Danny Rider’s West Kai Tournament Report

Ever since discovering the Retro community online and rediscovering my enjoyment of the DBZ game, I’ve been itching to play in a tournament. Gen Cons came and went, players seemed to be having a blast across the nation, and out West I was resigned to dream big and catch the random pick-up games with players I encountered through eBay or other odd locations. With the lack of any player base, it seemed like I might never get the opportunity to get more than 3-4 DBZ games in a year. Many months ago, I decided to change that by hosting a West Kai event, and doing everything I could to dig up some players and pull in bodies for our own little Retro shindig out west.

As the months passed and time drew nearer for the main event, I still hadn’t decided on what to play, though I had ruled out Tien Freestyle after some lackluster performance. I also decided not to run Piccolo Fireball and Red Buu, which left me Frieza. The week before West Kai I had play tested a half dozen games with Freestyle Frieza, and while it had a good showing, I wasn’t thrilled with the secondary impact on the opponent. I had an alternate list using Black WGS, and was about to go with that, when I made a last minute decision the night before and tweaked for Black TS, mainly basing my decision around the games I had played against local players and the fact that I felt I should be doing more damage. I wanted to always have the option for dragon ball capture, hence the mastery and sensei choice, so going into the tournament I decided to pack the following deck:

 

Frieza 1 (CCPP)
Frieza 2-5 (Retro)
Black TS Mastery

Roshi Sensei
-Android 17 Smiles
-Majin Buu’s Fury
-Black Scout Maneuver x2
-Black Energy Swirl x2
-Black Surprise Maneuver
-Black Pivot Kick x2

Earth Dragon Ball 1-7 (#3 alt)

Guldo
Chilled

New Vegeta x2

Fatherly Advice
Frieza is Ready

Time is a Warrior’s Tool
Nappa’s Physical Resistance
Nappa’s Energy Aura
Vegeta’s Physical Resistance
Frieza Smiles x4

Android 18’s Stare Down x3
Trunks Energy Sphere x3
Hercule’s Amazing Techniques x3
Super Saiyan Effect

Frieza’s Anger Blast x4
Frieza’s Irritation Grows x4
Krillin’s Heat Seeking Blast x3
Vegeta’s Jolting Slash
Lamenting the Future x3
Black Exertion x3
Black Body Destruction x3
Black Defensive Burst x3
Black Personal Smack x3
Black Swivel Attack x3
Black Right Kick x3
Black Turning Kick x3
Black Sweeping Strike x3
Black Energy Web x2
Black Drop Kick x2
Black Chaos Detonation

I figured there really wasn’t a location that was crucial to this deck, and New Vegeta couldn’t do anything to my Frieza Glory drills, so it felt like the best choice without losing myself to a City in Turmoil.

So the day starts off fairly well, players begin to arrive at the shop which opened ahead of schedule, which was nice. At the start of registration I even got a call from a player that previously wasn’t going to make it, and he was now able to make it. Amazingly, at the start of tournament time, we had 8 players, so nobody would have the frustration of a bye round. With all last minute changes made, questions answered and rules of round given, we get started.

Round 1 Vs. Larry Miller
(Goku Red CS)

