How to win? Lose…. A lot.
My initial forays into Flesh and Blood were not very successful.
I have vivid memories of my friend Cayle’s [McCreath] Guardian Deck killing me in the mirror from 40 life.
From being a rag-doll, taking the punches and kicks of the best Ninja players as they combo me into oblivion.
To the Brute players who clubbed me and intimidated my puny hammer with their superior savagery.
My basket of results from these tournaments were a tragic: 2 wins-3 losses; 1 win-4 losses; 0 wins-5 losses.
Was I demoralized? Yes.
Did it make me feel like I was the actual worst? Yes.
But it made me realize something. Why am I putting myself through this endless cycle of torture? Am I a masochist?
Well maybe, but I don’t think that was quite it. I realised I wanted to be recognised as one of the best players. I realised I wanted to feel gratified for all the effort I was putting in.
I doubled down. I played a lot. I made friends. I turned up to every event possible with a savage hunger for victory, I took my beats and with them the lessons they imprinted on me.
I remember listening to a psychology lecture that really resonated with me and it went something like this:
My team-mate was very good at playing hockey, but he wasn’t very good at being a good player. And so, you know, you always give it to them straight when they get salty, “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it matters how you play the game.” And of course, you don’t know what that means, and neither does he, and it’s often a mystery to your friend what that even means because obviously you’re trying to win. But imagine it this way: imagine that human beings, that the goal of human life isn’t to win the game. The goal of human life, in some sense, is to win the set of all possible games. And in order to win the set of all possible games, you don’t need to win any particular game. You have to play in a manner that ensures that you will be invited to play more and more games. And so when you tell your mates to play properly, what you mean is: play to win, but play to win in such a way that people on your team are happy to play with you and people on the other teams are happy to play with you so that you keep getting invited to games.
So don’t lord your victories, don’t admonish yourself over your defeats. You are here to play the long game. To win all the games you possibly can.
To make friends through the common language of playing great games.
This is how you win.
But enough incoherent and mad ramblings on gaming philosophy.
Here is what you came for: the deck list, the tournament report and how I approach each match-up as Dash, The Conqueror.
Dash, The Conqueror
Class: Mechanologist; Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Teklo Plasma Pistol
- Achilles Accelerator
- Arcanite Skullcap
- Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
- Goliath Gauntlet
- Mage Master Boots
- Nullrune Gloves
- Nullrune Hood
- Teklo Foundry Heart
RED – Pitch 1
- (3) Command and Conquer (red)
- (3) Enlightened Strike (red)
- (3) Fate Foreseen (red)
- (3) Induction Chamber (red)
- (3) Sigil of Solace (red)
- (3) Sink Below (red)
- (3) Sun Kiss (red)
- (3) Unmovable (red)
- (3) Zero to Sixty (red)
- (3) Zipper Hit (red)
YELLOW – Pitch 2
- (3) Fate Foreseen (yellow)
- (3) Sink Below (yellow)
- (3) Spark of Genius (yellow)
- (1) Tome of Fyendal (yellow)
BLUE – Pitch 3
- (1) Heart of Fyendal (blue)
- (3) Locked and Loaded (blue)
- (3) Over Loop (blue)
- (3) Pedal to the Metal (blue)
- (3) Pour the Mould (blue)
- (3) Teklo Core (blue)
- (3) Throttle (blue)
- (3) Unmovable (blue)
- (3) Whisper of the Oracle (blue)
- (3) Zero to Sixty (blue)
- (3) Zipper Hit (blue)
Round 1: Kano
First up I was paired up against the lonesome brave Wizard of the event.
Going into the first round was the match-up I have the least experience with this, mostly running on instinct I settled on a strategy that involves cutting all my red line defense reactions. Sitting back and waiting for [Induction] Chambers to come online as I use my three Arcane barrier equipment and life gain to mitigate the incoming damage.
When I got into the match however, I slowly realized my opponent was on a much more combo-based strategy than the usual burn and churn I assumed the wizard would be casting my way.
He was using the Moon wish / Sun Kiss combo to maintain life and pressure while he thinned his deck out.
It was dawning on me that my strategy was a mistake, so I transformed to become an engine of destruction no longer caring about my Arcane barrier I went all out on the offensive before my opponent had too much time to setup. Ending my combat chains on gaining life to just barely stay ahead.
With that… victim one of the day was down.
Round 2: Ninja
My Bogeyman has arrived.
Groaning as I plopped down in my seat against the intimidating visage of the Ninja master, Jordan Nelson-Fussell.
My worst nightmare sat before me.
Out of all my play-testing throughout the weeks leading up to the tournament, this match-up is my worst. By no means unwinnable but I was hoping to dodge this until I was more confident in my record for the day.
When the dice settled, Jordan’s combined 11 set the tone I was so fearing, crushing my measly 8.
Boarding out all my big defense reactions and a few things that don’t block well (e.g Teklo Core), and bringing the Teklo Heart in place of my tunic for that extra defensive maneuverability…
I brace myself for the incoming gauntlet of Surging Strikes and Rising Knees to my guts.
