Darklight Christmas Tournament

I set out for New Jersey on the Sunday before Christmas to be part of the first ever Christmas tournament at Laser One in Wantage, NJ. I didn’t know how many people would actually show up on the weekend right before a holiday, but I was delighted to see they had an excellent turn out!

I showed up early in order to get in a few practice games before the tournament began and chatted with the owner, Jim, about the things to be attentive to with this system. He pointed out a few things (including the accuracy bonus) and this was the first time I connected the similarities between Darklight and Intersphere….interesting to note!

I almost never get to play this system and made a point to participate in this event mostly as a way to get some practice in before (hopefully) competing with it again in May. But it was also a chance to experience some unique game formats that I would not ordinarily have the chance to play.

I had signed up as a “standby” player and waited to see what team I would be placed with. Typically, this results in my landing on an underdog team and (by their own assessment) that was the case when I was added as the final player to Team “Duh”. So, that’s where things started. However, I really did enjoy playing with this group made up of Ariana (Ants), Kazzy (Artemis), Arjun (Personman), Aiden (Nytra) and Vincenzo (X-Tron).

The tournament was to be played in games with three teams playing each other in each of five game formats. The first place team would get 4 points, second place would get 2 points and third place would get 1 point, all to be added at the end. There were six teams with six players each, so every format would be played twice to make sure all the teams played the format once. This worked with the math. My only issue as to the balancing of this tournament was that we didn’t have a chance to evenly play every team on every game format. However, as this was a first time event I do give credit that this worked out as smoothly as it did. Jim gave the briefing before each game.

The first game we played was Team Basic.

This was simple enough. We went up against Pyrus Uprising and Mandalorians, the two teams that appeared to be the strongest competitors. I was pleased enough that I pulled third place in the arena (which was first on my team, just underneath the two strongest players in the event) and our team finished in second place that round. I didn’t realize at that moment that this was indicative of how the entire tournament would go. I consistently pulled third in the arena, first on my team and we took second in every round we played except one.

As we compared scorecards around the table one of my teammates said to me “I don’t mean this to be mean, but I didn’t expect you to do that well. Taking 3rd in this group is REALLY good.” I appreciate that and later in the night I equally appreciated one of my other teammates telling me “you’re carrying our team.” However, we needed to get the entire team to play hard to stay in contention for a placement.

The next game was Team Blasters.

That was followed by The Rush.

This was the point when I realized something was slightly out of balance with the schedule because I noticed we had played the top team three times in a row, which was a little out of balance. This is actually how the match-ups ended up, so we probably should have been playing against the Mandalorians in this round.

We played Pyrus Uprising three times

We played Mandalorians one time

We played Toon Squad two times

We played Walter two times

We played Sausage Party two times

After our third round we unfortunately lost a player as Ants had to leave the event early. There were no provisions for subs, but we also did not incur a penalty, so all that meant was we had to play one player down.

It turns out that didn’t hurt us at all. In fact, the next round of Pink Panther was one of our best. However, it was also a bit of a heartbreaker.

Here’s why that one hurt. We were KILLING it for the majority of the game. The teamwork really started to gel (shout out to Artemis who played exceptionally well this game) and we were holding the lead solidly for most of the round. We got to the final minute and were still holding the lead. I started calling out to the team to hold the base (meaning the GEM) because as long as we didn’t give up a shot on the big credit we would win this one. We held strong as the clock counted down “five…four…three…two…one”…and then…”red team takes the lead”. Ugh!!! What that meant was that they had gotten one glory shot on a high credit GEM in quite literally the last half a second of the game. That one shot was the 1000 point difference that put us in second instead of first and, quite frankly, the one shot that turned the entire outcome for our team. Now, I realized prior to that moment that we were not going to take first place in the tournament because of the way things had already shaken out for Team Pyrus Uprising. However, we could have, would have (and I kind of believe should have) taken second place in the tournament if that one second of that game had gone differently. Sigh…that’s how the cookie crumbles. That shot also pushed me from first place in that particular game to second, so I felt the hit twice. Again…sigh.

So the final game format of the tournament was Borg Acquisition…sheesh! Read this!

This game actually could have still turned things around for second place, but it was so convoluted that I really didn’t consider it any more than a “try your best and see what happens” kind of game. Well, we took second in the round again, but as for points, that earlier round of Pink Panther pushed the results to look like this, including a tie for the second place position.

But it was a really fun event to participate in and I definitely did learn quite a bit about Darklight that will be helpful to me next time around. Kudos to Team Duh for playing well, quite nearly pulling a much higher placement than they thought likely going into it and for just being a great group to hang out with this night.

Thanks to Jim for putting the event together (and for awarding some very nice trophies).

And congratulations to Team Pyrus Uprising for a well-played tournament and deserved placement.

Thank you to Laser One for hosting a Darklight Christmas Tournament…the red and green lights definitely put me into the holiday spirit!

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