SoCal Crystal Cup Report: Mustadio!

Hey there! Joey Cimino here also known as, "Mustadio". Last weekend Card Game Coliseum hosted a tournament which held more than 130 players over 3 days called the SoCal Crystal Cup. It’s safe to say there was never a dull moment.

It was great to play against everyone from SoCal, but it was even nicer to compete with players from NorCal, Arizona, Las Vegas and elsewhere. This was so much different from the usual weekly tournaments and Meta Potion circuit events. To be honest, this was my first TCG tournament that had qualifications to a national tournament. Besides piloting my deck, I had to learn to control my nerves and anxiety. While the later got the best of me at times, this is an experience I won’t forget and have an opportunity to learn form.

Being a surfer, my favorite element to play is mono water. After viewing the mono water decks out there, I decided to build the mono water monsters deck that Maxwell Williams used at the Boston Crystal Cup, with slight modifications. I replaced a 1-drop and a 4-drop Porom with 2 Strago. Since the deck doesn’t use any summons, it’s nice to have the ability to bounce a forward (if another FF6 forward is on the field). Also, Grand Delta has helped me out in some situations where Cagnazzo refused to show up. Some players often call this deck “mono solitaire” and I get it. Though, I learned it’s not as cut and dry as people think. Even after wiping your opponent’s board with Cagnazzo, you’re not assured victory. Earth and lightning decks still have EX bursts that can ruin your rush to fatal in an instant and leave you vulnerable to fatal on the backswing. Plus, sitting around at 5 damage is nerve-wracking when your opponent has unblockable forwards that could be played in a flash or can rush out more forwards. Though, even with the ups and downs, mono water will always be my go to.

Without further ado here is the deck I piloted!

Forward (22)

Backup (17)

Monster (11)

There was a lot of good competition on day 2 and it was not easy to make it to top 16. I got my second loss in round 4 and was dreading the third loss that would knock me out of top 16 contention. The final match of day 2 was against mono lightning, a match up I had been dreading all week. Thankfully, my friend Arvin Bernardo taught me how to effectively play against mono lighting the night before and broke my bad habits. Though, I should be an expert against mono lighting since fellow Inland Emperor Richard Alexander always plays that element. Anyway, I won that match and made it to day 3. Despite training in the morning with Taylor Stahnke, another fellow Inland Emperor, I flat out lost my first day 3 match-up. To be honest, I’m just glad I made it to day 3, mainly because Taylor bet in my favor and netted me a foil Lenna. Thanks bro!

The high point for me was watching my good friend Alejandro Ramirez make it to the finals. I am so proud of how skilled a player he has become. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have gotten into this game. I was also psyched to see my friend Sherry Saethao (Sherrytotto) play on stream round 2. It is amazing how much she has progressed over time. Also glad another Inland Emperor, Mitchell Moscrop, made the top 16 cut on day 1. Congratulations to Alejandro, Shereena, and Kyle for qualifying for Nationals. It’s always nice playing against you three. Last, but certainly not least, it was an honor to play against the SoCal Warrior of Light Gregory Cole on day 2. I’m glad you made the top 16 on day 2, brother.

Now that this is over, I’m looking forward to the Seattle Crystal Cup. Hope to see you all there!

- Joey "Mustadio" Cimino


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