Upcoming Tournament Interview: Til All Are One (Northampton UK)

Mondo Spanner, a regular on the TFTCG UK facebook group, has been talking to me about his idea for a larger tournament at Manascrew in Northampton for quite a while. With the event just around the corner (buy your tickets now!), I managed to get him to give me the low down on the tournament, as well as a quick chat about the game, his experience at the European Energon Open last year and his infamous General Megatron deck.

Mondo squarring off against Rhys Bradley at the European Energon Open Round 6

What’s Til All Are One?
Til all are One is a 32 man, constructed, Transformers TCG tournament. The idea behind this event is to present UK players with a good size tournament that has decent prize support. With the hope being that players from all over the UK will attend and get to meet other TFTCG fans and hence create more depth and breadth in the community.

When will the event start, and how long will the event be? Will there be a Top 4 or Top 8 cut?
The event is on the 22nd February. Registration starts at 10.30 and the first round will start at 12.00. I’ve tried to make the registration period start a little bit later and last a little bit longer so that if people are driving for a couple of hours to get there they shouldn’t have to leave too early. 

There won’t be a top cut at this event as that would make the tournament an extra couple of hours longer and as this is a community focused event I thought people that have driven a long way might want to get back instead of driving home at silly o’ clock.

What kind of prize support can we expect?
The prize support at this event is this:
1st – 30 boosters in a sealed box
2nd – 15 boosters. You get to pick which side of the box you’d like!
3rd – 8 boosters
4th – 8 boosters
5th, 6th, 7th and 8th – 4 boosters
9th to 32nd – 2 boosters

I don’t know about you? but I really like it when everyone receives a prize/reward for playing in a tournament . However, all prizes will be dependent on the number of attendees.

Why should people outside of the Midlands travel to the event?
As the organiser I consider the raison d’etre of the event to be getting the groups of TFTCG players around the country talking to each other, creating friendships and creating gaming rivalries. It’ll also be a good place to put faces to names for people you’ve only ever spoken to on Facebook or Discord.

If you feel you’re a seasoned pro with a well tweaked deck or you’ve just started out but have a deck that you think will serve you well then come along and have a go. 

If you want to be an internet sensation then we’ve got the Blues on Attack lads coming and they will be filming games. Which they will then release later on. 

If you are more of a written word sensationalist then FFBB will be there TOing. So if someone is bringing a funky deck I’m sure it will be mentioned on Flip Flip Bang Bang’s review.

I’m there. Which is clearly a draw. Like Jesus moonwalking over Niagra Falls whilst pulling a Dali-esque lobster phone from his left nostril. 

You know?

What can you tell us about the venue? How can people get there? Will there be parking?
The venue is a great store called Manascrew in Northampton. There is ample room for 32 players. The store is DCI registered and so the tournament will be too.  There is a multi-story car park approximately 70 secs walk from the shop. The parking costs are reasonable, with all day Saturday costing £5.

What kind of turnout are you hoping for?
I’m really, really trying for 32 participants. Anyone that has run a tournament before will know that the prize support is directly linked to the number of players. My prize support is based on 32 players. It would be a massive shame to not realise the full number of players. 

Will there be breaks for lunch? What food and drink will be available?
I’m afraid I have not left any time for lunch in this tournament. However it essentially runs from 12 until 6 o’ clock. So players will be able to have food before it starts and Mark, the owner, has a fine selection of sugar based vittles should you get peckish. However, if you need more substantial sustenance then Northampton town centre is a five minute walk from the shop. If you have a quick round there should be time to go and get something.

Anything else important that people need to know about the event before we just chitchat about Transformers and the TCG?
I suppose the main thing I’d like to say is that this tournament is being put on primarily to drive community spirit and friendships within the UK. I’ve tried to keep ticket prices to a minimum and I’ve tried incredibly hard to make sure as much of the ticket price goes into prize support as possible.

What caught your eye about Transformers TCG originally? When did you first pick it up?
Last year I was watching the Hyperloops YouTube channel and one of their guys had been to GenCon and got a starter box and SDCC 2018 booster. I watched his unboxing/opening video and I thought the game looked great. I really liked the idea of cycling a deck for attack and defence whilst also drawing cards for effects. Plus the character cards looked amazing! The foiled bot sides take me straight back to being a small boy and collecting the G1 Panini stickers.

Did you come into the TCG more from a Transformers or a card-game background?
Bit of both really. I was 5 or 6 when Transformers started back in the 80s. I got a G1 Thrust for Christmas that year. So cool! And, like all boys then, I collected Panini stickers. So it was either football stickers. Boring!! Or Transformers stickers. Lush! I used to love collecting and swapping stickers. Foil Swoop for the win!!!! Then there was the Saturday morning cartoons on ITV. I used to love creeping downstairs and watching them. Basically, Transformers is a really happy part of my infant school years. 

When TFTCG dropped I was on the back end of a Destiny habit that had almost ruined me! Not only financially but also physically. All those flipping dice! So when I saw those big foil character cards it propelled me straight back to my childhood and I knew I was going to be dropping Destiny and getting into Transformers. 

What were your early experiences with the game? When did it ‘click’ for you?
My first games. My friend was running an untap cars deck and he’d given me OPBL and another character. We played a few games that evening and I really enjoyed the deck cycling mechanic. Then we started messing with OPBL‘s support character and I switched to Inferno. Which yielded better results. Then we started tinkering with the deck using spare cards. I found every part of the game and the deck building enjoyable and intuitive. After that I bought two boxes of wave 1 and the rest is recent history.

