Je suis desoleé, je ne parle pas francaise. Here is a cross post of my recounting of the Second Chance tournament. As the deck I played was a gift from a french Lion player, I thought it fitting to post it here so you all can see how well his deck performed. Thank you very much, Akodo Tenrou!
First of all, let me apologize for not remembering the name of anyone I played that I didn't know beforehand. Normally, I take a notepad with me, but this time I misplaced it and couldn't record the games as I would have liked. Hope you like my Irish adventure:
Day 2 - Second Chance:
My deck does well against a lot of matchups... but honor runners, so I cross my fingers hoping not to cross paths with a lot of them. For a moment I considered stripping the deck of all honor meta and "militarizing" it, but as a last minute decision I let it be: I like a take-on-all-comers approach better.
Round 1 - Dragon, LSC - Talk about the devil.
I get gold-screwed, so I buy a Shunran first turn. He amazes me by buying 2 holdings (leaving a boxable in one of his provinces!), so I thank him this gift and, after seeing Jurojin's Blessing, with the aid of A Pure Heart I crush the province with the personality in it and buy more gold. He goes gold + Mirumoto Eikaru (draw a card when he gets into play). In my third turn, I hope he doesn't have a Duel of Haiku, as I haven't seen a Know No Fear yet (I'm actually more scared of Imperial Adjudication, but he didn't leave any gold unbowed), but I am completely discombobulated by him bowing his only peep to play his Stronghold ability as his first open action. I BK exp. for three cards, (get a Grateful Reward), destroy Jurojin's to get the same A Pure Heart I just used the turn before into my hand and take his second province no-worries. From then on, there is no contest.
1-0 MVP: Border Keep Exp.
Round 2 - Crane, Embassy of the Crane - You're kidding, right?
His deck is quite different from the variant I'm used to: instead of small, cheap duelists, he uses bigger battle magistrates. This makes him a tad slower, and as I see my meta, I bog him down considerably. I capitalize on this and get out an outrageous number os Lions, so my first swing is with 4 of them. I don't know what he was thinking when he opposed me, but I killed 2 out of his 3 magistrates, and took the province. Buy two more Lions and Hotako, which proves a nightmare for him, because she nullifies his Doji Hakuseki exp. 2 (in his turn, soaking her ability up, in my turn, because I use Hotako's on her). By my turn 6, he is still at 25 honor and I have 6 Lions and Hotako, so I attack and take 2. With only one remaining province, Jurojin's Blessing on the table and knowing I still have an OAS in my hand, he concedes.
2-0 MVP: OAS
Round 3 - Dragon, LSC - Calling bad luck: third time's the charm.
Third honor runner in a row... lucky me this is *NOT* my worst matchup! ¬¬ Had to have done something wrong in a past life. Well, let's dance! And it goes like this: I don't see any OAS early, but my drawing junk does show up along with Miss Preparedness, so two turns later I'm rolling full throttle again. When Jurojin's Blessing comes out to play, everything is in place. That, and winning two Duel of Haiku on the same turn (I can't believe it neither, guys!), make for a very single-sided game.
3-0 MVP: 4FV cards, a dime a dozen!
Round 4 - Scorpion, Palace of Crimson Shadows - Shame on me.
I'm glad I'm done with the honor matchups. I thought, this was gonna be an easy pairing, but I was sorely mistaken. I got two provinces early, but that meant I didn't develop properly. Then things got very ugly, very quicky: Winds of Dismissal and Whispers of the Forgotten clear the table and I go down fast. Several Scorpion tricks later, I'm at -15, but as I had all 3 Singh Remnants in the discard pile, I devise a strategy: buy one guy a turn, attach all three followers (cycling cards with the Imperial Artificers in the process), buy as much gold as I could afford and then seppukku at the first chance. That got me a net gain of 6 honor a turn. The plan was to climb to 20 or so and then buy four lions at once, stand my ground for a turn against anything he wanted to throw at me and then crush his two remaining provinces. I got to +9 honor, but woe is me, my opponent guessed my plan and as soon as he was able, he attacked me with his army of tiny courtiers. When you are losing 18 honor a turn just by having personalities on the board, winning is a difficult thing to do! I get to practice my 'sad Lion' face while I see my provinces smashed one by one.
3-1 MVP: Winds of Dismissal.
Ronda 5 - Unicorn, Utaku Plains - Miki, my man!
