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East Kai 2nd Place Report

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     Hi, all.  With the discontinuation of PanZ, there have been little opportunities for people to share tournament experiences.  I miss reading people's shenanigans as they fought their way through the ranks. 

     I attended the East Kai Fan Z event yesterday and had an absolute blast.  I would like to share the story about a deck I've been working on since November.  This is going to be a super long read; feel free to skip to the matches if you don't care about the origins of the deck and what-not.

     I am always trying to break the mold.  I'll look at deck lists to see what people are running, but I craft decks from scratch and modify them after performance testing until they feel perfect.  Here's the story of "The Little Adept Deck That Could."


     Deck Conception and Construction

     The story begins waiting in the airport for my flight home after the Dragon Prix in New Orleans back in November.  Instead of running the deck I had practiced with, I foolishly decided to run resolute Goku (one of my biggest PanZ mistakes/regrets).  The heart of the cards was not with me and I got what I deserved for relying on Unleashed/Kaio-Ken.  I went 3-4.  I was severely disappointed.  I spent over $1,000 on that trip and it was all for naught.  There were far more energy beats than expected.  I should have ran my other deck.  Time is a Warrior's Tool was particularly annoying that day, among other things such as Burning Aura Drill, event blocks, etc.

     In the airport I thought of something out of frustration.  If only I had thought of it BEFORE Dragon Prix; I feel like the deck would have been phenomenal.  What does any sensible person do while waiting in an airport?  Look through DBZ cards, of course!  Orange Freezing Drill caught my eye.  Huh.  This shuts off everything I hate.  Orange Adept pulls it out quick.  Gohan makes Adept easy to trigger.  High attack ratios increase changes and get good damage value with other drills.

     I decided to make a suicide Orange Adept Gohan deck. 

     Adept is considered to be one of the worst masteries in the game, but I was determined to make it work.  The deck, even in its first-draft, inferior form, performed better at locals than I could have possibly expected.  It even made a splash at an ARG but unfortunately, due to some very unfortunate games, I bubbled out at 10th in a top 8 cut. 

     You see, I only run 3 physical and 3 energy blocks.  No time.  No spheres.  I camp level 1.  No Disaster Drill.  This is not a typical Adept Gohan build.  I am sure FanZ will post the deck list soon.  Depending on your deck-building philosophy, you might want to bring some french fries.

     Enter Fan Z and Orange Bicycle Kick.  It was as if they made the card JUST for my deck.  Why does it seem like I am the only one who uses it with Orange Intimidating Drill?!  Anyways, before going to East Kai, I really felt like my deck had reached the sweet spot.  I had something to prove.  I had to show that this quirky-berserky Adept Gohan could roll with the best of them!  For the record, I use all Awakening levels, but again I camp level 1.

     The Breakdown:

     Fortunately, the main predator of this deck has been expelled from the meta for now.  The Black Style.  Black Defensive Burst would be a BIG problem for this deck.  But East Kai had not a single Black Style deck, sooooo...

HITS: Slower control decks that rely on unorthodox blocks such as allies and drills, shuts off time and event blocks with ease, HEAVY physical beats, and 3 confrontations as the only events.  Many of my opponents draws are going to be dead cards most of the time. Ramps up quickly for MASSIVE damage, making stage-locking the opponent trivial.  The deck is also packing quite a bit anti-anger tech.  Gohan has built in ally hate.

MISSES: Black Style could lock me down.  Decks with heavy drill removal can be potentially hazardous.  Broly in particular was a main concern of mine.  He can remove AND dish out the pain.  It becomes a damage race most of the time and that is always a toss up.

     My fear of Saiyan Empowered Broly caused me to add in an Orange Snoozing Drill.  Locking stage gain is fine with me since I have a whole one card that can gain stages (1 copy of orange quick dodge).  If Broly gained stages after each saiyan attack (only 3 physical blocks for me, remember) then I would surely lose the damage race.  This drill saved the day more than once.  There was a funny moment or two with it for my streamed games.

