9:00 Who’s at the Top Table — Round 9!
Well, this is it! Last chance to make Top 8! There’s some interesting shifts in this round. See for yourself:
Table 1 — Mike Gonzales (8 wins) vs. Ryan Spicer (8 wins) [SBC Competitor]
Table 2 — Jason Holloway (7 wins) vs. Kevin Salyer (7 wins) [SBC Competitor]
Table 3 — Juan DeLeon (7 wins) vs. Joseph Hutchinson (7 wins)
Table 4 — Mark Fehring (7 wins) vs. Tristian Patillo (7 wins)
Table 5 — Kevin Donnelly (7 wins) vs. Josh Kaid (7 wins)
Table 6 — Christopher Stegall (6 wins) vs. Matt Stille (7 wins) [This round’s feature match!]
Table 7 — Dylan Embrey (6 wins) vs. Trevor Patillo (6 wins)
Table 8 — Jarret Chavez (6 wins) vs. Jose Luna Saenz (6 wins)
Well, we’ve got a guaranteed winner in the Scrub Brush Challenge, since Ryan is an auto-in. If Kevin Salyer can win this round, it’s looking good for him as well! Mike Stavinoha finally got knocked off the upper tables — but wow, did he ever hang on for a long, long time. Good show, Mike!
8:10 Who’s at the Top Table — Round 8
Ok, there’s only one more chance after this round, so everyone up here had better play sharp. Who might we be seeing back again tomorrow . . . let’s take a look . . .
Table 1 — Tristian Patillo (7 wins) vs. Ryan Spicer (7 wins) [SBC Competitor] [this round’s feature match!]
Table 2 — Mike Gonzales (7 wins) vs. Mike Stavinoha (6 wins)
Table 3 — Josh Kaid (6 wins) vs. Trevor Patillo (6 wins)
Table 4 — Abel Carrasco (6 wins) vs. Jason Holloway (6 wins)
Table 5 — Juan DeLeon (6 wins) vs. Ricky Luu (6 wins)
Table 6 — Mark Fehring (6 wins) vs. Chase Hobbs (6 wins)
Table 7 — Kevin Salyer (6 wins) vs. James Strong (6 wins)
Table 8 — Joseph Hutchinson (6 wins) vs. Jake McNeely (6 wins)
Ryan is still holding strong as a Scrub Brush Challenge competitor, and Mike Stavinoha still refuses to budge!
7:15 Now Let’s Talk About the Food
All right! I like Mexican food but don’t get it very often since there’s no place close to me that’s worth it. Tonight’s dinner was really excellent, though. Let’s start with the nachos.
I loathe the things they sell at conventions and call nachos. I call them “not”chos. Since they are not nachos, you see. I don’t see how people can eat them (unless they’re doing it on purpose to annoy me). These were very good — lots of fresh toppings and the chips were substantial enough to hold up under the load. It’s got beef and chicken, and the seasonings were tasty as well. Nothing like nice fresh salsa! It didn’t take long for Jason to shovel these down.
Ok, now the pork dish!
This was really good, too. The pork has a marvelous texture, and the blend of spices really sets it off. I ate it with the homemade tortillas, and felt it was better like that, then just straight forkfuls of meat. The rice is average, but the black beans topped with the fresh cheese are great. The plantains are nice and sweet. I love plantains but don’t get them very often.
And, finally, the tamales!
I love tamales, and I hardly ever get them. These came wrapped in the cornhusks, which is usually a good sign. We got two pork and one chicken. They’re excellent! Not overly seasoned, and cooked exactly right. The refried beans are nice, but I think I prefer the black.
6:40 Who’s at the Top Table — Round 7
We’re whittling away at the undefeateds, so it’s pretty serious from here on out. Check it out!
Table 1 – Ryan Spicer (6 wins) [SBC Competitor] vs. Mike Stavinoha (6 wins)
Table 2 – Abel Carrasco (6 wins) vs. Tristian Patillo (6 wins)
Table 3 – Mike Gonzales (6 wins) vs. Beau Parker (5 wins)
Table 4 – Dylan Embrey (5 wins) vs. Ricky Luu (5 wins)
Table 5 – David Dreher (5 wins) vs. Jose Luna Saenz (5 wins)
Table 6 – Joseph Hutchinson (5 wins) vs. Adam Powell (5 wins)
Table 7 – James Naughton (5 wins) vs. Nam Nguyen (5 wins)
Table 8 – Mark Fehrig (5 wins) Chris Hobbs (5 wins)
Go Ryan! He’s our last undefeated Challenge competitor. How many rounds has Mike Stavinoha been up there? He’s a fixture!
