Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

londonsean
Reflections Pack
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Joined: January 1st, 2019, 11:01 pm
Location: London, UK
GEMP Username: londonsean

Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by londonsean »

If you want a bit of background as to when I came back to the game, or how I got started – I wrote a TR in 2019 that you can have a read of. TLDR; I was a terrible player back in the day, now I’m microscopic levels better.

Strap yourself in – this is going to be a long one. Why am I writing such a long TR? I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to create a niche in SWCCG media. Corran has the podcast space covered. Dan and Jerry have Holotheatre. Jared Napolitano is ruling Twitter. Maybe I’m just the opposite of Jared. He wins games and writes short messages. I lose games and write long messages.

Pre Tournament – 2020 In Review

When I consider what I thought this season was going to be and compare it to what it actually was – for reasons obvious to all of us at this point, they have been very, very different things. It has been a challenging year for a lot of people, and playing Star Wars has been a great release from that. The way that the year has shaken out though, while not being what I expected, it has also afforded me opportunities I never would have had had. I’ve played a grand total of four games in person this year – which frankly is four more than I would have expected in April. But I’ve also played in tournaments that I never would have expected to be participating in. If you had have told me in November I would be playing in Worlds in 2020 – I’d have asked you why my wife had left me. Or whether these things were directly related.

Season 2020 actually started way back in November 2019 with the conclusion of the English Nationals in Leicester. I had had (for me) a good showing that day, and was determined to turn it into a more consistent performance. My goal for the season was improvement – just win more games than I did the year before – particularly in the OCS. Ideally I wanted to start to get to a point where I won as many games as I lost – rather than losing the vast majority. In 2019 my total record for the year was 30-99, and 19-65 in the OCS. It was my first year back in the game in nearly 20 years, so a performance like that was to be expected. But 2020 was going to be the year where I got some regular games in, with solid decks that I got lots of reps in with, and I was going to improve. I was determined to do so. I built a HITCO, built a Map (this was before we I knew that TRM would absolutely destroy the new version of Map) and set about getting reps in.

Things started to go askew when the Wales Open was cancelled early in the season. At the time, while disappointing, it was probably the least surprising possible outcome. The opportunity to pick up some Team Wales swag missed was genuinely gutting though – as it is one of my absolute favourite (material) things about modern SWCCG. It was compounded by watching on in envy as the Endor Grand Prix had gone ahead – which now feels like an absolute lifetime ago. I also wasn’t having the best time in my first couple of months of OCS play. HITCO was holding up (for me) relatively ok, but Map was an absolute disaster of 0-12 proportions. I wasn’t even necessarily playing poorly in many instances (I mean, I was – but lets not dwell on those details), but it was just a bad deck choice. I was falling behind my monthly goal of 3-4 wins quickly – and my season of improvement was unravelling before we’d even reached the end of the Spring.

But then there was a posting on the message boards – the MPC would be virtual, held through GEMP. The MPC! One of the major tournaments of the year – and I wouldn’t even have to leave my living room to play in it. Sure – I’d probably be a 16 seed and be bounced in the first round having been roundly smashed; but how many chances does a European like me (well, Australian based in London – but you get the idea) get to play in the US MPC? I could probably swing a trip to the US for Worlds, but the MPC is a bit of a stretch. I had to enter. Of course I did! As it happens, I wasn’t a 16 seed – I was a 13 seed. But I did manage to draw Tom Haid in the first round – so that in itself put paid to any delusions of adequacy I might have harboured. Having never played matchplay before, I took the sage advice that I was given and went with decks that put as few cards on the table as I could muster – Hunt Down and TRM. After giving Tom the very slightest of scares in game one with my Hunt Down against his Diplo; he roundly punished my TRM with his AOBS in game two to make my MPC experience a blip-on-a-Saturday-afternoon experience. Victory was mine before the game had started though – having considered myself clearly a 16-seed for such a tournament, being ranked a 13-seed gave me the slightest bit of self belief that maybe people didn’t think I was as bad as I thought I was. That’s no offence intended to the 14, 15 and 16 seeds in the tournament either.

The OCS games kept coming like clockwork every other evening or so at 10pm (and I kept losing them), as I switched from Map to many different varieties of ISB for dark. HITCO was a trusty partner on the light side – but between walkers, troopers, troopers on Hoth, KTOD Bespin and Big Blue – I couldn’t quite settle on a version of ISB that I was happy with. It was also quite deflating to hear that ISB was ‘tier 0’ and ‘virtually unbeatable’, and yet here I was getting cleared off Endor with massive overflow by BFred and his TRM on a Friday night in June. Was I ever going to crack this?

The summer rolled on and the likelihood of in person tournaments all but disappeared. GEMP was the place the be, which was fine by me as I was piling the reps on. By May I had already played as many games at that point as I had achieved in the whole of 2019. I was dreaming of SWCCG, scribbling notes in my phone about matchup strategies and combing the Scomp Link for tech cards that would help make HITCO unbeatable (not being Paul Myers, turns out I just needed to wait a couple of months for that to happen).

