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My Battlecon Diary, ep 4

Welcome back Battlecon fans. This is my series where I keep a journal about my Battlecon game days. My main goal is to get some content and energy going. I talk about the tournament structures and matchups we play, try to provide insight, either on things I did that went really well or things I learned. Maybe a highlight or two. Some mindset. A little humor. But most of all, I just hope you enjoy reading about Battlecon.
My series has gotten good feedback so far, with many thumbs up. As long as people seem to enjoy it, I'll keep producing content when I can. Also, Aliphant, one of the best players in the game, seems to stop by and give some feedback, so if you see her - either here on Youtube - you can definitely learn a lot.
Ok so this game day was with Devin, my main Battlecon buddy, and good friend. We actually started out the day with 2 games of Mottainai, a really obtuse card game by Carl Chudyk. Don't know if anyone here knows of it; it's more well known on the boardgames sub. Ok, so for BC, we played 2 "tourneys," if you will (just the 2 of us). We have what we call a Type A and a Type B tourney. A Type A tourney is where we pick simultaneously, one at a time, and we pick characters with the aim of having the best team to defeat the other. Type B is relaxed. We simply grab our team out of the box, and we stay away from our "mains," instead just picking people we "feel like playing." So A is us really competing, B is us just playing.
If you already know my tourney structure, skip down to the first row of ampersands (&&&&&).
In either case, we each pick 4 fighters. Then we each simultaneously perma-ban one fighter from the other team; that fighter can not be used in this "tourney." Then we play best of 3 with the remaining fighters, with no fighter being able to fight more than once. In game 1, we each "temp-ban" one fighter (that fighter can't fight in game 1, but will in game 2 or 3). Then from the remaining two fighters, we pick them at the same time. In game 2, we simultaneously pick one of our 2 remaining fighters. If there's a game 3, well, it's just the final unused fighters.
Ok so, our picks were (me, him) : Sarafina, Zaamassal. These are our two mains.
Next: Burgundy, Orianna. I have only used Burgundy once, against Joe, my more casual opponent, but I liked him. I think Burgundy will have game against all of Devin's mains (Zam, Ori, Adjenna, Trias) so I picked him. Orianna is Devin's second main.
Next: Hepzibah, Runika. These two picks surprised each other. I picked Hep because I think she has game against Zam, Ori, and Adj. Hep can stun more reliably than almost anyone in the game, and that's exactly what the doctor orders against his team. Zam loses his paradigms when stunned, Adjenna can't give Petrification, and Orianna can't unleash Unstable shot or Unstable Meteor, the two most volatile attacks in her kit. I'm not sure why Devin picked Runika; he knows she's susceptible to running out of gas, but she is a stat monster, so, why not.
Finally: Alexian, Cherri. Both of these picks surprised the other. I have been playing Alexian recently and gaining respect for him. Decided to let him fight with the big boys. Additionally, I thought having one juggernaut would do well against Adjenna (if he picks her) and Zaamassal. As for Devin, he has never played Cherri before, but she's a main for me. He wanted someone "disruptive" and chose her as the most disruptive character he could think of.
Ok, the perma-ban. I banned Cherri and he banned Sarafina, same time. To him, Sarafina is untouchable. He hates her. The constant mixups with projection and the dodge at range 1 just make her a nightmare. I banned Cherri because she's just so tricky. You're never sure if you should play optimally or suboptimally, in case she clashes you. I didn't wanna deal with that, even if he first-timed her (hmmm, my audience is primarily adult here, maybe I should insert an analogy/metaphor for "first timing her"..., on second thought, maybe not).
Ok our game 1 "temp bans" were Zaamassal and Hepzibah. Ok, so what thought process goes into picking who you're going to ban for 1 game? Is it just random? I mean, whomever you ban in game 1 gets to come back, so what's the point, right? Well, no. Without the game-1 temp-ban, just picking 3 fighters became totally random and arbitrary. But with a ban, you reduce it to a binary choice. So on the temp-ban, I try to figure out who he's going to ban, ie who he doesn't wanna face. I ban someone who I want to fight later with my temp-banned character. I figure he'll ban Hep, and I think Hep has game against Zam, so I ban Zam, and indeed he does ban Hep.
Game 1: My Alexian vs his Runika.
So I didn't play this one well. First of all, he made a huge gambit on beat 1, overcharging his Range weapon and ignoring my stun guard. I found myself at 13/14 on beat 1, but he lost his range modifier. Well, Runika normally has poor hit confirm, so evading her, creating distance, and then charging in for large hits seemed the way to go. But ultimately, I played predictably, got a few key moves clashed, and focused too much on creating space. Runi was able to hug me, as she should. Also, Devin patiently waited for Regal and Dodge to be down (regal negates chivalry token bonuses) before unleashing hell. Consequently, he had a couple unbeatable attack beats. Also, when I did use regal, it was telegraphed and it didn't "own" him. Runika takes game 1 for team Devin.
