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Thread: RockStar's Rockin' UFS US Nats Review!

  1. #1
    Senior Member RockStar's Avatar
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    RockStar's Rockin' UFS US Nats Review!

    DISCLAIMER: This is a long tournament report written by me, a player who didn't place in any of the Events. It gives my own unique perspective on the crazy experience that was US Nats 2010. So, if you don't mind reading about my losses, read on. This weekend was EPIC!!...

    ...Whenever people ask me why i love playing this game, i tell them it's because i get to play my favorite characters from my favorite arcade fighter vid games AND i get to design their own brand of kung fu, and then match my kung fu vs other players'.

    (Usually, my kung fu is superior. Usually.)

    So, it's no surprise that when i decided that i would intentionally start saving $$ and make the trek to Vegas to compete at US Nats, that i immediately started the fretting/testing process of deciding upon my starting character, first for singles then teams, and what kind of tech i was going to be bringing with me.

    I have to admit that this process was a real labor of love this time around, even moreso than others. My best deck was Chaos Jin, but i knew right off the bat that at least 3 or 5 people would be rockin' Jin Kazama, given a large enough turn out (we had only 18 or 20 players, and J-Ray and Danny Fung rolled the dice with the Jinmeister). I had a Fire Zi Mei build that capitalized upon being able to play Fury of the Ancients on my opponent's turn via Clash of the Ages. I had a Life Mitsurugi deck that i placed 3rd at a Regional Event that i hosted back in May; we had at that event 12 players overall, including new 2010 Legacy Champ, Sean Toysa (running Earth King at that tournament), whom i lost to in Top4. And, i had a Steve Fox build that i seemed to dominate with in my local Meta. Lastly, i had begun tinkering with an idea for a Xianghua build that (then) wasn't very competitive, but was a ton of fun to play when she worked (which wasn't always the case).

    I think i built 2 or 3 different versions of each of those aforementioned characters in the weeks leading up to the tournament. I didn't get to playtest as much as i wanted with other players either, as i really am a pro-vocalist who makes $$ with my voice, and i have a busy show and teaching schedule. But i digress...

    I'm not feeling too confident about either of my builds and i flip-flop on making a commitment to one character over another several times before arriving in Vegas. I've had my teammates look over all of my potential characters and builds, and even contacted one of our friends from the Torrance, CA play-group that wasn't going to be able to make it to Vegas, Judas225. And, we decide to focus on tuning The Fox for competition.

    However, after 4 or 5 different builds, and hours of play-testing this deck, it just doesn't have "IT". Still, it's the deck that i've invested the most amount of time in, so i decide that that's whom i'm taking with me.

    THURSDAY: I arrive to Tropicana Hotel very late, midnight to be exact, and Sean Toysa meets me down in the lobby and shows me where everything is being held for the weekend. The convention hall is strangely, and unexpectedly, very empty. I make my way over to the Jasco booth and introduce myself to Jason, who remembers me from our email exchanges and phone conversations. I tell him i'm excited to be here. He responds that it's great having me, and that NeonCon pretty much F'd him over as he paid extra $$ to have the Tropicana/NeonCon staff already have his UFS Banners put up, and the tables and chairs in the CCG Hall put up; none of it was. So, right off the bat, UFS' schedule (and everyone elses, i later learn) are pushed back a full-day! YIKES! Extended was probably not going to be happening (it didn't), and that Events were probably also going to be running late, because of the extra time needed to Set-Up the following morning.

    After meeting Jason, who is just a really cool guy with a very clear vision about what he wants Jasco Games to do with UFS, and just how BIG this game can grow, i head over to the CCG Hall to see who's there. It's quite a menagerie: Marcus and AJ (both from my playgroup), Matt Kohls, Olexa, Jeremy Ray, Mike Lowe, Ben Shoemaker...and later we're joined by Omar Chaves! Holy crap! The UFS Elite has made the trip out West, so i know the upcoming events competition is going to be fierce!!

    They're playing draft, and i've already missed buying into that round, so i hang and catch up with Marcus and AJ (darthnoir and The Hurricane, respectively) and stay up a lot later than i should've testing The Fox vs AJ's Heihachi build. The experience leaves me still shaking my head with the feeling that The Fox still isn't properly tuned.

    Still, sleep is calling, so AJ and i call it a night and go up to our rooms and try and recover for the next day. I end up getting a full 3-hrs of sleep! Woot.