Texas Mini Worlds came by, and now with the backing of the newly formed ‘The Bad Batch’ team, I was quietly optimistic to go into the weekend and nab a win to make it worthwhile. I was playing in yet another major tournament that I never thought I’d be involved in – and by this stage my wife was simply hand waving with a ‘yeah, yeah’ if I mentioned that I might be spending the weekend in front of the laptop/iPad instead of – you know – parenting three small kids or spending time with her. I took two variants of ISB in, feeling more comfortable with it – as well as EBO as an anti-ISB of sorts, and HITCO for light. In my first game I took EBO and got the matchup I was hoping for – against aeneas23 and his ISB. I couldn’t get the win though as he blew me out fairly quickly. ISB was a strong deck – who’d have thought? Then something strange happened. I won a game - using said ISB to beat Legend fairly comfortably. Then something stranger happened – I won another game; squeaking by mingtown and his No Idea with my ISB. I was 2-1, and I guess technically capable of progressing to the next stage if luck and results went my way. I was paired with jayjaydee in game four, and any delusions of progression were swiftly dealt with. I believe at one point he was draining for 5 at the Lars Moisture Farm with his ISB against my HITCO. So – that didn’t go so well. But 2-2 on the day was actually not a terrible result for me and perhaps a sign of progress. I won the games I would have hoped to, and lost to better players. This was actually where I was hoping to be when I thought back to my season goals in November 2019. Progress at last!

It’s probably fair to say that burnout was starting to come for me in the last couple of months of the OCS though. I play every game to win, so the persistent pressure I was putting on myself to get those wins was not leading to positive outcomes. Losses would compound the pressure which would then lead to more losses. I play late of an evening here in London – not starting until 10pm. So I often play my OCS games exhausted, sat up in bed with an iPad perched on my lap trying not to wake my wife (there’s an image future opponents won’t be able to rid themselves of). I finished the OCS season with a record worse than I had in 2019 (18-66 in 2020, compared to 19-65 in 2019) – even though I felt I was a much better player than I had been. I didn’t have the results to show for it – the only thing that really matters. This started to manifest itself truly when the European Championships took place in October. At a time where I should have been having fun and capitalising on all of the reps I had put in with HITCO and ISB; I was going on tilt and lost every game in the tournament. It’s no shame to lose to players of the calibre of Brian Fred, but the manner in which you do it matters. I was going out not with a bang, but a whimper. I needed to bring the fun back.

It was around now that I started playing some less conventional decks, just to get some no pressure games in. Messing about with 12-card starts, watching Bastian and his videos on deck construction – just trying to have fun now that the OCS had finished. At this point I figured my season was probably over – 3 majors in the can for the year was a great result for a year in which I wouldn’t have expected any at all. I found myself winning a lot of these casual games against non-OCS opponents. Sure – they were fun, knock about games with nothing on the line. But there was something refreshing in actually winning as many games as I lost, even if they weren’t with decks I would reasonably take to a major tournament.

Worlds was then confirmed as a GEMP tournament – with dates in the offing. I went to my wife, cap in hand one last time. Yes, I know I had played in the MPC. And the OCS every month. And Texas Mini Worlds. And the Euros. But this was the World Championship. The 25th anniversary. I played in regional qualifiers in the 1990s when the idea (to me) of playing in the World Championship was that this was just something that other people do. The greatest achievement of my Star Wars CCG career prior to returning was making it to day 2 of the Australian regional qualifier – once. One more weekend looking after the kids. Please?

I played in the lead up Road To Worlds series; incredibly poorly it must be said. I went 0-5, slowly adjusting to a new meta given the release of set 13. I was torn between HITCO and Legend for the light, and changing my play with the adapted ISB I had in my hands. But confidence was not high. I looked at the pod list for my Saturday morning games. Where am I going to get a win from? The calibre was incredibly high – but then, as I told myself, even on GEMP – this is still a World Championship. Could I escape from my World Championship debut with at least one win, or would I be greeted with a second consecutive majors donut?

In the couple of weeks leading up to the tournament I focused in on decklists and deck choices. Every day was a scouring of matchups, sending DMs for advice, chatting with team mates on what to expect of the weekend. The anticipation was great, but again the pressure I was putting on myself was unnecessary. I found myself recounting advice that I had given to my children, as well as to others I had coached in sport or taught at work – sometimes you need to let go of the things you cannot control.

It was only in the week before Worlds that I settled on my dark deck. I have developed something of a style with deck choice, in that while I don’t know how to build a deck, I know what I like and what I don’t like. I don’t like having the predominant deck in the meta if I can help it. I won’t fare as well as if I am playing something my opponent has faced dozens of times before and knows what to do against. I need every advantage in my favour. I also figured that we would see a lot of HITCO, Legend and WYS in the tournament (well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad). Having played HITCO and Legend a fair bit in 2020 – I was aware of those decks’ limitations. Space was not their forte in my experience at least. So I needed a Dark deck that could exploit those weaknesses and do enough damage to win me games. I couldn’t help but notice less Relatively Unprotected in play during my games. People would be ready for and teched for ISB. So I went with TTO.

