Two days. 83 players. 2 invites. Australia turned up the heat and players showed up in number to discover who our first National Champion would be. More importantly, which two players would represent us at the Dragon Ball Z World Championships this year? It was great to see so many old (from Score Z days) and new faces at the Celtic Club to make the weekend a smashing success.
What was evident from the outset was a fairly solid diversity in the types of decks brought. While we saw some good numbers for crowd favourites Black Krillin and Namekian Piccolo, there were also a lot of keen players wanting to show off the abilities other combinations bring to the table. It was nice to see a good splashing of Saiyan, Red and Orange in the mix, with the final break down being;
Black – 24
Blue – 13
Namekian – 22
Orange – 10
Red – 7
Saiyan – 7
The first few rounds of Swiss generated some of the closest matches over the two days, as players pushed themselves to generate the best start they could to help build a solid base to be able to attack the later rounds. And as the rounds wore on, there were a few great stories unfolding.
Daniel piloted his Black Krillin skilfully to go undefeated through the Swiss rounds to ensure himself a top cut spot. Then there was his young apprentice, Chris, who had only picked up the game a few months earlier, keeping his cool and showing he was made of the right sort of grit as well.
But the Cinderella story of the event was Tobye, who broke the meta wide open with his Saiyan Turles deck making a mockery of those who didn’t give Saiyan a chance.
The Swiss rounds went late into the evening. And in typical Melbourne fashion, an afternoon storm rolled in to add to the sense of foreboding with some tight and hard fought games taking up the final two rounds. In the end, the Top 16 was made, with some great inclusions to the exclusive group but also a few shocks as to who did not make the finals.
In no particular order, the top cut was made up of:
Fahad R. – Black Krillin Damien H. – Blue Ginyu
David B. – Black Krillin
Tim L. – Orange Ginyu
Chris H. – Black Krillin
Daniel S. – Black Krillin
Kuan-Ju L. – Black Ginyu
Michael M. – Black Krillin Tobye R. – Saiyan Turles
David T. – Namekian Piccolo
Jono C. – Red Garlic
Dylan F. – Namekian Piccolo
Justin T. – Orange Krillin
Juliano S. – Black Krillin
Adam S. – Black Krillin
Harry K. – Namekian Piccolo
While it were these players that would be the ones to determine who received the invites, it did not take away from the great play and sportsmanship of everyone. We rounded out the night knowing that we were in for an amazing treat the next day to see who would be crowned Champion.
An early start for us at TAK Games, with decks to be checked and more setting up. Looking at the Top 16 we knew that there were going to be some great match ups right out of the blocks and we weren’t disappointed.
There were some amazingly close matches in Top 16. Daniel and Jono came right down the wire with the final combat going either way if not for one solitary card. Mirror matches abounded with Michael and Juliano both running Black Krillin to the wire.
But into the Top 8 marched Tobye and his unique Saiyan Turles deck against Michael, and the match up didn’t disappoint. The match ebbed and flowed, and all came down to a final hand. In something that would seem crazy to most, Tobye entered with no cards in hand, but used one of his Visiting The Pasts in play to grab a Saiyan Energy Focus to shut off Michael’s board and to try and push for a win. But Michael had the crucial block in hand that allowed him to shrug off the attack and then move in for the kill.
Our final 4 saw Adam and Fahad match up in another mirror to see who would be given the first of the two invites, and Kuan and Michael battle it out as Black Ginyu and Black Krillin respectively. Both sets of matches were hard fought, but it was Fahad and Kuan, two great friends, who would be meeting in the final and would be the lucky recipients of the two invites to worlds.
The finals started after a short break to refresh, with both players putting up a great fight. In the end, Fahad’s Black Krillin proved too much for Kuan as he won 2-0 in the best of three match up. Crucial attacks like Black Energy Web proved the difference between the two.
Congratulations to Fahad as our National Champion and Kuan as a worthy Runner Up. Good luck to you both as you do Australia proud at the World Championships in December.
We would like to thank each and every player for their support over the weekend, and we were thrilled with the level of talent we saw from all of you. We can’t wait to ramp up organised play further next year.
