It is currently 9:35 PM as I sit down to write a recap one of Canada’s first Road to Nationals event (mind you, there are only 2 weekends left before the end of RTN season). The morning started with me waking at 7 AM, due to a lack of proper sleep. Chalk it up to nerves the night before a tournament, as this is something I usually go through even the night before ultimate tournaments. I ran a few quick errands and headed off to pick up my friend Chris to head over to the venue. We arrived at about 9:40, so it has been a long day for me. Quite a few people were already there, grouped up in their small circles or by themselves. Chris and I found an empty table to sit down.
It was a bit of an odd feeling since this was the first time BC has held a FAB tournament in person, so it was basically the first time everyone was meeting everyone. We only recognize each other by voices (arms?) from playing virtually. With everyone wearing a mask, it was pretty hard to know who was who, so it was definitely a bit awkward at the beginning. The original start time was supposed to be 10, but our first round started at around 11:20. I believe drinks and snacks were meant to be purchased on premise, but because of the late start, Dillon (Infinity store owner) offered everything to the players for free, which was a very nice gesture. Dillon’s store is a bit of a ways outside of the lower mainland, but he opted to host the event at a more centralized location for all of the players out of his own expense. Seriously, buy stuff from this guy – he’s doing so much for this community, not only for FAB, but also a ton of other card games. Anyways, once Dillon arrived, he even went around to say hello to everyone and provided nametag stickers to all the players, so now, we finally knew who was who from all those webcam games we have been playing over the past few months.
Before I get into the actual recap of my rounds, I did end up deciding to play Chane for the weekend. For the last few weeks, it has been pretty difficult for me to figure out who to play, and I really only made my decision a couple of days before the tournament. I knew there were going to be a bunch of Chane and Prism players, with a fair showing of Dorinthea players. I also thought there would be a few Katsu players. My thought process was that aggro Katsu would have decent matchups against most heroes, but might struggle against Dorinthea due to the lack of armor and poor cards that block. Given that Chane can just gamble for the greatness of RNG, I figured I would just sell my soul and play the hero that had a decent matchup against everything. My deck is basically the same Flock deck everyone has been running on Chane, with a few minor tweaks. I run 3 Timesnap Potions over Energy Potions for the Prism matchup, ran 2 Invert Existences for the Chane and potential Levia matchups, and finally 3 Whisper of the Oracles for additional non-attack actions and against Boltyn. I had found through testing that it was not very consistent for me to hit NAA to trigger certain blood debt cards, and I wanted a better balance. The deck that I ran can be found here for anyone interested. I decided to not run any Rip Through Realities since I never felt like I could get the arcane trigger/pay for the card itself because it was too expensive, and I just could not find the space to fit in any Meat and Greets/Consuming Volitions. I want to give a huge thank you and shout out to Eric “Potato” Lerer and Chris “this” Eng for being my main testing partners for the last few weeks. They have stayed up late with me into the night to help me playtest a bunch of heroes, and I am sure they were annoyed that I was all over the place with being unable to decide on who to play until the last minute. Without their time, help, and patience, I would have came into this tournament with very little practice. Our RTN ended with a total of 24 players, so 5 rounds. I believe we had 8-9 Chane players, 2-3 Doris, 2-3 Bravos, 2 Boltyns, 5 Prisms, 1 Dash, 1 Katsu. The lack of Katsu players surprised me, but then again, I wasn’t too confident knowing our meta given the lack of in-person and lack of CC tournaments. But I was definitely glad that I teched in the Whispers for the Boltyns, the Timesnaps for Prisms, and Inverts for Chanes. Anyways, enough about that, here is my tournie recap!
