The Legacy of Saiyan Goku Part I

It’s hard to believe that the last National Championships for the Dragon Ball Z CCG was over 10 years ago. It’s an event that holds some pretty big significance to me, and not just because I ended up winning it all that day. From that victory I was eventually able to secure a job at Score Entertainment, work in game design and eventually parlay that into a job with FUNimation where I got to work with Dragon Ball Z itself. And while not everything turned out the way I had always dreamed it, I am grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in life thanks to winning this event and I really do owe it all to Goku Saiyan, the deck I rode to the top that day.

While the deck list itself has been lost to time (unless anyone has a copy or is able to find one), this is less a deck/tournament article than it is about the strange series of events that got me to play (and win) with Saiyan Goku. Here are the five main cards you need to know from the deck:

The deck would try to win via Most Powerful Personality Victory against other decks that only ran a Lv. 1-3 personality, most notably Master Roshi at the time. For everything else, it was just straight up beats. The deck wasn’t complex at all and let me practically have an auto-win against Master Roshi, allowing me to devote more deck space to tech against the real threat at that time, Piccolo the Trained Namekian.

But initially I wasn’t even interested in this deck. This was my good friend, Sayjin’s deck. How I got to using it was a story all it’s own.

085Shortly before the National Championships, there was the North Carolina Regionals. I was trying to run an Orange Gambit infinite deck, which I had built in playtesting but wasn’t sure on the… legality of the combo. Basically, once I attached Orange Gambit I would then go infinite by playing either Goku’s Berserk or Half-Nelson. Unsure if such a blatant infinite would be allowed, Sayjin let me take his Saiyan Goku 1-2-3 deck with me in case I was ruled against.

Dragon Ball Z players were pretty secretive about decks back in the day (some still are for some reason), and I was no different. I cornered Aik, who was the head judge at the event, and asked him if my combo was legal. He looked at it long and hard, and I can tell that he really wanted to say “No”, but Aik is a super-logical person and finding no logical reason why I couldn’t (other than it being another classic Score mess up), he told me it was legal.

My first opponent in North Carolina was Trevor Parker, a good guy I would come to know later, and just so happened to be the winner of the previous Georgia Regionals (ironically, I would be the Georgia Regional champ in the next year) that just occurred. He was playing his regional winning Black Master Roshi deck. I went infinite on him turn three.

Word quickly spread about what I had done, and Aik was besieged by players insisting that he had made the wrong ruling. The next round was delayed and I could see Aik in the corner making calls to Score HQ in Texas about the whole situation. After a good long pause, Aik came over to me and said simply “The combo doesn’t work.” He had some Score reasoning behind it, but I wasn’t really having it. I was ticked. In all honesty, the deck wasn’t particularly good with the combo (once you knew what it was, it was not terribly hard to disrupt) but without the combo the deck did absolutely nothing. I was hosed!

Furious I was screaming at Aik how I came to him first to make sure it was legal, and by changing the ruling mid-tournament he was effectively disqualifying me and flushing all my travel/hotel/con badge expenses down the toilet. Aik calmed me down, and reluctantly allowed me to switch decks. It was better than playing a neutered deck, so I graciously took it, but these were in the days where you didn’t have proxy cards and I was barely out of high school so I couldn’t exactly afford to have multiple tournament caliber decks on me. I reluctantly pulled out Sayjin’s Saiyan Goku deck, a deck I had never played before.

As I stated earlier, the deck wasn’t particularly complicated. I actually started winning with that deck, and got my first taste of a 1-3 Most Powerful Personality Victory against a Roshi deck. Other than my first match, that was the only other one I remember from that day. I value sportsmanship, so after winning I extended my hand to the Roshi player who flat out told me “I don’t shake hands with cheap decks!” I remember laughing in the guy’s face and said “You’re the one playing Master Roshi with Cosmic Backlash, fella.”

I ended up coming in at Top 8, which was exciting since I hadn’t really made much of a name for myself yet. It was the first and only time I had ever heard of someone starting with one deck and finishing with another in a professional event. More importantly, I was smitten with Saiyan Goku 1-2-3 and started looking towards Nationals on the horizon.

To be continued…

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Later BroZ!

27 Comments to "The Legacy of Saiyan Goku Part I"

  1. Brandon Maupin says:

    I look at this combo and to this day wonder why it is not legal as long as you have a card in your hand.

