Joined: Aug 03, 2003
Location: The Dark Citadel, CT, USA
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:13 am
This was MEANT to be an all arena spotlight, however HAL doesn't seem to like it. So I'm posting it here for anyone who is interested:
Duelmasters History 101…
Way back when…
I remember my first Face to Face experience like it was yesterday. It was 1991 and I just had graduated from Colgate University in May – I was already looking for a job and planned on taking a month or two to relax and get into the swing of not being in school for the first time in my life.
At the time I was running two Duelmasters teams, the Devil Advocates in Arvat and the Angels of Pain in Zukal. As I recall, Vengeance had JUST graduated in Zukal. This was pretty much the Golden Age of Duelmasters – when Primus was the place to be and 17-17 warriors were highly competitive in tournaments. People had learned many of the ‘secrets’ of the game, but they were jealously guarded and the competition was fierce. It was also the age of newsletter antagonism, with many ‘Bad Guys’ in almost all arenas and even ‘Evil Alliances’ like the Dark Circle in full swing.
Amidst all of that I heard that RSI had decided to try a first ever East Coast Face to Face Tournament! In Baltimore! I had some gift money from my graduation in my pocket and all of 8 guys to run in the tournament, so I thought it would be awesome to drive down and check out the Face to Face scene. For years I’d been envious of those who got to go to the Tempe tournaments, and now I’d get to go to one myself! I spoke with Mad Mad (who, at that time was all of 18 years old and working as a gas station attendant near our Mom’s house) and we agreed. We were going to the Face to Face!
The following day we started making plans, sent in our strategies and figuring out a meal budget that wouldn’t break the bank. Better yet, a friend of the family was a travel agent and she told us that Eastern Airlines (yep, before Delta took over!) had a special round trip fare from Hartford to BWI for $79 that summer! Easily worth the savings on gas, parking and tolls!
Just before the tournament I had sent RSI a request for a new team – yes, just ONE team sheet – and got back a neat one. My brother and I rolled up the team, the Erdman Brothers, and we each took 2 warriors and DAed the scrubby 5th guy. These warriors became Teddy Brewster and I Backstroke, some of our most iconic guys. And we eagerly started running, prepping them for the Novices tournament!
All said and done, I had 12 warriors set to run, including 6 mis-timed basic guys, a novice, a rookie and several ADM guys including my flagship warrior, Vengeance, who previously had been my first guy to break 4 wins in a tournament, going 6-3-1 in his Adepts run. I planned on buying some rollups and adding some rookies at the tournament. My expectations were essentially non-existent, but I hoped to learn a lot and have an amazing time. Just before the tournament a personal ad we had put in a bunch of newsletters was answered and we got a call from a player looking for roommate(s). To this day I can’t recall the guy’s name or much about him, only that he knew Phido and at the time Phido was phasing out of Duelmasters and giving away many of his warriors. This person had been given ‘Spaceman Spiff’ – an up and coming warrior of Phido’s and he was willing to share numbers and info on all of his warriors! We eagerly accepted him as a roomie and were looking forward to meeting him.
We flew into Baltimore early Friday afternoon and caught the shuttle from BWI to the Inner Harbor area. Unlike some of the later FTFs, the hotel was very nice and in a business area. We checked in with no mishaps and were incredibly psyched for the tournament.
We sought out and found the convention room and from my recollection, it was mobbed. RSI could probably provide more info on numbers, but it felt like well over 50 managers in attendance. All the tables were already taken up and we knew ABSOLUTELY NO ONE.
Just then the hotel staff moved in a couple of new tables and we nabbed one in the back corner, setting up our paperwork. At the next table there was a manager eagerly looking through a pile of rollup sheets. He had bought 100 sheets there at the FTF. I was stunned. ONE HUNDRED SHEETS??? It was like he had a pile of gold and gems in front of him. We assumed he must have been a super-manager or something. And he did have one warrior in Primus – a warrior named Swiftdeath. Who he was very pleased with. I think he started out 4-0 in the Primus tournament before getting beat up – which we also thought was a mighty feat.
