Reporting from Leipzig.
YCS Leipzig took place last weekend and was a great way to end the September 2011 format, with over 1,100 Duelists competing to become the Champion. I was there as part of the European coverage team once again and here's a few quick snippets about the experience!
The trip from Limerick to Leipzig was quite long, but that's what I get for living on the very edge of Europe. After crossing Ireland to get to Dublin, flying to Berlin and getting the train to Leipzig (many thanks to fellow writer Oliver Gehrmann for sorting out the German travel bits) we were ready to rock the joint. YCS Brighton was such a good event for us coverage-wise so we already knew what to do and what would or would not work for Leipzig.
Each day of a YCS has its own challenges. Day 1 is the more busy of the 2, as the entire field is whittled down to the Top 256. It's during the Saturday of the event that we've got to handle Feature Matches, Deck Profiles and everything else in order to show you all how busy and exciting a packed tournament hall can be. For Leipzig we started at about 8am and ended somewhere around 11pm, so you can tell there was a lot going on!
As the events have gone on, people are now used to seeing the Feature Match table, the coverage writers and so-on, and it's always nice when some Duelists come up to us and say "Hey PJ/Oli, could you check out my Deck? It's different to what most people are running and I'm x-1!". Having such helpful Duelists really makes the selection of Feature Matches on day 1 a lot easier, as we tend to go for the more interesting Decks/Duelists on this day, as all the main contenders will make Day 2 anyway.
One good example of this was our Round 7 Feature Match. In between rounds after finishing up an article, I had a quick wander around the venue to take some pictures and stock up on water (I always carry a sports bottle with me wherever I go, and it needs to be re-filled all the time!), and on the way back I bumped into Fabio Zuccato, a young Duelist from Italy. He said hello, as did I and out of curiosity I asked him how he was doing and he told me he was x-1! Considering he's around 14 years old and doing so well in the main event it'd make for a great feature so I sent the name over to Oliver and he was on the Feature Match table next round.
Towards the end of Day 1 I got in touch with Konami's Matt Bell as he'd been working hard all day to break down the Decks and Duelists of the event. Gotta give him credit for looking through 1,140 Decklists so well done man! After chipping in with the last few (only like 50 or so) we totted up the numbers and got to my favourite bit of the coverage, statistics! If you've been reading up on European events over the past year you'll know that I tend to put some graphs together to give you all a visual breakdown of the event. They're nothing too fancy, just some Excel tables with a YCS logo on top, but they look clean and you get an idea right away of which deck is most represented and so-on, which is good as it lets you form opinions about how Day 2 will unfold.
Regarding stats as well, I had an idea on Friday night about how to make the Top 32 breakdowns a little more informative. As February saw 3 YCS events in different countries, all with roughly the same card pool (ie: ORCS was legal), it was a rare opportunity to compare all 3 events to see what was the best performing Deck across the board. I told Matt about the idea and he liked it, and after the coverage co-ordinator (Peter) gave me the go-ahead I got on it on day 2 as soon as we knew what was in the Top 32. You can check it all out here so have a look. I'd like to know what you all think as it was something new for this event that might be worth doing again in future.
Day 2 itself went along quite well. After doing so many events I'm getting a little faster at writing Feature Matches which frees up more time to focus on the rest of the content, and Oliver was the "Day 2 Superman" as always, writing several feature Matches in a row while I concentrated on the Decklists. If you check the timestamps for the Finals article and the Top 16 Decklists, you'll see that they were published within a minute of each other, which for us is a new record I believe!
There were plenty of cool little random things I saw while at the event too. For example, check out that awesome Deckbox made of LEGO above, it's even got compartments for the Side/Extra Deck and everything! There were the Jaden/Yusei/Kaiba cosplayers, the 2 absolutely massive Heavy Storm plays during my Day 2 Feature Matches and plenty more besides.
Overall it was a great event and I can't wait to attend the next YCS. Once again be sure to high-five the entire European coverage team, Oliver, Peter, Karin, Matt and Falko are always a great bunch of people to work with along with our wonderful Judges and Konami staff. See you all at the next event!