    FRIDAY: My other teammates, Sal and Sam (Smazzurco and Vapor Gecko, respectively) arrive in the morning and join Marcus and AJ and i for breakfast. Up first today, Legacy Singles which will be followed by Teams. At first, i decide to not play in Legacy. I was over-tired, and i wanted to take that time to catch up on sleep and play test and tinker with my Singles deck a little bit more. However, after some convincing arguments by my friends, i decide last minute to run my fun Xia build. I figure the games will go quickly, and i'll still get my play-test time in.

    But, i really wanted to play so i could make some new friends.

    I'll spare you the details of my Legacy showing; it didn't go well, needless to say, and i had plenty of time to chill. Mission accomplished!

    Teams started almost immediately afterward, and it was decided that Smazzurco and Vapor Gecko and i were to be a team. I forget what our team name was, but it was ridiculously long, such that Drew had to shorten it! Lolz!

    TEAMS // RD 1 // VS Matt Kohls, Dutpd, and Kurt (forget his forum handle).
    On my team, Sal is running Death Nightmare, Sam is running Death Kazuya, and i decide to get some competitive play-testing in and run my All/FireFox deck. Matt Kohls runs his Fire Mitsu, Kurt is running Death Kisheri, and Dutpd is running Life Tira. We win the die roll, and i choose to face Life Tira. I find out first game that Life Tira, who goes first, kills by playing Wrath of Heaven and giving that attack M:1; I find out the hard way! Game 2 goes much better for me, as, going first, i get a T2 or T3 kill using Quick Strike -> Hammer of the Gods -> Turn Thurster (i think). Game 3 Tira and Steve Fox have 2 or 3 consecutive turns where we're just not drawing into our Kill Conditions (which would be a continuous theme for Steve Fox, unfortunately). Imo, Life trumps Fire quite easily, especially when given time to set up. He plays 2 Wrath of Heavens with M:1, using Arrayed for Battle to lower the 2nd Wrath's difficulty. GG. Garrett is kind and compliments my Steve Fox build, saying it is a good build. But, i just have a suspicion that Garrett is just being kind, and that there are flaws with this build. I learn that Kazuya lost to Mitsu, and Nightmare and Kisheri tied. Bummer. We start the day with an L.

    RD 2 // VS Danny Fung (Chaos Jin), Ben Shoemaker (Fire Zi), and Mike Lowe (Life Tira?? I forget). I'm paired with Danny's Jin deck, and i'm quickly beaten down game one. Game 2 i side into Asteroth, and Danny immediately hates me (nah, we're cool tho)!! I find out quickly that i cannot kill Jin, only delay the inevitable. I lose. Our team loses, so 0 - 2 so far.

    RD 3 // VS Olexa's team. I can't remember who else was playing with him; yay!! Anyway, i get paired to face off against Olexa, who's running Life/Fire Cassie. Olexa is a big man, with BIG game at UFS, but he's also the consummate gentleman! I lost both games, but i didn't mind. I'm playing against Olexa, the reigning UFS Champ, afterall!! Unfortunately, our team loses bringing our total to 0 wins, and 3 losses.

    Looking back, i can clearly recall having numerous discussions with Sal and with Sam, and how all three of us simply weren't really all that confident about the decks we were bringing to Nats this year. We just didn't feel prepared, nor inspired by the current card-pool (just being honest), to build something really filthy and face-smashing!

    However, we are elated to learn that our other Team Mates of AJ, Sean, and Marcus are in the Top 4 (no top 8 due to low turn out), and i become more of a (great looking) cheer-leader at this point, thankyouverymuch!! Lolz!! Team Epic fail goes on to win their Top4 pairing and will square off in the Championship Round on Saturday.
    Last edited by RockStar; 11-09-2010 at 03:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member RockStar's Avatar
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    I'm also a huge fan of Kung Fu movies (Shaw Bros classics, Crouching Tiger, etc...) as well as Manhua Graphic Novels (chinese kung fu comics: Storm Riders, The 4 Constables, etc...), and a recurring theme is one of a young kung fu artist who gets trounced early on, but meets a wizened kung fu master who teaches him a new skill that sets the young fighter off toward fame and glory!

    Well, i didn't win any fame or glory, but i DID run into a wizend UFS master: Jeremy Ray!

    After Teams i was a bit disappointed that my instincts were right: The Steve Fox build was flawed, and wouldn't show well in Singles, and it was too late to make major changes to run him. So, i make a concerted decision that THIS US Nats wasn't my time to shine, and that my focus, which it should be anyway, really needed to be centered on having fun, and making sure my teammates were having fun.

