Hey there, Yu-Gi-Oh!-community! Joshua Oosters here, bringing you my very first article as part of Complexity Card Gaming! In this article I will be covering my experience at the MTS Bologna, sharing some of my personal motivations to travel out to foreign events and entertain you with my less-than-ordinary travel story.
First of all I’d like to explain exactly why I wanted to participate in this Major Tour Stop in Italy.
The first reason is that I really wanted to see my teammates again. I have been in CCG for about 3 months at this point and I have only met the “boys in blue” at YCS Rimini. I thought attending Bologna would give me some time to hang out with the guys and of course show my support for this great tournament series!
Secondly the prize support for these tournaments is just great. Going to the United States and playing a Yu-Gi-Oh!-event there has been on my bucket list for quite some time now, and winning one of these makes that a reality… for free! Of course even if you don’t win, the prizes are pretty great, with the Cardmarket vouchers and the flight and accommodation to the Grand Finale in Amsterdam (okay, I guess the second and third prizes are not very special for me, since Amsterdam is just an hour by train for me, but for most other players this is pretty sweet as well).
The last, and perhaps most important reason, is that I wanted to play another competitive event. Since I won nationals I attended two large scale tournaments: the European Championship in Berlin and YCS Rimini. At both of these events I performed way below my own expectations. Between those tournaments there really wasn’t much going on for me Yu-Gi-Oh!-wise. With my job and college starting again I couldn’t really participate in anything else than some local tournaments and LLDSes. While playing these is fun, they don’t provide the competitive atmosphere I was looking for. Winnings locals is fun, but playing against other competitive players is even more fun! MTS Bologna provided a great way for me to play in this environment and prove to myself I could still get a decent score at such a tournament.
I think it’s very important to just keep going when you’re feeling a bit down about the game and try to learn why you’ve been doing less well than you expected in past events. Don’t let negative emotions about the game prevent you from improving and doing well at the next event.
So with this in mind I asked around in the Netherlands if anybody wanted to travel to Bologna with me and from there on the trip was on!
Most people who have been following the coverage (either stream of written) of MTS Bologna have most likely already heard about this, but I will go into a bit more detail here. My trip to Bologna was actually just insane.
Because of ticket prices for flights I had booked our flight from the Brussel South-Charleroi Airport in Belgium to Ancona. This was way less expensive than flying straight from the Netherlands, so the 4-or-so extra travel hours seemed worth it to me (tip: always look for alternative travel options when you think going to an event is too expensive!). After all my companion and me could just spend those 4 hours in the train playtesting a bit more and just chilling.
So the Friday of the event I met up with my friend Mark at Rotterdam Central Station to take the train directly to Antwerp. We met up about 30 minutes before the train left, I got some coffee and we were off! In the train we talked about our decks and play tested on the tiny tables. Everything was going fine, and according to my planning we should arrive at the airport 15:30, 1,5 hours before the gate of our flight would close.
Once we arrived at Antwerp we transferred to the train that would take us to Brussel South. From there we would get on a bus to airport. In this train we continued our testing on even tinier tables and were just having a good time, untill we suddenly realized one of the stations we passed was Brussel South! Mark mentioned this to me and I checked on the phone to confirm this had indeed been our stop. It was, so we decided to get out at the next station and get on a train back. This should have been no problem since we had more than an hour to fix our mistake and still get back in time.
We got out of the train, and luck would have it just in front of us was a bus that was going straight to Brussel South! Waiting for the train would take a while so this seemed perfect. However, once we got into the bus and slowly started making our way to Brussel South is became clear to us we wouldn’t be making it in time if we proceeded at this pace. We got out in this town in Belgium called Waterloo and decided to look for a taxi to just drive us straight to the airport.
Somehow, the good town of Waterloo didn’t seem to have any taxi’s available to it took us 45 minutes to finally get in contact with a taxi company and for them to reach us. By this time it was about 16:10 and we had only 50 minutes to make it to our gate, with our navigation telling us it was a 45 minute drive.
