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While I may not have been asked to recap my NJ Regionals experience, I've decided to bestow upon all such a gift. This, friends, is an inspirational true story of setting your sights on a dream and never giving up. If you aim to crack the TOP 75 players at a regional tournament, THIS friends, shall serve as your blueprint to such success.
Highland Games, located in Boonton NJ was the battleground for the day's events. The staff coordinated the event incredibly well!! This was my first regional tournament experience and I think I'm spoiled...as I've heard, there really isn't any other where the store hosting gives away booster boxes as well as store credit to the Top 8. Prior to the tournament kicking off, it was revealed at the player's meeting that 79...79!!! dice chucking fools were there to compete. If I wanted to finish in the top 75, dammit, I had my work cut out for me.
Step 1 for Reaching My Goal: Spend the month ahead of the tournament day practicing with one deck...then switching to another 5 days out. Han & Biggs was a blast to play leading up to the tournament, but I felt that, like a big league slugger, the deck only aimed to swing for the fences and when that swing missed...it missed big time. So...Han & Qi'Ra it was. The little practice I did get in went incredibly well. I kept tweaking the deck to fit my playstyle. Blatantly reckless.
Step 2 for Reaching My Goal: Don't sleep. Like. At all. I work overnight shifts and was unable to take off for the day of regionals. Working overnight, then immediately travelling to the tournament, merely showed my competitors how serious I was to reach my dreams.
Step 3 for Reaching My Goal: Having a team at your back. Okay. This one is serious. Our group has been playing for a long time together and Boonton served as our unveiling as Syndicate 10 Gaming, or s10g or SyN10...I dunno...I litrally just made up those abbreviated nicknames...no one calls us that. Not even us, but they look cool. Anyway, Syndicate 10 consists of a great group of Destiny gamers! I can confidently say that it's because of them that I've stuck with this awesome game. Thank you, Nathan - Tyler - Mike - Ben - Bill - Austin - Noah - Jeff - John, you guys have taught me so much and are simply cool to hang with and compete with. #SyN10foEVz
Enough!! Games were to be played and GLORY to be SEIZED!! If you LOVE MEDIOCRITY then like my good friend Sam Jackson once said, "HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS."
Game 1 -- WIN -- vs. Mother Talzin / Iden Versio
Man. I was so nervous. Seriously. I don't know why. I played a wonderful gal, Stephanie. I SERIOUSLY asked her if I draw cards after we each played our first moves...I was a hot mess. Later in the day, we both agreed that this game ended up being our favorite match. She was a pleasure to play against. Utilizing Armored Reinforcement, she was able to drop the Arc Fighter into the field immediately. Not having played/tested against Iden at all, I quickly realized she was going to be the bane of my deck's existence. Han & Qi'Ra hit hard and fast, but unfortunately, when half of your cards include AMBUSH, Iden can really slow you down. I usually go after Talzin first, but I went right for Iden's face and my consistent damage rolls took Iden out quick. Her Arc ended up getting an upgrade or two on it. At this point, with Mother a few points away from elimination, I felt I had the match in hand. Obviously needing to show damage, my opponent HAD to use Mother's ability to flip to those damage sides. In my hand I held a Wanton Destruction and Double Cross. Stephanie nearly won. She triggered a few nice ambush combos (and All In) that resulted in her resolving her dice before I can play anything. With only a few points of damage left on Qi'Ra, I was finally able to Double Cross the damage needed to put down Mother.
Such a fun match! 1 - 0...maybe reaching the Top 75 was going to be easy.
Game 2 -- LOSS -- vs. Vader / Greedo
It was a pleasant surprise to find out that I was going up against fellow Syndicate 10 teammate, Mike. He is a master player. At PAX Unplugged he piloted Yoda / Boushh to a Top 3 finish...I give him credit as the first to really show everyone how powerful that deck could be played. In NJ, however, he brought along Vader / Greedo. Mike did not disappoint and played an incredible match. This match set the tone of the day for me...that, no matter what I did right, luck would not be on my side. Han & Qi'Ra, guns blazing, put nearly 25 points of damage into Vader. 25. Again...25 (maybe round up a point or two, but I'm going with TWENTY FIVE). Vader survived Han & Qi'Ra's onslaught. He survived Double Crosses and being Paid Off. He survived. His meditation chamber was played during the first round. Rise Again was played twice (once for free). My team survived longer than they should have. They survived Price of Failure, but could not outrun Vader's Fist when it came down. This was probably my second favorite match of the day.
Game 3 -- LOSS -- vs. Yoda / Leia2
Austin was a real nice chap to play against. I especially liked the lego stormtrooper helmets he used as shields as well as the lucky golden dice he kept on his mat. Han & Qi'Ra, so disillusioned after their tremendous efforts of the previous match, decided that their efforts were futile and stopped rolling anything useful. The damage just wasn't there and neither were the resources. As a cruel joke, Qi'Ra finally rolled perfect damage...3R/1 3R/1 2R/1 +2R (Qi'Ra's dice + Holdout + Hidden Blaster)...it was funny because, despite usually having a decent pile of resources, she rolls this when I have ZERO, stopping me from resolving any of that damage rolled. This would have ended Leia and put a good chunk of damage into Yoda. But 'Nah,' the match ended as I still needed a single damage to defeat Leia...that one damage was needed for a couple rounds.
