RST 12 Report (LONG)
ltwyman at osf1.gmu.edu
Mon Nov 13 17:52:51 EST 2000
I placed 7th at the Region 12 RST, and I figure you guys would be
interested, since I did it with a (mostly) honorable Dragon
Control-Dueling-Honor deck. Here's my report -- it has a lot of
contemplation and digression, so if you're not interested in my thoughts,
go ahead and skip to the middle, where the Rounds are.
I haven't been in a good mood recently. I'm not doing the greatest at
school, my roommate is pissing me off, and I don't get enough sleep (damn
7:30 class). My Creative Writing Class has moved on to poetry; I hate
reviewing other people's poetry. It's been dark outside; it's way too dark
in my dorm room (my roommate insists on using the several superfluous lamps
he brought from home because he hooked them up to a remote control, because
he's too damn lazy to stand up and flick the switch). I have no car here at
GMU, so I can't get anywhere without wasting all day on the Metro or
waiting for a bunch of people to decide to go shopping. I've been bitter
and somewhat depressed, but optimistic about the near future.
Sort of like the rest of the L5R community, I suppose. L5R seems ruled by a
mixture of cynicism and idealism (one could say they're the same thing),
with players always bitching about the "current environment" and how bad
the card base for their clan is, yet they always hope that the designers
will fix things in the next expansion or, in the present case, Gold
Edition. Doom and gloom are especially prevalent on L5Rinfo and the #L5R
Undernet IRC channel, and one can't help but get caught up in it. I'm just
as guilty look at my rant about the Phoenix if you need proof. :)
The thing is, I'd rather play L5R than do most anything else (notice the
"most" there are exceptions). I love every aspect of it deckbuilding,
playtesting, the anticipation when a new set comes out, finding new uses
for unnoticed cards, figuring out loopholes in the rules, analyzing the
game environment, and, especially, the competition. Like most of my family,
I have a very competitive nature. I'm not interested in merely winning
games when I win, I want the effort to be mine. I would rather beat, say,
a Phoenix player with a Dragon Clan deck that I invented and designed than
win a tournament with the deck-of-the-month, and when I can win a
tournament with a deck I put hours into, building and testing and tuning,
well, I can't describe how cool it feels.
Don't get me wrong I have a well-adjusted life outside L5R, and
most of my friends couldn't recognize what a L5R card was if I had one
glued to my forehead. I just wish I could play more. The area where I'm
from (Lexington, Kentucky), had a very small player base, and the DC area
doesn't seem to hold many tournaments. I savor every chance I have to play
in tourneys, and I want to do as well as I can.
That's why I waste my time writing strategy for the Stronghold, and why I
spend so much time on my tournament reports. I don't get a lot of
opportunities to play in tournaments; this Regional is merely the second
tournament I've played in with more than 20 people (the first being Gencon,
this year). Each tournament is a chance to match my wits against new foes,
to test how good I really am. I know this sounds cheesy but it's true. I
love the competition. I've never been built for sports (I was short when I
was young, and now I'm 6'3", only 140 pounds, and clumsy as hell), and
video games just don't give me enough chance to assert my own identity. I
liked Magic, but it was just too much money and effort to continue playing;
in L5R, though, not only can I play a game, but I can also tell a story.
I'm an English major I love stories.
I was worried about this morning. The registration for the tournament
started at ten, and the tournament itself was scheduled to begin at eleven.
Unfortunately, I would have to take a bus to get to the Metro stop, and the
buses didn't begin running until 8:45 and the earliest I could arrive
would be 10:40 if nothing went wrong. And things have a tendency to go
wrong for me.
It was incredible outside. The sun hung heavily in the sky, and every once
in a while a huge gust of wind would flare up. Partially to shield my ears
from the wind, I put on my headphones.
The Clash, live, kicks ass. Not in the same way as James Kochalka
Superstar kicks ass (www.mp3.com/jks) or Radiohead kicks ass, or even The
Darkest of the Hillside Thickets kick ass. They had a bouncy, fast, catchy
rhythm that their studio stuff didn't entirely do justice to, and they
could rock. I have to fight the urge to go "AOOOHohOOOOH" along with the
crowd on the opener to From Here to Eternity, their new live CD. I think I
frightened the two girls sitting in the bus stop with my antics.
While I was waiting for the bus, a bunch of people wearing numbers
on their shirts ran by. I figure it was some sort of race. Then... I saw him.
