Well it’s been a long time since I did a proper tourney report, but at least a few people asked for one so here it is about a week and a half later than intended.
First, a little background. I don’t like UFS that much right now. I hated pretty much everything about the Bebop set, what it did to the Standard format at the time, and the ripple effect it had on the following sets in 2018.
After attending more PTC or higher level events in 2017 than all but four players, last year I only went to three PTCs, and only eventually relented to attending US Nats. Some of this was due to PTCs I would normally attend no longer being held due to shifting dynamics in the player base, but mostly I just didn’t feel like spending money to travel in an unfun format.
When I did play I generally opted for contrarian decks with varying degrees of success (Felicia, Anakaris, Sasquatch). The one time I did play a post-Bebop character I went with a super basic throws Vicious in Rockford that aimed to exploit the movement away from throw hate other than Prepare to Fight in the meta, and managed to barely edge out Myles Tyler’s far more polished and purposeful flips version in diversity breakers.
For Atlanta I planned a different approach. My complaining about Missile Launcher has reached borderline meme levels in the Discord, and it seems only right that I put my money where my mouth is and subject others to my source of misery.
I was originally looking at playing Kung Jin who has been weirdly under represented after finishing top 4 at Nats and runner up in Reno last year, but after seeing Sean Baumann’s Goro list from Chicago and hearing JRay gush over it I made a swap. Not only did I figure the Shokan Grab variant deserved another crack at an event, but running Goro would let me jam Missile Launchers into people on basically every turn and he’s been another source of my complaints—after all how hard is it to win with access to the best four cards in your discard pile every turn? I figured I’d either do well with a pile of cards I think are broken or I’d wash out and find out that maybe it wasn’t as easy as I was making it out to be.
Here’s the list I used: http://www.ufsultra.com/deck.php?deck=FHGGTpUgewItcaOFTMGntHTqfcmCFd
Basically just Sean’s list with a few tweaks some which may have helped and others which may have not. I got about five games of practice in against an Akuma deck where the winner was basically determined by whether or not the Akuma drew orange and had Fees.
Morning of the event was pretty hectic. It wasn’t clear when the venue opened, or when registration was. The Facebook event listed the event as starting at noon, but the page for the store said it opened at noon. Did registration start or end at noon? After asking around it sounded like it was likely registration would start at noon, due to the confusion. I went back to bed for another hour.
It turned out the event was being held at a “convention” in a dead mall. We ran into Matt Childress in the parking lot as he was going to get food and he told us “Take a left, then a right, then another left and look for the abandoned Ross.” After a little wandering we found the spot in a makeshift “gaming hall”. Someone told me the mall has been used for filming scenes in The Walking Dead. I don’t know if that’s true, but I never doubted it for a second. After sitting in the folding chairs I felt confident they wouldn’t all make it through the weekend.
Tamren Cardwell (Water Jacqui)
The Dean himself. Gotta say I was a bit surprised to see Jacqui. After there were none in California or Chicago, I just assumed she’d gotten banned or something. The water build meant I didn’t have to worry about giant reversal Urban Showers, but instead I’d likely be seeing Getaway Fire loops. Jacqui is actually a pretty terrible matchup for Goro. She has a lot of vitality to chew through as a 5 hander; by giving powerful 6 to things she can hit just as hard; and with her draw she can often block better than you might hope. Tam wasn’t drawing too well offensively but he had clutch Bangs to stifle my offense and I was checking terribly so he took it without too much resistance.
Dan Hasan (Fire Kung Jin)
Dan was running a pretty standard KJ list with Big Shots, Cats (Ailurophobia), etc. so it mostly came down to a race of whether I could kill him before he hit critical mass. A lot of his defense was based around Punch and Judy, and Redeemed Rogue, so I could shut it all off by leading with a Dark Chireitou. He was able to get game two with a Cats wearing 2 punch, 3 Judy and some other assorted pumps. He initially forgot to use the powerful before doubling, but had just enough momentum to make it lethal afterwards. I had held a mid block but it certainly wasn’t going to pass with that speed. Games 1 and 3 I got in with a combination of Missiles and Grabs as planned.
