This week we have a special guest article written by Joe Campbell, giving us a look at what’s going on in Liverpool, UK. Thanks Joe for the guest article!

A few weeks ago, a couple of pieces were posted on this very webpage about the origins and growth of a number of local communities around the UK. “All well and good” you may think, but no! There was something lacking; NORTHERNERS. I, one Joe Campbell, from lovely Merseyside am here to put that right for you today…

It all began shortly after the game came out in Autumn of last year when a local games store, JustPlayGames in Liverpool, put on an open house event for people to come and try the game. I had already picked up the starter set and a good few boosters and had taught myself to play with the cards I had bought so, not wanting another load of trading cards to sit in a drawer somewhere and gather dust, I forced myself to go. Honestly, I should force myself to do things more often because I don’t think I’ve had as much fun playing other games as I have this one… Anyway, this open house day brought together a “core” group of roughly five of us who have all stuck around since the game’s launch (woop!). Seeing how much we enjoyed playing the game, JustPlay soon agreed to run tournaments which, come the new year, were running every other Sunday. More tournaments brought with it more people and we’re now at a solid number of 10-15 people, all of whom massively enjoy the game and have different decks and strategies they like to use which is great!

To be honest, I was hoping to waffle a bit more about how we all get along and we’ve all fallen in love with the game etc., but you don’t want to hear about that, right? You want action, and action is what you shall have! For a couple of reasons, JustPlay weren’t able to run an event the weekend of Wave 4’s release, resulting in our first tournament of the new set being squidged in on Saturday the 16th. This was a blessing in disguise in a sense as it meant we would have less time with the cards and, in theory, should come up with funkier decks, making for a fun tournament. Before I get into what occurred, a brief rundown of the deck and why I played it…

Characters:
Raider Ion Storm
Raider Triggerhappy
Flamewar

Actions:
Bombing Run x 1
Escape Route x 3
Marksmanship x 3
Pep Talk x 2
Security Checkpoint x 3

Steady Shot x 3
Swindled x 1
The Bigger They Are x 3
War of Attrition x 3

Upgrades:
Weapons

Armed Hovercraft x 2
Crowbar x 2
Energon Axe x 2
Handheld Blaster x 3
Scoundrel’s Blaster x 1

Armour
Improvised Shield
x 3
Reflex Circuits x 1

Smoke Cloak x 3

Utilities
Field Communicator x 1

Pips:
Blue = 36
Orange = 7
White = 4
Green = 8

Black = 12
Blank = 0

As you may be able to tell, this list was heavily influenced by the one that Ben Cottee used to achieve a Top 8 finish at the Energon Open in London. I’d used Triggerhappy before and really liked how he functioned, but I wanted to try something that I knew had seen success at a high level. This, coupled with the fact that I was fairly confident we’d be seeing at least one Aerialbots deck made it a pretty simple decision. Now for the exciting bit! Here’s how the tournament went down…

Round 1
Alex Rimmer – Bugs

When I sat down at the table opposite Alex and realised what she was running, my first thought was “Let’s just get this over and done with” as this was a matchup that I *should* have had a lot of trouble with. Even though she’s relatively inexperienced, she still knows how to play and her other half, Dan (also playing) will have passed on his wisdom of how to run the deck. Once we started playing however, my confidence grew. After winning the dice roll, Alex sensibly chose to go first but rather than making the usual play of sending out Skrapnel first to soak up a hit, she sent Kickback, arguably the hardest hitter of the team. Against some decks, this move might’ve worked but versus the beefy boi that is Ion Storm, it didn’t do her any favours. After a few turns of patience, I managed to use all three War of Attritions which left Ion Storm sitting pretty to clear up, with Triggerhappy and Flamewar chipping away for the win.

The second game went almost the same as the first, although one play in particular stood out. The first attack went into Triggerhappy and done a decent chunk, but I wasn’t too fussed as it kept Ion Storm healthy who I felt was the character who’d give me the best chance of taking the set. After I sent out my Ion Storm and it was Alex’s turn to attack again, she made the error of using Barrage to attack into an undamaged character meaning that, following an attack from Triggerhappy and after we untapped everyone, I was able to finish it off with another big hit from the main man. During the set, Alex was saying things like “I can’t maths” and “I suck” which I didn’t like to hear as it wasn’t true at all. If you’re reading this, Alex, let me tell you this; you didn’t lose because you suck, you lost because of inexperience and the fact you faced a relatively unusual team. Keep at it, and you’ll be beating Dan and the rest of us in no time. 🙂

End of Round 1: 1-0

Round 2
Lee Bailey – Octone/W2 Prowl/W1 Arcee

It had been a little while since I’d played Lee at one of our locals, so I didn’t know what to expect really. From what I could tell, it seemed like he’d been chopping and changing decks instead of refining one set idea after his beloved Dinobots became less and less of a threat. Whatever he went with, it was going to be tough as Lee has won more tournaments than anyone else up to this point.

