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I popped but not locked (A top8 Oceanic WCQ tale)

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Klays    78
So if anyone knows anything about my ygo career, it's a constant struggle between floodgates and bricking on the bubble. I lost in round9 of YCS Sydney no1, legitimately bubbled in rd8 of both my nats and oceas in 2014 by bricking both g2 and g3 and simply potatoed in my first round of YCS Sydney day2 rd1. Friends and I have this constant joke as to how I just brick but in reality, I've always blamed myself for little things for each event and I never played perfectly and got punished for it in the end, every time. I started to think that maybe, I simply wasn't good enough at the game to make it through.
After going 4-4 on the saturday at my nationals playing Nekroz and losing to 3 qliphorts in a row, this feeling reinstates itself on the saturday night and I'm honestly really down. On the sunday morning, rather than going to the venue, I take some time alone and explore the city of Melbourne which I had never been to before. Whilst walking around, I decide that Oceanics should probably be my last event for a whole lot of reasons. I also decide that Shaddolls should be the deck I play. It's a deck my friend Lincoln(ManicLink here i'm pretty sure) and I worked on for the past couple of months. I also didn't want to worry about all the formalities that the Nekroz mirror brings about (Djinn out/in, spellcaster village, durendal/drollandlock bird lock) and more importantly, that if I was to quit, it would be playing a deck I adore.
Lincoln top 32'd our nats with our list but didnt commit fully to certain ideas that we had. I chose to go the whole way and this is what I ended up playing. He chose to play Nekroz for OCeas whereas I was set on playing this list and he even tried to bully me out of it :P. It seems like i made the right call.
Lincoln played the one dragon in the main and didn't side the raiden or the 2nd charge. I chose to do it as I truly believed it was the best light engine against backrow decks and I wasn't afraid of siding in a 1000 cards for anything that was not nekroz. I saw no value in playing the one dragon in the main deck, as there is no real way that a unique dragon can win you a game against qliphort/floodgate.dek or satellas and it's awful against Nekroz, the best deck. In regards to Denko, the card honestly sucks in this deck. You're not trying to OTK anymore. Your game plan is to disrupt most of your opp's play with El Doll, Fusion monsters and your own trap cards. Something Denko prevents you from doing. A sole lyla is actually a bigger threat, as you're guaranteed to hit at least one backrow permenently. A combination of Lyla + MST against Deneb set 2/3 (bar Alpha) allows you  to clear 3 cards off their board. Triggering a shaddoll monster in the EP also puts you very much in front.
Our thought process with the main deck was that t1 set beast set falco with any combination of purple card and/or hand trap would put you in a very very good position to win the grind game and we maximised our chances of opening such. I thought winning g1 against Nekroz was also a  lot more important than winning g1 against any other deck. This was correct. 
My entire mindset throughout the day was also not to think of the end result and to simply take every single game as an individual and to simply attempt to play the best yugioh I could play. "One game at a time" was the sentence I said the most throughout the entire day.
The event starts and as I check pairings, I keep reminding myself of the one game at a time theory.
Round 1: Qliphorts
I am very sad as I get to verse a really good friend of mine and I know he is playing qliphorts. I pray I win the dice roll and open the mistake as it's truly the only way I can win g1. I do such.
G1: I go first and open double mistake. I win the grind game despite a lose 1 turn on the board because Construct is simply amazing.
G2: I draw a bunch of MST's but no shaddoll monster, I can't win the video game
G3: I choose to go first and it was the right call. I open Lyla MST Twister Game Mathematician. I summon Lyla, set 3 and mill a beast in the EP. It would be highly impossible for me to lose the game. I mst both his scouts and sets 3. He also doesn't have a monster to beat over my Lyla. I know I can win this game and Games for falco in EP. I still have Lyla, I'm too far in front and he scoops before I even make a fusion card.
