Tom D’s Protective Gohan Tournament Report
East Kai December 2018, 18 Players, Tom D
Happy New Year everyone! East Kai was a blast and while it was a bit of a bummer that it was on a holiday weekend, I’m glad that another OP season had started so soon! I was really excited for this event, however, I had no idea what deck I was going to play until the car ride there. Let me explain… for the past few weeks, I had been playtesting with Marc Bolger and T.J. Corcoran as we were all trying to figure out what decks to use for the event. I was somewhat planning on bringing an Oppressive Drawku build I was finding success with but I knew deep down that I couldn’t due to Mischievous’ presence in the meta. With only a few days left, I settled on Enlightened Gohan. However, during my 3-hour car ride to East Kai I decided that I didn’t have enough experience with the deck and decided to just default to my favorite deck, one that I hadn’t really played since Gencon… Blue Gohan Ally.
While at Gencon I went with Resolute, I decided to run it as Protective this time around as I felt that would fare better in the Mischievous matchup. I also opted to run a couple of Optic Blasts as I expected to see some ball decks throughout the day, namely Mischievous Supreme Kai. Due to it being the holiday weekend, East Kai only had 18 people, however, the average skill level at the tournament was extremely high, meaning there wouldn’t be any easy wins to be had. All of the usual homies were there, including all of the Tom’s, the Dennis brothers, etc. Regardless of how I might do, I was just happy to see so many familiar faces.
Round 1 vs. Jacob Gluck w/ Black Mischievous Supreme Kai
In my opinion, Mischievous Supreme Kai is the deck to beat. The hand sculpting Supreme Kai gains along with the disruption and mill effects of the mastery paired with the pure value of Black Style cards makes this a horrendous deck to sit across from. I personally thought this game was lost, as he continued to shuffle in his best cards while setting up his bottom draw, as my life deck slowly whittled away. I amassed a large field of allies but there was one pivotal combat where he used his mastery and then I used Blue Blanketing Blasts to let me draw whatever I wanted. I ended up chaining attacks from there and it was just enough to turn the tide of the game. I forget the rest but it was just enough to pull out the win. Jake is a good guy and I expected to see him make top cut as his deck was a powerhouse. However, I found out later that he had dropped after that game (sorry Jake!)
Round 2 vs. Kevin Curtis w/ Namekian Knowledge Cell
I was not looking forward to this matchup at all. Curtis made a great meta call as ball and ally decks were running rampant at East Kai. The game started off with him rejuvenating a knee block to start with one anger and then entered shortly thereafter with a Cell’s Draining Attack to get to level 2. Unfortunately, we only made it a few combats in before time was called. It was basically like a UFC match where the fighters dance around each other for most of the fight and the crowd starts booing… there was a lot of thought involved, but not much action. haha. I was ahead in the life count but that doesn’t mean much with all of his rejuvenating and potential ball victory always looming. In the words of Curtis “this could have been a 2-hour game.” Agreed. The round ends in a draw.
Round 3 vs. David Goldsmith w/ Red Ruthless Broly
This was the same type of deck I faced in the Gencon WMAT finals and I felt even more comfortable in the matchup now that I was running Protective. His only chance was to enter early and try to steam roll me, which he attempted to do, but it wasn’t enough. I quickly amassed an overwhelming field of allies and while he did a great job trying to clear them away with Eraser Cannons and Red Energy Blasts, he ultimately fell short in the end. He was stuck on level one all game also, which didn’t help. Great game though, Dave.
Round 4 vs. Ryan Lewis w/ Blue Protective Supreme Kai
Protective vs. Protective… this would be another slow one. Ryan was running Master Roshi ally which he pulled out a few times to shut me down. This slowed the game down to a crawl until I could deal with it. I was able to remove Roshi twice and the game started to whittle down. He had the advantage early but when time was called I was amounting a serious come back. It would have been interesting to see how it would have ended up but the match ended in another draw.
At this point I’m not thrilled to have two draws. One draw is okay, but the second draw is essentially a loss as I was under the assumption 3 wins would be needed to make it into top cut. I was convinced I needed to win the next round.
Round 5 vs. Kelly Dennis w/ Red Ascension Hercule
Props to Kelly for building this deck. Back when Retribution Mastery was still around, I was running a Retribution Hercule MPPV deck. Because of this, I kind of knew Kelly’s game plan, or at least I thought I did. However, sitting across from Hercule for the first time in a tournament setting means it would still be easy to make non-optimal plays. I partly blame it on mental fatigue as all of my rounds except for one had gone to time at this point, but I misplayed early, allowing him to jump to level 2. From there, I knew I had to keep him off of 3 but I think I was more concerned with DBV at this point as he was running a full set of Namek Dragon Balls. He eventually made it to 3 which immediately pushed him to level 4 and in the final combat, I made a horrendous misplay of forgetting he had used Red Shoulder Grab. I then used my level 2 power to grab a blue betrayal to get a Red Blaze off the board when I could have grabbed an attack and wiped out what remained of his life deck. 6 Dynamite Kick uses later and my entire field was gone. Kelly won by MPPV shortly thereafter.
