I like the current state of the game, especially Cluster format. Even though Rezzard (AO3-BaB-3) // Rezzard [J-ruler] (AO3-BaB-3J) is the most played deck, you may opt for something different. While the former requires a certain skill level, all decks do, as well as some luck.
Cluster as a format is a great starting point for new players: they get to grow alongside the pool instead of finding a more final product in NF, where the metagame may have been already solved. By focusing on Cluster they get to focus on a smaller pool of cards and follow the thought processes of more veteran players. This can be invaluable in developing their own strategies: they focus on the changes progressively, rather than having to swallow a larger amount of strategies.
Before I start, I would like to express my gratitude for allowing me to contribute to FoW Library. I also would like to share some words on my experience, particularly on GP Nantes 2020. The event’s organisation was flawless, and the hygienic measures were well implemented and respected.
My deck of choice for this tournament was Magna, the Creator of Regalia (AO4-Buy-a-Box-3) // Magna, the Creator of Regalia [J-ruler] (AO4-Buy-a-Box-3J). The rationale behind is its resemblance to Ayu, Lunar Swordswoman (ADK-060) // Ayu, Shaman Swordswoman (ADK-060J). They both are 5-colour decks with a gimmicky 1x mechanic. The former is arguably less restrictive, having only strangers limited to 1 copy only in the main deck. It is “just” a matter of needing the right strangers at the right time.
The first iteration of my build was loads of fun, since I had just built it just like Ayu when she was released. It was not that great with other rulers, especially since the king and queen of singleton can win games rather quickly. I engaged in extensive testing on untap in order to make this project meta relevant, as well as to enjoy it with friends. I had to refine it while spoilers were being released. The amount of combinations was huge, and there was simply not enough time between the release and the GP.
You may guess from a quick glance that Amon, the Demon Prince of Conspiracy (Stranger) (SDAO1-017) is the card around which the deck is built. My favourite combo requires Amon, Genesis (PofA-120), Healing Gimmick (Stranger) (AO2-057), and Batou & Kusanagi Motoko (GITS2045SD-002), and it enables to kill your opponent on turn 1. The format is so fast that it requires continuous adaptation, which is perfect for my favourite type of decks: combo with a hint of control and aggro backup.
An alternative line of play is the usual Mikage Reiya (AO3-046) + Griphon, Racing Across Darkness (AO3-070) if the Amon shenaningans do not work. The darkness strangers in the main deck are the best ones available. Reiya can put them in the graveyard in order to enable some great plays, such as those involving Black Wizard (Stranger) (AO3-040) and Faust, the Promising Warrior (Stranger) (AO3-068). Another relevant aspect of Reiya is her Drain: as long as I have more life than my opponent, Amon can beat them in one shot.
Now let’s discuss the matchups I had during that weekend:
My first pairing was Arla (AO3-BaB-1) // Arla [J-ruler] (AO3-BaB-1J), and the result was 2:1 in my favour. For the first game, I simply could not keep up with his regalia Wings of the Archangel (AO3-087), Magna’s Angel (AO3-073) and Pier, the Godspeed Archer (AO3-014). He simply stomped me with these.
As humiliating as the first game was, games 2 and 3 were completely one-sided. During the second game I cancelled his turn-2 play, then went for OTK in turn 3 with Magna’s Guardian Beast (SDAO2-025), Healing Gimmick (Stranger) (AO2-057), Amon and Morgiana, the Wise Servant (AO3-037). In game 3 he tried to counter my Grand Cross Reincarnation (PofA-092), so in return I pulled the Magna’s Guardian Beast combo again.
The next round was against David Preda, who was playing Rezzard, ending 1:2 in his favour. In the first game I put him under pressure with Morgiana, Genesis, Azazel, the Blazing Charger (Stranger) (AO1-048), and Amon. He was forced to chump block with his Mikage Reiya, which gave him an extra turn, only to delay the inevitable. However, he completely dominated game 2, and dealt enough damage to deal the final blow with Faurecia, the Virtuous Vampire (AO3-067): he killed my blocking Mikage Reiya and took away my remaining Life Points.
I also lost the third round (1:2) against Lenneth, the Priestess of Vell-Savaria (AO1-BAB) // Lenneth, the Priestess of Vell-Savaria [J-Ruler] (AO1-BABJ), ran by Andreas. He quickly controlled game 1. In game 2 he had bad draws, which allowed me to finish him off quickly (Amon, Azazel and 2 Genesis). The last game was exciting. Although it started slowly, it was a continuous back and forth. When time was called, he won in his last turn. He attacked with Lenneth to my remaining 1100 LP. I had blocked with a resonator instead of with Magna, which was a fatal mistake on my side: he controlled Guinevere, the Jealous Queen (SDAO1-009), and Princess of Dragon Palace (Stranger) (PofA-032). I completely forgot that he could banish the Princess of Dragon Palace with Guinevere, the Jealous Queen (SDAO1-009) to bounce my blocker, and so he did.
I started round 4 with my standing being 1:2, when I played against Gill Lapis (AO4-Buy-a-Box-1) // Gill Lapis [J-ruler](AO4-Buy-a-Box-1J) (which ended up 2:1 in my favour). He killed me in the first game with Blazer, Minion of Lapis (PofA-048) and Sylvia, Minion of Lapis (PofA-110). However, I was able to win the remaining games with the Magna’s Guardian Beast combo.
I played the 5th round against Jef, who was on Dark Alice (AO4-Buy-a-Box-2) // Dark Alice [J-ruler] (AO4-Buy-a-Box-2J), ending up 2:0 in my favour. I built my board rapidly on game 1 with Mikage Reiya shenanigans, closing the deal quickly. I went for the control route on game 2, getting rid quickly of his Schrödinger (PofA-105) with Schrödinger’s Cry (PofA-007). That along with Nameless Knight (AO2-049) sealed the deal, as well as some tough luck on his side (he did not draw Shadow X (PofA-073)).
The 6th round was a 2:0 against Gill Lapis. I was able to secure my games quickly with Amon as my win condition, supported by some control or blocker removal.
With lots of luck, I made it into the Top8 and finished the Swiss rounds on the 7th seed.
Day 2 starts, and I finally get my feature match against Andreas and his Lenneth. We were the only non-Rezzard players in the top 8. Knowing that at least one of us would make it to top 4 made me really happy. Since he seeded 2nd, he got to choose who was to start. He obviously wanted me to open the game.
Game one was as follows:
– Play Genesis
– Call a stone
– Play Healing Gimmick and use its effect
– Use Genesis will to play Sprout of Treasure Tree (Stranger) (AO2-032), and use its skill to produce three wind wills
– Use two wind wills and a red one from the stone to play Magna’s Guardian Beast, and bring out Morgiana and Amon
– Look for Batou & Kusanagi Motoko and attack for 4900
I tried to win game 2 in a similar way. However, I could not draw Azazel, so he burned me to death with Resistance of the Twelve Protective Deities (AO3-078) and Adombrali (PofA-080). Game 3 ended similarly, me not being able to draw any relevant cards that gave swiftness to Amon.
While I know that I should have made some different plays, I am very happy of how it turned out. Magna has the potential for being a top contender and is loads of fun. I gained a lot of valuable experience during this GP, and I reached the minimum goals that I had set for myself: top 8 and a featured match. Yet again.
See you next time:
Your Nhat Minh Prince Ha.