    So, i decide to run a different deck all together, one that is very fun for me, but is only an idea: Xianghua. Now, word has it that Jeremy Ray has a ridonkulous Xia build, and i simply ask him if he'd like to talk some Tech with me; he does. In fact, one of Jeremy's favorite things to do IS to talk UFS Tech, so he's more than happy to give me 20 minutes of his attention. I lay out my current build of Xianghua, and he deconstructs it, even praises it ("this is actually pretty close"), and then gives me a primer on his own Xianghua build. I listen to his card choices for the build, open mouthed, because on one hand i'm a little awed at how he put those synergies together, and yet they are so obvious i wanna slap myself silly for not seeing it in the first place (which is the difference between the Best of the Best, and the rest/me). We talk strategies about the deck's strengths and its weaknesses, and how to approach certain match-ups. I don't write down anything; i don't need to. Jeremy is very thorough in his explanations, and i have the deck build completely burned to my memory.

    THIS is what i'm running for Nats Standard Singles. For the first time in weeks, i feel great about my deck choice. It's going to literally kill or be killed; blazing fast aggro rush that will leave me completely wide-open for a counter attack if i can't kill my opponent during that turn. It's suicide. It's kamakazi "tora tora tora" stylez. It's....delicious!!!

    So, with renewed hope i go out to dinner with my peeps, and, with some help in borrowing some cards (i actually own all the cards needed, but left some at home), construct Xianghua. I get only another 3 hours of sleep before Saturday, but i'm sleeping a lot easier since i've made my decisions.

    Saturday: Woke up and had breakfast at Denny's with Sam, Sean, and Sal. We get back just in time to register our Deck Lists (Yes, they WERE checking the lists and the decks all weekend long before each event), and very quickly, without me having a chance to play-test, spar, or so much as fishbowl a hand with this new deck, we are paired up for RD 1!:

    RD 1 // VS Matt Kohls playing Fire Mitsu:
    I have to admit that ever since i've been playing UFS, i've wanted to play against Matt. My very first large tournament was an AoP back in 2007, and the deck i played was Fireball Kohls. He didn't remember it, but Matt was very helpful to me with constructing that deck; he passed me along his deck list and we PM'd a bit about different strategies vs different characters (Promo 'Ruru, who could commit my character card, in particular). I made Top 8 in that tournament before running into Ruler of Southtown Guile and losing. Anyway...I knew going into this match-up that if i didn't kill by T2, i was pretty much a goner, as Mitsu really brings out the hurt early and in large quantities. Game 1, Xia goes first and builds some key foundations that draw and ready. Mitsu builds T1 as well, but I draw into what i think is kill, so on my T2, i go for broke...and win!! Without taking a single hit, and in a single turn, Xia brings down the 28 vitality brute! I'm a little shocked at how well the deck runs, it's my first time playing it, remember. But, Matt calmly says he's going first, and then returns the favor by (easily) dealing more than 18 damage on his T2. Game 3, with Xia going first again, i want to mulligan my hand, but can't because i'm holding an all-important Playful Slice. However, what i'm NOT holding are any key foundations for a T1 drop: No draw and no ready cards. I draw up for T2, and know i'm not going to be able to take Mitsu down. This game goes to T3, i think, with Xia's attack string running out of steam, and with her wide open for a counter...which Matt does. GG.

    Record: 0 - 1.

    RD 2 // VS Ivey playing Life Xianghua:
    This is a mirror match, and i'm scared out of my mind. Ivey is piloting Jeremy Ray's very own Xianghua deck, and one of the things that Xia CAN do vs smaller vitality characters is win T1 going 2nd. It doesn't happen often, as you need to have a Playful Slice, plus a couple other attacks, plus some draw/ready or draw/progressive difficulty reducing affects foundations in hand. AND, you need to pass your Playful Slice without having to commit your character card; so, you need to check a 4 or better in a deck where almost half your deck checks a 3 or less. This is going to be an old-fashion shoot out, and both Ivey and I know it. Whoever goes first is likely to win, but they're also betting that whomever goes 2nd won't T1 them.

