LQ Win, I did it! – Josh Gardner

LQ Tourney Report June 23rd 2019

We did it boys and girls! Weapon X is going to nationals for the third year in a row!  First off, I want to thank Rising Sun Games in Sierra Vista, AZ for an amazing event.

Congratulations guys! You put on a solid show for your first time out. The Qualifier had 22 people register, and 20 of those showed up to play. Most of the attendance (11) was the Kuponation crowd from Phoenix metro area. Big shout outs to the Zink’s for getting my injured self to the event in one piece. When I arrived at the shop I was greeted by a very clean store, open space with plenty of tables and a nice amount of wall decorations advertising the games played there. I highly recommended checking the shop out!

Without further ado, the decklist: https://ffdecks.com/deck/4905119881625600

I spent almost an entire month playing variations of wind/water. Each time the deck just seemed to fail me, and I couldn’t take the risk of traveling almost 4 hours away to have my shot of getting to nationals taken away by a deck with an attitude problem because I’m the wrong Josh trying to play it. It’s no secret that final fantasy VI is my favorite, and I just had a feeling that my Returners would get me to the finals and take home the gold. I also have some very special sleeves sent from Matt Rice I use exclusively for this deck. They haven’t let me down yet! I’d like to go through a few of the card choices, what worked well and why a few things don’t quite fit. The biggest factor was that I cut Phoenix for Sephiroth at the very last minute.

First thing, Baby 3CP Celes. This card name has a very contentious place in the Metapotion chat. JFB don’t hate me! Celes was a card I wasn’t 100% sold on until I played around with her with a 1 of copy and whenever she hit the board the opponent suddenly never had enough blockers. I quickly upped her to a 2 of and never looked back as I swung into 10ks and up and watched them get dulled and frozen clearing the way for a certain treasure hunter.

Baby 2CP Sabin is a great card, don’t let someone who hasn’t tried him tell you otherwise. I initially had 3 of the 4CP Sabin which is well and good but he tends to be slow. Baby Sabin cleared the way for many damage throughout the day. Dealing 4k on attack if you have Edgar (you almost always have Edgar) is nothing to sneeze at. Killing Leila, Zidane, and even Vikings when coming in for the final points of the game is something people forget he can do. Don’t forget you can add up damage with Cid Raines, Vivi, Duncan, Lasswell to finish off forwards. I’d even consider making this a 3 of and taking big Sabin out completely, he was that strong.

I felt like I was seeing a lot of wind and water cards so I made some edits to include 2 Vayne instead of 1 and 3 of 7CP Sephiroth in place of 7CP Phoenix. This last minute change I feel won me the tournament, but as I made the change right as deck lists were being collected I wasn’t able to change some of the Phoenix targets for more sturdy cards. In the end it all worked out. Onto the report!

Round 1 VS Erin: Type-0 Cadets (1-0)

I sit down across from Erin, and we have played before at last year’s LQ that I won at his home store in Tucson, AZ. I recalled he played Type-0 last year and well, he is still playing it. That’s some dedication. I set up a turn 2 Locke with haste taking 2 cards from his hand and continued to pressure until he was a 4 damage. At 4 damage with Erin having no forwards, I dropped a 3rd forward with a Belias in hand to seal the win this turn. I declare an attack, he uses Caetuna's S effect and clears his backups and my forwards. I use 5CP Cloud mill ability to have him stick around and play a forward next turn and take the win 7-2.

Round 2 vs Philip: Warriors of Darkness (2-0)

Philip is a local from my area and I genuinely enjoy playing with him. I felt terribly how this game went for him. I had a turn 2 Locke with haste again for two cards and then followed that up with a Sephiroth and Lasswell to take his only cards and blockers away. Quick game and we both went to gunslinger right after to win a free pack. I won 7-0.

Round 3 vs Emmanuel: Water Fire Zidane (2-1)

Another Kuponation player this round. I mulligan a no backup hand into a hand with a Setzer. Draw for the turn, gives no backups so I’m forced to use Setzer and pass. Emmanuel, the stud that he is, plays turn 1 Water Zidane into Sage and hits me to draw 2 cards. I top deck a Cid Raines on my turn who quickly gets eaten by Vivi. Emmanuel ends up building a large board consisting of Ark Angel HM, Rain, Leila, Viking and finally Cloud of Darkness. I can’t recover from the early game and lose handily 2-7. 

