Hello everyone, I am Garuda and I am here today with an interview from week 1 of the Invitational Qualifier.
The first Invitational Qualifier tournament ran over the course of last weekend and it was quite an event.
First off, it started with a sealed event and a battle to acquire a top 8 spot. Once our top 8 was decided, they would be thrown into a Draft to fight each other until one came out on top.
The dust has finally settled and we now have our first Qualifier Champion, Infam0usne0.
I thought it would be a good idea to with Ne0 and asked him a few questions about the events that transpired over the tournament.
Garuda: First off, congrats on your win for the first Hex IQ and taking some time to talk with me. You just got yourself 100 booster packs, a sweet exclusive sleeve and a trip to the 100k Invitational that is going to be held in California earlier next year. How does it feel?
Infam0usne0: It feels awesome, i’ll be at the first major Hex event and I get to rest easy for the rest of the qualifying period, watching what happens and focusing entirely on how i’ll attack the final event.
G: How excited are you for the 100k Invitational now that you have secured a spot in the final 12?
Ne0: Hyped is a word, nervous is another. I am both of those things, really we know it’s all about a chance at those one of a kind sleeves. I am very hyped to win those.
G: The first part of the event was a sealed format. What did you open? What deck did you end up building and why?
Ne0: I opened a Houndmaster of Ardevaas, Martyr, Zakiir’s Whim, Sepulchra Crypt Dust and Highlands Blackbelt, which I played all of. Seeing those rares which although not the most powerful of rares made me check out the R/D possibilities first. I saw I also had a Pyresoul Summoner and a couple of Neophyte Awakener. So I figured I could probably keep a board advantage and decided to go for that plan. My initial outlook was that the deck was OK, I lacked pride’s fall, and some of the more obvious power cards like Deathmask Assailant / Flamehand Invoker / Ethereal Caller. But the deck was at least focused on a goal and had support for it. I thought that it was going to be difficult to top 8 with the deck but for the first half of the tournament I had some pretty good matchups.
G: For the Top 8 Draft, what was your initial strategy and what did you end up having? Did you see signals coming your way?
Ne0: The draft I opened up a Vampire Princess and I was pretty happy, but there was a Vampiric Kiss and a Parriphagy in the same pack which made me a little worried about going with a blood card as my first pick. Thankfully I did see some big signals, a few picks in and I was passed an Incubation Webs followed by another, and that was a pretty big sign that I should at least go for sapphire. So I started with that. A little later and I also had a couple of Kin of Olkoth and a Hatchery Cultivator. The big point of the draft for me though was in pack three where I had a passable blood sapphire deck and I was given a pack 3 pick 6 Brood Baron. Literally the biggest pick in terms of how the games I played ended up going, the baron was played in 3 of the 6 games I played in the top 8. I managed to get into an open and powerful archetype, which I can only assume meant that the rest of the draft were competing for the same ones.
G: What would you say was your toughest match?
Ne0: The hardest game was certainly the first [in the finals] against Cirouss, I needed to set up and he played a Slicer on turn three and followed it up with a Deepgaze Champion on turn 4, I wasn’t expecting it and I was lucky to have a Vampiric Kiss in my hand to deal with the Slicer before he started shifting; the next couple of turns were basically a game of Deepgaze Champion tennis. It was very scary the entire time, but eventually my board was established enough that I could hold off his ever growing board state just long enough to get to spider critical mass.
G: What was your biggest play of the tournament?
Ne0: I’m not sure what my most critical play was—it’s hard to say when I didn’t know exactly what would have happened if I did something a different way and without perfect information—but again the biggest play for me was the one that ended the final game. My final three turns were Brood Baron, Eremite and Kin with a bury gem.
G: Now that you have a guaranteed spot in the final 12, how are you going to prepare for the 100k Invitational tournament ?
Ne0: Mostly I will work with my team mates to try to work out what constructed deck I should take, hopefully some other on my team will make it in there with me and we’ll have a larger representation. I will be watching the constructed events closely and I will try to make sure I’m prepared.
G: Will we see you again in IQ tournaments?
Ne0: I will play in at least some of them I’m sure! Certainly the pressure is off for now and I can relax a little. It’s a big time commitment and I’m glad that I don’t have to make that commitment every week now. But the prize pools are great and at the very least half of them give you a free sealed pool.
G: Advice for anyone trying to get to the top and make it to the 100K Invitational?
Ne0: Obviously if you know how to play and your deck is good then you just have to make the right choices. Make sure you take the time to assess the situations you are in and don’t rush things. Constantly ask yourself why your opponent is doing what he is doing, what that likely means he could be holding and how you can use that insight to your advantage. The deck I had during the Swiss portion wasn’t the most powerful, but careful assessment of certain situations allowed me to turn some things around where I might have otherwise lost.
G: Finally, anywhere we can find you playing Hex TCG?
Ne0: You can go to my Twitch Channel: http://www.twitch.tv/infam0usne0
G: Thanks a lot Ne0 for your time and I can’t wait to see you and the 11 others play.