Hey everyone, Yoh here. Oops, I mean player 35. I’m here to tell you about how I got on at my first FFTCG major event (not really a spoiler: I didn’t win, sad face).
Let’s Talk About My Favourite Topic: Me
Before I get into the deck I played, and my games, I thought I’d first give you a quick overview of my FFTCG experience and whatnot. I first started playing FFTCG in October 2017, just before Opus IV came out. I’d played card games for many many years before this, but I’d never really tried to play at a serious competitive level, and in my more eh-hem “adult” years I’d focused more on judging than actually playing. I had been getting pretty bored of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and became aware of FFTCG at just the right time, and decided that I wanted to take it up competitively, rather than judging another card game and playing casually. Unfortunately, those ambitions turned out to be harder to achieve than I had thought, as I lacked any sort of local player base to play with and improve against. I do have a group of friends I play with every prerelease, but that’s the extent of how much they want to play. So for a while, all I really did was shitpost in the FFTCG Discord(s), read rules stuff and answer rulings questions. Despite this, I somehow manage to make some of them online friends, and, well, one thing led to another and I made a team with a few of them. So, when I made the decision to go to UK Nats, and after Opux IX came out (so we had a better idea of where things were going), my team helped me prepare.
For a little while, I had no real idea what deck I was going to take. Besides Chocobos, because fuck Chocobos and everything they stand for. Lucky for me, my team has some very talented deckbuilders on it, so I knew I could rely on them to at least guide me in the right direction no matter what deck I ended up on. Again, besides Chocobos because actually fuck off. One of my teammates, eureka, had an event only a little bit into the Opus IX meta, and was working furiously to figure out a deck build. I won’t bore you (any more than I am) with those details, as you can read all about it in his article, but being able to watch the deck evolve and see him play it, it was clear he had something really good, and something that seemed to be right up my street because I love me some alternative wincons.
Before eureka even had a chance to take the deck to victory in Yokohama, I’d decided to take the deck to UK Nats. If you compare the build I took to UK Nats, you’ll see it’s somewhat different to eureka’s Yokohama list, and the reason for that I kinda forgot and eureka explains better anyway. Something something 80% power 100% of the time, something something 100% power 80% of the time. Makes sense, right?
I probably got ~30 games practice with the deck, which might not seem a lot, but it’s ~30 more games than the 0 competitive practice games average I have. My team members, in addition to playing against me, were also providing me with all sorts of advice on match-ups, decision trees and just general playing tips. As such, while I never felt like I was about to go and blitz everyone at UK Nats or that I was some master of the deck, I did at least feel pretty good on the deck. Anyway, let’s go over my rounds. Reminder: Don’t expect amazing things, thanks.
Doing The Rounds
So, a little preamble, I have previously attended a whopping 1 regional event back in 2018, and my first round in that went absolutely abysmally wrong. I made bad decisions, and got face-rolled. As such, I was hoping to start my first major with a win. I wasn’t going to be utterly crushed (or bothered at all) if I lost, but ya know, nice to win the first round.
I was up against Wind/Fire Cadets here. I fucking love Cadets, for no reason, having never played any Final Fantasy game, I just love them (and hate Chocobos) and that’s all there is to it. Anyway, this game went okay for the most part. While he was getting a little bit more damage in than I’d like, I was milling him down fine and things seemed good. Now, unfortunately due to my inexperience, I can’t pinpoint every decision I did wrong here (or in any game), but let me tell you there is one moment where I absolutely fucked it. They had 6 cards left in deck. I had the ability to mill 3 cards at least. So, they basically had one turn to kill me. I played Cloud of Darkness, leaving each of us with 1 Forward. Now, when I played CoD, I had a Fina on board. I also had a Fina in hand. They had a Seven and King. I decided to completely forget about the Fina in hand and choose to keep Fina on board, while they choose to keep Seven. Their other two Sevens were in the BZ, so I had no concern about them using Snakebite. If I’d just kept the CoD, playing a new Fina could have dealt with Seven. Of course I had no way to actually otherwise deal with Seven, and being on six damage, I died on their next turn when they had 4 cards in deck. So yeah, maybe making bad mistakes in the first match is my new thing. Better just going to go ask a judge for a round 1 game loss from now on.
