Two koteis in two weeks saw the Portland L5R crew scrambling around to prepare some Ivory legal decks worthy of tournament play. After cutting out dozens of proxies, searching for original printings of re-printed cards, and actually playing a few play-test games, we may not have been ready, but at least we were completely unprepared.
Vancouver, BC (March 15th)
First up was the Burnaby, BC kotei attended by Mike (playing Dragon guys with battle actions and weapons), Roy (playing Scorpion dishonor), and Ruthie Wiley one of our new rising stars (playing Unicorn).
The Portland L5R team has a long standing tradition of getting horribly lost on the way to this kotei, and this year was no exception. At one point while trying to puzzle out yet another convoluted road, Roy commented “Hey, we’ve been lost here before.” Arriving at the kotei site did little to ease our minds, as it looked suspiciously like the beginning of a low budget horror movie (complete with random flock of ravens devouring a carcass on the front lawn). Despite the last minute venue change, the kotei exceeded our initial impressions and was very well run! The Swiss rounds (not surprisingly) consisted of a lot of card reading, puzzled looks, and “Aha!” moments. At the end of 6 rounds, Ruthie and Mike had a respectable 3-3 record, Ruthie was top Unicorn, and Roy managed to make it into the elimination rounds. After Roy lost his X-2 round, we all entered the honor competition which was the simple, and surprisingly fun, Love Letter. Unfortunately, none of us were very good at the game, however we were able to get on the road back to Portland at a reasonable hour. Overall, an excellent tournament, and a nice kotei introduction for Ruthie who commented, “I’m again amazed by the player base and how friendly everyone is. As far as the tournament scene goes I’m really excited to see my deck performing so well and that I was able to place high in a tournament! I have pretty limited experience with deck building and it’s amazing to see a deck I sat down and made do so well.”
Santa Clara, CA (March 22nd)
Anyone that’s been to the Northern California kotei, will tell you it is not to be missed. The people are great, the prizes are amazing, and the tournament itself is run with a precise efficiency. (Trust me, you do not want to be late reporting your results to Amanda.)
This time around, we added Dennis D to our car, and set out on the grueling 11 hour drive with high hopes for a little more team Portland success. Mike, Roy and Ruthie had made a few modifications to their decks, Dennis had opted to play something Mantis-y (big surprise), and everyone was expecting a repeat of the Crane scout heavy field we saw in BC. The trip down was pretty uneventful, and we managed to get a few hours of sleep before the 6:45 wake-up call. The Swiss rounds seemed to be full of people enjoying the new environment, the close games, and actually counting up force in battles. Speaking for myself, most rounds seemed to go to time, but with the addition of the “draw” as an official match result, there seemed to be a lot less uncomfortable end-game situations; less angry die-rolls, more calm discussion and in many cases friendly concessions. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue throughout the Ivory Arc, and lead to an increase in tournament attendance. Team Portland definitely upped their game as Mike, Roy and Ruthie made the X-2 cut, Mike made it to the top 4, and Roy won both the kotei, and the honor event.
Two weeks from this Saturday (April 12th) is the Portland kotei being held at the amazing Guardian Games. Roy will not be winning this kotei, since he is the official Tournament Organzier. We look forward to seeing you all there, and hearing about your experience. Until then … BANZAI!!!!