LUXURY GAMING – 2018 – COLOSSEUM GOAT FORMAT TOURNAMENT REPORT
The Colosseum League was a Goat Format tournament hosted by Luxury Gaming Tournaments during the last months of 2018, with finals finishing in early 2019. There was something special about this tournament though. Firstly, Burn decks and Empty Jar were not allowed and secondly, this was a 3v3 team ironman tournament, meaning that the players had to form teams of 3 and had to play against each other until one team lost all of their players. The winning player from each match had to play the next player from the losing team and so on, until eventually one team ran out of players. Lastly, matches were played in best of 5 manner instead of best of 3; this was done just to please the players from Luxury who have been wanting to try best of 5 Goats for quite some time.
Each team had to pay 75$ to entry (25$ per player) and in the end, 12 teams joined. This gives us a prize pool of 900$ which was distributed in the following fashion:
625$ for the 1st team, 275$ for the 2nd team.
Teams played 4 rounds of swiss, finishing with top 4 and then, of course, the final play off.
The SloGoatsss Team
When I saw that this tournament was happening, I really wanted to join it because I liked the artificial settings that were meant for it; both best of 5 and banning of Burn and Jar was to my liking. Best of 5 awards skill and side decking preparation more than best of 3 does, which was where I was planning my team to shine, and Burn and Empty Jar are strategies which I personally just don’t like very much, so, double win for me.
Now I needed 2 more members who would go trough this with me. Miha Flisek was the first person who came to my mind and I knew right off the bat that I wanted him on my team. I only became friends with him recently, but I knew him as a Slovenian Yu-Gi-Oh! Legend since I started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! Myself. Since the launch of SloGoatsss Championship (basically a regional Goat Format side event at Slovenian Regionals, which I and some of my friends are mostly responsible for organising) he has participated in every one of them and he hasn’t lost a single match. He was happy to join this tournament with me, so we only needed our last member. I talked to previously mentioned friends, which helped me with organising monthly side events, but none of them really wanted to join. So me and Miha came up with a crazy idea of asking Urh Kovačič to play with us, another Slovenian Yu-Gi-Oh! Legend and a good friend of Miha, which was currently living in Paris. Well, Miha asks him and he also happily says yes. Lastly, we needed the name. I was hoping for something more spicy but we just went with this simple one.
And so, Team SloGoatsss was formed, consisting of:
- me - Alen Bizjak a.k.a. siwski (a scrub)
- Miha Flisek a.k.a. Fliiix (Slovenian national championship 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016 winner, YCS Lille 2013 top, European championship 2013 and 2015 top)
- Urh Kovačič a.k.a. Doruk Fekir (European championship 2012 top, YCS Barcelona 2012 top, Croatian national championship 2013 winner, European championship 2015 top, YCS Rimini 2015 top and YCS Prague 2016 winner).
Our schedules were very different, with me and Miha also having university stuff on our heads and Urh working some crazy hours at work, staying up late and waking up very late, so we had less time for discussion than I was hoping for.
We revisited the format completely but in the end the discussion was all about two decks: Goat Control or Chaos Control. No one really wanted to play Aggro with so many games post side and we didn’t have enough time to build anything remotely good enough for the event with Monarchs, although we all agreed that there is some untapped potential in them. We haven’t considered anything crazier or new though, probably beacuse the limited time was our biggest obstacle. So we applied the principle of not trying to fix what isn’t broken.
I was really confident in Angel Chaos’ stability and early game consistency that I was ready to take the deck for a ride in this event, but Urh and Miha favoured Goat Control for their less linear strategy and higher ceiling. Of course we considered not playing the same deck at first, but that didn’t make much sense to us, because if we create »the best deck« for the tournament, why wouldn’t we all run it?
I ultimately agreed on playing Goat Control for the event, without any actual clear or strong arguments for it (compared to Angel Chaos). Me and Miha knew the advantages and disadvantages of both decks compared to each other well enough and I guess I just trusted him with going with Goat Control. I mean, deciding to play Goat Control in a Goat Format can’t really be a mistake, can it?
With knowing that we’re playing Goat Control, we still had the hardest and the best part ahead of us - constructing a deck. Miha and Urh really love building their houses from nothing, so we journeyed trough various different cards, ideas and strategies, with me mostly being there caps- locking them »NO GOD NO PLEASE, NOT ENEMY CONTROLER!«.
Here’s the list - »the Paradox Build«: https://imgur.com/FoRRxVV
The biggest changes we used, compared to the standard Goat list (or the DETOX list), are the usage of 4 Spirits, namely 2 Asura Priest and 2 Tsukuyomis, preference of Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive over Magical Merchants and 3rd Scapegoat over 2nd Sakuretsu Armor.
