Editor's note: I corrected and filled in as I saw the need, but, otherwise, these are his own words!
2000 Continental Championship-
Oh man. Where the heck do I begin on this one? I guess it starts shortly after I won the California State championships. That's when I started to get asked the question, "Are you going to Gen-Con?" At first it was like, "oh, I don't know," or "we'll see, I'm not really sure yet." That was until my mother (thank God for moms) called me and said that she'd pay for the plane ticket. All of a sudden my answer turned into, "Hell yeah I'm going!" So, now I got to find a floor to crash on.
I'd been corresponding with Nick Burke over ICQ and it looked pretty certain that he was going to be there with a couple of his friends A.J. and Alan. So Nick told me not to worry about a room and that I could crash with them. Life is good. So, over the next few weeks Nick and I worked out our flight details and where we would meet and all that other stuff. Ends up that they are flying into Chicago and just plan on renting a car there to drive to Milwaukee. So, I book a flight that would arrive into O'Hare at about the same time that they did. I usually hate long layovers, but my flight out of Sacramento had a 2 1/2 hour layover in Las Vegas. (evil grin) When I get to Las Vegas the first thing I do is look for my gate so that I know exactly where its at, because I do plan on going down to the strip for about an hour and doing some gambling. As I find my gate, I run into Chris Hines. He's a squadron member and a pretty damn good player out of the area. I just find that funny, because you don't really expect to run into other SWCCG players at an airport at 11:00 pm. So, I find my gate and dash out of there to get a cab.
I made it back to the Vegas airport with plenty of time to spare. (5 minutes) The cab drivers in that area will break a few speeding rules if you promise them a good tip. (Editors Disclaimer note: I do not condone speeding or gambling for all you younger readers out there.......unless your in Vegas and need to get back to the airport in less than 20 minutes) So I board my flight and get to my aisle seat.
The flight was far from boring, but pretty uneventful at the same time. I get to sit next to this gorgeous blond who we'll call 'Cindy' for the sake of the story. Mid 20's, shoulder length blond hair and legs for days. To bad this girl wasn't happy unless she was bitching about something. Granted, we were unfortunate enough to have baby's on all sides of us, but you gotta realize girl, there's nothing we can do about it. Sniveling won't help. So, we talk for some time about Tattoo's and body piercing and stuff like that. She starts to get tired about an hour into the flight, so I let her put her pillow on my shoulder and I pull out a book to read.
My book of choice for this flight was "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris. For those of you who aren't familiar with the book, it is about the ongoing adventures of our favorite cannibal doctor, Hannibal Lecter from "Silence of the Lambs." I highly recommend the book for those of you who like horror/suspence novels. Harris is a great writer. His only drawback is that he's only written 4 books in 25 years. Black Sunday, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal complete his resume.
As we're coming
up on final approach to Chicago I wake up 'Cindy' and we continue our prior
conversation about Tattoo's. She shows me a cool Tat of a Bonsai
tree that she has on her lower back and another one of a rose that
she's got in another location. As we land, we exchange e-mail address's and bid farewell. As I step into the terminal, there's Nick. It was getting pretty eerie how smooth things were falling into place. We walk over to where AJ and Alan are sitting and we go to collect my baggage. Then we run into our first hitch.
After I get my
bags, AJ walks over to get the rental car that he reserved months in advance
from AVIS. Ends up that AVIS doesn't rent cars to people under 25
years of age. So now, we have to go to another rental agency to get
a much more expensive car. But not before the morons at AVIS got a piece of my mind. "What the hell do you mean you won't rent him a car that he's had reserved for months?" "I'm sorry sir, company policy won't let us rent vehicles to people who are under the age of 25." She said. "Okay," I said, "so its OUR fault that your people failed to mention this to him BEFORE he decided to rent a car through your agency?" I went off for a couple minutes more, knowing that it wouldn't get us a car through them, but I just needed to vent. (Editors Note: AVIS SUCKS. Every other rental car agency at O'hare rents to anyone with a credit card over the age of 18. Also, thinking back to the late 80's.....wasn't it the AVIS commercials that had OJ running and jumping through airport terminals saying "were there for you?"......just
found that kind of funny) So we end up renting a blue Toyota Camrey from someone else for double the price that we had before.