We went up front and timidly requested 5 rollups each… Which was as much as our meager budgets could allow. Mad Max got a couple of good warriors (one was a 17-17 lunger type that was a good performer for him) but my rollups were really crappy. I knew enough at this point to know that Wit and Will were GOOD and Size was BAD. And I had 12 guys SZ 16+ out of those 25 warriors and not one of them could get 17/17 or better. I filled the sheets out and was planning on turning them in and seeing what happened. But first we had to eat, so we stashed our stuff in our room. Our roommate had not yet arrived – he was arriving in the evening.
(Segue – I remember meeting everyone from RSI who was there at that tournament, but only vaguely. I clearly remember meeting Lee and Kathy at the Orlando FTF the next year – but I was pretty intimidated by everyone that first year. I’m PRETTY sure I met Sue. And Sandy. But that also might have been Orlando! My brother, being way more social overall than I am, I’m sure met everyone!)
At that first FTF there was an actual ‘Manager’s Reception’ with food and drinks. It wasn’t like a feast or anything, but I recall cold cuts and fruit and whatnot, which was great for us – it saved us from having to pay for a meal! Plus we got to talk to some of the managers. However, that was something of a letdown. Most of them were pretty arrogant and had zero time to talk to nobodies like us. I recall finding out who Sharkey was – and he pretty much ignored us. And there were several other conversations which went like the classic Guardians quote, “I’m Guardian, who the F are you?”
But we met one guy, even younger than we were, who went by Fewmaster Toede, and he seemed like a nice kid, and the guy at the table next to us with the 100 rollups was nice enough. In fact, as we were eating sandwiches, he started talking about his ‘Quest’ to make an army of SZ 21 warriors. His theory was that because size was the one unchangeable stat, the only way to make warriors that were superior was to take advantage of the ‘extra’ points of size and make good, big, bonused warriors. It sounded like a reasonable idea at the time. He then went on to bemoan the fact that in his 100 sheets he didn’t get ANY 21 SZ warriors. He said that if anyone gave him a SZ 21 sheet he would let that person look through his 100 sheets and pick whatever they wanted. I thought that was awesome! And I recalled seeing a SZ 21 in my cruddy rollups I had purchased earlier – so I ran up to the room to get my stuff.
As I got there I ran into our roommate! He had just checked in with the hotel and had gotten the key we left for him at the front desk. He was unpacking his stuff. So we started a quick conversation about Duelmasters, Phido’s warriors and some of his warriors. He had a 3-ring binder with photocopies of many of the ‘famous’ warriors of the time – E. Hemmingway, Gypsy Moth… and then he had Spaceman Spiff who Phido had given him. I remember looking at the beautiful stats. As I recall he was a SZ 5, 17 wit, 21 will marvel… Which was way prettier than any warrior I owned except Vengeance. I shared Vengeance’s numbers with him and he was impressed. He predicted Vengeance would one day win a Primus tournament! I hoped that would be the case! We talked a little bit about strategies also, but I then grabbed my rollup sheets and hurried down to the convention room.
As I went down, I sorted through the 5 team sheets. Sure enough, there was a SZ 21 guys! But wait! The sheet actually had TWO SZ 21s on it! Woo hoo!
I marched right in and found the guy with the pile of sheets. Proudly I showed him the team of giants. True to his word, he handed me the heap of 100 warriors and said I could pick whichever one I wanted. So I started digging through. It was pretty amazing seeing all those team sheets. There were many warriors with 21 wits! To that point the only 21 wit guy I’d ever had was Teddy Brewster. Mad Max had a replacement warrior in 32 who also had a 21 wit, but he had no deftness and weird other stats. I was tempted by several of the 21 wit guys. But I was looking for Spaceman Spiff! I wanted a PL and I wanted one that looked like that!