While Fahad’s Black Krillin deck took out the honours at the recent Australian Dragon Ball Z National Championships, eyes around the world were focused on Tobye’s run with Saiyan Turles as he stomped through the qualifying rounds (losing only to a mirror Saiyan Turles match-up and a Black Krillin deck by the miniscule margin of 1 life card). The little bald man was to prove his undoing in the Top 8 finals as Michael exacted revenge for a number of Top Cut exits a decade earlier in Score Z times, but the fact remains, “How did Saiyan Turles smash face?”
Curiosity burning, we asked Tobye to report in with how his deck worked, and how he decided to play Saiyan in the first place.
I came 7th in the Australian Dragon Ball Z Nationals with a Saiyan Turles deck. Yep, it happened. It was a great experience. Even my opponents were excited when they lost, as who doesn’t want to see Saiyan crush faces?
You might be wondering how some scrub managed to luck his way to 7th place with a suicide Turles deck. Well, I’m not as good as I used to be, but I’m not your average scrub. And I wish it were luck, it would be easier to explain. Instead I’ve written some 2,000 words on it.
Pre-Event Play Testing
It’s a week out from the event, and after thorough play testing with the team, nothing conclusive was decided except the Top 3 were strong for a reason. Namekian was the weakest of the three by a good margin. I thought I would play blue Raditz as it only struggled against Ginyu and dominated the other two (if I had have known I would dodge every single Ginyu player throughout the event, I would have gone blue Raditz in a heartbeat!).
With my deck seemingly decided, I wanted to have a little fun, and fun for me can only mean Saiyan. While messing around, I noticed a good bunch of synergies I had discovered worked with a bunch of other little synergies.
Intrigued, I mentioned the Saiyan deck to my play test group.
“NO. FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS PLAY SAIYAN.”
Meekly, I requested they at least humour me. Nope. With memories of a local tournament scrub out with me experimenting with Saiyan Goku clear in their minds, they would not do anything that may, in any way, lead me to playing Saiyan for the big event. So, I had to go to OctGN for a few fun matches. And it stomped.
I felt like a madman. As if I could see dead people and no one would ever believe me. I couldn’t turn to my friends, as I couldn’t believe it myself, so how could they?
Just a few days before the event, we had one more practice day. While there, much to the irritation of my friend, I put together the Saiyan deck. We made a deal: if it lost a single game, at all, to any of the top 3 decks, it would be immediately abandoned and never spoken of again. So the six hour play testing gauntlet began…one after another, Turles broke faces. It was an incredible display. But, even after a flawless night of games, it didn’t seem right. It felt like some bizarre fluke occurred many times in a row in an attempt by the cosmos to throw me off course.
I was going to stick to good ol’ blue Raditz.
But later another guy from the group stated how he was still undecided on decks and just wanted any advice. So, I thought maybe he can try Saiyan, just in case he is really stuck and desperate. Facebook updated trickled in over the next 24 hours: “Saiyan is pretty lame.”, “Wow, actually it can go right off”, “This is actually really super consistent”, “I love this deck”, and the final update that clenched things for me: “I have unsleeved and pulled apart my other decks. I am playing Saiyan tomorrow.”. After that last update, which was only a few hours from the event, my friend looked at me from across the table and said “I’ve changed my mind. You have to play Saiyan.”.
Why Saiyan has historically not been successful in Panini Dragon Ball Z
This has a simple explanation: people want to play Saiyan in a way that doesn’t work. Everyone has this stalwart idea that Saiyan can only be hyper-aggressive physical beats. This mindset has only been applied to Saiyan, as you will see every other style has had a myriad of obscure builds being trialed.
The truth is that hyper-beats is an all round weak play style in Panini’s version of Dragon Ball Z. It’s not just Saiyan – try it with any other style. The abundance of Black style decks packing defensive bursts and combat enders, Namekians powering up and levelling up and Namek Dragon Ball 6 being utterly unbalanced lead sensible players far away from suicide builds. Also, the very small life decks mean it’s much easier to land 1 or 2 meaningful energy attacks and just grind away, instead of having to continually land stage damage that very rarely converts to life damage.
