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Qualifier Champion Interview Week 8: ValueCity

Hello everyone! Today we have ValueCity for a quick interview about his latest IQ win.




Garuda – Congratulation on winning the IQ. You are now the eighth 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?

ValueCity – Thanks! It is an awesome feeling, knowing I’m going to the Invitational and to have a chance to compete in the 100k tournament.

G – Can you tell me about yourself and where you are from?

V – My name is Gabriel, I’m 25 years old, from Munich Germany and am currently doing my masters in financial mathematics. Besides TCGs, I’m really into sports, like tennis and football (the real one, not the weird American one 😉 ) during the summer and skiing in the winter.

G – Can you tell me more about the Hex TCG scene that you are part of ? 
V – I’m not really part of any team, or guild or anything like that. There are a few people I occasionally playtest with, but most of my practice comes through gauntlets/tournaments.

G – How did you prepare for the IQ tournament and how will you prepare for the 100k tournament?
V – I tested various different decks before the tournament and will intensify my testing in regards to the invitational. Since I’m a mathematician, I have a very analytical approach regarding hex. So I got countless spreadsheets/code keeping track of win rates, match-ups and various other aspects of the game. 

G – What did you play for this tournament and why?
V – I played a Wintermoon deck, similar to the one Eaglov used the week before to qualify. The reason I chose it, was not because it was the best deck (according to my data, there were at least two other decks, which would have given me a better chance to win the IQ), but rather that it offers a higher skill ceiling and I prefer that for a 10-hour tournament with no guarantees of winning. For example in a RW-deck, you might have 3-4 key decisions on average, that may influence the result of the game, whereas with Wintermoon it may be upwards of 10. So when playing a “simple” deck it sometimes feels like the RNG is the biggest decider of the match and I don’t particular enjoy that. That being said, since there is real money on the line at the Invitational, I will choose the deck that gives me the best odds regardless of play style.
G – What are your thoughts on the current meta of the game and the different archetypes ?
V – It is my firm believe that we are currently experiencing the most diverse meta in the history of hex. I mean just look at the amount of distinct competitive decks: RW-ramp, Mono-B, Azurecannon, BD-control, WM, Ruby-Phoenix, Mono-D, BS-control, Mono-S and Ruby Aggro. All these decks have some positive and negative match-ups, so choosing the optimal deck is really a hard task to do. And there is still the possibility of being creative and figuring out the wildcard deck.

G – What was the hardest match that you faced during the IQ?
V – Overall the tournament went really smooth for me. I went 10-0 and only lost 2 games. One of those matches was a mirror vs Eaglov during the swiss part, which was really close and exciting. The other 2-1 was in the finals vs a DR-shift deck. That was probably the most thrilling match I ever played, purely because of how much was on the line. But once I had stabilized in game 3, the biggest sensation of relief overcame me and I started doing the happy dance :).

G – How do you feel about the recent change announced about the core system and how do you think it will affect the 100k tournament? (ie. talk about the Limited and constructed meta if you would like 🙂 )
V – I think the health change is a very interesting one for the players, because it adds another layer of complexity. For the developers it must be tough to balance however. Since in some match-ups, especially when facing aggro, health matters a great deal, but in others, primarily control mirrors, starting health is of very little importance. So you can’t just say give the stronger champions less health. And I think this was one of the reason, they originally went with equal life totals (besides maybe being less confusing for new players).
As for the booster pack size change: It obviously improves the deck quality and speed in limited. It is fair to assume, that the sets up to now were designed and balanced around 15 card packs, so the balance definitely changed. I think it comes to personal preference whether you like the change or not. Personally, I feel like it improved certain game types and others not so much, but overall only slight differences.

G – Do you have advice for players looking to get qualified in the next constructed or sealed IQ tournament?

V – Practice is the key here! The more experience you collect the better, but don’t make the mistake of blaming your losses on luck (or lack there of). Instead try to analyze your plays and see if there was something you could have done differently. But the biggest advice I can give, is to think about your mulligans, they are the single most important decision during a game of hex.

G – Can fellow Hexers find you playing somewhere? (ex: if you have a twitch, if you post often on forum or something)
V – Unfortunately, my computer doesn’t allow me to stream, so there is no way people can watch me stream currently. It might be something to consider in the future.
Thank you Gabriel and see you in California!

Passionate, loud and long time prolific competitive player, Garuda focuses primarily on limited. He's been working for over 11 years in the video game industry and has a passion for B rated movies. Member of Clan Blackblade.

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