Interview with Invitational Champion Angrychicken

First of all, congratulations on the win – upper bracket all the way without dropping a match! You’ve had an impressive record in the ETS as well, but you first broke onto the tournament scene only four weeks ago. Can you tell us a bit about your Eternal background?

Angrychicken: Thank you very much. I started playing Eternal in the middle of December 2016, when a friend told me that there is this new online CCG in open beta being developed by some MTG pros. So I created an account and started playing, and it felt like fun. At that time, I did have stuff to do for university, so I didn’t participate in any tournaments until March when my exams were over.

What’s your secret? We all know you’ve played a lot with Big Combrei, but others haven’t had nearly as much success with the deck. Do you have a novel approach to the deck, or perhaps you’re an incredibly experienced pilot? Or do you think you’re just a solid player riding a wave of good fortune at the moment?

Angrychicken: Well, since I’m already qualified for the world championship now, I guess I can tell you my secret. I really like not playing Harsh Rule. In the most matchups, I board my Harsh Rules out, and get a bit more aggressive myself with those Awakened Students. My opponent usually boards in Stand Together and doesn’t commit to the board too much to play around Harsh Rule, so I get an advantage because I am able to stall out the game and then win with my better late game. The only matchup where I didn’t board my Harsh Rules out in the Invitational was against Burn Queen.

Angrychicken: I do think that I am quite experienced now, and a solid player that doesn’t make too many big mistakes. However, I cannot say though that I was an experienced Combrei player from the start of my ETS participation, because I just started playing Big Combrei the day before.

Wow! You’ve really taken to the deck then, and it’s probably going to be your calling card. Is that just because you feel it is very well positioned and have had success with it? Is there a deck that you would prefer to play but don’t think is as good?

Angrychicken: I think the deck is really good in the current meta, because the meta is quiet slow at the moment, and Combrei has access to those really good cards like Sandstorm Titan, Knight-Chancellor Siraf, and The Great Parliament, which become really hard to deal with if the game goes on long. However, my favourite deck is the Felnscar deck that uses Cabal Spymaster, West-Wind Herald, Calderan Gunsmith, and Mirror Image to go infinite, but unfortunately that deck is just not good.

Not the most consistent of decks, to be sure. What has your experience been with the tournament series, especially preparation? I understand you joined a testing team for this event, how was that experience?

Angrychicken: When I started playing in the tournaments, I only did it for fun. I didn’t expect to go to the top there. During the weekly tournaments, I have not been in any testing team, and I didn’t do any special testing before the events. My only preparation was thinking a bit about what the meta will be like, and what my 90 cards should be and then building a main deck out of it.

Angrychicken: Before the Invitational I joined the team “The Mediocre Parliament”. It was a really good experience, because we did some deck testing together, discussed what some players will likely bring to the event, and we’ve built our decks together. Then on Sunday, we did test the matchup against TJP Midrange, and especially the matchup against Burn Queen. Especially the games against Burn Queen helped me a lot in knowing how I should approach the game, and it also affected my choices when sideboarding.

Regarding the tournament itself, were there any decks you were hoping to dodge? Can you answer what many players are asking, what crushes Big Combrei right now?

Angrychicken: I didn’t think about, what i will hopefully dodge. When I looked at the decklists of the tournament on Friday, I got kinda scared at first. I think Calimdir’s Felnscar Reanimator list should be really good against Big Combrei. To be honest, I didn’t win that match because I’m a skillful player, but rather because Calimdir had really bad draws. Another deck that should be good against Big Combrei is Stonescar Burn, since on ladder you don’t have access to cards like healer’s cloak that prevent you from dying to burn after you have managed to get control of the board. Also, I did have trouble dealing with Stonescar Kalis in the weekly tournaments.

So with both MSM and Worlds secured, what can we expect from you next? Will you look to continue your winning ways, or relax a little and play decks for fun at the odd weekly?

Angrychicken: That question has already crossed my mind, but I’m not sure what the answer is yet. I’m hoping I can continue my winning streak in the MSM, but I might not try-hard too much in the tournaments once my lectures start again at the end of April.

Now then, a question about the man behind the mask. Where did the name “AngryChicken” come from?

Angrychicken: Honestly, I don’t know. It just came up in my head a few years ago, and I am using that nickname in most online activities since then.

No relation to Hearthstone’s “AngryChicken” then? I take it you’re not a Hearthstone player. Are there any other games (besides Eternal) you often play?

Angrychicken: I have been playing Hearthstone until I started playing Eternal, but I already used “Angrychicken” in League of Legends before Hearthstone was released, so the name has no relation to it. At the moment, I don’t play games other than Eternal frequently.

Our final question – what’s your impression of the Eternal metagame as a whole right now? Was there a metagame you enjoyed more? Is there a single card change that you think would vastly improve the metagame?

Angrychicken: I think the metagame is dominated by slow decks at the moment, although there are still some Stonescar and Rakano decks out there. Since Big Combrei does really well in a slow meta, this is my favourite meta so far. I don’t know about a single card change, but I think nerfing some of the important tools of Big Combrei would be healthy to the metagame since that deck has a huge presence.

Thank you Angrychicken! Congratulations on your win, and good luck at the Midseaon Major!

Angrychicken: Thank you for having me here.