Chris Escarcega (Void Mileena)
This was a wild match. Chris was one of the ATL locals piloting a deck that Keenan Meadows had heavily contributed to, if not build outright. The second characters were flipped I regretted taking Big Cyclone out of my side board. The deck had the standard Deep Freeze/Frost Hammer duo, but was also doing Soul Charge things as it was running super deep on 6s for Telekinetic Mastery. I saw an Esoteric Yoga go by in his early checks, and had a chilling vision of trying to kill through Mileena’s R and a Yoga activation. He was also running Mushroom Experimentation and Power to Connect Realms (RIP Launcher) for even more ways to mess with my limited hand. For this match Dark Chireitou was vital for turning off TK, Survivalist, and Mushroom, and Flashy Shadow Kick for helping with me dig out War for Armageddons and Commander of Outworld’s Armies in order to flip Connect Realms. There was one hilarious play where he used a Test Your Might on a huge Soul Charge when I had exactly 15 cards left in deck to force me to cycle, but then he drew the lethal attack off the draw 3 so it ended up not mattering. I got the other games though, because 21 vit is still squishy against giant Shokan Grabs and he has to cut by 5 on most of my attack turns just to not die when DC is shutting off all his defensive tricks. Plus after I got the Realms flipped, Launchers came back with a vengeance. Cool deck though.
We weren’t terribly hungry after doing a Chik-fil-a breakfast but we desperately needed to find somewhere with a tolerable bathroom because oh man were the bathrooms a disaster in the abandoned mall hosting a free Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention (shocking right?)
Phil Birch (Air Shadow Man/Raptor)
Phil offered to let me scoop because haha a character with on board foundation destruction vs a 4 hander. I had a good laugh and built a turn one Pursuing a Vendetta. He saw maybe one attack in game one and it was over. In came Raptor and presumably more Bangs. The Bangs and breaker really slowed me down plus Healed by a Shaman is broken. I was at about 3 vitality with no cards in hand and Phil showed me all the orange he drew so we could move to game three. I told him he had to at least make a check first. He shook his head in disgust and played a Death Hurricane, checking a 5, and committing one of his 8 foundations. Or maybe he was in desperation and didn’t need to commit anything? I don’t remember I was shuffling for the next game. Game 3 was ezpz. I opened Vendetta again, tossed out a turn 2 throw and a few good foundations, and he bombed an attack check on two and ended up being wide open for a couple of Missile Launchers that I was fortunate enough to top deck right after I shuffled my hand into my deck and got them out of my discard pile along with two other attacks. Skill.
Rodney Garland (All Goro)
Hot Rod looked like he’d been hit by a truck but he was 3-1 too. The night before I had realized I would probably have a diversity fight with him because what is Goro if not Bomb Man that can draw 4 attacks on every turn and has more vitality? He was playing the All slams version he’d been playing at Nats last year which reminds me a lot of Slams Metal Man except more damage and less worried about passing long strings. Lots of cantrips. Meifa’s Assault basically says pick one of the top 5 cards in your deck to put in your hand. Anyway, I win the die roll, bomb the check on my third foundation, and get stuck with a non-block in hand. He attacks turn one like a savage and still builds. I end up with about as good a defense as my deck can provide but the attacks aren’t there and I lose the first game. While we’re shuffling he asks if it’s ok if he has to abruptly leave to vomit mid match. I assure him that I don’t care, unless he thinks he’s going to find some sweet coaching advice at the bottom of a trash can. He implies that my face is the cause of his nausea as opposed to his lack of sleep and whatever virus he’s incubating. I inquire the judge as to the rules on player harassment. He laughs. Definitely harassment.
