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Top 20 – The Story of my first ever Regionals

We at The Saibamen are big supporters and promoters of the game, but what many don’t realise is we have only been involved in the card game for less than a year. Prior to DBS neither myself nor Ché Austin had ever picked up a TCG, and look at us now, we have been swayed and then some!

I got into the game by chance, my late friend Kwajo Mensah was visiting and happened to have these Dragon Ball Super cards with him that he was collecting (not playing at this point), and it’s safe to say they caught my attention. I’ve been a Dragon Ball fan since I was a child, and that obsession has never wavered. I had just started watching the DBS Dub and was very excited to see some of the new characters (namely Beerus) represented in the card game, but I’m a busy guy, so my fascination with the cards ended that night. That was until I saw them being sold at an EB Games I walked into and decided to buy a few packs. I bought some set 1, 2 and 3 (two or so packs each) and pulled an SPR Cell (I had no idea that at the time this card was $$$). The art was incredible, and from then on, I was obsessed. I collected like crazy, buying packs and starter decks whenever I could find them, then I made my first deck – Pan Agro. I didn’t know of all the deck building resources we had at the time, so it was a choppy attempt with no Chain Zen-Oh, but I liked it. I went to my first locals at Good Games Hurstville and met some community members, they were amazing to me, taught me how to play and helped me with my deck. That was it, I was off and since then I have been playing a couple of times weekly. I convinced Ché to have a game with me, and he was hooked too!

Fast forward to this past weekend and we are running Oceania’s first community content team/group, and helping promote the game whenever we can. Including at the Melbourne Regionals – our first ever!

I went into the weekend hoping to do well, at least be in the top 50% - ideally top cut, but I wasn’t kidding myself. I was playing Towa, a deck I hadn’t piloted until testing a few days prior, I wasn’t overly confident. I had built the Towa deck on DBS-Decks a while back, adding skill less with red 3 drops (random right? I am however known to make weird decks for fun), not realising that it really needs to be a mono black deck to function correctly. As I didn’t have the Vegeta, Time Regulators, I put the deck on the backburner and moved on to other things. After seeing Jordan Markle take out PPG in the US with a skill less variant, I got the urge to look at the deck again. I had a look at his list and used that as a skeleton – making my own changes. I added in Forced Destruction Mira, and after testing, removed Dimension Support Trunks and the Vanilla Trunks as I found I was siding them out most of the time. I also ran an extra Power Burst in main and Son Goku, Making an Entrance at 1 (more on this later). I made a few other changes which you can see in the decklist below.

Some said the Xeno Evolve Mira was too costly, and shouldn’t be in the deck, but I was adamant that having a triple strike to end the game or take 3 crit from my opponent would come in handy. It did. I finished probably a 3rd of my games with the big boy, dropping my opponent’s hand to 3 with the Relentless Destruction Mira where needed before either swinging for 1 crit to take them down to 3 life, or leaving him in active and Xeno evolving if they were already there, then dropping their hand and swinging for game. That being said, I didn’t top cut, so who knows if it was the right call.

Because I won our NSW championship, I was seeded with a first-round bye, which took me to 1-0 automatically. So we’ll start from round 2. Not to mention this made me a Bounty, which gave players more incentive to beat me, if they needed any.

Day 1

Right of centre - The Saibamen and our Support waiting for Round 1 to begin.

Ché in the foreground, playing his first round. Me in the background speaking to my fellow bounty players.

I came up against a variety of decks which was exciting to say the least, round two I played Jak from Shenron’s Lair. He was playing Red Gogeta:Br with R/G Arrival. That took me by surprise, I did side No Escape Son Goku in case I saw the Uub or Gogeta matchup, but I wasn’t ready for what he was putting down. Game 1, I tried to play control and drop his hand, but the draw engine was just too strong on his deck and I was straight overwhelmed. Game 2, I came out of the gates swinging, attacking with everything I had and trying to keep pace with his hand. Eventually I agro’d him out and took game 2, surviving his onslaught by the skin of my teeth. Game 3 was an auto lose for me sadly, I very quickly found out that 3 of my four Mira Creator Absorbed were somewhere deep in my life, scrambling to come up with another plan, I got my 5 drop out, but It wasn’t enough, and I was bled out like a sacrificial lamb.

Bad start to the day, I felt deflated. There was still 20 minutes or so left of the round, so I went to check on our stream of the tournament, and wallow in my disappointment.