Frankly, there’s not an awful lot I can say about this set as I got well and truly destroyed by the ridiculously aggressive orange build that Lee had opted for. Although I managed to get rid of the Prowl and the Arcee reasonably easy, it meant that Octone was virtually unharmed and could take the full force of Ion Storm without a sweat. Coupled with the fact my other two characters were already quite damaged, it was a formality.

Having lost the first, I felt I needed to go first in an attempt to get Arcee gone ASAP, which I did by bouncing back a Forcefield with Ion Storm. Even though I got that KO, I was still at a disadvantage but, with a little energon and a lot of luck I just about scraped it. In the decider however, I would have no such luck. The initial few turns went the same way as in the previous games with us exchanging blows, something which I could barely cope with in the first place. What happened next though was what really won it for Lee. Octone swung for his first attack of the game and after playing Grenade Launcher > Dual Wield > Grenade Launcher to leave a previously undamaged Ion Storm on 1HP, there was nowt I could do. Simple as.

End of Round 2: 1-1

Round 3
Martin Slater – Barrage/W1 Kickback/W4 Raider Kickback/W4 Raider Chop Shop (Blue Bugs)

Blue Bugs was quite possibly the most anticipated deck coming into Wave 4, so I was looking forward to this one a lot. After having a bit of a rough time, I was somewhat thankful to be paired with Martin as I believed the matchup to be heavily in my favour due to the evilness I had sitting in the sideboard (more on that later!), regardless of the healing shenanigans he could pull off.

This one started off relatively slowly with Martin flipping Raider Kickback and attacking with its Wave 1 counterpart. Since it was the first turn, no damage could be healed but, because of the Blue pips that were flipped, I took damage from Raider Kickback’s bot ability. This was something I wouldn’t take seriously until a good few turns later. It was obvious to me that the extra Tough from Flamewar wasn’t going to help during the first few turns in the same way it would against a more aggro deck, leading me to attack first with Triggerhappy in bot mode for a minimum of 2 damage. The only damage Martin was really doing for the first few turns was through Raider Kickback’s ability with the odd Black pip thrown in, leaving me in quite a comfortable spot. Come the first reset of the game, Barrage had just swung for 5 Pierce 4 thanks to its Bold 2 and a bunch of Blacks being flipped – ouch. Not wanting to take any more nonsense like that, I whacked a Crowbar on Ion Storm to take out Barrage and that was pretty much that for the first game. Another triple War of Attrition stopped any potential comeback from there. Now here’s where it gets interesting…

Knowing that Martin wasn’t running much in terms of upgrade hate, there was no hesitation in me siding in my secret weapon; MULTI MISSILE PODS.

When we were still in the early stages of game 1, this was something I knew I had to at least try for. No amount of healing was going to help should I get all three, right? We start as we did the first with Martin flipping Raider Kickback and attacking with Kickback, dealing little bits of chip damage. My first defence flip? Missile Pod. “Oh no!” I thought, but after looking at my hand, I sighed with relief, for there was an Escape Route looking up at me *whew*. I immediately flip Triggerhappy back and forth to retrieve the crucial first Missile Pod, sending Ion Storm for yet another large attack. To maximise my chances of getting all three Missile Pods to fire and KO multiple characters, I had to use Flamewar and Ion Storm as meat shields for Triggerhappy whilst still eating away at Martin’s bugs. This ended up working out preeettttyyy nicely if I do say so myself. Fast forward to a turn after resetting, and the board looked like this…

I’d just played another Escape Route which allowed for the fabled third Missile Pod to be attached! I send Triggerhappy in, wiping out half of his team in one go. There was no coming back from that, especially since I still had Ion Storm swinging big. Sorry Martin…

End of Third Round: 2-1

With an attendance of 7, it meant we were only able to play 3 rounds as opposed to the usual 4 which really isn’t that bad considering we only had confirmation of the event on the Thursday! It didn’t make the final standings any less interesting though…

1st – Lee Bailey (Octone/W2 Prowl/W1 Arcee)
2nd – Dan Jones (W4 Gen. Prime/Raider Sights/Raider Nightflight)
3rd – Myself (Raider Ion Storm/Raider Triggerhappy/W1 Flamewar)
4th – Tom Russell (W1 Aggro Bugs)
5th – Paul Smith (Aerialbots)
6th – Martin Slater (Blue Bugs)
7th – Alex Rimmer (W1 Aggro Bugs)

As it turns out, the latest set has some pretty solid characters! Personally, I wasn’t too hyped about the majority of characters this wave but after playing against them, I’m super excited to get back to the drawing board to see what I can come up with for the next tournament on the 1st of December (my birthday!).

I hope you enjoyed a little taster of we up norf get up to every other week when we all come together to play this awesome game we all absolutely adore. I’ve no idea if or when you’ll hear from us again; it all depends on whether or not the big boss man, Mr Donovan, can tolerate my ramblings. Ta-ta and farewell… for now.

Local to Liverpool & Merseyside? Check out their Local Facebook Group here and get in touch with them!

Want to write about your own local tournament for Flip Flip Bang Bang? Get in touch! Contact me on Facebook, Twitter and if you really want to, Instagram – or alternatively send an email to FlipFlipBangBang@outlook.com.

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