needed everything to go right, more-so than standard Wind-Ups. I didn't think playing inconsistent cards that magnified the weaknesses the deck already had was the right way to go.
So obviously if I didn't run either of those, the last deck was the one I settled on. Here's what I ran at YCS Providence.
3 Wind-Up Rabbit
3 Wind-Up Shark
3 Wind-Up Rat
2 Wind-Up Magician
2 Effect Veiler
2 Thunder King Rai-Oh
2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
3 Wind-Up Factory
2 Messenger of Peace
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Heavy Storm
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Pot of Avarice
1 Soul Taker
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Solemn Warning
2 Torrential Tribute
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Trap Stun
2 Level Limit - Area B
2 Dimensional Fissure
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Fiendish Chain
2 Needle Ceiling
2 Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Trap Stun
2 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
1 Soul of Silvermountain
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Photon Papilloperative
1 Number 16: Shock Master
1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
1 Tiras, Keeper of Genesis
1 Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon
1 Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh
Here's the video I did with Paul after the tournament: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t83YzwW8GE8
I want to talk about a particular card in my main - Messenger of Peace. A few weeks ago I was testing with my friend Jono who I met at worlds this year. We were playing WU mirrors and both drawing terribly. We were trying to figure out the best card to help us stall out when we drew hands full of Wind-Up Rats, Magicians, Factories, Pot of Avarice, and so forth. At first we were comparing Spirit Reaper and Snowman Eater until I finally just said why not maindeck Messenger of Peace? I bring it in almost everytime I play, it'll free up side space and if my opponent wanted to get rid of it they'd either have to go out of their way to get off the field or waste a Mystical Space Typhoon that would've hit a different backrow which was equally as important to help me draw to my playable cards. He said it sounded neat so I went to one of my best friends in this game and someone I talk to about everything Chris Hentz. He liked the idea and said he even wanted to do it last format but couldn't because of the presence of Inzektors. After splitting his local with a friend also using the Messenger tech, he was immediately on board and continued to test it non stop while I tested the Cardcar Trag version of the deck.
The week before the YCS we found a perfect way to test our deck. Our friends Scott Pulera and former YCS Providence Champion Tyree Tinsley each had their own regional and wanted to test different card choices and techs for Providence. We talked over Messenger with both of them and they both ended up topping their respective regionals - more than enough evidence to me that the card was good. People that had played them started talking but word didn't really get out to too many people and we all felt it would still take a good amount of people by surprise. When Friday night rolled around I texted Chris and asked for his current list. I expected a good amount of Thunder King and Chaos Dragons so I took out the 2nd copy of Compulsory Evacuation Device and replaced it with the sided Soul Taker, switched out Wind-Up Zenmaister for Number 39: Utopia, and hit the sack.
After waking up and meeting with my teammate Jonathan Weigle and seeing that he was playing a list 2 cards off mine, I felt really confident and turned in my decklist.
Round 1: Agents
Game 1: My maindecked tech put in a lot of work this game. He was able to get off an early Master Hyperion and Chaos Sorcerer thanks to Trooper milling him lights and darks but I'm able to hold him off with Messenger of Peace until I can Tiras over both. He bounces back with Pot of Avarice putting both bosses back in deck and sets up a Sangan/Call of the Haunted play a couple turns later. I'm able to Trap Stun and now that Gorz is a non-factor, I drop my hand and OTK him.
Game 2: He plays Venus-Gachi early in the game and tries to go off with Master Hyperion and Black Luster Soldier but I have both Fiendish Chains to handle them. I'm able to search for what I need via Rabbit and Factory and end up winning through Herald of Orange light in a couple turns.
Round 2: Gears
Game 1: He basically draws nothing this game and has to try to beatdown with Machina Fortress but a quick flip of Dimensional Prison puts an end to that and I win by abusing Rat and Rabbit for free Xyzs.
Game 2: Again Fiendish Chain puts in work to stop his Geargiarmor and I start to realize it's going to be one of my favorite side deck cards. He lands a Gear Gigant X and Machina Fortress but I have Messenger of Peace and eventually draw into Dark Hole and Magician Shark him.
Round 3: Chaos Dragons
Game 1: I control the game with Thunder King Rai-Oh, Utopia and Tiras and without REDMD, his bosses aren't enough to overcome my field and hand.
Game 2: This game goes back and forth until he drops Lyla to clear my Torrential Tribute then drops Darkflare Dragon, Lightpulsar, and Dark Armed Dragon for game.
Game 3: I open Dimensional Fissure + Magician + Shark. Not a very fair game but it happens.
Round 4: I honestly don't remember this match, sorry to whoever I played.