    The cost to create the effect is to discard a card, you have the requirement of having a card in your hand to pitch, but then the cost becomes nothing.

    • Joshman says:

      It has a “clarification” in the CRD, which to me should just be an errata because it completely changes what the card does.

      Orange Gambit (Majin Buu Saga – #85) – You do not have to pay costs created by other card effects when Orange Gambit is attached. You still have to pay the original cost of the card that you are using.

      • Chipmunk says:

        That’s where things kinda get a little sticky, because what really is a cost and what really isn’t? DBZ is FILLED with stuff where you have 2 terms that do practically the same thing, yet are treated differently when it comes to effects. Discard from the top of your Life Deck/Damage is the perfect example. If you had some effect that said “When cards are discarded from your Life Deck, lower that amount by 2.”, would it effect damage? No, it wouldn’t. Just like preventing damage wouldn’t lower the amount of cards discarded by Namek Dragon Ball 5.

        In this situation, it’s a bit trickier. CRD Update aside (as it could have been updated after this incident), what is a cost? We have many cards that say things like “Costs 3 power stages to perform”, But Goku’s Berserk does say “During your Attacker Attacks phase, you may perform a physical attack that costs 1 card discarded from your hand.” Same goes w/ Half Nelson. And since Score would always try to rule on a “strict interpretation”,,, See where this is going?

        Can both sides be argued? Yes. Do both have pros/cons? Yes. Is DBZ a silly, overly complicated game? Yes.

        Chippy
        Costs 2 Power Stages To Perform

  2. Darryl Fisher says:

    That might be the worst ruling score has ever made. You asked him before the tournament started, that should be gold. I hate it when people do this. How are you suppose to play in a tournament when you aren’t even sure what the rules will be?

    • Chipmunk says:

      Actually, the worst ruling we ever made had to do w/ flipping a coin to resolve COGD. πŸ˜›

      Chippy
      My Bad

      • Darryl Fisher says:

        Id disagree with that one chippy.

        Changing a ruling mid tournament from a hour previously, which makes someone’s deck completely useless is pretty bad.

        Fixing that decision by allowing someone Changing decks after other players decks have been revealed makes it even worse.

        Total dropping of the ball.

        • Chipmunk says:

          Ah, you must be referring to “changing” Vegeta’s Jolting Slash before the World Championships, then. Or maybe you are referring to changing the Floating Effects rule in Atlanta. Or what about that time *starts digging through list*…. πŸ˜›

          Chippy
          Dropping DragonBallz

    • allan says:

      Agreed, absolutely horrible and inexcusable. But, we all make mistakes, even if this was ridiculous. Mid-tourney is unacceptable though.

  3. Shannon J. (aka Edison) says:

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to explain why Orange Gambit + Berserk don’t combo by saying that the discarding of the card from Berserk was a “requirement” and not a “cost”?

  4. Shannon J. (aka Edison) says:

    Also, 1-3 MPPV is one of the scariest things out there if you play Roshi, Bojack, Willow, Baba etc

    Broly, Red TS Buu (or any other number of personalities), Zarbon and Retro Ginyu can all be scary along with MBS Goku.

    I remember winning a couple games between Regionals, Nats and Worlds with my Red Roshi DV against other Roshi decks. If I could get a Gohan’s Kick (main decked one to keep other Roshi decks in combat), I could level up off my level 1 power, Kick them into combat at level 2 and then a Red Double Strike, Battle Pausing and Mastery would win the game. That’s if I couldn’t DV them first.

  5. Kamiccolo says:

    So this is what led to the definitions of cost and requirement being in the CRD? I guess it wouldn’t have been in there before this because then the ruling would have been obvious that you couldn’t use it.

    I’m glad you got to replace it with an even more frustrating deck to all those 1-3 MP players who would have been complaining about the infinite combo.

  6. mcq26 says:

    I got screwed at a regional with swk because when she first came out the insert about her said ‘swk can’t end combat’ but it didn’t say that she couldn’t use cards that end combat…so I was using watching from afar/energy gathering/teaching/powerful followers/stop to just stall infinitely with her…just being annoying as hell…after i was 3-0 the judge ruled that she couldn’t have any cards in her deck that ended combat despite the obvious fact that the insert (and no crd on her yet at the time) said no such thing…he let me just take the cards out of my deck for the rest of the regional and amend my decklist from his ruling…then after finishing at only 4-2 I missed top 16 by tiebreakers…:(

  7. SkuffD says:

    I’m late to reply to this, but love the retrospective look at this combo and another piece of the Score CRD history. Also looking forward to how the rest of the stuff played out. I was out of the circuit post Babidi, so these stories are fresh to me. (Though I did hear about the World’s Pay-off, otherwise known as GKI-gate as soon as it happened.)