Larry is one of the old, old school DBZ players from Trunks saga. The first time we met he had on a DBZ winner shirt that I knew he hadn’t won at any of the tournaments ran at the local store, because I ran those and handed out the shirts. He became a regular though, and as luck would have it, years later thanks to the power of the internet we reconnected. He had heard about the Retro stuff and knew Matt Wise, so he joined in the small playgroup I was developing about a month or two ago. I had played a game against Larry earlier this week with another version of this deck, and I knew it was going to rely on me getting a strong Irritation chain going early on. With enough cards in my deck to help with discarding, I felt I stood a fair chance at buying the time to make this happen. Unfortunately for me, Larry drew EDB 5 early, declared combat and I drew a dead hand with two dragon balls and a location. Along with a Goku’s Physical Attack and Red Left Bolt, he managed to plug away at me for about half of my deck in that round of combat. Thankfully, no Red Thunder Claps made their way onto the table, but the rest of the game I spent trying to hold onto the few balls I managed to drop or capture and chain the right cards. He manages to block most of my attacks as well with red cards that chew up my discard pile, so despite my aggression, I am only managing the ball captures. Playing the survival game with a ticking clock isn’t going to win this game, and with his wonderful draws he manages to get to level four while I am still sitting on level 2 and managing the Irritation Grows in what’s left of my discard pile. Late game I get an EDB 7 to set up my hand as good as it can get with a stop all, irritation grows and KHSB. I managed to capture a fourth (of the 6 balls on table), jump to level 3 and prepare for a level 4 jump, but he manages to use an energy attack and do the 2 life cards it would take to kill me.
After the severe pounding I took early on, I still think it’s too early to judge the deck, but I know I now have to win the rest of my games to make top cut. Nevertheless, I’m still mentally debating on whether I made the right choice on the change (and the choice to not play Buu Red TS).

Round 2 Vs. Tony McKane
(Goku Saiyan TS)

Ah, another Goku deck that I’m familiar with. Tony is another old Vegas Z player from back in the days of making kids cry, and we went to Orc Con together for the Z Trunks Regional (remember that tournament where everyone was playing Stunned?) Amazingly, I actually only reconnected with him completely by chance about a month ago when I ran into him at his work. Apparently he had just gotten back into town recently, and was still into Z. It was as if the tournament gods knew we would need players. Tony plays power stage loss and gravity chamber for lock down, but for about 4-5 turns all we are doing is drawing and dumping hands. I know he has card superiority, and I’m not drawing what I want. Things start to heat up finally after I pull a EDB 4 and 5 and get a Personal Smack to hit me to level 2. Thanks to when entering combat power I now have access to a Frieza Smiles every combat for the rest of the game. Tony has a few energy attacks, but he doesn’t draw them, and stopping all his physicals each turn kills the effectiveness of his card superiority. The game falls completely in my favor after I hit him with 2 Anger Blasts doing 10 life cards each.
I feel a little better about the deck after this win, but not super confident. We take a lunch break after this round and some of the players get some Chinese food and Larry and Tony go get some pizza. Sean and Jason (who both are from out of town) decide to drive for some Thai food. I’m not aware of any Thai restaurant close by, and just as the lunch break is drawing to a close, Sean messages that they might not be back in time. As luck would have it, they make it back just a few minutes after the third round was supposed to start, so the only thing they missed out on was lunch. I think they ate as they played in the third round.

Round 3 Vs. Jason Meyer
(Gohan Saiyan TS)

