Joel’s North Kai Tournament Report

Due to laziness and the bounty of good content from other players coming after tournaments, I’ve avoided posting/writing/whatevering anything when I’ve gotten home.  After others dashed to the keyboard just hours after North Kai, I was going to avoid writing anything for this one, too.  But in my exhausted state I told Nick Glas(s)er I’d let him ghost write an article for me.  I came to my senses when I got home and realized I didn’t want a stand-up comedian that’s known me since I was 16 to put words in my mouth on the internet.  Especially since everyone thinks we’re brothers/married and might actually believe him…

So, alas, here is my tournament report.  I typed most of this out when I got home Sunday night after a pretty long drive and a pretty alarming episode of Walking Dead (DAT GIRL IS CRAY CRAY), so some of it’s – comprehensive to put it nicely. (I TALK TOO GOD DAMNED MUCH)  But I have the short-term memory of a PTSD victim so I wanted to get the stuff I DO remember memorialized before I forget it.

Our testing started early but was totally fruitless.  We built Gohan Saiyan CS before he was nerfed into the balanced, “unbound” state he’s in and he was molesting everything we put in front of it, which helped lead to his castration.  We all agreed to just leave it alone until after they did something about him.   When they did, we (myself, the fake Glasser, Andrew Van Sickle, and Chris Baker) all threw together various decks, but weren’t really happy with anything we tested.  Nothing felt consistent and the format felt stagnant.  Most of our playtesting was actually us sitting around and/or playing Legendary instead.

About a week before the tournament I decided that Goten didn’t really have a hard answer (without having an auto loss to other things).  Also Spooked is broken.  AND it let me play Kamikaze Ghost.

 31 Goten Lv. 1

The Thursday before the tournament, Nick and I got together for a few hours to test our versions of Goten against each other.  He played the fast, win-right-the-fuck-now version Josh Merkle Top Cut with, and I played a clunky version that was WAY less explosive early, but tankier late with more tech.  My version was winning in testing and it wasn’t really close.  Sadly, this is the only testing I got to do with the deck before we left due to conflicting schedules here in Columbus, and it showed in the tournament.  I made a couple of tweaks to the deck Thursday night before we left for Rockford, and this is what I came up with.  I didn’t un-sensei after the finals and had already started plucking things out of the deck Saturday night, so the list might not be perfect but it’s close.


Mastery – Saiyan Style Mastery (CS)


Goten, of the Ring lv.1

Goten lv. 2 (MBS)

Goten, the Young Saiyan lv.3

Goten lv. 4 (MBS)

Sensei – North Kai Sensei

3x City in Turmoil

3x Goku’s Setup Strike

1x Saiyan Strength Blast

1x Supreme Kai’s Ki Push

1x Majin Buu’s Fury

1x Gotenks’ Flight

1x Huh???

1x Gotenks lv. 1

1x Gotenks lv.2

1x You’re Invited

Physical Attacks: (33)

3x Gohan’s Kick

3x World Champion’s Punch

3x Saiyan Beef

3x Saiyan Surprise

3x Saiyan Destiny

3x Saiyan Gut Kick

3x Saiyan Youth Bruises

3x Saiyan Hurricane Kick

3x Saiyan Cross Punch

3x Saiyan Charge

2x Majin Buu’s Fury

1x Gotenks Speedy Flight

Energy Attacks: (7)

3x Saiyan Power Beam

3x Saiyan Energy Bullet

1x Supreme Kai’s Ki Push

Combat Cards: (19)

3x Advanced Basics

3x Aura Clash

3x Trunks Energy Sphere

3x Spooked

3x Gotenks Kamikaze Ghost

3x Hercule’s Amazing Technique

1x Saiyan Truce Card

Blocks: (13)

3x Saiyan Brace

3x Saiyan Planet Explosion

3x Saiyan Stop

1x Saiyan Power Block

1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool

1x Nappa’s Physical Resistance

1x Nappa’s Energy Aura



Dragonballs (3)

