Irish Open Report | The Irish Duelist

Irish Open Report

The Irish Open was billed as one of the biggest Yu-Gi-Oh! Events in Ireland’s history, with a large attendance and even larger prizes expected. All of Ireland’s best and most well known players would attend, as well as some players from the United Kingdom. With players of the calibre of Stephen Lynam, Jamie Stafford and others in attendance this was going to be a very difficult event and something to remember.

On Saturday morning I got up and decided to head into Locals in Limerick. For once I had no intention of playing as I had to take the bus up to Dublin and check into Isaac’s Hostel near Busáras that afternoon. Regardless, I went in, met up with the players there and hung around for a while before departing for the capital at about 12. The journey was long, clocking in at about 3 and a half hours, but with the only other option being a €50 the extra hour and less comfort seemed a fair trade.

I hit the hostel at about 4 and checked in where I met up with the rest of my roommates: Stafford, Galy, Jesus, Chris, GingerChris, Gary and David, who booked everything for us. For once, I actually had a deck ready in advance so everything was a little more relaxed. I was running the deck that brought me to an undefeated finish at the Fortune Tour Stop in Dublin a month ago, but with some changes I was working on since then. The deck was running well all the time and I was really happy with it. It had plenty of variety and was capable of going to the ‘late-game’ without falling apart like most TeleDaD decks do. I had a few games with my ‘fun deck’, Lightsworn (with an OCG Gold Sarcophagus just for the hell of it) before giving my main deck a bit of a run. Considering everybody else in the room was either running TeleDaD or Lightsworn this was a good opportunity to see how the deck fared in practice (I built the deck off theory and self testing, the best I could do in the month beforehand). There were a few niggles here and there, but the deck seemed alright and I suppose the fact that I had already written out my decklist made me not want to try anything that I wasn’t familiar with. We chilled out for a few hours and finished up at about midnight, except for myself and Gary who went down to the ‘bomb shelter’ (the recreational area) to watch TV for a while.

We all got up at about 9 and set out for the Holiday Inn on Pearse Street, while the location was dead easy to find, it was quite a bit of a walk from the city centre. Regardless, we got there before it started raining heavily and prepared for the tournament ahead. While I was confident in my deck and my ability, I was also a little anxious about the day ahead. Anybody ‘decent’ was capable of topping and I was expecting people to ‘raise their game’. For some, this event was their Fortune Tour Final (as they were unable to qualify), for others it was a mini SJC and for a select few, this was their chance to break into the Irish Yu-Gi-Oh! scene with an impressive, unexpected result. For me it was preparation for the Irish Fortune Tour Finals on the 18th and a chance to get back into top level play after the Christmas break. I still wanted the laptop that was on offer for first place though, so this was going to be taken seriously. I got into ‘profit mode’ and tried to make as much in cash and cards before the event started, and ended up with quite a few bargains and big sales. Overall I made about €100 during the day, which is always handy. Just before midday Mark Kenny and Tim Chen briefed the players and we got paired up.

Round 1 vs. Peter Gallagher (Sligo) [Permission Control]
As expected, I got something unusual for Round 1. The guy told me that he’d never really played in a tournament before and spent most of his playing time on the Nintendo DS (or PSP, I can’t remember) Tag Force games. While I shuffled my deck I let it slip that I was the highest ranked player in the country, just to see how he would react and it seemed to shake him up a little. The game was quite interesting to be honest, he threw a few spanners in the works but ultimately nothing could get past my Stardust. I saw a Horus LV6 in Game 1 and while siding I asked what he was running, he didn’t say but blurted out something about Jinzo so I sided accordingly. Game 2 was more of the same, random control monsters backed up by Solemn Judgment. Despite that, I opened with 3 Solemns and the game was easy to take control of.

Matches: 1-0
Games: 2-0

Round 2 vs. Alan Warnock (Northern Ireland) [Lightsworn]
Alan is one of the higher ranked players in Ireland and somebody I was in contact with after the Fortune Tour Stop about decks and such. Lightsworn is always a difficult matchup due to what it does, so I pretty much had to win fast or get hit with Judgment Dragon and lose. The first game swings a little bit before I have a chance to go for game. I bring out DaD, Colossal and Malicious and just need a Krebons or a Plaguespreader to win. I play my last card, Allure and hit Emergency Teleport and... Psychic Commander. There goes my hand and the game as he brings out Judgment Dragon next turn and wins from there. Game 2 and I draw the nuts and by the end of turn 3 I had Plasma, Stardust, Light-Mirror, Roar and a Gardna in grave. Once again I have a chance to go for game and summon Snipe Hunter with 2 cards in hand. I roll a one...and a six. I leave it, fearing Honest and he begins his comeback, flipping Royal Decree and forcing out the Necro Gardna. He cuts me down a bit but I still have Stardust to his Goyo and Lyla. I top Brain Control and steal the Goyo, attempting to go for game only to smack into Honest. He wins next turn.

Matches: 1-1
Games: 2-2

Round 3 vs. Michael Malanathy (Northern Ireland) [Gladiator Beasts]
With such an early loss I need to go x-0 for the rest of the day or else have great tiebreakers to top. My third game was against a Gladiator Beast deck with teched Venom Swamp, which cuts the Synchros down to a manageable size while the Gladiators are unaffected due to their constant tagging in and out. I have to admit, it was funny to see Darius run over my Stardust but I needed to win so I pulled out an OTK before siding. I open with 6 monsters (2 Krebons, DaD, Plaguespreader, Malicious and Snipe) and was happy to see that his only Retiari in the deck was on the field Turn 1. If his backrow wasn’t Chariot (it was Dimensional Prison) I could set myself up for an OTK next turn. I miss the first roll before shooting the Prison and running over Retiari. He summons Equeste and runs over the Snipe giving me the third Dark for game.

Matches: 2-1
Games: 4-2

Round 4 vs. Thomas-Wyse Jackson (Dublin) [Black Garden] {Feature Match}
Despite the fact that Stephen Lynam and Jamie Stafford were paired against each other on Table 2, it was myself and ‘Zaffy’ that got the feature match. After a deck check and a bit of chat he opens with Black Garden, a set monster and a set Rivalry of Warlords. I have Storm in my opening hand though and get rid of 2 major threats. I set myself up for a DaD play down the road but he throws a spanner in the works by bringing out Goyo and taking my Plaguespreader. I go into a 2900 Colossal and run over the Goyo before he brings out Red Dragon Archfiend to run over it. To be honest at this point I forget that Colossal’s effect is Mandatory, but if I remembered I would have brought out Goyo from his grave to keep me at 3 Darks anyways. I top a second Dark Armed and OTK him. Game 2 was more of the same, which is a shame as I was hoping that the Feature would be more of a contest (and more entertaining to read as a result). Regardless I needed to keep winning to have any chance of topping so I was hoping to get a (relatively) easy win in the round after this to give me a boost for the final 2 rounds.