On light I used a different strategy – somewhat in conflict with my stated aim of not playing something people are familiar with. By this point I had played 133 games with HITCO. When you are frazzled in game six and just need something easy to play – stick to what you know. I went with HITCO.

So I had my decks. I had my pod. It was 9am on a Saturday morning and I had three kids hovered around my iPad and a slightly bemused wife looking on. There was nothing left to do but to type ‘gl hf’ and start my first World Championships.

Game One : londonsean (HITCO) v Dingus (Shadow Collective)
Replay Link : https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... xjuz2qtr6l

Ok. Here we go. I’d played against Shadow Collective a couple of times, and didn’t mind the matchup, so not knowing Dingus (I’d not played him before) I thought that this might be a bit of toss up. Starting You’ll Be Dead and Inconsequential Losses, I know its going to be a lot of blasters. Early on we both get activation and hands sorted before he drops Dryden and a blaster as well as Quick Reflexes. I groan as I know there is going to be a ton of reversion – but stay focused; the Hoth Perimeter and its juicy drain of 3 are staring me in the face. I drop Luke, his stick and Yoda to the perimeter. I’m nervous that I’ve just committed two of my best characters to a drain and not a fight – but I figure I can find a Nabrun or Odin if I really need to. Early on I simply drain and draw to see what he will do. I’ve got Obi with stick, Rey with stick and Han in hand – as well as some defensive cards – so I feel well placed early on. Cad Bane comes down with a gun and Dryden moves across. Two characters at a site always feels risky to me – particularly if one doesn’t draw on their own. With 25 force available, I sense my chance to make a move. Sadly at this point Dingus realises that Enter The Bureaucrat doesn’t on your own site, so that drain of 4 is going to have to be dealt with. I drop Obi, Rey, Asohka and Solo in front of Dryden and Cad Bane (leaving Leia, Hera and Chewie in hand just in case). I Blaster Deflection his first shot, SATM his Cad Bane before he plays A Lawless Time to get a destiny in. I hit Dryden and after forfeit he loses 7 more in overflow. Hands are even and I’m ahead 29 to 19 in life force. Things are gong well.
Boba and Jango pay Luke and Yoda a visit – and then things go slightly pear shaped. Luke gets blown up by a thermal detonator (!) and Yoda gets captured. So I’ve gained a drain of one and lost a drain of 4. I’m going to need to act. Down comes Chewie (smuggler!) to the First Light Reception Area to restore the drain of 4.

I figure I’m ahead on life force and have a hold of one key battleground – so I drop Luke alone with his stick to the Ewok Village to add drain for 3 – put the foot on the throat. That naturally gets Bureaucrat’d – a silly move on my part given I knew he had it in hand and I’ve just wasted my best character. I’m well ahead on life force though (roughly 21 to 11) so I’m hopeful it won’t cost me the game. To block the drain, Dingus moves 4-lom, Jodo Kast and Dr E/Ponda Baba in front of my Rey/Obi/Chewie squad. I overactivate (the pressure!), drain at the Ewok Village, and then drop Leia and Corran Horn to help Rey/Obi/Chewie. I have 25 power to his 8; Blaster Deflection his shot at Obi and hit Jodo with a saber. Chewie gets hit and operated on, hit Dr E/Ponda Baba, and eventually overflow for 2. I’m at 22 life force and he is at 8 – it looks like I’m going to win. There is some moving about and pinging with You’ll Be Dead – but eventually I’m able to grind it out for a first win in my first World Championships game. I joke in Slack that I should quit now with a 100% record and never play in Worlds again. I made plenty of mistakes in there, but I was far enough ahead when I did given the initial drains and battle overflow that it doesn’t cost me.

Game Two : londonsean (TTO) v AusSWCCG (QMC)
Replay Link : https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... xiv5w86fhx

My daily win out of the way, I’m now on to try and get a second win – 2-4 on the day would have been about right for someone at my level all things considered. I match up against AusSWCCG, another player I have had little (ie. no) experience with – at least a fellow Aussie! QMC was a deck I had in mind when building my TTO – the plan was always to get to Bespin as quick as I could, hold it as best I could to stop Celebration – and block ground drains with spies.

I start with a Lateral Damage, Vader v and Mara’s ship in hand – a nice little combo to start with if I want to be aggressive. I do usual Death Star building things and while I’m drawing I find a Tarkin and Point Man for a Control/Set For Stun so I have some defensive backup if I do decide to go aggressive. After I pull Battle Plan to stop his drain of 1 on Cloud City, he drops the Millennium Falcon with Captain Han on board to Bespin. I double check that he only gets one destiny and that it isn’t immune to Lateral Damage or any of those kinds of shenanigans – and make my move. I need to keep him off Bespin – and he’s only got a 5 card hand, so the counter beat could be relatively negated (plus I plan to move my Death Star over to add a battle destiny anyway). I drop Mara’s ship, Vader, Tarkin and then Lateral Damage his Falcon. I’m at 8 power with 3 destinies, and he’s at 0 power with 1 destiny. It’s looking ok early on. I draw 2, 6 and 3 – he All Wings for a 6. Gah. I lose Tarkin and he loses everything plus 6 in overflow. Early battles have served me well today. I move the Death Star over to cover the lone Vader and draw – leaving three in force pile for…stuff.