My deck doesn’t let me down in game 2 and I get the W. Game 3 he gets to go first. I build three and hold a low block so he can’t hit me for 12 with the Nut Kracker he checked turn one. Even with the full block he ends up taking me to either 13 or 17 while building two more foundations and keeping two cards in hand. He has a pile of attacks that will kill me next turn so I have to try and do 40 with my 3 foundations. I end up getting a Folk Tale Storyteller, two Launchers and a Grab. The Folk Tale leads, checks one attack and mills two more. I get both Launchers through for 20 damage but don’t do the stun because he has a Sense of Morals out (probably should have forced the issue). I go with the Grab and between all the mills for the turn, Unlikely Allies, and the Grab tutor I get it to exactly 20 damage. He partials with another Nut Kracker on a 6. I lose and give him my extra Gatorade from lunch because he looks like he’s about to pass out.
Now having lost the head-to-head I’m in pretty bad shape in the diversity fight, but for whatever reason Strength of Schedule (SOS) is a higher breaker than head-to-head so if I win, Rodney loses, and our SOS shakes out in my favor I can still get in over him.
Don Hartfield (Water Cossack)
Don’s deck was interesting and he had a cool life gain engine going with Poolside Date, but ultimately he’s like a water Jacqui deck that doesn’t hit as hard and actually defends like a 5 hander most of the time. I realize I can slow roll it a bit just picking up throws and building some good foundations and blocking with Wood Man’s Leaf Shield with almost no risk until I can just pick up a fat stack of Missile Launchers which I do twice for a 2-0 win.
Before the last round it looked like Tim Keefe and Rodney were considering IDing. I helpfully informed Tim that if he IDed I’d punch him in the face. (Editor’s note – definitely harassment) He did me a solid and just lost outright making Rodney 5-1. I got diversified, but at least for my trouble I got 6 awful packs of SFvDS full of a bunch of jank rare foundations and a Castle Aensland.
After the tourney we went to some local restaurant called the Mellow Mushroom. Had some good pesto bread, some other Italian fare, a few beers, and stayed way past closing time in the parking lot while Myles Tyler held court about all things UFS.
We waited til the last possible minute to check out of our hotel and wandered back to the old Ross to catch some of tops and kill a little time before the drive back to MD. Just as we were saying goodbyes before walking out the door, Bradley Townsley’s chair imploded to provide a fitting cap on the weekend.
I didn’t top thanks to diversity, but he did the lord’s work by Missile Launchering his way to a plane ticket. Anyone going “but Missile Launcher isn’t three damage?!” don’t worry. Mr. Keefe knows this. To paraphrase “Lilith doesn’t abuse Launcher that well so I only run three main.”
That abandoned Ross
Provided a great ambiance for the bombed out wasteland of post-Bebop meta.
For allowing me to sleep in on Sunday.
Showing what a difference a fresh mindset can give by topping ATL after a rough showing in Chicago with a similar Ken deck. Also finally gave me back my phone charger he accidentally packed in his suitcase in Poughkeepsie back in November of 2017
For showing that chair who’s boss.
For the Saturday stream.
I had two character picks to win the tourney, Goro and Raptor. Not only did he knock out Rodney’s Goro in top 4 (not technically his fault because pairings), but then he goes on to lose to Keefe in finals so now I have to hear about it from Chris Smith. How are you gonna let some New Englander just waltz into Atlanta and embarrass you in the finals of something? Break the cycle already!
Missing out on top cuts because you got a draw while doing shout outs on stream is hilarious. Next time save the dab for top cuts when there’s no clock. Unless…
No top cut Stream
Why is there no travelling Jasco steaming rig yet? Seriously.
That abandoned Ross
Pretty sure we all have the consumption now.
Always a slop.
About the Author
Rob Snyder is one of the hosts of the Guile Treatment podcast, constant presence in the Shameless Discord, and top-tier shitposter in the UFS community.