Saturday (yesterday) was the Osaka leg of the Bushiroad Card Fight (BCF). For those that don’t know, these are tournaments that take place around Japan outside of the WGP season, so for those in Europe and the US, this would be similar to the Neo Showdown. Unlike previous years though, they decided not to have national finals, and instead just run the regional events. Because of this fact, many people have been eschewing the Neo Standard event in favour of the Trio Survival, so that they get to play together with their friends.
Osaka is meant to be the 2nd largest event (after Tokyo), and apparently there were over 1500 visitors to the event. I entered the Neo Standard event, which had 394 players at the start. I would guess that the trios might have had more actual people taking part (what with being 3 to a team), but the number of individual teams compared to players in the Neo would have been smaller.
When I first heard about the event, I’d decided that my best bet for doing well at the event would be to play Lucky Star. It’s a very straightforward deck, which is built around massive field presence. It also doesn’t particularly have to worry about all the anti cards / decks going around at the moment. Whatever your opponent does, you just play bigger guys and run them over.
The straightforwardness can also be a detriment to the deck as well, because it means that it will struggle against things that can counter its central strategy. This can either be because of Reversers at the appropriate levels, or cards even more oversized than Konata.
A little while before the event, I’d been interested in the new Log Horizon cards, and decided I’d like to try them out prior to the BCF, and see how I felt compared to Lucky Star. As you can read elsewhere, I haven’t been massively impressed so far, so I decided to stick to Lucky Star instead. I hadn’t really played it much in the two weeks prior to the event, but it’s not really a deck you can forget how to play.
I had an early start to the day, setting off from home a bit after 7:10. I just missed the first monorail, so had to spend 10 minutes waiting at the station for the 7:30. I figured I’d be okay on time anyway. On my way there, I obviously was not paying attention at all, and managed to miss my change by about 5 stops (I thought it was after Namba, when it was before). Fortunately, the station I got off at had a line which could get me to the venue from the other side.
When I finally made it to Trade Centre Mae, it was obvious that I was in the right place, because there were big crowds of guys getting off the train. I wasn’t 100% sure of the right way to go, but figured just following the guys around the area would get me there.
It turned out that the venue was exactly the same as the one for the Madoka event, so I’d probably have been fine finding it anyway. It was once again easy to tell this was the right place, due to lots of guys waiting outside. There was a long queue for something (which I assumed was the exhibition game), but there were also stewards pointing people around them for what I hoped was the actual tournament.
Once in, I collected my entry gifts and made my way down to the actual tournament hall. After a bit of searching I located the Neo Standard registration desk. Here you just collected a score sheet with a number on, then went away and waited for round 1 to start. Pairings were basically just tracked via this number, and the sheet was meant as a personal record of your wins / losses (which would later be handed in for a PR). This was quite a different experience from the Yu-Gi-Oh! events that I’ve played in or judged in too, since it seemed a bit less organised here.
Something I will note is that the atmosphere in general felt much nicer than many other TCG events I’ve been too. This could be attributed to the fact that this is how Japanese people behave compared to non-Japanese people, or it might be because the age range skews a little bit higher for Weiβ Schwarz.
Another factor could be that this was a free event, with very little on the line except pride. This meant people were less willing to resort to underhanded tactics to win games. I’ve been told this was more or less the main factor in why people behaved this time. From what I could tell, the judges that were around basically just collected results and that was it. There didn’t seem to be any big he said / she said debates, or long drawn out rules discussions. The latter is probably due to the relative simplicity of the games rules.
The only time I a judge call ever came up in my games, was when [Stand Up! Konata] went for a 2nd attack, and my opponent had to check with the judge whether she still kept the Soul bonus.
With my entry form ready, I met up with my friend Jordan, and we got to talking about the event, and how things would work in general. Most of the regulars from the C-Lab seemed to have entered into the Trios event though, so we didn’t really see much of them. After a long wait around, it was finally time for Round 1.
When I sat down opposite my first opponent, he had a Railgun deck box, so I expected I’d be facing off against that. I have a friend back in London I’d played against before, so I figured this might not be too bad. When he took his deck out though, they were in Rewrite sleeves, and my heart sank. I did not want to see Rewrite in Round 1 of all things.