Alt. EDB 3



Grand Total: 81 cards


The idea was to have more threats than the opponent had answers.  Sometimes it meant grinding out games using Saiyan Beef to lockdown opponents.  Other times it meant one-shotting with Advanced Basics + Ki Push/Aura Clash to do massive damage. And if you ripped a Spooked or two you got to take away a good chunk of the opponent’s life deck for free and augment either “strategy.” (I don’t really consider face-roll physical beats to be strategic – but whatevs)

Round 1:

BYE (I fucking LOVE byes)

Results: Machine Shed? (1-0)

Round 2:

Opponent – Thomas Lynn Gohan Red Anger

I believe he won the die roll and entered immediately, and nearly gained a level right off the bat.  Eventually, I was able to chip away at his hand and get some damage in, and I landed a pretty clutch Saiyan Gut Kick.  I realized his deck won fast and that I needed to try and one-shot him, so instead of fetching Alt. EDB 3 and trying to grind the game out, I went for EDB 5 with a few blocks in hand hoping that he wouldn’t be able to steal it, and the extra anger would be enough to get me over the hump and start level chaining like we were playing expanded or something.  He had played a Red Double Strike early in combat, but I sat on my sphere in case he did something crazy, so I thought I was fine.  Unfortunately, Thomas had a few focused attacks, and after EDB5 got passed around like Trent’s roommate, he was able to anger out despite his empty (or nearly empty) hand.  I had a grip full of cards but had kind of played with my food.  Thomas was smart enough to realize it and blew his load to win immediately.  Finding the deck’s strengths and weaknesses (along with my own) was a great lesson from the match, but PROBABLY should have been found in playtesting.  Grats to Thomas on doing so well his first time at the rodeo.

Results: Loss (1-1)

Round 3

Opponent – Nick W. Goku Orange WGS Physical Beats

I don’t remember a TON about this game.  He was running the lv. 1 HT from WGS so I sided in the CITs assuming he was non combat heavy.  He dropped an early Tree of Might, and immediately went for COGDs to try and keep City from hitting the board.  He was able to lay into me with a few attacks and build a board presence, and had Chi-Chi up to keep his face clean.  But I was able to get a Saiyan Gut kick to hit while his hand was empty, which drew me into a HAT for Ki Push and an Advanced basics to start the level chain.  With a few other attacks already in hand, Goten’s lv. 1 buff, and his Tree of Might, I was able to take about 60 lifecards in one turn to finish him off.  Nick was nice, but he didn’t know what Goten did before the game started, and seemed pretty pissed off at how I showed him…

Results: Win (2-1)

Round 4

Opponent – Trent F Android 19 Orange CS Energy Beats

I was able to land some attacks and I was able to thwart most of his offense early on, but he was using 19’s dodge to grab Fist catches and just eat my damage, making it hard for me to get through.  Eventually he caught me with my pants down. I hit a Saiyan Beef to keep him from unloading his whole-hand consequence-free, but he chose to do so anyways and cripple me.  He was then going to try and bleed me out the next few turns.  But I had EDB 7 in hand and he was out of stages for retaliation.  I ended combat when his hand was empty and put two Spooked and an insurance block to the top of my deck, which was able to end the game.

Results: Win (3-1)

 Round 5

Opponent – Rory Wood Trunks Freestyle Physical Beats

This was the deck that knocked me out in the second round of Gencon’s Top Cut.  The deck has a potential for explosive draws early, and Rory’s was no exception.  He won the die roll, looked at his hand, and started reaching for his North Kai Sensei.  I think I peed a little.  He entered, hit on his lv. 1 power, and grabbed a sword slice off his mastery.  He then proceeded to do like 35+ damage to me before I had a chance to blink, mostly by chaining Sword Slice/Speedy Flight with the swordplay drill out. I decided that I was going to have to play incredibly defensive until he blew his load and then one shot him when I knew I wasn’t getting anything swiftly moving’d, and avoided using my level 1 (I think) until he had dumped his hand. There was some boring back and forth for a few turns.  I was low on life but I had a Gut Kick available along with an Advanced Basics.  I was able to bait him on one of his turns into unloading his hand and getting me very low before I dropped the Gut Kick, ripped a HAT for Ki Push, and started the leveling chain.  The sleep deprivation started kicking in by this time, so I honestly don’t remember much outside of him hitting me REALLY hard, running out of Sword Slices, and then me Gotening him.

