Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Route to becoming a Champion

First and foremost, I would like to start by apologizing for the lack of posts since ACQ. This is due in part to my own laziness, but also at the same time due to my other commitments of school and tennis, which in all honesty take up most of my time. That being said, I would hope to be able to compensate for the lack of posts with this extremely long and in depth review of my journey toward becoming the national champion 2012 for Singapore. A short disclaimer, certain details may be very slightly inaccurate due to me not recording any of this down before hand, and simply due to how long its been since some of these events have occurred, but I will try my best to get most of the facts right. Also, I would like to say that I do not believe that I am the most deserving person to obtain the title, however at the same time I would like to make known the fact that I have practiced really hard for this event and with what skill and some luck that befell on me I guess sometimes the pieces just fall into place =).  Here we go~

The preparation for World's Championship Qualifier(WCQ) begun almost immediately after ACQ had ended, where if most of you were present or have heard off, I attained a placing of 3rd runner up(or you would remember how I misplayed and got utterly raped by Hanzo Hieratics). It ended on a bitter sweet note as though accomplishing such a feat, I was left with no prize due to technicalities. The next few weeks were a sort of dry spell as I spent most of my yugioh time testing new builds of inzecters(which i ended up using for WCQ), while trying to find methods of siding and playing against hanzo hieratics(at this point none of my close friends had this deck built, therefore most of it was just theory-ohing). I vaguely remember asking Putra for advice, which ended up being helpful to a certain extent, so before I forget +1 for you Putra =).

Then came the announcement for WCQ qualifier events, where I was rather eager to attain my seeded position as the advantage given to those who qualify was extremely huge. It was not until my third attempt where I managed to get my seeded position, this time with the inzecter build closest to my winning build, after going through a whopping 7 mirror matches to take the qualifier. At this point, my mind was racing toward a goal that never seemed closer, as the last time I actually had a good shot at the title was back in 2006 where I got 7th place. I started reading up many blogs including those of mike, LGQ and kyde's which all helped my greatly in preparing my mind and skills toward gearing up for the event. My team mates tested extensively with each other, trying to ensure that all our decks were perfectly honed for any match up. We had every meta deck built, and oddly enough the four of us ended up using four different decks for the tournament. Once again here I would like to thank firstly poh seng for testing the most with me, he is really a great player and a thinker like me, which resulted in veyr fruitful playtest sessions. Ying Jun, for providing me with the best possible way to counter and beat Hanzo Hieratics through our playtesting, and last but not least wee min for constantly providing a steady flow of Asia English cards(LOL) for me to borrow at little to no cost while testing inzecter mirrors and the chaos dragon matchup with me.

Testing for the finalized build was down to the final day I had for submission(13th June), to the point that I was scowering through my piles of cards trying to see if I had missed out on any tech or possible sidedeck card that I could use to help me improve my matchups and the consistency of the deck as a whole.

Fast forward one week of largely uneventful yugioh time, we arrive at the day itself of WCQ. Poh seng and I were seeded as such we did not have to appear till around 2pm. This was conveniently so as I has a tennis friendly int he morning prior to the event so I guess it was all planned haha. Upon finishing my business, I rushed down to SG Cardmart only to find that our registration time for seeded players had been pushed back. This was brilliant as I had the opportunity to scope around and look at the field, especially the top tables to take a look at what my other potential competition could be. Some of my thoughts at this point would include the likes of how I would beta that Final Countdown that apparently went perfect in Swiss(props to Kenneth Tan), and how little I actually sided for the seemingly inevitable Chaos Dragons that would be topping. Thankfully, DSummon mentioned that we were allowed 15mins of time to make nay changes to our decklists, which caused a stir amongst poh seng and myself as we sped off to do some last minute changes. Its amazing how these pressure moments make your brain work for the better, as some of the changes which I made ended up being rather defining factors during some of my matches.

After submitting our finalized lists, poh seng and I started playing a few practice games without siding to get ourselves "into the feel" lol. This turned out to be rather fruitful as it calmed my nerves alot, and allowed my mind to focus on the task at hand. As the pairings for the top16 were called, I only had one thought in my mind, the simple notion of "Four rounds, four rounds of good yugioh to win it" was all I could conjure up as we began the playoffs