Well, well, well... as a celebration to my recent dishonor, y get paired with Miki, a member of my local playgroup and a friend. I hadn't had the opportunity to play against his new deck, but I knew the former one quite well and I was about 50/50 against it, so I feel somewhat confident: crass mistake. In my first turn, I get two holdings and draw The Perfect Moment. He gets a Senseki out, cycles two holdins (WTF?!?!?!) and gets out the Battle Maiden who can't be dishonored. My spider sense starts to tingle, but I get a Shunran out accompanied by a Yosa. Unfortunately, I can't draw (nor cycle) any force boosts, so I know The Perfect Moment is going to be sitting there in my hand feeling lonely. In his second turn, Miki buys a follower with the Senseki province, (gettin his BM's unit to 8 force) and sleazes the first one while I look at my TPM and want to cry. He buys an identical BM and some gold. I know I'm really in trouble when I flip two holdings and draw another Perfect Moment after attaching some Warfans to Shunran. Anyway, I attack, as I cannot let Miki lead by too much and he lets me break unopposed. Then he Perfect Moments me with a force boost of his own. In his turn, he does the smart thing: takes a province without spending cards in his hand and buys more peeps. I'm down to my last province (he's got 3), he has more people than I do and his hand is full: it is game over.
3-2 LVP: Yosa.
Round 6 - Crab, Kyuden Hida Exp. - Wow, Óscar, how unexpected!
I've run out of room for mistakes: one more loss and I'll be packing. Óscar is a friend from my local playgroup, and I'm saddened that one of us will be saying goodbye to the tournament after this round, but he says he won't be playing anymore after this round (his lady is about to hit the venue), so it seems I get a free pass. I don't like it one bit (I like to win my games on my own merits, thank you), but he is dead serious about leaving after this match, so I accept his gift. We play the game nonetheless, but without the pressure, we go into it in a slightly kamikaze mood. It was great fun, and a bloodbath: games with Oscar are always fun like that! In the last battle I win the upper hand by having attachments on almost all of my people and hoarding Iron Wills and Know No Fears, so he run out of battle actions before I did. This makes me feel a little better about my (now deserved) victory.
4-2 MVP: Óscar, a friend and a gentleman.
Round 7 - Mantis, Aramasu's Vigilance - Kalisperas, magistrate.
Truth is, I feel lukewarm about this pairing. However, I'm really hoping he doesn't play action phase duels (had a very enlightening and painful experience with one such deck the day before at the third grinder). I see two Perfect Moments in my opening hand so I get my poker face on and get ready to retribute this pirate to hell. Of course, his first dynasty flip is Yoritomo's Guidance (why can't ever things go smoothly for me? just this once, pleeeeeease?). After a couple of turns it seems my first assessment of his deck was correct and he is planning to steamroll me capitalizing on his guidance, as he only plays a couple of Defensive Natures to thwart my early attacks. We both load on personalities and I take advantage of his hesitation by squeezing my Farmlands so I have everyone covered (either weapons of followers) and put muy Jurojin's Blessing to good use. When he gets six magistrates to confront my five Lions and Hotako (he will be buying three more in his dynasty phase), he decides he has enough forces to attack and assaults a lonely province. I let him take it and he reacts with Yoritomo's Guidance to get a fifth province. I play The Perfect Moment then, and he doesn't seem surprised in the least. As I attack with four Lions and he only has a magistrate without printed battles abilities to defend, he lets me sleaze. Stronghold to send one home, then Perfect Moment again (now he is not feeling so comfortable, I can tell) with three Lions. He opposes now, but I gladly trade his magistrate for one of my attackers. Buys the only peep he has left in dynasty and table is mine. I get ready for the attack and assault his three remaining provinces (Hotako with a follower by herself, then two paragons each to the other two). As his only personality isn't naval, he leaves Hotako alone and blocks one of my other armies. I destroy 2 provinces, and on the opposed battle we trade personalities, then I Shamate my lone attacker. I buy a paragon and a Kusamoto (recover a Cast Aside the Weak) and in his turn I use the CAtW to unbow one of my paragons with battle actions, just in case he is thinking of something rash. In his turn he doesn't attack hoping to win the final battle on the defensive and buys a personality from the last province he still has. As I flip two holdings in my turn, I decide to attack, but before that I replenish my hand (attaching things and destroying Jurojin's Blessing). Math time: same number of people on either side, but I have a grand total of 9 battle actions (4 of them are kill actions) in addition to 3 denials (two Iron Wills and a Know No Fear) and a Creating Order, and he has 3 printed battle actions and four cards in his hand. With these numbers, the battle wasn't even a contest, and after exchanging some blows, I win the battle. Distillation round, here I come!
5-2 MVP: The Perfect, Perfect Moment
It was planned that we play the distillation round after the swiss round, (two out of three, Palmer rule) but it seems we have run out of time for the night, so it gets reescheduled for next day. Suits me well: I'm drained after the second day of non-stop gaming.