Yes, Batman. He was wearing his Batman mask, a cape, and jogging shorts,
and was running in the middle of the pack. I think I later saw Robin
pushing a baby stroller. It was just the beginning of the weirdness when I
got on the bus and sat down near the back, I overheard some guy telling his
son about the joys of Tenacious D. I didn't know that anyone outside of
connoisseurs of strange music knew about Tenacious D, but when he sang a
bit of the Lee song, I did a double-take. Drew, my L5R sparring partner
back at home, often talks about Tenacious D before we go to tournaments. It
was a bit scary. (If you don't know about the D, check 'em out online.
They're pretty damn cool.)
Perhaps even stranger: I showed up on time. I said hello to all the folks I
knew, and sat down where Jonathan, a friend of mine, was talking to a guy
named John Stevens, who had come up from North Carolina. There were
apparently 35 or so people at the tournament, and a good spread of clans
were represented. By the beginning of the second round, another group
arrived from Richmond, and the attendance was 41 strong, with every clan
represented. I was using my trusty Dragon Honor deck, SJ-ified with a bit
more PK. I had some anti-honor tech in there, but I barely used any of it,
and would probably have been better served with some One Life, One Actions,
Refugees, or more dishonor.
I like to talk, especially about L5R. I must be annoying as hell
to those around me, because I babble on and on about decks and cards
(similar to what I'm doing here), but people don't seem to mind too much.
The big thing I noticed was the number of Scorpion, especially Scorpion
Dishonor, and the lack of Phoenix there was Jim Ghiloni (aka Isawa Yamoto)
sporting his Shiba Attack Deck, Alexander Wood using a "bandwagon"
FETA-Dishonor, and I think one or two other FETA/Mo5s. Scorpion basically
held them down Dishonor is Phoenix's biggest weakness, and it was there in
Of course, one of the Laws of Tournaments is that you will always end up
playing the person with whom you had been sitting and talking....
ROUND 1 John Stevens, Kosaten Shiro with Hantei
I'm never sure what to expect from Kosaten Shiro. It can do both honor and
military exceptionally well, and there were a LOT of Cranes there. The
format was honor+cut, and I won the cut. First turn I got out a Crevasse,
and he got a Large Farm and an Uji. I followed up with Yoshi + Gold Mine,
then continued to get stuff out pretty quick. He got only acceptable gold
early nothing crazy and I was able to keep up with him in production.
After several turns (and battles), I reached 40 honor; he then got Kuwannan
Exp2, too late. I don't think he was able to bust a province.
Rock and roll. I'm feeling good about myself I have Sanzo on my side,
Batman's obviously watching over me, and my Kung Fu is strong. But, is Kung
Fu a match for Vu Fu?
ROUND 2 John Palmer, Hitaka on #L5R undernet, Spawning Grounds + Kaede
Ooh. Spawning Grounds PK. I haven't had much experience against this
archetype just watching Scott at Gencon and playing against it on
Gempukku. Oh, and what's up with all these Johns? I've mentioned three
already. Anyway, this John like the other two, is a pretty nice guy, and
we exchange snappy banter throughout the round.
I had a bad opening fate hand by my third fate draw, I had all three winds
Truths and 2 Deeds, but, fortunately, VuFu (he said for me not to call the
deck this, but it's easiest) doesn't start too quick. He pulled 3
Shadowlands Marshes on his first turn wacky and the Festering Pit. I got
a rather large amount of gold, and Gennai and Shinseken gave me some fate
manipulation and Shugenja powah. I countered his PK with my own Force of
Will and Test of Honor are pretty good against the Horde, I hear and I was
able to outrun his PK. I unleash beatings! I AM INVINCIBLE!
Winners bracket, baby! Nothing's going to stop me now. Jonathan,
unfortunately, lost his first game to a Crane dueling deck (Crab isn't the
strongest vs. Crane) and got a bye his second round. I scope out a few of
the Scorpion matches it's fun to watch dishonor in action, as long as
you're not on the receiving end of it.
ROUND 3 Josh, Palace of Otosan-Uchi with Toshimoko
Josh is a big guy a BIG big guy. He dwarfs me, and, unlike my skinny ass,
he's got mass, too. He's also a pretty nice guy. Joshi is apparently a
Ninja, but he was playing a friend's deck, because his friend wasn't able
to make it and wanted his RPG character in Gold. This deck was strong, and
pretty wacky. He used Toshimoko, but without many duels I didn't see any
during our game. I got a bad opening, with 4 personalities, but, thanks to
a first-turn Shinseken and a second-turn Imperial Gift, I was able to get
ahead in honor and take the favor. Things were going pretty well I got out
a Judgement on Daini and a Secrets on the Wind on a Gennai, and, with Yoshi
as backup, was ready to duel away his guys. Unfortunately, I got greedy and
decided to try and kill Kamoto instead of Toku with a Command staff. Yoshi
only flipped a two, and he played two Smoke and Mirrors, stripping me of my
high focuses. Argh. He won the duel, and my resources thus wasted, I
suddenly was scrambling for defense. I even had another Yoshi in my
provinces, so I could have killed Toku that turn and Kamoto the next. Silly
me looks like my Ambition ruined me. I held off his army for many turns,
killing off his Daiyu exp2 so Hoshi could rock, but by then it was too
late he outforced me when I was at 45 honor. Oh well.