Thankfully it wasn’t the standard build for the deck, instead using Blue and Green cards mostly. There might have been a bit of Red for the Level 1 Reverser, but I didn’t have to worry about all the Chihaya cards for once.
Since I’m not really familiar with the cards in this version of the deck, I don’t really recall too many details of the game. I started off with a fully powered [Kung Fu Master Konata], which he followed up with two of the Runners for some reason. This made it much easier for me to pick them off.
I’m drawing a blank on most of the rest of the game, but I think I just got out some huge [Battlefield Konata] who basically just beat everything up. Something I noticed throughout the tournament was that people regularly had to check that some of my Konata cards really were as big as I said they were. I suppose if you don’t regularly play the deck it’s a bit of a surprise.
By the time it came to Refresh, it felt like my deck was somewhere close to 50% Climaxes, because 7 were going back in, and the deck was relatively tiny for post-Refresh. Because of the small deck size, I quickly ran through the deck again, and was hitting quite a few of the Climaxes myself, either drawing them, triggering them, or drawing them off those triggers. I was very quickly onto my 2nd Refresh, with a worse Climax ratio this time.
My opponent’s cards really weren’t a threat all game, with his Level 3 [Kotori Kanbe] only able to heal, and being no match for even my Level 2s. I was going to finish things off with some big hitters and [Stand Up! Konata], but I ended up winning before I got to her. If I’d not won that turn, I think I’d have been heading for my 3rd Refresh.
My friend also won his Round 1 game, so we were both off to a good start. After that we had a long wait until Round 2, because they were starting up all the Title Cups. There must have been about a 45 minute break between rounds at this point before we were finally able to get started.
My second opponent had IdolM@ster sleeves, so I was pretty sure about what I’d be facing. This was confirmed when he accidentally dropped one of his cards whilst shuffling. Of course, I don’t know all their cards anyway, so this didn’t necessarily help. I just had to be careful of the Runner at Level 0 if he was playing it.
This game was mostly straightforward again, with Konata simply being too big to deal with for most of the game. Due to Konata’s Stage presence I was able to stop Clocking relatively early to save myself a bit of damage. I’d also been drawing most of my Level 3 cards, so I’d be completely set up for the end game.
One interesting thing to note during the game was the fact that he was using a couple of cards which allowed him to swap the most recent card of my Stock for a card from my Waiting Room, allowing him to put Climaxes in there close to Refresh. I was able to pay out the one he put there with a character, but not the one from a Counter.
I managed to finish things off with a bunch of Level 3s, once again before [Stand Up! Konata] got to use her full strength. I think I actually used [Strongest Character Miyuki] in this game, but merely as a way to discard a Book Climax just before deck Refresh.
So far so good. We were both on 2-0, and the next round started up a bit faster than last time.
My third opponent was running Madoka, which I was really happy about at first, because the standard “Apples” build is an easy game for Lucky Star. It soon became apparent that he was not using this version. Instead he was using a 4 colour version with the whole of the Madoka Quintet at Level 3, although he never got to play several of them.
Level 0 was about what I expected for the deck, and didn’t really cause me much problems. However, things started to turn at Level 1. He was using the Mami Climax combo, which meant he could quite easily deal with all of my Level 1s, something Madoka normally can’t manage. This was made slightly worse by the fact I had a Patricia Back Stage, which meant all my Konatas couldn’t quite reach their full Power.
This was most problematic at Level 2, because the Level 2 Konata doesn’t have Manga, meaning that’s an extra 500 Power loss. The no Backup Mami was also a problem, because it meant I wasn’t able to beat over certain characters with my Counters. This wasn’t a problem for my opponent, because he was playing the [Grief Seed] event card to protect his characters.
Once he started dropping Level 3 cards I was quickly losing cards and lost most of my Stage as well.
On the final turn my opponent was on 3/3 with a Stage of the Level 3 Sayaka and Mami, backed up by the Level support Madoka, and the Level 0 Sayaka & Mami in their last slot. I just had my supports on the Stage and 2 cards in Hand. I’d need a 2 Soul to be able to cause enough damage, or otherwise hit triggers, but currently only had 1 Soul cards.