The driver asked us if we had called and wanted to get to the airport, I confirmed and told him we had to get to Brussel South-Charleroi Airport. While in the car we made some small-talk with the driver and I mentioned how we had messed up with the train etc. He told us he was part Italian so he would make sure we would make it to Italy!
After thirty minutes he suddenly told us it was just a few minutes drive now. I asked him how this was possible and he made something up about taking a shortcut. Then when the airport got within our sight I saw the wrong name; Airport Brussel-Zaventem. I told the taxi driver this was NOT where I told him we should go, but he insisted this is what I had said. By now it was obviously way too late to make it to the other airport so he dropped us of at the wrong airport and asked us to pay. We handed over the absurdly huge amount of money to him for bringing us to the wrong place and decided to check if there was any flight to Italy for today at this airport. There was, but these flights costed 500 euros per ticket for a one-way flight so we decided to just go home.
Once I arrived home that evening I told the CCG-guys I had missed my flight and was not going to make it, and immediately Norman started looking for traveling alternatives for me! Big shout out to him, without Norman I wouldn’t have made it to Bologna. There was a cheap flight Saturday morning from Germany, near the Dutch border and if we took it we would still be in time for the tournament!
I immediately purchased two tickets, and Mark and I were off again the next morning, this time the travel went perfectly smooth and we made it in time to play some card games!
Here I will do a small overview of the tournament and my personal tournament experience, including a small round-by-round report!
After meeting up with the boys in blue and saying hello to my other friends there, it was time to quickly write down my deck list since it was 12:30 and registration would close at 13:00. I had been playing this BAPK build with a single copy of Astral Force to “replace Beatrice” at locals and since I didn’t have time to playtest some other cards I wanted to try because of the insane travel I decided to just take that list. The tournament started nicely on time (think it was about 13:30) and with nearly a 100 participants, with a good number of good players in the room I was really looking forward to playing!
Round 1 vs Pure BA
Die roll: Win
Game 1: I open broke and I think I killed him on my second turn
Game 2: I open Winter Cherries, but he goes into something like Totem Bird, Dark Law, Digital Bug Corebage and Emptiness and I can’t beat that.
Game 3: He Cherries me turn 1, but I beat him by “looping” Corebage and protecting myself with Fogblades.
Round 2 vs mirror
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He opens Beatrice, Maxx “C”, Vanities Emptiness so I don’t get to play
Game 2: I open mediocre, just Beatrice pass. He Kaiju’s me and it’s all downhill from there.
By this point I’m pretty sad since I’m basically on the bubble already from round 2
Round 3 vs Mermails (Feature match)
Die roll: Win
Be sure to check this out on our youtube channel! I will still explain some choices I made while playing these games.
Game 1: I open the nuts and just kill him turn 2. Nothing special going on here.
Game 2: He opens terrible, but he has infinite Maxx and Flying “C”s to prevent me from doing anything. From there, this game turns into a really long grind. At some point he can kill me with Diva going into Coral Dragon and I have the option to Cir back either Farfa (to survive 100%) or Dante and survive if he doesn’t go into Coral. However, if I went for Farfa I would have only 1 out in my deck in the form of Speedroid Terrortop, while if I went for the Dante I could draw any BA or Terrortop to potentially seal the game. However, he goes into Coral and that’s it for game 2.
Game 3: I was the luckiest man in Yu-Gi-Oh! this game. He opens the perfect hand but misses Solemn Warning with his Twin Twisters. Then he makes some miss plays and can’t kill me, so I kill him on my second turn.
Round 4 vs Seraph Herald
Die roll: Win
Game 1: I open my boy Pleiades, set Fogblade, TGU in hand. I Fogblade his Manju and he is forced to pass, so OTK.
Game 2: He opens something like Ouroboros, Herald, Krystia. Pretty strong field.
Game 3: I don’t really remember it exactly, but turn 2 he Flying “C”s me with Herald on field, and I drop Vanity’s Fiend. Then we just pass for 20 turns, me hoping I draw Strike and he doesn’t draw Raigeki first. However, after a while he says he doesn’t have an out in his deck and scoops.