Jason is actually a friend of mine who I talked into playing the tournament so I would have enough players to make it a fun event. I’ve been teaching him the game over the course of the last few months, and although he’s not a fan of the show and doesn’t like the game, he was a champ and showed up to play anyhow. That being said, I also built his deck, so I know everything that it can do. Bookworm, Immense Power, Unbound Saiyan and offense, offense, offense. At the end of round 2 I actually watched in pride as he shut down an Android 18 Ally deck and wrecked damage for the win. While I had experience against the deck, my battle against the offensive Red Goku had me a little worried. Still, knowing the key cards of his deck, I sensei in my two Black Scout Maneuvers and lose EDB5. Since I know he has no dragon balls, I can kiss my chances for dragon ball victory good-bye. He gets the go first, and right away jumps in, his five cards to my 3. Had I not drawn a Black Body Destruction and Left Kick, the pain inflicted on me would have been much worse, but needless to say, I took a hit early on. I duck out some damage and get a Black Exertion attached, and use my constant combat power to get a couple of cards back after a turn or two. Also, EDB 4 buys me a round. I pull a BSM and decide to name Gohan’s Elbow Block, as he has 2 Immense Powers in his discard, but this happens to be the one round where I guess he drew 3 Elbow Blocks in his hand. Lucky me. The card I should have named was Gohan’s Kick, because he starts book worming them and killing any chance I have at using Frieza Smiles or EDB 6&7, which I know are in my dwindling deck. On top of that, I have a fully powered Guldo who manages to be completely useless when I need him thanks to two well timed Unbound jumps. Thankfully, I get to level 2 and all my attacks are doing unpreventable life card damage, and even though he manages to use 3 (3!!!) Champion’s Auras for extra card draws, I’m staying alive thanks to the power of black discard. It all comes down to the last combat where he bookworms a Gohan’s Kick, but for some reason decides to open the combat up with Ki Push. I have a block in my hand, which buys me the time to drop EDB7. I stack a Heat Seeking Blast, Smiles and Irritation grows. I enter with 3 cards left in my discard pile, and he draws the rest of his life deck. I didn’t realize how few cards he had left, but looking back the game was extremely close and I think the Champion’s Auras actually did him in, as it would have been an extra 15 cards in his life deck otherwise.
I wipe the sweat from my brow after that one. While I wouldn’t feel completely terrible losing to my own deck, I know I’ve managed to squeak by just barely with this deck. Triple victory or not, it seems to have highs and lows that aren’t entirely reliable. Not the best feeling in the world going into the last round that will decide if I make top cut.

Round 4 Vs. Matt Wise
(Buu Blue MBS)

I’m very familiar with Matt’s Blue Buu, and haven’t won against it ever, so this pairing has me sad. Matt plays expanded mainly, and somehow we linked up on eBay for some cards and managed to get some focused Z games in before I talked him into playing the Retro Format. Despite his disdain to play non-expanded he has a solid grasp of the game and several good decks, this one being his top deck in my opinion. Early on I get Chilled out, which thankfully gets me hand advantage for a good portion of the game. Combined with New Vegeta, I nibble away the few non-combats he plays such as Android 20’s Absorbing Drill, Blue Life Cradle Drill and Fatherly Advice. Meanwhile I build a stock of 2 Glory Drills and a few balls. My black discards, and more importantly my defensive bursts are going through due to a combination of 18’s Stare Down and Body Destruction, and I make an early jump to level 2 thanks to a Irritation Grows. He still has a good pull on the life card lead, but we really are trading some even blows. Despite that, he does get a kid Buu Prepped Crash off, which kills my discard pile. It’s ok though, because I’m on level 2, and miraculously, none of my Irritation Grows were in my discard pile. I watch him discard his Don’t You Just Hate That and Winter Countryside after a combat, and with one Anger Blast in my discard pile I decide to enter combat. I draw two Irritation Grows and a Stare Down, which gives me the go ahead to drop his one block from his hand. Irritation = instant level 3, which = Irritation back in my hand, which = level 4 and the second Irritation for the win.
Wrapping up the game, Matt realized his mistakes and also mentioned that he hadn’t quite paid any attention to what Glory Drill did outside of ball capture. We played a quick pick-up game with another of his decks while we waited for the last couple of games to finish, but I felt good about making top cut. I still hadn’t played either of the out of towners though, and despite the strong showing they were having, I was hoping to test my Frieza mettle against some new Z blood.

Top Cut Round 1 Vs. Matt Wise
(Buu Blue MBS)