The main »force« driving us for such changes from the standard list was the little 1400 / 1000 train. Dekoichi, the Battlechanted Locomotive is a strong card and we wanted to have a deck with 2 copies of Dekoichi in it, not from our personal preference for the card, but because we believed that the card is really strong and that a Goat deck with Dekoichi in it is better than a Goat deck without Dekoichis. Simply but surely; Dekoichi’s 1400 ATK is his biggest advantage compared to Magical Merchant (or sometimes Dark Mimic LV1) but we believed that it is a big one. The 1000 DEF is only relevant when Deko is attacked by Sangan, but trust me, that happens way more often than you would believe, but this is not the reason why we built the deck around Dekoichi. Dekoichi, as far as I know, is the only flip effect monster that really gives you the edge in the scenario where you set Dekoichi, opponent didn’t NoC it or attack it and you don’t have a Parshat or Tsuku in hand. You could argue that Dekoichi doesn’t allow us to use our Metamorphosis on their set if they have it, but without having Parshat or Tsuku that 0 ATK TER won’t do much good for us. Dekoichi, instead,
will be the lead attacker in our scenario and he will make sure to kill their set, unless its something weird like Tsuku or Spy or he will just straight up deal solid 1400 points of damage. Killing their set with resolved Dekoichi is stronger than many people realise, and of course we still have our normal summon to work with, which we can use to gain great tempo over our opponent. In one conversation I had with Jazz, he said that it doesn’t really matter if we resolve Dekoichi or Merchant because we’re winning in both scenarios, so that makes Merchant better just because he is a LIGHT and a level 1, but I don’t really see it – situations where Dekoichi can kill their set Faith or Merchant with us not having anything to work with Merchant (if our Deko was Merchant) are definitely real and so are situations where Dekoichi pokes for 1400 damage, which is an ACTUAL damage (how many turns are you willing to do nothing and let the Merchant hit you for 200, and how many turns are you willing to do that with Deko?). All things considered, Dekoichi is the better card when you don’t have other »combo pieces« to work with your resolved Merchant and we believed that this is good enough to give us an upper hand and build a deck around it.
Playing Dekoichi instead of Merchant left us with some awkward problems that we had to solve. Most notably, we were low on LIGHTs and low on level 1s. This is where the 3rd Scapegoat comes in. We cut Sakuretsu Armor for it because there really isn’t anything else that we could cut. We didn’t want to cut Dust Tornado for it, because Tornado was essential for our agressive strategy of 2 Asura and 2 Parshats. You will notice that 2nd Asura is a very reliable LIGHT monster, too. 3rd Scapegoat and 2nd Asura seemed to fit in the deck so perfectly to cover up for Dekoichi’s disadvantages because we were expecting a lot of Goat Control and Chaos Control decks and those cards are doing fine against those decks. Asura’s Spirit ability was seen as a feature so we didn’t have to worry about our beaters getting sucked up by TER or banished by CS. Miha was really going with the idea that every monster has to be either a Set or it has to do something on summon (like Breaker and Virus) and 2nd Asura filled that role as well, unlike D. D. Warrior Lady and Abyss Soldier, who were also considered. The elephant in the room here is the Aggro matchup, as 4 Spirits can be really bad against it, but we let the side deck handle that.
We meant to approach the side deck with carefulness and precision, but unfortunately we ran out of time to make it perfect. The last cards were thrown in literally seconds before submitting out »finished« decklists, but still, it wasn’t the worst side deck you could think of.
Quite fortunately, we spent the most time of our side deck discussion talking about the aggro match- up, and for this we were awarded with 3 Aggro match-ups in swiss. We started by selecting cards from the main deck that we wanted to side out and then finding the equal amount of cards that we wanted to side in. Originally, we were supposed to do this process for each and every expected match-up and construct a side deck well prepared to fight-off all these match-ups most optimally, but as I mentioned before, time wasn’t on our side.
The most contraversial card in our side is without a doubt Waboku. Obviously, the card is meant for OTK match-ups but it is still not certain whether the inclusion of this card actually helps us win. It probably does against Ben-Kei (which is rarely played), but other OTK decks that are not a simple one-trick-pony and also leave behind a massive board are not actually defeated just by resolving a Waboku. We had a chance to put a card to test in swiss, and luckily it won us the match, but this is not a good enough argument for it, and I’m personally still very undecided about it, but I’m leaning towards not siding Waboku anymore.
The rest of the cards in the side are quite standard, except for 1 Magical Merchant which I’ll get to in a second. It is probably worth noting that if I were to change one thing in this side, I’d certainly swap out Gravekeeper engine for Legendary Jujitsu Masters, no doubt about it.
