Darklight Tournament with Team Pyrus Uprising
Good things are worth the wait, which is the best explanation for how I found myself playing in a re-scheduled Christmas Darklight tournament with Team Pyrus Uprising on the day before Easter. :)
I took a leisurely drive in after having been on Long Island the night before, arriving at Laser One in New Jersey by mid-afternoon for a few practice games and a chance to reacclimate myself to the arena and the system. Because Darklight is a somewhat rare laser tag system to find in the U.S. I always enjoy the opportunity to play something a little different.
With a quick review of the basics I was good to go.
I appreciated the invite from team captain Devin to join Team Pyrus Uprising for the competition that would include five different game formats throughout the night. I looked forward to playing with my new teammates including Devin (Storm Taker), Anthony (Penigetti), Alex (AL-Dawg), Chaim (Gate) and Jack (IDK).
We set up home base at a party table and started putting together our strategies for each of the game formats.
This was a small tournament, but had some cool moments. Four teams gathered in the briefing room to hear the arena owner, Jim, give instruction about each format as we went along.
And our team had some good success right out of the gate. In fact, we were undefeated right up until game six of the tournament. Too early to celebrate Chaim?
The first basic team game was a pretty easy win against the team calling themselves the Goon Squad, but the second game we played was a little more interesting. You see, by eyeballing the other teams we had made some guesses about how things might go and the team to watch appeared to be the Lift Dawgs, mostly because of one player named KC. I had played a couple of practice rounds with him earlier and he seemed like the only major threat on that team, but his teammates looked more formidable than the others. The Bombers were actually the bigger surprise, with free agent Top Hat making their team significantly stronger and appearances can be deceiving. To my eyes, each of these teams had one strong anchor player and a roster of players, perhaps with less experience, but definitely with plenty of heart and motivation.
To our surprise, even though we won our game against the Bombers, it was way closer than we expected. We won the game in the final second. I know because I did it. As the clock was counting down the final five seconds I was standing near a GEM, directly across from one guy who was prematurely celebrating and shouting “we won!” and I looked down to check my credits. I had enough and took a Hail Mary shot at the GEM, quite literally as the countdown hit “one” and I got it! That was the point shift that allowed us to win that game, albeit with a much closer margin than anyone expected. Perhaps this other team was not to be underestimated after all!
This is the way the schedule was set up (although a few things would change before the night was done).
The next game we would play would be Team Blasters, played against the Lift Dawgs. Jim tried to hype things up a bit by announcing his prediction to the group that this game would be the one that would decide the rest of the night. We could only hope so because we won that game against the Lift Dawgs by a pretty solid lead. OK Chaim, you can bring out the balloons now. Chaim? Chaim? Where did he go? Good thing we had an alternate player, just in case, lol.
We had another couple of games that went in our favor.
Then in our sixth game in the Rush format we took our first loss of the night against the Lift Squad. Coincidentally, this was the point where the tournament shifted for other reasons as well. Jim announced that a couple of players from one of the teams had to leave, so the decision had been made to merge the remaining players from Goon Squad and the Bombers and re-work the schedule, which changed all the match-ups for the remaining games. I won’t judge whether or not this was the right call considering the experience levels and the casual nature of this event. I will say this is not how I would have handled it in any other tournament setting, but one of the things I have learned from events like this is that adaptability is a virtue.
Three big things happened as a result of this change. First, we now had to go up against the Lift Dawgs two additional times. Second, we now had to play four back-to-back games without breaks. Third, the final format was played with three teams in the arena instead of two.
We lost both games in the Pink Panther format, which was (to my mind) the most unbalanced of the game opportunities. This is not a new opinion, I have felt that in the past as well. This is the format that I think should be dropped from tournament play because it plays more like an escalation game. But, when you are served mashed potatoes, you eat mashed potatoes.
The final format, Borg Acquisition, was the most complicated based on the informational write-up, but my choice was to not overthink it. I went immediately for the GEMs and took three of them within the first minute or so of the game and a fourth after that. This is how our team won the second-to-last game of the night and brought this tournament to an exciting finale. Everything came down to the very last game. Mathematically, because of the changes that had taken place, there were a couple of scenarios that could potentially take place. At this point we were five points behind, but that did not mean the end at all.
What it meant was that we would have to win this game for one of two things to happen. If we won and Lift Dawgs came second that would tie it up and we would have to face them in a tie-breaker. Or, if we won and by chance the Goon Squad came in second (a real possibility as they had only been behind Lift Dawgs by 27 points in the last game), then we could win it outright. All of this was announced before we went in, so the game was intense!
Cut to the chase, Team Lift Dawgs won the final game, meaning they won the tournament and Team Pyrus Uprising took second place. My congratulations to the Lift Dawgs and all the players who brought an excellent challenge. It may have been a small event, but it was absolutely worthwhile and I had a wonderful time!
This wrapped up a really fun event and an awesome weekend of tag. I look forward to returning to Laser One in the future and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing with Team Pyrus Uprising. And of course, it was great to get to play Darklight again, as it is always a blast to tag some blob lights!
Comments or Questions?