Alas, it was not to be. We drew random pairing for the top cut, which basically meant that we ended up playing the guy that we had just played. I wasn’t looking forward to having to squeeze another victory through against the Buu deck, and Matt now had some experience against my deck. With his knowledge he senseid in his anti-anger cards, but I chose not to sensei in anything again, as I didn’t want to risk my Ball victory option for cards that weren’t really going to be crucial against his deck. First turn gives me a Black Exertion, and right away I enter and attach that card. Matt reads it, looks at his mastery and personality and gets a very sad look on his face. I’m feeling good about this game, but it’s too early to tell for certain. He gets a chunk of non-combats out, and while I do get out New Vegeta, I’m not pulling anything to enter with. It seems like all the tech and stop cards are finding their way into my hand, but my attacks remain in my deck. I’m not sure, but I think the rejuvenation shuffle with Frieza’s level 1 power might be hurting me here. Finally I get some card advantage with Alt EDB 3, and attack. I do a lot of damage, but he uses Earth Dragonball Capture to get the ball and pulls the Namek ball that shuts off my mastery, so the odds of me getting any balls back shrinks. It’s ok though, because my attacks can’t be prevented, so I’m ready to go all offense. My draws foil me in this though for about 3-4 rounds, as I once again fail to get any attacks in my hand. Matt has Blue Mental Drill out too, so he can see my frustration as I draw double Frieza Smiles and Trunks Energy Sphere, or my other location and Fatherly Advice. I’m still on level 1, not drawing any dragon balls even, only have about 10 cards in my discard pile (and maybe 4-5 n my removed from game pile) and I can’t manage to pull an offense. Meanwhile Matt ‘s life deck, which is already low thanks to the two turns I managed to be offensive, starts to drop the rest of his Namek Dragon Balls. It’ an alt win condition he has and I know the clock is ticking. I get a Heat Seeking Blast and decide to do some damage, but he pulls Blue Terror and uses it to get the last ball he needs in hand.. I throw a Irritation Grows, because that’s all I can do at this point, but thanks to my small discard pile and the Winter Countryside he finally managed to get out I only gain one anger (would have been 2). His turn comes and he drops his last ball for the win.
A little irritated at my deck (get it?) I wonder where my attacks and dragon balls were, and I shake my head at how such an awesome start petered out into a limp-wrist showing. But, I managed to make it to top cut, got some good games in and Matt goes on to face Jason Pike in the finals. Both players are showing Buu, and Jason gets the win with a solid Orange MBS build.

So that wraps up the tournament. I hand out some prizes, some cash and do a little card shopping. Talk a little with the Sean Snyder who drove in from San Diego while Jason and Matt play expanded in the finals for shits and giggles. (I think Matt was the one giggling because he got to play expanded). I feel kind of proud of the Frieza representation, but also really pleased that I managed to pull 8 players together for a game that’s been dead about a decade. While we were playing a M:TG player mentioned he has and plays DBZ, so we also gave him some info on Retro and hopefully he’ll be another player in the future. I gauged the guys who stuck around, and hopefully we can do another event closer to the end of this year. Maybe a Retro Format or another non-expanded format that might twist some of the deck building options. (Saga Showdown Style perhaps?) So after a very late night of writing this report and sweating at the comic shop, I’ll wrap up the report.

Cheers:
-Jason Pike for winning the first West Kai!
-Jason Pike and Sean Snyder for driving into to Las Vegas from California to play a dead card game. You guys added some newness into the mix, and it was great meeting you in person to put faces to names.
-Avatar Comics for keeping our table spots despite a ridiculous Sunday gaming crowd. Who knew Magic was so popular? (It’s not. We almost had a better showing, but there were two other card game tournaments plus miniature gaming going on, so table space was super limited).
-Jason Meyer for putting up with me making him play DBZ. He went 2-2.
-Fate, for bringing a bunch of old Z warriors back together and creating a local play group.
-The guys at Retro, for making a Frieza that while not overly powered, is fun to play and fairly solid.
-Nick Glaser for making the proxies for prize support.
-Black Exertion for being awesome.

Jeers:
-My deck for failing to support an awesome Black Exertion in the last game.
-M:TG Players for being the noisiest group in the shop.
-Thai Food time delays.
-Lack of tech / stream support. I don’t have it, but maybe next time somebody will bring the skills.
-My buddy Dave who didn’t make the tournament despite four months notice because he was in California…playing Hero Clix.

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