I sat down. Prepared myself. Got all set up, along with my opponent. He was the strong, silent type. We stared at each other, ready to do battle, possibly to the death if it came to it. Then it happened, the round got repaired. Well, fuck.
Alright, let’s read the sheet. Oh I have a bye, nice. Better sit down. Judges ask if anyone is missing opponent’s, two tables put their hands up. I decided to play safe and double check. Apparently, I am blind, do not have a bye. Whoops. How did I do that. This day is going well…
My actual, real opponent, who is actually the person I am playing and not a bye or someone I’ll stare at before pairings are redone again, was running Earth/Wind. I opened with Yuna and Paine EX, not bad. My turn 2, some questionable decisions from the Yohster.
…what? Oh, okay, fine, I won’t refer to myself as the Yohster. Worth a try.
So, yeah, turn 2, I decided to get a Rikku from Paine and then not play it. Then it got Zidane’d away. Good times. However, by the time he’d managed to get 3 damage into me, I’d drawn another Rikku, and entered the Famfrit/Porom recursion and lucksack drawing loop from hell. He dealt no further damage, and basically never got to keep a Forward down for more than a turn.
Because I’m an asshole, I milled him to exactly 0 before passing turn. Where are my fries, I see a lot of salt in front of me.
My opponent here had Mono Wind.
Quick sidebar. Majority of my testing was against Mono Ice, and other Ice/X variants. I did test a couple games against some random stuff, and also a few games against Mono Wind. If there was one match-up in hindsight I wish I’d got more testing in against, it was Mono Wind. Basically Mono Wind and Mono Ice were the match-ups I dreaded the most, and the match-ups I expected the most. Good times.
With all that said, even if I had practised a ton I’m not sure there was much I could have done, I drew like shit, he drew very goodly. They, in their own words, “assembled Exodia,” and I did a big lose. I’d be remiss not to credit them for being a really good player as well, at least I got that feeling, in between being smacked in the face by all that value.
Hey, remember last round? It’s Mono Wind again! This time they didn’t (I don’t think) draw the nuts, but I wasn’t exactly drawing much of anything. The game was a little bit closer, but between crappy draws, inexperience in the match-up, and just generally being not the best, I ate shit again.
1-3 and out of top cut contention. Which, if you thought this was going to end with me in top cut, you’ve somehow either skipped to literally this part, not been paying attention, or you just believe in the power of Yoh, and that’s cool, thanks for your support.
I initially thought I was up against Mono Water, but in time it became clear this was a Water/Earth Monster deck of some sort.
I opened Yuna/Waltril, which was decent. I then proceeded to live off these two Backups for what felt like 400 turns, but was probably just over 10 of my turns. In that time, my other Backups I needed went to damage, and the Backups I drew to hand were my other two Yunas. Good times. Despite this, I basically just lived off big Famfrit and Porom, both recurring and drawing them. Eventually I was able to draw into Rikku and other Backups, and take it home.
Mono Earth this time. Not much to say, my shitty drawing turned around here and I drew really well, and held control of the game for basically all of it. This was also the first game I dealt damage in, and actually managed to deal 5 while my opponent only did 3. Of course I milled them out. Winning by damage is for Normans.
I knew going into this round that if I could win, it meant that I could, at worst, break even at the end of the day. It also meant I could actually end positive, but I never really thought about that at the time.
This was another Mono Earth game. This somehow went better than the last one. I opened Yuna/Rikku for, I believe, the first time in the tournament, and it was smooth sailing all the way to the last card in their deck.
4-3, and I can’t go negative now!
When I seen the number on the sheet, I knew instantly who I was against.
Hey, have yet another sidebar, basically the “current” version of the Square Enix software doesn’t allow for player names, and only uses numbers. It’s literally the worst best thing ever. Not confusing at all. So yeah, that’s why I said number and not name just there in that above sentence. Also, now you can go back and appreciate that opening joke more if you didn’t initially.