I'm happy because the deck did what it's supposed to do but I had to beat a friend to verify such.
Round2: Shaddolls
I verse the most unpleasant 15 year old I have ever met who slow plays into oblivion.
G1: I lose simply because he opens the stone cold nuts and drops BLS. 
G2: I start a bit on tilt because he takes 8 minutes to commit to a turn when he has 4 cards in hand only. I obviously call a judge over and he ends up spending 20 minutes + with us. I win the game because I'm a 100x times better than him at YGO. He kept mistake in in the mirror...
G3: We go into time, obviously, and after doing a bunch of shitty plays and no damage done, he leaves a mathematician on board face up in T4 of time. I deal 1300 to win the game in T5.
I'm absolutely furious as how awful the guy was and how much of a "a**hole" he was, he even tried to argue with the judge about turns in time. My friends calm me down. I have never disliked any yugioh player as much as him.
Round3: Burning Abyss
I lose the roll
g1: I open a bunch of spell and traps and he deals a bunch of damage with Dante etc but I have doll fusion in hand. I fusion he warning's, i realize this game is over but I pray anyways, its only early. He then barber's me for game twice....oh.
G2: I go second and he chooses not to make Dante, I summon Raiden and beat over his field with Core + Raiden and set a few trap cards and realize I can't lose the game any more the moment i mill a beast, I believe. I end up making a mad star eater play and + into the distance with a field of Construct Winda Lyla once he clears my eater.
G3: I can't really remember what happens but I win because it's an easy match up and Lyla is just the nuts.
Round4: Nekroz
So this guy hasn't got a very nice reputation, but he's really nice to me and he and I get along very well actually so I don't mind playing him.
G1: He opens slow and I open the standard beast falco play without mistake but he doesn't really know how to play around the falco SS fusion monster from GY play. He tries to attack my construct with DA or valk I believe and I shadow game it face up and by then I win the video game.
G2: I kinda brick but somewhat grind the game out but lose regardless
G3: We both open slow but I end up mistaking him twice and I warning his exciton knight and it was over from there.
I'm 4-0 and slowly start to believe I can make it but keep reminding myself "One game at a time. One game at a time"
Round5: Nekroz
I win the roll and go second.
G1: I open the standard beast falco play and once again, Shadow gaming my construct face up beats his Unicore + Valk field. By then he's too far behind and uses too many ressources to win the game. I make a star eater at some point to make sure I can beat his senju/valk so he can't exciton me the next turn. I win the game.
G2: We're definitely going into time this game, so at least I know a tie is guaranteed. He opens slow and I deal 5600 damage and seriously believe I've got this. He plays really well and also tops prep of rites + senju in t3 of time and ends up OTKing me. I have no salt despite the top decks as he played extremely well.
4-0-1, 3 more rounds to go.
Round6: Nekroz (Oliver? on DGZ)
I lose the roll and go first.
G1: For the first time I do not open a purple card or a hand trap and open 2 el doll fusion and 3 shaddoll monster. I still go for the beast falco play as it's the correct one and hope I draw into something decent. He plays really well, drops senju unicore brionac and trish all in the right order, so im forced to make a winda to not get trish'd and he just spins it back. I knew I was losing the game anyways.
G2: It's a standard grind and I believe I had a game shot but misread his one backrow for a Book of Moon or a MIrror Force, I don't end up going for the game shot. That was what cost me the game. I then pre emptively activate my lancea in standby and I think that also cost me the game. I draw mistake and the backrow ends up being Fairy Wind and I lose from there.
I have zero problem losing this round as he's a better player than I am and at least know my resistance would be good. 
I'm back at this point again, the bubble. But once again: One game at a time.
Round 7: Nekroz
G1: I open a slow hand but can still come back from it with a good grind game. It helps that I dodge his trishula and that he misses the trigger for the shurit search and I end up generating too much advantage with my shaddoll cards.