Now forget card advantage value for a second, and look at some other value: Saiyan Drive By on 4 anger is a bigger life card swing than a Black style Krillin’s Destructo Disk, plus you gain an anger, AND you get to stack a card on top – which can be endurance to widen the life swing even up to 10 cards, or setup for next turn, or even something to draw next phase with a Saiyan Enraged or Saiyan Grab! How a card of such potential has gone unnoticed for so long is beyond me.
Then another gem is Saiyan Rescue. This card…you just don’t understand. It does what needs to be done. It’s not just about the Saiyan Menace loops (which are again insane value even if they have 0 allies), but restoring Tree of Might if they have been knocked out so you can Saiyan Body Blow for it, or rejuving your Quickness Drill so you can search it out next turn with your attached tree. Or maybe you want to edit your discard pile so your Quickness Drill draws exactly what you want, gain you that anger you need to level up or simply just put back a tool. This card is so underrated and so valuable.
How to play Saiyan successfully
Saiyan style is about being a bully. Always attack people who are weaker than you and who are unable to fight back. It also means never fighting someone stronger than you. Get this notion out of your head that you need to enter every combat. This is the surest way to die. You need to enter every key combat, which is totally different.
If you draw a hand full of attacks that only really do damage with their effects having no relevance, and your opponent is around 7 stages, just pass. Other styles have tricks you don’t have. And for Turles, beating someone down from 10 stages to 0 is really no different than beating them down from, well, any number of stages. His stage damage output is insane. So don’t freak out about letting them power up a few turns if you have to. Be a bully, be a coward.
You might then think, “What about all the board presence they will accrue?”, except you probably didn’t think it with the word ‘accrue’. And yes, it sucks. But surprisingly, Saiyan has the answers! Run 3 Saiyan intimidations. It’s just a must. 1 for 1 is great when all your other cards are 2-3 for 1. You need to banish those key problems. Also, play Namek Dragon Ball 4. 2 for 1 = value. Lastly, Saiyan Energy Focus is the highest value card in the game with the right timing. Yes, what you target isn’t permanently removed, but if you are about to lay down the game ending combat, it is irrelevant that those cards stay in play. In fact, it actually helps against certain drill decks. Also, and this is my favourite move, you can turn off your own Namek Dragon Ball 4 meaning you can charge face first into Krillin’s Destructo Disk without risking your board. This card is very often a 3-for-1 even before you count it as an attack, which when done by a tree’d up Turles, is always going to be relevant damage.
One more way to clear board though, is to enter on them when they are stage locked all the time. Force them to pop Visiting the Past to merely stay alive, or Black Power Up the hell out of there. They can’t casually take 2 hits from Turles in order to save those power cards, because Turles will kill you. So when they are too low to fight, enter with almost any hand. Do it with 2 cards, heck, do it with 1 or 0 if you have to. Yes, you can make plays with 0 cards if you have Saiyan Enraged or Visiting the Past in play. Just don’t be reckless, be aware of all the ways they could escape a lock (Black Finger Block) and make sure you play around it (only use energies).
Another key element to playing Saiyan well, is to manage their discard pile. I chose to use Saiyan Strength Test, Devastating Blow, and the glory hound of the deck: Saiyan Cheap Shot. Turles’ Level 3 power is also great for this. When it comes to the late game, they will get Namek Dragon Ball 7. Just expect it. Every game. And you will be amazed how utterly useless, and even detrimental it can be when their discard is full of chaff. As so many decks rely on DB7 as a win condition, it makes sense to remove that condition.
Oh and did I mention Saiyan Domination? No? Well that. Only one of that, but a big that.
What Turles brings to the party
The music, beer, food and women. There would be no party without Turles. His Level 1 is rightfully feared and can allow you to lay waste to an opponent from out of nowhere. The fact he then crits off all 5+ life damage attacks is amazing. But a great, game changing advantage that most people don’t consider about his Level 1 though, is that turning off endurance means you can always calculate, to the life card, how much damage you can do to them. This makes it so much easier to make decisions later in the game when you are faced with the usual “Will they die if this hits?” You really shouldn’t underestimate how valuable this ability is.
