We now know the names of half of the Invitational Qualifiers! This week, I took some time to talk with Bootlace about his latest win in the previous Sealed IQ Tournament.
Garuda – Congratulations on winning the IQ. You are now the sixth champion to win 100 packs, a rare sleeve and a trip to California to compete in the 100k Invitational tournament. How are you feeling about this?
Bootlace – Really happy obviously. I’ve been wanting to meet the Hex staff for a long time now and California was on top of my holiday wishlist. The fact that I have a chance to win some more money and ‘Hex cred’ is icing on the cake.
G – Can you tell me about yourself and were you are from?
B – My name’s Oytun, I’m 30 years old. I was born in Turkey but have spent most of my life abroad. For work I’m mainly involved in digital marketing. Besides TCGs I’m quite into sports, especially basketball.
G – Can you tell me more about the Hex TCG scene where you are living right now ?
B – I’ve never been in one place for too long so never had a chance to be part of a local TCG scene. All my TCG experience comes from digital environments so I guess the ‘offline’ tournament in February will be a first for me.
G – During the sealed part of the IQ, can you tell me more about the cards that you opened and what deck you ended up building ?
B – I got a pretty sweet Ruby Diamond aggro deck. Ton of hard to deal with early drops, nice removal, and efficient finishers. A lot of the cards—whether it be the troops, tricks, or removal—were pretty much interchangeable and had pretty nice synergy so it led to a pretty consistent deck. Urgnock makes all those little troops pretty important threats so I felt like the opponents were always playing catchup.
G – During the top 8 draft, can you tell me what you drafted? If you saw signals from cards not being picked, you opened big rare or super good cards or anything you want to talk about.
B – I wanted to go R/D, B/D, or R/W but after a first pick Ghost Feather I noticed Diamond was not being passed my way at all. I had drafted a bunch of aggro Ruby cards and so when I got a pretty late Tempestuous Bladedancer I knew I had to go R/W. Unfortunately I didn’t get the quality troops you’re accustomed to seeing in a typical Cressida R/W deck so I went the aggro route. I was a bit worried at my lack of removal but playing aggro and having lots of tricks meant that my opponent needed those removal much more than me.
G – What are your thoughts on the current meta of the game and the different archetypes ?
B – For limited, 1-1-1 will always be my favorite limited set because of the power level of the cards and the removal—which allows skilled players to really be dominant. The current 3-3-3 format is pretty well balanced between the main archetypes, but there’s a lot of shard combinations that aren’t really viable so you are still pushed down certain paths which I don’t prefer. I’ve had lot of very interesting games in the current limited environment (most memorably involving the Spiderling and Prophecy/deck buffing mechanic) and while that RNG might push some players away, it does create some tense gaming moments that stick with you. I guess there’s pros and cons, but mostly I think the limited side of the game has been really solid (except those darn Set 2 champions).
I’ve largely been an outside observer on the constructed side of things thus far but I guess I can share my thoughts. For constructed it seems R/W Ramp, Mono Blood and R/S Azurecannon are the clear dominant decks but I feel the other archetypes are not too far behind and can get right back into T1 discussion with a new set of cards. We’re near that sweet spot where the number of printed cards really allows for all sorts of strategies (whether it be aggro, control, midrange, combo) and that’s when I feel the constructed scene really starts getting interesting.
G – Do you have advice for players looking to get qualified in the next constructed or sealed IQ tournament?
B – For the sealed IQs I would highly advise against playing anything other than R/W Cressida, B/D Shift or Spirits, or R/D aggro. I guess if you have a broken B/S Spider deck you could take a shot, but I think those 3 archetypes are clearly the best.
G – Can fellow Hexxers find you playing somewhere?
B – I probably don’t have the talents for streaming but I’ve written quite extensively on the limited side of the game at HexPrimal.com if anyone cares to check it out. Thanks for the interview Garuda and thanks also to the rest of the FiveShards.com crew for all you do for the community!