     I was determined to go far this time.  After driving to Philadelphia for some sight-seeing on Friday, I made my way to Glassboro and slept soundly that night, waking up with plenty of time to have a solid breakfast before heading to The Comic Book Store, venue of East Kai.



     I think there were 35-36 attendees which isn't too bad.  Looks of big players were there and I was excited and nervous.  This wasn't going to be easy.

     Even though I did well, I am actually very disappointed with myself in the sense that I made quite a few mistakes.  Most of them were very, very minor and fortunately none of them affected the outcome of the game, but still.  That's no excuse.  Read on and you will see.  ***I DO NOT REMEMBER THE NAME OF ALL MY OPPONENTS.  I APOLOGIZE.  I WILL EDIT WHEN DECK LISTS ARE POSTED.***


ROUND ONE: Vs. Restored Cell (Perfection Stack) "Craig's Decklist"

Craig was my opponent in round one, piloting a classic Namekian Cell from Perfection.  Not much to say about this match.  Freezing Drill did good work, and reusing checkup drill always gave me one of my three energy blocks (orange energy catches, of course) to stop his lv 1 power and bust out some mad damage.  He did eventually get to level 4 but my output was ridiculous by then and the only real damage I suffered was a hit from his level 3 one time..  He could not block with his hybrid defenses or time.  Namekian dun like that. I did not make any misplays that I am aware of during this match.

GG 1-0



Brian and his formidable Adaptive Yamcha was next.  Fortunately, Freezing Drill does good work here too, nullifying Yamcha's floating effect.  I was stage locking him pretty well and enduring his attacks while making good use of my 3 energy catches.  He did get to level two but mainly pulled Orange Stare Downs, so I was getting drills removed and not pumping out the HUGE damage, but yamcha takes lots of base damage, so I was still hitting hard.  I just kept up the pressure, but I had to eat all 3 Yamcha's Rescue and 2 Yamcha's Expert Assistance.  Combat was ended on me five times.  Not sure how I powered through that.  I derped in this match and used an orange extension after an orange stare down, realizing only after I played it that I had not met the drill search condition.  I had no other physical attack in my hand to make that work!  But the stage pressure helped, so maybe it was right in the end to enter with that hand anyway. 

GG 2-0

ROUND THREE Vs. Empowered Broly "Pain and Suffering for Everyone"

Oh boy.  Here he is.  The Broly.  We've all been smashed by Broly on occasion.  If he draws the right cards, his power is maximum, and you die. 

I cannot remember the name of my opponent.  :(  But the match went as I expected.  We were both beating the ever-loving crap out of each other.  I do not remember him using any eraser cannons and I had snoozing drill in play to turn off his stage gain.  He did not go above level 2 thanks to my plentiful anti-anger tech.  This match was all too close.  I won by one attack.  I narrowly escaped the jaws of the beast.

GG 3-0

ROUND FOUR Vs. Empowered Broly "I Just Wanted More Screen Time"

OH COME ON!  Out of the frying pan and into the fire.  I was about to fight Josh and his budget Broly deck (no ultras, no dev blows; all styled except the named cards and time).  We were chatting before the tournament started and wound up becoming rival bros by the end of the tournament.  I guess the fact that Adept Gohan went 3-0 turned some heads, because we were asked to play on stream!  I had never been streamed before and agreed to it.  All right, Daniel.  Gotta look good for the viewers...

I went first and entered.  I think he drew 2 energy blocks or something, so I got some good damage off.  He discarded all 3 Saiyan Backbreakers from damage that combat.  He never drew an eraser cannon.  I pulled out snoozing drill and attached wall breaker.  Since he was constantly stage locked, him critting me was highly improbable with 0 or 1 AT damage combined with my deck's heavy endurance count (with only 3 of each block I obviously need to run lots of endurance).  He never crit.  He was locked at level 1 the entire game without the ability to gain stages with his mastery, which was basically worthless at this point.  The judge came in thinking he was forgetting to gain stages because he didn't even know what Orange Snoozing Drill was!  It was really funny.