Game 2, my Burgundy vs his Orianna. Ok, time for me to see if Burgundy can play with the big boys. Spoiler: he can. This was not good for Ori. Creating distance was really key. I constantly threatened Slaughter (unique base, BA: teleport to a paint marker and remove it), a base that evades at range 3+, and of course, Dodge. Consequently, Ori - a character who relies on going "all in" on a few key spots - could never commit comfortably. She only landed one hit on me. I made a couple good reads and was able to teleport inside her min range a few times, and I also dodged all her yellow plays (when she plays yellow, she wants to get hit, gaining MP), and when I didn't, I used Burgundy's UA to "refuse to throw a punch," so to speak. I think I won this with 15 life.
Game 3: my Hepzibah vs his Zaamassal. So I wasn't sure how to predict this one. I feel like Hep's ability to nearly stun at will would just destroy Zam, but she has poor movement and hit confirm, and I was worried about her being across the board from him, unable to get close enough to hit.
So one key play was this. I was in space 7 with Zam in 6. I couldn't dodge and neither could he. I remember him commenting once that in this situation (or in the middle with the paradigm that prevents adjacent opponents from moving) he likes to use Sturdy Strike: he's stun immune and can't be moved, and hits for 5. So I was looking at my options and I came up with one that he didn't notice. I played drive, advanced 2 spaces and hit him from space 4 (anteing the Range dark pact, among others). He was deflated. He thought he had a sure trade. But I made a hard read and was correct. Anathema drive was just phenomenal all game. He couldn't handle it. I don't think he dodged enough. Well, he didn't hit me much, but I anted liberally, and we found ourselves at 4 v 4. On one beat, he was threatening Plane Divider, Blue Grasp, and Yellow Strike. I couldn't come up with an attack pair and ante combo that could hit first guaranteed. I had to go first, or lose to his super, but I couldn't out-prio his fastest attack. And I couldn't dodge. So what do I do? I change my thinking. I ask: what's an attack pair and ante combo that doesn't DIE to anything he has? I come up with a 5-prio attack and I think I anted 2 things (my first ante was free), prio and soak! Can you believe that, prio and soak. Well the prio was enough to stun his super, and the soak was enough to brunt his faster attack and be left at 1. Well, he supered and I stunned him, but for 1 damage, hah! I beat him on the next beat, winning the tourney down at the wire.
So my lesson there was in a different way of thinking about the attack pairs. Sometimes you just need to play something that can't lose, as opposed to looking for something that can't be beaten, cuz sometimes that thing doesn't exist.
Dinner time! So Devin made us an unusual dish, but it was great. So we were in Mexico the other day and he got some authentic Tamales, which he loves. So he pan fried some Tamales with some eggs, scrambled them, and put over a bed of white rice, topped with pepper. I was getting pretty damn hungry, so I ate 2.5 plates of it in about 7 minutes! Yum. Ok, back to BC!! Woo.
So now, a Type B tourney. More casual. My picks would be Bruce Lee, Lucida, Seth, and Luc. His would be Iaxus, Hayden, Kehrolyn, and Hikaru.
In this Type B format, we don't pick at the same time and react to the other guy's picks. We just grab some dudes. So, Bruce. Devin has been trying to make Bruce work, but is pretty convinced that he's underpowered. Neither of us can figure out why Bruce, one of the greatest martial artists of all time, has -1 power on almost all his styles, and really struggles to land hits, but some chick in a dress with high heeled shoes and earrings and long fingernails has +1 damage styles. Makes no sense thematically.
So I picked Bruce to try to prove that he's not terrible. Lucida is my other friend, Joe's, main. But he is still learning the game and learning her, so I wanted to try her out and see how good she is. Seth, well I had a bad loss to Zaamassal a few months back where I just couln't get close enough to land a hit, so I wanted to give him another chance. And Luc, well, I've been watching Aliphant play him, and reinvigorated me about Luc's potential and I wanted to try him out. Namely, I wanted to try out hoarding time tokens to gain soak, that looks fun.
Ok, so the perma-bans were Seth and Kehrolyn. He didn't want to deal with a predictive tricky character like Seth, and since my whole team was melee, I wanted to get rid of Kehrolyn since she's a stat monster in melee and her big weakness is fighters who run. I thought she would be way too comfortable exchanging blows with anyone on my team.
Ok, game 1 temp-bans: my Luc and his Hikaru.
Game 1: Lucida vs Iaxus. He chose Iaxus, basically, to try him out again. Had played him months ago but forgot what he does. He started out in his Tidal plane, allowing him to move me, which helped, but from there he didn't really know which plane to utilize. He misplayed a few beats. I was testing out a line of play for Lucida. My thinking was: use green dodge to get free reward tokens, get the Prio token early, wait till he dodged, then hit him on the next beat, giving him "lose soak and SG" the next beat (dodge in discard 2), then ante prio, out speed him, and auto stun. Well, Iaxus didn't dodge much so I ended up getting the power token and holding onto it. I didn't want to spend it either until his dodge was down. I think that with Lucy (Lucida), she loses a lot of value if her antes get dodged. So in the meantime I kept cycling in the life gain/life loss token and it really helped. I ended up winning this one with 13.