6:25 The Food is Here!
Hurrah! And the next round is about to start! Boo! Ah well, we’ll have time to eat a few bites.
6:20 Ok. Time’s Up, Where’s My Food
It’s been longer than an hour. I’m hungry!!5:30 Who’s at the Top Tables — Round 6
Only 3 rounds left! We’ve still got Scrub Brush Challenge competitors in the running! There are only 10 undefeated players left in the event:
Table 1 – Russell Jessen (5 wins) [SBC Competitor] vs. Ryan Spicer (5 wins) [SBC Competitor]
Table 2 – Jason Holloway (5 wins) vs. Mike Stavinoha (5 wins)
Table 3 – Mike Gonzales (5 wins) vs. Joseph Hutchinson
Table 4 – Roger Brunson (5 wins) vs. Tristan Patillo (5 wins)
Table 5 – Abel Carrasco (5 wins) vs. Nam Nguyen (5 wins)
Table 6 – Derek Collins (4 wins) vs. David Dreher (4 wins)
Table 7 – Juan DeLeon (4 wins) vs. Louie Gonzales (4 wins)
Table 8 – Dillon Kolacz (4 wins) vs. James Strong (4 wins)
Aww, after this round, we’ll only have one undefeated Scrub Brush Challenge competitor. It sucks when they have to play each other, but it happens.
5:10 Counting Down the Minutes ‘til Dinner
Ok, we’ve ordered our Mexican feast . . . but it will take at least an hour to get here. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of the Chinese food we tried to order in Boston. Expect pictures and a food critique in the coming rounds!
4:30 Team Profile: Team Hpnotiq
Team Hpnotiq (Yes, that is the correct spelling) has been operating as a team since the Arlington Shonen Jump Championship in July of this year. It’s a solid team of eight with some recognizable names:
Brad Poth, 28 years old
Roger Brunson, 27 years old
Brandon Tyre, 18 years old
Ryan Cerda, 17 years old
Kyle Fisher, 17 years old
James Naughton, 16 years old
Harry Anderson, 16 years old
Russell Jessen, 15 years old
Seven members are here today — it’s a short trip for them because Austin is this team’s home town. Currently un-sponsored, a powerhouse showing in their own backyard will be an excellent opportunity for them.
The team might be relatively new, but they’ve already racked up some impressive accomplishments. Most of the players are ranked within the Top 20 players in Texas, with numerous Regional wins and Top 8’s, and there are three Shonen Jump Top 8’s among these guys — Ryan Cerda placed Top 4 at 2005’s Shonen Jump Atlanta, Harry Anderson placed Top 4 at Shonen Jump Arlington, and James Naughton was the winner at Shonen Jump Arlington. They are all already qualified for US Nationals in 2007. Metagame.com readers might remember Brad Poth from the 2005 Atlanta Shonen Jump, when his innovative Hino deck rated a profile. They had some “close but not quite” moments as well — James Naughton placed 9th at 2005’s Shonen Jump Atlanta, Brandon Tyre placed 9th at Shonen Jump Arlington, and Ryan Cerda placed 10th at Shonen Jump Houston. Like the other teams I’ve featured today, Hpnotiq has its share of Scrub Brush Challenge competitors — watch the progress of Brad and Russell as they vie for the secondary glory of winning a SBC.
They like to spend time together as friends too, hanging out and enjoying regular activities. They do playtest occasionally, but find that the fun they have as friends is what really holds them together. They’ve certainly been looking forward to this event — after all, how often do you get a Shonen Jump in your very own town?
4:00 Who’s at the Top Tables — Round 5
OK! We’re officially more than halfway done for the day. I’ve noticed a good showing by Scrub Brush Challenge competitors in earlier rounds, as well as some players who’ve held onto chairs here for quite a while. Who’s sitting here in round 5?
