SoCal Crystal Cup Report: Stylesoginty

Kyle McGinty here, co-founder of Meta Potion and longtime FFTCG player.

Last weekend I secured my Nationals invite by getting top 4 in the So Cal Crystal Cup hosted by Card Game Coliseum.  With the next set due out next week (at the time of writing this article), I wanted to focus my article today (instead of a deck tech) to instead write about managing and making new relationships as it relates to Final Fantasy TCG and its community.  

Over the course of the weekend, I spent much of my time talking with many different members of the FFTCG community.  One of those members, who will remain nameless, asked me a question:

“How do you maintain a relationship and play-test enough to perform so well?

The answer to that question is not a simple one and one that I have struggled with since I started playing card games in my younger years.  However, the current answer I have may surprise you all:

I don’t play-test enough.

I choose not to play-test frequently so that I can spend time with my wife and our family.  This is a decision that I will always make. Everyone has their own lives to live whether it be with their work, significant other, and/or family.  Regardless of what is involved in your life, I am here to say that it is fine if your passions and interests (with Final Fantasy) don’t always get to align with your priorities (with work and family).

Truthfully you can never “play-test” enough and accepting that is part of understanding the nature of TCGs.  We all know you need knowledge, skill, and luck to win. While testing can definitely provide some help in the knowledge and skill department, no amount of testing will provide you luck.

Even if I am unable to play-test, I am lucky to have friends and teammates with whom I can discuss strategies and philosophies with.  These discussions allow me to break down deck ideas and card choices with as well as theorize and land on (close to) correct answers regarding the meta and what may be good or bad.  Aside from actually playing games, discussion about the game is just as important and these discussions definitely assist in my knowledge about the game as well as help me make choices about cards or game plans.  For me, these discussions can be seen as a substitute for those long hours that many other player deem as being necessary to be competitive or successful.

So my advice with this article to everyone is to find as many people as you can that you can freely discuss Final Fantasy with.  Make friends at your next major event or locals. These are your comrades in helping you discuss cards, strategies, choices, and results with. Your knowledge will grow and your need to put in time will lessen.

I personally like using this method to prepare for events because, in my opinion, the best part of this game is the COMMUNITY.  I say, embrace the people within the community, share your ideas with others, talk with as many people as you can so you can delve into discussion and seek answers.  You might be surprised at the perspective different individuals may bring and the answers they also give. With the building of new friendships, the community can grow and improve together and be there for each other.

My teammates know all too well that I like to wait until the last minute to decide on a deck list. This time my last minute hot mess was a fun Scion Deck that involved Magic Pot on Eald’narche to win the game. A few people helped me play-test the deck and hone the numbers, we even (Okimoto and myself) almost played the deck. If not for a spider running across the table and providing a horrible omen, I would have piloted this last weekend:  

Forward (22)

Backup (18)

Summon (3)

  • 3x [1-124R] Odin

Monster (7)

I ultimately chose not to run this deck, and instead played Mono Ice Discard, as it is the best deck in the format. So I would like to thank my teammates: Matthew Okimoto, Brian Burkley, Thomas Nguyen, Dan Nguyen and Matthew Rice.  I would also like to extend thanks to two other community members who also put effort in helping me prepare for the event: Josh Gardner and Samsonite Prime. Even though I was not able to play-test extensively, I wanted to thank you guys for talking to me about the game – and talking me out of the hot mess that I could have ran last minute.

- Kyle McGinty

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