Game 2: my Luc vs his Hayden. He had tried Hayden before and didn't really get her rhythm down much. I'm working on the theory that Hayden, while technically labeled a beginner for her easy mechanics, is anything but a beginner character. It requires planning to set up for the next beats, some plays are telegraphed, she has extremely explosive attack pairs, but they have poor hit confirm, and if her plans get ruined, she ends up with the wrong balance of fury and control and no way to quickly change it.
So I dodged around and collected time tokens. Then, whenever possible I tried to connect with Eternal Shot. I used my time tokens to soak, never overspending. Ie, I chose to, say, take 2 damage having SG 2 than to burn my last two time tokens to soak that damage. I only soaked as much as I had to not to get stunned, figuring I could soak more later if needed. Devin commented that he wasn't expecting that line of play at all.
I had one masterful play, MASTERFUL. So, Hayden was at space 3 and I was at 6. I wanted to do Eternal shot, but her green style would let him retreat 2 and Shot me at range 5. I made a hard read that this play was coming. So I parried it by playing...Eternal Grasp! This is so unusual because Eternal has -4 prio. So, imagine playing a 1-prio grasp. Pretty shitty. But he played green shot as predicted, and I clashed (parry) it! Then I played Eternal Shot. He played drive, and advanced into me, hit me, which I soaked, and then I hit back. It was very satisfying. I mainly tried to keep out trading him with Eternal, and be careful not to walk into one of Hayden's 10 damage attacks. My problem with those is that they're predictable when Hayden is showing 5 fury.
Devin later admitted that he wanted to dodge a lot, but realized that that was bad for him since I kept getting free time tokens. I won this pretty easily, concluding with a memento drive, hitting twice.
So, I won that tourney but we decided to play the game 3 because this was our little controlled experiment. I was going to prove that Bruce is a viable fighter.
Game 3, my Bruce Lee vs his Hikaru. So after every match that he has played Bruce, if Bruce loses, we always wonder if it's a bad match-up. What would the ideal match up be? I'm not really sure. Well, my strategy with Bruce was to ante follow-up attacks very liberally. Couple reasons. 1. This causes confusion when you ante bluff and can get the opponent to waste resources. 2. Bruce is never really sure which beats he'll hit, so if he refrains from anteing a follow up attack and ends up connecting, he cries. So, I think lot of antes are good, even if you dodge.
So I set up a great play on beat 1. I wanted Hikaru to waste his Earth token as soon as possible. That was my goal. So, to that end, I started with my Ignore-Soak Style in Discard 1, and right away, I anted a follow up attack that was NOT "ignore soak." Thus, Devin could clearly see that my two anti-soak tools were not in use this beat, and he happily anted Earth. Turns out, I dodged! I was really proud of that. Sure one of my follow up attacks was down now, but it paid off. I made a few more sweet ante bluffs like that, and I kept him off balance.
Well, Devin did a nice job regaining tokens. Last time he played Hikaru, he ran out and didn't manage his resources well. This time, he didn't make the same mistake. One thing I could have done better would be to keep dodge up against his fire token. I think, psychologically, Hikaru only wants to ante fire when dodge is down, because he doesn't wanna waste it. Another way to land fire, though, would be Geomantic Shot, ante earth, and then SOB add fire if applicable.
Well, I did find Bruce to be a little underwhelming. It's impossible to trade well. All his styles are -1 power. So he HAS to connect with his follow up attacks, and his unique base is dogshit and he's really not THAT fast. He's also quite predictable. I mean, I definitely mixed it up with a few unsuspected bursts, but it's tough.
It came down to one beat. 4 to 4 life. Here's the epic play. I'm in space 1, he's in 3. His fire and earth are down, but he has his Super. His super is Range 1, but it applies all available tokens to the attack, which would make it 8 prio, range 0-2, power 7. What can I do against that? I had a super too, but it was slower. I don't remember if I had my dodge. I'm thinking i did. Well, I did a corner cross for the win. My style advanced 2 spaces, and I played burst. Ironically I only had a range 2 follow up to burst. So, if I bursted back to range 2, he'd kill me, so I had to burst to range 3, but my burst without a followup attack wouldn't be enough to kill him, but he'd be without tokens. Well, when he saw the corner cross, he conceded. I only realized on my drive home that he wasn't actually dead. But when I told him, he said he would have scooped anyway.
So after winning with Bruce in an effort to prove his viability, Devin responded that he still wasn't convinced. I asked him jokingly what I had to do. He commented that I severely outplayed him the entire game and still barely won. He then posited that every match-up is bad for Bruce.
I'm not sure. Bruce is no Tier 1, but I think he's playable, albeit quite predictable.
Well, that's it folks. We had fun, but today was my day. Some good hard reads, some good parries, and lots of fun. Hope you enjoyed, see you next time.
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