Eventually I came across a sheet that had what I wanted! So pretty! A SZ 5, 17 with, 21 will warrior with no weaknesses! I greedily took it and sealed the deal. I filled out the team with a name I’d saved for this occasion… Satan’s Kingdom! And the new parry lunger became Rabid Moose! Tortured Trout on the same team was also very nice, so I handed in that sheet and strategies for both for rookies!
Fewmaster Toede also found a SZ 21 guy in the rollups he bought and he picked out a SZ 4 monster who also had 17WT, 21 WL and he made it a Wall of Steel.
I got Rabid Moose back and I was in love! 10-13-5-17-21-5-13 was his design. And he rolled good damage (which even then I knew was lucky!) and had an Expert attack! The only other warrior I had seen to that point with an expert attack to start was Vengeance. I was ready to predict a rookies TV for me!
So the tournament started. Even though I didn’t have anyone in the Primus tournament, I followed that class with rapt attention. I also followed my own guys, but was most excited about Teddy and Rabid Moose. I was eager to see how young Vengeance would do also, but didn’t expect much due to his inexperience.
The actual tournament was AWESOME. The hustle and action, managers shouting out when they won fights (or got killed), and the constant output of turns. I tried to hang around tables of experienced managers in the hopes that some would want to show off impressive fights and I could see their strategies. And during the actual tournament people were way more accepting of newbies and I did see and learn a ton.
By Sunday most of my feeble entrants had been knocked out. Vengeance was hanging in there in ADM at 5-2, which was great! My 2nd ever graduate T. Deville, a TP was amazingly at 6-1 in ADM! Sadly, Teddy Brewster and Rabid Moose went 1-3 and 3-3 in Novices and Rookies respectively. I still had a TP from Arvat, Sir Berus, sitting at 6-1 in Apprentices also as well as a TP at 5-2 in Novices. Sir Berus was a badly designed scum type and the other one was a neat offensive type. Also, my new wall of steel from Zukal, Justice was sitting at 5-2 in rookies.
Mad Max had Teddy’s Brother, I Backstroke, in excellent shape at 6-1 in novices.
In Primus, some upsets had been going on and Donatello had taken some losses. Mirage had inherited Teetotaler from Phido and Tee was doing very well, but Doc Legrand was having a great tournament and Gypsy Moth and Madam Butterfly were both doing great.
At our table, Fewmaster Toede had several guys with an inside tract to TV including the Wall of Steel he got for his 21 SZ rollup. That one was named Fuzzy Warrior and he was undefeated! 7-0! We were all very impressed.
In the end, my guys slowly fell like dominoes… Vengeance went out at 5-3, which gave be tremendous hope for the future. Justice got scummed by Fewmaster Toede’s TP to lose out on a TV going 7-3 in rookies. Same deal with the TP I had in novices – another 7-3. And my big surprise, T. Deville, in ADM getting taken down by Lethal of Engines of doom. Another 7-3. However, my crappy scum, Sir Berus, just kept fighting guys he could beat and went 9-1, for my first TV. Seeing as my personal record for a tournament prior to that had been 6 wins, getting 3 guys to go 7-3 and a TV… I was ecstatic. Plus, my new super warrior, Rabid Moose, had ended rookies with ADEX attack and experts in parry and defense, which seemed like a great start for him despite his 3-3 tournament.
I Backstroke was strong on day two and TVed Novices for Mad Max, which was his first and made him incredibly happy.
Aaaand as the tournament wound down, Fewmaster Toede’s WS was STILL undefeated! 10-0! In fact, he had TWO undefeated guys, as another of his warriors – Flea – was also 10-0! I’m pretty sure Flea was a TP, but I’m not 100% on that after 28 years.
Toede asked Mad Max and I to help him in the runoffs and we were happy to be included. So, we scouted styles and found out what everyone in the runoffs was and even got to look at some fights of the other warriors in prior rounds, scouting attack locations, armor, weapons. Back then we thought we were brilliant doing this – even though it is so commonplace today.
Also, from my memory, all the other guys were total parries. And though Fuzzy Warrior (and Flea) had plenty of endurance, neither did much damage – which made victory a challenge.
