2010 UK/Irish Nationals Report : The Weekend | The Irish Duelist

2010 UK/Irish Nationals Report : The Weekend



Just over a month ago, I was playing at the 75th SHONEN JUMP Championship, halfway across the world. While there I got to experience the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game on a totally different level to anything I've seen in Ireland, the UK or the rest of Europe, but I also realised just how low my standard of play was in comparison to the world's best. Ever since then I've been wanting to 'up my game' and hit the lofty heights of 2008 (where I came so close to topping the European Championship in Amsterdam, the Pharaoh Tour Final in Manchester, and Irish Nationals), and this year's National Championship would be my first real test. Unfortunately, my preparations for the event were not as desirable as I would have hoped for, but that's more down to timing than anything else, as it's the end of my spell in Art College and I've got a lot of work to do. Make sure to read up on the deck article I posted yesterday if you want to know how my preparations went.

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Friday
I got up at about 7am and took the first bus in to Limerick city, where I sorted out some minor work details in college before heading on to Shannon Airport. Ever since last year's European Championship and the travel chaos that ensues when I have to cross the country to go to Dublin Airport, I've always made sure to get flights from Shannon to events wherever possible, as it saves a lot of hassle. It's a quieter airport, it's closer to home, and generally less of a hassle. After a brief 1 hour flight I landed in London Heathrow where I was greeted with the longest airport walkways I had ever seen, it took like 15 minutes to get from the plane to baggage claim.

Next up was the undergound train to Euston where the Last Chance Qualifiers were being held. I had already qualified at UkayPro Championship Sheffield but I wanted to go to make some cash and meet up with my room-mates, 'Big Stu', Jack C, and 'Diggy' Crehan. I picked up an Oyster card at Heathrow and that covered all my public transport expenses for the weekend (I was quite impressed by London's public transport network, makes everything in Ireland look so crappy in comparison). It took me about an hour to get to King's Cross station and then another 5 minute walk to the LCQ venue.

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Once there I met the room-mates and paid Stu for the hotel, but not before I sold him one of my Tragoedia mats from the SJC (I had 8 on me). Since I was one of the only guys in the UK and Ireland to attend the SJC, I had a virtual monopoly on the mats and was able to rake in the cash fairly quickly (the average rate was £40). I also offloaded some cards and did plenty of trades (had 5 Emmersblade, 5 Darksoul and 4 Hyunlei by the time I left, along with about £150 in profit) before meeting up with Glen (the OP representative from Gamerz Events), Trev (Head Judge for Nationals, I've known him for quite a while) and the other judges (quick shoutout to the judge who did a ton of trades with me, I've forgotten your name so please remind me, was nice meeting you). Trev sorts me out with sleeves as we had a bit of an 'incident' regarding sleeves at the last event he was judging (2008 European Championship in Amsterdam), and I head back to the underground with Stu, Jack and Crehan to our hotel by the ExCel Centre (fortunately for them I already knew my way around the underground network). For the rest of the night we just played, ate (well they ate, I'm not a good eater), and finalised our decks for the weekend.

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Saturday
We got up early (about 7am) and made the 2 minute walk to the ExCel to sort out our weekend passes. Since ths was an Expo and not just a Nationals, this was quite a big event, with thousands of players, gamers, cosplayers, anime/film lovers and so-on present. The good news for those playing in Nationals was that we all got free weekend passes just for qualifying, so that saved us all about £20 each. We also got to skip half of the queues but there was still quite a wait before the main hall opened. When I entered I realised just how big this thing was, there were display stands, jumbo screens and posters everywhere. After looking at some pretty cool stuff (like the A-Team van, the actual car from The Dukes of Hazzard and a few other things) I headed to the Yu-Gi-Oh! section and hung out with a few players ('Overlord', it was nice meeting you again man, glad you like the mat I designed for you) before things kicked off:

Here's how I did in the main event. I'll probably do a full write-up on each match soon (if there's demand for it). This article's more about my overall weekend experience so I don't want to go into great detail here.

Round 1 vs 'Jesus' (Frog FTK) : Lost 1-2
Round 2 vs Shane Bell (Fairy) : Won 2-0
Round 3 vs Georgie Georgio (X-Sabers) : Lost 1-2 in time.
Round 4 vs 'Neon Pix' (Quickdraw) : Won 2-1
Round 5 vs Brendan Emmerson (Frog Monarch) : Won 2-0
Round 6 vs Eliott Purcell (Blackwings) : Lost 0-2
Round 7 vs Fraser Anderson (Blackwings) : Won 2-0
Round 8 vs Duncan Tang (Gadget Returner) : Won 2-0

Final Result: 5-3 (46th/148 players)


