Chris Mattiske – Worlds Recount – An Untold Story

Hey everyone, Chris here! I know it was a while ago but I'd like to open up about my Worlds experience. Let me start by saying Worlds was obviously amazing, I had an outstanding weekend with some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the fortune of meeting. But there were a couple of negatives I want to elaborate on which are related to the tournament itself, the part that many people are most interested in.

I played a bunch with Josh Ge and Ryan Stolarski after the set dropped and realized very fast (as many others did) that Mono Wind Yuri was mindless and powerful. I also realized existing decks from Opus 6 (Earth/Wind and Wind/Water in particular) were still probably at the top and Wind/Water's younger cousin Mono Water was still solid which had the benefit of not crossing over with Earth/Wind (Y'shtola and Diabolos mainly). Then of course the ever present threat of Turbo Ice still existed.

As is the way I approach a new set, I spent most of this early testing looking for new/unique decks that were viable in this kind of field. As I also usually do, I acknowledged that if I couldn't find anything strong enough with that kind of edge, I'd have to resort to playing the popular stuff which I could test/refine in a very short period before the event.

Long story short, I broke up with my girlfriend the weekend before Worlds and she didn't take it so well. A lot of stuff came out of that which I don't really want to talk about/explain and wouldn't be fair on her if I did, but basically it meant I had no time to focus on FF from Friday night all the way up to leaving for London on Wednesday.

Friday of Worlds was a big rush to get everyone's decks in and because I hadn't had time to prepare and plan my 3 decks properly, I submitted the following:

  • A "midrange" mono Ice deck with a good Earth/Wind matchup
  • An earlier/less refined version of the mono Lightning deck I posted on my channel recently
  • An opus 7 Viceking deck I threw together that day. (Funnily, the latter ended up performing the best)

For any other event, this wouldn't be that much of a setback, but of course for Worlds it is with the 3 deck format and not having my usual general advantages to make up for lack of preparation (since unlike other events, this entire event is theoretically players who are as good or better than me). I knew this and I acknowledged/accepted it for myself, and it didn't actually bother me that much since the way I see it, getting to Worlds in the first place is the real success. At least in Australia, international flights/accommodation is a way more insane prize than anything else in TCGs, and I also come from Yu-gi-oh where people really don't care that much about the results of Worlds. Not only that, but this Worlds was in a whole other league because I'd made so many friends overseas that I never thought I'd have the chance to meet. For me at least, the main attraction of the event wasn't the tournament itself, but everything else around it. I play TCGs for the social aspect and this kind of event is everything I could dream of, a hotel full of people who shared my passion and my goals that I could interact with no holds barred.

What I wasn't prepared for this time (unlike when I went to YGO Worlds and was relatively unknown) was the amount of people who were behind me, and supporting me, wanted me to do well and had faith in me. I love all of that and it means so much to me, but it’s a double-edged sword which made it that much harder knowing I was probably going to disappoint these people. Sam Riley even called me on the morning of Worlds and told me how their group was rooting for me and it was heartbreaking to tell them not to hope for much as I was not prepared and probably wouldn't do well, especially since they had 8 people from their own country to root for and still wanted to support me too.

Regardless of all that, I was well accustomed to playing under pressure and I knew even if my decks weren't up to scratch, my gameplay at least wouldn't be affected. I love playing FFTCG, and having to spend most of my time playing on OCTGN I get really excited to actually sit across from someone, handling cards and interacting with my opponent, that's what I play TCGs for, that's why I could never get fully into Hearthstone. And here I was on the other side of the world about to play against the world's best; amazing players I'd never seen and players I'd heard about or talked to that I'd never imagined would sit across from me. But having that as my "emotional safety net" turned out to be my biggest mistake.

Basically, there were 3 players in the room I didn't want to play against.

  1. Jason Zhe, not only because he's from my own country but primarily because I've played him many times so it wouldn't really match up with my expectations for Worlds. (I actually wouldn't have minded Rob Meadows or Daniel Belia since I've barely played against them)
  2. Josh Ge, because he's who I'd played the most online with and particularly for this event spent the most time discussing decks & the format with, kind of like how the US players worked together.
  3. Jamie Faulkner, because I was under the impression he still hated me so I probably wouldn't be able to have fun interaction with him during the game. (We didn't clash over the entire weekend though which I'm thankful for, I hope that means we are good but even if we're not I'm grateful it didn't affect our experience)

Lo and behold, my first round opponent was Jason. Needless to say I was crushed (emotionally). As for the games, after a very one sided victory for me game 1, he opened ridiculous in mono Wind then game 3 was a Mono Lightning mirror match and this was the part that hit me the hardest. I'd played a few games of this exact match-up with him in the airport on the way over and won almost all of them, he came away from those games with some ideas of how to improve his deck as a result and now, as has happened to me in the past, helping someone before an event was going to bite me in the ass. And it did, his deck had improved and he drew better than me so there was nothing I could really do.

But hey, at least that was the one player I didn't want to play out of the way right? It was annoying that 20% of my tournament was effectively wasted but I still had 4 more rounds to enjoy. Then of course, the worst happened; my next opponent was Josh. Now not only would 40% of my tournament games be wasted, one of our 2 person "team" (the 3rd was Ryan who was judging) would have to knock the other out. At this point I was so deflated that I actually think for the first time in a long time, my gameplay WAS affected. Although I probably wouldn't have won game 1 regardless, I definitely could have won game 2 but I'd basically just given up. I was so sad about the way things had gone that I pretty much didn't care anymore.

Because of my emotional state I sincerely apologize to anyone who interacted with me during those 1st 2 rounds. I think I snapped at Daniel then he barely talked to me for the rest of the trip. One of Josh's friends tried to talk to me after the game and I basically brushed off everything he said. I always try to be optimistic and positive and not let my negative emotions affect the way I treat people but during this time I failed and I feel awful for it.

Needless to say, the rest of my games were actually quite fun. I had a very enjoyable match against one of the Japanese players which was incredibly close in game 1 and 3, then another close match with Putt from Thailand and my final round against Jordan Denk, one of the players I was most excited to meet since we'd talked a bunch online. I'm pretty quick to get over things so I perked up a lot over those rounds and was finally enjoying playing the game. And from then on, the rest of the event was amazing, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and got to spend time with and get to know some wonderful people, the side events were great fun and just hanging out with people I'd only been able to talk to online until now was a once in a lifetime blessing I'll never take for granted. I do want to especially thank Josh and his girlfriend Sybilla for spending time with me around London being tourists and shouting me multiple meals as the small amount of time between Nationals and Worlds meant money was quite tight for me.

I could go on for hours about everything else which was amazing but I'll leave it here as I just wanted to open up about that one negative part of my experience, I have been pretty quiet about Worlds because I wasn't sure if I could accurately convey my feelings on the tournament specifically, which is what most people tend to focus on when they ask about Worlds. I should also point out I am not saying "I would have topped if these things didn't happen"; anything can happen in TCGs and this is an event with the best of the best so of course even if I was fully prepared and didn't have unfortunate pairings I could still have ended up with the same score.

If you got this far, thanks a lot for reading, again the support of everyone in this community means so much to me, I can never stress that enough!

Cheers,
Chris


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