  8. TuffEnuff says:

    Roshi and “cheap deck” goes hand in hand, no?

    • Darryl Fisher says:

      No such thing as a “cheap deck”. Thats just an excuse for people that cant beat a certain deck.

      My goal is to always build the best deck so I will win. If you knowingly play a deck that you dont think is the best, why play?

      • TuffEnuff says:

        Because cheap DB control decks are for inept persons who only care for the win and rather not enjoy a long fought battle that goes back and forth. I’d rather ‘take a non-“best” deck’ and win with it rather than a cheap deck that doesn’t require much effort or thought process that only hinges off of a few cards out of fifty when you can see +20% (or then 12%) of your deck at any given phase. This isn’t skill, it’s a gimmicky ploy just to win without the inclination of effort put forth.

        • Darryl Fisher says:

          I agree with you completely. Thats what I think beat down decks aren’t as good as control deck. With control, you actually have to think during a game. With beat down its mainly , play attack, play attack,

          Control gives you a lot of choices, especially black cs.

          • TuffEnuff says:

            Yeah, no. Beatdown decks have plethora of ways to create combos while control hinges on generic staple cards/OP mp power that are tritely overplayed. Causing someone to discard constantly til you DBvic doesn’t require any skill, nor is it innovating.

            You should attempt to aspire to be original rather than riding on the coattails of others decks/made combos. but hey, I suppose I have more pride than most asses.

    • Joshman says:

      If you build a deck that you already know is the best, then you aren’t really challenging yourself.

    • Darryl Fisher says:

      I never once said to use some one else’s deck.

      I said I will use what is best, as any person should. I didn’t say you should look at any ones deck list and base a deck around the same idea. Build decks and use which one you feel is best. If you aren’t doing that, then I dont know what to tell you.

      P.s. I ride on no ones “coat tails”. Any decks I build are coming straight from me.

  9. mcq26 says:

    thats why i really feel that the game was always semi-balanced…do you play ‘the’ deck…or do you play the ‘anti-x’ deck to beat it…but then you could be genius (or mad) and play the ‘anti-“anti-x”‘ deck and have a crapshoot with your matchups…roshi was good but lost to piccolo…and piccolo was good but often lost to a18…

  10. Kyle says:

    I definitely remember that happening with Orange Gambit at that regionals, but I didn’t know that it was you, Josh. I’m reasonably sure that I was sitting at the table next to you when that all went down, because I remember that your game was delayed for like 15 minutes while Aik scratched his head. Typical Score “it won’t work because it would be dumb if it did.” I’m more surprised Aik ruled for it at the start than that he ruled against in 2 rounds in.

    I also remember that you had Majin Buu’s Fury before it was widely available and probably won a few games solely on that and that Phil found out about it and used a COGD on it when you played in T16.

    I ALSO also remember winning that tournament with a cheesy ball deck, but that’s ok, I totally knocked out Conbere in T4 after he EDQ’d me back when that card just auto-ruined ball decks by COGD his only non-event block and dropping a backlash.

    Haters gonna hate

    • Joshman says:

      I actually talked to Aik recently and asked if he had a comment on this, since it occurred to me that I never asked him while I worked with him at Score. He only said:

      “It’s too bad that was the final ruling – I don’t entirely agree with the reasoning nor with the decision to change it after the event had started.”

      I didn’t know (remember) I played Phil in T16. I couldn’t even remember what round of Top Cut I got knocked out in or what I even lost to (I guessed it was Top 8, but could be mistaken).

      • Kyle says:

        I would have only expected a shrug when trying to get him to talk about stuff like that. That’s close to an actual apology. Shocking.

        So is Aik still proofreading football cards for Panini or whatever?

      • Joshman says:

        Feel free to submit your own. I strongly recommend an “oral history” style over a straight “tournament report” since you can put more of yourself and your thoughts/thinking process in that way, but we’ll work with whatever folks submit. RetroDBZCCG@Yahoo.com

  11. Speed says:

    The Gohan LVL. 1 from the Majin Buu saga would do the same thing as orange gambit would it not? ((:

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