So, who the hell sides Magical Merchant? Keep in mind that Burn and Jar was banned for the tournament, so the side deck was a little more »spacey« than it is usually. We figured that we cut ourselves terribly low on LIGHTs when siding for Aggro, because we want to side out Parshats and Asuras, and we didn’t want to not run BLS because it is such a strong card, even more against Aggro than it is against mirror. So the solution was to leave one Asura in, because she still has monsters than she can run over (most notably Blade Knight, Mystic Swordsman LV2, Sangan, TIV or crash with DDWL, DD Assailant or King Tiger Wanghu), sometimes even more of them, and works with post-side Creature Swaps, then replace second Asura with Magical Merchant and Parshat with Zaborg.
- siwski vs. Hernan Javier Pulido (DmoC Chaos)
- siwski vs. Saad Ramadan (Aggro)
- siwski vs. Kevin Wu (Aggro)
There isn’t much to say about the 1st round of the Colosseum. As I recall, I was very eager to play and I just came home from my dorm and told my mum to leave me alone for a bit, because I have something important to do. First match was the closest one, with me barely getting it with 3 – 2. Our deck didn’t have much problem vs. Aggro matchups following the 1st match.
- Doruk Fekir vs. Rhymus Lizo (Goat Control)
- Doruk Fekir vs. Christopher Ivan Flores (Chaos)
- Doruk Fekir vs. Cj Torella (Bazoo DFT)
- Fliiix vs Cj Torella (https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=31432-7138969, https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=31432-7139789)
First two matches went smoothly and Urh did what Urh does best – win, although it is worth noting that our 1st opponent had some interesting cards in his deck, ranging from Brain Control to Cannon Soldier. The 3rd matchup was unexpected one and Urh lost to Bazoo DFT, which looked very scary to us. We weren’t only discussing how to handle it properly with the side we had, but we also had to reconsider our deck’s whole gameplan, because none of us didn’t really have much experience with or against such deck. The choices were limited but we constructed a side deck plan for going 1st and 2nd and Miha put it to action; together with great technical skill he managed to win with 3 – 2 record. We actually included Waboku in this matchup although Miha strongly argued against it, but gave up due to me and Urh being very stubborn about it. In the end, Waboku may not be the best choice against matchups like this, but luckily, for us it ended well and gave us that game 5 win and with it the round win.
- siwski vs. Carl Waite (Aggro)
siwski vs. Justin Singh (Goat Control)
- siwski vs. Marcus Hayden (Chaos)
I was looking forward to playing vs. Carl in a tournament for the first time and I’m obviously happy with the result. Carl was on Tiger King Aggro for anyone wondering. I recall Justin was playing Solemn Judgement in his Goat list (not sure if he maindecked it or sided it in) and didn’t find much success with it, as the Goat theory predicts.
Our opponents for this round were Jeka Anthony (Noxjja a.k.a. Jayy), Rahtol von Richthofen (Nicey) and some dude named Burgundy and they decided to not play us, probably because they wanted to keep their decks and strategies secret and they knew (or expected) to face us in finals. They also knew that they are going to top 4 even if they lose to us, so they had nothing to gain from playing. Anyway, I talked to Nicey and he told me that they were all playing Kris Perovic’s Boston List – the famous 1 Spirit Reaper, 1 Asura Priest, 1 Sakuretsu Armor and 3 Scapegoats list.
- Fliiix vs. Zach Evers (Goat Control) (https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=31432- 7457716 , https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=31432-7458528)
- Fliiix vs. Dale Bellido (Goat Control) (https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=31432- 7479130 , https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=31432-7480593)
- siwski vs. Dale Bellido (Goat Control) (https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=25926- 7491125)
- siwski vs. Lazaro Bellido (Goat Control) (https://www.duelingbook.com/replay? id=25926-7510224, https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=25926-7511290)
Undoubtedly the most exciting round of the tournament for us, as we were facing the famous Bellidos. I started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! In 2014 and honestly I didn’t even knew who they were, but Miha and Urh knew them well. Supposedly, Dale Bellido was Miha’s role model some time in the past and Miha was very excited to play him – unfortunately he lost to him 2 – 3. Bellidos have been playing what we called the »aggro goat«; a Goat Control deck with many beaters (D. D. Warrior Lady, two Abyss Soldiers, Asura Priest) together with THREE MAINDECKED TRAP DUSTSHOOTS, a Spirit Reaper and 0 Sakuretsu Armors. Since Miha was the first to face Dale Bellido’s innovative strategy he was caught off guard, especially by Trap Dustshoots. Luckily I was able to take it from there and secure our spot in the Colosseum finals. I still have nightmares about the missplay I did against Lazaro though – watch at your own risk.
So as you may have heard there was some drama going on between the other top 4 pair, consisting of Team Nightmare Apes and Team Sweatpants (Noxjja, Nicey and Burgundy). Supposedly, Burgundy used the Luxury policy of reconstructing the games from which one player was disconnected to stack the Pot of Greed on top on his deck and he was caught doing so, so he was DQed and banned from participating in Luxury events and Team Nightmare Apes won their spot in the finals. Let this be a warning to everyone to 1. not cheat and 2. watch what your opponent is doing!