Table 1 – Abel Carrasco (4 wins) vs. Jose Luna Saenz (4 wins)
Table 2 – Jason Holloway (4 wins) vs. Adam Powell (4 wins) [This round’s feature match]
Table 3 – Russell Jessen (4 wins) [SBC Competitor] vs. Gilbert Olivarez
Table 4 – Dylan Embery (4 wins) vs. Joseph Hutchinson (4 wins)
Table 5 – Steven Arias (4 wins) vs. Mike Stavinoha (4 wins)
Table 6 – Beau Parker (4 wins) vs. Ryan Spicer (4 wins) [SBC Competitor]
Table 7 – Juan DeLeon (4 wins) vs. Tristan Patillo (4 wins)
Table 8 – Nam Nguyen (4 wins) vs. Christopher Stegall (4 wins)
There are only 4 more undefeated players, apart from the guys listed above. It’s starting to get close to the wire here.
3:30 Only a Half Hour Left Until We Can Order Food
One of the best benefits (possibly the best benefit) of traveling to these events is getting to eat food that’s best in certain areas. The U.S. is pretty big, which means there’s many kinds of food that different areas do well. I live in New York, which has pretty much every kind of restaurant ever, but nothing beats enjoying local specialties — locally! We had some excellent BBQ last night (I love pit-smoked BBQ with sauce on the side; oh that’s good) and can’t wait to get some good Mexican food.
3:20 Let’s Hear It for Side Events!
They’ll be running small constructed events for the rest of the day and it’s time for players who figure they’re out of the race for the Championship Shrink to start building up their chances at the Side Event Shrink. A Shrink is a Shrink, right? Anyway, the events are filling up nicely, and I’m sure all of these players are hoping they’ll be among the lucky four called up tomorrow to fight it out for their very own Shrink.
3:10 So, How Many Words Per Minute Does Jason Actually Type?
That’s a good question, and it’s one that a lot of people come up and ask me. So! It’s time to share this information with the world, since apparently just about everyone wants to know. First off, his rate of typing actually varies. Depending on how well rested he is, how late in the day it is, and how interested he is in what he’s typing about, Jason’s word-per-minute rate ranges between 80 and 160. That’s fast! If you ever get the chance to go to an event and watch Jason type, you should take advantage of that and see him in action. It’s some of the fastest typing you’ll ever see.
2:40 Who’s at the Top Table — Round 4
Well, we’re almost halfway through the day’s festivities. Let’s have a look at the top tables, and see what’s going on:
Table 1 — Tony Hunter (3 wins) vs. Mike Stavinoha (3 wins)
Table 2 — John Goodman (3 wins) vs. Jose Luna Saenz (3 wins)
Table 3 — Vincent Jaime (3 wins) vs. Ryan Spicer (3 wins) [SBC Competitor]
Table 4 — Jason Holloway (3 wins) vs. Josh Kaid (3 wins)
Table 5 — Chris Barrientes (3 wins) vs. Russell Jessen (3 wins) [SBC Competitior]
Table 6 — Joseph Hutchinson (3 wins) vs. Colin Westjohn (3 wins)
Table 7 — Roger Brunson (3 wins) vs. Donald Shugart (3 wins)
Table 8 — Velvet Jones (3 wins) vs. Jon Lowery (3 wins)
I just want to say that Velvet Jones has the most awesome name of anyone here today. Anyways, we’ve got 2 Scrub Brush Challenge competitors here this round, and a few players who were here last round are still hanging onto the table.
2:20 Someone’s Playing Ultimate Tyranno!
Someone’s playing Ultimate Tyranno today! With Ojama Trio! I have a deck with those cards in it too! Huzzah! He’s apparently doing quite well with it, too. I hope he wins, because I love Ultimate Tyranno. Ojama Trio, not so much, but it is a good combo.
2:10 In Texas, They’re not Afraid to Appeal
At some events, players seem averse to appealing rulings. Not so here today! “I just had sixteen appeals in a row!” head judge Simon Key told me. They don’t seem to care about appealing penalties, but players want to make sure the rulings they’re getting are correct. Simon added that he only had to overrule the floor judges twice today. Sounds like they’ve got it under control, but appeals are the way to go if you’re not sure.
1:55 It’s Still Round 3, and Look at All the Blog
We’ve still got six rounds left, so the blog will be enormous by then. We’re still having some internet issues in the venue, so Jason’s gone back to the room to see if it will work from there. We’re generating all this lovely content and we can’t seem to get it to you. How vexing!