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I ended up going 5-3, finishing in joint 22nd place (which was rounded off to 46th place after tiebreakers). That's not a bad result, considering how inexperienced I was with X-Sabers before the event started, and how unprepared I was in general for this event. If I had prepared for this event in the way I had hoped, I could have gone 6-2, maybe 7-1 if I was lucky, but 5-3 is good enough for me given the circumstances. Unfortunately, I didn't qualify for the European Championships in Birminghan this July, but I might still attend regardless. Thanks to Matt Bell I was able to have a chat with Peter Frottier, the European Marketing/PMD Coordinator (TCG) for Konami. I introduced myself as one of the writers for the strategy site and we got talking about various issues (he's read The Irish Duelist a few times as well, I was pleasantly surprised to hear). I can't comment on what we spoke about in such a public domain, but it all seemed pretty positive and we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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By the time the main event had ended the Expo was closing for the day so I chatted with a few people outside before heading back to the hotel to chill out with the boys. Later on that night we found a few YGO players in the lobby and started trading (I made about £50 in 30 minutes off of 'average' cards) before heading back up to the room. Since none of us had topped we could take it easy and not have to get up real early so me messed about watching TV, chilling out and so-on.

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Sunday
I was "all Yugi'd out" after Saturday (I usually am after big events) so I just took it easy on Sunday and went about the Expo. I did stay around for the serious end of Nationals though, and managed to get up close to record the final (thanks Trev, Lee and Glen for that). Since Gamerz Events were doing coverage for this event I was told to hold back on the uploading of the videos (and the Top 8 decklists,which I also got a copy of) for a week, so that they can get their work up on yugioh-card.com. Once Stafford won the finals (funnily enough, that was the first time I'd event seen Infernities in action) and all the prize giving was sorted out (check the Photos report article) I talked to him about trading his Dark End Dragon. I had made about £300 profit in cash (all outside the tournament area, we weren't allowed buy/sell on-site) and another £200 or so in trade value so I figured I might as well take a chance and go for the prize card. After about 15 minuted os negotions I got it, the final deal was £300 (off-site), my 5D's Irish mat (it only cost me about £5 to get done since my printer did it as a 'thank you' for previous work), Dark End Dragon mat, 2 Archlord Krystia, 2 Gold Sarcophagus, XX-Saber Darksoul, Ghost Rare Stardust Dragon (not the 'signed Yusei' one), Mist Wurm and some random holos. It ended up at about £550 (that's $800 or so) in trade value, which is quite good for an SJC prize card.

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For the rest of the day I wandered around the Expo, visiting all the stands and taking plenty of photos. I saw some pretty cool stuff so check out the Photo article I posted as part of this tournament report series. Some of the more interesting things around were the A-Team van, the gaming displays and a rather impressive (and expensive) Judge Gabranth statur from Final Fantasy XII. There were also quite a lot of cosplayers about, some more convincing than others. Some of my favourties (check the photos) were the Lightning and Sazh (with the Chocobo in the afro!) from Final Fantasy XIII, the Gundam fighter and a Batman that looked like it was straight out of the films. The 2 characters that 'Jesus' cosplayed as were quite impressive as well, especially his Saturday one (from 'The World Ends with You').

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After the event Stu, Jack and Crehan were already on the way home (as they had booked 2 nights and I was staying for 3) so I had to find a room for the night. Fortunately, Adam Warnock, one of the Scottish players, sorted me out (many thanks) and I dropped off my luggage. In between getting the room key and the baggage I bumped into several people at the bar in front of the ExCel; Gehan, Paul, Duncan, Suzie, Justin, Lee Brook, Shane, Eliott, GingerChris, Marc Durrant and a few others. We stayed at the bar for a few hours where all sorts of shennanigans happened (Lee licked the Dark End, which was hilarious) before heading down the road to the Novotel for the rest of the night. During some (non-YGO) card games there was plenty more humour (including the 'PJ & Duncan' jokes, Google the term if you're not from the UK), drinks and some chatting up of Americans before we called it a night at... 5am (it was getting bright again). In the end I didn't really need the hotel room, but it was nice to have it as an option. Once I picked up my bags I headed off to Heathrow (fell asleep at the Terminal and had to sprint like Usain Bolt to catch my plane, which almost left without me) and back home. The lack of sleep took its tool and I didn't fully recover till Tuesday afternoon, but it was all worth it, what a fantastic weekend.


Before I close off this part of the report I want to give a few quick shoutouts:
  • Stu, Jack and Crehan; was awesome hanging out with you lot, Saturday night in particular was hilarious.
  • All the event staff; Glen, Lee, Trev, Matt, Abdul, James, Justin, Paul and everybody else; was really nice meeting you all again, hope to meet you all again in Birmingham.
  • Paul, Duncan, Gehan, Suzie, Durrant, Shane, Eliott, Justin, GingerChris and the 2 American girls; Sunday night was fun, gotta do it again some time.
  • Lee Brook, was great meeting you man, have a safe trip.
  • Pixie, good thing I didn't discard in Game 3, that Reign-Beaux would've been epic! I was maining Morphing Jar as well!
  • Steve HD, Wilson, Adam, Alan and the rest of the Irish; we did our best, see you all at Euros or the Open.
  • Adam, thanks for the room on Sunday, it was greatly appreciated.
  • Anybody I met at the event itself but haven't mentioned above; thanks for saying hi, trading or whatever we did, meet too many people to name any mroe specifics.


  • Roll on Birmingham!