I did it. I went to BronyCon. It was last minute and ill-advised, but I went. Thankfully, I did not go on this magical friendship adventure alone. No, I took the fabled Niko with me. Sadly, Chash had to stay at home on the couch (more on that later). So Thursday I packed up my car, drove down to Pandemonium and picked up Niko for what would become a legendary friendship adventure.
It started out in a predictable way. Our 1700 hour departure yielded the usual Boston rush hour traffic. It moved well enough though. We stopped at a few rest areas. My favorite by far was the one in CT with the Dunkin Donuts, the Subway, and the fence. The trip was going fine until the passenger window would not go up and it started raining. It took us three hours before I remembered my go to solution for these problems: hit it until it works. It worked and there was much rejoicing. We rolled into Niko’s friend’s house around 0200 hours on Friday, exhausted.
Still an actual picture of Niko (Follow him on SparkleValue tumblr!)
BronyCon did not start off well for me. After we woke up and drove to the hotel, Niko was wisked away by CCG developers Trevor and Adam while being given a vendor badge of dubious origins. I was left to wait in line. When I tell you I waited in line, what I really mean is that I walked a salted path of despair for 3 hours. For three hours I listened to someone yell “Line Con 2015” and people discuss the finer points of “Fallout Equestria” (ponies with guns, which is my number one pet peeve). The only saving grace of that line was the adorable under 10-year-old cosplaying Derpy in what I can only assume was a David Bowie wig from Labyrinth. I wished I could ask for a picture without immediately being deemed a creepy weirdo.
While waiting in line, a great miracle happened. As I contemplated moving through the mass of people slowly and thinking about what I would do by myself, at a pony con, without a con buddy (Chash), I got a text. It was Niko, he said that a bunch of volunteers did not show up and they lacked knowledgeable and competent people to help work the Crystal Arena. Surprisingly, not many people have extensive knowledge of the talking pastel horse game. I was stoked that I could ride Niko’s coat tails to fun, networking, and a sense of pride in my obscure skills! I was also excited to meet the devs.
This is how I felt as I snuck into the good graces of Trevor and Adam. Totally Stealth.
But Lo! The registration desk was in sight. I marched on up and claimed by BronyCon badge that said, of course, “Soul Pony”. I immediately ran up the stairs and proceeded to be extremely confused by the hall, as I refused to look at a map. Thankfully, I stumbled over to the Crystal Arena. There I hooked up with Niko, who was busy doing his All Team Organizer thing, and he introduced me to Trevor and Adam who are both stand up guys. They did not need me right away so I stumbled down the hall, elated at my freedom from the line, into the Marketplace…
Bought this for Chash because she is. I bought one for myself that said “Not Horse Famous”.
Truly this place was great. But it was also SUPER expensive. I ended up dropping a ton of cash on an adorable Minky Derpy with magnetic letter (and a few other things too). I almost bought a pony ukulele. My only real regret is that i didnt buy Sen5’s minky Vinyl too (now I have to figure out how to get one…). Overall there was A LOT of pony stuff. I was soon called back to the Crystal Arena though. I was needed…
The Crystal Arena was bustling with activity when I returned. I quickly jumped behind the counter to assume my place. Niko and I quickly fell into our usual work-the-con groove as he organized and I socialized with the customers/ players. I made decisions and sounded like I knew what I was doing all while NOT wearing the shirt of the slaves or being on the schedule. It was beautiful. I didn’t have to be there, but I was, and I could leave whenever I wanted. But I stayed and served as right hand floor judge to Niko’s head judge. It. Was. Great. The room was under our rule, we were the masters of this castle (well really Niko was, but as any good king does, he delegated and made me a general).
In all seriousness though, it was great to see so many people learning, playing and enjoying the game. I got to nerd out and help with decks, rule calls, and education of players. I got to discuss my favorite strategies and how to operate in the meta or sub-meta. I also got to meet some great people. Trevor, Adam and Dalton were of course among them. They were great to Niko and I, and it was really nice to feel like I was a part of things. But I also wanted to give a shout out to my new friend Kim who became my unofficial con buddy, though she may not have realized it. In talking to Kim and others, I also realized people actually read these articles! Hi people!
This is how we stayed up for the con. It was my idea.
The real reason I was excited to come to BronyCon was to play in the Championship, though. I did manage to crush the Swiss Rounds. I was even live streamed on Cheese’s Twitch stream. Chash was very excited about this. She kept texting me through the match and judging me. Knowing that she was planted on the couch watching my game and harshly judging every move I made probably made me play a little better. Thanks, peer pressure. It was awesome, especially since I didn’t get those texts until after the rounds. I was on the feed twice because Chash demanded it and she ended up being around 10% of the viewership. Go friendship. Sadly, in the first series of Top 8 I got knocked out due to being distracted by some personal issues and my opponent playing well. In the end, while I was sad that I did not defend the Pandeponium name, I was glad I got to do some other things instead of playing grindy Maud mirror matches and DJ pile combo games until the end of the night. Seriously, that might be a special circle of Tartarus…
Instead I was able to partake in the real joy of the con: playing on the non-competitive level. Seriously, the variety of decks and players I saw at Brony-con was beautiful. Kim was my first taste of it. We grabbed a pickup game on Friday after talking about this site and the game in general. She built this sweet budget Maud variant. It was a Maud Dash deck that dealt with its opponent by frightening things. It managed to beat my Bad Rarity deck, which is no small feat. While it did not end up making Top 8, it did end up having a chance. I continued by talking to people about their decks. There were so many things I had not seen. Aggro pink/white, chaos decks, the good ol’ super fast blue decks. I lamented that this was not the state of the meta and just enjoyed playing against the decks and helping players make them better. Since I got knocked out, I also got to be a bounty in the sealed starter tournament. This was awesome. I got to do whatever I want and crush people underfoot while soothing their wounds with delicious, delicious prizes and promos. I also saw the Cadence Mane flip twice…WTF???
I was also pleased to hear that many were interested in my Rainbow Dash: Sonic Rainboom Deck. I will be doing a primer on it sometime soon, so heads up!
All in all, Niko and I had a blast hanging with the Devs, the volunteers, and the pony crowd in general. I managed to wander off and play Fighting Is Magic, and I truly wish I spent more time in the Pastel Pastures (though it would have been more fun with an art buddy). I heard some cool techno music, saw some amazing cosplay, and saw lots of people really enjoying themselves. I will be attending next year, so look for me, “Soul Pony”, wandering around the CCG Arena.
That’s me! (Follow me on tumblr to be cool! Twinsetspammer)