1:45 Team Profile: Team BFD
Local players and teams took advantage of the event’s location to come out for their chance to shine — including Team BFD (Boyz From Dallas). These “boyz” have been around since April of 2005 (Steven Nichols, Joseph Dominguez, and Luis Caster were the founding members) and they’re here today to show how well they can do. The team consists of seven members:
Joseph "Dev" Dominguez, 16 years old
Steven "Snoman" Nichols, 16 years old
Sammy "Demetrio" Huda, 16 years old
Henry "Doboy" Vi, 16 years old
Kevin "Pinky" Bortle, 16 years old
Deante "Kool Aide" Toombs, 19 years old
Luis "King" Castro, the oldest at 23 years old.
Team BFD had hoped to bring 4 members to today’s event — Joseph, Steven, Sammy, Louis, and Deante, but, alas, only Sammy could actually make it. They all hail from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and are currently unsponsored. A strong showing at today’s event with plenty of publicity could be just what they need.
They’ve got Top 8’s and Nationals qualifications to show what they’re made of. Joseph and Deante qualified for US Nationals 2006, and Deante made it out to the event. Steven is currently qualified for US Nationals 2007, as well as making Top 8 at the Arlington Shonen Jump Championship. Sammy and Henry are the team’s strongest deckbuilders, and Henry’s lavish card pool helps keep them competitive. Sammy is participating in the Austin Scrub Brush Challenge, so keep your eye on him.
They’re all good friends (some live down the street from each other) so it seemed natural to come together to form a team. Whether it’s helping each other out with decks, playtesting, or lending cards, Team BFD holds their own against the better-known teams they play against locally each weekend, and they’re ready for their share of the spotlight. Good luck at today’s event!
1:35 Who’s at the Top Tables — Round 3
Check it out — we’ve got two Scrub Brush Challenge competitors sitting up high this round!
Table 1 – David Shugart (2 wins) vs. Christopher Stegall (2 wins)
Table 2 – Chris Bowling (2 wins) vs. Brad Poth (2 wins) [SBC competitor]
Table 3 – Louie Gonzalez (2 wins) vs. Jose Luna Saenz (2 wins)
Table 4 – Duy Bui (2 wins) [SBC competitor] vs. Gilbert Olivarez (2 wins)
Table 5 – Jacob Jacobson (2 wins) vs. We. Lundgren (2 wins)
Table 6 – Roman Espinoza (2 wins) vs. Byron Ledbetter (2 wins)
Table 7 – Juan DeLeon (2 wins) vs. Mark Fehring (2 wins)
Table 8 – David Dreher (2 wins) vs. Jake McNeely (2 wins)
Looks like a few players are intending to hold onto their top table spots for yet another round!
1:10 Not so Good for Pictures
Sadly, the lighting in here isn’t as great as it was at Boston. We aren’t getting the photo-studio lighting that made everyone look so good there, so I guess fewer of the players at today’s event will be signing modeling contracts once the Jump is done. Oh well, what can you do?
1:00 The Lunch Break is Extended for another 20 Minutes!
This announcement was hailed with cheers of delight from players who had ordered food that hadn’t arrived yet, and were beginning to panic. It also gives Jason time to write more deck profiles.
12:50 Jason Goes to Town on Deck Profiles
“Hey, Jason! Take a look at my deck!” “There’s a guy out there who’s 2-0 with a (insert card name here) deck!” “Jason! I need a deck profile!” There’s no shortage of people here today who are excited about what they’re running, and I’ve seen a lot of variety in what players are bringing up to show off. He’s got three that he’s working on now, and plenty more that he’s keeping an eye on. If you woke up this morning thinking, “You know, what I’d really like to read today are deck profiles,” well, it’s going to be your lucky day.
12:40 An Interlude of Food
Everyone’s taking advantage of the lunch break to refuel and recharge, which is necessary since there’s not a concession right here at the event. The hotel gift shop is doing a brisk business in sodas and snacks, and it looks like there must be a Wendy’s nearby. We can look forward to alert, well-nourished players as the day continues. The sandwich, grapes, goldfish crackers, and tomatoes I’ve got aren’t half bad.
12:20 Lunchtime Disappointments
The restaurant delivery service that claimed to deliver beginning at 10 AM lied to us. They only start at 4 pm on Saturdays . . . <sigh> looks like we’ll have to put off our lunchtime plans. Thankfully Sheila, the PTO, has food on hand for the judges and is happy to give some to us! Come 4 pm though, I’m totally ordering that conchinita pibil, tamale platter, and a plate of real nachos for Jason. No fake rubber cheese poured over bagged chips for him today!11:50 Who’s at the Top Tables — Round 2
All right, let’s check in on the top table action and see who’s there . . .