Round 3 comes along and I’m playing against Starter Broly – Another matchup I had zero experience with. That deck has bodied me many times previously in other matchups, so safe to say I wasn’t looking forward to it. The fact that he can fill his hand every turn on the awakened side also didn’t excite me. Game 1, I decided that I would play agro, knowing that Broly digs into it’s own life a lot, I thought I’d try to get ahead of it. I went second, so I immediately stole his 1 drop Broly with Towa, attacking with both of the cards as well as my leader, putting the Broly player to 4 life on his turn 2 – without a chain starter on board. He awakened turn 2, but only having one or two cards in drop meant he couldn’t use his leader ability to draw yet, not that he needed it greatly at that point. A few turns go by without much happening on the Broly players turns. I happily took his leader cards attacks to keep my hand healthy, and dropped his hand with my 3 drops, attacking all the way so he had to combo out dropping more from his hand. His turn 4 comes, but he only has 6 cards in drop, and nothing to play and attack with to combo off, so he could only play a field card to keep it from being taken from his hand, attack and pass. On my turn 4, the game was over. Game 2 went much the same as game one, except he was able to get up the chain to the 4 drop Broly before being defeated.

Much better I’m thinking, maybe the first game was just me warming up – Jak is from Shenron’s Lair after all, so I didn’t feel too bad for losing.

For the life of me I can’t recall what my 4th round opponent was playing, I do remember however that I won the round 2-0, and in game two I took control of his Towa revenge blocker that he sided in, that’s about it! Regardless, another win so I’m happy! 3-1 now, I’m thinking maybe I can do this!

Round 5 I was playing against Cabba U6 – in my mind, my hardest matchup other than maybe the mirror. I again came into game 1 swinging hard, my thoughts are that Cabba draws so much and goes off so early that agro was my only out. It worked! I played a lot of big hitters and forwent the control side of the deck completely. Constantly blowing up his board with masked Saiyan and banisher fu, as well as stealing his 1 and 2 drop vegies. I took game one and I was feeling good. Game 2, I sided in Unexpected Turn, and Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan – opting to try for control this time around. This was a mistake and I got bodied, his hand was just too hard to keep low. Game 3 was mine if not for a bad decision on his turn 5. I countered what looked like his last attack of the turn with power burst and in my haste, picked up the Goku counter from my warp just in case he had one more attack in him (I was on 1 life). In the end, that was what did me in, on my last swing of my turn 6, I went in with Towa – my opponent with zero cards in hand and no combo power on board, both of us tapped out and my hand only consisted of the counter I mentioned earlier and a 1 cost combo. Cabba’s permanent meant that he was on 20k, and with my 0 combo power card in hand, I couldn’t get to 20k, so I scooped. That one mistake of not picking a 5k combo – of which there were multiple in my warp – cost me the game. I was livid, losing a game when you opponent outplays you is one thing, I respect that, and I move on. Losing a game when I make a dumbass mistake just triggers me. I went for a walk and swore under my breath for a while.

3-2 is the score and I feel like unless I am extremely lucky, top cut is off the table. In to the final round we go, and I am playing against King Vegeta – this is another one I didn’t expect, but I had the feeling id be okay if I went agro. I started out strong again, forgoing my usual Relentless Destruction Mira plays for things like Towa to steal his two drop beaters, and Masked Saiyan and Fu for double strikes. I cleaned up fairly easily game one. Game 2 was a bit closer, he sided out his soft counters for the hard Is That All You’ve Got, so my Mira’s were less effective. The fact that his field card acts as a counter was always something I had to work around, being able to negate an attack without any cards in hand is unique to this deck and maybe one to two others as far as I know. Baiting it out became my mission and my opponent wasn’t easily tricked, but I finally got him to use it and took him out. 2-0 again.

I finished swiss with a respectable score of 4-2, and both my losses went on to go 5-0-1 and Top Cut, so I was optimistic about my breakers. Unfortunately, I missed out on the Top 16 on breakers alone, forgetting about my bye that really hampered me. Regardless, 20th place was better than my goal of top 50%, and I finished higher than a lot of well-known players in the community, so overall, I’m happy with the result. This being my first ever large event (120 or so players – previously the largest event I played in had 36) means I have learned a lot, and I’m humbled by my high placing.

The only things I’d really change from my list, is maybe take out the Kid Goku and 4 Star Ball combo completely. It’s obviously less useful without a target for his second ability in a pinch, but it did work nicely to keep my hand size up. I sided it out in pretty much every matchup. I was thinking of adding some more targets for the leader search in place of that, or some cantrips.

