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Invitational Competitor Deck History

While it is impossible for us to predict exactly what each Invitational player will run, the fact that we have access to winning Gauntlet lists and all major tournament lists means that we have a treasure trove of data which we can comb through to see if any tendencies might show.

For each player, I’m going to break down the data in a few ways. First, “Total known plays” will give us an idea of how much data is available (and again, we only get to see successful Gauntlet runs, so there is a lot of potential play time that we may or may not have access to). “Total known decks” will give an idea of how diverse the player’s archetype picks have been. Finally, a breakdown of each archetype played is the meat we can chew on to possibly figure out what a player really likes to be doing.

Finally, don’t take this a gospel for what any one individual player will do at the Invitational. Each individual player is going to be treating this event with much more thought than they might a typical gauntlet run, so we could see huge swings away from what players have played in the past. Still, it gives us an idea of what strengths a competitor might have, which at minimum helps us set the stage for the battles to come.

SaDOlution

Total known plays – 8

Total known decks – 6

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
BD Banks – 3 – 37.5%
DW Banks – 1 – 12.5%
SW Winter Moon – 1 – 12.5%
Mono B Kranok – 1 – 12.5%
DS Wyatt Control – 1 – 12.5%
Cressida Ramp – 1 – 12.5%

SaDOlution doesn’t seem to have an individual deck preference, but at the same time there are some fairly identifiable trends here. Rutherford Banks takes up half his known decks, and with control decks making up a huge portion of the remainder it is clear that SaDOlution prefers being the player that is trying to go just a little bit bigger than the next person. This is a good place to point out that SaDOlution, JadiimJedi, and Vazrael are all part of a Dragonborn testing triumverate, so it is well within the realm of possibility that a team deck emerges that all three bring to the tournament as opposed to seeing individual style choices shine through. Even if we see a Team Dragonborn deck emerge, I would expect it to be going big rather than trying to sneak under the opponent given what we will see from this data and from the other members later.

MasterMatchu

Total known plays – 11

Total known decks – 3

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
Mono B Kranok – 6 – 54.5%
Cressida Ramp – 4 – 36.3%
SW Winter Moon – 1 – 9.1%

MasterMatchu had a run of success piloting Cressida Ramp prior to the health change, and a big run of success piloting Mono B Kranok after the change. Clearly the expectation going into the weekend is that we will see some high-level Kranok play here. It isn’t exactly earth-shattering news that someone will bring Inquisitions and Vampire Kings to a tournament, and if players had a great way to stop it we would have seen it emerge over the past year instead of having Blood control decks being a constant threat like they are.

Vagabundo

Total known plays – 2

Total known decks – 1

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
Benvolio Burn – 2 – 100.0%

Vagabundo is mostly a limited specialist, so we don’t have quite the data size on him to make a lot of predictions. Still, only being seen running a single known deck means that there won’t be a lot of surprised faces if Benvolio Burn shows up in his hands in Orange County.

JadiimJedi

Total known plays – 15

Total known decks – 7

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
SW Winter Moon – 7 – 46.7%
RS Azurecannon – 3 – 20.0%
DS Banks Control – 1 – 6.7%
Mono B Kranok – 1 – 6.7%
RS Wyatt Control – 1 – 6.7%
Cressida Ramp – 1 – 6.7%
Mono B Bunoshi – 1 – 6.7%

JJ shows a pretty strong preference for Winter Moon decks, and if you want to take the time to dig through his Winter Moon lists you will see him trying a lot of different card combinations, so it won’t be a huge shock if he shows up running the recursive coyotle champion. Much like SaDOlution, while JJ is a Dragonborn member that could show up with anything we also have a lot of evidence that shows him to be a control player at heart—so look for JJ to be trying to go over the top of his opponents all weekend.

ValueCity

Total known plays – 26

Total known decks – 14

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
Cressida Ramp – 4 – 15.4%
Mono B Kranok – 4 – 15.4%
SW Winter Moon – 3 – 11.5%
Azurecannon – 3 – 11.5%
BS Spiders – 2 – 7.7%
Mono B Bunoshi – 2 – 7.7%
Mono S Dreaming Fox – 1 – 3.8%
Mono S Wyatt Control – 1 – 3.8%
BD Banks – 1 – 3.8%
BD Kranok – 1 – 3.8%
DW Banks – 1 – 3.8%
RS Savvas – 1 – 3.8%
Benvolio Burn – 1 – 3.8%
RS Wyatt – 1 – 3.8%

14 known decks, and the lowest “% of Plays” for his top choice makes ValueCity the biggest question mark for the tournament; he’ll play almost anything and obviously play it well! The most surprising thing ValueCity could do is surprise nobody, as the willingness to try Dreaming Fox and Savvas as champions means it would be a bit of a letdown to viewers if we just see stock Cressida Ramp. But hey, the goal is to play what wins, and ValueCity isn’t leaving any stones unturned in that quest.

Eaglov

Total known plays – 40

Total known decks – 2

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
SW Winter Moon – 38 – 95.0%
Mono B Kranok – 2 – 5.0%

More known plays than anyone else, and a jaw-dropping 38 plays with SW Winter Moon. There is a reason Eaglov crushed his Invitational Qualifier with Winter Moon, as there is no one on the planet who has more experience with the deck and the many small iterations. It would be a MAJOR shock to see Eaglov not running a version of the control deck he popularized, so it should be exciting to see what his final selections are that he pads around the powerful Winter Moon draw engine.

