Best of Three (but it’s text)

I would like to thank the whole Team TGP for the support and especally DrHero for the great sideboarding advices he gave me for the Top 8 matches!As part of our ongoing campaign to try new things and also explain away production failings as innovation, we’ve got a text version of Best of Three for you this week. aReNGee has simulated the back and forth that you can expect from the regular hosts, added Neon as a guest host, and even included an actual text interview with winner AromaNova.

RNG: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Best of Three! I’m aReNGee, and I’ve got two longtime absent faces joining me today. rekenner is back from his move, well not actually, he moved so he isn’t back, but he’s here and that’s what counts.

rekenner: I’m just here so I don’t get fined.

RNG: And we’re glad to have you! Longtime players will remember when Neon used to cast games and have insight, even if nowadays he just talks up Artifact. For those of you less familiar, Neon, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Neon: Yeah, it’s great to be out and chatting again. I had fun last time we chatted, and its good to take a break from making jet fuel from seaweed using carbonated water. By way of introduction, I’m the unpaid community hype fomentor, preening mafficker, and host of the Eternal Cast. Be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.

RNG: Thanks for coming out! Rek, what do we have on the schedule today?

Winrates

rekenner: Uh… archetype breakdown is first. Feln Control was the most popular deck this week, and it did pretty well. 64% winrate is solid and it put two copies in the Top 8, although that’s as far as they got. Jotun Feastcaller has given Feln decks a new angle of attack-

RNG: -and another card worth playing other than Champion of Cunning!

rekenner: TJP Midrange was tied for the second most popular deck, as well as the most successful. Mouche was the only pilot in the top eight but he was also our finalist. Argenport Midrange rounds out our list, tying for second most popular as well, but its winrate was pretty low considering it won the event.

RNG: Yeah, the rest of the decks were evenly balanced in small numbers. It’s interesting that despite the amount of Feln at the event, a Skycrag deck managed to make Top 4. Praxis Tokens took a heavy fall from two weeks ago, and neither scream archetype had a good showing. TJP in particular is a tough matchup for Scream, so maybe that’s not such a surprise. Chalice also flopped, much to the rejoicing of ExKirbi everywhere.

(I’m told ExKirbi is the official plural form of ExKirby)

Neon: The real story of the day is in the Top 8. I want to talk about Xenan!

RNG: Okay, let’s talk about the Top 8. AP Mid won, nothing to see there. TJP Mid came second, and is notable only because TJP Flyers variants were brought as well. They didn’t do very well.

rekenner: Magikarp piloted Skycrag to his second? third? top finish in a row. Lots of weapons and a full set of Obliterate are the highlights here.

Neon: Right sure whatever let’s talk about XENAN!

Alarmadillo Xenan.png
Alarmadillo Xenan

rekenner: The xenan deck’s power is reaaaally bad. Crests are so good, and there’s a limit to what you can do with a Seat and a Banner. That was always my issue with the deck, and Xenan decks in general.

Neon: Power aside, this Xenan deck goes full killers. The only removal in the main is Vara’s Choice (sorta) and XENAN INITIATION plus a full pack of Dark Returns. Your killer dudes are going to be killering and killering and killering forever.

RNG: In true Xenan fashion, it’s a grinder. Maindeck Sauropods like its 2016, Obelisk for more grind, Friendly Wisp and Auric Interrogator to do their best Wisdom of the Elder impression, Ayan to do it all again… It just throws a ball of STUFF at you and hopes its good enough.

rekenner: They’re also playing Carnosaurs for removal, with more in the side.

RNG: Yeah, that’s true. No copies of Mystic Ascendant in such a grindy deck is interesting, but I’m sure camat0 is rejoicing. Yeah, there’s a bunch of removal in the side I guess. It’s just interesting that there’s none in the main.

Neon: More room for Sauropods. Seriously though, it’s a pretty cool hedge against unit light control decks, and the Killer units are effective against Aegis units like Champion and Feast-Caller where Annihilate wouldn’t be. Seems like a solid meta choice at the moment.

rekenner: But the power is really, really bad.

RNG: Well, I’m inclined to trust Alamadillo. He’s like a modern day Tiger_HC.

several seconds of dead air

RNG: Really? Tiger_HC played basically nothing but Killers. It was HIS deck.

rekenner: …sure.

Neon: Alarmadillo is pretty good though, and this looks like a sweet meta call. I can’t wait to try it out on ladder.

RNG: Speaking of ladder, let’s talk about the SP Leaderboards!

rekenner: That’s not a ladder at all.

RNG: And this is barely a segue!

sp.png

RNG: Both of our top players this week moved up into the top 15, with AromaNova and Mouche each rocketing up to 8 points. Alarmadillo also claimed his first points in Season Two, pushing up into the top 5 after sitting for a long time at 11 points. Magikarp continues his rise, taking sole control of third place after tying for it last week. He’s got that All-Stars invite nearly in hand, and still has his eye on first place.

rekenner: Lots of moment on the SP front… What about IP?

RNG: Don’t ask stupid questions.

RNG: This week we are joined by our weekly winner AromaNova for our interview segment. We were unable to schedule a video interview with him but were able to score a written interview, which really makes this show format shine.

rekenner: Did you set this entire thing up just to play off the text interview?

RNG: Really this is all just framing for the interview, I didn’t want to be accused of looking lazy.

Neon: I haven’t said much lately. Can I read the questions?

RNG: Since he’s not actually here and neither are you, go for it.

rekenner: Now joining us is this week’s winner, AromaNova!

