Hi my name is Jake. If you have ever been to Gamers Gauntlet you know I am a regular shop rat. Magic has always been my game of choice, and I never really experimented with anything else. I have a very addictive personality, so Magic is enough for me! That was until GG staff member Chase Cosgrove, the unofficial Kaijudo Aficionado, showed me a game he had started playing. He started off saying “It’s easy. Your daughter would love it!”
It started very innocently with a small purchase of just enough for my daughter and I to play. Then I bought packs, which led to me buying a box. I soon learned that like Magic it takes a large card pool to be able to build top tier decks to stay competitive. Luckily Chase and Dan Cato both already had large collections and had built a few decks. They let me use them to learn the game and to teach me a lot of the basic interactions. Like in Magic, I started with Red Rush, and soon of course I wanted more. I was hooked.
We started playing casually at the shop when time was available. Gamers Gauntlet offers Duel Days on Sundays to sharpen your skills (EDITOR’S NOTE – With free entry and promos!), but unfortunately my family commitments meant I was able to play very little. Then something happened. Chase mentioned a Kaijudo Masters Challenge was coming to Michigan and he would like to go. I’m competitive in everything I do, so I was definitely IN. I started doing my homework through social media and sites devoted to Kaijudo tournaments and decks. I watched videos as well as reading many articles to hone my skills in my spare time. Gerry Thompson was a name I knew from the professional Magic world who had stepped into Kaijudo, and was making a name very quickly for himself with his ability to brew decks. Several other KMC’s deck lists appeared online, and then I found it.
Dragons….what more could you want? My plan in Magic has always been to ramp in to the biggest dudes possible and make you deal with them. Kaijudo would be no different.
Jacob Hutchinson’s Dragons
This list is an exact copy of Gerry T’s list he used to top 8 the KMC in Roanoke, VA. He had built two lists that his team had been playing in KMCs. All his lists had been in the Top 8, and even winning 2 KMCs.
I was fortunate enough to talk with Chase and come to an understanding. In order for me to be able to play this deck or any other as well as he did, I would have to become his BARN by donating to his collection by making it a collective between him, two others, and I.
Once we knew we were going, Chase and Cato built all but one of the most played decks for us to serve as a testing gauntlet. Chris Randolph and I settled on dragons, Chase and Cato on megabugs. The week leading up to the tournament I played zero Magic, built zero decks, and focused on nothing but Kaijudo. Cato and Chase made themselves available to test throughout the week. Saturday came, and to be honest I never felt more prepared for an event.
Once we arrived at the local game store in Bay City, MI to register, the tournament shortly began with 32 entrants.
Round 1: RED RUSH
This was the youngest kid there. He made it clear to me this was his first tournament and that he was excited. He went turn one dude, turn two dude-dude, turn three evolve dude, turn four Gilaflame and I was dead. All I could think was “Well this is a good start.” However, games two and three my deck did what it does – I ramped into dragons he couldn’t deal with and easily overwhelmed him.
Matches 1-0, Games 2-1
Round 2: MEGABUGS (Chase)
Unfortunately, Chase had called it the day before, and again on the ride up. He knew he was going to have to play me or Randolph. In testing he just could not beat either of us. This match would be no different. 10 shield breaks, no shield blasts. Sorry bud.
Round 3: LWF DRAGONS (Isaac)
This was an almost mirror match. I found out afterwards our decks were only two cards different from each other. Game one he lived the dream and curved into dragons two turns before I could. I had zero chance. Game two it was the exact opposite, and my dragons came out first. Game three we both had our curve, but in the end he played mono Light for five turns while my curve went into Dragons. There were no shield blasts in sight.
Round 4-5: ID
The 32 players meant the KMC was a five round tournament. This is an awkward number. Going into round 4 I was in first place. The way I saw it, I could ID for two rounds and still walk into top 8. Neither of my opponents had any arguments.
Top 8: HAVEN CONTROL (Eric)
Remember earlier how I said Cato and Chase built all but one deck. This was it. This was the only deck we hadn’t tested against. I also had never watched a stream or match involving this deck. I asked my
cohorts hulls what I should do. The resounding answer was to never bin a Stormspark Blast or Keeper of Laws in my mana row. Those were the best words of advice I could have gotten. Game one I started with a horrid hand but since my opponent was control I figured it would take a little time for him to get where he needed.
This is where the whole YAHTZEE schtick comes in. There is a card in Kaijudo called Bottle of Wishes (See picture at right). It is beyond bonkers, but balanced by chance. Lucky me, I have some of the best luck ever. Also, running only 40 cards in my deck meant the chances of flipping a game changer were pretty good. The funny thing is, Chase told me from day one to never cast Bottle from my hand. But I honestly can’t ever help it.
I play Bottle, and being the joker that I am, yell “YHATZEE!” Go to flip and staring back is a Keeper of Laws. My next turn I draw another Bottle…you guessed it.
I flip a second Keeper! From this point on, my card advantage outweighed his and almost single handedly enabled a win. Well, that and him having no shield blasts. Game two I played very aggressively with my curve and again my luck came through with him having little to no shield blasts. We did it!
Top 4: LWF DRAGONS (Pinky)
Unfortunately the mirror seems to be a 50/50 matchup that favors the curve and who gets there first. Game one he resolves an Infernus turn five and I never recover. Game two I made a few unforced errors and that quickly ended my chances of the invitation to Texas.
My friends know I am a little nutty as well as very outgoing, and have no issues being the guy who says anything no matter what it is. I met some amazing people, the store put on a solid event and did the best they could for prize support, going above and beyond what they had initially stated. I couldn’t have done half as well if it wasn’t for Chase and Cato,so thanks to both of them! All in all, I gotta say that Kaijudo is picking up traction, and has a fairly competitive scene. Also, as simple as the game may seem, there is a lot of interaction, thought process, and card choices that go into game play and deck construction. But occasionally…YAHTZEE!