Round 4 vs Patrick: Earth Wind (3-1)

This is another Kuponation match and the rematch from last year’s finals of the Tucson Qualifier. Going first I play 2 category VI backups. Pat opens fairly poor and plays a Star Sybil turn 1. Next turn I land a Celes and a third backup and pass. Pat played a backup and ends turn with 4 cards in hand. I draw a second Sephiroth in hand and play him. Pat uses his hand to Diabolos my Sephiroth so I didn’t need to use the second copy just yet. A couple turns go by seeing a Yshtola for Pat, and Lasswell/Genesis for me. Finally another Sephiroth opening comes and I finish the game 7-1.

Round 5 Devin: Mono Fire Haste (4-1)

This was a very interesting matchup. I build 2 backups turn 1, and Devin responds by playing his hand out and attacking me with Tifa, Onion Knight and a Belias’d 2CP Warrior of Light! Wasn’t expecting all of that, so I abandoned my play of Gestahl Cid into Locke, since he had no cards in hand, and went with baby Celes and baby Sabin. Used my own Belias on Sabin and attacked to take out Tifa and passed the turn. Devin drew his cards and attacked with both 5ks into my Celes who happily traded with both of them. I played Locke here and then added more board pressure taking the game 7-3.

Made second seed going into top 4 which happened to consist of all Kuponation players from Phoenix, congrats everyone!

Semi Finals Nick: Mono Wind (2-0)

I won the die roll and played 2 Vi backups. Nick played a Maria and a 2CP backup leaving 2 cards in hand. Treasure hunting time! Locke hit the board and got haste to snatch both cards and next turn took another. Sephiroth came down turn 4 to snatch 2 more and the game ended 7-0.

Game 2 Nick goes first. I opened Gestahl Cid and baby Sabin hoping to hit a sage backup turn 2. We got rewarded and sent Locke in and stealing two cards once again on turn 2. Some well-timed Glasya Labolas draws killed Yuri while baby Sabin traded with Chelinka. Lasswell and Sephiroth came in and controlled the board until I was able to deal the 7th damage, again 7-0.

Finals vs Emmanuel: Water Fire Zidane (2-1)

Game one I go first and open Edgar pass. He plays Leila, Viking, and Zidane with haste turn 1. Wow. What a game. I start to stabilize at 6 damage and then he top decks Leviathan to bounce my blocker and win game 1 2-7.

Game two I opt to go first and open up Celes turn 2 looking to get past his chump blockers and freeze his dudes. We play back and forth using Sages and Belias and I build a board of big dudes compared to a wide board of smaller ones. Rain is getting in for a few points and I end up losing my Sephiroth to a huge cloud of darkness. I use my first Lasswell S of the event to take out CoD and dull/freeze Raine which buys me enough time to find the Shiva and swing for the win. 7-4 We both put on headphones for the final battle. He is listening to FFX music while I am gifted dancing mad from FFVI.

Game three is a runaway for me. Hitting Locke discards, Sephiroth and his S for huge cards and somehow Emmanuel couldn’t get any water cards. Every damage point was a water card or Rain and finally on damage 4 or 5 a Brahne EX happened and he had a single Viking to work with. Too little too late, however as I had opened my Shiva from beginning of the game and had been sitting on it to guarantee the win. 7-1.

I sit back in disbelief. I did it! I’m going to nationals again this year. I even forgot my back had been killing me for about 10 minutes due to the euphoria I felt getting the win. (The pain came back tenfold over the drive home.)

There you have it. My story of how I got there with Fire Rice. Had some ridiculous openers, but if you don’t put yourself into that possibility they will never happen. Overall, had a great time, very successful outing for a “Local” Qualifier. Rising Sun Games killed it. 10/10 would come again. Thanks for reading, hope to see you beautiful people at nationals or the Earth CC in Arizona!

- Josh Gardner

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