Hey guys, I’m aReNGee and I’m the guy who usually writes the primers for major tournaments and premiere events. Unfortunately, I’m on vacation for the month of August and going to be totally out of contact starting this weekend, so I have to write this Season’s primer a lot earlier than usual. We only know 12 of our 32 players and we have no idea if they’ll even confirm, so this primer will contain a lot of speculation as to who will show up. There’s still a weekly tournament, the LCQ, and secondary invites and tiebreaks to go, so lots could change, but let’s dive into it anyways and take a look at who will be playing and what are the stakes.
What’s at stake?
The Invitational has a $250 prize pool, but money isn’t thing on any of these player’s minds. The ETS World Championships is just a single season away, and the competition is fierce. Not only does the winner get a direct invite, but everyone who does well at the tournament gets to earn valuable Series Points and inch themselves closer to clinching direct invite.
Of our twelve confirmed players, only one of them has more than 4 Series Points at the time of writing and many of the players are playing in their first Invitational event. Among these players, Illunga, Mouche, and smj1360 are the returning veterans. All eleven players are in fantastic position to improve their chances to go to Worlds. With a Top 8 or better, they’ll leap to the top of the Wildcard spots and be in good shape to challenge for a direct invite in Season Six.
Speaking of direct invites, we have some high rollers (probably) in attendance. Angrychicken may have already won an invite and be our points leader, but he has his eye on the Player of the Year prize and will be looking to pad his numbers with another good result. Hot on his heels is Unearthly, who has his eye on the same prize – though he’ll settle for an Invitational win. HiThar and IlyaK are tied in the standings and both are currently in good shape to receive a direct invite, but that 5 point gap looks pretty small with an Invitational plus another full season still to go. They’d love to pick up some points here and solidify their position – as well as close the gap on first place!
Elunex is current in line for the 8th and final direct invite, but at the time of writing he is not attending the Invitational, which is a great opportunity for probable invitational players Paradox and Tobboo to snatch some points and claim his spot! Each player is less than 2 points behind him, so a Top 8 or better could move them into the direct invite territory – depending on how those below them do! The rest of the players currently contesting for points invites have six or fewer points, which means they’ll need a very good result to contest Elunex, but each and every point counts for Wildcard positioning! There will be lots of jockeying for position, and some of our (potential) players will be joining us with only a single point – or none, if Buckwheat makes it in! There’s no time like the present to start your climb towards Worlds, and no better way to come back from a point deficit than to win the whole event. We’ve had lots of time to figure out what sort of decks will be effective in the current metagame, so I look forward to seeing who can go one step further and win the Invitational.
Unfortunately I will not be able to do administrative things until early September, so Point updates and prize payouts will need to wait until that time. Please bear with us!
aReNGee’s Top 8 Pre-Predictions
As a fun little inclusion, all the RNGEternal members like to make pre-tournament predictions on who they think is going to make Top 8. Historically, we’ve done slightly above average as a team, with myself definitely performing the worst. We always make these predictions before seeing decklists – this season, I’m going to go one step further and make my predictions before seeing the players! These could (should) be wildly inaccurate, and since I’m making them in a vacuum they’re more or less blind guesses, but never bet against chicken with the Invitational on the line!
RNG predicts the Top 8 will be: