I failed miserably in the Asia Regional with a Majiya Deck earlier this season, so if I wanted to have a chance at going to worlds I had to play a Wildcard. My hopes were not high for a win (incredibly low actually), but I love this game, and you can't learn to get better at it unless you play, lose, and constantly challenge yourself. I decided to take a Victor deck, since I have a ton of experience with him, and he has a fairly low number of bad matchups. The deck was inspired by a deck by TJ Catalina. She beat me with it in a previous Game of Thrones match pretty handily. My only previous experience with it had been in QM's where people play pretty bad versions of it. Seeing a streamlined version of it was impressive. It's like a well oiled machine. While I didn't win, I did way better than I expected I would. Deck profile and break down after the report. Here's how it went:
DA Ezio Auditore - Baduruu
I always get super nervous in tournaments. It really prohibits me from playing well sometimes. I have a hard time judging my opponent by their reputation, and end up misplaying a lot. I had played Ezio before in QM a ton. I knew he was a solid player, but I remembered having a favorable win count to his. When I saw Baduruu, I immediately though Resource Destruction. I hate that deck. Even though I knew it was a high probability in the wildcards, I still never mentally prepared for it. Gondorian gave the go ahead, and we were off.
Notice the mistake I made around turn 13? Yeah... my heart sank the second I hit "cast". I got lucky that he didn't draw a weapon. Later on he told me he misplayed and sacced a gambit. I resolved to just take my time for the remainder of the tournament, always look for a way out, and think things through thoroughly. I also cracked open a beer. I was physically shaking.
In spite of my destiny to lose round one... I advance
DA Arno Dorian - Boris
I had not played this opponent before, but when I saw Boris, I kinda freaked. Vic has a rough matchup with control Boris, and my previous opponent mentioned something about him being the better player. Still, I decided I would just try my best and make my opponents feel every victory they could get the next morning. My beer was gone. I didn't wan't to play a tournament drunk, so I just hit "start"
I am (or was now...) intimidated by Aldmors they have incredible synergy, and can be really powerful. What i hadn't learned before this, was that they are actually pretty slow to set up. When a Victor player can set up before you consistently... that's super slow. I was nervous, but felt a lot of hope for this round.
This is a testament to why certain decks are considered optimal more than anything.
17 Invernofreddo - Praxix
I was feeling way more at ease now. Once I saw I was playing Praxix though, I knew I was going to have to conserve cards to win. More importanty though, I knew I would have to bring out the rush element in my deck. Laying on early damage is incredibly crucial Vs Elementals due to the use of Soul Reaper. I cracked open another beer and set in to punish my opponent as best as possible.
The game went incredibly smoothly for me. I was able to put early pressure on via Zealous Mystic, and kept board control fairly easily. The best answer to most decks is board control. I was hopeful, but still leary of Praxix's strengths.
I take a little break while Betrayal4Life and Lord Wayne finish up their matches. Secretly hoping for Lord Wayne to win. Not necessarily because of the players, but because I know Garth is seriously tough for my deck.
Betrayal4Life - Garth
Well, my worst nightmare came true. I am now facing a hard counter to this style of Victor. I go in hoping to make B4L seriously work for his wins. Game one instils a glimmer of hope:
I keep going over this game in my head. Was I just lucky because I went first and drew both LLN's? The truth is, this deck is made to draw a TON! It was only a matter of time that I draw what I needed. Still though, the early board control I was able to garner due to going first was priceless. I found myself in situations where i didn't need to recycle Gambit to keep board control. I could let my board control breed card control. The next game was over as fast as the first was. Maybe faster.
That was a crushing defeat. Not going first took a serious toll. I also made some mistakes in what I chose to sacc. I was hoping the next game would be better. I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants. I realized I had picked a deck because I was familiar with it, It had few bad match ups, and it was resilient, but never thoroughly playtested it to find ways to counter it's weaknesses. I had little hope to win.
I actually get a really good start! I get my engine going, but stall out at T7 due to no Gambit. Then disaster strikes. T7 I draw an LLN with Scriptures. Then I draw another Scriptures... Then another... Then Another! I was paralyzed for 3 turns due to my draw. I can't complain though. I built the deck. I was the one playing it. I should have built it to keep board control better. B4L is an excellent player, and I take some solace in the fact he won the tournament. I think BreakingBad's Banebow would have been an ok matchup for me, but I don't think there was any way I could have beaten Maxi's Gwen.
Regardless, I did way better than I thought I would. I pushed my limits farther than I imagined was possible. I learned a ton. It also inspired me to try new decks. I am glad I participated. I am also grateful for Gondorian, who has run a series of gruelling events and made them all spectacular. I am too greatful for all of you that make Shadow Era the best game, with the best community, on the internet. I've already started training for next year.
Here is the list:
Hero: Victor Heartstriker
3x Zealous Mystic ~300g
4x Zailen Crusader ~120g
4x Guardian of Unaxio ~120g
3x Sabreen, Hand of Unaxio ~1500g
4x Templar Champion ~300g
2x General of Unaxio ~900g
3x Strength of Conviction ~120g
3x Spirit of Devotion ~900g
4x Hunter's Gambit ~120g
2x Ley Line Nexus ~400g
4x Scriptures of the Righteous ~120g
1x Spirit Shuriken ~1000g
2x Soul Seeker ~760g
40 cards ~ 16900g
The first time I faced a Templar Victor was in a previous match Vs TJ Catalina. Her build was slightly different. It ran Avenger of the Fallen instead of Zealous Mystic. I chose to add Mystic instead, because it adds a possible rush aspect to the deck. Following the general principle of "Control beats midrange beats rush beats mill/stall" I chose to add the rush element to bridge the gap and make my deck more effective versus a broader range of possible opponents. While I feel Avenger is probably the better choice, I am glad I chose Mystic, as it won me at least 2 games. The rest is simple. Zailen makes things cheaper. Guardian is a meaty 3 drop, and sometimes reduces damage to your hero (in higher level play players usually take damage on their hero before their allies on purpose.) Sabreena is a nice hasted aly, that helps you kill stuff. And we all know, if you can kill all your opponent's stuff, you win. The downside is, if your board is clear, you are losing, and rarely will a hasted 2 attack ally help. If you have allies, she can not be hasted and she has pretty low health. I may drop her to 2. The backbone of your offensive is Templar champion. As soon as the board is safe, start dropping him. Not only is he a source of draw, but he pings your enemies every time a templar is played. This is CUMULATIVE! There were at least 2 games that I cleared the board by playing allies alone. This is so huge it's not even funny. They also have 6 health, which is as much as Brax. I put the 2 General of Unaxio in in case of bad draws. I rarely ever use him, yet every time I think of taking him out, he wins me a game. C'est la vie.
The abilities are pretty straightforward too. Strength of Conviction helps take out threats and lay more damage on the hero. Spirit of Devotion is a draw card. Both of these haste Mystic, so a T2 Scriptures of the Righteous T3 Mystic and Conviction/Devotion, attack, then draw, is possible. That is excellent tempo. Hunter's Gambit is in there because I'm playing a hunter who's name is Victor, and i'm not an idiot. If you play hunter... play gambit. It's stupid good. Being able to recycle them is even better. Then there is the standard LLN for pesky armors and control weapons.
Scriptures of the righteous is excellent draw, but I feel like 4 is too many. I will probably drop it to 3. I sacced it A LOT. The Shuriken was in there in case I got swarmed, which happened, and I'm glad I had the tool to deal with it, even if I didn't draw it when I needed it . Soul Seeker is in there in case I get low on life. Hope you enjoyed the article. As always, let me know if you have any questions