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From the Deck: So You Want to Play in the 100K

In case you haven’t heard, Hex is now hosting a tournament with US$100,000 being split among the top 12 finishers who all get to play a 2-day tournament at Hex HQ. This, coupled with the lawsuit settlement, is bringing players out of the woodwork and into Hex. It’s a glorious time to be a Hex player.

But what if you are just entering Hex, coming from another TCG or CCG where you have found success, in order to take a shot at that prize? Well, I have some tips for you.

First off, Hex is a TCG and not a CCG. It’s a subtle difference, and one that most makes a difference to Hearthstone players. In Hearthstone your collection is yours and yours alone. There is no trading of cards or dust or anything else possible in the game. Collecting cards is the only thing you can do—whereas in Hex, all cards have value (even if that value is “worthless”. The hope is that someday cards can be broken down for crafting components and give some inherent value to floored cards). Any card that you acquire outside of your starter deck and starter deck trials can be mailed away to other players or sold on the Auction House.

Now, the 100K tournament is broken into two different qualifiers, each running for two weekends in a row: sealed and constructed. Now it may be possible to put together a constructed deck that is competitive on a budget, cribbing decklists from the Shard Cup series (and remember that the Sapphire Cup was the first tournament to take place within a meta that was not utterly dominated by Titania’s Majesty decks). Blood/Diamond and mono-Ruby are both incredibly strong decks and deserve their place, but you shouldn’t overlook Sapphire/Wild. Wintermoon is a powerful champion and has had articles written about her on this very website.

If you are going the constructed route, I suggest you dip your toes in a constructed gauntlet at first. Reserves are irrelevant here, so you won’t have an opportunity to adjust your deck to your opponent, but they won’t have that option either. You get a pack per win, and a bonus pack if you get 5 wins (plus 1 Invitational Qualifier (IQ) point starting October 6th). These packs can be used to buy another gauntlet run by selling them on the Auction House. After you taste the gauntlet a few times you can see the strengths (and weaknesses) of your deck. Once you feel confident you can make your way into a Daily Scheduled Constructed event. These happen every four hours and last about that long. You play four best-of-three rounds of Hex with the same constructed deck in each round. Win all four rounds, and you will immediately have 10 IQ points to get you into a qualifying tournament! Three wins gets you 4 points, and two wins gets you the same amount of points as winning an 8-man queue or going 5-X in a gauntlet—so you can see the value in the Daily tournaments.

If you are unsure about Hex and want to start with a more modest investment—but still want a legitimate way into the Invitational Qualifiers—I would recommend looking at the Sealed scene. This is cheaper but will require more research and education on your part. Before you invest ANYTHING into Hex beyond your initial free starter deck, I recommend watching more than a few Hex streams. Hex streamers mostly draft, but with the Invitational coming up more and more will likely be streaming Daily Sealed tournaments as well. Either one is fine because what you are looking for here are cards and archetypes that are great in the limited format. There are more than a few hidden gem cards that look meh on their own, but when coupled with a specific champion become good to amazing. Watch what the streamers are picking/building decks with, read the chat to see what the chat thinks they should have picked, and also watch what their opponents are playing.

Research the cards. Know all the commons and uncommons, and their ins and outs. Find pairs that work well together and what cards are actually effective removal, but don’t look like it at first blush (I’m looking at you, Martyr). Since there is some level of “random factor” to Sealed events, and the prize payout is much better, I recommend diving directly into a Daily Sealed once you feel like you know what you are doing. You might open up on six playable legendaries all in the same two shards! You don’t want to waste a sweet pool like that on an 8-man or god-forbid a Gauntlet (where the most you can win back is the packs you invested).

In the worst case, you are looking to eke out two wins for a single IQ point, but anything beyond that is gravy. Use the packs you win to fuel the next entry, PLUS sell any and all money-cards from your previous sealed pool for platinum to further supplement your attempt at going infinite while at the same time racking up IQ points for getting into a qualifier. Remember that your 10 IQ points ALSO pay for your six packs for the sealed qualifier as well, and you keep all those cards and any packs you win. The EV is amazing going the sealed route.

Going the “sealed only” route you need to realize that you actually have zero need to build a constructed deck unless you find yourself in one of two scenarios: 1) you have actually made it to the Invitational, in which case you are guarenteed $1000 for just showing up, so borrow some money to build a constructed deck or two and practice the hell out of that, or 2) you find yourself with 10 IQ points and there are only the constructed IQs left in January, with no more Sealed on the schedule. In the second case, I hope that you’ve made some friends on the forums or at the very least have access to enough plat to get a decent deck made.

So there you go. I hope this helps new players entering Hex hoping to cash in on their new tournaments. Feel free to add your own tips to the comments below.

Matt Miller, known as DeckOfManyThings in-game, is a professional MMO designer by day, and a Hex Kickstarter backer by night. He's been playing TCG's since being taught by Peter Adkinson how to play Magic: the Gathering with Alpha cards, and is now devoting a lion's share of his free time to playing and improving his skills at Hex. Find him at @ManyThingsDeck on twitter or /u/ManyThingsDeck on reddit.

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