So now were finally on our way to Milwaukee. We had hotel reservations in Racine, but decide to cancel those in favor of finding something in town close to the convention center. After stopping at 7 or so hotels and checking rates, we decide to go with the Ramada. The woman at the front desk had the hots for AJ, and bumped someone's eservations for us. We took 2 rooms on the 5th floor right next door to eachother. We needed the 2nd room because we were hooking up with Clint Hays, Steven Lewis, and Steven Turner at the Con, and they needed a place to stay. We were going to go straight to the Con right then and there, but I was in desperate need of a shower. Something about flying just makes me feel dirty. So Nick and Alan break out in a game while I take a moment to cleanse myself. As I finish getting dressed, their game is still going on. Nick is cheating like a mofo, deploying stuff during his draw phase and stuff.....you know, the kind of stuff that happens during pick up games. Alans like, "what are you doing?" Thats when I break out with, "Don't you know who he is? Thats Nick Burke. 2 time world finalist. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants." Everyone starts busting up. Hence the line, "Don't you know who I am," was very prevalent throughout the entire weekend.
As we get there, the line to register is already about half way around the building. Nick and AJ had prepaid, so they just got to walk in. Alan and I got to find the end of the line and wait it out. As were walking to the back of the line, I'm looking for anyone I know. AHHA!!! Jeremy Lemier was standing in line about half way back. I went up to him, said hi, BS's for a bit and said......"hey, I'm gonna crowd." Jeremy's in line with Chris Bartlo. I met Chris in Los Angeles last year at Nhat Lai's Mega Tournament. So, we end up waiting in line for about an hour and a half before we finally get registered.
Once inside, we
make a b-line for the Decipher booth where Clint and Steve were supposed
to meet with us. No signs of either of them from anyone. I
haggle with Bruce U for about 15 minutes about the 50 bucks of store credit
that I'm supposed to have from taking 3rd at the ComicCon (don't you know
who I am?).....but Juz hadn't dropped off my voucher yet. Oh well.
At that point everyone decides that they want to play in the sealed deck
that starts at 2:00. I didn't have any plans anyways. So I
pay my 20 bucks and we go down to the gaming room. Low and behold,
there's Clint playing one of his dozens of pick up games that he played
in over the weekend. Steve Lewis is standing behind him just waiting
for him to screw something up so he can correct him. (they're funny
that way) So, the Canadians and I get ready to play in the sealed
deck tourney, while Steve L, Clint, and Steve T just decide to play some
pick up games over the next few hours. (From this point on, Steven
Lewis will be referred to as Steven, and Steven Turner will be
known as Turner. Enough of this confusion)
I won't bore you
with all the details of the sealed deck tournament. I ended up going
3-1 with a very low differential. Brian Hunter.......yes, THE Brian
Hunter,(don't you know who he is?) won the event going 4-0 with a HUGE
So after the sealed deck is over with, Clint starts talking about Denny's. So we try to round everyone up...but we seem to be missing Steven Lewis and Turner. Ends up they got involved in a game of History of the World or something like that, and it took us about an hour to drag them away. What the heck do you expect at the worlds largest gaming convention? We don't all just play Star Wars yanno. So we head back to find our cars, and I go with the Tennessee Crew. Steve parks in a metered zone and had been there for hours........so of course, there's a parking ticket. It's only 15 dollars......no big deal.
So, were waiting in our illegal parking space for AJ so that we can follow him back to the hotel. They pull in front of us, and we proceed to follow them onto the freeway. Clint and I start talking about decks and tech in the back seat while Steven is supposedly following AJ. I guess Clint and I distracted Steven a little to much, because the next thing I hear is Clint saying, "Umm, Steve...who are you following?" OMG......they ditched us!!!! The blue Toyota was nowhere to be seen. Steve had been following a SUV for the past few miles. ARRRGGHHHH!!!!! I have no idea where the hotel is at because I slept for most of the trip from the hotel and wasn't paying much attention. So now, they're all asking me where the hotels is......and I've got no clue. "Ramada.....ummm, Airport by the...something.....South of town." That must have been enough of a clue, because we actually found the hotel in no time at all. (but that was the only time that Lewis didn't seem lost. OMG!!! More details later in the story) We unload all their bags into the room and start to settle in when I hear, "Brownie.....we got to have the brownie." Ahh, the infamous brownie. Never doubt a superstition........even I know this. Kevin Shannon and I do a Denny's before every tournament in my area, and I'm the same way with my Chocolate Milk, as Clint is with his Brownie. I have to have a chocolate milk with my meal. Not before my meal, not after, but with my meal. I'm very anal that way.
So we round everyone
up from the 2 rooms and make our way downstairs to get some directions
to the nearest Denny's. I hear "right on College, and left on Whatevah
street (I don't remember the actual name of the street) and its just past
the airport. Well, I don't know what Steven heard, but we ended up
taking a left on College and going like 5 miles down the road until we
end up in some residential district. Obviously, there's not going
to be a Denny's around here, so we flip a bitch. Well, when Whatevah
street comes up, Steven takes a right and we go down that way for a few
miles. Clints getting impatient. "I know its down here somewhere,
isn't that an airport?" So Turner and I are like....."turn around,"but
Clints like...."no, look there's a plane, the airports around here somewhere."
Finally Lewis uses his better judgement and flips another bitch.
After backtracking for a bit, were finally going the right way. By
this time, Clints seeing airports everywhere and Steven doesn't give a
rats ass if he ever see's another Denny's in his life. Thats when
we finally see it. Clints eyes get wide.....kind of reminds me of
some kid who got exactly what he wanted for Christmas.
"Look....look, there it is.......It's Denny's!!!"
So we make our
way inside. Nick says something about liking the scenic route what
we decided to take. We get inside and take over a corner booth.
The six of them take the bench seats while I just grab a chair and sit
outside of the circle. Is it just me, or does every Denny's have a crack-ho waitress? You know that ones I'm talking about......the ones with only like 2 teeth in the front and begin every sentence with "I'll tell you what." Anyways, I order a coffee to drink and warn her that I'll need a refill like every 5 minutes. She obviously didn't care. Either that, or she liked to hear me scream out "COFFEE!!" The service absolutely sucked, but the conversations were an absolute riot. Turners debate about the "broken" seeker decks, and the real evil behind NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! had us rolling
on the floor for literally minutes. (Another Editors note: Broken seeker decks? umm, excuse me, but I seriously think that Honor of the Jedi is something that needs a little more attention than a freaken seeker. Dang things were worthless to begin with, now they're not even worth putting into the spokes on my sons bike) (COFFEE!!)
So, an hour later we finally get our meals. Every 5 minutes I'm still screaming for COFFEE, and on top of it, Crack-Ho doesn't bring my chocolate milk with my meal. Obviously....no tip for her. (COFFEE!!) After were done with our meals, Crack-ho comes over to give us our check. She was obviously hoping that we were done. Clint grabs the desert menu, looks at the waitress and says, "We want 7 of those." The poor womans jaw almost hit the floor. "Are you serious" she says. Hahahahaha. I'm dying from laughter at this moment. Clints all serious. "Yes, we want 7 of those." For those of you who don't know, the infamous Brownie is actually called something else entirely. It has vanilla ice cream, a huge piece of chocolate cake/brownie, and hot chocolate fudge over the top of it. Its enormous, but damn good. (COFFEE!!!)
Were all stuffed with the magic mojo of the brownie, so its time to head back to the hotel so the people who have to play on day one can get their decks ready. Out of the 7 people in our 2 rooms, Steve Lewis, Clint, and Nick are the only ones who have to play on day 1. Top 16 go to day 2, while #17 makes it if there are an odd number of people. That one will come into play later. We get into our rooms, tech out all their decks, and get to bed with plenty of sleep to be had. There will be no 4:00am Rescue the Princess/Tauntaun decks made for this party.
Early the next morning, Steven follows AJ back to the airport so he can turn in the rental car. The plan was for the 7 of us to shuttle back and forth in Steven's car from the hotel to the con. Saves us money? Sure. Think back to your childhood at the circus. Remember the little clown car in which 20 clowns would pile into, and out of it? Thats exactly what it felt like. 3 people in the front seat, 3 people in the back seat, and Alan (the skinniest of us all) laying across our laps in the back. I can still hear the crack of Nick's nose when Alan backed his elbow right into the side of his face. (ouch)
Championships Day 1:
Wow. Over 120 people showed up to try to make it to day 2. Now thats a huge turnout. Since I didn't have to play
for my seat at day 2, a lot of the details I have are somewhat vague. But here's a few of the highlights. Girard went 6-2 sporting a cool yellow hair due. Clint lost his first 2 games to 2 scrubs who had no clue who he was. (don't you know who he is?) Speed profit losing to Abyssins and RalOps losing to a flipping Quiet Mining Colony. Yes, you read that correctly. But he turned it around and won his last 6 games to move on. Steven went 7-1, while Nick went 5-3, also losing his first 2 games only to win 5 straight and lose his last game by 5. As the top 16 were read off, Nicks name wasn't read off, until Juz read number 17. Nicks fate now rested in the hands of nobody. Odd number and he's out, even and he's in. That's got to suck. But as far as the rest of us were concerned, all 7 of us from the 2 rooms made it to day 2. Pretty good odds that one of us would walk away with the gold. I spent the entire day playing pick up games with anyone who wanted to play. Had a blast playing a few games with Gary Carmen. That guys is a riot, and a SWCCG machine. "At the end of the day".... and "Your a madman" in his British accent will forever be branded into my memory. We headed back to our rooms and prepared for the long day that was ahead of all of us. As the lights go out and were getting ready to sleep, Clint asks me, "Hey Clay, who do you think will win?" I said, "If its not me, my pick is Yannik. That guy is awesome."
Championships Day 2:
Hard to believe, but there were no real issues getting everyone awake and ready. All 7 of us piled into the car, with our trusty tour guide Steve firmly in control......then we hit downtown. I really don't think this one was Steve's fault, but he decided to take a right onto a one way street. I'm pretty sure I heard someone tell him to do that. Too bad everyone else on the street was coming in our direction. I'm like..."umm, Steve. That van is coming straight at us." He says something like "ARRGHHHH!!!!" and ducks into an alley. It was hilarious. Turner, who is an ER Doctor, decides to inform Alan that if we were to get into a wreck, that he'd surely die because all of us in the back seat would smash him. Hmm, now that's some food for thought. (Editors note: Turner's tournament garb consists of one of his ER shirts over the top of a T-shirt. So I'm looking for some splashes of blood on it and stuff. He says its tradition, so who am I to argue? (don't I know who he is?)
light I build a new TR mains deck. I fully expected to see everyone
and their sister playing either RalOps or Bring Him Before Me. I
cut the ships from 7 down to 5 to add a little more ground-pound stuff.
For the dark, I went totally against the grain. CCT Skrillings. Hey, if anyone is going to play a crazy deck at a top level tournament....it's me.(Don't you know who I am?) Furthermore, I was tired of everyone telling me that numbers was dead, and that my skrilling deck was now obsolete and couldn't win without the inserts. This was now personal. The three effects I start with are There is no try, Oppressive Enforcement, and IAO. Nebruning mains have always been the quickest way to kill off skrillings.
LS vs Hayes Hunter's BHBM:
Hayes had lots of luck in this game........too bad for him it was all bad luck. On his first turn, he deploys the Emperor to my farm (I forgot to move the Nudj over) and sets up for a quick drain of 2. I eat the drain for 1 turn to get my had together, while I've dropped a twix site on both of my turns so far. He drops Sim Aloo to re-enforce the Emperor. On my third turn, I drop epp Obi and epp leia and battle. I swing at, and hit the Emperor, but don't draw enough to get rid of Sim. After losing leia to attrition, I play Out of Commission. 2 cards in his lost pile....and I miss.