Bootlace

Total known plays – 0

Total known decks – 0

Bootlace is a limited specialist and spends a lot of his HEX time getting things done over at HexPrimal. We can’t draw a lot of conclusions obviously, but given the huge amount of control love we see from the rest of the field I think the most likely expectation is that Bootlace will try to attack the constructed portion from a different angle than the rest; few people want to engage Eaglov or JJ in Winter Moon mirrors but if you can sneak under them with a rush aggro deck or scare away their draws with Spiders then Bootlace can get a good chance to move onto Day 2 where his draft experience will shine.

Cyriius

Total known plays – 32

Total known decks – 11

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
Cressida Ramp – 8 – 25.0%
RS Azurecannon – 6 – 18.8%
RS Benvolio – 6 – 18.8%
SW Winter Moon – 3 – 9.4%
DW Banks – 2 – 6.2%
BD Kranok – 2 – 6.2%
BD Anana – 1 – 3.1%
BS Spiders – 1 – 3.1%
Mono R Urgnock – 1 – 3.1%
DR Feast – 1 – 3.1%
Mono R Feast – 1 – 3.1%

Cyriius joins ValueCity as one of the two competitors to have double-digit numbers of known decks. Being only behind Eaglov in terms of total number of known plays, Cyriius is a guy who obviously gets it done too. There is one trend you can see from Cyriius deck choices though: he LOVES to just kill people out of nowhere. Cressida Ramp can dump a Rootfather to the face, Azurecannon can Sorceress people from 21 to 0 in just a turn and RS Benvolio can make giant Lightning Armadas that kill in only a swing or two. Almost 2/3rds of his plays are with those decks, and with Gorefeasts and Quash Ridge Tuskers sitting in many of his other plays it is clear that Cyriius is likely going to value threatening a kill over establish total control in his matches.

Koma

Total known plays – 12

Total known decks – 3

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
Mono B Zared – 7 – 58.3%
Mono B Kranok – 4 – 33.3%
Cressida Ramp – 1 – 8.3%

Normally, you would look at that distribution and scream “He’s playing Blood, okay who’s next”. The twist is that the single Cressida Ramp play also happened to be the Invitational Qualifier he won. Will Koma’s true tendencies show up at the Invitational, or will he dance with the girl that brought him there…?

Vazrael

Total known plays – 28

Total known decks – 6

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
RS Azurecannon – 15 – 53.6%
Mono B Bunoshi – 4 – 14.3%
SW Winter Moon – 3 – 10.7%
Cressida Ramp – 3 – 10.7%
DW Banks – 2 – 7.1%
RS Feast – 1 – 3.6%

The final part of the Dragonborn triumverate, Vazrael also has the strongest deck allegiance coming in of any of the three members. Azurecannon was also the deck that qualified him, as he cut through his Invitational Qualifer with ease (and he brought it again the next week and made Top 8 again!). Still, Vazrael has played enough other decks that you wouldn’t want to bank on a return to Rock Elementals. If there isn’t a Dragonborn team deck though, look for Vazrael to try going as far as his Ruby and Sapphire cards will let him.

Djinni

Total known plays – 12

Total known decks – 4

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
DR Dimmid – 6 – 50.0%
Benvolio Burn – 2 – 16.7%
Azurecannon – 2 – 16.7%
Cressida Ramp – 2 – 16.7%

Djinni’s DR midrange deck has been an under-the-radar choice for most of Armies of Myth Constructed, after being one of the key players in the previous format. It will be interesting to see if Djinni shows up with his Angel of Dawns, but it is probably a sure thing to bet that he will have Ruby actions hanging out somewhere in his 75.

Infam0usNe0

Total known plays – 1

Total known decks – 1

Archetype – Total # of Plays – % of Plays
Mono Wild Running Deer – 1 – 100.0%

Ne0 is one of the game’s most popular streamers, and likely has played more HEX limited at this point than even any developer on staff. Obviously he’s 100% on board with mono-Wild Running Deer, so I’m sure it will be an exciting weekend as we get to see Fist of Briggadon swinging in…

TOTALS

Total known plays – 186

Total known decks – 25

Archetype Total – # of Plays – % of Plays
SW Winter Moon – 55 – 29.6%
RS Azurecannon – 29 – 15.6%
Cressida Ramp – 24 – 12.9%
Mono B Kranok – 18 – 9.7%
Mono B Bunoshi – 7 – 3.8%
Mono B Zared – 7 – 3.8%
DW Banks – 6 – 3.2%
RS Benvolio – 6 – 3.2%
DR Dimmid – 6 – 3.2%
Benvolio Burn – 5 – 2.7%
BD Banks – 4 – 2.2%
BS Spiders – 3 – 1.6%
BD Kranok – 3 – 1.6%
Mono S Control – 2 – 1.1%
DS Wyatt Control – 1 – 0.5%
DS Banks – 1 – 0.5%
RS Wyatt – 1 – 0.5%
RS Savvas – 1 – 0.5%
RS Wyatt – 1 – 0.5%
BD Anana – 1 – 0.5%
DR Feast – 1 – 0.5%
Tusker Rush – 1 – 0.5%
Mono R Feast – 1 – 0.5%
RS Feast – 1 – 0.5%
Mono W Deer – 1 – 0.5%

Eaglov’s insane numbers skew the list somewhat, but even without them SW Winter Moon would be one of the most played decks among this group of 12. The aggregate list isn’t too surprising given how popular the top listings have been at various points in time over the past few months, but what is probably most interesting is the complete lack of aggro. This is a group of players that love playing big cards and taking total control of the game. Whether that fact plays a big factor in deck choices this weekend remains to be seen, but there certainly is a hole there that will play a part in how the weekend shapes up.

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