Nationals is done for me now, so I wanted to take a moment to talk to you guys about how I get through the event-light winter (non-tournament) season. After spending the last 7 months or so being competitively focused, trying to get the most out of every build, and spending as much time as possible tweaking, testing and try-harding, it can be really jarring to go back to playing more casually (or god forbid, for fun), so I’m gonna run through a few things that I & the people at my locals to do get through the quieter latter third of the year.
More after the jump.
1) Try weird formats out
You’re probably burnt out on the deck you’ve been mashing into Regionals, Crystal Cups and maybe the odd Nationals here and there, so why not give a weird format a go at your locals? The off-season is the perfect time to try out drafting an old set you’ve never drafted with before (we recently drafted Opus VII, and are planning to do Opus IV soon as the boxes are really cheap), and drafting also gives you a chance to try strats you otherwise wouldn’t have and bolster your collection with older stuff you might have missed.
Other formats that you can play are pauper (the FFTCG version of which seems to have been basically confirmed as no Heroes or Legends, otherwise normal deckbuilding rules apply) – which will be at the Fan Fest this September, with a Euros slot attached to it no less if you fancy trying your hand at it.
Title’s also seeing a bit of a stronger showing here, since it was a side event at UK nats it’s opened the door to how fun and crazy it is as a format, basically pick your favourite Final Fantasy and get stuck in – it also gives you a chance to run banned cards such as Dadaluma, Gesper and Thaumaturge as well if you’re that kind of person (Triple Gesper in FFVIII is hilarious and I fully condone it).
Another format that doesn’t get the love it deserves, but is really fun, is Highlander. You basically build a 50 card deck as normal, but no more than one copy of each card can be present in your deck. Search is king here, and my preferred deck for this format is Dark/Ice – We played a tournament with this format at Winter Cup 2018, and I’m pretty sure everyone involved had an awesome time, and only being able to include a max one-of of each card really goes a long way to seeing if you can still get your big combos to go off. Gesper and Thaumaturge were ruled as legal in this format, so I would assume in future events no bans apply to it (if you think you can get going with your 1 Dadaluma 1 Cactuar, go for it!)
2) Build literal jank
So whenever I’m feeling burnt-out or knackered by the game, I will generally pick a strange card to build around – most recently the card I did this with was Hraesvelgr, and the off-season is a perfect chance to go through your old stuff and build around weird stuff you might not have otherwise tried. You want to try and get Drace working with the new Larsa? Now’s the perfect time to test it out and see if it’s more than a random idea. Fancy giving Noctis a go with things like Jecht, or that terrible Bahamut that deals you a point of damage when it goes off? Go for it. You want to drink from the Forbidden Chalice that is Ba’Gamnan & friends? Now is the time.
With no major tournaments (unless you’re on the road to Worlds!) on the horizon it’s the perfect time to just test things out and try combos you like and see if you spot something new. Or hey you could just use the time to build and try Mono Wind, that seems to be pretty popular right now. Now’s also the perfect time to try a deck for the post-Rikku meta that will hit in a few weeks.
3) Run some split-format tournaments
If you want to shake things up at locals, try a split-format tournament!
A few ideas for this can be:
- Dual format: Run a few rounds of Swiss constructed, then swap over to Swiss title/Swiss highlander
- Mini Crystal Cup: If you have the time, run a few rounds of Swiss, a draft pod, and then a top cut! (this will take ages)
- Dual/Triple deck: Emulate the Euros/Worlds formats by running a best of 3 Swiss tournament using multiple decks (with a maximum of 3 of the same card allowed across all decks, i.e. you cannot have more than 3 Y’shtola total across your 2-3 decks)
This of course isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’ll certainly get players at your locals thinking outside the box & learning new matchups.
We’re at the time of year where there’s probably still people going on holiday as flights get cheaper, why not drop in on a tournament while you’re abroad? Might even net you a Worlds qualification! If not, you’ll definitely come home with some stories to tell from seeing such a non-local meta.
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to get to events like the Winter Cup in Cardiff, I STRONGLY recommend that you do. Big events without the pressure of qualification are always great fun, and the prizing at Winter Cups has been historically excellent.
5) Incessantly shitpost & run a mediocre FFTCG blog
Oh hey it’s me.
How do you guys survive the off-season? We obviously have the new set launching towards the end of the year, is that enough to get you through? Or do you spend the time itching for more tournaments?
Just a quick one today, but thanks for reading!