It has been a couple of years since I went to the FTF, my longest absence in awhile. If I had to do it over, I'm not sure I would have, but it is what it is. Things got off to an ominous start when Khisanth (my roommate) sent me a text, told me he was symptomatic and tested positive. "I'm hurting he said. I can't imagine filling out 80 strategy sheets. It's only gonna be like 10." he said as I agreed to proxy for him. Thanks to Assur for stepping up to be my roommate after Khisanth bailed. I think Madwand also cancelled on him. Some big guns like Floyd and TMM also weren't making it to this FtF.
It was significantly cheaper for me to fly in on Thursday, so I did it. The Embassy Suites is the same as before, although they are cutting back on amenities. No automatic airport shuttle, no omelette station at breakfast, and (arguably the biggest), you can only get two drinks during the manager's reception at happy hour.
Of course I get there and it seemed like Khisanth seemed to be miraculously feeling better as he seemed well enough to saddle me with 40 warriors after all. Because my last two tourneys were really small, my own squad was also on the very large side (90 + some rookies) as I ended up having a lot of naturally timed warriors. (Author's Note: I had temporarily forgotten how many warriors I can handle efficiently) I also put in the work during COVID having prepped a lot of warriors and did a bunch of things like drastically increase the size of my warrior database. Not to mention I implemented Assur/HW's idea of having a stamp ready to increase my productivity and turn out sheets faster! (Sandy also liked the stamp as it made things easier to read)
I can work remotely now so I worked from my hotel room until RSI arrived at the room, which was around 3:30 in the afternoon I think. Things were set up pretty quickly. I bought my 20 roll-ups around 5:30 or so. My turns from the week were waiting for me. But I still hadn't done my Bloodgames or anything. I wasn't going to do Bloodgames originally but with so many Bloodgames Perennial Winning managers out, I thought there might be an opportunity to do well. I also entered the Crap Masters and felt confident about my chance to be the first 3x Crap Master Champion. My roll-up were decent my crap master team sheet was ok. (I thought one good two bleah ones) A couple of my roll-ups were similar to OAB's Rookies winner for last October!!
By the time I got my Bloodgames, Rookies and everything else back and entered it was 11:30 or so. There were still a handful of managers there later than me. Assur had went to bed hours ago. So did a lot of a bunch of other managers. It was a far cry from
when we were young and everyone would be up late.
Oh wow things were crazy. I'm managing way too many warriors (My 100'ish plus Khisanth's 40). With no TMM as a buffer, I'm the one who is holding up the entire tourney as Sandy quickly moves through the ranks and I'm like "HOLD!" with each passing around. Still, things are moving along briskly and on time. The newsletters stopped updating which was also awful for all for the people following remotely. Normally I'd say you have to be here, but I understand people being virtual for this FtF.
My Bloodgames hunch turned out to be correct as there were only 10 managers entered in the regular version! My warriors got lucky and racked up some early kills as I jumped into the lead.
Other than that, I had no idea how I was really doing. It felt like my good warriors were winning and my bad warriors were losing.
Nothing super exciting was happening. For the most part in today's day and age, you don't really need to leave your table or interact with anyone at a FtF. There wasn't too much drinking, although people were doing cartwheels for stuff.
There was a sad moment for me, every time I ran into a style that was input into my database by Otto X. He was one of the few non-alliance members I trusted with my warrior database, and he was one of the most dilligent, always entering his tourney warriors and turns when he didn't have to. My database saves who entered the warriors--and everytime I came across one he entered I did a silent tribute. You'll be remembered every FtF, pal. Thanks Otto. Still helping us try to TC.
We had a dinner break at the normal time around 6. I used the time to finally catch up. I still wasn't 100% caught up when the last round started up again but it was enough to not have Sandy call my name right away for the rest of the night. The overnight turn happened at normal and about half the room went to sleep and half stayed up. I just managed to get my Mail-In Bloodgames entered in time!
I set my alarm for about 6:30 my time. Assur was already up and out of the room. It took me until 7:00 AM or to hit the RSI Room. (Turn were due at 9) I picked up my Overnight MI Bloodgames and went for breakfast. I noticed I had one of the thickest stacks
on the table compared to everyone else, so I was hopeful, but alas it was just a lot of long fights and no one I had had more than 2 kills, so I quickly threw it into the trash when I was done eating.