Round 1 – Nikhil (Prism)
I knew right away when I sat down that Nikhil was a new player onto the FAB scene, as he started the game running Ironhide equipment, Heartened Cross-strap. I also knew from our local Discord that he has been looking to borrow/acquire cards for Prism. I went into this matchup blind though, thinking he was playing Control/Aura Prism and sideboarded completely wrong, as within the first turn or two, I knew he was Aggro Herald from all the red heralds he was casting. I actually misplayed within the very first turn. Nikhil had won the dice roll, but asked me to go first. I created a runechant and passed priority (forgetting the shackle). Luckily, Nikhil played a Genesis, which passed priority back to me, so I created a shackle and pitched to attack the Genesis with Nebula. From there, it was just blocks where needed on the important heralds and keep swinging back to pile on the pressure. I distinctly remember one turn where he baited out the Husk from me and played a Herald of Judgement, but for most of the game, I had it under control. We talked a bit afterwards, and he mentioned he had just arrived in the country and found the game on Youtube and got into it. Not sure if he’s going to read this, but I hope you keep playing the game and had a great experience playing in the tournament! We had enough time to play a 2nd game, so I consented to his request so he could get more practice against Chane.
Round 2 – Yuki (Prism)
I knew Yuki was playing Prism based off of the very few webcam CC tournies we had, but I also did not really know if she was playing Aggro Herald or Control. I knew Yuki knew Prism very well, since I have seen her play before. I ended up just hedging my sideboard for this match. It became pretty evident that it was Aggro Herald, and there was a turn where she had started the turning pitching 2 for a CnC with 2 cards remaining, so I knew one of them had to be a Pummel or something. I couldn’t block it well, so I just let myself face tank it, losing the Plunder Run in arsenal. Later on, I found out it was an Art of War that was floating in her hand. A turn or two later, I managed to get out a Timesnap Potion, which became the game winner for me. I believe Yuki Arc Light Sentineled me back to back. The first time she did it, I had 3 blood debt cards in banished zone, but it telegraphed to me that she must have another one, so I opted to take an off turn to pop the ALS and just save the Timesnap. The next turn, she played another ALS, and this was the turn I popped the Timesnap to have a pop off turn, which became too wide of a turn for her to block out. She actually had the 3rd ALS waiting, which would have sealed her the game if I had not killed her.
Round 3 – Matteo (Chane)
Finally got to play a non-Prism! I won the roll, so I went first in this match. This actually was a very tight game and came down to one or two key decisions. We traded back and forth, but I could see Matteo’s deck was built pretty differently. He ran Mutated Mass, Meat and Greets, and Chains of Eminence. I was lucky that the turn he played Chains, he called Rift Bind, and it really only affected me not being able to pitch a red Rift Bind on my turn. It came down to Matteo ending his turn, and Inverted, making him take 2 arcane and 4 BD during his end step. I pressured him enough on his turn to bring him down to 2 cards I believe, but he had a pretty wild banish turn, and I was thinking he might have the game in his favor. I know him and his buddy were talking about what he could have done differently to close out the game, but for his line of attack, I managed to block it out just right to stay alive for him to die to the remaining blood debt cards he was unable to play (due to lack of actions/pitch). I breathed a sigh a relief since I knew from here on out, I had a large weight off my shoulder as even a 3-2 record from here on out will still get me into top 8.
Round 4 – Eric (Boltyn)
With no pressure on me anymore, I definitely walked into this game not in the right mindset. The Boltyn player sitting across from was 2-1 (I was paired down as there were only 2 other players with 3-0 records) and was running sub-optimal equipment due to not having the cards. This game I felt the pressure pretty quick from him. My banishes were lackluster, he gained a decent amount of life off of two Luminas which put him out of the “need to block” range that I needed to get cards out of his hand. On a turn that I needed to keep at least 2 cards in hand, he managed to get all but one out of my hand since all of my cards were attack actions. I drew the CNCs too late. I ended up dying to blood debt.
Round 5 – Chris (Prism)
This was a very unfortunate pairing, as Chris is one of my main testing partners, and my close friend. We had joked about meeting in the finals, but we ended up here. Given that I knew his deck’s style and gameplan, I knew exactly what to sideboard in. Chris runs a tank/fatigue style Prism when playing Chane, so I basically sided in everything except for the Inverts. Most of the damage I take during the game is basically blood debt. We had tested this matchup a lot, and the game always ends with me decked out and comes down to the final banish turn, whether or not I can go wide enough to get the damage in. I recall a well-timed Timesnap in this game, and it really came in clutch on the turn he ALS’d me. I know we talked about it afterwards, and he had thought he was in the clear since he saw 1/2 get banished, but he did not know I was running 3. I ended up being able to go wide enough on a the turn I banished 9 cards, which allowed me to go wide enough to kill him (I had exactly 9 cards left in my deck on the turn I banished 9). The good thing was that Chris was coming into this match 3-1, similar to me, but his tiebreakers were a bit worse, since he lost in the third round. I had actually thought he was 2-2, and I had knocked him out. As long as LSS had their system fixed from the previous issues, we were both confident that we would be in the top 8.
So from here, the top 8 were announced. 5 Chanes, 1 Katsu, 1 Prism, 1 Boltyn. The Boltyn player was Eric (the one I lost to), and he actually dropped out before the round began, so he gave the first seeded player a free pass to top 4. Katsu was piloted by Alan, who had actually lost his first round, but then went undefeated to end up 4-1. Another Chane player had also lost to Chris first round, but he also went on a 4-1 tear to end up in top 8. Unfortunately, Chris and I actually paired up AGAIN for the very first round.
Top 8 – Chris (Prism)
Not much to say about this match other than it was a major bummer we had to face enough the first round of top 8. I think my exp is probably high enough that even if I don’t qualify for top 4, I would still get an invite to Nationals, but I know Chris does not play as much, so any exp/guaranteed invite would be helpful for him. But I wanted that Exude playmat at the very least, so I was very dialed in for this match. From the very beginning of the game, I made very conscious decisions about the way I was pitching my cards. Everything I pitched in the first few turns were blood debt cards. I actually took a ton of damage from leaving cards with BD in the banished zone, and it was only turn 3 or 4 that I even managed to get my first damage through. I felt a bit worried for most of the game, since I was not getting the best hands, banishes, and I lost all three Timesnaps to shackle banishes. I knew my big turn was coming, but I also knew if Chris drew his ALS, it would completely lock the game away from me. Luckily the turn came where I had like, almost 20 cards in the banished zone, he did not have the ALS to stop me. I went hella wide this turn with giant Rift Binds thanks to multiple Howls and Seeds. It felt pretty bad to knock Chris out, since I do want to make the trip to Toronto for Nationals with him, so I am still crossing my fingers for you bro!
Top 4 – Bui (Chane)
Knowing that I had my invite locked along with the Exude mat, I had the same issue going into this game as my round 4 match. I lost my concentration, and I could also feel the exhaustion creeping in from the long day. I missed a shackle or two and made some poor decisions. Looking at the life totals, it was kind of close in the end, but I do not think Bui ever felt pressured or in danger of losing this game because of all the bad plays I made. It was definitely a great learning experience from playing a long-winded tournament like this (in person), and there are a lot of key takeaways to bring forward to future events.
Final ended up being a Chane mirror between Bui and Lucas, which was a rematch from their 3rd round pairing, which Lucas ended up taking with an Invert – congrats to Bui as a finalist and Lucas for taking it and getting the Rainbow EA Tunic!
Ending swiss 4-1 and a top 4 placement, I was pretty happy. My goal going into this tournament was top 4, since I really wanted that Exude playmat, and I came away with a guaranteed spot at Nationals (and a CF Chane). Dunno why Lucas and Bui both picked the Prism for their CF when they sold their soul to Chane though 😛. Guess it is because Prism is worth the most out of the 4 Monarch CF Adult heroes.
Whew, I am even more burnt out after writing this report! I cannot stress it enough, so again, thank you to the following:
–Dillon, Billy, & Eric for hosting, organizing, doing everything to create a great gaming community for this game in BC. NO JOKES, FAB would NOT exist in BC, let alone a RTN hosted in BC, without this crew running weekly events. Dillon had to sit out this tournament so that we would have a judge, so thank you for that sacrifice (hope you enjoy your expensive EA Herald of Judgements!!!). Dillon also gave everyone 2 packs and snacks/water on top of renting a venue for us too.
–Chris & Eric for all the countless hours of playtesting. I already mentioned this above, but I have to stress this again. The tips, the catching of misplays. Without you two, I would not have made it this far today.
I freaking loveeeee this game and the community that has been built around it here. Looking forward to leveling up and keep improving!