Oh well, so he did have a little luck. My next turn I'm activating for a crapload. I'm looking at his lone lost card, and seriously wanting another OOC. I decide that he knows enough about my deck that I don't care if he looks at it. So I go look for a swamp creature. Low and behold, there's an OOC in my force pile. I draw until I get it, play it.....he attempts to sence, but an alter foils those plans, and the Emperor can't play in this party anymore. I totally dominated this game. He was force screwed, while I had around 15 per turn. Chewie and Han were sitting in the Cantina, a bothan spy and a H'ynethe were in HIS throne room, while Obi hung out at the <> farm with Civil Disorder sitting on his side of the table. Full win by 25
The Good: Total Domination. The deck worked against ground exactly how is was built to.
The Bad: ummm, losing my shoe. (inside joke to Hayes).
The Ugly: When he had about 30 cards in his lost pile, another OOC took out Vader 1 turn before he was coming back out to play. Ouch.
Clint and Steve both won. Steve beat Hayes's little brother. Turner won also.
DS vs Aaron Fojtik's flipping HB:
Aaron started with the Anti Numbers card, and I gave him no reason early to ditch it. I was fortunate enough to have a Ghhhk in my opening hand so I just played a spread out game by dropping a skrilling at the CC:docking bay, 1 at JP, and another one in the Audience Chamber. In my hand was Pote and another 5 skrillings when I did this...so now I was just waiting to see if he'd fall for my trap. He did. He puts Melas in the AC and battles. Instead of wasting the ghhhk, I lose the skrilling and 3 cards.
Now it was time for a beatdown. Pote and 4 skrillings join the party in the Cantina. I guess the skrilling posse is a bit anti-social, because they decide that Melas has got to go. He loses Melas and about 15 on top of it. I put some
of my ships out and choke him with battle order.
Full win by 10
The Good: Skrillings-1 HB decks-0
The Bad: Hey, I'm 2-0. What could be wrong??
The Ugly: The fact that I can win with this deck without the inserts. Neener, neener neener.
Clint, Steve, and Turner are all 2-0.
DS vs Brian Cieszynski's flipping HB:
What the heck....another Hidden Base deck?? Brian doesn't start with the anti odds card, but does start with Ultimatum. Hmm, if I hurry, I can actually hit him with an insert. And that's exactly what happened. 2nd turn Pote, 2 skrillings, Scum and Villiany, and an insert to get the game going. He loses 9 when it pops. He then uses his resourses to occupy 3 battlegrounds as quickly as he can just in case I have another 3,720 to 1 in my hand. This allows me to spread out and just wait for him.
Its a long drawn out game with plenty of action to boot. At one point he accuses me of stalling, and yet I played the same way throughout the entire game. (Don't you know who I am?) Scum and Villiany flat out won me this game. As things were getting tight, I'd battle wherever I could to get my 2 force back.
Full win by 3
The Good: Skrillings-2 HB decks-0
The Bad: Damn Nacho's are starting to give me heartburn, and the Pepsi's are 2.75 each. OUCH!
The Ugly: Freak accusing me of stalling. Get a grip brother. Its a thinking mans game, and I'm not going to rush just to make you happy.
Clint and Steve both won and are 3-0. I'm not sure about Turner at this point.
LS vs Steven Lewis's SYCFA Monkey TIE's:
This is a very bad match up for me since I re-vamped my light deck. The heck with the Nudj's, I need the battlegrounds to drain at. He uses his first few turns to collect his goodies, while a lone vanguard is sitting at endor hitting me for 2. I try to stay even with this drains with Jedi Luke and stick sitting at the Carbonite Chamber, but I couldn't draw a ship at all to slow him down. He spreads out, retreiving the whole time with Sinear Fleet Systems and I just couldn't keep up.
