(Metagame Archives) The Best of Times/Worst of Times: Following Up the NJ $10K

By Brian-David Marshall

Okay . . . I think I have fully recovered.

The New Jersey $10K tournament was a great event with a huge turnout. The Top 8 featured a good mix of the game’s best players, fresh new faces, and seven distinctly different decks. Two different $10K winners squared off in the semifinals, and the ultimate match was between a $10K winner seeking his unprecedented second trophy and a Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships Top 8 competitor seeking double-threat status.

So, from what did I need to recover?

Well, about a week before the event, the tournament venue changed ownership and the new management had not quite . . . figured things out yet. This had little to zero impact on the competitors, who had an amazing time by all accounts, but it was actually the worst for this live coverage reporter.

When I arrived at the hotel a few minutes before 11 p.m. on Friday night, the staff was getting ready to change shifts. The guy who was coming on for the overnight shift made a point of finishing his drink before he got to work. By “finish his drink,” I mean down all 40 ounces of his carbonated beverage.

Later, when I came back down to get a remote control for my television set, I found him holding up the bar across from the lobby while the front desk phones rang and rang and rang. When he came over to help me, he also had to answer the phones. The calls were all for wake-up calls, and it was interesting to meet someone with such a terrific memory, because all he needed to do for each wake-up call was repeat it to the caller and not write it down anywhere—truly amazing.

When I got back to my room, I set the alarm clock and my cell phone to get me up in time for the live coverage. While I did wake up in time to do the live coverage, actual live coverage would have involved carrier pigeons. There was no wireless Internet in the hotel, no high-speed access, and no dial-up phone lines in the tournament area. There was dial-up in the business center, but the new management did not know the password to use the computer.

Because it takes so long to send photos via dial-up, going back to my room and dialing up did not seem like a good option with half-hour rounds. Instead, we decided to send someone out periodically to use a local Internet café recommended by the front desk. “Local Internet café,” however, apparently meant “coffee shop in Pennsylvania with dial-up where nobody speaks English.” The first two rounds of coverage and the blurb that went up in the middle of the day on Saturday were the result of the one and only trip to Pennsylvania.

I decided to wait until the end of the day to upload all the information, and simply focused on covering the event. At the end of the day, I went back to my room and called down for some room service so I could get to work. That wasn’t happening, as the hotel did not offer that amenity. So, I dashed across the highway to grab a healthy meal at Perkins. When I came back to my room, finally able to polish the coverage before sending it in to be uploaded, I stepped ankle-deep into water. The bathroom in the room above me was sending a steady stream of water into my room.

I stared at the ceiling for about fifteen minutes, waiting for the water to turn pink. At that point, I really wanted someone to be dead. Finally, convinced I was not going to see a satisfying change of water hue, I called the front desk and had them switch me to another room. Finally, I was able to sit down, finish the Day 1 coverage, and send it in, leaving me just a couple of hours to get some sleep.

Day 2 saw some fantastic matches between some great players. Robert Leander became the first player ever to win two $10K trophies. He piloted his Teen Titans deck past the top-ranked player in the game and another $10K winner before facing off with Roy St. Clair in the finals. Roy was playing Cosmic Cops—one of the worst possible matchups for Titans—and Leander won after playing a three-hour match. Over the course of those three hours, my USB memory stick was stolen, along with the Top 8 profiles and photos, and the computer that Josh Wiitanen used to cover an additional quarterfinal and semifinal match crashed and ate all of his hard work.

To make matters worse, my ride home decided to take a wrong turn, so we took a scenic trip through Newark and Jersey City before finding our way back to anything I recognized. To make a long story slightly less long . . . There were plenty of things that should have been included in the coverage, but because of time, dumb luck, and my growing annoyance, they did not happen. 

One of the things that did not get done on Saturday night was a metagame breakdown of all the deck types in the tournament. You can find that below, along with a breakdown of decks for everyone who finished in the money. I also provided deck lists for every deck in the Top 20 that did not have an archetype represented in the Top 8.

