Hey guys, it's Vision member Dominick Manalo. Recently I attended the Houston BCS Regional. This was also my second time attending the event, so I was really looking forward to seeing all my past friends as well as other players from last spring. I’ll be recapping my experiences, matches, and what I did to prepare for this event.
Friday, the day of our flight. Another big Vision member Matt Perez and I were getting ready for our journey once again to Houston, Texas, were we would be competing in both Standard and Premium formats. Our flight was later in the day, around 2 pm, so we decided to take some liberties such as deck discussions. Matt would be piloting his main clan and what he’s known for in the group, Shadow Paladin, and as for me, my main clan Narukami for Standard. I’d also like to add that Houston was also during the release weekend of the most recent booster set, “Phantasmal Steed Liberation”, giving support to four clans: Shadow Paladin, Pale Moon, Murakumo, and Dark Irregulars. Knowing this, there would be a definite meta shift at the event and a possibility to see these clans play within the tournament. Once we finally got our luggage and decks ready, we set off for LAX. We landed in Houston around 5 pm, and as soon as we got off the airplane I instantly felt the humid air. One of the few things I dislike about Texas. As we were preparing to receive our luggage, I made contact calls with a few friends who would be meeting us in Texas for dinner. One of them was the second place winner of Premium, Nicky Goldman. We finally checked in to our room and headed to dinner to “The Swinging Door”, which was really good brisket thatcomplimented well with the BBQ sauce. Afterwards Matt and I headed back to the room to prepare for Day 1 of Standard.
As we got ready, a former customer and now a great friend Keller Hanegan came to the rescue with breakfast. This man was the true GOAT, and gave us the fuel to survive for the rest of the day. We made it down to the event venue and it was complete nostalgia from when we were here last spring with the other members. This got me riled up and ready for the upcoming matches. At the start of round one there were 370 players going into 7 rounds, broken into A and B blocks. Matt won a bye card that gave him an instant pass for the first two rounds, whereas I would have to fight my way through. Despite that, I felt confident in my standard deck choice which was Narukami.
Opponent: Granblue Went First Result: Won During this game I didn’t have too many issues against Granblue, knowing the opponent would have to play carefully around my bind mechanic. Although playing against a Protect Clan and one that can utilize 12 crit, the best move was to remain on Detonix Drill and chip away at his hand, and it ensured me the victory afterwards.
Opponent: Shadow Paladin Went Second Result: Lost I didn’t play much against the newly formed Shadow Paladin deck, but after talking about it enough with the edgelord Matt, I had an idea on how to better manage against it. I didn’t get the chance to go first, although I was able to utilize Demolition Dragon, which gave me the plus one draw. During my opponent's turn he opened up Nemain to fuel a dead board for me to bind, and I minimized the damage to 2. I started my turn with the choice of binding his Nemain with Bolt Capture and Deathscythe, but I decided to save those cards for the later portion of the game and deal more damage to my opponent. On his Grade 3 turn he rode Danger Lunge, which sounds bad, but he was preparing for a late game win. I opened up Detonix Drill and poked through his defenses. He allowed the attack to go through and was rewarded with a defensive trigger, leaving my units unable to touch him. He then rode Mordred, placing the Force I marker on his rear guard, played a second Danger Lunge as a rear-guard, and a Blaster Dark, giving the third marker to his Danger Lunge. Looking at my hand and damage (being at 3), I’d have to guard against Mordred and Blaster Dark. When Mordred attacked he re-stood Blaster Dark, and he drove checked a critical trigger and gave all effects to Danger Lunge. Because of this, I had to let Danger Lunge hit and pray for the heal trigger, but lady luck was not on my side as it didn't show, ending the game in a loss.
Opponent: No-show Result: Won
Opponent: Dark Irregulars Went First Result: Won Once he flipped over his starter, one thing immediately came to mind:, “Variants Hard Leg”. I knew that I couldn’t drag this game on and had to finish him quickly. During the early game I guarded many of his attacks up to Grade 3, remaining at one damage while applying pressure and binding any units that would prove to be an issue. On my Grade 3 ride I relied on Detonix Drill, the push I needed, but he had a perfect guard to stop my attacks and he was at three damage to my one. On his turn he rode Brufas, using his effect to search a card and put multiple copies of said card into soul. He went Protect II to build more power for his rear guards, and called a full board while also playing Hard Leg. This card proved to be difficult to square up against, because when I guarded I immediately knew I’d be giving much of my hand. I guarded three cards against the Vanguard with one of them being a perfect guard. My opponent's drive checks were both criticals -- I immediately knew that if I were to beat him I’d have to take the other two rear guard attacks. Luckily I was still at one damage, so this wasn't going to end me. Next turn I took away most of his board, leaving him with only his Vanguard and two other rear guards. My drive checks were nothing stellar, and they only gave me a 15k defense against any impending attack. On my opponent’s turn he drew into another Hard Leg, I was completely shaken by this. Once he attacked I dropped the rest of my hand and it was a one to pass guard. He drove check nothing and by then he conceded, because he didn’t run any heals and he immediately knew next turn he wouldn’t survive.
Opponent: Dimension Police Went Second Result: Lost I already knew this deck fairly well, since I played it at the Chicago BCS. During the early game I had failed a one to pass and it put me to three damage, giving my opponent a heavy advantage against me. My opponent went Force II, riding the Dailiner, and searched out “Masked Police Leader, Silbard”. Seeing this card, I knew it would prove to be a problem later. When he attacked with Dailiner, I had the perfect guard to stop it. On my turn I had to ride Detonix Drill, this wasn't helpful since he had a full board and I didn’t have many units to bind his. I ended up trying to tear away at his rear guards, reducing the fighting force, but he guarded for them. On his turn he searched with Dailiner, and after he attacked he dropped Ultimate Daiyusha, closing the game out. I didn’t have enough to guard with, and he also had two other units that had a second critical available to them. After losing this game I realized this was one of my worst matches I played that day.
Opponent: Narukami Went First Result: Lost I knew this deck well, but unfortunately my opponent did well utilizing Detonix Drill and Desert Gunner Gaiban. Once I lost this third match, I immediately dropped out of the tourney to rest and watch my other teammate Matt Perez play.
Overall I enjoyed Houston, I met a lot of great people as well as conversed with other teams such as TripleSleeveTCG and StrictlyBroken, who were really great guys to talk to. The event went well, but unfortunately Standard ran into an 8th round, throwing my teammate Matt out of the running for Top 8. I really enjoyed coming back to Houston, it wasn’t for the games, it was the people. I say that a lot, but it's most of the reason why I still play the game. I've made so many connections and friendships through this game that I wouldn't have without it!
We've still got CharaExpo coming up, so if you see any Vision members there including myself, be sure to come up and say hi!
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