Can you remember playing in the Energon Trials before the UK Energon Open? What made you go for General Megatron? How did playing him go before playing him in the Open?
I played in two trials before the Open. One in Milton Keynes and one in Tamworth. Both were great days. I came second in Milton Keynes and won at Tamworth. I went to both events with a couple of friends and when we were there we played against other people that I had met through TFTCG at monthly store tournaments and launch events. Both times it was like coming home. Good times with good people. What more can you ask for?

If I’m completely honest I chose General Megatron because I hadn’t seen him played much on YouTube, I wanted to create a direct damage deck based around his abilities and I pulled him when I opened my boxes of wave 3. Also one of the deck elements I find least rewarding (or I’m not very good at designing for!) in the game is card draw. My General Megatron deck has minimal card draw and relies on green pip mechanics to do what it does. 

I tuned and I tested the deck for many hours. Both at home, with my mates, and at store tournaments and Energon Trials. I knew the deck had legs and could give quite a few of the meta decks a run for their money. However I did not play test against any Blaster or Maj. Shockwave decks in the run up to the Open. Which was a bit of a mistake! lol.

How did you feel before playing in the big UK Energon Open event? What was the anticipation like? Did you feel like you’d end up taking the whole thing?
I felt great before the Open. The night before my friends and I stayed in a cheap hotel in London. We drank lots of Long Island Ice Tea and played some practice games in the canteen. When we turned up on the day we met up with a bunch of friends I’d met through the game and had a blast. 

The anticipation was part of the fun of the event. I felt I could do well because there weren’t that many decks I hadn’t played against and been beaten by. I wanted to do well to show that my deck hadn’t performed well in some kind a vacuum or by a fluke result.

How did the actual day go? Were you aware at all of Drew Nolosco quietly eyeballing your deck whilst you were on the top table?
The day of the Open was great. In my round 1 bye I played a friendly game against the anticipation engines deck that I had lost to in Milton Keynes and absolutely ruined it! So that put my confidence right up there.  I also pulled a cheeky King Starscream from my participation booster. Which was nice. Your reaction to that was hilarious by the way! lol

When I was playing Ben I didn’t really notice Drew too much. I was focused on my game. Funnily enough I had sat down next to where Drew was standing at the player briefing in the morning and introduced myself. So I knew who he was, but yeah, when I’m playing my peripheral vision and focus stop at the edge of my opponent’s playmat. Unless you stand directly behind my opponent and make funny signs I’m not going to notice you! lol.

How did you feel making No. 9 at the end of the swiss?
I was really chuffed with the result. I would have dearly loved to get top 8 but them’s the breaks. I feel the result validated the deck and I won a Ltd Ed Blaster/Soundwave box. These were the results I set out to achieve and I had. I was also really happy with the fact that in the final two rounds I had one of the highest SoS in the room. Which means I had played tough opponents. In fact by the end of swiss I had played Ben and Rhys who came 3rd and 1st in swiss respectively. Plus I played Lee who came 10th.

How would you describe the UK Energon Open tournament experience overall?
It was great. Lots of TFTCG people loving on the game and their games within the tournament. You got to speak with bigwigs in the game and the UK OP. There was a dash of controversy with the byes. Snacks and drinks were in abundance. And the best bit was seeing people that I had met through the year all in one place.

Since then, what have you been playing, deck-wise? How have the local tournaments been since Wave 4 was released?
Funnily enough I have been finding deck building a bit of a bind since wave 4 dropped. I want to reimagine the General Megatron deck but that feels a touch stale now AND wave 4 has created some very hard counters to that deck. OA I’m looking at you! Lol.

Instead of running that I’ve swung the other way and I’m currently running a Galaxy Prime deck. Some of the deck’s targets are similar, in as much as I’m still trying to max out the upgrades on a big character, but the support characters I’m running with him are more impactful than in the General Megatron deck. Which then makes me think whether I can start transferring mechanics across to that deck, blah, blah, blah! Lol

My favourite team/deck presently is an orange black Autobot deck. It’s got all the right naughty in all the right places and is surprisingly survivable.

What do you hope to achieve with Til All Are One?
My aims are:

  • Have a good size tournament.
  • Introduce people to each other.
  • Hopefully throw up some new and interesting teams/decks.
  • Provide a fun and rewarding day out.
  • Give an opportunity for people to win a good prize.
  • Have a successful tournament and run another.

How are you feeling about trying to put on such an event?
Excited. Organising the tournament has been fun. It has been great talking to the content creators attending the tournament and the support I’ve had from people has been amazing.

Worried. I’m going to be one of the TOs so I’m not looking forward to ruling on some horrifically ambiguous timing issue! Lol.

What else do you hope to see in Transformers TCG this year?
Galvatron. Zombie Galvatron. Hopefully NOT Unicron. But maybe Unicron possessed Megatron? Huffer? Brawl? I feel like I’m just naming slightly obscure transformers now! lol

Finally, anything else you want to say to the Transformers TCG community?
I hope that you will attend and support this tournament. I have ideas about how I would like to stage future tournaments and this one is the first step towards those ideas.

Bring filth. Bring anti meta. Bring meta. Bring 5 wide weenies. Bring 2 tall towers of power. Bring netlists. Bring black bag esoterica. Just bring it!

Til’ all are one!

Tickets for Til All Are One are available here and here. We look forward to seeing you!

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