He plays characters down to Cloud City, but I’m not fussed at this point. I’m draining for two and pinging for two, so I feel good. I worry about a hit on Bespin, so reinforce Vader with Kir Kanos on the ship – give the Death Star a big laser in case any capitals come to visit, and draw. He plays Honor Of The Jedi to knock off my ping – as well as Obi to Cloud City to drain. Its going to be a grind – but I feel like I have board position after I drop Thrawn v (I have Command in hand and Ghhhk if things go really badly) to drain for free and get damage through. Mirax comes down with Harc Seff to visit my Thrawn, so I use Control/SFS in a way I wasn’t expecting – and send Mirax back to hand; but only after two tries. I add a destiny with Command and do 5 more overflow. I’m slowly inching my way to victory. Chewie Enraged comes to fight with Mirax the next turn against Thrawn, as well as a rogue Wedge and Red Squadron 1 to Endor. He’s spreading – and I’m going to have to stop it to secure the win. Again though; I notice he has 3 cards in hand – so I can go at him with little fear of retribution…relatively speaking. He hasn’t left enough force to fight Thrawn though; nor pay upkeep on Chewie– so I survive another turn. My heart is pumping, and my nine-year old daughter is asking me why I’m so tense. I ask her where she learned the word ‘tense’. I No Escape to turn off his Honor Of A Jedi (for a Control/SFS) and check my destinies – 6, 2, 5. I drop ZiMH in front of Wedge – then fight with Thrawn against a lone Mirax; adding a destiny with another Command. 2 and 5 mean its another 4 overflow and I’m nearly there. I fight with ZimH and draw a 6, knocking Wedge out. A few drains the next turn – and all of a sudden I am 2-0 in the World Championships.

A couple of cheeky messages here and there of support – but the tension is starting to rise in the londonsean household. My wife is looking nervous. She has plans next weekend with friends that I’d agreed to look after the kids for. Will the Star Wars card game playing community save her weekend by giving me the return to Earth I (or more accurately – she) so sorely need? Or will the unthinkable happen? All I need to do is split my next four games and I can make it through to the next round.

Game Three : londonsean (TTO) v DDM (EBO)
Replay Link : https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... sdvqozwtqu

This one was streamed by Chris Gogolen – who can far better evaluate the game than I; so perhaps give that a watch.

I’m starting to get a bit nervous now. I see the names around me on the schedule – I shouldn’t be here. I see Bastian, and Tom Kelly and Ziemowit – what am I doing here? I draw DDM – my third straight player who I’d not seen before. He flips EBO and I’m a bit hesitant. I hadn’t planned for this. Strong space is going to be a big problem for me – given my deck is geared towards holding space and shutting off the ground.

I figure I need to hold a system, get pings where I can – and see how it shakes out. I could win. Maybe?

Early on I again do TTO things while he does EBO things. I can’t imagine its an enthralling watch on stream. I do get a rapid start though by open handing a sector, so I’m able to get the Death Star built by turn two with TTO on board. I wait for him to commit to see what I can do – I presume Hoth will be a no-go zone; but maybe if I can dictate things on my terms – I can drop guys to Kashyyyk and hold the system there. So I go to Endor early before he is set up with EBO to try to capitalise on knowing that it’ll take another turn or so for him to get up and running. Plus I have a Ghhhk in hand just in case. Once he gets EBO up – he has a decent hand, so I reinforce at Endor and draw – I need to find a second route of damage or I’m going to be in trouble quickly here. I find Kashyyyk and hatch my plan – I can look at setting up Ultimatum if I can just hold on at two systems. Easier said than done against EBO. I grab Enter The Bureaucrat to deal with his Hoth drain and he goes heavy with speeders to Hoth. This is my chance – I send Grievous to the Endor DB, and the following turn set up at Kashyyyk. I’m not draining on the ground because of Projection – but I’ve got Ultimatum satisfied. Eternally ready for an EBO beat down though. Something is working in my favour though – EBO puts so many cards on the table. I struggle to see a path to victory if he comes at me though – I start telling myself that 2-1 is a good spot to be in. He brings a force to Kashyyyk and we trade battles for a couple of turns. I don’t realise it – but the clock is ticking. Somehow my ships and guys stay alive at Kashyyyk – I’m only draining 2 at Endor, and pinging 1 with TTO – but I’m hanging in there. Vader v is saving me with EBOs low destinies. The clock continues to tick. It is only very late that I realise the spot DDM is in – he’s going to run out of time. I’m not even looking at the clock – I’m so focused on the next move to make. I keep the pings in – trying to take advantage of a couple of (what felt like slightly rash) moves he makes to get damage in and use a Ghhhk to save myself. The clock runs down and I’ve somehow managed to win the game – not by beating my opponent but by fortune of the clock. I’m 3-0 in a World Championships. My hands are slightly shaking. How did I get here?