Matches: 3-1
Games: 6-2

Round 5 vs. Stephen Lynam (Dublin) [TeleDaD]
Aw crap, I was hoping to avoid Lynam till at least the round after this as I really need this win. Either way, I was still going to get a memorable game out of him as we always have ‘legendary’ duels. Ever since the Fortune Tour Stop where we clashed in the finals, I’ve been hearing a lot about Lynam’s new ‘secret tech’ from one of my mates and tried my best to find out what it was. Even if it was just me getting a taste of my own medicine (I frequently play mind games with my prospective opponents online before the event so that nobody knows what I’m running. In fact, by the time I got the feature half of the room thought I was playing Twilight) I know how good Lynam is and a new tech is always within his arsenal. In the first game we both draw relatively good hands and end up in a situation similar to that of the Fortune Stop, him with a possible OTK and me with 2 Darks in grave and Gorz in hand. He forces the Gorz but then doesn’t run over it, leaving me with 2 dead Dark Armeds in hand. Next turn he OTKs me with his 2. I show him my hand and we both have a laugh about it. Game 2 was over so quick I can’t really remember what happened, but Game 3 was the stuff of legend. My hand wasn’t great (I had plenty of tuners but nothing to synchro with) and he makes a big push with Stardust, Goyo, DaD and Diamond Dude forcing my Gorz. Next turn I block 5 attacks with a Krebons before he kills it. The turn after I block with Emergency Teleport. I should be dead by now and we all know it. But knowing my luck I might turn it around with my Allure. “Watch him pull it out of his ass again” he commented as I drew my 2. I look up at him and his expression changes as he believed, for a second, that I topped a DaD or something to swing it. Unfortunately I couldn’t do anything and make a T-set. He blows up the monster with DaD (Necro Gardna) and tried to attack for game for the fourth time, but I flip Scapegoat, blocking all 5 of his attacks while I’m on 400LP. “Why won’t you die dammit!” was the response. This was very enjoyable, as expected. Unfortunately I couldn’t top my way out of it and after 4 turns and 20 attacks he finally takes me down. Great game, one we’ll go on about for ages.

Matches: 3-2
Games: 7-4

Round 6 vs. Victoria Teko (Dublin) [Lightsworn]
Vicky was doing really well recently in tournaments and was in the same situation as I was in this tournament. We both realise that the winner will most likely hit Top16 whereas the loser would be out of the Open. The first game was a tactical affair as she hits Lumina/Garoth to get her engine going and I get out Colossal and some protection. Both of her Judgment Dragons get milled and she couldn’t bring them back. As soon as she ran out of Honests and Necro Gardnas I was able to take the win. The second one I got consistently beaten down and take a loss I couldn’t really do anything about. I also missed with Snipe Hunter 3 (the Brits found it hilarious that my Irish accent makes me pronounce the number 3 as ‘tree’) times in a row to eliminate any hope of a comeback. At this point there were 3 minutes remaining so I try and slowroll it and win on time. I side in all the stall I possibly could, make my opening move, as does she and time was called on my second. I get out a Colossal to force the Necro Gardna. She manages to get out Judgment Dragon on her turn and force me to do 2,001 damage on my remaining turn. Fortunately I had it, so long as she doesn’t have Gorz or Honest. I revive my Colossal, summon Stratos and bring out my Malicious in attack. I attack for 100 with Colossal, 1800 with Stratos and she drops Gorz. I offer the handshake after a great match. I did what I could, but these things happen.

Matches: 3-3
Games: 8-6

Round 7 vs. Johnny Wright (Northern Ireland) [TeleDaD]
At this point we both know that we can’t top, but I never drop from events so I might as well play this out. You could tell that I didn’t want to be there though and I didn’t really play with any drive or motivation. Handily enough he has 2 OTK-like hands and makes quick work of me. We met at Nationals last year and got on well so we just chatted about our decks and trades for the rest of our round.

Matches: 3-4
Games: 8-8
Final Standing: 44th/85

Playoffs and After-Event
After my match I go around and chat with various players to see how they got on and Alex Hayes was sitting on 5-2 with a very good chance of Top 16. Considering he was a proverbial nobody in the game 6 months ago I was really proud of him and was hoping that he would top. We’ve been playing at locals together all format so I could see (and partake) in his incredible improvement in tournaments. The standings are announced and he makes it to 16th place, fair play to him, he did Cork (and many others I presume) proud.

