As I promised in my locals report a few weeks ago, I’ve returned with a report of the Trinidad and Tobago National Championships. Let’s get right down to it.
The event starts off like any other at the venue, but the atmosphere is noticeably tense with the stench of
body odor competition. It’s very clear that everyone is here to win and the pressure is real. One thing stands out though, and that’s that there’s nearly 100 more people there than ever before. Indeed, the event organizer said that we had 174 registered entrants, crushing our previous record of 98 or so. The place is packed and it’s very clear that it’s going to be a long day with a total of 8 rounds of swiss and then a cut to top 8.
I’m once again piloting Nekroz. Due to the brick hands described in my last report, I’ve slimmed down my build considerably. I’ve embraced the Upstart mentality and mained 3 along with 2 Maxx “C” for as many draws as reasonably possible. I’ll post a decklist and pictures after the report itself for the curious.
Oh, I also pulled Lose 1 Turn from my entry packs, so that was pretty great.
Round 1 (Mirror):
After braving the huge crowds to check my pairing, I find myself at Table 2 and paired against a really skilled player from my locals. Despite that, I double down and get ready to rumble. He wins the die roll and opts to go second. I open alright, but there’s not much I can do turn 1. With Shurit, Cycle and Trish in hand, I’m forced to just pass. My opponent pokes with a Senju and passes as well. I draw and the combo pieces allow me to push through for a Trish play. It goes through and I end up hitting an MST in his hand of all things. I push through over the Senju for some damage. In my MP2, I realize I’m wide open to a Trish play and with 5 cards in hand, I have no doubt he can make it happen. I end up dumping a Quasar for Unicore and Valk to empty my hand and pass with those 3 on the field. He draws for turn and drops Raigeki on me to clear my board. I’m not able to recover and he wins game 1 easily from there.
I side in basic stuff like Kycoo and Veiler, but don’t see any in my opening hand. I opt to go second and he starts off by setting 3 cards and passing. Two of those turn out to be Mind Crushes and with them, he rips my hand to shreds before I make any major plays. The game is over fairly quickly because I simply can’t recover from that with the draws I got.
Round 1 felt a bit sacky, but that’s the nature of the game. I spoke to my opponent while we were waiting for the next round and asked if he felt I did anything wrong during our match. He said that he didn’t think I did, which restored some of my confidence in my ability and my deck.
Score: 0-1 // 0-2
Round 2 (Qliphort):
He wins the die roll and ops to go first. He ends up setting four cards and passing. I decide to go brave and try to Kaleidoscope for Unicore, but I’m shut off by a Vanity’s Emptiness. I try to recover my mirror with a Manju, but I’m hit by a Skill Drain. My next draw however, is the MST. I pop the Skill Drain and the Vanity dies. I use one of my two Unicores in hand to recover my Kaleidoscope and go off that way. I don’t end up with a massive field, but it’s enough to put pressure on him for the rest of the game. He doesn’t draw anything useful for the remainder of the game and I simply beat him down for my win.
I go second again and he has the Summoner’s Art this time. He searches for Saqlifice off of the Scout and passes with a weakened Qliphort monster on board. I open a hand that isn’t particularly good, with 2 each of Shurit, Valk and Kaleidoscope. I set a Shurit and pass. As expected, he beats over the Shurit with his monster, but isn’t able to put another monster on board for actual damage. I draw into nothing useful and pass again with a clear field. On his turn, he sets up the other scale with Monolith sets up a massive OTK involving a normal summoned Stealth, but I have the Valk to save me. On my turn, I summon Valk, Unicore, Trish (which he has the Fiendish Chain for) and D.D. Warrior Lady and proceed to decimate his field. Unfortunately, I’m unable to clear it completely and in my MP2, I overlay for Castel and spin his Scout. I then use Valk to tribute the Castel (and the dead Trish) for draws. I end up getting a Raigeki and use that to clear the rest of his board. He isn’t able to get another scale in time and I win within a few turns.
I seriously thought that I was done for when he opened those two floodgates on me Game 1, but the top decks were real and I managed to push through for my first win. Also, in retrospect, what seemed to be a bad hand at first turned out to be the exact combination of cards that I needed to win my Game 2.
Score: 1-1 // 2-2
Round 3 (Infernoid):
I get paired up against the same player who I faced in Round 4 of my last tournament report. When he recognizes me, he’s visibly upset to be facing me because he knows Djinn is waiting for him. He wins the die role and goes first and summons the Level 2 Infernoid and passes. Going into my turn, I know he can banish my Clausolas from grave with his Infernoid, so I attempt to clear the threat first. Thankfully, he takes the bait and banishes my Kaleidoscope instead of the Clausolas, which was a huge misplay on his part. I end with a solid Djinn lock and his only response is to summon a Lyla, which I have the Book of Moon for. On my next turn, I Trish and clear his graveyard of Infernoids then poke. He isn’t able to do anything and scoops on his next turn.