    Ivey wins and decides to go 1st. She sets up and drops what she needs T1. I do the same, but it's a foregone conclusion. She plays a Playful Slice, and brings another one into her Staging Area. All she has to do is continually draw into her attacks and make her checks. I quickly exhaust my blocks, and Xia is Xia. Game 2, i set up first, and bring the pain on T2. Game 3 is uncharacteristically long for both of us, as we've both hit a stretch where we're not drawing into our attacks, nor into the key foundations necessary that make Xia run. However, Ivey gets what she needs first and it's game order in short order. She breathes a sigh of relief, and so do I. It's a bummer that i lost, but i'm having an absolute blast playing this style of aggro!!

    Record: 0 - 2.

    RD 3 // VS B-Rad playing Good King:
    My first thought was "Great, i'm about to be thrown around a lot if i can't kill him quickly", and the second one was, "if he gets his damage redux out first, i'm dead". Thankfully, for me, at least, Xia is able to be Xia more often than she's not. And, B-Rad is checking like crap, and not drawing into what he needs to kill my lil' 18 vitality self. Finally, i'm in the win collumn!!

    Record: 1 - 2.

    We have an hour break for lunch, and I resolve to win my remaining 2 matches and finish 3 - 2. It won't happen, but it doesn't stop my fun!!

    RD 4 // VS Steven "Trip Se7ens" playing Good Amy/Lu Chen:
    I'd heard about this deck, and knew that if i didn't take game 1, i was surely going to lose once he sided into Lu Chen, who can be very disruptive for a deck like mine. Amazingly, however, i lose the first game. He sides into Lu Chen, and i groan a bit on the inside. However, Xia is still a fearsome deck, and on T3, after Lu Chen checks 2 Lifters in a row and ends his turn prematurely, over extended (pun fully intended), Xia is able to take him from 28 vitality to 0, almost faster than i can blink. Game 3, Steven looks at his opening hand and groans and makes some comment about "...i should just give this win to you...", but decides to play on. He's glad he did, i'm sure, as he goes for broke and hits me T1 with an Assassin's Secret -> 'Lifter. I don't have kill in hand, so i don't dare go for broke on my T1, and instead play it safe and drop foundations. Unfortunately, he has the same attack ready for me on his T2, and that's that. I kinda wish he went with his gut-impulse instead and gave me that win. Lolz!

    My record: 1 - 3.

    I'm a bit disappointed, because i truly feel that this deck has the potential to make Top 8. I'm just not getting what i need in hand for T1. I'm either not drawing the right foundations i need and can't mulligan, or i'm not drawing into my attacks on T2, no matter how much draw tech i have on the board. I sigh, knowing that some days are like this, and recommit to simply having fun and doing my best. Reviewing, i don't see any glaring play-mistakes i've made in any of my matches, but again, this is my first time playing this deck. And, while plays linearly, there are some real decisions you need to make. Chances are, i'm still new to it, and i'm making some incorrect decisions.

    RD 4 // VS...No One...I draw the Bye:
    And, this is how my day ends, unfortunately. I really wanted the challenge of facing one last opponent during a match that really mattered, but ce's la vis.

    Record: 2 - 3.

    Final Thoughts/Conclusions:

    On Xianghua: Jeremy Ray has really cooked up a beast. I'm glad that i was as close to his build with my o.g. build as i was, because it says something about my growing instincts as a deck-builder. Xia is arguably the fastest character in the game at the moment. She can attack and build her foundation base at the same time, and this build in particular, foundations that draws cards, or readies foundations so that her Kill Turn is continuous and uninterrupted. I know she has the ability to Top at a tournament, and if i had even a day's more practice with her, i might have been able to squeak out that extra win for a shot at Top 8. Next time...

    On UFS: Jason and Jasco Games continue to do a real bang-up job in promoting this game, and with just having a clear, clear vision about what needs to happen. They acknowledge that the first order of business is to get Red Horizon to us, but they're not stopping there! And, btw, i've seen the artwork for a lot of the cards this weekend; Jason was gracious enough to show me on his laptop. I've even seen what Reese, my favorite character from the new set, will do, and i gotta tell y'all...if you think UFS is fun now...We ain't seen nothin' yet!! UFS is in great hands, and its future couldn't be brighter!!

    On the UFS Community: Truly, there is nothing like this in any other CCG. Everyone i met this weekend is a real class act! It was just an absolute pleasure to be able to meet everyone, and play against everyone; i've learned so much about this game (again!), and i can't wait to catch up with everyone at the next major tournament: GenCon?

