[EN-OP5] Zhao: Top-16 Place OPTCG Oceania Finals with Sakazuki

Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Zhao and I’m from Eternal Magic. Last weekend I have reached top 16 at the OCE Championship Finals in Melbourne. I would like to thank One Piece top decks giving me this opportunity to post this on their website, also thanks to Eternal Magic (William Chong) providing me a kit and also my boys from the PX3 team constantly supporting me and also testing with me, without them I definitely will not be able to achieve this result.

Its a long story, but I started off with this game as a collector and I thought to myself, since i have got all the cards I might as well play the game. So here I am. I have been playing games my entire life. I have played both PUBG and CSGO competitively before, and this is probably the third game that I am trying to be competitive at. 

I still remember the first time ever when I played locals in Goodgames Rockingham WA, as whitebeard. I fell in love with the game and also the community. I won in my first ever event, and pulled my first ever winner nami card, thinking that it worthed millions of dollars. That’s where i start playing the game more seriously and i meet my boy Nicholas Koh and Jason Pan from PX3 on my second/third event. They gave me lots of tips on how to play whitebeard during the set and they have now become one of my closest friends.

I have only played 3 tournaments so far:
2023 Online Regionals Top 64 (Whitebeard)
2023 Online Treasure Cup Top 128 (Whitebeard)
2024 Offline Championship Finals Top 16 (Sakazuki)

And I’m so ready for the upcoming treasure cups and regionals.

My matchups for the OCE Championship finals

P Luffy (W) I went second, i highrolled everything i needed to answer the board and top decking literally everything i needed.

Saka (L) didnt see a single rebecca and hina. Went second

Kata (W) Went first. Saw both my 7 don and 9 don turn characters, which was Borsa and  mihawk, literally creating huge character and removing their board.

Enel (W) Went first. I saw all three of my 7c borsa, allowing me to remove their board, and my opponent gave me 3 life by putting all 3 borsa at the bottom of my life with katakuri.

Enel (W) Went first. Mihawk once against came in clutch allowing me to clear board and establishing bodies. And i used ice age + great eruption + hound blaze on their yamato, +3k on my mihawk, swinging 13 to the other yamato and setting up a 4c blocker borsa literally won me that game.

Saka (W) Went second. Just saw all of my RHL’s constantly answering my opponents board, until he runs out of juice.

Saka (W) Went first. Top deck mihawk when i was out of RHL. Opponent setup blockers borsa, and i swung 6 leader 9 cost mihawk with 1 life up when my opponent got 0, and top decking houndblaze next to remove the rebecca and swing 13k and 13k leader to end the game. 

Saka (W) Went second. My opponent mulligan and his facial expression told me that he bricked. So i was constantly removing his board and applying pressure putting him to 0 life with 13 cards in hand.

My Sakazuki Deck

Click into the image for the decklist.

What do I think of sakazuki deck:
Sakazuki is actually a very complicated deck if you would like to perfect it. Is not a deck like whitebeard where you just play characters on curve and doing maths for counter, which is exactly why I like it. There’s so many options on every situation in every different matchups. However, being efficient in what you do, making the right decision and thinking 2 turns ahead is generally how it differs a good play and a not so good player.

People have been asking me why the mihawk, why not 10c kaido, why not just play an extra hina. The reason behind it is it help against all yellow match up and also mirror. Is a 9k body that yellow cant remove and also 9c character which require your opponent to have great eruption to remove it with RHL for all mirrors.

How do you play against all the meta decks:

Sakazuki (mirror):

I generally want to go second, but I really do not mind going first if i see the right cards. How i see it is if you are going first, your goal is to be answering your opponent’s board. On the other hand, if you are going second, your goal is to constantly establishing board and answering your opponents board. So if i got first and see my 7c borsa and 9c mihawk that pretty much wins me the game, if im constantly seeing RHL after.

Going second my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Brannew
Turn 2 – Borsa
Turn 3 – Borsa/Kuzan +Hound Blaze.
Turn 4 – Great Eruption Borsa
Turn 5 – RHL or setting up blockers

For my starting hand for going second, I always look for brannew/rebecca/rob lucci/hound blaze. Brannew and rebecca will the number prioritiy as one help you build trash and the other one help you grabbing what you need from trash.