Top 16: vs Soh Jun Yuan "Jeff"
Deck Used: Inzecters (Trooper Variant)
Prematch thoughts: We both thought the same thing apparently, "why so early?" He's been helping me out with my deck and techs since the JunkDoppel days, and we both helped each other fashion our inzecter decks, to the point that his variant actually won ACQ 2012. We've played countless times and both have won our fair share, but if anything this match was the one that mattered the most.
Game 1: It was very passive to start off, we both started slow with mutiple backrow, waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. I broke the silence by summoning centipede to kill a trooper and to bait out potential backrow and press for some damage. He used mind control to try and thin out my backrow before he committed, however I had a PWWB on his hornet to slow him down. He summoned a centipede which i knew he had from POD previously, which got swallowed by bottomless. He flipped CotH for a milled damsel which forced my torrential, preventing me from gaining back my centipede which was the scenario I was aiming for. The following turns were slightly more elementary as I worked my way up in advantage, taking ques from his lack of protection to press for damage and eventually ending up in a gigamantis loop accompanied by DAD to end the game.
Game 2: Another slow beginning for the both of us as we slowly set multiple backrow. I drew into Storm at one point, and started setting up for a big play. With most of my backrow being chainable, I was able to halt his assault while trying to clear my backrow asap without making it seem too obvious. Thankfully his backrow was not chainable, and a final PWWB on his hornet followed up by the storm allowed me to + 2 and give me knowledge that he could not draw any major outs. Sadly though, my follow up was lacklustre as I had drawn into many of my enablers. I had a mind control which ended up being used to take control of his set hornet(which i knew he drew into thanks to PWWB) and combining it with my veilered damsel for a zenmaines which proceeded to hit him 3 times. I did not push for more with my in hand hornet and opted to just set it for fear of torrential. After 3 turns of knocking him down to 2000 lp, he drew into Reborn which almost turned the tide as my attempt to book of moon was haulted by a lance which i refused to mst prior thinking it was fake. Luck was on my side here as im assuming given the pressure and thought he put into the play, he forgot that he had not used up his normal summon and therefore opted to make an exa stag to steal my zenmaines, following up with a gaia dragoon to kill hornet and leave me at 200. The small opening from his misplay resulted in me using centipede to pop his gaia, searched mantis and attacked for 2400 game.
Post match thoughts: I had no business winning game 2, it was for sure a game 3 had he not forgot to normal summon. That being said, I had to take everything in my stride and could only apologize for winning in such an unconvincing manner. "Three more to go", was what I thought and mumbled away.

Top 8: vs Ryan Stark aka Rabbit Ryan
Deck Used: Rabbit Raggia
Prematch thoughts: He caused me to get no prize in ACQ.....not gonna happen again. My confidence going into this match was questionable as for one, I generally do well against rabbit, but at the same time I would like to attribute my paranoia of rescue rabbit to this same person, lol. (Personal superstitions, i opted not to cut his deck as everytime i did it prior he opened with a rabbit and godlike backrow)
Game 1: Managed to go first and make a first turn Number 12 backed by bottomless and compulse. This game ended so quickly that it took less than 5mins as he actually opened bad(for once!). Tried to bait me with his vanillas but I wasn't buying it. He caved and had to summon his trademark rabbit but I had the outs to it prepared. Inzecter basic plays and game 2 would soon begin.
Game 2: Once again opted not to cut his deck, but like I said, its all superstition. He opened rabbit into laggia with two backrow. I opened decent forcing a negation with mind control but my attempt at resolving an inzecter effect was met with his traps. He summoned rabbit number 2 next turn and dropped me to 1800. Once again managed to force a negation with a random gruff + hornet play, followed up by dark hole to take down both laggia but regardless I was still at 1800 with no field. He POD into a veiler and hit me wiht a guaiba citing that he had no other monsters. I set my snowman hoping to stall out, but he flipped off the top(quite literally) the one nobleman of crossout again, dejavu to one of my losses in WCQ qualifier events and that was the death of me.
Game 3: I began with allure for more options and ended up presenting myself with a huge swarming play. I set a trap stun with veiler damsel cydra foolish and mst in hand. He summoned a guaiba to hit me and set three backrow. I drew for my turn, an irrelevant POD considering what I wanted to do. I flipped the trap stun and the colour literally drained from his face, citing either that he had to waste a judgment, or that he had no chalice facedown. The trap stun passed and I went into the tank. He had only one unknown in hand(POD revealed a Rabbit) so I thought that the chance that it being veiler was low. Did the safe play of summoning CyDra before normal summoning damsel incase I get hit by veiler, thereby at least giving me an out to his guaiba. Foolish for hornet and crossed my fingers as I declared effect, and thank god, it passed. Proceeded to nuke the whole field. search mantis, mst myself, nuke more of the field and ended the duel with exactly 8000 damage.
Post match thoughts: Finally I managed to overcome the Rabbit Ryan. In game 3 I was fortunate that he had no veiler, as that would have largely prolonged the game. I had the veiler for his potential next turn rabbit, thus the outcome may have been still slightly in my favour. Once again, I was mumbling under my breath "Two more to go".