The messages start flooding in. My phone is pinging with DMs and videos of friends sharing their support. I’m threatened to be removed from The Bad Batch for not living up to the team name. My kids are jumping around the living room. My wife is shaking her head in disbelief. I reassure her that I’m at the pointy end now and I’ll lose the next three. I’m not sure I believe myself. I need some lunch. And a lie down.

Game Four : londonsean (HITCO) v ketwol (HDv)
Replay Link : https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... m2rzftgpug

One more win and in. Just one more win. One game at a time. You can do this.

I retreat from the kids at this point and try to find some space. I close away upstairs and focus. Breathe. Just breathe.

I’m against Quirin, who I am 0-5 lifetime against. He’s a great player – the first player I went against when I returned to IRL tournaments. I’m going to need everything to go right here – but if it does? I’m through to day two of Worlds. He’s playing Hunt Down – which I feel is a bit of a coin flip. I’d take a coin flips chance to get through to the next stage.

He starts aggressive with a Lord Vader to the Hoth 3rd Marker. I’m not ready to go hard – so I drop Yoda to the JCC and draw. I’m going to need tricks here – I’ve learned that lesson before. Common wisdom is to win the first fight against HD. Win it – take control of the site and reinforce and then they’re off their plan. I want to overwhelm Vader – Ghhhk if I can. I bring what I have – Luke and Rey; but there is no Luke’s stick in reserve. I have two in there – but they are both in my 11 card used pile (or 2 card force pile). Gah. I don’t want to fight with only one swing and no guarantee of cracking immunity – so I move Yoda across. And hope. Rey goes the way of the Dodo via a Sniper – and I can feel the momentum shifting away from me. Damn that reserve deck pull! Quirin reinforces the next turn and clears me out – though I counter with a Gift Of The Mentor to get rid of everyone – except Lord Vader. I’ve lost the crucial first battle. I can still wrest this back though. So I go with Luke and Cassian to try to hold the site. It works! I hold the site with Luke. For a turn.

This goes back and forth – we trade characters, and I’m keeping an eagle eye on my force count. I feel behind all game, but I also optimistically feel that I’m one good battle away from taking the momentum. Some things don’t go my way though. I drop Rey and Han to the Perimeter, hoping to take out Seventh Sister with Rey’s stick and then SATM her to hold the site. The swing misses though, and instead Solo dies. Quirin has 7 cards in hand, so maybe he comes back over the top (undoubtedly he does) – but its stuff like that that just sucks the oxygen out of your effort. We keep trading blows – but eventually I run out of guys before he does. Quirin is a deserved winner, and I’ve got my first loss on the day.

At 3-1, I’m still going to run into some top, top players – but I’m also still only one game away from qualifying. My head is up, I’m still optimistic that I can still do this. I’ve got two games in the bank – who knows what can happen? Besides, dinner is being served up – a lovely chicken curry and pudding. The kids are around the dinner table. And Dad is stalking around the kitchen like a lion in front of his…er….iPad.

Game Five : londonsean (TTO) v CRG (Legend)
Replay Link : https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... hmd96dyvy7

What a game! This one was really interesting (from my perspective anyway). I am 0-2 lifetime against Matt before I play this game; and I know he has had a brilliant season – so he’s a tough opponent to try and get my last win against. He’s playing Legend – a deck I *specifically* picked TTO to play against. My only fear is The Falcon. But there’s no way he’ll blow up my Death Star. Right?

We start off doing TTO/Legend things (I build a Death Star, he sends a Jedi in exile to an Irish island) and I get a second turn Death Star set up. I follow up with Invisible Hand to Kashyyyk to put pressure on – I know Legend doesn’t like early damage. I hope to do 4 damage next turn and really crank up the heat on Matt. But he’s playing Relatively Unprotected! Gah! Foiled again! And not the good kind of shiny foil either.

Solo and Anakin hop aboard the Falcon though and make me sweat. He’s going to make a run at my Death Star. I’m so transfixed that I actually forget to eat my dinner (well, most of it – it’s a rather good curry). I definitely don’t notice to small amount of ice cream on my face rather than in my mouth. I drop Mara’s ship to Endor to try and get more damage in – I need Control/SFS though. But with two pilots? Oh man – this is going to be tough. I also get too cute here – waiting for him to move through the Death Star before using Control/SFS. I don’t know why I think it’s a good idea – to strand him I guess? But it’s a fatal move. I play a Masterful Move that I plan to use to get rid of Anakin; tracking it around. I just need to remember the number 7. I’m terrible at tracking – even on GEMP.