Sitting at 1 - 2 I worried. What if I finished 1 - 7? Surely that could keep me out of my goal's reach.
At this point my phone's alarm triggered. Typically this is the time I wake up each day after that midnight work shift. What this meant today, was that at this point, I had been up 24 straight hours.
Game 4 -- LOSS -- vs. Qui Gon-Jinn / Yoda (Bitter Rivalry)
Okay, admittedly, I may have lost track of the order of these next few matches and my recollection becomes a little hazy. This matchup was interesting. As long as Han & Qi'Ra could ping damage, Qui-Gon could not stay shielded and strong enough to hang with us. Well, by the end of round 1 Yoda had 2 Force Speeds and Qui-Gon was wielding a Dagger or Mortis. Oh, and my opponent rolled triple specials with Yoda. Triple specials were rolled again during the next round. This match was a blow out...my opponent was drawing exactly what he needed and rolling hot. I had no answer for it.
Game 5 -- LOSS -- vs. Vader / Greedo I did not draw a single blaster during this match. It was plain, vanilla Han & Qi'Ra versus Vader. My team took him down real quick. Lightning fast. Perhaps...too fast? He was able to drop in Vader's Fist just before Vader's defeat. This lead to Han's quick end as well and putting a few points of damage into Qi'Ra. So, perhaps in a Destiny first...you know, my kinda luck...the match ended up being a 7 health Greedo, wielding an Ancient Lightsaber and Maul's Saber with Vaders Fist to back him up. Qi'Ra froze up at such a disturbingly beautiful sight and stopped rolling hot. Without any cards remaining in my hand, all I could do was watch. With four cards in his hand, my opponent kept rerolling until he got the damage he needed.
To quote my opponent, Andrew, after the match ended, "I can't say I've ever had that happen before."
Game 6 -- LOSS -- vs. Jackalman's Janky McMilltown (Little Ani / Riekan / Temple Guard)
Meeting Kevin, of Jackalman Games, was pretty cool. He was a nice, chill, dude to play against. I loved playing against this deck. After seeing so much Vader or Leia or Snoke, it was refreshing to play against something anti-meta. Using Armored Reinforcement to bring out Anakin's podracer was pretty hilarious...nothing I've ever seen or would imagine coming up with. My team should have handled this match up pretty easily. Nope. This was the day's longest match. My team could not roll damage, and when they did, he mitigated (Beguile at the perfect moment probably saved him). A hot rolling Han took out Riekan real quick, but couldn't take out that little bastard, Anakin. We chewed through shields, a second chance, more shields and two force illusions, but could not finish him!!
Game 7 -- WIN -- vs. Yoda / Boushh
Kaitlin was real cool to play against. She played a good game, but was victim to some poor luck. Most of her best cards sat at the bottom of her deck for the duration or the match. This was also a pretty sloppy match on my part. Hell, we played on her battlefield, the Emperor's Throne, and not once but TWICE, I forgot to use it's claim ability to flip to Han's special. Once Boushh was gunned down, Han & Qi'Ra went after Yoda who posed little threat, well, until she whipped out a Lightbow, but at this point it was too little too late.
Game 8 -- LOSS -- vs. Snoke / Cienna / Rebel Traitor
At this point I had been awake for nearly 30 hours. I felt strong, but I remember pretty little of this. Snoke went down fast!! But Han & Qi'Ra could not keep up with Vader's Fist, a Hover Tank, and a Firespray that eventually dropped onto the battlefield. At one point, holding Wanton Destruction, Paid Off, and Double Cross I passed my turn at least 5x. He knew what I had in my hand after he was able to discard a Paid Off. He finally rolled in Vader's Fist which I used against Cienna. I ditched the Wanton to reroll and hit a single point of damage that I used to finish off Cienna. He finished me with the Fist. That's all I remember.
Final Record: 2 Wins - 6 Losses
Drama ensued during one of the matches which delayed the final standings. Can I really do it with 2 losses? Can I crack the Top 75...of 79 players?!?!?! I bumped into Stephanie, my round one matchup. She finished with the same record and we realize that I probably finished just ahead of her. With the standings finally posted, I saw that my dreams of glory had been achieved. There was my name sitting right on 75th place!!
I went home empty handed that day. No Vader promo. No Talzin/Plo.
The day ended with the rest of Syndicate 10 as we grabbed pizza and wished our teammate and friend, Nathan, luck in the Top 8 (he went on to win). I eventually dragged myself home having been up over 32 hours or so and readied a nice, warm shower....
That's when the shower rod and curtains fell on me. I guess the lack of luck followed me home.