For the Top 16 I just lounge around, assess my performance and do a bit of trading. I also pick up my prize of a single pack of CP06 and pull a Super Rare Phoenix Wing Windblast, good times. When I come back I hear that Alex beat Petru Bumbar, the guy who went 7-0 in Swiss! “Jinzo wins games” (one of Duncan Tang’s famous dueling philosophies) was the only thought that came to mind when he explained how he won. After that I watched Stafford beat Vicky in the Quarters and caught both semi finals, where Alex’s inexperience showed against Galy and Lynam couldn’t prevent a non-Irish final. The Irish Open and no Irish in the finals, how ironic.

Before the game started I had a chat with Stafford and Galy, who had agreed to split the prizes, about the laptop. After a bit of negotiation they agreed to give me a discount on it if I decided to buy it. I asked a few guys about the specs of the laptop and they all agreed that it was a good deal for the asking price. Galy ended up winning (congrats mate) and we sealed the deal: My €250, an iPod Nano (which I won at the Fortune Tour Stop), Plaguespreader Zombie and the Super Windblast I pulled for it. Given my trading profits throughout the day I was only down €150 or so, which isn’t that bad considering I got the laptop out of it. Lynam arranged a deal for the xBox360 that was also in the prize split and we left the venue.

It was about 11pm when we got back to the hostel after some food and the 8 of us had a bit of banter in the dorm till after midnight. The Scottish (and Galy) were leaving at 5am for their flight so myself, Stafford, Chris, GingerChris and Galy went down to the bomb shelter till then and had plenty of games. Galy and Stafford are on a different level of play to any currently active Irish player (Lynam included) and I realised that after the 5 hour session we had. I got plenty of help from Galy about making reads, the right plays and deckbuilding before the lads left for their flight. After some sleep the 4 of us that were left (myself, Gary Barnett, Chris Guy and Stafford) hang about at the hostel for a while before going on to UkayPro to talk about the tournament. Eventually we parted at the bus station (I got the bus back home and they headed off to the airport) and I got home at about 9pm and started typing this report.

While many will look at the 3-4 result and go “Ahh PJ scrubbed lol” I know that I didn’t exactly play horribly in the event. For one, Snipe Hunter hated me today and Lynam’s match was epic. I’ve no regrets about the way I played. I can’t pick out any misplays that were big enough to cost me games so I did alright. The deck was alright too, but no matter what I say at this point, I scrubbed and that’s what will stick. With the Irish Fortune Tour Finals in 2 weeks time there’s no point in lamenting on my failure at the Open so I won’t even bother. If you’re reading this on a forum (or on my blog) then feel free to offer some constructive advice. If there’s one thing more depressing than losing, it’s telling the world about it.

Props and Slops
+ Mark Kenny, Tim Chen and everybody at TakeOverGames for running such a fine event.
+ David Stephen for the accomodation.
+ Getting the laptop.
+ Alex making top 4.
+ My roommates for making it an enjoyable weekend.
+ Some of the amazing trades and sales I got.
+ Stephen Lynam for another epic duel.
+ Vicky for an equally epic game.
+ Sven Schuurhuis for winning the Dutch Fortune Tour Finals (and an SJC CCV to boot).
+ Not getting hit with CCV at all.

- 3-4.
- Snipe Hunter.
- The Feature Match not being much of a battle.
- The inevitable 'PJ bottled it again' remarks I'll get across some forums.


Decklist: 42

Monsters: 21
3 Destiny Hero - Malicious
3 Krebons
2 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
1 Destiny Hero - Doom Lord
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Destiny Hero - Plasma
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1 Armageddon Knight
1 Psychic Commander
1 Necro Gardna
1 Dark Grepher
1 Snipe Hunter
1 Sangan

Spells: 14
3 Allure of Darkness
3 Emergency Teleport
2 Reinforcement of the Army
2 Destiny Draw
1 Monster Reborn
1 Brain Control
1 Heavy Storm
1 Scapegoat

Traps: 7
3 Solemn Judgment
2 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Crush Card Virus

Side Deck: 15
3 Light-Imprisoning Mirror
3 Threatening Roar
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 D.D. Crow
2 Dust Tornado
1 Mystical Space Typhoon



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