We’re fairly even on life force – but I have board position as The Falcon makes its way through the Death Star. The Falcon moves to the final sector and I successfully Control/SFS his Anakin. Its only Solo in there now – if I can just get rid of him. But I have no Control/SFS left! I activate, drain, and draw – its Point Man. I use it, pull Control/SFS and…nothing. I don’t play it. I *think* what I was thinking in my kitchen covered in ice cream – is that if I missed; that was game. I *had* to get this right. So I hesitated. I didn’t reckon with what was to come.

Matt drew BB8 for destiny. A 6.28319. My Death Star was blown up. I lost 24 force and the game.

I was equal parts deflated and impressed/bemused. I had gone from 3-0 to 3-2; and had chances to win both of those games. I still had one last chance left though. I could do this. I could win this last game.
With dinner out of the way, and thankfully a fairly quick loss there – there was time to help out with the kids. I got a nappy changed, put the three kids through the bath, washed their hair, into pyjamas – and even managed to read a bedtime story to the youngest. I only mentioned this as I lay claim to being the first player in Star Wars CCG history to change a nappy during a World Championship. A child’s one at least.

I had to pick myself up though. Two close calls (it felt like) – but hope remained. I could do this. I could get that win, and get through.

Game Six : londonsean (HITCO) v Solidsnck (CCT)
Replay Link : https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... lb3et2lil1

I’d not played Solidsnck before, but given my record against players like that today – I felt quietly confident that I could get the win. I felt CCT was a matchup in my favour – I had played it quite a bit in the leadup to Worlds, so I knew the deck well.

My plan was to rush the AC and try to overwhelm. If I could do that – the win and a place in day two was mine.

It…did not start well.

He got Fett over to the AC (standard), so I thought I would keep options open. I activated three, and used Wokling to pull Projection Of A Skywalker. Except..no Projection. Hmmmm. I took Relatively Unprotected because I had to. Not good. He couldn’t find IG88 – we were both struggling! Pressure? Maybe – definitely for me. I drop Yoda to the JCC and draw.

I have a path though. I have Luke, Gift Of The Mentor and a SATM. I can do some damage here with Yoda and Luke. I pull an Anakin v – I’m going to do this. I have a 26 card reserve deck and two Luke’s Lightsabers. And they are both in my force/used pile. Oh man – this has not gone to plan!

I can feel the tension in my chest – this is really going to happen isn’t it. He’s got Mara and Boba sitting there, and a 9 card hand. Just like the HD game – I’m going to lose the momentum at the AC and the game. I draw the saber into hand – I hope I can keep Luke alive.

Down comes Mighty Jabba, Sidon Ithano and Cad Bane – he’s power 26 and two destinies to my 12 and 1. I’m not getting out of this one alive. My shoulders slump. But I can’t give up – not with what is on the line. I play Gift to try and thin him out a bit – he loses a couple of guys. I figure if I can just get the AC clear I can do this. I activate and draw – I figure I need a big hit force. He reinforces of course. He’s in a good spot here and can sense the win.

Even though I have 29 force remaining – I feel like I’m making a last ditch effort by dropping Luke, stick, Padme and Lando. I figure I can use Anakin v and SATM to break through some of his guys and get back some of that momentum. Then it happens.

Weapon Levitation.

In my haste – my tired brain haste – to get to the result…I forget the process. Luke’s saber floats across (virtually) to the other side of the table, and with it arguably my chances of getting through. It was a hasty play by me, and I deserved everything I got for it.

I play out the next few turns trying to get some hits in, but I know I’m done. I started out the day in some sunshine at 9am here in London – but its now close to 8pm, pitch black outside, and I’ve dropped from 3-0 and a game away from advancing – to 3-3 and out.

Solidsnck is a deserved winner of course – running Weapon Levitation in CCT was brilliant; and he won despite not finding IG88 himself; simply by outbattling me at the AC.

I concede, slink downstairs and crash on the couch. I tell my wife and eldest daughter that I’m not disappointed and that I’m happy I got the three wins – but I suspect my wife at least knows that I’m lying. I hastily volunteer to drive to the local supermarket to get milk and supplies for breakfast tomorrow – just for some clear headspace.

Post Tournament

As I’m driving down the main road to the store – I do get that clarity though. Yes, I was 3-0 and within a hairs breadth of making an unlikely progression from a tough group at Worlds at my first attempt through to day 2. And I will always wonder what if. What if I had got a couple of swings go my way against Quirin and eeked out a win? What if Matt’s destiny is a 2 instead of a 6.28319? What if I don’t forget that Weapon Levitation is a card? Or get the pull for Projection? Or Luke’s stick? What if?

It doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I learned from the experience. I have a long way to go to challenge the players at the top table of this game, and even a distance to go to break through the next tier and start to win more games than I lose.