    Special thanks to Jason and Dru for keeping this running as smoothly as possible! Special shout outs and congrats to the Event winners this past weekend; y'all can play, no doubt!! Special thanks to Sifu Ray for the new kung fu tech! Lolz!

    Super special thanks to my Best Coast All-Stars who traveled with me to Vegas: Sal, Sam, Marcus, AJ, and Sean!! it's unfortunate that this fact remains: If us six didn't show up, there would be NO one reppin' the West Coast! And, that fully-half of us made Top 8 is astounding, and i think it really speaks well about our level of play! Great job guys!!

    And, extra special thanks to you for reading this novella!!

    Best,
    RockStar
    Last edited by RockStar; 11-09-2010 at 06:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dutpotd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockStar View Post
    Garrett is kind and compliments my Steve Fox build, saying it is a good build. But, i just have a suspicion that Garrett is just being kind, and that there are flaws with this build.
    Phhst, me - kind??? It was a very nice Steve Fox deck. Surely that doesn't mean it couldn't even be better! The two aren't mutually exclusive yaknow

    Glad you had fun, it was a good read and inspires me to write my own ASAP.

    Also, regarding 'just not being prepared, nor inspired'... I felt the same way (see my god awful standard Amy build) and I think others did too! We all have our eyes to the Horizon for what lies ahead. Hope to see you again then!

    - dut
    "No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin Chin."

  4. #4
    It was great to finally meeting you Iari. You are one of the nicest players I have ever meet and a really intelligent deck-builder to boot. I hope to see you at worlds my fellow Reese buddy!
    Trade list
    2014 ATL King of the Hill, 2013 Official UFS Hot Dog Eating Champion.
    Cyborg killing machine from the future, Newtype, adopted son of Omar Chavez, and all around bad player who makes the impossible possible.
    I'm a Marc Wisniewski guy.
    "Impossible is just a word people use to make themselves feel better when they quit."-Vyse

  5. #5
    Senior Member RockStar's Avatar
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    @ Dut -- Thanks for that, bro. You're right, of course. The build i took with me was probably less-than because i probably over-thought and tried to throw the kitchen sink into the build. The Steve Fox build i had prior to the one i actually ran, i'm told by my teammates, is actually superior! So, i'm going to change it back to that and just let it ride. Hopefully, i'll be able to make the trip to Indy in August, and we can have another go at it with a new card-pool!

    @ Drewkasa -- Mr. Olexa!! Thanks for your kind words, my Reese(s-pieces) Buddy!! Can't wait for the new set to drop! When it does, let's have a lil' convo about how Reese is going to run, cool? I'm still new to the deck-building thing (UFS is my first and only ccg i've played, 2 weeks of MtG not withstanding). Bummed i can't make it out to your PTC, but i will definitely look for you (and J-Ray) in Indy in August!!

    Best,
    RockStar

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RockStar View Post
    @ Drewkasa -- Mr. Olexa!! Thanks for your kind words, my Reese(s-pieces) Buddy!! Can't wait for the new set to drop! When it does, let's have a lil' convo about how Reese is going to run, cool? I'm still new to the deck-building thing (UFS is my first and only ccg i've played, 2 weeks of MtG not withstanding). Bummed i can't make it out to your PTC, but i will definitely look for you (and J-Ray) in Indy in August!!

    Best,
    RockStar
    For sure man, it would be awesome to work on a deck together with you.
    Trade list
    2014 ATL King of the Hill, 2013 Official UFS Hot Dog Eating Champion.
    Cyborg killing machine from the future, Newtype, adopted son of Omar Chavez, and all around bad player who makes the impossible possible.
    I'm a Marc Wisniewski guy.
    "Impossible is just a word people use to make themselves feel better when they quit."-Vyse

  7. #7
    Senior Member failed2k's Avatar
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    IT was super nice to meet you, you were very cool and nice as heck. I'm glad the xian retuning session was a help,, you sincerely seem to like the deck(as where I kind of hate the goofy thing) and I think some smart modifications that you made(like memories of a nightmare for things like man behind the mask) and howling spirts right over top of the main spread could really help the deck go far, I put a lot of initial work into it, but stopped tuning it pretty quickly because I Was preparing for nats.

    Anyways! was a pleasure to meet you and hopefully, it will not be the only time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Trip Se7ens's Avatar
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    Hey man, it was great to meet you and playing against your X deck. I'm sorry I didn't scoop and got super lucky on my t1 t2 checks! :P I really hope to see you at the next major tourny!

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