I even got to display the WOMBO COMBO.  Orange Intimidating and Orange Checkup Drills in play.  Orange Bicycle Kick and rejuv Checkup.  Draw a card from intimidating.  Put checkup back in play, get a defense.  I just got 2 extra cards from playing a beefy +5 physical that lowers their anger 2.  It's even better when I Orange Uppercut for Bicycle Kick and THEN do the WOMBO COMBO.  Hand advantage for days.  Move over, Drawku.

I wrecked face on my first stream game!  i was feeling pretty good after that.  Josh was a great sport and super excited about my deck.  After this match people started rooting for the underdog Adept Gohan build! I was the only Adept user and was on track for getting the "Best in Orange" playmat!

However...I would learn later that this victory was very much a fluke.

GG 4-0

**I did not realize it at the time, but with 6 rounds of swiss, my spot in Top 8 was guaranteed at this point since I would have the best possible tiebreakers.  Good thing, too...**

ROUND FIVE Vs. Red Ascension Cooler "Fight Jank With Jank!"

Alex and his Red Ascension Cooler was next.  Of all the decks I fought, I found this one to be the most interesting and unique.  This was a triple-threat deck.  I went first, entered with heroic dashing punch.  He drew a dead hand.  I dished out some pretty big damage and banished some stuff, including two Blinding Energy Move.  Was feelin' goooood.

But before I knew it, he was level 2.  Then he doesn't prevent my damage and BAM level 3.  The more I see Red Ascension in action, the more I realize how amazing it can be.  The ability to gain an anger at the end of combat without your opponent being able to react to it is just AWESOME.  And the sequencing from the skipping...the burst anger is real.  I am honestly not sure what happened in this match.  Cooler did Cooler things.  Eventually supernovas cleared some of my drills and he just stabilized at level 3, started reusing red blocking hands, and won by MPPV.  I mean, I wasn't drawing garbage.  I got LOTS of anti-anger when I needed it.  I got a great first combat.  It was kind of a, "What just happened?" moment.  But that's Cooler for ya.  You don't realize how much he's healing late game and he comes back even from the most savage beatdowns!

This made me worried.  I wasn't sure what I could have done differently to win that match.  If I had to face him in top cut...I feared the worst.  That's if I didn't lose again and bubble out for the 20th time.

GG 4-1

ROUND 6 Vs. Restored Gohan "The Heart of the Cards"

FINALLY an ally deck!  I went into this match pretty confident, and I had control most of the match.  I was slowly banishing his ally army.  But man, Restored Gohan just takes a bucket of cards and dumps it all over the playing field.  But I was making progress.

But it was inevitable that ball 4 would happen and take freezing drill off the field.  Sadly, time was still in the deck or I'd have banished it!  I had a hand to end him.  It was savage.  He knew he needed to fish for some blocks.  Restored mastery-nothing.  I attack.  Hospitality Drill, Time is a Warrior's Tool.  NO.  NO.  NOOOOO.  I had it.  After that I could not stop him from balling out. Technically he balled out because he had Namekian double team (?) and discarded Kami to pull out his last ball.  I could have confrontationed it, but then he would have had so many blocks in hand that he would have drawn his last ball anyway.  Namekian Clamp is soooooo annoying.  So that was a big misplay but again, he trusted in the Heart of the Cards and that Time saved him from certain doom. He only had like 4 cards left in deck. :(

GG 4-2

I was going to be VERY upset if I bubbled because of that Time topdeck.  But, as mentioned above, those losses did not matter at all.  I was 5th in rankings and I won the Best in Orange playmat!  NOICE. 


It is now serious time. 

Vs. Resolute Gohan (Fan Z stack) "Misplays for Days"

Tom was my first top cut opponent and he piloted Blue Resolute Future Gohan.  Fair enough.  I just had to be aggressive and enter with my power before he could shut it off.  He was fairly aggressive as well, though.  Thankfully, Freezing Drill made sure Blue Shifting Maneuver and Chi-Chi weren't doing anything crazy.  I did some pretty big dumb moves here, though.  I am actually fortunate that I even won this match.