Going first my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Leader’s Ability
Turn 2 – Hina/Brannew depending on your hand, I will always prioritize Hina
Turn 3 – Great eruption + Hound Blaze + Brannew/ 7k 7k swing.
Turn 4- 7c Borsa
Turn 5 – RHL or Mihawk.
Turn 6 – RHL or Blockers.

For my starting hand for going first, BHina/Brannew/Hound blaze/7 borsa/ great eruption/rebecca. As you do not need to do RHL for your early games you will prioritise more to get hound blaze or characters so you can constantly apply pressure and also develop your board with constant 6k+7k swings.

In the end the mirror is whoever can consistently remove board efficiently and setting up characters efficiently is the player that will win. The best way to tell is in your turn, if you have more cards in hand than your opponents, then you are very ahead.

Katakuri:

For Katakuri, I generally want to go first to stop their curve. I find that 7c Big mom is very annoying if they drop it on their turn 4 if they are going first. However, know where to take a life or give a life is very important, making the wrong decision can make you lose the game.

Going first my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Leader’s Ability
Turn 2 – Brannew or Hina
Turn 3 – Answering the Perespero with either Hound Blaze, or Lucci or playing sabo/4c borsa
Turn 4 – 7 Borsa on a 4c Character
Turn 5 – Mihawk the katakuri
Turn 6 – Sabo + Kuzan or ice age/ 2 GE Borsa the big mom.

Normally going first, I’m looking for Sabo/4c Borsa/ 7c Borsa/Kuzan/ Iceage/ hound blaze. 4c Borsa/Sabo is extremely important as it allows you to defend efficiently especially katakuri will either consistently swing 7k or 5k to ur leader. Borsa/sabo can save you lots of cards. As long you can consistently remove board and building board, this should be quite easy to defeat.

Going second my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Brannew
Turn 2 – Borsa/Kuzan but always borsa due to gedatsu.
Turn 3 – Hound blaze and Kuzan or Roblucci Great eruption to answer the board
Turn 4 – 7c Borsa GE for 7c Big mom or RHL
Turn 5 – Mihawk the Kata
Turn 6 – Consistently removing board with Kuzan that has been either set up before or ice age.

Going second borsa is really important, i will always mul for 4c borsa, because katakuri curve will be 3c Pero 5c Gedatsu 7c Mom 8/9c Kata or Yamato 10c mom. Which means he will be consistently swinging 5k every turn which allows you to have a free block every turn with borsalino.

Enel:
This is the easier matchup compare to katakuri, however you will still want to see the same thing just like against katakuri. I love to go first against all yellow decks as it put them off their curve, and most katakuri or enel player prefer to go second anyways for some reason, which is even better for you.

Constantly swinging 5k is also important, because its an easy guard and it will bait your opponent onto guarding rather than taking life. You wanna be consistently taking cards out of their hand if possible. Imagine you have 2 attackers. Your leader and a 4c borsa, the enel have 11 cards, you have 10 don open, swinging 5 with your leader first will make your opponent think, what if he swing 5 and 15k to lead, i would have no life if i take, they will normally counter out and you just leave your borsa standing. If they dont you can easily swing 7k to his lead forcing him to counter or he will be at no life and establishing your board. So swinging 5k constantly is better than swinging huge normally for this match up.

Going first my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Leader’s Ability
Turn 2 – Brannew or Hina
Turn 3 – Answering the Ohm with either Hound Blaze, or Lucci or playing Borsa
Turn 4 – 7 Borsa on a 4c Character or great eruption houndblaze swing into the rested character
Turn 5 – Mihawk the 7 mom or katakuri
Turn 6 – Sabo + Kuzan or ice age/ 2 GE Borsa the yamato.

I normally look for my sabo and ice age in this match up and also most of my removals. If you play sabo on the turn before he plays yamato. This allows you to make a them make play inefficiently, which can help you win. Ice age is mainly for enel as they will be -5cfor the whole turn, double roblucci or hound blaze will totally remove it from the field and making them trashing life at the same time. I love it when they play ohm, I really believe that is one of the worse cards in yellow deck, as it might bottom deck the cards they need like yamato or katakuri or 7c bigmom to the bottom, and when it happens, you can tell by just looking at your opponent’s face.