He opens up with a Reasoning and gets a Peropero off of the Reasoning and the Level 4 Infernoid on board with the fodder he mills. I’m not able to respond immediately and just summon a Manju and pass. On his turn, he summons the Level 7 Infernoid and attempts to attack, but I have the Valk to stop him. He passes to my turn and I start off by summoning the Kycoo to stop his Infernoids and his Peropero in their tracks. Then, I manage to get a Trish on board to deal with some of the bigger threats like the Level 7 and proceed to set up a Djinn lock. He scoops under the pressure of my board and that’s the match.
I’ll say it again, Djinn is cancer. That said, in a competitive environment with prizes on the line, there’s not much choice but to play it. My opponent was understandably upset with how our match went last time and was definitely not happy for an encore, but that’s just the luck of the draw.
Score: 2-1 // 4-2
Round 4 (Geargia-Traptrix):
I’m paired up against probably one of the youngest people at the event. Turns out he was just 14 years old. Despite that, he had some of the best sportsmanship I’ve seen at these events. Took everything in stride and was never dismayed when things didn’t go well. As for our actual Game 1, he opens with a Geargiarsenal into Geargiarmor play and sets some backrow. On my turn, I managed to drop a Trish on him on my first turn and cleared his board. He has the Bottomless Trap Hole for my Trish, but it was in vain because I proceeded to beat down with Unicore and Manju. Keeping Unicore up meant that he couldn’t use most of his Xyz’s and he had to go into a Gem-Knight Pearl, but I had the Book of Moon and won this game shortly after.
I open triple Upstart and my next few draws leave me with 3 MSTs in hand. I hold onto them until I draw some combo pieces then clear his back row before putting a Unicore on board and slowly whittling him down from 11000 while he isn’t able to recover.
I tried my best to explain and be polite. We’re a fairly insulated Yu-Gi-Oh community here in Trinidad and new blood is always healthy for the game. It was in a hyper competitive setting and he was already 2-1 after 3 rounds so I couldn’t afford to not play my best. In another setting, I might have taken it a bit more slowly, but I at least hope he had a good time at the tournament.
Score: 3-1 // 6-2
Round 5 (Qliphort):
Another Qliphort match-up. This time, I’m fearing the Lose 1 Turn much more than in my previous Qliphort match. I haven’t recorded much details for this match, but I did make note that he opened double Veiler and used them on my Senju and Trish. However, I was still able to summon a Gungnir and maintain fodder for it, so under that pressure he wasn’t able to pull through and scooped.
This match followed a very similar time line. He left himself open to Trish so I had suspected a Veiler, but decided to push through anyway. It turned to be a Veiler as I suspected, but it was no major loss. During this game, he managed to get a Scout on board, but by then I had already drawn into an MST and Twister (sided in one of each in addition to 2 mained MSTs). I was able to Castel his Saqlifice to keep him from searching another Scout and then poked with Trish for game.
Veiler really puts some pressure on my plays, but it’s something that can be played around with some effort. It seemed to me that in Game 1, he just didn’t draw the pieces he needed to make pushes. I’m still not sure if he was running Lose 1 Turn, but he heard that I pulled one from my entry packs and is going to buy it off of me sometime this week, so cheers to that.
Score 4-1 // 8-2
Round 6 (Burning Abyss):
He wins the die role and opts to go first. He ends up making a Dante, milling 3 and setting 2 cards, leaving him with one card in hand. With my opening hand of Cycle, Brionac and a Shurit, I figure I can make the Trish push. I search for the Trish off of the Brionac then activate the Cycle, to which he responses by activating Mind Crush and calling Trish. This turned out to be a major misplay on his part because I was still able to Cycle the Trish from my grave by tributing the Shurit. He ended up responding to Trish’s summon with Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, sending the only card in his hand to the grave to avoid being Trished. I ended up getting my search off Shurit and grabbing an Mirror as well to summon a Unicore to keep his Dante from pushing through. On his next turn, he isn’t able to get rid of Unicore and overlays into Downerd to ensure he gets his Dante. I manage to make an Abyss Dweller and Trish (Without effect) to push through without letting him get his effects off. Under the pressure of Dweller, he isn’t able to recover and I win shortly after.
He opens rather poorly with just some backrow. I try to summon my Manju, but it gets Solemn’d. I have another in my hand though, so I just pass and brace myself. He ends up summoning only one Dante and poking for 2500 and then overlays into Downerd. On my turn, I beat over Downerd with Unicore and then poke with my second Manju. I end up making Daigusto Emeral and Valk in my MP2 and he before I can even get my draws off them.