Day 3 - Second Chance continued.
There are at least 5 Spanish players for the round, but fortunately, we aren't paired with each other. Time to play some cards!
Distillation, game 1 - Phoenix, Temple of Purity.
In previous rounds I had my ass handed back to me by similar decks, so I decide to go for something new: Blitzkrieg! I desperately seek Kakihara (reacts on targeting to give himself a force bonus equal to his personal honor) in my dynasty flips to mitigate his Stronghold's ability, and I finally find him. Buy him on my first turn, so far so good: now I only need a forece boost. He buys two holdings, so he is defenceless against my incoming attack. In my turn I BK for three cards and get what I was looking for: A Pure Heart and A Game of Dice to boot (so I can fish for another boost!). I smash through a province with a peep on it and I buy gold. His second turn nets him a lone shugenja and more gold so I swing again, Grateful Reward to make up for the honor loss of his SH's abiliy and the second force boost lets me take another. I buy two more paragons (one for full, so I have a nice honor cushion) and after that he is unable to recover and I get his third province at 15 honor. He concedes.
1-0 MVP: Akodo Kakihara
Distillation, game 2.
My first three turns are a play by play of our first game. However, he is able to prevent my second attack from destroying his province (damn you, Outer Walls!). The game gets muddy afterwards, so I know I must pump people out of my provinces like there is no tomorrow, before he gets his hands on his spells. As it turned out, I got on high gear just in time, because by the time I got to swing at his two last provinces, he had 3 Winds of Dismissal (two regular ones and one copied) and the infinite Whispers of the Forgotten combo all set up. I could take the last two thanks to a tactical force bonus and the last A Pure Heart I was saving for the occasion. He got me down to -16 honor, though. Anyhow, I'm top 16, yay!
2-0 MVP: A Pure Heart on the double!
Top 16 - Game 1 - Crane, Embassy of the Crane.
This deck is just like the one I encountered on round 2: battle magistrates. Being a bit slower than the variant I'm used to, I think I *might* get out of this relatively unscathed, particularly after seeing two Only Actions Speak in my opening hand. Turns out I was in for a surprise, because the first two personalities on his side had printed battle abilities (destroy a card without attachments, and bow a personality without restrictions). As I don't have answers for that in my hand, I can't hit him as soon as I would have wanted. On my end, I only get Kusamotos (and no paragons) on my provinces, which slows me down a great deal. I'm able to muddy the waters down and buy me some time by playing 5 OAS. His deck is an Open-control nightmare (I get hit by 4 Duels of Haiku and 2 recycled Imperial Adjudications), and as soon as he realizes I'm not holding an OAS anymore, he flats it out and honors out by winning 26 honor on the same turn (mine -sic-).
0-1 MVP: His deck.
Top 16 - Game 2.
I begin to understand the deck I played against before wasn't a bad one: it's just that this guy is a pro. The second game is even shorter than the last, as I don't see any OAS. He has a field day focusing two Hamstrungs in the same Duel of Haiku, for instance. A Peaceful Discourse comes, a Peaceful Discourse goes and suddenly he hits 40 honor on my 4th turn. What do you expect me to do? I shake his hand, congrtulate him on his victory, wish him luck, and pack my things. I can't wait to get home and have some nice and recurring nightmares!
0-2 MVP: Haikus, haikus everywere!
At the end of the day, it wasn't so bad: this guy ended up winning the Second Chance, beating Pablo Rojo (Samurai Arc Champion) in the finals. I am very, very pleased with the deck. It did extremely well against military and better than I had any right to expect against honor. Dishonor got me a couple of times, but I think that has to do mainly with my playing style. Kudos go to Akodo Tenrou for creating a deck so brutally fun to play, and so awesomely effective. It is sleek, hard-hitting and resourceful: pure unadultered Lion paragon fun. Thanks a lot, David! :ninja:
Here is the deck as I modified it for the tournament, enjoy!
Akodo Kobi xp
Daigotsu Hotako xp3
Akodo Kusamoto x3
Matsu Koyama x3
Matsu Kinihara x3
Matsu Nishijo x3
Akodo Kakihara x3
Matsu Shunran x3
Matsu Yosa x3
Remote Village x3
Copper Mine x3
Famous Bazaar x1
Imperial Artificer x3
Ring of Water
A Game of Dice
The Thriving Light
The Perfect Moment x3
Grateful Reward x3
A Pure Heart x3
Guided by Honor x2
Force of Spirit x3
Cast Aside the Weak x3
Desperate Rush x3
Iron Will x3
Know No Fear x3
Only Actions Speak x3
De Bellis Yoditorum
Satoshi's Dual Warfans x3
Singh's Remnants x3