I wanted to share my tournament breakdown and card choices with the community and get some feedback on my deck, my writing, or anything you feel like chiming in about.
First, many of you don’t know me but we have probably met somewhere in the trenches of ranked or the old gauntlet. I was a MTG player for a billion years and recently got into Hex around the release of set 4. Most recently I managed to grind my way into the top 8 of the Radiant Rumble and take 2nd with the Mono wild list below.
I did not come up with the original list, it was something i spotted taking second in the Fiveshards Series the week prior and thought I would try it out. The major differences I had from the original was cutting the Artisanal Cheesesmythe, and trimming and buffing some of the numbers across for some more consistency as well as some changes to the reserves.
The overlying strategy of the deck is to play extremely efficient beefy troops that oversize what your opponent can cast for equal shards and turn them sideways, so in many ways it can be seen as a tempo style deck. However thanks to Mightsinger of Ages, Balthasar and your hero power you are also quite potent in the late game.
No Artisanal Cheesesmythe: I love this card, but in playing I felt like it was just underpowered compared to everything else in the deck. It is more of a defensive card than I prefer for the strategy and attacking for 2 just doesn’t feel strong enough. Not to mention I always seemed to have something better to do than play a cheese it had created. Also the 3 defense just wasn’t enough vs the very popular Angus the Arsonist_ decks so I started looking elsewhere.
Justicar of Aryndel: This card was everything I wanted for the 3 resource void left by “cutting the cheese”. If I ever got to cast this on turn two or three vs Arsonist it felt like their gameplan crumbled. It always required at least two cards for them to answer, if they could, and stopped their troops dead in their tracks. It also matched up very well vs the Crusaders, Hero of Legend and countless other troops. It was almost always the largest troop on the board whenever I cast it. Also an 8/8 for 6 that I can give +3/+3 and Crush to was insane in so many situations I encountered.
Wrathwood Master Moss: He played the same role as Justicar in most situations in just being the biggest troop the turn he was cast. Shutting down Arsonist or other aggro decks upon hitting the board. Obviously this guy was even better vs any non-diamond list as dealing with him is so incredibly tempo negative and resource demanding on any opponent.
Dreamweaver Ancient: My new favorite Wild troop. He was a gotcha card to so many opponents who carefully calculated potential combat damage from me next turn only to realize they hadn’t accounted for a 4/3 Speed Crusher. So many times I put my opponents in a position to tap out for a sweeper only to have my board be replenished the next turn and them back on a serious clock all thanks to this dreamer.
ROUND 1: Angus the Arsonist_ (win)
This is the match up I wanted all day long so i was thrilled to get it in round 1. They have so much trouble dealing with our threats or attacking through profitably that its almost a gimme, not to mention the life gain package. If you got to live to a Balthasar, which isn’t all that difficult, the game just ends. Things only get better after reserves as we are able to trim Dreaweavers and Crocosaur for even more life gain.
Round 2: Angus the Arsonist_ (win)
Couldn’t be happier then to start the tournament with back to back rounds of my best match-up.
Round 3: Ruby/Sapphire Dwarf Bots (win)
I did drop a game to a ridiculous draw with what I believe was a turn 5 or 6 quad 8/8 crushers…rough. However my other two games were made up of dinosaurs and Nature Reigns which prevented them from ever getting their thing going and I was able to overwhelm their plethora of small dwarves with giant green monsters.
Round 4: Marshal Josephina_ Variant (Win)
My opponent stumbled both games so I’m not certain what package they were running. But I was able to explode out the gates and close the round in short notice. Mono wild is very punishing on players that keep questionable hands.
Round 5: Kagulichu_ Crusader (win)
This was the real test. I only had the chance to play against Kag Crusader a few times before the tournament and felt okay with the match up but in no way was sure of my percentages. Overall my list felt decent and I won almost every game in which I had a turn 1 Howling Brave. A lot of lists do not run maindeck Extinction which allow me to go crazy in game 1 flooding the board with too many threats for them to overcome. Master Moss plays an especially crucial role in the matchup. Barring crazy openers the games will tend to go a little long and resolving a huge Balthasar will usually let you overcome their pacing and utility.
Note: At one point my opponent played Rise Again on a Mightsinger that I had owned and was buffed to a 7/7, however when it entered play on his side it was only a 2/2. This did allow me to crush over for lethal the next turn and was an unfortunate bug that should be looked into.