G2: I open the stone cold nuts and make about 7 or 8 fusions, responding to 2 rituals in 2 turns with El doll + core into Water fusion. He tells me he really enjoys the way I play Shaddolls and It was honestly a good compliment. I'm half upset about the whole shurit trigger thing then but he says he understands. I did miss a Core add too in g1 and we were somewhat even anyways.
So one more round to go, one game at a time hey.
Round 8: Shaddoll Hand artifact.
I go second I believe.
G1: I think I don't see a light besides BLS the whole game. I manage to outgrind him and make an arcanite and for some stupid reason i forget about Arcanite being a light, I don't drop the BLS and get punished for it the moment he mind controls my beast and otks me with BLS too. My fault really.
So I'm one game away from elimination but hey, one game at a time. Deep down based on G1 I know I am better than he is in the mirror at least and my Lyla + Raiden side can get me there.
G2: It's a very long grind game but I manage my resources better and he's playing artifacts so I should really win this. We both drop BLS but my field is better than his. He makes a huge misplay with his denko and he's forced to set his call after crashing his Denko into my BLS. He standby phases for moraltach to kill my own BLS but I charge into lyla, pop the backrow, kills his BLS with construct, special core, attack for damage, el doll for game.
One more game, I can do this.
G3: It's a long grind game as we both open slow but I put him in an awkward spot where he attacks my set falco with a breakthrough'd construct (he forgot about it, lel), so I have a set shek that's he's forced to michael away. In his EP he mills a beast and a falco off michael so I start to believe I can't game shot him as planned. I draw Charge of the light brigade for turn and I have raigeki in hand. The game is mine for the taking. Shaddoll Fusion from deck, Summon Lyla, Raigeki the whole board, Lyla attacks the falco, 6000 damage. I win. 
I end up 6-1-1 and 8th in Swiss. It feels nice to know I end up getting there, especially with a list that we've worked on for a while and got rewarded for it. My phone keeps buzzing from the peeps back home (Mostly Jono, Carl and Ryan) and I get a 1000 hugs from so many people. Everyone congratulates me and I kinda feel like the people's champs, in a way. Their reactions meant more to me than actually getting there, honestly. I find out that Yaowei (Blacklisted), Hayden (my fav), Dom (one of my roommates and friends), Oliver, Wheeler and Piers all make it. I'm happy. 
Time to enter my first top16 bracket but hey, one game at a time.
T16: Nekroz
I win the roll
G1: He opens Kaleido for Unicore as he obviously knows I am playing Dolls, he activates rites and passes. I decide to fusion for Construct and send the core off squamata to get fusion back as I have vanity in hand. He valks. His turn: he activates a ritual, I emptiness him. He attacks with Unicore, drops DA and breaks my Construct + Emptiness board but it's fine as I got exactly the value I wanted from it. I can't exactly remember what happens but the fact that DA is there scares me a little. I know at some point I breakthrough'd his diamond and fused from deck and at this point I know I'm ahead. I end up breaking the Diamond + DA board that he has and win.
G2: I go first and take a huge gamble setting hedgehog + warning and hope he simply doesn't trish me for game. He doesn't, he mst's my warning, just makes a Diamond and sets a card. I activate mind control for his diamond, flip hedgehog, add El Doll as I have regular fusion in hand. I bait out his emptiness, chain el doll fusion and I'm in a very good position at this point. He MST's my one backrow and just pray I draw mistake at this point, I have 2 mistakes left to his one MST left in deck. I end up doing just that and win the game.
I'm in top8 and I am 4 wins away from going to worlds. Crazy, considering that I didn't really believe in myself anymore and didnt think I could get there but hey, once again: One. game. at. a. time.
Top8 Nekroz
He won nats the day before and won swiss, so obviously, this is  the guy's weekend. I know he main decks 2 Secret villages so I know he at least has two dead cards against me.
G1: I can't honestly remember what happens, but I know he plays extremely well and after a relatively long g1, he takes it.
