Yesterday was the first Sunday of the new format, so it was time to test out Haruhi at the Nakano tournament. It’s the largest official shop tournament in Tokyo, and gets held up as one of the strongest. This can be attested to by the large number of winning certificates on display throughout the shop. Before the tournament I’d been out in Akiba looking for cards, and managed to get to the shop early enough for a few friendlies against the other regular foreign player there.
We paired off Haruhi against his latest build of Nisekoi, but the games really didn’t go his way. In the first one he didn’t see any pendants until Level 3, and in the second he kept on drawing Climaxes or otherwise unplayable cards, meaning he had to pass a turn in the middle of the game. In games where the opponent struggles, Alien can excel because it’s easier to gather resources and throw Summer Festival at them. Only other notable things I can remember in these games was holding off a double Marika combo during Level 1 with a double Counter, and siding a bunch with Summer Festival to avoid the anti-early play counter.
This was a good start to the day, leaving me pretty happy about my prospects for the tournament. Possibly due to it being the new format, the tournament was filled to capacity for the first time since I started coming, with the full 48 players. We had a fair variety of decks, but it already seems pretty clear about what’s going to be the way to go this format.
For those who can’t read Japanese, the decks were: Kancolle (10), Nisekoi (5), Terra Formars (5), Girlfriend(Beta) (4), SAO (3), Nanoha (3), Haruhi (3), Love Live (3), Angel Beats! (2), Project Diva (2), Little Busters!, Macross, Da Capo, Madoka, Shin-chan, Idolm@ster, Gigant Shooter (Not Gigant rare version), Milky Holmes. Terra Formars might still be riding the new series wave, but I reckon the other 3 series in the top 4 are regularly going to take up most of the tournaments. Kancolle still stays as the number 1 deck, but there’s a better variety of decks now, and it doesn’t take up nearly half the field.
For my first round I was up against R/B Kancolle running Hatsukaze. This game got off to a terrible start and I never really felt like I stood a chance. After dumping a chunk of my opening hand I ended up with 2 copies of the 3 Aliens and a bunch of climaxes / higher Level cards. Clocking and drawing just added to the latter, so I decided to pass turn 1. On turn 2 it didn’t get any better, so I made the decision to put one in support, the other in attack, and at least beat a card thanks to a Climax. This made them rush me with 3 cards, but they left the 3 Aliens for last, since they wanted to use the Rest and move back stage card. By this point I’d been hit into Level 1, and managed to save them thanks to my Magician counter.
On the next turn I thought I’d safely left them at Level 0, by salvaging under Hatsukaze, whilst defeating Inazuma leaving them on 0-4. I wasn’t expecting them to use Inazuma to grab a second one, putting them on 0-5, clock to 0-6, then play the 2nd Inzauma and play over her to get themselves to 1-0. After this Taigei and Akashi were causing problems for me, because I’m stuck with just a 1/0 vanilla, which can’t really match to a 1/0 6500.
Summer Festival Nagato starts to turn things around, by at least allowing me to establish a stage, but it comes down to me needing to cause a lot of damage in a single turn, which would inevitably get cancelled. By this point I was on 3-6, so could easily be finished off by Haruna. Even if he failed once, he could have just played Kongou over the top of her and salvaged her straight back to try again, because he had that much stock.
For the second round I was facing off against a Y/G Project Diva deck, with its early game built around Rin and Len. The Level 0 Len who becomes a 3500 Level 1 was a pain, because I just wasn’t drawing supports. All I had to rely on was Nagato Yuki, since he made Onsen Haruhi useless. At least Usual Nagato was able to put in some work. At Level 1 he was using the Rin / Len Climax combo that gives you a 10,500+ Len, making short work of all my vanillas. At least I was able to ram two cards with free Encore into them next turn.