- Doruk Fekir vs. Angel Flores (Goat Control)
- Doruk Fekir vs. George Saavedra (Goat Control)
- Doruk Fekir vs. Martin Arriaga (Goat Control) (https://www.duelingbook.com/replay? id=230467-7944457, https://www.duelingbook.com/replay?id=230467-7945539 )
Urh won the finals all by himself and he doesn’t want to send us replays, so I can’t post them, but he says that the matches were nothing special. This team played some spicy techs in their decks, ranging from Chaos Sorcerer to Waboku and 3 Gravekeeper Spies. It is great to see that all these techs came all the way to the finals, together with our deck. I guess it goes to show that there is still place for novelties in 14 year old format!
This tournament as a whole was a great experience. We mostly enjoyed building our deck and we mostly hated the pesky time differences between teams. Below are the thoughts of both of my teammates about the tournament:
Miha: »I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the tournament, when Alen first invited me to
play, but after I convinced Urh to join us, and we started discussing decks, strategy an so on, I got
the feeling that we would be tough to beat. I know Alen’s ceiling and abilities at goat format from a
couple of matches we had in real life goat tournaments and I would be happy to fight side by side
with him in a goat tournament. I can say the same for Urh, as he is my teammate from our current
format days, I know I would be comfortable teaming up with him in any competitive card game
setting. Back in the day, our team had a philosophy to never only rely purely on your technical play,
but to build your deck in a way to give you the highest chance of winning it all, which we did in
many occasions. But after we started discussing and preparing for the event we slowly realized that
in goat format there are no such strategies. The games are slow most of the time and you have to
build your deck to be as versatile as possible and to have options at any given moment. We were a
bit disappointed by this realization in the end, but we all accepted it and came up with the final
version of the deck, that we thought will have the best matchup against a standard goat control
deck. So in a sense, we still managed to gain the edge with different deckbuilding in a sense.
I must say I really enjoyed playing best of 5 matches in »no cancer« goat format. I believe this is
the best tournament setting to really give everyone a chance to be rewarded for their deck building
and technical play. Sometimes I felt like a third wheel, as Alen took care of most of the matches and
Urh winning the finals on his own, but I still had some great matches and I feel like we did most of
the work in our pre and mid-tournament group discussions about the deck and technical play.
I’d like to say »GG« to everyone we played and of course »GG« to Alen and Urh for the efforts and
great times. Hope we join our forces again. «
Urh: »I’m pretty sure all the most relevant arguments for choosing the deck have already been
pointed out. At the time I was asked to be the 3rd musketeer I wasn’t really familiar with the format,
but I have never really turned down any of Miha’s suggestions so I decided to give this one a shot
too. Even though my working schedule doesn’t leave much time, we managed to build a solid
strategy and I am proud of that. Looking at the decklist I can see how we made all of our good ideas
collide into the least fragile strategy possible with clear in-game objectives that we needed to follow
and we were quite successful doing that. In terms of playing I’ve had better tournaments in my
career, but I am still satisfied with my overall performance. Alen, you totally impressed me not only
with your performance, which was absolutely brilliant (8-0?), but also with the whole understanding
of the game. I have to admit, I didn’t expect you to be this good…and Miha, you may be older, but
you are still tough. It has been a pleasure playing with you two. «
Shout out to Urh for thinking that Miha is crazy for playing for money in a team with me, shout out to Miha for doing it regardless, shoutout to Slogoatsss and Slovenian Goat community, shout out to everyone who played in this amazing tournament, shout out to Luxury Gaming Tournaments and JT Patterson for hosting it, shout out to http://www.goatformat.com for providing amazing Goat Format content and lastly, shout out to everyone who plays and sacks me on goatformat.com discord ranked ladder so that I can become better ;)!
We are all part of a great community which I hope will thrive for years to come.
A thought about the strategy of iron man structured Goat tournaments
Note that it would be actually interesting to play in such a tournament with a bigger variety of decks in our team, each deck aiming to cover certain match-ups and thus preventing that our whole team gets crushed by one deck that we didn’t prepare for. This is quite comparable to having a »well prepared Pokémon team«; you don’t want to have a team full of (the strongest) WATER type Pokémon and then lose to a single GRASS type Pokémon. This point did came up to our discussion, but in the end we decided that deck – Pokémon comparison is not the most accurate, because we have a side deck to work with and also matches are best of 5, so instead, it is more accurate to compare whole deck (main + side) not to a single Pokémon, but to a Pokémon team. And having three strongest teams makes a lot of sense.
Until next time, Alen Bizjak a.k.a. siwski