DERP #1-3 (or 4...) One problem that I can't seem to shake is that I ALWAYS FORGET TO REJUV WITH CHECKUP DRILL.  It is SO FRUSTRATING.  I am normally great with triggers.  Orange Adept Gohan is full of triggers.  But for whatever reason, I often forget "end of combat" triggers.  Maybe I am eager for the next turn.  Maybe I am too focused on picking which card to keep.  I don't know, but I forget way too often, especially when combat is ended prematurely.  This came somewhat close to making a difference.  Those six extra cards would have made it extra safe.

BIG DERP: I had an Orange Energy Catch in my hand from a previous Checkup Drill.  I did the aforementioned Bicycle Kick WOMBO COMBO (twice in this game I did it, actually...) and pulled...another orange energy catch?  What was I thinking?  I should have grabbed a physical block.  And of course he hit me with a Blue Slash for max mill after this.  I'm a freaking idiot.  I could have blocked that and had +8 cards.  Thank goodness the bicycle kick combos did CRAZY damage.

This game was also streamed if you want to check it out and see my derps.  I'm lucky I still pulled it off.  Tom knew what he was doing and that could have easily ended very badly for me.



Vs. Dynamic Broly "More Digs Than Shovel Knight" (forgot name :( )

Not another Broly...and this one starts at level 2 to ruin my drill fun.  I went first this game and drew...a Dig and two other attacks. 




I think I took out over 1/3 of his life deck.  He wasn't going to take that sitting down, though.  Later on he drew a dig and used it to level us up.  I lost all my drills, my level 1 attack, get set to 3 above,  and now he's level 3 Broly.  NOT GOOD.  I mean I can grab Orange Uppercuts now for Bicycle Kicks which is neat, but all that sweet drill dmg is gone! 

Then things get REALLY dicey.  I have a VTP in play, but he drops now one, but TWO Saiyan Recover.  And he's Broly level 3.  I have a bigger life deck but not by THAT much!!! At this point I know fully that the next combat is going to be the end of the game.

It's my turn.  I draw my 3.  I have a pretty solid 4 card hand (including another Dig along with Uppercut and Bicycle Kick, can't remember 4th).  The question is this: Do I enter, leaving me with 4 cards against his 4 plus Broly 3 PLUS 2 recover and try to finish him off before he can finish me off, OR do I wait for him to enter so I can get that extra card with VTP?  This was a super stressful moment for me.  To make it worse, Time was still in his deck and Freezing Drill was long gone.  It is because of that I decided to enter.  However, me having the first action also gave me a head start in the damage race.  I enter.  Thankfully, he did not draw time.  In fact, he drew no blocks at all.  I also entered with no blocks.  Whoa boy...

I got him down to zero fairly quickly.  I was thinking to myself "Please don't have Dig.  Please don't have Dig."  Right as I mentally recite that he throws down a Dig.  I mean, I can't be salty as I am still holding mine (or did I use that to get him to zero?  I can't remember).  However, he makes a good call and decided to level us both up.  FORTUNATELY, since this puts him at level 4, I got to keep all 10 of my stages.  Despite the fact that I am now lv 3 gohan with that sweet +2 modifier and the attack, he made the right choice.  He extended the game by one action because now I had to get his stages down again.  But I did uppercut for a second bicycle kick so  I was still packing heat.  I used my power, banished a recovery, and got him down to 4.  I think at this point he realized he needed a block or something, so instead of racing the damage, he used his other recovery.  He did not draw a block and I finished him off with a Bicycle Kick to spare.  We each used 2 Digs that game.

Too many Broly decks, too much stress.  I can't take much more of this...



I was so close to having that trophy...

Vs. Josh's Empowered Broly (from Swiss round 4) "His Power is Maximum"

Rematch with Josh!  I was thinking, "Sweet.  I won against 4 Saiyan Brolys, so I just have to do it one last time!


He went first this time around, and now he knew my shenanigans.  Remember...budget Broly.  Almost all Saiyan Attacks.  If I don't have Snoozing Drill in play, nearly every attack he throws will gain him 3 stages.  This time he drew an eraser cannon on turn one, passed, and held onto it. 

