Once upon a time, there was a team in Talcama. It was the third team started by the manager that was to become known as The Neon Necromancer. Now, this team started out pretty darn good. They ran over 80% for just about their entire first year, and regularly got free turns as a result. Not all was wine and roses, however. There was a death in the family, and Neon needed a new recruit. He went to his laboratory and set to work. He created a golem with the body parts of the finest physical specimens he could find. He then surfed the astral plane for a mind as fine as the body. As he was trying to pull the mind essence of one Albert Einstein from ‘earth’ into his construct, things went a bit awry and a different mind was entrapped in the golem. Norman Bates. Psycho. Thus was born Psycho Scientist. (Neon later admitted that if he had thought of that name to begin with, he would have used it as the team name.)
Psycho was born as an 11-5-11-13-20-12-12 Lunger. This fit Neon’s early career pattern of creating stat trainers. The 20 quickly became 21, the 12’s quickly became 13’s, and a couple points of wit were added for good measure. The quick boost allowed Psycho some early arena success. He translated that arena success into tournament success with the first ever Champions TV for Neon. (This was Mail-In IV or so.) Enjoying the arena success led to a quick induction to ADM. At that time, that was the top arena; Primus didn’t exist yet. With training enhanced at the Isle of the Eye, Psycho took full advantage and raised his will to 25, and tacked on at least three trains in every other area. This turboed Psycho to a TV in his first ever ADM tournament (the one that Jake the Snake won). He lost the first two rounds to Epitaph and Jake the Snake, then won his next eight fights in a row.
Around this time was when Neon became fully convinced of the skill burning aspect of stat training. Of course, it was far too late for Psycho, who had already burned approximately 50 skills. After a run of several TV’s, these lost skills resulted in Psycho fading from the TV ranks in Primus. While he could pull the occasional fluke win (like beating Dee Dee when she was a TC caliber warrior), he just didn’t have what it took to hang with the big dogs.
Neon hadn’t been idle during this time, and the concept of warrior bonuses came to his knowledge. He analyzed Psycho and found he was -1 Init, +3 Atk, +1 Def, +3 Dec, one of the most bonused warriors Neon owned (at the time), and the only one that bonused that was already in ADM. (Alas, several others more bonused never made it to ADM.) Neon kept running the fading warrior out of a sense of sentimentality, but also because, despite the burnt skills, Psycho was still the best he had. Psycho experienced a minor resurgence when he got his strength trains past 21. When he reached 24 strength (at the beginning of a tournament), he got devastating damage. He went on a rampage of ‘Psycho Devastation’, winning his next four consecutive fights with one mighty swing. He once again broke the ranks of the TV’s. At the time, he was one of only two warriors with that kind of damage, and while it didn’t launch him into TC contention, it did allow him to eke out a few more TV’s.
Just when Psycho was once again fading down the ranks due to newer, better-trained warriors, along comes Gateway! Gateway was a dream come true for Psycho! It would allow him to learn back all those burned skills, and he would at last reach his full potential. Psycho had a lot of learning to do, and those skills did not come as fast as the Commission had led him to believe. But, come they did, and stat trains followed them. As Psycho did better and better in tourneys, the Commission suddenly announced that all accumulated tourney prizes had to be used or forfeited. Neon had a favorites prize laying around for years (which Doc Steele was constantly trying to pry from his gnarled hands), and decided the time had come to give Psycho that something extra. No longer shackled with shortspear, moderate/moderate, Psycho would now become a scimitar wielding, very high/very high attack monster! (This was the original version of the favorites prize, the one that allowed modification of all favorites, but only on a single warrior.) As the improvements came, Psycho became the second warrior ever to achieve a Blademaster rating in attack. With his new rating, his improved favorites, and his Gateway trains, Psycho inched his way past the mere TV stage and into the TC contender stage. He started going deep in the tourneys, making the final four several times, and the final two once. Still, Neon searched for that one final thing that would put Psycho over the top and make him a TC.
Then, the experimentation began. Neon began giving Psycho unusual orders on the strategy sheet. Delbaeth became Psycho’s personal tackling dummy. Neon chose Delbaeth because, a) he was a good warrior that gave Psycho a run for his money, and b) Carapace didn’t avoid so Psycho could fight him repeatedly and see the results of strategy changes. Psycho never questioned the unusual orders, but his tourney performance began to suffer. Neon insisted he was learning from the experiments, but Psycho dropped down, and actually missed his TV in a tournament after seven consecutive. Neon felt that the TC strategy was just around the corner when an interesting tourney prize became available.
It was not the first time that growth had been offered as a tournament prize, but the timing was significant. Psycho was all but maxed (he had a couple parry skills left), and Neon was wondering what else he could do to help his beleaguered gladiator. In stepped Doc Steele to suggest that Neon procure several growth potions and raise Psycho’s size until he increased his damage rating. There were very few warriors that did superhuman damage, and none of the top ones did. Perhaps this would be the kicker Neon was searching for.
With the help of Moriarty and some willing sellers, Neon carried out the plan. Psycho was raised from size 11 to size 14 and achieved superhuman damage, and didn’t have to sacrifice a single skill to get it. Combined with what Neon had learned from the strategy experiments, Psycho proved that dreams can come true. With the ability to take out completely maxed warriors with one or two hits, Psycho powered his way to a TC in January 2000, beating Vengeance for the first time ever. The TC fight consisted of Psycho getting hit by Falstaff, then hitting back twice and winning the title, avenging an earlier tournament loss in the process. Psycho repeated the feat the next tourney taking his only losses from the legendary Vengeance. His third, undefeated TC proved it wasn’t a fluke, and cemented Psycho’s place in history. Psycho Scientist had returned from the brink of retirement to conquer the toughest arena in Duelmasters and become a legend of the game.
(Postscript: After the summer FTF in July 2002, Psycho Scientist now has a total of five Gateway championships.)