With the ups come the downs I love playing, but I take losing a little too
hard. Fortunately, I looked at my mistake as a learning process don't
challenge the big-chi guy initially when the little one is almost as good.
ROUND 4 Stephen Murray, AKA Bayushi Murai, playing Yogo Towers w/ Kaede
Murai is somewhat infamous for his Blitz decks, and, thanks to Drew, I knew
of his reputation. He's a cool guy I met him at Gencon, where we compared
Shadowfist while he chatted with Drew. I figured this game would be pretty
close, because Yogo Blitz has a tendency to work just as well in the
midgame as in the early game, and my prediction was correct. My biggest
fear against Scorpion is Shoshuro Technique, so I used Hantei for, I
believe, the only time my entire tournament to call it. He called Iaijutsu
Duel. We built up, and he used my Judgement + Secrets kills to empty his
hand for ring of the void; he then proceeded to attack each and every turn
to get cards out of his hand. I held him back until I hit around 30; he
then took 2 provinces utilizing Yogo Unbowing Tricks (tm). I hit 42, then
was able to survive the decisive final battle by a mere force or two.
Probably the best game I played the entire game it was fun, neither of us
made any real play mistakes, and we (Murai especially, with his
hand-emptying, card-cycling RoV tricks) both played intelligently.
I discussed Gold with Murai for a while, and we both lamented the fact that
Scorpion's only shugenja has a honor requirement. WHY? I like the Scorps,
and they don't need no honor requirements.
ROUND 5 David La, Utaku Palace Unicorn w/Yodin
Yes, that David La. The one who won Gencon. I have to admit it I'm a huge
fanboy. I think it's awesome to meet people like Bergstrom, La, Walsh,
hell, anyone who consistently does well at big tournaments, because, well,
I want to do well at big tournaments. I'm repeating myself, but I had fun
playing against everyone. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and there
was a lot of joking and goofing around. David was no exception though he
probably thought that I mentioned his Gencon win a bit too much (pretty
much to everyone I knew).
I didn't have a quick start just a Shinseken, no gold, though I did get
some on the second turn. He was able to get out an inexperienced Yokatsu by
the third turn; I held off his attack and ambushed with Daini, completely
forgetting that he can unbow a guy when attacked. I took out Yokatsu with
an Iaijutsu duel, but lost Daini in the process. A counterattack capped the
whole thing off. He was able to get the favor, and attacked, twice favoring
home one of my guys and moving to an undefended province with a SupTacs.
Down to one province, there wasn't much I could do; if I hadn't ambushed, I
would still have held the favor, and might have been able to pull it out.
By the fifth round of any tournament I start getting a bit stressed and
tired; and I was worried that I had no chance of making it into the finals,
since they were only taking top eight they probably should have taken top
16, but, because there was originally below 40 people, that's how they
originally scheduled it. I was a bit rude to Jonathan, among other people,
since I pretty much ignored them. I hope I didn't offend anybody.
The organizers had some problems with standings, because the computer
screwed up or something. Josh, the guy who I lost to in the third round,
was the only undefeated player going into the sixth round. He would
continue his winning streak during the next round.
ROUND 6 Alex Yuskavage, House of Tao, Water Ring and Hantei Sensei
I didn't take many notes this round, nor do I remember it very well. It
seemed that both Alex and I were tired and stressed. Alex jumped ahead in
honor really quickly, with a Wayan and something else, and took the favor,
but that didn't last very long. I dropped a Challenge, then a Test of
Honor; a few turns later I followed up with another challenge. My PK
engines started rolling, and he never really had the force to take one, let
alone multiple, provinces.
Then, a tough wait. They announced that the 9-16 ranked players would play
in a side tournament, which cheered me a bit, since I knew I would be at
least in the top 16. There was a long wait (probably at least half an hour)
as they fiddled with the computer database and double-checked everyone's
total points. Finally, they announced the standings one 6-0 (Josh), one
5-0-1, two 4-1-1s, and... me, at fifth seed, the top-ranked 4-2. My
tiebreaks were goood David was, I believe, 12th, and I beat John Palmer
(the 3rd or 4th seed), and my other loss was to the top seed. A cry of
"Kitsuki Sanzo!" (or maybe just "Yes!") escaped my lips. What can I say,
I'm not a humble winner.
