Hey guys, today I want to talk about my local scene for a bit. I know it's been a little while since I last posted a local tournament report, but hopefully I'll have something new for that soon.
Recently, I've been thinking about all of the tournaments I've been to since the last time I topped a local back in June. I looked back through the archives of this blog earlier today, and I feel some sort of pain every time I read a report that didn't end up with a top. I'm aware that this is only a card game, but I feel so strange about not measuring up to what I think I'm capable of. My relative lack of skill combined with periodic bad luck is constantly keeping me down, and it's honestly been really suffocating as of late. And although this logically has to be wrong, I don't really feel like anybody else ever has this much trouble with their downswings, so I feel pretty alone.
I've been to two tournaments since the beginning of this month, but because of this surge in inner turmoil, I found myself unable to write about them. For some reason I just couldn't bring myself to document two more scrubs. But since I worked so hard throughout December pushing out the drafts I had saved on this blog, I'm now facing a period in which there isn't much else for me to publish. So for the sake of keeping this blog from staying inactive for too long, I'll talk about these issues.
On 01/03/14, I attended a tournament at the usual local store. I defeated a young child in round 1 without much trouble, but faced Bujin two rounds in a row and lost to both of them, thus scrubbing out. (I'm not sure if everybody's local store works this way, but at mine, you're almost definitely unable to top with two losses.) This scrub was not entirely bad though, as it gave me the inspiration I had been looking for to begin practicing every day again for the first time in a long while, even with a new semester of school starting. I did this from 01/05/14 until the next time I was able to attend a tournament on 01/17/14, and this span of time also covered several changes in my deck. I felt very ready for this tournament, and more comfortable with Blackwings than I've ever felt.
Since I arrived so close to the end of sign-up time, Round 1 was going to be a bye for me. However, a person showed up right as the round was settling and so we had to play. As it turned out, he was playing Mermails. I lost game 1, won game 2, and lost a somewhat close game 3. I could already feel myself getting stressed from losing after all of that practice, but it wasn't hard to stay positive since I was dealt a shitty hand in game 3. In Round 2, I was paired against one of my few acquaintances in the area who was playing Gadgets. He always seemed a decent amount better than me, so I prepared to scrub like last time and started feeling even more off-center. However, the small talk we had before the match helped me stay in a neutral place and I was able to play almost normally. Although game 1 started badly for me, I kept fighting and the game lasted for a while before I finally lost. I don't remember game 2 much, but I won. Game 3 was even longer than game 1 and much more dramatic, with each of us fighting down to our last few cards and life points. Our TO forgot to call time again, which would normally be a good thing but ended up screwing me over. Despite taking him all the way from a long-held 8000 to 200, I was unable to finish the game and lost.
After this tournament, I lost sight of my motivation and could not practice with Blackwings for about a week. During that time, I focused more on figuring out what deck I should play once my time is up with Blackwings, but didn't find anything suitable. I still have a small crush on Gadgets, but I'm unsatisfied with the deck's performance. Yes, I did lose on 01/17/14, but the number of turns where my opponent could do nothing but summon a Gadget, search another, and pass was scary to me. It occurred to me that Gadgets can't do anything without some type of enrichment to pair them with - Tin Goldfish, Kagetokage, Machina Fortress, or some type of persistent removal.
Anyways, that sequence of events brings us to 01/24/14, when I was able to start practicing with Blackwings again. Yesterday I received some cards in the mail from my boss at LegitYGO, and having my deck completely updated has helped me restore some of my desire to practice. However, I'm still having trouble moving on from what happened earlier this month. I don't really mind the losses so much anymore - what bothers me is that those were my only chances to top before Legacy of the Valiant became legal. Blackwings are already a very "outclassed" deck, and the addition of new Gravekeeper, Bujin and Noble Knight support is going to leave the deck behind even more than it was before. Plus, the format has finally seen its first big tournaments, and this provides a frame of reference for everyone in the playerbase to correct any potential flaws in their decks and/or make them more competitive.
So what all of this means is that it's going to be much harder to top now than it was before, and I couldn't even manage to do it in a meta that was free of Dragon Rulers, free of LVAL, and free of significant metagame development. So, honestly... I really have no idea where I'm supposed to go from here. For now, I'm going to keep trying to motivate myself so that I can practice regularly again and try not to let my scrubs detract from my motivation. Hopefully, I'll have a more positive update to this in the near future. Until next time.