I try and maintain blocks on the first few cards to try and bring his combos to a halt while chipping in with the Pistols. Shifting my life gain to the bottom using Enlightened Strikes, Fate Foreseens and Sink Belows.
I was doing everything to keep Jordan blood thirsty and wanting that kill.
Drawing him in, I successfully survived his onslaught with 1 life, but it was looking bad.
But then my blessed Sigil and the Kiss of the Sun warmed my cheeks empowering me with the might of Sol.
Eyes closed and Pistols blazing I managed to rob Jordan of his hand and once the man was down, I pulled the trigger one last time and ended my Ninja opponent.
Round 3: Brute
We are in the big leagues now, the messiah of smash. The connoisseur of the club. Karol had arrived at my table to take my pistols out of commission.
Luckily for me I had a plan.
Cutting my big defense reactions and bad block cards once again, I planned on drowning Karol’s intimidate tactics beneath a tsunami of defense reactions squirreled away in my arsenal.
We look each other in the eye as I win the die roll and proceed to present a second Chamber on my first turn.
Karol looks me in the eyes, and I see the fear.
Like a hyena smelling a fresh kill, I unleashed a barraging wave of pistol shots at Karol. Never relenting. Never.
His beat-down met a brick wall of Sinks and Fates. Unable to crush me he took one too many shots, sank to one knee – head bowed in defeat as his green body of brutal force croaked out one last bloody breath.
A third head for my collection.
Round 4: Dash
As only three people were undefeated at this point I was paired down against Rohan on Dash.
From previous games I knew Rohan was on a very different Dash list than my own. Playing a much more mid-range style deck.
It was grinding time.
I brought in all the blues possible, playing the most consistent deck I entered the fray.
A true war of attrition was fought slowly; I beamed down on him chip, chip, chip.
For what seemed like an eternity we shot back and forth until he turbocharged his heart and went in for what seemed the kill.
However, his Teklo Heart stopped at the last second with two non-mech cards turning to cinder. He could not finish me.
An evil grin spread across my face as my opponent found themselves off balance. I advance.
Slowly, menacingly, shooting one bullet after the other until Rohan could dash no more, falling over dead.
Round 5: Dash
It was time to see the true making of my mettle.
My mentor. My friend. Now… my enemy.
Approaching the match-up the same as I did with Rohan, I stared Matt down.
He shoots, I block, and I shoot him twice more for his efforts.
I demolished his defenses with no mercy.
Three chambers vs two.
He didn’t stand a chance.
Quarter Finals: Ninja
The Bogeyman [Katsu] is back
The loser’s packs are on the table.
Mighty Pokemon Master Ash sits across from me – he looks me straight in the eyes and says “every time you take damage I am giving you one of these loser packs, you’re done pal”.
Oh, it is on!
Channeling the energy from Jordan’s soul I stole earlier in the day I fired up my Teklo Heart and went to war.
I lead Ash through the game like a puppet on a string; he trusted my conniving grin far too much… He decided to abstain from using his red Razor Reflex on a Snatch, scared of what horrors may be hidden in the depths of my arsenal.
Blocking his attacks efficiently; everything lining up perfectly; I was an unstoppable force of pure destruction as my pistols ripped through him mercilessly leaving him in my dust.
The Bogeyman is done.
Semi Finals: Brute
The Brute [Karol] is back
Semi-finals: The resurrection
We head to the club one more time.
Except this time, I see fire in his eyes.
Too bad he didn’t see the determination in mine.
I knew what to do. My brain was completely fried but I had enough programming that my body knew exactly what to do, how much resource to use.
I blinked and it was over.
35 life to zero.
No cards in his deck. His mind truly warped. There were no more second chances for the brute.
It was finals time.
The Brute is done.
The Grand Finale: Dash
Foreshadowing: Matt the master mentor is back
Nerves are fired up.
Adrenaline is pumping.
I was battle-worn and about ready to break upon his blade, but I steadied myself and prepared for the final onslaught.
I knew my previous game with Matt seemed a little too easy earlier in the day for such a behemoth of the game.
Thinking back, I remembered yellow-line Dash attack actions and blue Break Alleys.
He is not control Dash! He must be on some sort of hybrid aggro plan he can swap between!
Shaving the big defense reactions, leaving in the yellows and maximising my blues I suit up for the firefight of my life.
I took my beats.
I fell behind.
He was pushing me over.
But I set my teeth I played to the best of my ability and entered a blank state of mind.
I truly remember very little of the game. My brain in hyperspace.
Save one important bit.
I brought it back and with all energy leaving my body I had won.
Shaking I shook Alan’s hand and gave my opponent a hug.
SER Theodor Hamilton Scarborough had given me payment for my trials.
My opponents had given me great confidence in the future of this amazing game.
I am the first to win a Road to Nationals.
This is where my legacy begins.