Top 4: vs Poh Seng
Deck Used: Poh Poh Gadgets
Prematch thoughts: We test against each other, we know each others decks, we know each others playstyles/tells. Literally there was nothing to hide aside from skill, luck and pure desire to win. A handshake with little talk begun the match.
Game 1: Was in control for most part of the game as even though he was up in advantage due to gadget farming, there was no real outlet for him to abuse it due to a lack of presence of protection while i continually whittled away his resources with centipede + hornet. Swarming followed soon after for the win.
Game 2: Having prior knowledge of his build helped me alot here as I knew he had more reactive cards than passive ones, thus allowing me to side accordingly. He went for an early OTK but i dropped a scarecrow to save my lifepoints. He had committed everything to the field therefore I was at a huge advantage but it was not easy to capitalize off of it as I had once again drawn into multiple centipede and hornet. That being said, the advantage I attained from his overextension was so much to the point that even playing against a misruling(i assumed hornet popping a fortress allowed him to drop a card from my hand, lol), I was able to force through the win with some compulse tricks and a cyber dragon.
Post match thoughts: Sad to have to knock out a teammate, but it had to be done. He played very well despite being trailing for most part of the match, skillful player indeed. One more match to go, and I was sweating quite profusely. It felt so close but I knew I couldnt let up the intensity.

Finals: vs Wan Xin
Deck Used: Hanzo Hieratic
Prematch thoughts: I knew this would be a tough matchup regardless. For one she is a really good player, while at the same time I never really felt comfortable playing against this deck even after developing a very strong counter strategy. Not to mention the match was being filmed, as such I swore to myself to play as best as I could and trust in all the hardwork and preparation that has led up to this point. Here we go, final hurdle.
Game 1: She opened with Hanzo and searched for the ninjitsu, putting me down in advantage very early. I clearly remebered what I opened with, 2PWWB Mind Control BoM Torrential Centipede. Her strong opening led me to the conclusion that I had to force the game state into one whereby my mind control would be a game changer, as such I set a pwwb, BoM and TT to try and force her into the bouncer play by reducing what she could produce on her turn. Sad to say, she had the Storm, which was followed up by Car D farming to put me at a further disadvantage. Managed to force her into over extension and dropped a scarecrow to fend it off, but my subsequent mind control and centipede play was halted by a veiler which resulted in me outright losing this game.
Game 2: I was alot more confident going into this game as my side was well prepared for this matchup. Once again she opened up with Hanzo but I dprisoned it away soon enough leaving her with a dead ninjitsu. I later figured that both backrow were actually ninjitsu as her second Hanzo did not search anything, almost got my veiler scammed then and there but a little patience ended up paying off. PWWB on one ninjitsu, mst on the other, and i successfully resolved a damsel play but the subsequent centipede effect activation was met with a dd crow. Had to end up making leviar to return my hornet and pass after dealing some damage. She drew into a dead ninjitsu, and it looked as if she had her remaining hand was dead, thus forcing her to reborn my damsel for protection. The following events were so JunkDoppel like that it was a tad bit funny. I detached centipede from leviar to return her hanzo to the field, activated hornet's eff to equip centipede making it lvl 6, normal summoned veiler to sync into blackrose(last minute addition), and activated reborn on my centipede and used it to pop the damsel and hit for game.
Game 3: She begun by passing her first turn, citing either a bad hand or OTK hand. For all the right reasons I had to make the assumption that if I didnt do something I would die next turn. Thankfully I opened with damsel mantis and foolish amongst other cards. It was without a doubt not enough for an otk but i rushed out 7000 damage and ended with a zenmaines, revise and torrential and bth set. I held in my hand a searched damsel and gruff, along with a veiler. She begun by activating mst, hitting my torrential. Im assuming she may have gotten some confidence from hitting a torrential, as such went to use convocation for tefnuit instead of aset. upon summoning the tefnuit, I was faced with the decision that resulted in the match. I was adamant at not giving her any opportunity to drop further dragons, as such decided to bottomless the tefnuit. Within moments, she scooped up her cards, where it was revealed that she had multiple suu amongst others. It was over.
Post match thoughts: To be honest I wasn't really thinking at that point. I recall shamelessly yelling out loud after holding it in for so long, and being congratulated by my friends and the others around. It would be an understatement to simply say that I was happy, as I was that close to going ballistic but held it in, god knows how.

Took pictures, received the trophy and World's invite letter, and many other stuff which all occurred in quite a blurry fashion. I recall asking weemin for a calender to see if the dates of the event would clash with any important stuff I had to do. Subsequently went off to dinner, fulfilling my promise of treating yinjun pohseng weemin stark and yewlong if I won.

At this point I would just like to once again thank everyone who has helped me on my route toward the title, whatever way in which you helped me does not matter, as it had surely benefitted my preparations nonetheless. Currently, procedures leading up to my trip to Japan are going smoothly, as such I'm glad to say that I will be trying my hardest over there to bring the title back to Singapore once again.

The decklist is up on DuelingDays, and I might possibly explain certain card choices that I made along with my thought process when playing the deck etc in another post. For now this is it, 2am as of submission of this post, and am dead tired. Hope this extremely  longwinded story-like report would be satisfactory to the readers, as well as bring across how I really felt throughout the whole thing. Its been one heck of a ride beginning from when I just returned to the game back in end 2010, finally culmulating in much success in the year of 2012. I am truly grateful and fortunate to have such an opportunity to represent our country and the great game that we all know and love as Yu-Gi-Oh!


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