Well Dragon Ballerz, I'm back from Nationals, and as is custom to do, I will now make an excessively long post to recount my time at this year's biggest tournament! First, I'd like to start with my personal performance and content release leading up to the event. As everyone who's subscribed to the Patreon knows, I never really talked about the deck I was planning to play or released the deck list here on the Patreon. I did that for a few reasons, and I hope you understand why by the end of this: firstly, this isn't a simple pay wall Patreon where you just dump money to get deck lists and nothing else. When you join this community, my goal is to make sure that you are growing as a player overall, learning things that you can carry across formats for years to come, not just see one deck for one tournament. I'd rather you come to the conclusion of which deck to play that fits your play style, and then use my articles and videos as background knowledge for how to pilot your decks. Secondly, the deck I came up with was somewhat unique, and my amazing teammates at Shenron's Lair helped me a lot with the build, so I felt that it would be a disservice to drop their value information and time spent testing and helping me leading up to the biggest tournament of the year. 

Regardless of that, though, I think I did a good job of helping everyone get prepped for Nats between the Patreon and the YouTube channel, and that was made apparent to me at Nats! The overwhelmingly positive feedback I got from you all in person was so honoring and humbling; thank you all so much for coming to see me! As far as my performance, I scrubbed out of the main event very early, which was disappointing. I tested the deck I wanted to play for months and had a game plan for each match up, but it didn't work out. I'll have the deck up on the channel later in the week for everyone to see but long story short - I lost the dice roll against my unfavored match up (Shenron) every round for the first 4 rounds, and ended up going 1-3 drop. I feel as though I let everyone down at first, but then I took a breath, realized that you can't win them all, and allowed myself to enjoy the rest of the weekend. This was made much easier by my awesome teammates and friends at the event, as well as all the fans and new friends I met at Nats. Again, thank you all so much!

Now, as far as the event itself is concerned. I'll start with the bad, then end on a good note. I think the TO's and Bandai underestimated the amount of people that would show up, as many of us probably did. We had about 400 players, which I don't think anyone expected. Friday the LCQ tournaments took place, and that was a mess. Again, due to the unexpected amount of players, I think Core was understaffed and slightly unprepared, but the LCQs took several hours longer than expected to complete, and many players weren't able to get their invite because of this. Prizing for all side events was also cut short midway through Friday, which was a let down. I don't know who exactly was to blame for this, and I don't want to point fingers, but we need to do better going forward. Luckily, I'm very excited about the future of competitive play for several reasons which I'll detail shortly. 

Now for the good. Saturday's main event ran incredibly smoothly and there was very little wait time in between rounds! If I recall correctly the main event started around 11am and got out at around 9:30pm, which is great for an 8 round tournament as far as I'm concerned. One thing I do want to critique is the power of the TO to decide how many rounds the tournament will be based off the number of players, and their power to change the number of rounds at any point they wish. I believe the number of rounds should be hard set at the start of the tournament, because changing it at the very end caused a lot of uncertainty and unhappiness for players on the bubble at the end of the tournament. Besides that though, once the head of the tournament changed from Core to TAK Games, I noticed a much smoother operation. I was very happy with how TAK handled GenCon, and I think they did a great job at Nats. That being said, things can surely be improved all around. This competitive season was a bit of a mess with how regionals were ran, ARG being released from the game, and Super Shenron running rampant for a while, but I think we bounced back strongly as a community for the end of the season. 

Next year looks incredible, though! I'm very happy that they announced the competitive season starts next year in December. One of the most common comments I get at my locals is "when can I go to a regional that's nearby?" This will be something that I think will help the game greatly; a boost to the local scene. The Worlds announcement was super hype as well, and the game can only go up from here! On top of all that, perhaps what I am most excited for is Daylon Mack's Tournament of Power in February! From talking to him personally, I know he has really big visions for this game and his tournament, so stay tuned for more info on that as he releases it! 

With all that being said, several things remain the same: I love this community, I love playing this game, and I love creating content for this game. I can't wait to see what the future of our game holds, and I know the guys working hard at Bandai have great things planned for our future. Shout out to Shenron's Lair, the best sponsor in the world Bearded Collectibles, and all of you out there in the community! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned to the channel for all types of Nats coverage throughout the week!