AromaNova: Hey guys, thanks for having me on the sh-

Neon: Let’s skip the pleasantries and get right into it. First question! What is your gaming background? When did you start playing Eternal?

All of the quotes attributed to AromaNova beyond this point are actual interview quotes, left as submitted with the exception of some spelling correction.

AromaNova: I’ve been playing Magic for about 20 years now, with several PTQ Top 8’s and a top 6 place at Team Grand Prix Barcelona in 2014. For the last years I only played Magic Online, exclusively Draft and Sealed. I also tired several other Card Games like Hearthstone, Shadowverse, Yu-Gi-Oh and some others. In February 2018 I came across Eternal and liked it very much from the beginning. I still play Magic here and there but actually Eternal takes up now most of the time I spend gaming. In March I started to play ETS Weeklys and played including the one I won on saturday 4 weekliess, I made top 8 in all of them!

RNG: 4 for 4 on Top 8s? Nice! Congratulations Nova – can I call you Nova?

Neon: clears throat Question 2. Tell us about The Eeck. How did you land on it? What changes did you make?

AromaNova: I actually couldn’t decide what to play for this Tournament, I was between TJP Midrange, AP Midrange or Praxis Tokens. I then checked out some different Lists of the Decks, looked at the Winrates from the last Tournaments and in the end I thought AP Midrange is just the most solid choice among them. It’s a very consistent and versatile Deck with few bad matchups and even the bad matchups are winnable. I then took the exact same 75 card Maindeck which Ilyak1986 made Top 8 with the Tournament before this. I made some changes to the Sideboard though regarding the meta I was expecting at the Tournament.

rekenner: Reasonable. AP Midrange is generally considered a solid choice.

RNG: If Darkness can do it…

Neon: Did you have a prediction for the meta this week? If so, did you run into the decks you expected? Did those matchups play out as expected?

AromaNova: I expected a lot of Feln Control, TJP Midrange, Praxis tokens and other AP Midrange decks. The reason I took this list over a list with Crownwatch Traitors and Inquisitor’s blade was mostly the TJP Midrange matchup. In this matchup Weapons are just not that good because of Hooru Pacifier and Equivocate, but a 5/5 flyer is very good in the Matchup. Also vs Feln Control the Weapons are mediocre because you get 2 for 1’d way to often. I played versus Feln Control in round 1 and I lost, i think the matchup is favored but I didn’t had the best draws. TJP Midrange I only faced in the Finals wich was a very close and intense match, I think the matchup is pretty even. I didn’t face Praxis Tokens but i think there were only 3, so I wasted some slots in the Sideboard for the full playset of Devastating Setback’s in the end. I ran into many diffrent decks in the end, but AP Midrange is very solid versus most played decks at the moment except maybe Xenan Midrange, and hard control decks can be a nightmare. I lost in the Swiss part versus Alarmadillo’s Xenan Midrange but somehow managed to win versus him in the semifinals 3-1, this was my hardest matchup.

Neon: Is this version the deck the real deal or a flash in the pan?

RNG: muffled laughter about asking if Argenport is a flash in the pan

AromaNova: I think this is the best version of the deck at the moment, the sideboard needs some adjustment but I think the Maindeck is where it should be. If Xenan Midrange and some Control decks like Chalice and so on grow in popularity again, AP Midrange is in a though spot and I probably would choose an other deck. Recurring killer units just generate so much value and get the Xenan deck way ahead. And the control decks you have to beat fast or you get beaten. But the Metagame changes anyway pretty fast so I make deck decisions from tournament to tournament.

Neon: You touched on this a bit earlier, but who was your hardest opponent / what was your most memorable match?

AromaNova: My hardest opponent was Alarmadillo, I wasn’t very happy to have to play versus him again in the semifinals after already loosing to him in the Swiss part. It’s a very though matchup, but in the end my deck showed that it can also just win the thought matchups if you get the right draws.

AromaNova: The most memorable match was clearly the finals, it was a intense close and though match. The matchup is pretty even and Mouche is a very good player but in the end I somehow managed to win a very close game 5 with the help of a Scraptank I got out of a Tavrod who got hit by an Equivocate.

Neon: Would you run this deck on ladder, and if so, would you make any changes?

AromaNova: I run this deck on ladder, but I think the best of 3 format suits the deck best. For ladder i usually don’t play 4 Sabotages, I either run 3 or even none and add some removal and Finest Hours. But at the moment it’s also fine to just leave the sabotages in the deck but this really depends on the actual metagame. Also a version with Crownwatch Traitors and more weapons might be better for ladder. It always depends how the meta is evolving, and I usually adjust my ladder list’s from day to day.

RNG: I think that’s the first time someone’s said something useful in response to that question about Argenport Midrange.

rekenner: “Depends on the metagame” is definitely broad advice though.

RNG: Well, we let Neon have his fun. Thanks for coming out Nova – I know English isn’t your first language so this was something of an ordeal to write, but I think it came out pretty well. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to interview you!

Neon: Yeah, great to have you!

rekenner waves

AromaNova: I would like to thank the whole Team TGP for the support and especially DrHero for the great sideboarding advice he gave me for the Top 8 matches!

RNG: That concludes this radical new version of Best of Three! Certainly less visual than most of our shows, but hopefully you’re able to read it at your leisure. Let us (well, mostly me) know what you think of the new format, and if you’d like to see more of this style in the future. Thanks for reading/watching!