Crystal Cup Toronto Tournament Report
Wow what a weekend! I want to start this tournament report by establishing the fact that as much as I enjoy playing FFTCG, the actual playing of cards was BY FAR the least enjoyable part of this weekend. It can't be said enough how great the FFTCG community is, and this weekend was made truly special by meeting and spending time with such an exquisite assortment of hooligans (including meeting the Legend himself, Kageyama San).
The tournament itself was enjoyable albeit stressful. The judging staff and event coordinators did a great job of keeping things organized and big props to them for being such pros at what they do. That being said, I did not make things easy on myself by starting off 2-2 and being on the bubble for the last few rounds of day 1, but more on that as we go!
Before I give my round by round report I'll begin with the decklist:
Not much to really say about it. Fairly standard Knights engine complimented with Fusoya. Lack of the Lenna/Ephemeral/Knight/Cuch is simply because I think they're mediocre cards when not coupled with Fusoya. We don't always see fusoya early and need to abandon that aspect of the deck in some cases. When this happens the aforementioned cards tend to struggle mightily, whereas I find Garnet Beatrix et al can still win without fusoya and present problems for alot of the mainstream decks. Fairy/Claidie for the anticipated barrage of Ice and Lightning decks.
On to the actual report (sorry if I forget names, I have a terrible memory for them and I'm much better at recognizing faces)
Round 1 vs Wayne Hewitt (Mono Ice):
Not sure if deckout is the primary strategy here but it wouldn't surprise me. Pretty cool ice variant with Gesper and Time mage essentially locking down turn after turn. Recognizing Ice right away I began to tempo out early. He began fairly strong with double bucaboo. Mid game with damage either 3-0 or 4-0 in my favor he misplays and swings with a 7k genesis into an 8k Beatrix with Claidie (this happened more than once this weekend to my delight) which really turned the tides in my favor. A couple turns later was my turn to fumble where I tried to push for game by playing leviathan to deal the last 2 damage with my Beatrix/Garnet, not noticing his Time Mage with a card in hand. Naturally he Ex bursts a Cid Aulstyne and decks me out from there.
Round 2 vs Jacob Giordano (Top 16 Water Monsters):
At the beginning of the game we get randomly selected for a deck check. We began chatting and it quickly became apparent that this guy was really cool and super friendly (a trend that would continue for mostly all of my opponents the entire weekend). The deck check was taking some time and he brought up the possibility of us getting in trouble with time because of it. We discussed it and decided if we did end up going to time, whoever had the edge in the game/damage should be the winner. I don't remember a lot from this game other than it being extremely close and back and forth. Naturally we did end up going to time and on my final turn a Beatrix swing/reduction forced him to chump block with his entire field at 6 damage. True to his word he drew his card and conceded. Class act all the way and clearly Karma is a thing as he ended up winning out to make the top 16 himself (not surprising given how solid he is).
Round 3 vs ? ( Multi color Summons/FF9):
Unfortunately I forget this guys name, but he was also a super cool guy. He dropped ozma on me early which kept me on the ropes. Luckily I drew fusoya relatively early and it was able to pop a Steiner and Garnet and keep board in my favor. A few summon trades in my favor ended up sealing the deal, where he was really just an Ozma special away from swinging the game back in his favour. Really good game.
Round 4 vs Christian Winterhalter (Top 8 Wind/Water Monsters):
First off let me say that Christian (aka Prince Noctis) probably had one of the best cosplays of the entire event, and was easily one of the nicest people I met all weekend. Guy completely rocked out as the Prince and did it justice to say the least. As for our game I tempo'd out early and applied a lot of pressure with my sweepers, but unfortunately overextended too much and was punished by a timely Opus II Cloud of Darkness which completely shifted the game in his favour. Not a card I was expecting and definitely a misplay that lost me the game here.
Round 5 vs ? (Scion of the 7th Dawn):
He began and started off extremely fast with Hasting Backup followed up by 2 Scions getting in a quick 2 damage. Fortunately I was able to stabalize fairly quickly getting a Garnet down and only eating one damage the following turn. From there My fowards became too big and he was forced to pass/run into summons allowing me to trade favourably in battle. A timely fairy late game prevented his final push and allowed me to narrowly eek out a 7th damage.
Round 6 vs ? (Mono Lightning):
One of the better matchups for me, I opened fairly strong with Arty into Minwu. This allowed me to focus on devlopping my forwards and prevented him from being able to deal the early damage that's necessary for lightning to win this matchup. After stabalizing there just wasn't much he could do and I started trading favourably while dealing damage every turn.
Following the last round the names of the day 2 participants were announced in descending order from 1 to 16. As dramatically as possible I squeak in at 16th with tie breakers and am elated to join 3 of my teammates from Ottawa rounding out the top 16! After a long day of cards we all felt the need to let loose a bit and got a group of around 14 of us decided to migrate over to the Anchor Bar for some much needed adult beverages. Again, I can't stress enough how great this community is, and this is really the highlight of the trip for me. Getting to hang out with different players outside the context of the game, who all live scattered across the continent was amazing, and every one to a head were super nice and great to be around.
After several more lagers back home and a Rockets loss later we all called it a night not entirely sure what awaited us the next day, but all happy with the top 16 nonetheless.
Top 16 vs Alan Sheu (Mono Ice):
Alan was the lone X-0 going in to the second day and all that I knew about his deck was that it was a mono ice variant. Game 1 went very well for me as I drew Arty in to Fusoya and began to tempo out. This is generally my strat vs Ice as they tend to have a very hard time playing reactively and have trouble restabalizing vs early pressure. Fortunately he wasn't able to draw in to Duke Larg early and Fusoya maintained board for me with Claidies preventing any reciprocal damage.