I was pretty disappointed with how I played during that last match and figured I was out of the tournament. However, it turns out that I was able to sneak in as the 8th seed. Huzzah! Interestingly enough, all of my local homies (Tom C., Marc, and T.J) topped as did my closest NJ homies (Kevin, Kelly, Brian, and Curtis!) I’d be happy no matter how things went at this point.
Top 8 vs. Kevin Curtis with Namekian Knowledge Cell
Curtis was the sole undefeated player up to this point and I was not looking forward to this matchup again. When Cell is able to use his level 1 to shuffle in one of my allies and then jump to level 2 and shuffle another away, all the time while milling me, it’s devastating. Curtis started out by dropping Turles and came out with an early lead. Eventually I was able to amass a field of allies and my goal was to keep him off of his level 3. Luckily, both of his Draining Attacks came out in damage and I was able to Neck Beam him down to 1. The game was going back and forth and he wasn’t seeing too many Dragon Balls. Both of our decks were low and he entered combat, using his level 1 Cell power to shuffle his Dragon Balls around. He failed the search and I opted to look at what cards he had left, noting he had no more energy blocks. I entered on the following turn, hoping he would draw dead and he drew about the worst hand possible… two Namekian Knee Blocks and a Dragon Ball. At that point I was able to end the game with a series of energy attacks. Phew! Great game, Curtis.
Top 4 vs. T.J. Corcoran w/ Black Mischievous Majin Vegeta
T.J. and I always seem to face each other late in tournaments. We faced in the finals at last year’s Gencon (where he bested me) as well as in the finals of the 2016 New Hampshire Regional (where I bested him.) This would be the tiebreaker! Unfortunately for T.J., this is a horrendous matchup for him. He played optimally and had I not switched from Protective to Resolute, he absolutely would have won. Once again, mental fatigue was setting in, but with Yajirobe pinning down his Prideful Challenges and my mastery preventing him from leveling as quickly, he was unable to capitalize. He made a late game rally and with his level three killing two of my allies per turn, it seemed like TJ might turn the game around. He eventually jumped to his level 4 and threw his power. Had his power hit it would have sealed the game for him, but I was able to block via mastery. With that, I was able to wipe away what was left of his life deck. Until next time, T.J.!
Finals vs. Brian Fogler w/ Black Mischievous Supreme Kai
Brian is one of the best players in the game and his deck is degenerate. I was not looking forward to this game at all and knew if I made any mistakes, Brian would capitalize. He started out by dropping a Black Absorption Drill early but I was able to get rid of it before he gained too much advantage from it. I amassed a field of allies yet every time I grabbed Draining Blast to go down to 0, Brian would mastery and hit said Draining Blast. gah. Both of our life decks were getting extremely low but I was able to land a pivotal Optic Blast which started to turn the tide. Brian hit me with a very damaging Sinister Choke and I figured he would end up winning the game as he kept shuffling his remaining Chokes back in. However, Bulma had been banished at some point during the game and I landed a Blue Clash that grabbed her back. I took a Sinister Choke out of my discard pile and knew I’d have to keep Bulma on the board to survive. In all honesty, I felt the game should’ve been over a few times but once Supreme Kai’s life deck gets so low, he basically sculpts your hands with whatever you shuffle in. The last few turns felt like an eternity… his life deck kept getting bigger while mine was getting smaller. However, Yajirobe prevented him from using his Black Power Up unless he threw an attack first, which was really hurting his game plan. On the final turn, Brian’s last hope was to shuffle in a Black Halt and a Sinister Choke, as my hand only consisted of Physical Attacks (which Brian knew as Baba was on the field.) Brian wanted to bounce Bulma with Halt and then throw the Choke for game. He had, I believe, 7 cards left and if I didn’t win that turn I was going to lose. He draws… a dragon ball… then Black Halt… and then… the Sinister Choke…. ah!!! I have roughly five cards left and pitch for Gohan level 2. Luckily, I had one energy attack left, a Blue Clash. I grab it and Brian uses his Mastery as that is his only potential out. I had four cards in hand at the time and luckily he didn’t hit the Clash. I then threw the Blue Clash for the game and the tournament!!
I was exhausted and elated! Winning a Kai is no small feat, especially one with a skill cap as high as this one. It was an incredible day all around and I was glad my friends all did so well. I now look forward to making a Namekian card that will make you all proud!
Everyone who enables this game to keep going. Thank you!
Everyone who came out even though it was a holiday weekend.
All of the homies for making top 8! (and Brian for being the #2ndgoat)
Black Mischievous Mastery… on that last turn, there was a 1/4 chance this tournament would have had a different result.
NJ Gas Stations for closing at night.
Thank you to everyone for reading and and I cannot wait to see how the rest of the OP season shakes out!