The Third Test of the Dragon Gods
So week 1 and 2 I had to face and . came next. I assume , and are standing behind them.
Leontes vs. @Hobusu
Leontes wins 3-2
Jefferson DeGrey. I have played this matchup with Mercy more times than I can count. I have a lot of experience in it, but none of that ever seems to make this matchup any easier. DeGrey’s cards are just… better than yours. All of them. He has the dominant attack, the dominant throw, a single card that disrupts your One True Mixup, and the biggest throw blowup card in the game. You can almost ignore everything on your character card except your Defense Mastery and the 90HP in the top right corner. Oh, and DeGrey might have more health than you depending on how the game goes, don’t forget that.
G1 was me playing as well as I could, really. I noticed that Hobusu has a VERY defensive style, something I wasn’t expecting from someone who also plays (idk though, are you a blodgy Sets, too? Curious actually). It was very hard to land any kind of attacks this set whatsoever, and my dQs rarely found purchase. I grabbed a few Ace dodges, got some poke-AA in, etc. Basic stuff. Fundamentals, footsies, converting the hand into damage. A good start.
G2 is where the advantages started rolling in. He drew his Ks, his 7s, and had some good TR mixups. I leaned a bit too heavily on J and Q in neutral, and Hobusu showed he was willing to play Ace dodge a bit more frequently than I was comfortable throwing it. He must have picked up on that, since I started gaining some ground and then tried to throw his Ace dodge in the late game, dying to Final Arbiter instead. I had 10 HP, and a Joker in hand; surely I knew that Blocking was the 100% safe play, at least for this turn. But I had grown tired of the Ace dodge wasting both of our precious time, and I was punished for my impatience by dying with a Joker in hand. The gods were not pleased.
G3 was another test of wills. I had a very large life lead, and that’s when Hobusu’s hand found itself full of Pilebunkers. He landed several of them, either via dodge or raw (Ghost Riposte is SUCH a great threat. Incredible option) and both of us dropped to very low hand sizes and health totals. With the game slipping away, and looking at my hand of TTJQQ, I knew what I must do. Do not fear the K. Do not fear the 7. My T Throw catches the Ace dodge, combo into J. Drew another Throw, played it, grabbed another Ace dodge. My pair of dQs sat in my hand, beckoning me, tempting me, but I did not reach out to them.
G4 I decided to do a massive range shift and go like 80% throw/ 20% block. It worked for a lot of the early game and I got him down to 34 health very quickly without me spending a lot of premium cards. Unfortunately, once the premium cards started showing up, I started attacking with them (what an idiot!) and got Ace dodged for massive damage a few times. I then fell for a gnarly TR mixup that put me close to death; I was KD and in Dragon Form, and he played double TR on Throw. This would ensure that he’d be safe from a full FDB (which I didn’t assemble), but I misread this and thought that it meant he was going to try to just Ace dodge and relax (so that I couldn’t dJ or dQ out of his 7 Throw, for example). Instead I got 8 thrown into AA for 32 damage, and then we clashed on dJ into J, and I didn’t have enough health to survive. Died again with Joker in hand. Died again lacking patience.
G5 I didn’t have much going for me in my opening hand, and my only non-2 block got thrown in the first turn, a thing Hobusu hadn’t tried on T1 yet. This is where an ancient darkness began to swell within me and I began to reject the dragon gods. Years of diligence, and I am still rewarded with blockless hands, face cards without their activators, large combos with no ender, half of a super. More terrible omens began to surface; I drew into 9, after 9, after 9, then T, after T, after T. I would take anything else, but again, I am tested. I started to slowly lose health, trying to protecting my hand with pokes and blocks, being outsped, thrown, hurt. The deck gave me more 2s, which I dismissed as temptation. Then an Ace. And another Ace. Soon I realized that my hand full of 9s and Ts was not a curse, but yet another test.
I power up the 9s, now having assembled my own Dragon Exodia. I show my final form, and Dodge a K. Hobusu faces down on an 11 card hand, with no Jokers in discard, still sitting at 90 health to my lowly 36.
The final test.
In ages past I have been burned before. Looking at my pathetic hand with no damage outside of Final Dragon Buster, I start to question how I can win if I lose these Aces. But how can I win without them? Will I get another chance?
I accepted my fate and slammed all four aces down.
LIfe totals, 36 to 38. I started to draw dQs, and Ks. I drew Jokers. With surging confidence I survived DeGrey’s onslaught, and landed the final blow.
Oftentimes I wonder why I walk this path, even though the truth is often revealed to me. Shrouded in darkness it may be, I’ve come too far to stop.
Fantastic matches Hobusu. Extremely tense set. You’ve shown GREAT improvement since IYL5! Keep grinding!