The second game was much closer. I don't remember most of it, but I do know Orphan came in to play mid-late game which I didn't have the answers for and he was able to combo out well. I vaguely recall an Edward special negating a Fairy factoring in here too.
Third game was more similar to the first and involved early fusoya allowing me to control board and not worry too much about blocking. After the previous two games of not seeing an O5 Mateus, my strat shifted and I was far more comfortable blocking with my Forwards not named Garnet. This made the matchup far easier for me and with that knowlege it was tougher on him to get damage in.
Overall the match was really back and forth and took nearly the entire alloted time. Alan is a class act all the way and it really could have gone either way. Props to him on the undefeated day 1 and the top 16.
Top 8 vs Orlando Diaz Jr. (Mono Lightning):
Orlando is another super nice dude who actually traded me the last foil I needed to foil out my deck prior to day 2 starting (thanks again buddy!). He played mono lightning, and to be pefectly honest plays it as well as anyone I've seen.
Game 1 was a slaughter. He managed to get pressure going very early with Hildi/Illua, and I was forced to match pace and walk in to an Al-Cid. Total domination for him game 1 and things weren't looking particularly great lol.
The following game followed an entirely different narrative where combinations of Fusoya and Fairy/Claidie allowed me to really maintain board and control the pace with my predominantly higher power forwards. Lightning is similar to Ice in that it struggles when forced to play reactively and be on the defensive. Luckily I was able to win some key battles with summons which allowed me to control the pace and take the initiative away from him.
The final game was more back and forth than the ones before. Extremely tight and down to the wire. Key moment was a timely fairy which won me a battle and really pushed the momentum from his favour into mine. From there he was forced to chump block and I managed to squeak in the final couple damage and fortunately dodge what would have been a game changing Odin EX.
Top 4 vs Jason Batten-Carew (Mono Ice):
At this point I'm extremely pumped. Invite to Nationals is secured, and beyond that the rest is more or less just icing on the cake. Finding out Jason was my next opponent was bittersweet. We're teammates who've played 100s of games versus each other, and really know each other's style and deck inside and out. Going in to the match we both knew that it was virtually a coin toss, as our testing showed the matchup v each other was basically 50/50. Luckily for us the pressure was off quite a bit, and being good buddies it was comfortable playing each other because we do it every week at our local tournaments (props to both Game Breakers and Gaming Kingdom in Ottawa).
Our match was actually featured so I won't go on too much about it. Mental fatigue definitely began to play a factor at this point (Orphan blunder x2), but overall it was a really good match. Mateus is an insanely efficient summon and can be really tough to play around. Luckily in 2/3 of the games I was able to establish Fusoya early, effectively eliminating his Mateus', and I was able to maintain board and seize the initiative. I can't stress enough how important that is in this matchup. Jason plays Ice extremely well and understands his strategy well. He applies a ton of pressure early and typically it snowballs from there. Getting Ice on the defensive is paramount to winning the matchup, and fortunately enough I was able to do just that with Fusoya/Beatrix/Garnet really putting in work.
Big props to Jason on making the Top 4 and securing his Nationals invite, you deserve it and earned it brotha!
Finals vs Andy Tan (Water Monsters):
Last round, one opponent to go, and again one of the nicest guys I met all weekend. Both of us being Canadian was pretty great as we felt no matter what the title was staying in Canada (although truthfully I would have been more than happy to see any of the American guys we hung out with all weekend take it down). At this point we were both just elated to have our invites and be in the finals.
Again this match was streamed so I won't go too much into detail, but obviously I wanted to develop Fusoya as early as possible and do my best to prevent his board from getting out of hand. Typically we want to tempo out and apply pressure as Monsters requires time and space to set up and they can struggle when not given it. For me the magic number was always 8. If I didn't have a Fusoya ready to counter his Cag attempt I was fine as long as his character count didn't exceed 8. With Garnet being able to buff and wakka being there I felt comfortable being able to survive a turn and weather the storm and get back on the attack. Luckily for me I think Andy drew quite poorly in game 3, whereas I had a pretty strong open, and I think that's the main reason I was able to squeak it out in the end. Major props to Andy though. He played well all tournament and is a total beauty, very deserving of his great result. The streaming cameras actually missed it but we totally had a huge bro hug after the match and were probably both just happy it was all done and we could go home and sleep hahaha.
8-2 & Crystal Cup Toronto Champion!
PROPS (Sorry if I missed anyone):
- Kageyama for creating such an amazing and intricate game that we all love. #Legend
- Tony, John, Jason, and Nick (Ottawa Crew) for their great showings at the event, really making Ottawa proud.
- Judge Brian for knowing his stuff and kicking major ass! (also making Ottawa proud).
- Greg and the BC boys for being super cool and piloting Mono Fire and actually kicking ass with it! Hope to see you guys again soon
- Prince Noctis and all the other American gems we met over the course of the weekend. Hopefully you'll all get a chance to try real authentic poutine one of these days hahaha! Really hope to see you all again at a future event
- Jacob and Orlando for both being huge beauties and extremely solid players
- Judge Gabe for being super not rudeeeeeeeeee (and me for giving Omar a 5 star uber rating)
-The whole event staff for putting on a show and being total pros. Really can't say it enough, you guys rock.
- The Gordon family for being lovely, feeding us and harbouring us for the weekend #secondfamily
- Gaming Kingdom and Game Breakers for taking care of us players and putting on great stuff every week, if you're ever in Ottawa you have to check them out!
- Garnet. She is BAE