Monday, November 24, 2014

A [potential] Return to Blogging?

Hi everybody, it has been over a year now since my last blog post and a lot has happened in the game since then. Not so much in my personal life besides being an owner of a new dog and having to work from an office whereas I was able to work from home before. This has caused a decline in my tournament attendance unfortunately to about 1 a week on a good week. I have also picked up Hearthstone which I find to be very entertaining even though my general interest in it has died down from when I first started; hopefully the new expansion set will help pique my interest back up. The blog has been on and off my mind over the past year but I guess the motivation to actually write about something just wasn't strong enough. As I peruse over my blog today, I've noticed the overall decline of blogging activity, which is quite a shame as I have always found great information and insight from reading various blogs. I suppose one can make an argument that the ever-rising popularity of YouTube, video coverage of events, and articles like those found on CoreTCG, TCGPlayer, and ARG may have contributed to the overall decline of blogging. After all, who are we, compared to the likes of Frazier Smith, Robbie Boyajian, or even Jason Grabher-Meyer? In this sense we may develop our own inferiority complex of "well why would anyone want to read anything I had to say? I'm just a random." And while I can completely agree with this sentiment and sometimes even dwell on it myself, it is important to remember that opinions, as long as they come with sound logic and reasoning, all hold value in the grand scheme of learning in general. Learning from several different perspectives (although they may not all be right) helps us become more well-rounded, and even the best in academic research had to have started somewhere (ie we were all noobs at one point or another).

As for my local scene of Spokane Washington, there have been positives and negatives over the past year. Besides Seattle, we are about the only place in the Northwest that holds OTS tournaments and we even host regional events of which I have judged the past two. Having regionals on the east side of the state has always been nothing but a pipe dream but now we are very fortunate in having them. A big thanks to Roy and the Comic Book Shop for all their hard work they have put in towards us having regularly-occurring regionals! The attendance for those have been in the 110-120 range, which is nothing compared to those in Cali or Philly, but then again we are in eastern Washington after all where we have experienced a consistent decline of Yugz participation on the local level. One of the shops is not even supporting Yugz anymore. This is not the shop's fault though, unfortunately our local community is quite decisive as to which tourneys they want to support or not. All this does is hurt our community though, because it leads to fewer sneak peeks which leads to a decreased card pool of new cards as they come out, and less events to practice in. I would be willing to bet that the sum of attendance for all tourneys in a week of YGO is less than the average attendance of just 1 FNM at just 1 shop that runs an FNM tourney; it is quite sad and unfortunately it is something I cannot pin down in terms of what the exact reason may be. Many times I have considered just switching over to Magic once again but the thought of set rotation in Standard always holds me back. Our Saturday tournament is basically a crapshoot of if there'll be enough people or not, so we are down to Sunday and Monday as the only real days where people are comfortable enough to make the trek to a tourney. With my work schedule, Mondays are basically not an option for me anymore, so that leaves Sunday. If the wife wants to go to church or do something on a Sunday, well there goes the whole week for me for an opportunity to play. I know others are in a similar boat as me and the question of "is it worth it?" springs up where the cost of having a competitive deck is far greater than what you could get back in prize support, taking into consideration the once-a-week tourney schedule. When I was hitting 3 tourneys a week and consistently doing well enough to get prize support virtually every tourney, there was no question that my investment in my deck was worth it.

Fortunately for me I have great teammates that will support me in deck choices although I do go hard myself in having my own cards. At the Seattle regional in September (I believe that's when it was), I got my invite with Satellarknights (which I borrowed from Danny) going X-2. I lost to Luka who ran Burning Abyss and topped at that event and at the more recent ARG Seattle, and a fellow local player who ran Constellars. Nothing I could do to early Pleiades+Kaiser plays and a clutch Pulling the Rug in game 3. She (yes, she) ended up getting her invite as well but finished the day X-3. During the event I questioned why the hell I ran Satella and at the end of the day told Danny that he should sell the deck off. I felt that the deck was quite weak/restrictive (so dependent on that normal summon), but played it because I liked the consistency along with the good floodgate options in the side. I have not touched the deck post-NECH and would not recommend it to anyone as I feel that the support it received, and is going to receive, is just much less compared to Shaddoll, Abyss, Qliphort, and the upcoming Necloth/Nekroz. At our OTS, I ran Burning Abyss (again borrowed from Danny) which was actually my first time playing the deck. There were only 30 people for this event and I ended up going 3-2 losing to teammates, but by the grace of tie-breakers actually managed to top 8. In top 8 I played my teammate Link who I had lost to in Swiss running Shaddoll, but ended up beating him to make top 4 and earn another invite. Unfortunately in top 4 I lost to the degeneracy known as Infernity; so glad that deck is dead as a door nail now. Our winner from last year, Alan, ended up winning the event with Burning Abyss, so he is our back-to-back OTS Champion. It is pretty funny considering he wasn't even going to play in the event but snuck away from his wife to play. She ended up showing up at the event during round 1. We were all afraid that she was going to make him drop from the tournament and go home but she was civil about it (as far as I know, at least he got to finish the event). I was planning on attending the ARG in Seattle a few weeks ago but unfortunately my wife came down with the flu and I did not feel comfortable leaving her over the weekend without transportation if there was an emergency situation. The money I had for the event helped one of my teammates go though so my inability to go was not in vain.