Results: Win (4-1)


Round 6

Opponent – Josh Merkle Goten CS Saiyan Energy Beats

Josh was the only 5-0, so he agreed to scoop to me, but wanted to play the game out.  I was fine if he chose not to scoop, because this WAS the one matchup I actually got to test with the deck.  This turned into the most passive Goten mirror you’ll ever see, with him trying to go off and drawing into blocks, and me trying to avoid getting my face ripped off the first few turns.  Eventually I decided to turn up the offense, but he was able to Truce card out of my big turn when I blew my “of the ring” power.  Unfortunately for him, the card he had to block with his Brace was Saiyan Beef, and he was low on stages, so he couldn’t swing back on his turn.  This gave me the opportunity to reset, and I THINK I hit another beef and a Spooked to KO him by locking him out of the game and grinding it out.

Results: Win (5-1)



Top 8

Shannon Jakul Orange Vegeta MBS Physical Beats

Shannon posted his version of this game, which can be found on the Championship series facebook page and the retro site.  I don’t think this match got recorded, but Shannon and I remember it quite differently.  It should be noted that Shannon and I slept in the same room at Trent’s house the night prior, and neither of us got much sleep.  So 8 hours in, we were both mistake-prone and confusing cards in play for OTHER cards in play because they were both from the same set and both had some guys on them (this is not a joke).  I remember him getting an early lead by immediately starting combat against me, North Kaiing, and using the orange drill he drew to get a Focusing Drill and an Absorbing Drill.  He spent a few more turns setting up, and his discard pile was stacked with an Orange Spontaneous Drill out, so I couldn’t really swing back at him without getting hit harder in return.  I was able to get in a really good turn with a Saiyan Power Beam to take a decent portion of his deck.  I also hit a Spooked but had boarded out one of my Kamikaze Ghosts, so the hit was less severe.  He recovered well and had set up a strong board with Winter Countyside out, and went for the win with Vegeta’s power and an Orange Joint Restraint in play.  We both made huge mistakes in this combat, but his was much more costly.

I used Goten’s lv. 2 power while at full, allowing him to beat my face at zero with no chance to gain the stages back.  I tried to fight back through his onslaught and get him to a lower bracket on the attack table, and as I did, Shannon missed a couple triggers of his Orange Spontaneous Drill, which would have given him the game due to my mistake.  Luckily, Shannon’s mistake came second AND was more egregious.  After he had finished the turn, I was able to start combat with another Power Beam and a Sphere for his block to finish the game.  Shannon’s deck played really well, though, and I was lucky to come out on top.  I was really impressed with his decision-making throughout the game and his grace in losing due to the mistake.  I felt a little bad a great game ended the way it did, especially to a new friend.  But the show must go on…

Result: Win (6-1)

Top 4

Opponent – John Wood Gohan Red TS Anger

I had played against this matchup once before, and after getting some experience against Gohan Red AND with my own deck, I was much more confident in the matchup.  I can’t remember who won the die roll, but I do remember that he got to level 2 very quickly.  I was able to land a Goku’s Setup Strike to drop him back down and I was also able to keep his anger at 0 with Gotenks’ Flight via HAT (I had sided out my main-decked copy).  Eventually I was able to drop a dragonball or two and start my leveling chain, all on the back of a Saiyan Energy Bullet.  I believe Didier got this game recorded, so you might have to watch his stuff to see what really went on.  All I remember is that when the game ended, he was at 0 power stages, was at lv.1, and was at 0 anger in his anger deck, giving me a lot of confidence that the deck was able to handle the anger matchup as long as I wasn’t punting games.  John was really awesome despite Goten kind of going off on him to an extreme degree.  I think this match is the first time I truly felt dirty for playing one of Retro’s properly playtested and totally balanced cards.

