Well, this weekend I went to Charolette NC for an L5R Kotei!
(That means I dorked a cardgame about samurai.)
It was a ton of fun! This was my first Kotei, so I was sure to take a lot of pictures. Sadly, what I didn't take were notes...
The good news is I did pretty well. I took my Crane Courtier Trick deck and went 4-2. Next time, I'll try to make top 8.
I can forsee this will become a Tournament Report, so I'm not even going to fight it. Scroll down if all you want is pretty pictures.
The deck I took:
Stronghold Shizuka Toshi
Wind The Underhand
2x Bay of Green Coral
Naga Storm Mirumoto Mountain
A New Wall
The Shogun's Peace
The First Wedding
3x Yotsu Dojo
2x Governor's Court
Gifts and Favors
Shrine to Fukurokujin
Shrine of the Sun
2x Kakita Noriko
2x Doji Doukohito
3x Asahina Beniha
3x Doji Otoya
3x Doji Toshinobu
3x Silent Warriors
3x Cool Heads Prevail
3x Test of Honor
3x Fields of Foolish Pride
3x Heavily Engaged
3x To Do What We Must
3x Outer Walls
3x The Empress' Address
3x Honored Hostage
2x Allegiance to the Emperor
2x Reinforce the Gates
2x Peaceful Discourse
2x Strength of the Crane
Strength in Certainty
Sacrifice of Pawns
Game One: Vs. Scorpion (City of Lies Military)
I wish I could remember the name of the fellow I first played against, but he was a very nice and polite opponent. The game was pretty close, and it even went to time, but in the end I had to give him the victory. I made an early play mistake that cost me 6 honor, and as I shook his hand and congratulated him on a well-earned victory, I privately promised myself that I would never forget to use Beniha's ability before playing Sacrifice of Pawns again.
MVP: Dashing to Honor Really Quickly. Reason I lost: Play mistake Record: 0-1
Game Two: Vs. Shadowlands (Big Oni Stomp)
I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated when I saw Sentei no Oni hit the table on turn 3-4, but luckily I had answers, and luckily my opponent had little unbow tech in play to call upon. My opponent for this game was Erika Crowell, a charming Shadowlands player who offered me (and others at the kotei) a tootsieroll pop before and after our game. The game was well fought, but in the end, I managed to pull off the win.
MVP: The honor dash, Honored Hostage and Konishiko Comboed together, Heavily Engaged. Record: 1-1
Game Three: Vs. Crab (Scouts and Blitzing)
Once again, I have foolishly forgotten the name of the fine player I was pitted against in round three, but he was a nice opponent and he had a really cool deck. I saw plenty of Hiruma scouts, and for most of the game, my provinces had strengths around 2 or 3. A novel approach... I'd never played a deck like that before, and I wasn't sure if I could pull off the win. Luckily for me... I did. If there's one thing this game proved to me, it was that Fields of Foolish Pride is always worth running. That card saved me two provinces. Also, I learned that Toku Butaka is a really good personality; there was very little I could do against that dude. Another great game!
MVP: Fields of Foolish Pride, Test of Honor. Record: 2-1
Game Four: Vs. Crab (Heroes and Smashing)
This game was against my buddy Evan, whom I play with all the time in my hometown. He's pretty new to this game, and I helped him make his deck, so I'm pretty sure I can beat him. He surprised me when he took two provinces with some wicked combo action, and I was forced to settle in for a serious game. It came pretty close (in fact, I had only one province left when I crossed 40), but I managed to pull off the win. Note to self: Kuon is a problem in a deck that prefers to bow the opponent. Evan is very graceful in defeat, and it was a fun game. We played again after the kotei with the same decks, and he beat me in another close game. Too bad that one wasn't a kotei-game. He's bound to be top Crab soon enough!
MVP: Test of Honor. Easily. Record: 3-1
Game Five: Vs. Dragon (High House of Light Satsu Stomp)
I knew I was in for wank when I saw Pan'ku. I thought he was running Satsu Bomb when I saw two versions of Satsu in his deck. I knew he was running desperate wager when I saw his stronghold. Everything I saw told me I was going to lose this game.... but I wasn't going to give up without a fight! It was a good game, but I managed to control Satsu the whole game, and Pan'ku, though frightening, was not as fast as Konishiko with a Honored Hostage as her action, or my To Do What We Must with Otoya and an Empress' Address + Beniha. I don't mean to brag, but I got some God Draws, and very lucky combos as well. Any other draw and he probably would have beaten me. He was a very good opponent, and very polite.
MVP: Konishiko, and Tsuno Swamps. Record: 4-1
Game Six: Vs. Phoenix (Lotsa Dragons)
This was one of the closest, and best, games I've ever played. It came right down to the wire! I played Chris Adkins, the ONLY Phoenix player at the kotei, and it was a GREAT game. I'll paint the final few turns for you: It's my turn 5. I have Kikaze in play, 25 honor, and three provinces full of holdings. I have a great presenceless defense hand. He has a load of dragons on his side of the table. His void dragon has no text (Wanderers Revealed), but he stil has two different Fire Dragons, and a slew of phoenix-bordered dragons. ON my 5th turn, I turn up all holdings in my provinces. This makes me sad, but I have a good hand, so I figure I can hold him off. I play three honored hostages on Kikaze and gain 15 honor, putting me up to 40 honor on turn 5 (!!!). It's so beautiful, he has to call a judge to verify the move was legal. It was THAT sweet, you guys! On his turn, he attacks (he has to), and he divides his army up. I'm ready for him... at least, I thought I was. Two sneaks and a ranged 12 later, and I'm looking at three popped provinces in a single turn. Close game! He earned that victory, and I don't regret it! It's yet another example of how a well-timed Naga Storm would have won me the game... or if I had one of my Bay of Green Coral... or if I actually found some personalities in my provinces on turns 4 and 5. Oh well. Close game anyway.