Round 5 vs Odd-Eyes Pendulum
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He opens up Kirin but literally nothing else. However I have total brick so I’m just stalling to get to some good cards. Eventually I do and I can out his Kirin and his scales. He doesn’t have a high scale and ends up drawing Iris way too late to my board of Beatrice and Pleiades.
Game 2: He opens Dweller and I open 6 BA’s, OTK’s me on his second turn in overtime so it’s a draw.
Round 6 vs Odd-Eyes Pendulum
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He opens up Kirin and I can’t get rid of it so I get killed on turn 2.
Game 2: I open up double anti-spell and he only has 1 out in his hand.
Game 3: He goes Abductor, upstart, desires, Iris, so I guess it’s over. However, he Iris searches for Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and scales it, then throws his entire hand + extra deck on the field. I point out he has scales 3 and 4, so he just stares at his field a bit and proceeds to end phase. My hand is really good so I out his entire board and he can’t get back into the game vs my 3 backrow.
Day 1 ends around 21:00 I believe, so not too bad. The venue of the tournament also happened to be a hotel, very clever to host a tournament there. So I crash in Alex Neag’s room (big thanks for that!) so we don’t have to go looking for my own hotel. Before going to sleep we chill a bit in the lobby of the hotel with Alex, Schmidt, Valle and some others, everybody sharing some really funny stories and after that it’s off to bed.
Round 7 vs mirror
Die roll: No die roll.
Game 1: My opponent got FTK’d by the busdriver and got 5 minutes too late so he got a game loss.
Game 2: He start well with Terrortop into Beatrice, but my hand is good so I can Farfa his Bea and summon my own Terrortop, which he Fogblades. After that we grind for about 40 minutes and I end up taking the game by Nightmare Sharking him twice.
So that means I’m in tops. Alex made it to tops as well. I check the final standings and see I’m 7th, which means I will have to play the 10th in top 16, which sadly happens to be Alex.
Top 16 vs Odd-Eyes Pendulum (Alex)
Die roll: Win
Game 1: I open very good and kill him turn 2
Game 2: He bricks with double Maxx “C”, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, MST and Odd-Eyes Unicore. I open three Twin Twisters and Terrortop so I win this game.
First time playing Alex ever and these games very just very relaxed! Too bad we had to play in top 16.
Top 8 vs mirror
Die roll: Win
Game 1: I open Beatrice and Maxx “C”.
Game 2: He has me go first so I go into Beatrice with Flying “C” in hand. He kaiju’s me, specials 2 BA’s at which point I play Flying “C”. Then kill him on my next turn with Tour Guide and Phantom Knight shenanigans.
Top 4 vs Seraph Herald (r-r-r-re-match vs Simone Falanga)
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He opens Herald with Maxx C in hand. I go for Bea anyway since I probably won’t get the chance to do that again. After that he Seraph Combo’s me and Ouroboros bounce my Bea. My only way to go into Bea again to crash for Pilgrim is Boots, which I sack so I do exactly that, through Maxx “C” again. From there we just grind and I sack him again with Terrortop to win game 1 at 100 lifepoints.
Game 2: He opens Herald with just 2 negates, I open 3 BA’s, Tour Guide and Fog Blade so I win.
Finals! Vs Metalfoes (Feature match, check it out!)
Die roll: Loss
Honestly the games speak for themselves. I was pretty nervous since the trip to the US was on the line so I made some miss plays game 2 (should have played Cyclone his unknown backrow in standby phase to play around Omega turn 1, and could have also played my last turn a bit safer)
So that’s my entire Bologna experience! I highly recommend attending Major Tour Stops yourself because they are just a lot of fun and provide great prizes. Also be sure to attend the Grand Finale right here in Amsterdam, open to everybody.
This weekend was amazing for me, winning the event after all the trouble of getting there. Going to the US is something I’m really looking forward to!
Thanks for reading everybody, this thing turned out to be a lot longer of a read than I had expected.
Hope it was a fun read though and hopefully see everybody at YCS Liverpool!