Table 1 — Jorge Aguilar (1 win) vs. Louie Gonzales (1 win)
Table 2 — Christopher Gadson (1 win) vs. Brandon Johnson (1 win)
Table 3 — Chris Bowling (1 win) vs. Sean Hernandez (1 win)
Table 4 — Russell Jessen (1 win) [SBC Competitor] vs. Jesse Valdez (1 win)
Table 5 — Miac. Espinoza (1 win) vs. Tristan Patillo (1 win)
Table 6 — Tim Kyle (1 win) vs. Adam Powell (1 win)
Table 7 — Oscar Gattas (1 win) vs. Jon Lowery (1 win)
Table 8 — James Naughton (1 win) vs. Levi Rogers (1 win)
It’s early in the day yet, but you never know. Sometimes you’ll get a particularly determined player who seems to camp out here all day!
11:40 Keeping Them Organized
Head judge Simon Key is making an extra effort to keep the rounds moving quickly, by having judges verify match results (keeps players from losing their match slips) and moving players out of the room once the matches are over. It does make things a lot easier for the judges, and speeds up end of match procedures. They’ll be taking a lunch break after this, for a half hour.
11:20 Team Profile: Team Outphase
Team Outphase is pretty well known, but since we’re in their neighborhood it’s time to learn a little bit more. The team has been around for about a year and a half, and features five members:
Jake McNeely, 18 years old
Chris Bowling, 16 years old
Ryan Spicer, 15 years old
Fili Luna, 19 years old
Daniel Lasher, 19 years old
Watch out, because they’re all in attendance today and they’re taking the event seriously, so don’t underestimate them! They’re as of yet un-sponsored, but they’re showing up with some impressive credentials.
Jake McNeely took second place at Shonen Jump Arlington, 12th at the 2006 US Nationals, has had several Shonen Jump any SJC 7-2 finishes, many Regional Top 8’s, and qualified for US Nationals all four years.
Chris Bowling has also had some 7-2 Shonen Jump finishes, Regional wins, and he too qualified for US Nationals all four years.
Ryan Spicer claims a solid share of Regional Top 8’s and placed third at the Arlington Shonen Jump. He qualified for US Nationals in 2006, and has his invite for 2007 as well.
Fili Luna is best known for his win at Shonen Jump San Fransisco, but he also has numerous Shonen Jump 7-2 finishes as well as Regional Top 8’s. He qualified for US Nationals in 2006, and also has his invite for 2007.
Daniel Lasher can boast of many Shonen Jump 7-2 finishes, along with his share of Regional Top 8’s, and US Nationals qualifications for 2004, 2006, and 2007.
They tend to show up at Shonen Jump events with cookie cutters, saving the innovative decks for Regionals, where they refine them until they are solid enough to unveil at the bigger, high profile events. A strong friendship keeps them together as a team — they hang out and go to movies as well as playtest, develop deck ideas and lend each other cards.
They’ve got a solid list of accomplishments, and since Ryan and Fili are also enrolled in the Scrub Brush Challenge today as well, they may get the chance to add to it!
10:40 Round 1 — And They’re Off
It’s a good thing Simon is the head judge and not me, because the microphone is just not working and he’s obliged to shout. I’d probably have to use semaphor, or conduct the announcements with pantomime or something. Anyways, Round 1 has begun, with a caution against bad language, so we’re on our way.
10:30 Time to Check the Decklists
As soon as they were collected, the judges were on it. Looks like today’s event should go nice and fast!
10:20 Player Meeting Begins!
We’ve got 312 and counting registered so far, so we’re looking at nine rounds today. The venue looks good, the players look excited, and there’s a lot of interesting and different decks here today, judging from what players have come up to show me. You’ve never seen such a quiet and attentive lot of players at a player meeting, either! It’s looking good for a nice smooth event as head judge Simon Key lays down the law.
10:15 Well, We had Internet for a Little While . . .
Now it seems to have disappeared. Hopefully they get it fixed and soon. While we had it, wow, it was nice. It was right here in the room!
10:00 The Players are Pouring in
From all over, I might add. Here’s a group of duelists who made the trek up from Mexico — meet Jorge Olivella, Oscar Olivella, David Onofre, David Espinosa, and Jose Eduardo! I probably haven’t got them all in the right order, but they’re all good looking so I’m sure they won’t mind.