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A Total Tourney at Tron

It’s been a while since I have played in any tournaments at all and since the last one I played at Lasertron Rochester was a little, well, unusual I thought it would be interesting to do another one and see how the event might be different now that they have been running them for a few months. This tournament was a much more complete experience (which is why I call it a “total tourney” compared to the last one I played) and I am glad I had a second chance to compete here again as a newbie to the Battle Royale squad format. I ended up playing with a very solid team (and all’s well that ends well), but this event had a few interesting moments of its own to start with, even before I arrived.

Since I live a considerable distance away from Lasertron I do not get to play there very often, therefore my only chance to participate in the squad tournament scene is to be picked up by a team that has already qualified. Initially I got added by a father/son team that had qualified and were forming a squad. I reached out to them a week ago to additionally confirm Shadowdragn (Emily) from my ‘geddon team to be our fourth and I headed out to Rochester on Sunday knowing that our squad was all set. Well, as it turned out…not quite.

A couple of hours before we were due to arrive, I got a message from the team captain (the father) informing me that in spite of having had our squad line-up confirmed for a week, they had just made a change. The son had invited his new girlfriend to be on the team and that meant he no longer had room for both Emily and me on the squad. Sheesh! He offered to let me keep my spot since I had confirmed first, but this last-minute change of roster did not sit well with me and I was not willing to drop my allegiance to Emily. Even though she is a great player and could easily get picked up by another squad, to drop a player like that at the last minute in favor of “bringing a new girlfriend” was in my opinion NOT a classy move (putting it all on Front Street there). Especially considering the late notice and with both of us already in route and both driving in from a fair distance away. So, I declined to keep my spot on his team and decided to stay loyal to my friend and hope to pick up more teammates within the couple of hours remaining before the tournament start.

As it happened, by start time we had successfully joined up with a couple of other players who couldn’t have been any more welcoming and awesome guys! Sometimes things end up working out for the best and that’s how I ended up as part of the Spartans squad along with CDragon, Ghost and Shadowdragn.

As luck (or karma) would have it we ended up facing the father/son/girlfriend squad in the first round of quarterfinals. We got suited up, were ready to go and took first place in that round.

That meant our team advanced along with the PewPewToo squad into the semifinals, but the team that changed their roster did not go on any further.

We headed over to the observation window to watch the next round of quarterfinals and things got interesting within the very first minute of that game.

A team that appeared favored to win this round ended up having a bit of a challenge early on. One of the game nuances of Battle Royale is that you MUST tag an opponent within a specific time allotment or the clock will time you out and you automatically go from being an active green player to a purple storm. Team SteveO had three of their four players go purple within the first 40 seconds of the game simply from not being able to find an opponent. This was largely due to them going in against two squads of two in a big arena, as it is not required that you field the maximum of four players on a team. The lone player to survive was ironically their last-minute pick-up player, Daniel, and this started a bit of a cool underdog story for the night. While it didn’t look good for them based on that start, Daniel survived and got Team SteveO into the next round along with the Thundercats. These teams would advance to the semifinals along with the teams from the first round and also the Just Us team that had won their buy (or some say “bye”…who wants to weigh in?) into the semis based on previously earned point totals.

For the semifinals all we had to do was be among the top four teams to survive and we would go on to finals. By the skin of our teeth, we did just that. Now we were going into finals with the other finalist teams and the two teams that had earned their buy into finals on points, squads GI Joe and Gone Fishing.

I knew Emily had her sights set on being the Storm Leader coming out of this game. The only issue I see with this goal is that to accomplish it requires that you to be tagged out of active mode, meanwhile the only way a team can win is if you keep at least one last man actively standing to the end, which is somewhat at odds with the lesser objective. I’m a little perplexed by this element of the game where there is some personal benefit to intentionally letting yourself be tagged out early to go “purple storm” in hopes of getting the top Storm Leader medal. Regardless, in doing so she ended up going head-to-head against Snake Eyes, a very skilled player who appears to have a tremendous amount of experience with playing the purple storm role. So (as I recall from, I want to say…Zork?) “the drought was for naught.” And before too long everyone was purple. Finals were fun and adrenaline pumping, but over in 4:25 minutes.

Final results played out as follows:

Snake Eyes - Storm Leader

GI Joe - 3rd place

Steve O - 2nd place

PewPewToo - 1st place

The conclusion of that quasi-underdog story from earlier (which seems odd to say since they were actually all very good players) is that with one wild card player keeping them alive during the quarterfinals, Team SteveO managed to narrowly survive the quarterfinals and sailed right through the semifinals to end up in second place overall, which I think is pretty awesome and deserves a shout out. Actually, I want to congratulate everyone who was involved with this tournament, including the Lasertron staff. It is fine with me that my team didn’t end up placing at the end. Getting to the finals was plenty accomplishment enough for me as this is not a system that I consider to be my forte. However, it was really nice to observe how this tournament structure can work well when all the right elements are in place. Ten teams made for a pretty good turn out and I think it was smart for them to develop this format in a way that requires squads to keep their distance from other squads during the game. I was a bit critical of my first Battle Royale squad tournament, but last night’s experience had me feeling like I would definitely want to try this again. My thanks to all who made last night awesome, including those who expressed an interest in getting involved with Tag 4 A Cause.

Emily had already donated and achieved her laser tag 5K, so I personally delivered her Tag 4 A Cause medal.

Full details on the Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge to raise funds for Feeding America can be found here…

Thanks to all those who are helping to make a difference through laser tag!

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