Greetings everyone, I'm TheRocke and welcome to my first ever Eternal article. I've been playing card games, Magic, Hearthstone, Pokemon, etc, competitively for 15+ years. My notable finishes for Eternal are earning a rookie invite for the 2018 Season 2 Invitational and a top 8 in the CatsGoMoo conquest tournament over the weekend.
For those unfamiliar with the conquest format the rules are:
- Each player brings 4 decks with no sideboards and you can't bring the same faction combination. I.E. Stonescar Gunslingers and Scrappy Hour is illegal but Gunslingers and FPS Scream is allowed.
- Your opponent bans one of your deck before your match starts. You must win a game with each remaining deck. When you win that deck is "retired" for that match.
- Each player may switch decks after a win.
Building the Line-Up
Constructing a line-up for the event was more interesting than I expected. From reading other card games that use the format I'd learned that some common wisdom for line-ups is making it so you only have 1-2 bad matchups and banning those or focus on targeting a select range of archetypes and banning the outliers. I'd been having a lot of success with Feln on ladder and have the contrarian that its a reasonable deck for tournaments.
With that in mind I looked at what I normally struggle with as Feln (https://eternalwarcry.com/decks/details/T3AtBeY-fCc/conquest-feln), carnosaur decks since they can eat your 5 drops for free. I expected players to only bring 1 big time deck if any and built a line-up assuming I wouldn't face one. This lead me to TJP Midrange (https://eternalwarcry.com/decks/details/yfzXeT5NHyU/conquest-tjp) as my second deck since carnosaur decks don't care about the "hate" effects from pacifier and svetya. For my third deck I wanted something with free win potential but didn't keel over in a stiff breeze. I settled on Praxis Tokens (https://eternalwarcry.com/decks/details/Rk7tk3sTdME/conquest-tokens) given its recent success in tournaments. Deciding on my fourth deck was tricky since I didn't want to play another 3 faction deck, especially aggressive ones like FPJ Scream, and AP Mid is 50/50 against the field. Skycrag was an option because the ban of yetis, sandstorm titan, is best friends with carnosaur, but the deck is all in on winning by turn 4 or 5. In the end I settled on a version of Stonescar Gunslingers (https://eternalwarcry.com/decks/details/PQoThxFQKhI/conquest-suicide-guns) I'd been testing with auric interrogator as an aggressive refueling option. You'll notice a few unusual card choices I made to the decks given what I planned to face, like maindeck suffocates and no vanquish.
The Day Of
Decklists got published before the tournament started so I glossed through them to see what interesting decks people brought and try to glean what their line-up thought process was. One line-up stood out to me and that was Kangbreath's because it contained TWO big time decks. How was my strategy going to work if I only get one ban? In the end I tried not to worry about it since they are only one player and facing exactly them was low probability, cue foreshadow music.
Rd 1 I was paired against BassoonBuffoon with TJP Mid, JPS Flyer Control, Rakano Plate, and Skycrag Yetis. I chose to ban JPS Control because 8 board clears could be hard to slog through. They banned Feln. I had a quick 3-0 due to their TJP stumbling on power and my TJP pacifying Rakano Plate. 1-0
Rd 2 was against thedamn on TJP Chalice, Feln Control, Elysian Midrange, and FJS Armory. I banned Chalice because while a controlling deck isn't as vulnerable to svetya and pacifier like their other control decks. However they countered by banning TJP Mid. Still I was able to win the match 3-1 losing a game to Armory with Feln. 2-0
Rd 3 saw me get a feature match against......Kangbreath, the nightmare! He brought Xenan Killers, Rakano Aggro, AP Mid, and Praxis Mid to the table. I banned Xenan Killers because recurring carnosaurs is real tough for half my line-up. My feln was banned once again. We ended going the full 5 games with lots of back and forth. Unfortunately I have a bad habit of being too methodical with my plays and ended up losing due to time. 2-1
Rd 4 I was matched with f300XEN on FPS Haunted Highway, TJP Owl Ramp, Stonescar Aggro, and Xenan Killers. Sticking to my strategy I banned Xenan Killers, while they banned Feln. I was quickly staring up at an 0-2 hole with them still having the anything is possible Haunted Highway left to play. I took a few deep breaths to relax and prevent tilting. 2 games of influence/power screw and we were on to game 5. I wasn't able to complete the comeback swept. 2-2 but still live.
Rd 5 and a berth into the top 8 came down to TheRocke vs The man. The myth. ThePlatypusKing. The king chose to wield Scrappy Hour, Mono Justice, Praxis Tokens, and FPS Scream. This round I banned Scream because it has the ability to win from any board state. He banned TJP. We went to 5 games with the final coming down to Mono Justice vs Praxis Tokens. Copperhall bailiffs slowed my start but eventually enough tokens backed up by a fully powered obelisk were able to take it down. With that I'd gotten into my first top 8!
For the quarterfinals I was once again paired against Kangbreath. For this banning round I assumed they would stick to Feln so I tried to counter by banning Rakano aggro. My reasoning is that my other decks are a little slow to get going with no sweepers and their rakano was hyper aggressive so falling behind would spell almost certain doom. This time around our games were much less interesting. Excellent draws from Kangbreath and getting stuck on 2 power the third game caused me to make a quick exit. Kang went on to win the whole thing so congrats to him!
All in all I think I played pretty well and learned a few things about the conquest format. One strategy I didn't think to bring that a few players did was a very aggro heavy line-up intending to ban the one hailstorm/harsh rule/etc or dodge anyone that brought multiple control decks.
Props to my team The Great Parliament for hosting the tournament. You can catch them streaming Casual Friday tournaments every week at 5 pm edt over at https://www.twitch.tv/thegreatparliament.
The board state below is from my top 8 with Stonescar Gunslingers vs Praxis Mid. The goal of the puzzle is to find the line that gives you the highest chance to win. Comment in the reddit post if you can figure it out!
Scroll down for the answer!
The best line is attack with both interrogators and then pass holding up countess instead of playing instigator. This plays around torch and purify. Ambush in countess to block when opponent attacks for lethal. Opponent would then purify and interrogator and pass. You topdeck the undepleted power needed to pistol+rapid shot+pummel on interrogator for exactly lethal. While you won't always know whats on top its still good to look for the plays that might let you snatch victory away from the jaws of defeat. Shoutout to Twitch Chat for helping me find the line after the match.