During this entire format I actually had the Shaddoll stuff needed to play the deck besides the Artifact engine which I got rid of to my teammate Zach for really cheap earlier on. That was probably my biggest mistake of the format, next to running Satellas in general lol. But nonetheless, I never felt very comfortable with a Shaddoll build; I felt that the hands it sometimes got, regardless of build, were too clunky and I was never a fan of "random mill" incorporating the Lightsworn engine popularized by Pat Hoban. It wasn't only until more recently that I started playing the deck and being somewhat comfortable with it, utilizing the "mini chaos dragons", Eclipse Wyvern, and DAD. DAD contributed to many wins all on its own as it is so easy to set up the graveyard for it with the dragon build and how searchable it is via Wyvern. I have recently sold the deck off though with its apparent decline in performance from ARG Raleigh and Seattle. Although it did very respectably at Anaheim over the weekend, overall I am glad I sold the deck off as I never considered myself to be a "good" Shaddoll player at all. Many have said it's rather hard to play the deck optimally and I do agree with that sentiment; it seems like there are so many plays that one can do and it is easy to not pick the most-optimal decision tree in any given turn. I never felt like I played the deck "right", whether that be due to lack of practice or just not realizing the optimal order of plays or what have you (which can tie back to lack of practice). My intention is to run Burning Abyss or Qliphort for the duration of this format, depending on what I can borrow from Danny of course lol. From there it'll naturally depend on the ban list and the inevitability that is Nekroz.

As for blogging, I realized on my drive to work this morning that work is sometimes dead enough that I should have the time to write something from time to time, granted I had something to write about. It would actually give me something to do in those moments of being absolutely bored! I will not promise any kind of consistent schedule and for now I will just focus on what I may want to address or talk about, rather than what I think you the reader may want to read about. Admittedly this may be a selfish approach to take but I think that I became too engrossed with things like how many views my posts got, number of followers I had, if my content was "good enough" to be read by others, etc. And while I do appreciate all the readers who used to consistently read my stuff week after week, it will not be conducive for me if I ever wanted to consistently write again to have to worry about that kind of stuff. So for now it will just be me writing about whatever! This is not to say I will just post random shit though, as I always strive to write something worth reading about with quality always in mind. I've always taken pride in putting out at least grammatically-correct stuff, which is more than I can say for what is posted on the big-name sites from time to time. I do feel that English grammar is pretty subjective but it is something I am conscientious about. I do have a few topics in mind that I'd like to write about though so I can promise that my next post won't be in a year from now lol.

For this last paragraph I'd like to promote my team captain's YouTube channel, PuertoRicanFace Mendoza, where he has started a segment called Sunday Duels for which I help provide color commentary for in a best 3-out-of-5 match between two members of the community. We technically have 2 done but unfortunately the first one ended up being too large to upload at around 12GB per game due to the screen capturing software he was using. I'm not entirely sure why they came out to be so big but if I can find a work-around I will try getting that up for him. Likewise if anyone can comment what can be done that would be much appreciated. The second match, between Shiggs and Eloy Torres, Blackwings vs Satellarknights, can be found here. Our intention is to just provide a match with entertaining commentary (and not be complete ass like how ARG's is from time to time) and hopefully people can learn from the participants' plays, both good and bad. It also provides some sort of content for his channel, which has been on the decline, similar to this blog. But we all have to pick ourselves up again and start from somewhere, so if you can check it out or even subscribe I'm sure he'd be very appreciative and can provide motivation for him to produce more content.

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