Round 5: Wind-Ups
I sat next to this guy last round so we both knew what the other person was running.
Game 1: I'm able to land a turn 1 Zenmaity + Messenger of Peace and he doesn't draw any way to combo off in his opening hand so I blow him out on the following turn with Mystical Space Typhoon and Wind-Up combos.
Game 2: I guess you could call this game back and forth, except I opened with 2 Wind-Up Factories and a way to make them instantly live.. but he had a ton of backrows I had to push through. Tiras, Zenmaioh and Soul of Silvermountain all helped while my 2 copies of Compulsory Evacuation Device held him off from doing anything to me and I was eventually able to clear his last backrow and win.
Round 6: Machina Geargia
Game 1: I start off with Thunder King and he plays Soul Taker then summons Armor and swings for 1100 before setting it. I draw Shark and play Dark Hole, Magician Shark him but he drops Tragoedia on me! He doesn't have enough good cards to comeback and I win in a matter of turns.
Game 2: He passes and I open with Messenger of Peace and Prohibition and call Geargiarmor. He rips Gearframe next turn and Typhoons my Messenger and starts beating face. I draw Veiler, then another Prohibition which I use to call Gearframe (since he just summoned a Gigant X and searched one) but I couldn't stop the beats and next turn he drops Fortress and wins.
Game 3: I open with Rabbit and Magician and get a few combos going. Later in the game I have Zenmaines and Prohibition on Geargiarmor and he's just drawing a ton of those apparently so he summons Gearframe and drops a Fortress and attacks Zenmaines with it, then drops another in main phase 2 and makes Big Eye to try to steal it and pop my Prohibition but I drop Effect Veiler, pop his Big Eye in the end phase and OTK him next turn.
Round 7: Chaos Dragons
Game 1: He opens with Allure of Darkness, then Charge of the Light Brigade then special summons Darkflare Dragon. He tries the Eclipse Wyvern trick and removes it to get back his REDMD and I call a judge and he quickly loses after throwing away that many cards.
Game 2: He opens with a set monster and I open Dimensional Fissure + Magician + Shark and even Reborn this time and I OTK through his set monster. Getting pretty lucky with my draws against Chaos Dragons so far.
Round 8: Chaos Dragons
Game 1: This one goes to me quick, I open Shock Lock and Messenger of Peace and win on the next turn through his Tragoedia.
Game 2: This one takes almost the rest of the time left in the round, the game goes back and forth for a long time. He uses his Heavy Storm on turn 2 and I'm able to establish a board of Wind-Up Rabbit, Dimensional Fissure and 2 copies of Level Limit - Area B. I can't draw a trap outside of a lone copy of Fiendish Chain and have to use it to stop a freshly summon Zenmaioh from beating my life points in. Eventually he's able to answer my Fissure, summons Exa-Beetle and Gaia Charger and searches Effect Veiler and I lose in a couple of turns.
Game 3: Time is called on his turn early in the game so I would get the last turn. I was able to go off with Magician, Rat and Rabbit on turn 3 of the game so I had some combos going. He passes and I swing into Tragoedia then Compulsory it to get some damage in. I end with life points being 7000 to his 3400 and he sets a monster and passes. I setup a Zenmaioh play to get rid of the set Ryko. Then I summon Thunder King Rai-oh to add to my field of Zenmaioh, Zenmaity and Utopia and pass back over to him. He summons Darkflare and Pulsar trying to draw out my Thunder King negate but I don't bite. Then he drops Dark Armed Dragon and I negate that. He thinks for a couple minutes then offers up the handshake! Whew, the match had to have lasted 2 hours and I didn't even have any time to rest up for the next round.
Round 9: Agents (Simon He)
Game 1: He wins the roll and opens up with Thunder King. I look at my hand and it's all monsters but I feel like I can pull it through. Fatigue gets the best of me and I mess up a combo and forget to trigger my Magician and at the end he's able to swing for game under Messenger by Forbidden Lancing his Tragoedia.
Game 2: We trade resources until we both have just a few cards each. He's at 4200 and has 1 card in hand and I have Sangan and 2 Wind-Up Rats. I set Sangan and pass. He draws, sets a s/t and passes back and I draw Dimensional Prison. I summon Rat and Xyz summon into Soul of Silvermountain and freeze what I presumed to be Mystical Space Typhoon before setting my Prison and passing back. I didn't want to give him the chance to do any shenanigans with Tragoedia since I could just game him on his next turn if he didn't commit to the board. He drew to 2 and passed back and I summon Rat, make Giga-Brilliant and pump it and Soul of Silvermountain to 2100 each. I flip Sangan so I can game through Tragoedia and he scoops.