In round 11, Flea fought another TP and was scummed in 19 minutes. It probably could have gone either way, but he lost and was eliminated. Fuzzy Warrior got lucky and fought a stand in. We were all psyched by that!
In round 12… ANOTHER stand in! Fuzzy mangled a Convicted Thief!!!
And then there were two. Fuzzy Warrior vs. a MIGHTY scum named Veritech Fighter. He had previously won fights in 20-30 minutes and clearly had way greater endurance than Fuzzy. And Fuzzy wasn’t likely to take him on damage since he wasn’t critting at all and did normal damage. We got to look at two of Veritech Fighter’s fights from earlier in the tournament, one vs. another Wall of Steel. I noticed that around minute 12 the TP was getting tired and then getting hit by the Wall of Steel, but not enough and the WS eventually toppled over from exhaustion. So, we came up with what we considered to be a great plan. We put Fuzzy in lighter armor – ring or scale or something, gave him a big weapon – a GS, even though he was too short – and ran him super slow to start. 2-1-6 for the first 5 minutes, then 4-1-6 bash in min 6+. Targeting the left leg to slow him down…
Then it was time… For 10 minutes the warriors stood, circled and did the scumfest tango. Fuzzy made some attacks with his GS, but only landed one. In minute 5 out of nowhere he made a GS crit, hit Veritch fighter in the left leg and is was a massive blow! We all cheered with hope!
Sadly… in minute 10 Fuzzy started getting tired. And we groaned.
But then in minute 12 Veritech Fighter was also tired. And the scumfest continued.
Minute 13, Fuzzy Warrior bashed with his GS and Veritech Fighter took a shot to the left leg. In minute 14 Fuzzy Warrior bashed with his GS and another hit to the left leg! The TP was desperate!
Aaaand Fuzzy Warrior was staggering with exhaustion.
He struggled to hold up his weapons! He circled about aimlessly…
Minute 15… and again, out of nowhere! A GS crit! Veritch Fighter took the blow to the left leg AGAIN! Spectators cringed as the horrific power of the blow struck home!
And it was over! Fuzzy Warrior had won! Yes, it was victory for Fewmaster Toede, but I took it as a moral victory for me as well!
(Thanks to Assur for having the newsletter – for YEARs others – I’m thinking Marmaduke – thought someone else had won rookies that tournament – but I knew differently)
So, the tournament was over, but the addiction had been stoked and the fires burned brighter than ever!
Hope you all enjoyed! - The Dark One
Stik ArchMaster Poster
Joined: May 06, 2003
Location: Frozen Tundra of North Dakota
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:32 pm
A fantastic remembrance of the event! Very cool. I quit that game right about that same time, getting very involved in college, having never been to a FtF, and didn't resurface until 1999. Missed a lot of good stuff I think.
I don't know how some of you guys can create these massive posts and tourney reports! In any case, thanks for putting it out there!
Joined: Nov 23, 2002
Location: on the golf course, in the garden, reading, traveling, and now Consulting
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:39 am
A great write and a great read.
Amazing FTF notes. (From the 1st East Coast one.)
Terrific insight to two brothers and greats of the game.
Will soon be an all-arena spotlight in the NLs.
P.S. Interestingly, this was the first FTF we Consortiumites attended (although having been around a while) and we did not (at least don't remember) meet up with Joe and John.
_________________ Ye Old Consortium Scribe & Crapmaster 2013, Crapgiver 2014
1149 ADM graduates (40+ manager IDs) including 153K+ fights and 101K+ wins plus 4 teams with 1500+ wins (Animal Farm DM11 @1930; Bulldogs DM11 @ 1844; Lenpros DM30 @ 1688; Fandils DM46 @ 1596
Grimwood Advanced Expert Poster
Joined: Aug 26, 2003
Location: Rocanis, Alastari
Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:02 pm
Thank you for the write up. It brought back a lot my own FTF memories with friends. However, I've likely forgotten more than I could ever remember by going to bed too late, drinking too much, and getting up way too early.
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