Full Loss by 19
The Good: Umm, the only good thing about this game was who I lost to. Steve's one of the cool guys in the game
The Bad: Not drawing my first ship until I had about 25 force in my lost pile.
The Ugly: We were done quick enough that I had time to go up to the Decipher booth and BS with peeps for about a half an hour. Now thats an ass whipping.
Umm, I think you can figure out that Steve is still undefeated. Clint won also. Brian Hunter just handed Ray Bordier his ass and is also undefeated.
LS vs Erik Petersen's Ominous Rumors
Arghhhh!!! Another space deck. Everyone else is playing RalOps and BHBM, and I get to play the only 2 people who were playing dark space. ( I know there were more......I'm just venting) Erik sets up Rumors on his 2nd turn and hits me for some good drains early. I take control of Endor, but can't get into the Bunker to kill off Vader who's just sitting there adding 2 to a force drain in space.
I get some ships out and make his life hell for a few turns. Then out of nowhere, my space fleet is getting blown out of the sky by TIE Cannons. It was AWSOME!!! (Don't you know who I am?) From that point on, I'm just trying to play damage control and keep my fleet out of the way of his happy space weapons. In the end though, his force drain bonus, plus some serious space power were just too much to overcome.
Full Loss by 6
The Good: Erik was very cool. He was telling me that Paul Todd Feldman (who only lives 15 miles from me) wore his jersey during the first world championships.
The Bad: 2 losses.........I'm officially OUT!!
The Ugly: Light side goes 1-0 against ground. 0-2 against Dark Space. Who could have predicted that I'd see 2 space decks?
Steven 5-0, he just handed Brian Hunter his first loss. Clint 5-0. Turner 4-1. Steve and Clint are the only undefeateds but can't play each other as they both just played dark.
DS vs Charles Sonnenburg's HB docking bay stuff:
I'm now exhausted as I realize that I've got no shot of winning. Guess the excitement was keeping me going. He starts with the Anti Numbers card, so I do some quick drop and draining stuff. He falls for it and deploys everyone and thier brother to kick butt on one lil ole' skrilling. I ghhhk out and now he's got a lot of mains on the table. Barganing Table takes care of a lot for me. I was canceling a drain per turn with it......and he altered it twice taking 3 damage each time. I got all my drain 2 sites out early and totally dominated the drain race.
Full win by 22
The Good: Skrillings-3 HB decks-0. Finishing 4-2 at a tournament of Champions isn't all bad.
The Bad: Nothing bad from this game
The Ugly: I was so worn out, that I forgot to activate on my first turn. I deployed a site from hand, and went and got the AC from my reserve deck. Then I went to draw and noticed no cards there. (how embarrassing) I had my line all ready if he had said anything. "I don't need to activate on my first turn. Don't you know who I am?"
Steven loses to Yannik, and Clint loses to Brian Hunter. There isn't a single player who escaped without a loss. What a tournament. Yannik ends up on top, while Steven finishes about 4 differential behind to take 2nd. Clint, Brian Hunter, Ray Bordier, and Turner all finish at 5-1.
As Steven and Yannik get ready to start the final duel, Nick decides that he wants a piece of my skrillings with his profit. Game 1 takes out 2 minutes as I hit him with a Pote, 5 skrilling, Scum beatdown on turn 3. Game 2 was one for the ages. The crowd watching our game was just as large as the one watching the final. Were talking trash the whole time with the crowd giving various Ooohh's and Ahhh's for effect. (Were both yelling at eachother "Don't you know who I am?") In the end, his direct damage did me in though, as he won by about 10. It was one of those moments that made GenCon as much fun, if not more fun, than DecipherCon.
As you all know
by now, Yannik beat Steven in both games to take the 2000 GenCon title.
And once again, I predict the winner. (I also predicted Kevin Shannon to
win the San Diego ComicCon) I really need to start getting some
odds from Marco before the Con's. I could make some serious money at this. Hope you all enjoyed the read.
Until next time.......PEACE!!
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