Going second my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Brannew
Turn 2 – Borsa

Turn 3 – Answering the Gedatsu with either Hound Blaze, or Lucci or playing sabo/4c borsa
Turn 4 – 7 Borsa on a 4c Character
Turn 5 – Mihawk the katakuri/7 mom
Turn 6 – Sabo + Kuzan or ice age/ 2 GE Borsa the Yamato

I normally look for 4c borsa just like the kata kuri matchup so you can consistently guard a 5k leader swing which helps you manage your resources efficiently. Consistently removing board is super important in this match up and keeping 1 life up can also save the day as Amaru 16k leader when you have no life will ruin the day.

Purple Luffy:

This should be an easy matchup,  however watching Allen Lu, which is the OCE championship finals champion, make me doubt myself as his deck focus on ramping so quickly and spreading the board which makes it hard for us sakazuki removing the board efficiently. I generally want to go second in this match up as i feel like its easier to deal with a paulie on their turn 4 than dealing with a magellan on their turn 2. But hearing from lots of good players, they prefer to go first, and I really think is personal preferenced.

Going first my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Leader’s Ability
Turn 2 – Brannew or Hina
Turn 3 – Answering the 4c with either Hound Blaze+ GE, or Lucci + GE or playing Borsa/Sabo
Turn 4 – 7 Borsa on a 4c Character or great eruption houndblaze swing into the rested character
Turn 5 – Mihawk the kid or 7c fatty
Turn 6 – Sabo + Kuzan or ice age/GE houndblaze kaido or RHL the board with iceage/GE

I normally look for hound blaze for the magellan and also borsa as a early blocker for the swing. For this match up having removals are very important as they spread the board with character too quick, you need to be having answers for all character they established and constantly putting pressure to their life early game to chip cards off their hand and put them off when they leaders ability for more don. You also want to be countering his attacks early game as you always need to assume that there might be there one player that run 10c gear 5 luffy in their deck.

Going second my curve is normally
Turn 1 – Brannew
Turn 2 – Borsa/ answer board with Hound blaze

Turn 3 – Answering the Magellan/5c character with either Hound Blaze, or Lucci or playing sabo/4c borsa
Turn 4 – 7 Borsa on a 4c Character or 7c character with ge
Turn 5 – Mihawk the magellans or setting up blockers, or rhl or hound blaze to remove the board.
Turn 6 – Sabo + Kuzan to prepare for the kaido or ice age/ 2 GE Borsa the Yamato

Is the same as going first, I like to see borsa so they can’t paulie me and also having alot of hound blaze so i can remove their board constantly and applying pressure. Sabo in late game is very good as well, as it helps protecting your character from getting bombed by their kaido.

Conclusion

In the end as a sakazuki, there is no games where you actually play everything on curve, as you might not see all the cards you need. But playing efficiently depending on what you have in hand is there maximise your chance on winning. As this is a card game, luck is always required to do good, sometime you could be unlucky and not see the cards you need, that where you need to close the gap with your skills, because sometimes your opponent can also whiff and brick their hand.

Shoutouts

I would like to thank the boys from PX3 Team, especially Kevin Ngo, and Jason Pan, that is constantly practising with me whenever i needed, to further master my deck. And also the owner of the team Jimmy James giving me the opportunity to practise with his team.

I would like to thank the owner of Eternal Magic, William Chong for providing me a kit to compete under his banner, if you guys are ever looking for one piece cards, go check out his website https://eternalmagic.cc.

I would like to also thank the whole perth community that has been supporting me from the beginning and throughout the whole journey

I would like to also use this opportunity to share my personal patreon with you guys where i offer online and offline coaching (if you are in perth), and also content where can help you strive to become a better player. https://patreon.com/user?u=38446056. If you have any enquiries, feel free to message me on my twitter too. https://twitter.com/ETN_Zhao.

Special mentions: Choyang Yu, Brandon Ngo, Nicholas Koh, Ethan Silverton, Kenneth Chiew, Hugo Meneghella, Darcy Healey, Nathan Nguyen, Armin, Matthew Smith, Connor Nicholls, Amon Kioshi, Matthew Franchi, Harrison Kneeshaw for the constant support. LOVE YOU ALL. AND THOSE THAT I FORGOT TO MENTION, YOU WILL ALWAYS LIVE IN MY HEART. <3

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