Round 6: Mono Blood Vampspiders (win)
Many thought this was a bad matchup for mono wild but testing proved otherwise. The tempo of the deck really shines here as they almost never get an opportunity to play their vampires or constants without leaving a larger threat of mine on the table. Also Mono Wild is surprisingly resilient to the one for one removal game even more so on the occasions a Gargalith is chilling in my hand, and I always seemed to have a Dreamweaver right after an Extinction.
Round 7: Shoku the Botanist_ Incantation Dreadlings (loss)
I got blown out in two of the games. If i did not get an explosive start into some Crocosaurs then his deck had more proactive attacking strategy and was one of the only matchups where my threats were less impressive for the price as well as his ability to go much wider and sneak in those last points of damage.
Round 8: Kagulichu_ Crusader (win)
Very similar result to round 5. My troops always seemed bigger so I could always be the one attacking. Wrathwood Master Moss again being an MVP in the match as well as some huge Balthasars.
Round 9: Angus the Arsonist_ (Win)
The sigh of relief I had when I saw this match up was almost stolen when I attempted to punt away game 1 by misclicking my champion power onto a Dreamweaver instead of a Master Moss to which he gladly responded with a Fireball (main reason why I cut these after reserves). I still somehow managed to take the game the following turn after sweating out so many lethal topdecks from the traditional lists. I was probably a bit overconfident after the win and kept a clunker of a hand in game 2 which should have been an easy mulligan in hindsight, to which I got trounced by a solid curve from my opponent. However game 3 highlighted exactly why this matchup is so good and I was able to ride big troops to an even bigger Balthasar and eventually the match win.
Round 10: Kagulichu_ Crusader (win)
Justiis had the best record after 9 rounds and I feel like he might have given this one to me even tho he did put up some effort. More on this matchup in the finals.
Round 1 Vs Winter Moon_
I had no idea how this matchup was but in theory I was confident I could out-pace the counters and eventual Mass Polymorph: Dingler. Game 1 was a turn 1 Howling Brave into turn 2 Mightsinger and I never looked back. Game 2 was a bit worse as he had answers for my early threats and I started to draw a little shard heavy, never really being able to pressure him while he staved time to resolve a game ending Polymorph. Game 3 was very similar to one. He fell behind Mightsinger too early and could never really recover. Overall this matchup felt pretty good as long as I had a decent curve.
Round 2 Rematch vs Shoku the Botanist_
This time around it was me that got the nuts draws. Including a game 3 in which i had 4 Mightsinger on the board all being buffed and eventually crushing over for more then enough to kill him. Overall I do not think this is a great matchup and I had to get lucky in two of the three games to steal it away from my opponent.
Finals vs Kagulichu_ Crusader
These were by far the swingiest, most intense games I had all day. I could never tell who was ahead. The matches do tend to go long vs Kagulichu and he came prepared with devastating Mistress of Bones, returning Rune Ear Hierophant or Scrounged Paw of Yazukan, plus Exarch of the Egg for major tempo swings. In game 3 he actually managed to turn 5 Rotten Rancor back a Mistress he milled with his hero power to return a scrounged Paw I had killed the turn before to wipe my board, yet I still managed a comeback clearing out his board and setting up a intimidating force only to get blown out by another returned Mistress returning another Paw. I do not think this matchup is particularly bad and in hindsight can see some different lines I could have taken in game 2 or 3 which possibly could have given me better odds of coming out victorious, but major shout out to Justiis for extremely well-played games and deck designing. I got bested and he deserved the win.
Overall I was very pleased with my deck list and its performance. I actually do not think I would change any of my main deck options but I am exploring some reserve changes. Lullaby was awkward often, and I may be over prepared for Arsonist which is a good match up to begin with.
This post also ran longer then I anticipated but trying to recap a 13 round tournament takes some typing I guess.
I also can not thank Minch enough for putting up the funds to have such an awesome tournament. Such an incredible thing for someone to do.
Also shout out to Fiveshards for hosting the event and everything they do towards cultivating a vibrant competitive scene. They are such an asset to the HEX community.
Well hopefully this isn’t the last time I do a tournament report as I plan to be grinding in every big tournament HEX will host. So until next time, see ya in the trenches!