So, who was this opponent? Well it was ol’ Midgar Senpai himself, Esufer. Remember earlier when I said I tested mostly against Mono Ice? Well around 90% of my test games were against Esufer, and mostly against his ever-changing Mono Ice build. It never went well for me. While I did notice I was performing better and better against the deck, I just basically lost every game (the one game I remember winning was because he drew like absolute horseshit). Which, yes, does mean I lost the majority of my practice games. I told you not to expect much!
To say I wasn’t expecting this game to go well is an understatement, but thinking that doesn’t change how I approached the game, I’m not going to give up just because my current record is like 1-20983746622 against Mono Ice.
I started the game by mulliganing into a hand of White Mage and not much else. Nothing like turn 1 White Mage. By around turn 5 of the game, my hand had really hit the shitter and I had both Veritas and Madeen in my hand. Esufer was kind enough to slam down a Sephiroth, and I discarded the fuck out of both of them. I did manage to get rid of Sephiroth not long after it was put down, but Esufer placed down a Scale Toad, and it started chewing into my slightly-improving hand. Esufer eventually placed down a Garland, and then I tried to big Famfrit his Toad and Garland, to which Esufer did the ol’ Edward special. Unfortunately for Esufer, I decided to top deck into TWO big Famfrit, although one was enough as he had nothing he could do to stop it.
If I had one small saving grace in this match, it was that Esufer’s hand and draws seemed about as bad as mine at times, and I just happened to start to draw into what I needed as the game went on, and he didn’t. With that said, Esufer responded to my big ‘frits top deck by seemingly top decking a Sephiroth, to get rid of my two cards in hand, which were an Asura and the second big ‘frit I drew last turn. By this point in the game though, I’d managed to get Yuna, Rikku and a further 3 Backups up and while the Sephiroth stung, it was the last bullet in Esufer’s magun. A few turns later, despite having 2 Forwards on board, he had only 5 cards left in his deck and no way to do enough damage before I milled him out.
Phew. Can you believe it? I actually won, not just against Mono Ice, but the Mono Ice I’d been facefucked by repeatedly in testing. Even I couldn’t really believe it. Although, while it felt pretty good to win, it does suck it had to come at the cost of beating a teammate, especially one who’d helped me so much. Maybe it could be said I only won because I got slightly luckier in draws as the game went on, while he didn’t, but whatever, doesn’t matter, still counts, lalalalalalala not listening.
5-3, and now 2-20983746622 against Mono Ice.
Let’s Take It Home
In the end, I finished 5-3 and 50th overall (my tiebreakers must have been absolutely garbage, although I guess that’s not surprising). I was pretty happy with the result though. Going into the event, my goal was to come even, so ending up positive was one whole step above my goal. A very nice Brucie Bonus (if you don’t know what that means, ask some old person on the street or something), so I basically won the whole thing because I smashed my goals, right? RIGHT?
Reflecting now, I know my inexperience cost me at least one game, and left me pretty hopeless in a few others. I can’t say how much better I’d be if I had been practising for years, but I’d certainly be able to tell you in more detail things that I did wrong, or games I never had a chance of winning. Besides that first Mono Wind match, pretty confident in telling you I was never winning that. In regards to the deck, it’s a beast in my eyes, a wild, hard to tame beast, and while it probably wasn’t the best choice for my first major, I feel am better on it than a majority of player’s I’ve seen attempt to play it, but I still have a lot to learn about the deck…or I would if the Rikku ban wasn’t coming to make the deck dead….
In the end, I had fun (and some of my opponents did not have fun) and that’s all that really matters. I’m not the type to get caught up in caring too much on how I do at events, but hopefully I can continue to improve as a player, and do better next year.
On the Yohstal rating scale, I give this event 7.2 + a Magnum ice cream.
Thanks for reading. Go away now.
“You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going.” – Morgan Wootten
El. Psy. Kongroo