FiveShards editors and contributors take a moment to share their opinions on what is the top deck archetype currently, their rankings of the IQ qualifiers, and who would be their FiveShards nemesis.
Very top deck archetype at the moment? Expected to have a strong showing in the Cup of Fate?
GPrime: Mono-Blood is one tough cookie. Between Bunoshi and Kranok depends on how much direct removal you’re likely to run into; too much Turbulence and Martyr would make Bunoshi a tough sell but otherwise it’s the fastest way for vampiric troops to run over their opponents.
JadiimJedi: There are 3 decks to beat right now if you want to win: Mono-blood (some Kranok, some Bunoshi), RW Cressida, Ruby Sapphire (mostly Tetzot, but some Poca and Wyatt decks as well). I’ve lumped 2 of the groups together because they share a lot of cards and a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses. I think mono Blood is the top deck to beat right now.
KingGabriel: B/D, Running vampires and heavy removal/lifedrain. It’s hard to say the royal flush variant (using grace to give invincible) works well in the current meta, but I don’t think it quite holds up to some of the more conventional, classic cards. I expect at least 10% to be running B/D. It has both heavy end-game potential and the removal to reach the end-game. It does lack on draws, but given that there’s counter cards such as mindpyre and drowned shrine about, that isn’t as much of an issue.
Kroan: R/W Ramp is not only strong but has shown to be versatile. It has evolved and adjusted to different meta’s and seems to be still number one.
Zubrin: Ruby/Wild. Right now,the meta is basically Ruby-wild ramp, mono-blood, and R/S Azurecannon. If you have a deck that can beat those three, you may win. I say may, as even if you have a good percentage against all three, such as 60/40, you still have to win 2 games and your are likely to drop at least one match, if not two. I expect to see all of these in the Cup of Fate and I really hope someone breaks the meta.
DeckOfManyThings: I believe RW Ramp is the deck to beat. And by “beat” I mean “get luckier than it”. RW Ramp is completely beatable, but you need such a tuned deck and a solid starting hand (or hope they get a suboptimal hand and you can stay one step ahead of them) that Kismet favors highly in this matchup. Reserves aren’t great here either, because you should probably be mainboarding your RW answers because you might not get two good chances in a row in games 2 and 3 if you lose game 1 because all your anti-RW tech is in your sideboard.
Rank the current IQ qualifiers: Infamousneo, Djinni, Vazrael, Koma
Ne0, Djinni, Vaz, Koma
Ne0 is just too good, djinni is pretty good but he doesn’t play as much as ne0. I don’t know the other two.
- Koma, don’t know how he won constructed, but I’d be willing to bet it wasn’t because his opponent lost Internet connection.
- Vazrael had the ability to make it to the finals in a high stakes constructed format tournament.
- Infam0usNe0 won through Sealed and Draft, which is great. However MOST of the Invitational is Constructed, and only day 2 starting off with Draft, and then moving back to constructed. Ne0 is a solid constructed player though, so I expect his team to prep him well.
- Djinni, for the same “qualified through Limited” reasons as Ne0, only I don’t know what kind of constructed player he is.
- Infam0usne0. Very little teammate bias here, actually. Ne0 is a real limited-format pro and has some solid constructed instincts as well. In fact, he’s the first person I know of to try the “protect the Reese” strategy in a tournament—a sub-archetype that proved to be meta-defining months later.
- Koma. Familiarity plays a big part in my opinion of him. I’ve probably faced off against him more than any of the other qualifiers yet and I’ve learned to respect his skill.
- Djinni. Similarly to Koma, Djinni is a name I’ll know when I see it in the matchup screen. I’ve played against him less but some Hex friends of mine vouch for him as a player to watch for.
- Vazrael. He’s proven himself this month as a competent player, but I can’t recall meeting him in limited-format yet. Given that the invitational is to be mixed-format, you need to know what you’re doing in both constructed and draft. I’ll have to keep an eye out for Vazrael going forward to see if he has draft chops as well.
- Djinni – All you need to do is look at this image to see the confidence of a winner. I may be wrong, and hindsight is a valueable thing, but I think Djinni could well take the crown here.
- Infamousneo – In terms of sheer experience, infamousneo has the lead. However, I’ve seen him make a fair few misplays and all it takes is one slip-up in the finals.
- Vazrael/Koma – Can’t decide here, I’d say they have equal chance.
- Infamousneo – the strongest limited player in this group. He just needs a teammate to hand him a good constructed deck and he would be my favorite to win so far.
- Vazrael – one of my teammates and the best constructed player in the group. Knows how to tune decks to beat the metagame.
- Djinni – I have respect for this player that beat me in the IQ finals. I expect the other Russian players will help support him as well for constructed and they could surprise some people.
- Koma – He certainly deserved his win, but RW Cressida is very well known at this point and I expect most qualifiers will be prepared for this archetype.
I would rather not rank these people. Ne0 is on our team, so he is first there. The other players have made an impressive showing here and elsewhere. So, right now, I am rooting for Ne0 to take it all down; however, that will change when I qualify.
If your nemesis were another FiveShards contributor, who would it be?
GaiusMarcus: All of you. from Mike “temporally proximate” Allen to Wurtil of the 25 word sentences…
Kroan: I am my own biggest nemesis already. 😉
Zubrin: Tecnophi seems like an obvious choice for me, he is the master at feeding me distractions by doing things such as giving me non-hex games to play or giving me forms to fill out. Sometimes I am foolish enough to fill out the forms in the middle of a match, miss combat math by 1 point, and then lose that match for that. Also, he is a soulless robot that masquerades as a human with the hope of conquering all of us obvious flesh and meat humans. Really though, losing that game was entirely my fault.
DeckOfManyThings: Slackbot, oh wait, that’s what Tec No Phi would say. Probably King Gabriel.
KingGabriel: DeckofManyThings. As well as being a veritable fountain of knowledge, his articles are the reverse of mine, being logical and mostly PvP focused. We also compete in subreddit moderating and “name most likely to be wrote as initials”. If I’m allowed a second: KingGabriel. He is the sole cause of all my article mistakes and flaws, and he must be stopped. By whatever means necessary.
GPrime: JadiimJedi, easily. The dude is smart and has the backing of a great guild. When I prepare for a tournament, one of the big questions I ask myself is “What are those guys going to be playing?” And, usually, JJ has had some say in that.
Garuda: JadiimJedi because I remember losing a game to him ages ago in a tournament.
JadiimJedi: Can I choose my internet connection? No? I suppose my nemesis would be Wurtil. He’s a great player and a better Constructed deck builder than I am. While he has not been as active in Constructed lately he has beaten me multiple times in past tournaments. In any case it’s a friendly rivalry as Wurtil is a cool guy and I think I’ve seen him in his Colts jersey at every Hex Gencon event so far.