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When All Else Fails… (aka the Mississauga Five Man Tournament)

If you understand why that title is funny then you probably already know all about this weekend’s Laser Quest five man team tournament in Mississauga. If not, let me tell you how things went. :)

Ultimately, we had a wonderful time and I’m really glad that I made the trip. It was great tagging with these guys and Hot Dice organized a really terrific event, even though we encountered a few bumps along the way.

The day before the tournament there was a really bad snowstorm where I live, so bad that my car got stuck in the parking lot at my office. I wasn’t even certain that weather would be reasonable for me to make the trip. And we had one player who had to work and would end up missing the first couple of games, but in spite of all that we decided to proceed anyhow, so I set out from my house around 10:00 Saturday morning bound for Canada. I hoped to take a leisurely drive up (of course stopping for some excellent shopping as there are two major outlet malls along the route), then I had dinner plans with friends in Toronto before meeting up with my team for the overnight tourney that started at 10:00 that night. I was going to be driving back immediately afterwards, so this was already a long day before we even got going.

My team was set to include my ‘geddon teammates Slayer, ShadowDragon and Ski Patrol (Wil, Emily and Dave) and a local Quest player I had not yet met, Frieza (Marshall). Well, nothing ever goes entirely according to plan and one of the challenges we encountered before even crossing the border was losing Emily to the flu, so with only a couple of hours notice we were down a player. I tried to find a sub, but fortunately Justin was able to rearrange things so that Clueless joined our team at the last minute. On top of that we were scheduled to play in the first two games of the night which Dave would miss because of the work conflict. So, yeah…there were a few challenges.

When I got there Wil was already waiting and we were among the first players to arrive. However, it wasn’t long before a familiar face walked in and we got time to visit with our old teammate Giorgio. So great to see him again! And we were appreciative that we were able to “borrow” him as Dave’s sub for the first game and then take Eli as the sub when we played against Giorgio’s team in the next game. Will the real Ski Patrol please stand up?

It’s tough to jump into a system that you don’t get to play often when you go up against players who get to practice at an LQ site every week, but it’s also nice to meet some new people. I was glad to see there were two other female players in the event and I enjoyed chatting a bit with Kathleen and Victoria from Toronto East. We are all fairly new to the scene, so I think it was easier for the newer players to find common ground. Before things got underway we sat in on the briefing and then we toured the arena.

The last time I was actually in this arena was about a year ago when they really rolled out the red carpet for me with a nice welcome and a photographer following me around the arena for some promo pics. Let’s just say it was a completely different experience looking at the same space this weekend! However, with the low light camera on my new phone I got some pics that showcase how impressive the LQ Mississauga arena really is. It’s a great space for a tournament!

The bottom level was taped off so that three teams could play on the floor while three other teams simultaneously played on the upper level. This worked MUCH better than the last time I experienced this kind of structure. It also kept the flow of the event moving along pretty well…until someone stopped the second game. It was a simple mistake, but someone had noticed Eli playing on our team (as a sub) and thought the wrong players were in the arena. Unfortunately, the player stopped the game without authorization or realizing that everything was as it should be, so that game had to be reset. Back into the arena…

During prelims my showing in this tournament was marginal at best. However, I was really there more for the experience because I so seldom get an opportunity to play against serious players on this system (since there is no LQ to play at in all of New York and I have to travel so far to get to any LQ usually the best I can hope for is to get into a good Ironman game). So, I just enjoyed the experience for what it was and took away what useful things I could. I tried to be more conscious about side positioning and a few of the tips players have given me along the way, but this is not my primary system so I didn’t have any crazy expectations about our placement. We were not the weakest team, but we were a far cry from playing out the full course of the night (which is why I figured I could power through driving back that night as our team was done by 2:00 am).

The top four teams were going to play on, however for our team to go any further we would have to succeed in the Quad-Quest where the four other teams would go against each other in four blind rounds, meaning we would play the arena on one set of packs, return to the vesting room, swap onto another set of packs and repeat until we had gone four rounds without seeing the scores in between. This means you really don’t know how you are doing based on anything but your gut feeling.

When we went into the Quad-Quest that’s when things started to feel real and like it was time to pull out the stops. It also felt like the time in the evening where we were starting to play with some team synergy. One example of this came from Dave directing me in the tower to control the ramp while he “kept this guy busy” in a dogfight with a player vying for that location. So while Dave did his thing I did my sniper thing, which is typically my strongest position when I play other systems. That seemed to work well.

After the second game I turned to Wil and said “no matter how this shakes out I feel good about that,” meaning how that game had gone. After the fact when we could see the scores I learned that this was my strongest game all night.

At the time I just played as best I could against some competition that had pretty much leveled out at this point. What I mean by that is that every round played out with very similar results. For the plate cup there was no beating the NexGen team. Montreal 2 was the next strongest followed by us and then the Toronto East team in that order nearly every time. So, the outcome was not exactly a surprise, but the scores were interesting to hear at the end anyhow. Kudos to all the teams who played in the Quad-Quest rounds and also to the top solo players after prelims which included Yoda in second place with 646 and Dark Fenix in first with 701.

At this point in the night (or morning as it was abut 2:00 am) I had been on the road all day and had a five hour drive ahead of me, so I thanked Justin for putting on a really nice event and made the rounds to say goodbye to my team. Ordinarily I would try to stick around through the finals, but this time it just made better sense to get on the road and home as safely as possible as there were snow squalls as I made my way through western New York. So, I learned of the final results after the fact. The Chicago team won the whole event and I want to sincerely congratulate them and all the other teams who came out to compete. It is a pleasure to play in the company of really talented players and to learn from the experience how to come back stronger the next time around. I really am glad that I made the decision to join my team for this event. I had a great time!

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