G2: I open average but I have the mistake to slow the game down. He doesn't have the out so it turns into a bit of a grind. He summons a fire hand, deals some damage. I draw pass. i think he finally spaces my mistake. Next turn he kaleido's for clausolas + trishula but I have the breakthrough so it's fine. I finally draw a shaddoll monster. My hand is Shaddoll Fusion, El Doll, Mind Control, light and a shaddoll fusion, so if I play this right, I'm ahead. I fusion for construct, resolve my effects, mind control the trishula, attack the clausolas, he uses effect, i breakthrough it, spell speed for Anoyatylith, beat the fire hand and warning it on effect. After that he can't really come back and doesn't have an out for the lith and I win the game.
G3: So it finally happens, I go first and draw the famous 4 monsters and a shit card hand. I open Mathematician Felis Squamata book of moon MST. I insta regret not siding back out the mst after not seeing a decree g2. But the real regret of the weekend is this: I clearly need a fusion card to get out of the brick hand, and don't pray for the Math > Squamata > beast draw as I am more afraid of Trishula. He does a couple of things and passes. I draw a Beast. I realize that my tournament experience is finally over. I drop the math because hey, at this point, it's truly over and draw into a hedgehog. Ah well, I should have just prayed turn 1, the only real regret I have during the day. He deals a bunch of damage but doesn't kill me. My next draw is irrelevant I'm pretty sure. I shake his hand and congratulate him. He is a really quirky  and nice guy and wish him luck, but at the same time, tell him to lose as he's versing my friend Dom in top4.
So I lose in top8. I honestly don't realize that I did go relatively deep and did the best I had ever done. My top8 opponents beats my friend Dom in top 4 and Oliver goes all the way in the other bracket. I'm happy for the both of them. And hey, my only losses of the day were to the winner and the runner up, I have nothing to be ashamed about.
It's about 9:30pm and my friends and I do a deck profile filled with memes and I'm pretty sure it's just 15 minutes of just that: memes. I'll definitely post it here as I think it's worth the watch. We head to the casino with the lads (Yaowei, Bohdan, Andy, Leroy, DIaz etc) and I lose another 125 dollars. I lost 200 the first night there. Never lucky, hey :D (INSERT SARCASM HERE).
To summarise, I feel like i played the right deck for the event and I got rewarded for it. The mentality I had every round also helped. Most importantly, for once I don't think I let anyone down and the constant support between every round is what truly got me there. Thanks everyone for believing in my game when I didn't anymore. I still can't decide whether I want to quit or not. Ending up on a high like this seems fitting but at the same time, I was 3 wins away from worlds and I absolutely love the people I travel with and see at events. We will see what life brings about.
Topping with a list Lincoln and I worked on for months
No Shaddoll No glory
Beating the bubble and finally getting a top.
Honestly feeling like the people's champ
Friends topping. Dom's top 4 and Hayden's top8 make me incredibly happy too.
The trophie.
Playing perfectly about 90% of the day.
Jono's diet thing ( I ate fruits and sugar between every round and drank 4 litres of water I'm pretty sure)
The post oceas dinner.
Every single person I've spent time hanging out with. The cas, dinners, drinks and everything was so much fun.
Cons (only two):
The Weidemann not being there.
Not praying earlier in g3 top8, I may have got there, I may have not. We will never know but that was truly my biggest regret of the day.
Thanks for reading, lads.
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oliver?    690

good work! super happy for you, especially that we both made it in after having to play

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Blacklisted    1330

[spoiler] Friends don't let friends play Shaddolls. So either we're no longer friends or you're not playing Shaddolls. [/spoiler]


You proved me wrong friend. <3 <3 <3

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chris5462    65

I was so happy when you ripped that charge knew you'd do it bro :) 

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lemonsatan    18

I made an account on here just to upvote this.

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Klays    78

eh, memes


if you guys are bored and have 24 minutes to spare

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