Petit Cup Preparation: Kansas - Samsonite Prime
Hey! Back from from Kansas and I have a lot on my mind. I mean competitive events were just announced for North America! Not to mention I have my store championships on Saturday, a 1k next weekend in Orlando, and should my team be willing to travel, North Carolina on the 25th for the Summoner Series. All that, and I still need to decide if I can afford to compete in the Ohio Petit Cup.
A lot of what I’ll say in this article is aimed for people new to the grind, so for those of you that have been playing TCG’s forever, a lot of this will seem second-nature. I assure you, it’s not for many people.
Now, I could walk you through my matchups leading all the way up to the finals but those are the exact tournament reports that I hate, and I’m not going to be the guy that writes about what he hates. Besides, if you want, you can go watch 5 of those games online from the Top 8 coverage. But the process for winning the tournament started long before that Top 8.
The thing is, part of me always thought I was going to do well in Kansas. And there are a lot of reasons behind that mentality and those reasons are more important to you as a reader to doing well with my deck, Ton-O-Berries, than a list of what I played against, what I would change going forward, and niche card choice discussion.
I mean, really, do any of those cards stand out to you? I played Cagnazzo and Shantotto. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Is there anyone shocked the canceling every summon someone plays against you is quite good? Of course not.
I guess that was the first step. The cards I played.
1. Play the Best Cards
Ok, this might seem obvious, but I’m just like anyone else. I have pet cards. I love me some Golbez and some Fusoya. I honestly think in a vacuum both cards are two of the strongest cards in the format, and yes, my favorite Final Fantasy is IV, but I knew neither card was consistent enough to carry me once I reached Top 8. But Cagnazzo was a IV character that was if nothing else, very consistent.
There is a saying, “Be the person who plays Shantotto, or the reason people play Shantotto.” I see no reason why it can’t be both. So that settles that pretty easily.
2. Play Other Decks
Having played the Water/Earth deck at a previous event, I knew I didn’t need much practice on it. So prior to the tournament, I settled on playing multiple decks in different events in order to have a better understanding of the meta and how these decks operated. I probably tested about twenty or so different decks before coming across the Lightning/Wind Chocobos deck. Zach had tried it in a few games for fun and then Vince dared me to play it against my OCTGN opponent. I fell in love. It quickly became my backup deck incase I decided to audible. I won just about every game I played with the deck and even brought it with me to the locals in Kansas happening just before the Petit Cup. I went 7-0 on the deck. More than enough to convince Angel and make it a serious consideration for Zach as well.
3. Play Something Flexible.
But it wasn’t flexible. The deck’s only gameplay is to push in for early damage and force my opponent into a situation where they have to start making unfavorable trades with smaller forwards while i continue pressure with cards like Rydea, Barberecia, Onion Knights, and Chocobos. That’s great when you are in a game one situation. But what happens when your opponents knows that is your plan? In a Best of Three situation I prefer to be on a deck that has multiple avenues to victory. People are very used to Mono-Water’s “Stall until I land a big Cagnazzo” but something that catches them off guard is how aggressive Mono-Water can be. Say my board is Clione, Relm, Tonberries, Scholar, Astrologian, and Cagnazzo, it may seem like I’m on the defensive end of things, but I’m representing the ability to attack you for almost half of the total damage you can recieve in a game. Or I could use Relm to transform one of your monsters into a forward and Shantotto. Either play is almost always available to the Mono-Water play, and that flexibility makes it very difficult to play around.
4. Find Your Own Rituals
Whatever that looks like for you. Whatever your ritual is, it can’t hurt. I workout before my tournaments to sort of clear my mind and make sure my body and brain are awake and ready for my matches. Maybe it’s correlation/causation, but when I broke my pushup record Sunday morning, I was pretty sure it was going to be a good day. I also like to drink water and stretch between each match and usually do as little reflecting on any previous matches as possible. Save the brain power for your next match.
5. Have a Team (and if you are comfortable, play the team deck)
I’ve talked about this one before, but I can’t stress it enough. I wouldn’t have won the event without Zach, Angel, and Jake. The best teammates I could possibly ask for. Seriously, Zach spent the whole night helping me test the Mono-wind matchup I would be facing in my quarter-finals, when he had his own matchups to worry about. Angel had played hundreds of games with me up to this point, always willing to break down individual decisions and entire lines of play. I was staying at Jake’s place despite having never met him yet! But the entire tournament was possible because of him.
For me, my friends were my biggest motivating factor in wanting to do well. For Zach to agree to play the exact list of whatever I’m on shows a lot of confidence he has in me and helped reinforce my efforts to make sure I was on the best 50 cards possible. I think going forward he is a force to be reckoned with. I mean, back to back Top 8’s is impressive. Angel cutting it close both times is heartbreaking but he put in so much time in helping me test. I love that outside of Tampa I have two friends in Australia and one in Tokyo that are always willing to test or just chat about the game. (Thanks Chris, Vince, and Josh Ge)
Anyway, I think those are the basics. I’d love to hear feedback on your ritual, what you think are the best cards, or just discuss anything with you. I always love to talk about the game so feel free to reach out.
- Samsonite Prime