MVP: Honored Hostage. Reason I lost: No Naga Storm makes Spooky a saaaaad panda. Record: 4-2
I had a GREAT time. Thanks to everyone I played against. I didn't meet a single bad player, a single jerk, or a single s.o.b. Class acts all the way! Max Kudos all around, and all that stuff. Thanks for making my first Kotei an excellent one. ^-^
Ok. Now for pictures:
Here are my buddies Evan and Donald practicing before the Kotei. Yes, that is Spongebob on the T.V.
Here's the room before it was filled to the brim with gamers.
PLayers playing games! This is where the action is, my friends! FEEL the EXCITEMENT!!!
Here's Teri. He ran the tourney. Also, he was Hiruma Todori on Winter Court, and it was awesome to finally meet him in real life. He's a really nice guy, and everyone should send him cookies.
These guys I met at the Kotei are some of the coolest dudes I've met in a while. They remind me of my friends back home, actually. They're from Boone, NC, where my grandfolks live. Next time I'm up there, we've got to hang out!
Here's a group pic of them, with myself strategically placed amongst them. Can you guess which one I am? Am I difficult to pick out? Yeah, I bet I am.
So from left to right: Morgan (who is either #1, or a unicorn player), the Doity Pirate Geoffrey, "Oni no Erika" (right below him), Myself, and fellow crane Handsome James. You guys rock!
My outfit perhaps requires explaination: in an attempt to gain a point of politics/spirit for the Crane, I decided to go in costume.
warning I am revealing my hideous visage to the whole of the internet for your viewing pleasure.
This absolutely beautiful Yukata was hand-made by my grandmother specifically for this kotei. I picked up the fabric at a Jo-ann's and downloaded a pattern to sew it myself, but as it so happens my grandmother has sewn kimono before, and she made this absolutely beautiful one just for this event. I love it so much, I'm using it now as a bathrobe, and I intend to wear it to the next kotei, and Gencon. I'm also wearing Tabi socks, which I made from regular Dockers.
Over this, I wore a blue Kimono and Obi, both sent to me by the player of Hitomi Vedau on Winter Court, also known as "Suburbiaknight" on the AEG forums. He's another great guy, and someday I hope to meet him in real life to personally thank him for such a wonderful kimono and obi. As you can see, it went really well with the rest of the outfit. The fan was won at the Kotei by myself (a winter court themed bounty).
In case you were wondering, it was common practice in feudal japan to wear the most colorful and patterned kimono under another, plain one, allowing for a kind of zen-like metaphor for complexity under calmness. I'm glad the sleeves showed out from the blue one, since the yukata has such an awesome pattern.
If I may comment about the kimono: in a lot of ways, this was the MOST practical outfit I've ever worn. Despite the heat (and two layers), I remained pretty cool and comfortable, and I had plenty of room to move about inside the outfit. It also stayed together pretty well, and even though I moved around alot, it didn't really wrinkle or come undone. It also looked very elegant. I was impressed. In other ways, however, it was not very practical at all. For instance: usinging the bathroom. How did japanese men pee in feudal times? Using the toilet was kind of a challenge... to reveal how I accomplished this task a grand total of 4 times without getting anything tragic on the kimono(s) is a feat best left untold. After all, why spoil the fun for you when you could try it yourself, right? ^-^
So yeah, back to the kotei:
Myself and my buddy Evan, posing in our outfits. I was surprised there weren't more dressed up like us... especially given some of the pictures I had seen. A lot of people wore clan spirit, but Evan and I were amongst the only few that went all decked-out.
And then there was this guy:
Jay Earle won Most Spirited, and who can deny him? The guy clearly loves our favorite cheese-eating squeekers. Gratz-gratz, Earle. May Tomorrow never catch you. Squeek!
The Kotei Prizes! Check out that spread! Impressive, yes?
Partway through the Kotei, we were given a test, to prove our knowledge of Rokugan. The winner would earn a point in spirit for their clan. My friend Evan, who has onnly been playing for a short while, turned in a magnificent test:
Well played, friend.
Our only Phoenix player. What can I say that I haven't already? Kudos, man! Great game!
Top Crane! Gratz Chris! You da Man!
The prizes I walked away with (other then the cards that were given out, rares falling into my lap!). The fan was won as a bounty, and those two full-bleeds of Domotai were given to all the Crane players by the very generous Top Crane. A class act all the way! ^-^
The final game! Oh the suspense!
But in the end, it was David with the Lion Clan Ashigaru Deck! That's the first Kotei Lion have won in a Looooooong time. Great job Dave! Congratulations from your allies in the Crane Clan. ^-^
And here we have David calling an apparently very drunk Ling on his cellphone to tell him about his victory. Little does Ling know, David has him on speakerphone, and we are all laughing at... err.. I mean... with him. ^-^
A winter court pic. Here's Teri, Myself, and Randy... also known as Hiruma Todori, Doji Tanitsu, and Ikoma Yasuko. Next time I see you guys, you're signing copies of your cards, k?
Yashiniko's player was there as well, but left before we took this photo. Oh well.
Teri, Me, and Randy in a sudden and uncomfortable man sandwich. Ladies, you like?
3 out of the 5 crane representatives at the kotei. There's Warren, Chris, and myself. Blue was strong that day, my friends! The Crane walked away with many victories and favors owed. I am proud to be blue!
I have more pictures, but this entry is long enough as it is. Thanks again to everyone at the kotei! Utz! Utz! Banzai!