His level 2 is horribly underrated. It’s amazing, shockingly good. You are forcing them to hold a block for an energy against a deck that will drop them to 0 stages with a single physical attack. And if they don’t block it, they need to have 8 stages (or 10 if you have a Tree of Might!) to avoid you critting and angering up! It is sooooo good! The trick when you get to level 2 is to camp it, until you can enter and burst from 2 to 3 (hopefully off his level 2 power itself), removing all their stages and lining up the spectacular level 3 game ender.
His level 4 is classic bully tactics. Does nothing while they are already crushed in body and soul, but brings them right back down if they dare try to improve their situation. There is no real subtlety or plays to make off this, just use it when you should obviously use it.
I think Saiyan is the least explored style, and it has shown that it can indeed tear chunks out of any other style. If more people looked at Saiyan, the entire meta would be forced to diversify as you simply can’t run a Ginyu into Saiyan Turles and expect to win even 1 out of 10 games. And he also has favourable matchups against Krillin and Piccolo, even if not as drastically favourable as the Ginyu matchup. It’s a much safer bet to top cut with it than playing one of the top 3 and flipping a coin each round. I highly recommend you try out the build, try it out again, and really try some unorthodox plays and see how it handles itself. It requires a very different mentality that most players aren’t used to, but it works.
We are less than a week away from the Australian Dragon Ball Z National Championships and determining the two players who will be earning invites to the Worlds event in December. While the main event is the big drawcard, there are fun side events happening over the entire weekend. To be fully prepared for the weekend activities, please make sure you’ve completed the following tasks.
2. Grab a Deck Registration form and make sure you’re up to speed on all the important organised play documents available.
3. Prepare to HAVE FUN! This is the one weekend a year that the Australian Dragon Ball Z TCG community can come together. Make sure you enjoy it and do your best to make it an enjoyable experience for others, regardless of skill level.
Win-A-Box Tournament (Player’s Choice of Set 1-3 or upcoming Set 4)
Entry $12, minimum 12 players
Single Stage, Swiss Rounds
Win-A-Box Tournament (Player’s Choice of Set 1-3 or upcoming Set 4)
Entry $12, minimum 12 players
Single Stage, Swiss Rounds
A touchy subject for some, the meta is a source of constant conversation. While some believe it is stale and the same three decks can be viewed vying for dominance every week, others say there is massive variance in the range of viable decks. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Since Heroes and Villains and Movie Collection dropped, loud cries exclaimed the meta must shift. The usual suspects of Ginyu, Piccolo and Krillin have been winning more often than not, with all notching wins at Regional Championship events around the world. A well thought out plan and a good read of the potential field and you can have half the battle won for yourself. This is the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors situation hiding within Panini’s Dragon Ball Z TCG.
No one style of deck has an impressive match up over all others, and we have seen the ebbs and flows of this in the different types of decks winning Regional level events. While there are the usual suspects in the mix, there are some great decks that can be the rock that smashes away an opponent’s scissors.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential Big 3 decks, and their counters:
The focus here is on Blue Ginyu as it has the most favourable match ups against other decks. While it is strong, the deck does have vulnerabilities you can exploit. Its greatest foe is the bald man. Krillin is dangerous to Ginyu in both the favoured Black style and emerging Orange variant. With his Level 1 critical damage effect, he is a constant thorn in Ginyu’s side that the opponent must be aware of to play around. Team that with the disruption and removal possibilities in Black, or the sheer board presence of Orange and Ginyu is forced to work for every card in their deck.
However, there are other great counters outside of the Big 3. Orange Goku has shown it can be an equally annoying thorn in Ginyu’s side. With Orange Destruction a constant threat; Heroic Assistance providing targeted recursion of the discard pile and Goku’s ability to maintain board presence, Ginyu can be left with few options. Blue Piccolo running Blue Dominance is also a good choice with Piccolo’s Level 2 power, hero allies providing control and drills like Blue Positioning Drill amongst others causing Ginyu to become locked down and denied its strength in maximising combat actions.