The most popular decks by far were Curve Sentinels and Teen Titans. The key difference is how the archetypes fared. While the tournament was won by Titans in the hands of Robert Leander, there was only one other Titans player in the money. Curve Sentinels, on the other hand, saw seven of its thirty-five programmers make money. Twenty percent of the players with purple robots made money, while only five percent of the same number of Titans players won money.

Before you go back to the fact that Leander won with the deck, let me make one thing perfectly clear—Robert Leander is better than you or I. Most other players would have lost in the final round of the Swiss and in the Finals match, both against Cosmic Cops.

Common Enemy had a very disappointing weekend, with only one player finishing in the cash (and even that was outside of the Top 8). TNB posted similar numbers. One of the decks that generated quite a bit of buzz during the tournament was Edison Soto’s Knights/New Gods deck that finished in the money and came within one win of the Top 8.

Soto’s deck list is among the six presented below. I have also included one duplicate archetype. Osyp Lebeodwicz’s 9th place Cosmic Cops deck list was built with some direct input from Ben Seck. The list is different from the 2nd place version in that it is more dedicated to the combo, with nary an 8-drop in sight. Osyp’s list also contained a very different plot twist base, including multiple Crowd Controls (contrary to early Day 1 reports, Roy St. Clair had only one Crowd Control, not three).

Anyway, dig in and enjoy. I believe that all of the deck lists from this event will be available sometime next week, so keep your eyes peeled. I will be organizing a Marvel Knights Sneak Peek the first weekend of February, and then on Sunday, February 3rd I will be organizing a PCQ. Both events will be at Neutral Ground in New York City. I hope to see you there. If not, I can always be reached at brian dot davidmarshall at gmail dot com.

Deck Number Played Top 8 Top 20
Curve Sentinels   35 2 7
Teen Titans   35 1 2
Common Enemy 24 0 1
TNB 15 1 1
X-Stall 12 1 1
Gotham Knights 10 0 0
Brave and the Bold 10 1 1
Spider-Friends 9 0 0
Cosmic Cops 7 1 2
X-Men 7 0 0
FF Cars 5 0 1
Superman 4 0 1
Big Brotherhood 4 0 0
Wild Vomit 4 0 0
Doom 3 0 1
Heroes United 3 0 0
My Beloved 3 0 0
Advanced Hardware 3 0 0
Rigged Elections 2 0 0
Revenge Squad 2 0 0
League of Assassins 2 1 1
Doom/Inmates   1 0 0
Spidey/Supes 1 0 0
Brotherhood/LOA 1 0 0
Doom/LOA 1 0 0
Cosmic New Gods 1 0 0
Doom/Gotham 1 0 0
Superman/LOA 1 0 0
Doom/Apokilips 1 0 0
Spidey/LOA 1 0 0
Darkseid’s Elite 1 0 0
Inmates 1 0 0
Gotham/New Gods 1 0 1
New Gods 1 0 0
LOA/Syndicate 1 0 0
Unlikely Allies 1 0 0

Rank          Player                              Decktype
9                Lebedowicz, Osyp             Cosmic Cops, deck list below
10              Crespo, Freddie                 Curve Sentinels
11              Sundholm, Peter                 Curve Sentinels
12              Renie, Paul                         FF Cars, deck list below
13              Meyer, Matthew                 Superman, deck list below
14              Zemel, David                      Teen Titans
15              Paasch, Robert                   Curve Sentinels
16              Desai, Justin                       Common Enemy, deck list below
17              Soto, Edison                       Knights/New Gods, deck list below
18              Raiff, Brian                         Curve Sentinels
19              Anderson, Jerry                  Doom, deck list below
20              Wu, Albert                         Curve Sentinels

Osyp Lebedowicz
9th Place, New Jersey $10K
Cosmic Cops

13 GCPD Officer
4 Alfred Pennyworth
4 Invisible Woman, The Invisible Girl
4 Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards
1 Wyatt Wingfoot
1 Ant Man
1 Barbara Gordon Oracle
2 Batman, The Dark Knight
1 Spoiler
1 Harvey Bullock