Jim ended up placing in the top 16, also going 4-2, with his Phoenix Attack
deck. He would end up with, I believe, 13th place. Jonathan ended up 3-3;
he metagamed pretty heavily against Dishonor, but never hit one.
The Final 8 went like this:
Toturi's Wacky Blitz (Josh)
One Spawning Grounds PK (John Palmer)
One Dragon Honor/Dueling/PK (Me!)
Yodin Unicorn Attack
Toshimoko Unicorn w/ Dueling/Magistrates (I originally thought it might
have been Scorpion Dishonor, though I was busy playing so I didn't see the
round w/ the 2 'Corns)
FINAL 8 John Palmer, again, Spawning w/ kaede
John was worried going in, because he lost pretty badly to me during the
Swiss, but I told him that he had a chance. I shouldn't have, because my
deck was obviously listening, and decided that now was the best time to
completely f*ck me over.
I have never been so badly gold screwed. I ran 15 holdings + GSP and
Inheritence; all I saw until the third turn was a single Small Farm. On the
third turn, I got out the Clan Charter. I didn't see any other gold, except
for another pair of Farms, until 5 or so turns later, when I got a
Crevasse. I had 2 Force of Wills in my hand, waiting to kill of his guys,
and multiple Shugenja in play, but I never had the gold to really play
them. He busted my Crevasse; I held on for several more turns; then saw 5
holdings in 2 turns (seeing as how I only had 5 provinces over those turns,
it was not good), but, by then, it was far too late. DAMN YOU DECK! :P
I was a bit emotional that game, cursing at my deck quite a bit. I suppose
it was to be expected John was probably my best match in the final 8, so
when I hit him, I, of course, have to get gold screwed.
Josh fell victim to another law of tournaments if you go undefeated in the
qualifiers, you must lose in the first round of the finals (I'm the only
person I know who has avoided that).
John went on to win it all, hitting the Ratling Crab (John was taken down
to one province, but he eventually had more PK than the ratling had
personalities, and was able to kill off or steal almost his entire dynasty
deck. The ratling showed an uncanny ability to hit the right
provinces both of the first two provinces he killed held a Shadowlands Marsh).
I get pretty upset when I lose. I bitched about my deck for a while (if I
lost due to a mistake, I would have bitched about myself), but the mood in
the Ratling Crab vs. Horde game was so downright fun that I couldn't help
but enjoy myself.
The finals ended up being Scorpion Dishonor (ouch) VS. John's PK VuFu. The
Scorp didn't have much of a chance John stole the Scorpion's shugenja and
used them against the Scorpion, and eventually went in for the kill. Both
players seemed somewhat unconcerned about the storyline prize, which pissed
me off a bit, because I had come in wanting to name my guy either Kitsuki
Sanzo or Kitsuki Iyoku. Oh well. I guess winning has different meanings for
By now, you probably don't care about reading about how much I enjoy this
game. You're probably a little annoyed that I wasted your time on personal
thoughts instead of going straight to the rounds and decklist. The thing
is, I'm writing this as much for you as for me. I don't know if I'm going
to play L5R anymore it's expensive, it's time-consuming, and it's
draining. If I were to cut it out of my life, I would have about one to
three more hours a day (the amount of time I spend reading digests,
checking out websites, hanging out on #L5R, writing stuff, and fiddling
with decks) to write.
I spent two years trying to bring life to one dead L5R scene. I don't
really have the time, drive, or energy to try and organize another one.
(BTW, if anyone working in DC area stores somehow sees this, we have the
players and the desire. If someone sanctions regular tournaments at an
location easily accessible from the Metro and freeway, people WILL
come or, at least, I will.) I'm not going to quit just yet. I want to see
how Gold shapes up, and I want to see what will happen with the DC
tournament scene. But I'm not going to play forever.
So, I think it would do everyone a little good to lighten up a bit despite
the fact that I lost, I probably had the most fun I've ever had at a L5R
tournament today. The only thing I would have liked more would be if my
friends from home were there.
So, next time you think about complaining about L5R, try to keep a sense of
humor with it. This is just a game, no matter how much we may be serious
about it, and, if it's not fun, it's not worth playing. Even people with
lockdown decks can be good opponents; it's all in the attitude.
Dear God, I can't believe I wrote that. Back to the bitching.
(I didn't bother writing the decklist up, but if people want to see it,
just send me an e-mail and I'll post it.)
Dragon Clan Villain - Magistrate - Samurai
Supporter of the Scorpion
"From Bayushi, we learned of the lies hidden in truth;
From Togashi we learned of the truth hidden in lies."
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