I’d also probably remove unexpected turn from my side. It’s way too situational, and I only got it off once. Maybe side in Masked Saiyan, Beguiled Warrior to help with games where I need to agro and pressure hard. Keeping a 20k Double strike on board would really give my opponent something to think about, and pulling out two beaters for one energy when going for game could really help.

Day 2

Since I didn’t top cut, all the pressure was off, and I could enjoy the side events. I won’t go into them all, but I will touch on Team Wars.

The Saibamen being a new team, had never played a team wars event, and we also only managed to get two of our three team members to Melbourne for Regionals, so our first mission was to find a third player. Luckily, our friend Benny Zhang introduced us to Luke Morrow, who didn’t have a team, and was happy to fill in for us. Our team consisted of Myself playing Towa, Ché playing Frieza Prison, and Luke playing Shenron Vegies (R/G). This posed an issue with Power Burst being in both my deck and Luke’s. He graciously forwent counters so that I didn’t have to change my deck.

I won’t get into all the rounds. We won our first 2 rounds 3-0. A highlight for me from the event was my game in round 2, playing against Benny Zhang who was using the Championship winning Broly U6 deck. I seemed to play everything right, getting the right cards at the right time, and making the right calls when it mattered. I made the hard (and questionable for the onlookers) decision to forgo playing the Mira, Self Reformation on turn 4, instead leaving 3 energy open for defence. I had 3 counters in hard (my one of Goku Counter, and two Power Bursts), and Benny only had one threat on board (4 drop Caulifla). I saw the confused looks from our spectators, but I thought it was the correct play. It also, whether by design or not, baited Benny into thinking I didn’t have the 5 drop in hand. His turn 4, he played 1 drop Kale or Caulifla (I can’t recall which one) attacked with leader, I countered with Goku. Leaving him with his Champa/Vados and the 4 drop Caulifla, as well as the one drop on board. I’m sitting at 5 life. He attacks with the 4 drop and I take the damage, while also comboing the Goku counter off the board. He evolves his Kale. I now have 5 cards in drop, two Power Bursts in hand, and 2 energy up. He plays another 1 drop intending to evolve with the next attack. Swings in with Kale which I counter with Power Burst and retrieve the counter Goku from my drop – keeping me at sparking 5, one energy up. Benny needs to evolve somehow so he swings with Champa/Vados, which I then counter with the Goku again, tapping me out. One last shot, he uses his Broly leader effect, taking a life (now at 3 life), and restanding the leader. Attacks with the leader, and I use my last Power Burst to sparking negate, taking a life and pulling a 5k combo from warp (not making the same mistake I made the day prior). That’s his turn, 3 cards in hand and one or two energy up – I can’t recall. My next turn is self-explanatory. Take him to no cards in hand, knock him to 2 with a critical attack then swing with Mira for game!

I apologise for how long winded that was, but it was an extremely close match that had everyone at the end of their seats, so I wanted to put it in writing.

On to round 3 – we came up against a fellow Sydneysider Simon Keith and his teammates. This one was a write off, we went down 0-3, sadly ending our chances of winning the event.

Round four we again won 3-0. My matchup was against the old Goku Black leader, which essentially nets me a win as soon as it is laid down. No draw on unawakened side meant that I could drop his hand incredibly easily before he had a chance to awaken, then just sit back and wait until I could drop the bombs, not allowing any cards to stick around in his hand.

So we finished the tourney 3-1, which we were happy with, and our breakers put us in 3rd place. Respectable for our first go at Team Wars I think!

The rest of the day went on without any big moments for me, so I think I’ll leave it there. Thanks for reading my wall of text if you did get this far. We have heaps more content coming over the next few days from this weekends regionals. Subscribe to our YouTube & Like us on Facebook to make sure you don't miss anything!

If this gathers enough interest, I’ll write some more “story” posts.

Special thanks

I’d like to thank the team at TAK Games; Kristel & Trent, for hosting such an awesome event. I must single out Kristel especially as she put up with a lot of bugging and annoying questions on my part! We hope to get an interview with Kristel on a date soon in the future. The Judges who were all very accommodating and helpful throughout the day. My Partner in crime Ché Austin, for listening to my constant jibber jabbering the entire weekend. Our third Saibaman Chris Trevenar for helping commentate some of the main event. Andy and the team at The Midian Guard for their support. And most importantly, my wife Primrose, my sister-in-law Lizzy and my mother-in-law Rosebud for supporting us and cheering us on throughout the event!

That’s all for now.

~ Sam Russell

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