I draw my first three cards...do you ever draw your starting hand and just know you are about to get stomped?  I can't explain how I knew.  My heart broke.  If I had gone first, it would have been beautiful...but going second, this hand had nothing to offer.  I did draw a wall breaker and a physical block.  Here I made a bad call (again, inconsequential in the long run) and you'll probably hear something on the stream like "Wait...huh...WHY?  Why'd he pitch that?!"  I kept the Physical Block instead of the Wall Breaker.

I was in some weird panic mode.  That starting hand traumatized me or something.  I knew Broly was about to attack and unlike our last match, I was COMPLETELY unprepared for it.  So I panicked and kept the block.  Then the unthinkable happened.

Broly entered, as expected.  I drew TWO MORE PHYSICAL BLOCKS.  How many do I have in my hand now?  Three.  Remember how many physical blocks are in the deck?...That's right.  I was currently holding every physical block in my deck.  Now, that sounds like exactly what I wanted, right?  NO.  This is TERRIBLE.  Assuming I used the blocks, I would not be stopping any more attacks this game at all unless I used VTP or somehow rejuved them with Checkup Drill.  I did not draw any shoulder slams.  No bicycle kicks.  No dev blows.  I run 3 of each.  I could stop attacks, sure, but Broly was going to gain anger like a madman.  If only I had saved that wall Breaker, right?

Well, as it turns out, he had a Saiyan Backbreaker in his hand as well.  So, it turned out not to matter.  With the few attacks I had, I pulled out snoozing drill to stop his stages and lower his incoming AT damage, but he was having NONE of that this game.  Eraser canon and that drill was gone, never to be seen again unless I land an orange enraged bash (would require drawing it first...).  The only drill I ran 2 copies of was Orange Freezing Drill.

And then...Broly went MAXIMUM.  I have never seen a display of power and destruction like what ensued next.  He had a Saiyan Recovery in play.  I passed since I drew garbage (no anti anger).  He was at level 2 by now.  He entered and used Recovery first.  What did I get?  All my awesome anti-anger?!  Naw.  I got an Orange Stare Down, Orange Checkup Drill, some physical attack that would hit like a wet noodle, and I don't remember what else.  He got to three, drew a card, face crusher into body blow to get rescue to use rescue to fuel his backbreaker and saiyan grabbed into another face crusher and did the thing and stuff and it was hegottolevel4andiwasgettingbeatupandgasfasdgahgadha.......

...no blocks, no energy attacks...all pain...it was all pain...that combat...my whole deck...the match was over in less than 5 minutes.  It was by far the most crushing loss I have ever experienced in this game.  It went so terribly wrong...my trophy...and it was streamed...I GOT BODIED ON STREAM!

     And that is the end of the story.  Adept Gohan did not manage to win the trophy, but you know what?  Even as I was getting my face bashed in by Broly, it was...ok.  I suppose in the end I achieved my goal.  So many people were giving me compliments about the deck and saying how awesome they thought it was and how cool it was that an Adept Gohan was owning the zone.  Wasn't that my goal?  Yes...yes.  I had attained the goal I sought out to achieve.  Gratz to Josh for the victory!  He's a totally cool, chill guy and it was a pleasure smashing his deck and in turn having his deck smash mine!


     Thanks to all my opponents for some seriously awesome games!  Nobody I defeated was salty and it was just an all-around great time.  Good people, good cards games, good fun.  I don't think I was salty when I lost?  If I was I apologize but I don't remember getting angry (maybe a pinch of salt during the Time top deck but I got over it quick).  I made some new friends, too!  I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend any more events anytime soon but I hope to see them again (I'ma get you next time, Josh! :P). 

     "The Little Adept Deck That Could" did.  That "Best in Orange Playmat" feels just as good to me as any trophy.  It did not go to Retribution or Adaptive, it went to ADEPT BAYBEEE!!

Now I can try out some of my other unorthodox builds!!!

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