I like data – which is why I hang on everything that echobasetrooper does with regards to matchups and deck choices. I have tracked every game I have played since returning in 2019. In 2019 I went 30-99, winning 23% of games I played. This year I have gone 118-249; 32% of games won. It doesn’t feel like a great difference. But I’ve nearly won as many games as I played last year. And in essence I’ve gone from winning one in every four games, to one in every three. But I’ve also learned a lot in playing those games – and many moves feel much more instinctual than they used to. Many don’t (like pulling the Weapon Lev shield) but will come through experiences like these games.

What matters the most to me was that it was fun. Sure – it was disappointing to not quite get the result that I had hoped for; but if you had offered me 3-3 at the start of the day; looking at that pod…I’d have bitten your hand off for it. And I got to play some great tight games, got to see a Death Star blown up (though it was mine!) and some great plays by some great opponents.

But what I really got to see what people that I have come to know in passing over the course of the last year or so – come out and support me and be genuine in their desire to see me succeed. That is something that I choose not to take for granted, nor assume that it exists in a lot of places. It is a genuine credit to this community and these players that it exists, and I can only hope that it will long live on. You can see this in things like Scott’s post last week on the forums entitled ‘I am proud’.

So onwards and upwards. There will be good days with wins, and more days with 1-5, 0-6 to be sure. But as long as my wife continues to tolerate this ridiculous, ridiculous hobby that I have – I hope to keep logging on to GEMP and (dare I say it) coming out to in person tournaments, and trying my best to improve and challenge the best players this game has to offer.

Thanks for reading my report 😊

-londonsean


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OCS 2019 (19-65) | OCS 2020 (18-66)
Participation Award Recipient MPC 2020, TMW 2020, Euros 2020, RTW 2020, World Championships 2020

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by SmallDarkLines »

All I have to say is...
Bonza mate!
All games can come down to a single action: one forgotten shield, an unexpected tech card. Each one can teach something, so... may your wife, children and nappies be as forbearing when you go 4-2 next year.
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Solidsnack3 »

First off, it is posts from players like this that is one of the reasons I love this game so much. The complexity that exists, and the passion that people show make it so fun.

Second, I completely empathize with you, from working my way back into the games, to changing diapers mid game, to finding time at crazy hours of the day so I don't saddle my wife with 3 kids for childcare,

I know I played the villain in this story, but I figured Sean might think the backstory is interesting. With the advent of Quite A Merc/Help Me Obi Wan combo, I feel like I needed something else to one up the expected HITCO matchup. I took out P-59 since he can get excluded and dropped in Aurra Sing with Blaster (who believe it or not wasn't in the deck before!).

Looking at all the ability 4 characters I had, I immediately thought weapon lev would be a sneaky card that could tilt the matchup. People worry about it with Jedi, but ability 4 aliens? Even if I draw it for destiny or it gets shown in a verify, there's a strong possibility people shield bust if they play Only Jedi Carry That Weapon (great card image!). CCT with Boba Fett and IG do not reveal the cards I choose so I feel like I still had a good chance of a surprise. it also puts a lot of pressure on the Hear Me Baby Hold Together V card, which people may feel they need to save for hidden weapons, cease fire (which I did run), putting a lot of pressure on using that card right and increasing the chance it gets misplayed to my advantage.

On one hand I do feel bad reading all of this and being an obstacle for getting you into day 2. On the other hand, gosh our game was fun and could have easily gone either way with draws or missing cards and it was an honor playing against you and the others in this community. Games like these, win or lose, especially in a competitive setting are really a thrill so thank you. None of this fun, win or lose, happens without a willing opponent who enjoys the game.

Hope you continue to get better, thanks for the writeup. You might find what cards were in my hand interesting, so here's my end of the replay in case that helps:

https://gemp.starwarsccg.org/gemp-swccg ... 5ygmocais6

Catch you online, would be happy to chat and play again anytime.
-Solidsnack3
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by imrahil327 »

Great report! Sorry that you didn't quite make the cut, but a very solid run altogether. Glad you had fun, and hope to see you in more online events in the future!
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by londonsean »

Solidsnack3 wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 1:53 pm
I know I played the villain in this story, but I figured Sean might think the backstory is interesting.
Not a villain! Not a villain at all! You played it brilliantly - Jedi Lev was a brilliant call - a game winning one.

What I’d be interested in is - with one force active; what happens if I SATM Mara when I dropped Luke to the AC against Fett/Mara. Presumably Fett grabs an interrupt and lives to fight another day. I wonder how that alters the game though.

Not that I’m running through the scenarios that might’ve cost me a spot :)
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Echo Base Trooper »

Great report!
londonsean wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 10:26 am
I like data – which is why I hang on everything that echobasetrooper does with regards to matchups and deck choices.
I'm glad other people like it and get something out of my posts :)
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Solidsnack3 »

i posted my replay so you could see the cards in hand, thought you might find it interesting to see how I played my responses. I did have a dark time to use as well as stunning leader when boba and mara were the only guys I had (looks like you had the canceler for stunning leader, but in short I wouldn't pull that interrupt with boba since I already had it in hand). I pulled weapon lev with Boba Fett anyways when I didn't need it, quite possible I do the same there. Likely with the dark time I wouldn't lose based on battle destiny alone, even if you had a 7 in the deck.

