Another week, another qualifier.
This time, the IQ took the form of a constructed format and we have had the opportunity to see everyone bring out their best in the Set 3 Meta.
Garuda – Congratulations on winning the first Constructed IQ. You are now the third champion to win 100 packs, a rare sleeve and a trip as a qualifier for the 100k Invitational tournament, how are you feeling about this?
Vazrael – Thanks for the congratulations! It’s awesome, since I am a very competitive person in everything I do and being rewarded for taking things seriously feels great. However, I take the victory with just a grain of salt because the second game of the finals actually ended with my opponent Funktion timing out when he lost his internet connection when the game was nowhere near decided. Needless to say, I am really glad I won, but I can’t imagine how I would react to that happening to me in a similar situation.
G – Can you tell me about yourself and were you are from?
V – I am 25 years old and I am studying economics while also working as a financial adviser. The rest of my time basically goes to playing various games, which I all take pretty seriously since I really enjoy being good at the things I do. Doing things casually just doesn’t work for me. Oh and I’m addicted to strategic board games since my dad had a board game shop when I was a child (4k games of settlers of catan and counting). I also played online poker for a living for a couple years before I started working as a financial adviser.
G – Can you tell me more about the Hex TCG scene in Germany?
V – I wouldn’t say there is a German scene for Hex yet. We have a lot of good players and I am testing with some of them every now and then but I don’t really care about the nationality/language of the people I test with. I just ask in the group chats I’m part of and test with whoever wants to. Most playtest-groups and guilds I have seen are a mix of good players from no particular place.
G – How did you prepare for the first Constructed IQ tournament and how will you prepare for the 100k tournament?
V – I actually made a lot of mistakes in preparation for the Constructed IQ, but that might just have been what got me the win. I was originally planning to play a whole different deck that I kept hidden until the day before the tournament. However, due to me not being part of a guild at that time and my playtest group being rather inactive, I did end up not playing / tuning that deck enough. I only realized this the day before the tournament. It wasn’t doing good against some of the newer brews and the changes to the R/W ramp decks happened to hurt my deck in that match-up. So after realizing I would not do well with the deck I had kept from most people, I decided to go back to the deck everyone thought I would be playing (S/R Combo with Azurefate Sorceress and Tetzot); the deck that had played almost exclusively for 2 months in most tournaments and countless times in gauntlet. After tweaking it a bit for the match-ups I expected to face, I was very happy with the results and consistency since I had played most popular match-ups at least 50 times I was very confident I could beat them. I ended up winning every match but the mirror against Havoc, who was using a different version of the deck in the Swiss part at 7-0. My preparation for the 100k tournament is going to be focused on Limited as much as I can since I didn’t do a lot of drafts and sealed since the Set 3 release and my results in those formats are really lackluster in my opinion. I also very recently joined the guild Dragonborn, so I will also definitely test more with them before going to California.
G – What are your thoughts on the current meta of the game and the different archetypes?
V – I am honestly surprised by how many people stick with the R/W ramp deck, especially with the amount of mirror match-ups you had to expect running it in the IQ tournament. Overall, I really like the meta since the Titania’s Majesty ban and I have never had as much fun playing the same archetype over and over again as I do with the S/R Combo deck that carried me to victory. However, I do not enjoy flipping coins, so people can expect me to play whatever I think is an underrated top tier deck.
G – Did you do anything different during the top 8 of the event?
V – I didn’t really do anything different in the Top 8 since the decks I faced were mono blood, which is pretty straight forward, and 2 R/W Ramp decks that I had already faced 3 times in the Swiss part. I can safely say that I started sweating and shaking more than in the Swiss part though!
G – What was the hardest match that you have faced during the IQ?
V – Well, the hardest one was the one I lost to Havoc in the last round of the Swiss but since we were chatting on Skype, had our Top 8 spots and also played a mirror match it wasn’t that exciting. Other than that, I had to go with a match against a B/D mid range Deck I was facing in the Swiss part. I don’t remember my opponent’s name unfortunately but I won game 1 and in game 2 I got him down to 6 health while he was stuck on 3 Diamond and 1 Blood threshold (while playing Kranok). I also got to look at his hand, thanks to Subterranean Spy, and he didn’t have neither a 2nd Blood shard nor an Extinction, which was basically what he had to play in order to survive the next turn. He went ahead and drew the 2nd Blood Shard, used the Kranok ability and got the Extinction to wipe the board. Two turns later, I found myself with an empty board against a Vampire King that got him out of kill range and I lost the game. In game 3 however, I won due to top decking an Azurefate Sorceress right after he discarded one with Inquisition, so Kismet was doing her job well that match!
G – What was your biggest play during the top 8? (e.g. like the best play or comeback that you did)
V – I don’t think I made any clutch plays in the Top 8, at least none that I can’t think of right now. I think my decisions were solid throughout the tournament.
G – Do you have advice for players looking to get qualified in the next constructed or sealed IQ tournament?
V – As for Constructed, I can only advise people to play more against the meta than with it. I played against six R/W decks in my eleven matches and sure, one of them was in the finals but I don’t think planning on winning 5 mirror match-ups in a row is a solid strategy if you want to win the whole thing. That obviously changes when there were decks like the pre-ban R/W Ramp that are just a lot better than anything else. I don’t really want to give advice on Sealed since I don’t think I’m qualified to do that with my recent results.
G – Can fellow Hexxers find you playing somewhere? (if you have a twitch, if you post often on forum or something)
V – Not right now. I do plan on using some of the prize money to upgrade my PC and possibly my Internet Connection, so I might decide to start streaming on twitch.tv in the future.
G – Thank you and good luck in the 100k tournament!