Run-Off time period was around noon. Every round was running about 90 minutes or so so it was seamless. Because I had gotten early, I had a good head start and Sandy didn't catch me until it was Round 10 or so when I started to fall behind again. Between my guys and
Khisanth's guys, I was hanging onto at least one warrior in every class it seemed so I was still pretty busy all the way up and down
the board when it came for run-offs. I know that near the end there were 5 classes left and I had a warrior going in each class.
It was extremely stressful.
Here is how I saw different classes:
Primus: TMM not being there person was probably a big disappointment to all of the Primus managers who were looking forward to an in-person showdown at the end of things. The end came down to 16 TVs by 5 different managers, and TMM had 9 of them, which is very strong but a difference from the day where he was winning every single aware. Things had turned around a bit when the field got down to 6, with TUM having 3 of them, Doc Steele 1, TMM 1 and Chief I 1. In the end it came down to a rematch between Frankenberry and
Meat (with Frankenberry winning the first one). Meat wins the rubber match and claims another TC. Is he shaping up to be one of the
dominant warriors of this new era? We'll have to see.
Eligibles: HW's Sonny Terry was arguably one of the biggest favorites of the tourney and would have been a top pick on my Fantasy D2 team. Rogar Thorfin was an older warrior who had been performing well, but I didn't think/realize he was busting until it was too late. As it turns out a SZ 19(?) Lunger had too much Init for Sonny Terry and he totally cruised to the TC. What a dominant
performance! (Goes to look up all the Big Lungers on his mini overviews to see if he can replicate the success)
ADM: I was busting out a really fun PL I had low expectations for after my better bustouts hadn't been doing that well. He had
6 easy trains to bust, which he hit in the first 7 rounds. (This never happens to my double 21's). He ran out of runway training
and finished Top 5 but I was super excited about that. Going into Round 10, it really looked like anyone's game. Urethra was
undefeated but I thought he was beatable and DMobster had two really good bustouts going. (And Bill Murray was always a threat, I
wasn't sure he was busting at the time) I did come down to Urethra and a DMobster SL, with TUM's Lunger picking up the win at the end.
Freshmen: The 2 TP's I was running (one mine one Khisanth's) were fighting a lot of the top guys. It seemed they were doing well against all the non-bustouts, but losing to all of the bustout warriors. This one was really hard for me to call. My early run off
pick was the offensive TP Taipei, but it looks like the offensives were too much for him at the end. Not too surprised to see Bentsword's guy win it. I love PR's in Freshmen. I was impressed to see a Slasher (TMM's) make it this far. Usually most of the Slashers I have that get too close to the Freshmen line are prety terrible with too much Init.
Adepts: My last Adept got eliminated in Round 7. Khisanth had a bleah Striker that was on the bubble, so I decided to adopt that
warrior since it was the only thing I had left in that class. It was facing a Lunger and Drunk Bob was looking rather average with a SC, so I switched to a Lunging weapon (SS). He threw all crits right after I switched. I tried it again, and all crits again too.
"I can work with this I thought to myself". Now feeling confident against anything I thought he could jump, I thought he could make a
deep run as long as I didn't do anything stupid with Decise/Response/Open. Khisanth had way better warriors so I was just making whatever changes without any worry and whatever I did seemed like the right move. Before I know it he's in the Final 3 and drew the NPC. I knew his finals opponent was likely an Evil Twin but I was still fairly confident because of the crit/knockdown % of this warrior and the fact he wasn't my warrior and Khisanth was fucking lucky to get this warrior this far and he got sick and bailed on me and then entered more warriors than he said he would/not sending any information on his warriors and letting me run everything blind/could he really blame me if I fucked this up?
Inits: JE called this class to me on Saturday. His warrior was good and I thought he had a shot. It came down to Doc Steele and JE
at the end. I don't know if JE's guy that made the finals was the one he told me about, but he made it! Destiny came out strong but
couldn't get the knockdown or throw enough crits and Doc's Renown was able to turn it around and win. It was a solid warrior, I lost
to it a couple of times. Also a salute to Boss Rat, who also made the Final 4! I love seeing returning managers back in contention! (JE's quest for his first TC is admittedly makes him a sentimental fave but Doc's return to the TC Chair has me nostalgic as well)
Apps: Another class where I was personally disappointed with my performance. But anyway, Doc Steele had 4 of the Final 6 and
locked this one up pretty quickly. Despite the big size, it was one of the first TC's read. Nice to see a PR win such a low level
class! I can't comment too much since this one of the classes where I didn't have anyone TC and didn't really fight any of the contenders.