I think I had enough tricks? I dunno, scary matchup for sure. But I definitely had good draws (besides my sniper attempt) to match yours. Your starting hand was pretty fearsome too, you had cancelers for cease fire which I ran, and one of Greedo/Stunning leader plus a great character package. Certainly coulda gone either way.
londonsean wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 4:28 pm
Solidsnack3 wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 1:53 pm
I know I played the villain in this story, but I figured Sean might think the backstory is interesting.
Not a villain! Not a villain at all! You played it brilliantly - Jedi Lev was a brilliant call - a game winning one.

What I’d be interested in is - with one force active; what happens if I SATM Mara when I dropped Luke to the AC against Fett/Mara. Presumably Fett grabs an interrupt and lives to fight another day. I wonder how that alters the game though.

Not that I’m running through the scenarios that might’ve cost me a spot :)
-Solidsnack3
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Solidsnack3 »

Oh and I love the inclusion of control/set for stun. That was my 61st card since I wanted to bounce low ability characters from table for a beatdown (WYS/QMC comes to mind).

At the end of the day I felt like my tracking wasn't that good for it, but glad it worked for you in at least one of the matchups for a win!
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Post by londonsean »

Cheers mate! Let’s chat offline some more about CCT perhaps :popcrn:
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“Too many decisions are made in isolation. The game isn't played in a vacuum (the dust would get all over your cards, you'd definitely need to double sleeve).” -arebelspy

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by londonsean »

Echo Base Trooper wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 4:31 pm
Great report!
londonsean wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 10:26 am
I like data – which is why I hang on everything that echobasetrooper does with regards to matchups and deck choices.
I'm glad other people like it and get something out of my posts :)
I love it! Really appreciate all the work you do and I absolutely pick apart the data to try and help me make deck choices. It’s absolutely brilliant - thanks so much.
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“Too many decisions are made in isolation. The game isn't played in a vacuum (the dust would get all over your cards, you'd definitely need to double sleeve).” -arebelspy

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Jnapolit31 »

Wow, Sean. What a brilliantly-written tournament report. Kudos, man. It had levity, detail, relatability, flow, humor, perspective...
You’re improving with each game - and the lessons you learned in these 6 games will have an outsized impact on your skills going forward.
Tough break on how the game progression went, but remember, as Rocky said, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.” :-D
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by arebelspy »

Reading this was one of the best things about worlds so very. Very engaging, funny, and detailed.

Well done, and we'll see you after the cut on the next one, mate.

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by londonsean »

Jnapolit31 wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 6:40 pm
Wow, Sean. What a brilliantly-written tournament report. Kudos, man. It had levity, detail, relatability, flow, humor, perspective...
You’re improving with each game - and the lessons you learned in these 6 games will have an outsized impact on your skills going forward.
Tough break on how the game progression went, but remember, as Rocky said, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.” :-D
Thank you sir; and thanks for your advice over the year too!

It’s all formative. We used to say in the Army - it’s ok if you make a mistake because you probably didn’t know. If you make it again though - that’s on you. So my challenge now is to keep getting games in and making all of the mistakes there are to make until there are none left.

Glad I’ve been immortalised in your signature too :lol:
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by londonsean »

arebelspy wrote:
December 7th, 2020, 8:55 pm
Reading this was one of the best things about worlds so very. Very engaging, funny, and detailed.

Well done, and we'll see you after the cut on the next one, mate.
Thanks mate - appreciate the kind words! Best of luck this coming weekend :yes:
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Darth Eweuge »

Daddy Pig, amazing read :) thank you for posting.

Talking of posting your "OCS foils and SWAG ;)" shall be with you later next week.

Including something special to celebrate your participation in the 25th Anniversary of Worlds.... Booster I mean watch this space.
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Corran »

Great read.
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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by londonsean »

Darth Eweuge wrote:
December 8th, 2020, 11:29 am
Daddy Pig, amazing read :) thank you for posting.

Talking of posting your "OCS foils and SWAG ;)" shall be with you later next week.

Including something special to celebrate your participation in the 25th Anniversary of Worlds.... Booster I mean watch this space.
Cheers Kevin! Super excited to see what’s in store!
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OCS 2019 (19-65) | OCS 2020 (18-66)
Participation Award Recipient MPC 2020, TMW 2020, Euros 2020, RTW 2020, World Championships 2020

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by CoffeePass »

Fantastic read -- thank you for taking the time to write it, super enjoyable. I love TRs!

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by Steve Buscemi »

This tr is one of the reasons why this game is still in such a great place!

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Re: Worlds (and 2020 Season Review) Alternative Title 'The Year My Wife Accepted My Stupid Hobby'

Post by ketwol »

Great read Sean, thx for writing this down! The game against you was one of the closest ones I had during Worlds. :saber:

You improved quite a lot since we first played. Looking forward to meeting & playing you again in real life some day. Take care & stay safe :)

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