Results: Win (7-1)


Mathew Ryan Cell Namekian TS Punisher/Cell Jrs.

I don’t want to cheapen Matt’s accomplishment, but I will say that I gave him some pre-tournament advice and my Gencon decklist as part of his preparation.  He modded the deck to his playstyle and put in the work playtesting it, and based on his performance, the changes he made had the deck fitting like a glove.

These matches had more extensive video coverage (I think) and apparently Didier and Nick Glaser are going to be doing commentary, so you can watch the games play out there.  I will, however, give a real brief breakdown.

 Game 1: He won the die roll, and immediately got a Kami Fades into play. I stalled for a few turns by ripping Majin Buu’s Fury, but I was delaying the inevitable.  He eventually punishered me for about half my life deck, and kept me in check most of the game.  I was able to mount a slight comeback with two cards left in my deck, but I drew out on my turn.

Game 2: GOTEN SMASH.  Turns out going first with Goten and hitting cards that make your damage removed from the game cripples a deck that needs a few turns to get rolling.  I got the satisfaction of finishing off another game with Kamikaze Ghosts, and we were on to the rubber match.

Game 3: This one was pretty epic.  It came down to two key things – I didn’t hit Double Whammys while I was doing damage and I was able to get half of his allies and a few punishers removed from the game before he ever really set up.  Part of that was bad luck on Matt’s part, and part of it was the World Champ Punches/Energy Bullets doing work.  He then got forced into Straining Destruction Moving to try and take over with a Cell Jr. and start to minimize the damage.  Sometime during one of the first two games it came to my attention that he wasn’t running Spheres.  Within 30 seconds after I came to the realization, he confirmed my observation by saying he didn’t deck them in a true YOLO moment.  I was able to play more aggressively in game 3 and keep him from setting up, which ultimately lead to victory.

Results – Win (8-1)



-Chris MOTHERFUCKING Smith for setting up an awesome tournament and being an even more awesome guy.

-Trent for letting 10 of us crash in his home and displace his dog from her couch.

-Nick, Chris, and Andrew for being the reason I still get to do all this

-Joshman, Garrett, and the rest of the Retro crew for not hating me for antagonizing all the hard work they’ve put in regularly, and being the reason all of us are still talking to one another.

-Saiyan Beef.

-Cimminom Rolls.

-not being forced to arm wrestle anyone.

-conversations with a Husky


-Spooked (…seriously?)

-play mistakes (both beneficial and otherwise)

-Northern Illinois not having a single tree to block the wind while you’re pumping gas.

-Trent’s deviated septum

-not getting to see these people nearly enough

-not shoring up the Pui Pui matchup

-that stupid little shit from Gencon 2008 that gave this win to Shaun Hindman.


Thanks for bearing with me through this.


Hope everyone has as good a time as I did.  I won’t get to see your lovely faces in precarious situations at Gencon this year, but I’m going to do my best to make another event or two this season.


-Joel G.

8 Comments to "Joel’s North Kai Tournament Report"

  1. Chipmunk says:

    I laughed, I cried, I looked up cards I didn’t recognize. 10/10, would read again.

    Trent’s Deviated Septum

  2. mcq26 says:

    good read joel…no gencon? guess we won’t have a rematch…that just means you’ll have to try and make it over to the east kai tournament

    • True that, and bring your adopted brother.

      Speaking of him, if I said the two of us were going to cast matches together it was after I had a few and don’t remember.

      However, that is a spectacular idea, inc entertainment gold.

    • Joel G says:

      Your event is sadly on my wife’s birthday. Won’t be able to make it out there.

  3. Shaun says:

    In time, I will have won this event as well.

  4. Chase says:

    I’d like to purchase a competitive deck from someone if they have the original cards, let me know thanks!

  5. Chase says:

    Something like the Cell deck, or a trunks or vegeta or Broly freestyle or Saiyan deck! Thanks for the help

  6. izzy says:

    wish i could check out that cell decklist, always been a huge fan of cell but never got a good cell jr deck together

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