I clocked my Miyuki Counter, and drew into two useless cards as far as winning was concerned. I then decided I might as well thin my deck and played and used my Brainstorm. This hit the final Climax in my deck and gave me one draw. My draw was the searcher Miyuki, which meant I’d at least be able to see the rest of my deck. Unfortunately, by using her I’d only be down to 1 Stock, so could no longer play any 2 Soul cards I had left.
My last 5 cards in deck were [Strongest Character Miyuki], [Stand Up! Konata], the Kuroi-sensei and Miyuki counters and the Otaku trio. I opted for the Otaku Trio, leaving me with a 4 card deck that contained 3 Soul Triggers. Now I just had to hope for no cancels. I suicided into Mami for 2 damage, then sided the Level 0 for another 2 damage and that was the end of the game.
After this tense game I learnt that Jordan had lost his game due to a play error on his part, but that he’d be sticking it out at least until he was eliminated.
For my fourth round I was facing off against Madoka again, but this time thankfully the Apples build. The deck is meant to focus around cheap, easily bondable cards that can become powerful for their cost. The problem is that Lucky Star completely outmatches them at Levels 0-2, so it’s very hard for them to get set up properly, and they really have to hope to turn things around at Level 3.
He started off Level 0 with the big Madoka, and I had a slightly dodgy hand. My Level 0s were all [Kung Fu Master Konata] or the Otaku Trio, who you don’t really want to be putting out on their own. I might have had a Patricia, but I really needed to use her for her Bond. I decided to just use my +2k Climax alongside a Kung Fu to get over Madoka, then hope to get set up better on the following turn.
He next used another Madoka and the Kyoko Reverser, the former of which easily dealt with Kung Fu. I fought back with Patricia, another Kung Fu and the Otaku Trio, and managed to clear their Stage. This was a mistake on my part, because it meant that Kung Fu would lose her full Power on the following turn, since I used the Trio to deal with the Reverser.
Fortunately my opponent just passed their turn, obviously in a really bad situation. Most of his Apples Kyoko were ending up in Stock / Clock / Waiting Room, which made things pretty tough on him. This allowed me to improve my Stage and get a direct hit.
When my opponent reached Level 1, he was clearly in a terrible position for playable cards, because he played his 1/0 Counter to the Stage in order to allow his Homura Brainstorm to work. This did net him a copy of Apples Kyoko though, so he could stabilise things a bit.
Of course, since he was operating nowhere near full Power it was easy for my Level 1 Konatas to defeat everything in battle whilst I set up my Back Stage. Throughout the course of the game, thanks to cards like the Miyuki searcher I was able to get 2 copies of [Sunday’s Best Konata] down, putting my cards at full strength. I think throughout the course of the tournament, this was probably the most common card I searched with her.
Once we were both into Level 2 there wasn’t really much he could do, because I was able to get my Level 2 Konata down alongside two [Battlefield Konata]. This pushed him into Level 3, whilst I was still hanging around in Level 2.
As a last push, he tried to use the Level 1 Sayaka and [Sayaka Miki], powered up by the Homura deck shuffle to break my defenses. The smaller Sayaka could only suicide into [Battlefield Konata], whilst the Level 3 fell to my Kuroi-sensei counter which pushed Konata to 15,000. Finally Homura went down because of my Miyuki counter, and I was able to direct attack for game on the next turn.
I managed to win whilst at 2/3, with about 9 Stock and a hand with cards like [Stand Up! Konata] and [Strongest Character Miyuki] to end the game if I ever got to Level 3.
Jordan also won his game, so we were both still in it for now.
For my 5th round I was finally facing off against Kantai Collection, which is mostly okay for me, except for Junyou, the plus Soul support.
The game started off pretty bad for both of us, with him attacking with a 500 Power support card, and me having to suicide Miyuki back into it. I was able to stabilise things a bit after this, since I’d just been waiting for the cards to allow Kung Fu to reach full strength. However, I let my opponent get to Level 1 first, which meant on the following turn I got hit by a Climax combo from either 2 or 3 copies of Shimakaze. This gave him a load of cards he’d need for later.