I still wasn’t seeing any supports, with 2 copies of my 3 Aliens in Stock, and another taken as damage. In the middle of the game I’d hit a Gate Trigger, hoping to get something good back, but the best I could do was one of my many 1/0s. I finally got one of my 3 Aliens within the last 6 or so cards of my deck, so could actually make use of the 10 or so Stock I had. In a little bit I had double 3 Aliens and Summer Festival, alongside the 1/0. He matched this with his own Level 3s, playing the Stock replacing Miku and 2 Sadistic Music Factory. Unfortunately for him, he walked right into the Ryoko counter, crashing Music Factory into one of my Summer Festival Nagato. I win on the next turn.
Round 3 was against a weird build of Angel beats, which either wasn’t using the global Encore or never drew it. I was a bit wary of this match up from years of playing against the deck. Between the Yuri support and my Magician counter, power levels could easily get confusing. He opted to rush me immediately, putting down 3 3,500s and the Yuri support against my 3 Aliens and Nagato Yuki. This would set the scene for the rest of the game, with him mostly throwing 0 cost cards and climaxes at me, keeping up his card numbers with the 2 cost salvager.
I was able to more or less stay on top during the Level 0 game with Onsen Haruhi, Usual Nagato and Nagato Yuki, with my vanillas and the Magician counter putting in work at Level 1. At Level 2 I got out multiple Summer Festival Nagato and just kept on healing as his cards dwindled lower and lower. I would eventually win whilst still in Level 2.
The next round was against Shin-chan, which was iffy for me for quite a lot of the game. Thankfully he wasn’t using the runner combo, but I was still struggling to make much of a dent in his Level 0 game. At level 1 we mostly threw costless cards at each other and I think I ended up in Level 2 first. Summer Festival and Guitarist Nagato helped me dominate the Stage and heal some damage back, but it wasn’t enough. I had a terrible string of luck at Deck Refresh, leaving me out most of my Climaxes before the turn was over. I hit a book trigger just before Refresh, took another one as Refresh damage, then triggered a 3rd one and drew into Someday in the Rain with either one of the books, or the Guitarist extra draw.
I was lucky that he never had the Climax combo for the Level 3 Shin-chan, or any way to beat my Level 3s, but there’s not much I can do when I’ve lost most of my Climaxes. It was a close game with us both down to 3-6 by the end, but my luck eventually ran out, and the 2nd or 3rd attack did me in.
For the last round I was up against I think an RGY Terra Formars deck. Their colours seemed to be all over the place, because they were definitely using the Eva Climax combo, but also had the Akari gate, and I’m sure I saw the Captain somewhere, even if he didn’t play it. Unfortunately for him, his Marcos runner kept on hitting Climaxes, meaning he stayed still a lot of the time. This often meant that my plans for dealing with him never actually worked, because he was in the wrong place. Such as when I was hoping to snipe him with Flower Bouquet Haruhi, but he got stuck Back Stage, and of course I hit a Gate anyway.
During Level 1 he kept up advantage with the Eva combo and bonding to the Michelle Reverser, making my 1/1 a waste of a stock. I think he struggled for Stock a lot of the game, after he 3 Cost Encored a Marcos early on, since he’d been stuck in Level 0. The only late game card I ever saw from him was Joseph, because I don’t think he had enough stock to throw all his Adolf at me. Summer Festival and Trouble Girl just dealt with all of his cards and finished him off.
At this point I was expecting us to have to play a 6th round, but the only undefeated pairing (between I think Nisekoi and Kancolle) resulted in a time out, and what I assume was undefeated Haruhi lost in a pair down game against Girlfriend (Beta). So no one really actually won that day.
3-2 was an okay result for Haruhi, but I would have hoped for better. The Shin-chan game was close until the Triggers at the end, but the Kancolle game was never going to go my way anyway. I reckon I’ll be sticking with this deck for a while now, so be ready to read a lot more Haruhi games in the coming weeks. Somehow, Evangelion is still by best performing deck since I moved.
As always, if you want to be kept more up to date with what I’m getting up to in WS, you can also find me on Twitter @Xagor1.