Monday, April 28, 2014

Soul Charged

Welcome to the ARG Circuit
For the uninitiated, the ARG Circuit is Alter Reality Games attempt to boost the level of competitive Yugioh by offering events with greater prize support.  Modeled after the MTG Circuit, the goal is to attract and feature “Yugioh Pros”. These players are meant to inspire your game play and divest your cash into more cards.  Hence, we have mats, tokens, and articles by Jones, Brakes, and Hobans of the Yugi-World. 

Lest I sound curmudgeonly, I sincerely applaud their efforts.  Konami’s marketing strategy focuses on attracting kids to the game.  They are maintaining the player base by bringing in new faces.  ARG’s strategy is to maintain interest in the game for a longer period of time.  Unfortunately, these can be competing approaches; hence, the rather frosty relations between the two parties. 

ARG garners their prize support by slightly increasing the entrance fee from $20 to $25 and lowering the value of “Door Prize”.  Doolists get to choose between an ARG Tee Shirt and five packs that undoubtedly came from the surplus bin.  I pulled a $135 card from 2013.  Now everyone can look at my binder and wonder why I held onto my Spellbook of Judgment.  This poor SoJ never got to enjoy the feeling of destroying another deck. 

The tournament felt like a big regional without the scrubs and noobs.  There were 380 contendas, all vying for $5,000 in prizes.  The tournament buzz centered on Soul Charge, surely one of the most OP cards of the year.  At first, I thought this would be another Trishula or Exciton Knight, expensive cards that few people could find.  Au contraire, I pulled one in the first 5 packs I opened. This card was going to be all over the place.  Nevertheless, I stayed with my CMG.  Sometimes, you just want to go rogue. 

Geargias have been very good to me.
My first match was against Marcus Hale, a name I recognized from several YCS lists.  After confirming that he was that Marcus Hale, we delved into the Yugi rituals of dice-rolling and card playing.  I opened with Power Bond, Trap Stun, Drei, and Dragon and finished game 1 in six minutes.  I’m sure I was Marcus’ nightmare, losing to an old guy with a wonky deck who draws a stupid opening.  Fortunately, there is still more right than wrong in the Yugiverse and he came back to win games 2 and 3.  

Pride keeps me from going into great details about the rest of the day.  I finished with 10 ARG Circuit points though I’m not sure what to do with them.  I had wins against Mermails and Gears while racking up losses to Harpies, Bujins, and a Cyber Dragon deck.  The irony of this match was not lost, but my CMG deck was.  

Sensing a bit of resignation, my friends cheered me up by offering the use of their WireTaps, Soul Charges, and Exciton Knight.  From rogue to full-on meta, I put them in my Geagiakuri deck and entered a box tournament for $12.  

Here’s the list:
Armor x 3, Arsenal x 3, Accelerator x 3, MK-II x 3, Geargiano x 1, Saizan x 2, Strategist x 1, Birdman x 1, Gearframe x 1, Fortress x 1, and Redox x 1

MST x 2, Dark Hole x 1, Soul Charge x 2, Iron Call x 1, Geargiagear x 3, Fiendish Chain x 2, CED x 1, Torrential x 1, Vanity’s Emptiness x 3, Trap Stun x 3. 

My first opponent went 9 – 0 in the Swiss portion of the tournament the day before with Ghostricks. In many ways, this was another Hale-a-thon: old guy derps with a deck he barely knows.  If it’s any consolation, I have been playing the deck for quite a while.  Still, Trap Stun and OTK is a devastating way to lose. 

My second opponent played Fire and Ice Fists.  This was essentially a Fire Fist deck with the Ice and Fire hands teched in.  It’s a great idea … except against the doolist who sides in three Rivalry of Warlords.  This game was also won on the knowledge that Fire Fists have lousy back rows. 

By now, I was drawing a small crowd.  On one side was Mr Desmond Karakuri, a very personable and likeable player.  My opponent was less hospitable. In fact, he was as intimidating as he was skilled.  The first game was another Burei, Bureido, Scrap Dragon OTK.  It was quick and I only saw one or two of his cards.  Any questions about his deck were answered within 4 turns of the next game as I stared down the barrel of a Shooting Quasar Dragon.  He was using a plant build popularized by Jeff Jones.  

So it came down to one game and two cards: Soul Charge followed by Emptiness.  It left him with a couple of fluff tokens and me with two Burei.  The tokens were flipped into attack and the Bureis attacked.  It’s a play I have pulled on my son countless times.  This time it got me a Dragons of Legend box.  

Soul of the Game
In many ways, I felt like Charlie Brown winning his first ballgame.  Most of the countless tournaments that I have entered pay for the prizes of others.  I'm the gracious loser.  This time it was different.  I beat very accomplished players using a deck that I know and love. 

However, I also know that Soul Charge was a big reason for that win.  At the very least, it’s a speedy COTH.  The Karakuri build benefits greatly from the card, so much so that it might supplant the pure version.  But the card is derpy.  It allows inferior players to beat good players.  The integrity of the game demands that it get banned.  

Maybe next year, someone will enter an ARG Circuit match and get handed five packs.  And just maybe, he will find a formerly-broken-but-now-banned card that will make him shake his head and say, “why did they ever make this thing?”

Happiness is a box of cards

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