When I reached Level 1 myself I was able to overpower all of this cards, because Konata is massive. The game continued like this throughout most of Level 1 and 2, as my Konata cards just kept on getting bigger.
It became clear that my opponent was struggling to come up with ways around my cards, because he had to make less than optimal plays like using a Brainstorm and then replacing it with another card.
I tried to end things with a [Stand Up! Konata] combo, but my big hits kept on getting cancelled. From my other hits he’d been brought to I think 3/2, and then [Stand Up! Konata] ended up hitting for 5 damage (thanks to a +2 Trigger), which not surprisingly was cancelled. When I went for a second hit for 5 he had to get a judge, because he didn’t believe Konata still had that much soul. After this was confirmed my attack got cancelled anyway.
By the end I basically had a field he couldn’t break, and a hand full of cards. At one point I’d even managed to make it so that Patricia could beat a Shimakaze who’d attacked her, because I didn’t want her Climax combo to work. My opponent on the other hand was down to just his Stage, after playing a Climax, which was his final card. I’d just refreshed with 7 Climaxes in deck, and was only on 3/2, so I thought I’d be safe, but it wasn’t to be.
Thanks to a top deck check, he knew his next card was a +2 Soul Trigger, so he sided over one of my Level 3s for 2 damage, which is probably the most I’ve ever seen sided over a Level 3. That stuck. Then he sided over a Level 1 for 2 again, and that stuck. Finally he burned me for one which finished me off. My next climax was about 5 cards away, so the final attack would have finished me off anyway, even without the burn.
I was of course a bit disappointed to lose at this point, especially given my domination of the latter parts of the game, but there’s a reason Junyou is appearing in all the Kantai decks now. I also learnt that Jordan had lost his game and was now out, which left me as the (likely) only foreigner left in the tournament.
The final round was up against a B/Y Sword Art Online deck, focused around the Asuna and Kirito team up cards.
He started off the game with the Kirito Loner, but I was able to overpower it with [Kung Fu Master Konata]. I can’t really recall much else of Level 0, except that I got him to Level 1 faster than I would have hoped.
At Level 1 he used the Asuna Climax combo to get cards like the Asuna split counter in order to protect his cards. I tried pushing back with some massive [Battlefield Konata], but I’d completely forgotten that [Self Sacrifice] existed, meaning that one of them crashed out against Asuna.
Most of the Level 1 to 2 game was Konata and Asuna fighting it out, as we both made our cards massive, and put extra supports out front to achieve this. Unfortunately this had been taking quite the toll on my card numbers. Thankfully the Level 2 was pretty hard to kill, so I managed to get a little bit of a breather.
The game eventually came right down to the wire, with my opponent on 3/6, and my final hit for 2 getting cancelled. At this point I was on 3/3, with 3 cards left in deck. I thought I was out of Climaxes, but I actually had 1 left. His Level 3 Asuna hit for 2, got cancelled, then burned for 1. With refresh that moved me to 3/5, and two attacks for 1 Soul was enough to finish me off.
With a final score of 4-2 I was finally out of the tournament, but at least I’d survived until the last round before the Top Cut. Even if I had won, it was unlikely I’d have ended up in the Top 8, because there were about 30 people going for the one final not X-0 slot. I then went and collected my Nanoha PRs
I’d been in the event so long that the Free Fight had actually closed by this point, leaving watching the Top 8 as the only thing I could do. I spent the rest of the tournament keeping an eye on this, whilst also keeping people online informed about the games. The Top 8 were 2x SAO, 2x Kantai, 2x Love Live, Log Horizon and Da Capo.
The final results were 1st Kantai, 2nd Love Live! and 3rd Kantai, which I don’t think was really a surprise to anyone.
With everything now over I got something to grab from a nearby Mos Burger and made my way back home, this time not taking the wrong route on the trains.
I was going to post up a decklist for the deck at the end here, but you’ll have to check out my next article on the latest shop tournament, where you’ll be able to see it in pictures.
I’m hoping to be able to make the WGP later in the year, and will see if I can perform better or worse there.