2 World’s Finest
2 Press the Attack
4 Bat-Signal
1 Team Tactics
1 Blind Sided
4 Fizzle
2 Crowd Control
4 Cosmic Radiation
4 A Child Named Valeria
2 Marvel Team-Up

2 Utility Belt

Paul Renie
12th Place, New Jersey $10K
FF Cars

4 She-Thing
2 Human Torch, Johnny Storm
4 Thing, Ben Grimm
2 She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
4 Invisible Woman, Sue Storm
2 Wolverine, New Fantastic Four
4 Mr. Fantastic, Stretch
1 Ghost Rider
3 Hulk, New Fantastic Four
3 Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing
2 Silver Surfer

4 It’s Clobberin’ Time
4 Savage Beatdown
4 Signal Flare
3 Tech Upgrade
3 Overload
3 Acrobatic Dodge
3 Total Anarchy

4 Fantasticar
1 Personal Force Field

Matthew Meyers
13th Place, New Jersey $10K
Phantom Phone Booth

4 Gangbuster
4 Superman, Red
2 Linda Danvers ◊ Supergirl
4 Superman, Clark Kent
2 Alpha Centurion
3 Cir-El Supergirl
2 Superman, Blue
3 Kara Zor-El Supergirl
1 Superman, Kal-El
2 Eradicator, Soul of Krypton
1 Superman, False Son
2 Superman, Man of Steel

4 Acrobatic Dodge
4 Cover Fire
4 Man of Tomorrow
3 Overload
4 Savage Beatdown
4 Super Speed

4 Cadmus Labs
4 Phantom Zone

Justin Desai
16th Place, New Jersey $10K
Common Enemy

4 Boris
4 She-Thing
4 She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
2 Purple Man
4 Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius
1 Wolverine, New Fantastic Four
1 Thing, Heavy Hitter
1 Robot Destroyer
1 Ghost Rider
2 Hulk, New Fantastic Four
1 Dr. Doom, Victor Von Doom
1 Thing, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing
1 Submariner
1 Silver Surfer
1 Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria

3 Savage Beatdown
4 It’s Clobberin’ Time
2 Flying Kick
1 Flame Trap
1 Faces of Doom
4 Signal Flare
4 Common Enemy
3 Mystical Paralysis
3 Reign of Terror
1 Ka-Boom!
2 Overload
1 Betrayal

3 Doomstadt

Edison Soto
17th Place, New Jersey $10K
Knights/ New Gods

4 Alfred Pennyworth
3 Barbara Gordon, Oracle
2 Tim Drake The Boy Wonder
1 Huntress
1 Jason Todd
1 Bat Girl, Martial Artist
1 Nightwing, High Flying Acrobat
2 Batman, Caped Crusader
1 Lady Shiva
2 Nightwing, Defender of Bludhaven
2 Superman, False Son
4 Big Bear
4 Highfather
1 Metron
2 Big Barda
1 Orion, Dog of War

4 Royal Decree
4 Savage Beatdown
4 Fizzle
2 Acrobatic Dodge
2 The Exchange
2 Bat-Signal
2 Overload
2 Detective Work
1 Have a Blast!
1 Unmasked
1 Flame Trap

3 The Source

1 Utility Belt

Jerry Anderson
19th Place, New Jersey $10K

4 Puppet Master
2 Robot Sentry
4 Purple Man
4 Dr. Doom, Diabolic Genius

4 Robot Destroyer
1 Dr. Doom, Victor Von Doom
4 Boris
3 Submariner
3 Apocalypse
1 Dr. Doom, Lord of Latveria

4 Reign of Terror
4 Mystical Paralysis
3 Faces of Doom
3 Gamma Bomb
4 Swift Escape
1 Reconstruction Program
3 Overload
1 Flame Trap

4 Doomstadt
4 Latveria


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