After the match, he was being really hard on himself about not calling the Shurit instead of the Trish during Game 1. It would have definitely changed the course of the game and maybe even the match. But, it wasn’t exactly an obvious thing to do unless someone really thinks it through. However, by this time the tournament had been going on for something like 7 hours so we were all understandably tired.
Score: 5-1 // 10-2
Round 7 (Shaddoll-Seraph):
I find my pairing and head to my Table (5, which was pretty encouraging at this point in the tournament) to find none other than my Locals’ store owner already waiting for me. Cue intimidation. To be fair, he describes me to our friend nearby as the one who has come to ruin his dreams of Mexico, so it wasn’t just one-sided fear. He goes first, sets some cards and passes. To make matters worse, I draw a poor hand of ROTA, Clausolas, Shurit, Cycle and Mirror. I then draw my second Clausolas for turn. I try to make the best of being able to tribute Shurit from hand by discarding Clausolas to search then using Cycle to bring it back and Search a Brio off of Shurit. However, I’m stopped dead in my tracks by Mistake. I try to stall a few turns by putting Clausolas on board anyway, but it’s not enough and after a few turns, I run out of life points and lose.
We try this again, and my first turn this time around isn’t too great either. I can’t put anything significant on board and pass. Unfortunately, he’s able to summon a Star Seraph Scepter to search and summon Star Seraph Sovereign, but doesn’t have the third material to overlap into something. He passes to my turn and I try to make a push, but he flips Mistake for a second time and my heart just sinks. On his next turn, he summons another Scepter, but can’t search off of mistake. I’m able to hit one of his Scepters with a Book of Moon before he overlays. Unfortunately, he then wombos into double Construct and a Falco. I take my damage and then topdeck a Raigeki next turn. It isn’t enough to put pressure on him because he has the El Shaddoll Fusion and manages to add a large number of cards to his hand when everything dies. I once again try to dig for the MST, but there’s no hope and I quickly die to his Fusions.
Man, Mistake is a nightmare. It was intimidating to play the store owner in a tournament (we play casually from time to time), but even so, there was a time when I had come up with a really resourceful plan to put a Trish and Unicore on board and push back. However, at the first step of that plan, I was blocked by Mistake and couldn’t get over it.
Score: 5-2 // 10-4
Round 8 (Mirror):
By this time, I’m really worried about whether or not I can still make it to a top 32 spot and win a mat, but I’m comforted by the fact that my losses were both to people who finished the tournament x-1. As for my final round, I get paired up with a guy I know and we realize that all four players at our table are playing Nekroz. He wins the die roll and opts to go first. To my dismay, he sets up the Djinn lock and I don’t have an out. Within 2 turns, I’m dead without ever getting to play anything. It’s the first time I’ve been Djinn locked like this and it just reinforced my belief that it’s an unfair and unfun card and my opponent said he felt the same. But it’s a tournament and Konami says it’s legal so there’s really no ill-will for doing what you have to do to win.
As if to mock me, I draw both Raigeki and Dark Hole in my opening hand. Where were they during my last game? Nevertheless, I go first and force a Djinn lock through using a D.D. Warrior Lady. I pass to him and he has the Raigeki for my lock and he manages to OTK me that very turn. Without the Valk in hand, there’s nothing I can do but let it happen.
My last round wasn’t at all how I’d like it to have gone down, but it was what it is. At this point, I’m really uncertain that I can still crack into Top 32, which was my objective coming into the event.
Score: 5-3 // 10-6
Outcome and Final Thoughts:
Having finished my last round very quickly (like all my other rounds, I never saw a Game 3 through the whole event), I just killed some time until Top 32 was ready to be announced. By then, it had been over 10 hours since I first got there, so I was really nervous that I’d have nothing to show for it. That’s why, when my the head judge started announcing the Top 32 players, including some who I assumed had done better than me, I was really dismayed that I was definitely out of the running. So, when we got up to 27th and my name is called, I was really over the moon. I definitely fought hard for that spot and am really pleased with how my deck and I performed through the event and that I stuck through to the end.
Overall, it was a pretty great event. Due to commitments outside of YGO, I wasn’t able to get my desired amount of practice in so I was really unsure about how I would perform during the event. It’s safe to say that I blew away my own expectations and was able to achieve my goal of making Top 32 and winning a mat and some sleeves. The event staff were definitely the most organized that I have ever seen at an event like this and while there were some hiccups in dealing with 174 players, they all handled it in stride. The judges also buckled down and kept on working despite how tired they would have been by then. All in all, while this may have been my last major tourney for a very long time (maybe ever), it was certainly a great send off from the competitive scene for me and my friends (who actually attended!).
All in all, I’d definitely have to say Nekroz of Trishua was the MVC of the deck. He put in so much work against pretty much every opponent that the tournament would have been unimaginably different without him.