Contenders: We're down to 3 warriors and Khisanth's stud, Dawn, just suffered his 2nd loss to Alucard. Undefeated A Balcony looms
at 14-0. (Dawn's other loss was a lopsided one to A Balcony) At this point, I had just proxied the Adepts win and I'm just like "Fuck it, I just got Khisanth a TC, I'm playing with house money we're going to change Dawn's strategy, there's nothing to lose. After a consult with Khisanth, I tweaked his strategy, Dawn suddenly looked unbeatable, and then he went on to win the rubber match with Alucard and then beat A Balcony 3x in a row for the TC.
Challengers: As easy as it was to change Khisanth's strategies, I was a total mess when it came to my own warriors, taking 3x the time
and totally plagued with indecision. Final Snotling was hanging on in the Final 6, but the style match ups were not in his favor, with all these skill Aimed Blows (Other than Dolemite, where did they all come from?!?!?) and a Lunger that actually had physicals. He somehow survived Pillar of Salt and then got a totally fluky win over Bob (via weapon breakage) and then an NPC and the next thing I know I'm in the Finals in a rematch vs. Bob. I just had to somehow not get knocked down and I had a shot, but Final Snotling got knocked down and lost. Final Snotling is still the ugly stepchild of the Snotling Family, still waiting for his first TC.
Champs: Going into the tourney, I thought Bill was my best shot for a TC. I scouted my competition, put together a squad that had a good meta against who I thought were the top threats. (An LU and a couple of ST) But despite my best laid plans, I didn't foresee a Slasher surviving against all the Strikers and making it to the TC fight! (I should have-- given Shout's resume) I was still a mess from Challengers as well so I went to Crip and the Consortium who gave me good advice, I feel like my strategy was good, but I was ultimately foiled by excellent specimen of the worst style in the game when I got knocked down pretty quickly (again).
Rookies: While all this is going on, we also had Rookies. Khisanth had a warrior in the Final 3 and was dictating strategies to me but got killed by one of DMob's guys. In hindsight, I should have told Khisanth that I got it, the way things were going, I'm sure I could have just put in a random set of numbers for his guy and he probably would have won lol. (Not to discout the winners, I was just feeling invincible managing Khisanth's warriors) But both warriors who made the finals were good, I lost to both with own warriors multiple times. I knew from the sheer number of scum in the tourney it would affect the endgame. This resulted in too many ABs making the run-offs so any of the anti-AB's that weren't eliminated by the scum were going to go very far. Which is pretty much what happened. DMobster beat Den in the end.
Bloodgames: So my idea that the FtF Bloodgames would be weaker without the likes of TMM, Floyd, HW, OAB etc was right, and I was able to snag 2 of the 3 styles and get them out! (AB and WS) It was a normal start/strong hold onto your lead and play defensive later strategy and I'm glad it was successful. For the first time ever, I made a Jalon AB instead of a Trip-21 AB and I don't know why I didn't sooner. It's such a good archetype for this format, so easy to rack up wins! (And if you rack up wins you can get kills)
Crapmasters: Mannequin picks up his first Crapmasters win. One of the underdogs, Eli, came in 2nd! Both had some pretty solid scum on them, I think that was part of the key.
After the FtF we had grudge matches, the Consortium was able to complete his roll-up drop prize from King of Primus (there's video
on Discord and Facebook) and we had Bubba try Indian food for the first time before his flight left.
After the FtF, I was going to visit my parents, but one of them tested positive for Omicron over the weekend (very mild symptoms) so I just went home and started writing. It was so good to see everyone again, even those I didn't talk to much. Familiar faces are nice and I'm so glad to see everyone is doing well after COVID. I'm not committing for the summer yet but hopefully it will work out!
Overall I learned a few things. There's still a decisive mega-manager inside of me, when I'm not obssessing about my own warriors, I just need to find a way to bring him out. It's still good to be competitive even though I'm not paying as much attention as when I was always home during the pandemic. I got a lot of TVs and some stylemasters and more Freshmen Bloodgamers to play with. Can't complain, the hard part is always getting there!
Angus_15 Unchartered Poster
Joined: Feb 03, 2021
Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:20 pm
What was on the stamp? "All Same Except"?
Managerr ArchMaster Poster
Joined: Jul 12, 2002
Wed Jan 19, 2022 9:09 pm
Yeah the stamp just said "SAME" in big capitol letters.
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