Some other decks that can provide Ginyu with headaches are:
Red Garlic (if he can remove or keep Nappa ally off the field)
Nappa (Black or Blue style)
Black Krillin would have to be the most consistent performer of this year’s Regional circuit. Though it has only won two Regionals in the US, it consistently makes up the largest percentage of decks within Top Cut. With his great action on level 1 with the auto critical effect generated with his power and the Black Mastery, he provides Black an answer to the biggest flaw in its arsenal, control of anger and allies.
If Organised Play was a National Geographic documentary, Black Krillin’s natural predator would be Piccolo Namekian. While the match up can be won by Krillin, it takes some great draws and much luck to help get on top of a deck that can come at you with all three victories in its kit bag. The constant anger gain and the way Namekian can generate card draw once set up can leave Krillin with little to stop an MPPV victory, or even get decked out if Namekian can chain a few nice combats with multiple energy attacks.
Anger decks like Red Tenshinhan can also give Krillin a run for his money, due to Krillin only being able to consistently deal with 1 anger each combat. Orange Goku can also be favoured in the match up if Krillin lets the opponent get set up.
Some other decks to consider:
Black Nappa (Physical Beats)
Orange Krillin (Fight fire with fire!)
Movie Collection‘s release saw players drop away from Namekian Piccolo, particularly as decks capitalising on Blue Dominance emerged. Locking down Namekian’s constant anger generation while mitigating the rejuvenation Namekian provides through Blue’s own targeted recursion with Blue Positioning Drill can help to prevent Namekian Piccolo from changing gears constantly to pull out one of its triple threat victory conditions. For this reason, Blue Piccolo matches up favourably to the Namekian style version by taking advantage of all the tools it provides – allies for control, his level 2 power, and anger slowdown from the Blue Mastery. Using Blue Positioning Drill and drawing with his power helps you cycle through cards in your hand that might not be optimal to the match up.
The pure damage output and constant threat of being able to fish out Frieza allows Ginyu of all colours to cramp Namekian Piccolo’s style. Blue tends to be more reliable than others as it has the advantage of slowing down all three victory conditions, where Orange and Black can be vulnerable to an anger victory.
Other decks you may wish to trial against Ginyu are:
The main takeaway is that while the Big 3 have their advantages, with the right forethought and purposeful playtesting, you can take another deck to provide an element of surprise and counter the meta environment you expect at your next Championship level event. The more chances you give yourself to sit down to favourable match ups, the more chances you have to make Top Cut and receive awesome prizes.
The Australian regionals season kicks off in Brisbane next week, heralding the beginning of high-level organised play events in Australia. This is an exciting time for all as those players with dreams of fame, fortune and glory slug it out. We want this to be a fun and enjoyable competitive experience for all players.
As part of your preparation for regionals, please review the key tournament documents that will help you, your fellow players and the judges and tournament organisers running these events. Your first stop to help you understand current rulings regarding cards in your deck and how they interact should be the Current Rulings Document. We also recommend the Dragon Ball Z TCG Wikia for additional clarifications.
Time should also be invested in reading the current Tournament Guidelines found on Panini’s web site. It outlines the conduct required of you as a player, and what to expect in terms of rules enforcement.
To ensure everybody enjoys their regionals experience and to help you get the most out of the day, we would like to draw your attention to the following:
Guidelines indicate card effects are the responsibility of both players.
Please make sure you are paying attention to the game state at all times to the best of your ability.
We are all human. Mistakes sometimes happen. Please remember this when dealing with players, judges, store staff and tournament organisers.
Games will be streamed or recorded where streaming facilities are not available.
Have fun! We’re all here because we love the game, so make sure you take the time to enjoy your experience! We hope everyone has a great time and we look forward to seeing as many of you as we can around the country in the lead up to Australian Dragon Ball Z TCG Nationals in October.