Game 3: He sets a monster and my hand consists of a ton of pink cards and no monsters. I set Torrential and Warning and pass back and he flips Spirit Reaper. I Torrential and he summons another one to which I flip Solemn Warning. He passes and I Monster Reborn one of them and attack into Gorz and discard a Master Hyperion. He ends up using Mystical Space Typhoon on my Fiendish Chain and then swings into Dimensional Prison with the Gorz. I don't remember what happens after that but eventually I have 2 sets (Bottomless and Pot of Avarice) to his 2 cards in hand and still haven't seen a monster yet. But fate looks down upon me and I rip a Tour Guide! He Veilers it which is fine with me since I have the Bottomless set and I swing for 1000. He draws to 2 and summons Black Luster Soldier, then uses his topdecked Lance when I flip Bottomless and he swings through Tour Guide then direct for game. Oh well.
The swiss rounds are finally over and Sam, Weigle and I are all 8-1 with Tyree holding a reocrd of 7-1-1. I head to the mall with Ben to get some Popeyes before going back to the hotel and chilling. I try to sleep but end up browsing Facebook until 5 AM when I'm finally able to get some shut eye.. Until Pat Hoban's alarm goes off at 7, that is! We check out of the hotel and we have to bring our luggage to the convention center.. I can't remember the amount of times Ben was told his bag was humungous. Biggest bag in the whole room!
Round 10: Machina Geargia
Game 1: He draws his Machina engine with no Gears in sight. I'm able to hold his Fortress off for a little bit while I setup Magician Rabbit Rat combos and eventually make a cool play when I summon Rat and leave Rabbit as my last card in hand then Tiras over Gearframe and destroy Fortress to let him discard my Rabbit get get it back via Rat in main phase 2. He tops Armor but it's too late to mount any sort of comeback.
Game 2: I get clogged with Prohibitions again and have to start setting Magicians under my Messenger in case he rips Mystical Space Typhoon. I end up Spacing what I thought to be Starlight Road and hit Prison instead, then play Heavy Storm but he flips the card he set last turn and reveals Road. My only hope is to draw Pot of Avarice but I don't get it and we move onto game 3. For the record I side out both Prohibitions after this next game and swear to never side them back in.
Game 3: I open with Rabbit Factory and search out Magician Shark but he has Gozen Match. I sit on Rat Rabbit and eventually draw Heavy Storm. I summon Soul of Silvermountain, lock his Starlight Road and play Heavy Storm then go off with Rat + Rabbit to make free Xyzs and he again draws Armor too late.
Finally got my first YCS top! I walk to the ATM with Ben then to the mall and he buys me Hawaiian Punch which I was dying for. I come back to the event 7 minutes late to round 11 and sit down and just have fun with my last opponent. He scoops game 2 after seeing Magician Shark then game 3 he Xyzs and I Torrential my Thunder King. We have a few laughs, he ends up winning and I sit down with friends and test until they call Top 32.
Top32: Agents (Dan Vrabel)
Game 1: I open Magician Shark, Pot of Avarice, Messenger and Compulsory and win in a matter of turns.
Game 2: I start with Rabbit and swing at a Shine Ball. Next turn he sets another monster and I swing into an Honest. I setup plays with another Rabbit and Rat and I play Messenger. He summons Thunder King and ends. When it comes to my turn again I think about keeping Messenger for about 10 seconds and get a slow play warning. I end up letting it go and make an Acid Golem to draw out Honest. I set a 4th backrow and pass back and he swings which was unexpected. So next turn I play another Messenger that I held in my hand and he rips Heavy Storm and clears all 5 of my cards and swings for game.
Game 3: He summons Thunder King and I honestly have no outs to it. I finally have to use Compulsory and then Torrential it. I make a really greedy and risky play by trying to Reborn it next turn past his 2 set backrows. He Warnings and I Solemn but when it hits the field he flips Bottomless. That definitely cost me the game but I don't think I could've won if I hadn't at least tried. I drew no monsters the whole game and got Factory clogged.
So that's it and I was knocked out of the tournament by a Thunder King. It was disappointing after doing so well in swiss but Dan was really cool so I was okay with losing to him, it sucks he drew bad in Top8 and got OTK'd by Dragons. I had a ton of fun in Rhode Island and that night Ben and I ended up meeting up with Joe Giorlando, Paul Clarke, Jonathan Weigle, and Austin Kulman at Fire & Ice again and had a blast. Except for that ice cream at the end.. my night long stomach ache definitely let me know that I should've passed on that one! It was awesome meeting people that came up to me and asked to play some games or just talk in general and I'd love to meet more of you in the future! I'm going to try to be at Seattle so if you see me come up and say hi! It was awesome chilling with friends this weekend - new and old.