2018 Season Four Invitational – Viewer’s Guide

The Invitational is the capstone tournament of every ETS Season, and this Invitational marks the end of the entire ETS regular season in 2018. The only tournament remaining is the ETS World Championships, and there’s a direct invitation plus a ton of valuable points on the line. Additionally, there’s $1500 USD in prizes courtesy of Dire Wolf Digital and a number of special prizes courtesy of Inked Gaming! We will of course be broadcasting both days of tournament action, and this viewer’s guide will bring you up to speed on the key dates, as well as walk you through the players. If you’ve read one of these before, you know what to expect. If not, you’re in for a treat. Here we go!

Dates

Day 1 will take place on Saturday, November 17th, beginning at 11am EST.

Day 2 will take place on Sunday, November 18th, also beginning at 11am EST.

Watch the stream live on twitch.tv/aReNGeeEternal!

Ruleset and Format

Deck Submission: Players submit a single deck for this tournament, as per the usual deckbuilding rules for ETS tournaments.

Day 1 Matches: Matches on day 1 are played in the “Invitational Swiss” format, with 7 rounds and a target of 4 wins. In the Invitational Swiss format, matches are played the same as weekly tournaments – best of three matches against someone with an identical record. However, there is no dropping – players will be eliminated once they reach 4 losses, and qualify for day 2 once they reach 4 wins. After seven rounds, half the players will be eliminated and half the players will move on.

Day 2 Matches: On day 2, the format changes to a randomly seeded Single Elimination tournament. Matches are played best of five, rather than best of three. Once a player loses a match, they are eliminated from the tournament.

Invitational Prizing – $1500 Prize Pool courtesy of Dire Wolf Digital, plus special prizes provided by Inked Gaming

What are Series Points?

1st Place: The winner will receive the title of Invitational Champion, a direct invite to the ETS World Championships, a cash prize of $500 USD, a custom 2018 Invitational Winner hoodie, 12 Series Points,  and an Invitational Mousepad!

2nd Place: The runner up receives 10 Series Points, a cash prize of $260 USD, and an Invitational Mousepad.

3rd/4th Place: Receive 8 Series Points, a cash prize of $100 USD, and an Invitational Mousepad.

5th through 8th Place: Receive 6 Series Points, a cash prize of $75 USD, and an Invitational Mousepad.

9th through 16th Place: Receive 4 Series Points and a cash prize of $30 USD.

Who’s Playing?

Let’s be honest, the player profiles and the predictions are the only reason anybody reads these guides. I think we hit a good spot last time, so I’m just going to run it back – with some added stats! Players are introduced in order of Invitational Points and each have a nickname I made up that different from any previous nicknames they may have had.

Almost “the Herald” (27 IP, 12 SP)

Season Four was Almost’s ETS debut. He played five weeks, all of them with his own custom deck that nobody else was on. In that time he won a weekly, came second, made top four, and also set a single season record for Invitational Points earned. This is one of the most impressive single seasons we’ve ever seen, and if Almost can keep even half of his momentum going he’s likely to roll deep into the Invitational.

Aetherllama “the Two Timer” (23 IP, 17 SP)

No, he’s not unfaithful. In fact, he’s the man to put your faith in. Aetherllama won not one, but two weekly tournaments in a single season, a feat only equaled by two other players in Eternal history/my memory. He needs at least six points to go to worlds – he’ll be hungry!

Mouche “the Correctly Rated” (23 IP, 51 SP)

Mouche “the Underrated” (23 IP, 28 SP, Winnerx2)

Sometimes you just dump your hand on the table. After a career best characterized by sneaking into big tournaments, Mouche won back to back tournaments and silenced all the doubters. For the first time, he’s entering as a favorite rather than a longshot. Will he be able to keep his newfound momentum going, or will he slip back into the shadows?

The above quote was Mouche’s blurb for the Season Three Invitational – a tournament he then won. He capped it with another win in early Season Four, his fourth win in six weeks. After this display of absolute dominance, Mouche now has more points in 2018 than any player other than camat0 has in their entire career. Mouche is far in the lead for the 2018 Player of the Year race – will he decide to lock it up here and now?

Kroge “the Stats Guy” (22 IP, 15 SP)

Best known for running stats and points round by round and putting my manual system to shame, fellow tournament organizer Kroge shows that his playing skills are up to snuff as well. With a weekly win, a solid season, and most importantly a useful stats database, Kroge is on pace to have a great invitational experience, possibly as a viewer listening to casters make use of his stats.

Erik9099 “the Established Kid” (22 IP, 18 SP)

I don’t know if the numbers are important and at this point I’m too afraid to ask. After a win in his debut season that earned him the nickname “the New Kid” Erik whiffed on a followup win, but did manage two strong finishes and collected plenty of points. He’s now one place out of a points invite to worlds, but six points back. A top 8 will get him there – can he put the points together?

Magikarp “the Man Who Popularized And Continues To Play Praxis Tokens But Claims We Should Hate The Game Not The Player” (22 IP, 31 SP)

One man, one deck, a heck of a lot of success. Players may moan and groan about Praxis Tokens (LightsOutAce in particular has some entertaining comments involving lots of profanity) but the deck can certainly be effective, especially when you’re as practiced with it as Magikarp is. He’ll play plenty of other decks but when he needs to Rally, he Assembles some 1/1s and goes to town. He’s got 31 points for a reason – don’t be surprised if he earns his third Invitational Day Two.

SooNo “the ECL Champion” (22 IP, 29 SP)

SooNo has been picking up a ton of steam over the last two seasons. He earned a full four top 8s this season and brought himself a comfortable buffer in the Worlds Invitation race. He also played tournement’s every Sunday in The Great Parliament’s Eternal Community League, where he won at least one Invitational during this time frame. He’s played a whole lot of tournament Eternal and done extremely well, yet in classic SooNo fashion he’s set his sights even higher.

camat0 “the Nobody” (21 IP, 41 SP)

I’m kidding, he’s the defending World Champion and the second highest ranked player in both the 2018 and the career Series Point Rankings. Camat0 has done more than enough this season to comfortably rest on his laurels until the Invitational, but that’s not his style. He damn near took down a tournament with a FPS gunslingers list he would have called manifestly unplayable if he was the type to know how to spell either of those words. camat0 might come out for real, or he might be memeing, but either way he’s dangerous and could very well go the distance.

sifudanny “the Majestic Orangutan” (21 IP, 8 SP)

Technically, SooNo named the team of overmaster/TonyGeeeee/sifudanny that would fall a single point short of first place in the Season Four Team Series, but its a nice change of pace from SPG Echo. danny more than pulled his weight on that team, earning 21 points and two top 8s on his way to an Invitational invite. His point total is too low for anything other than a win to earn him a direct invite, but he’s also need to collect a Top 8 or better just for a shot at Wildcards. Might as well win!

TonyGeeeee “the Placeholder” (21 IP, 28 SP)

This section has been unintentionally left blank due to time constraints.

kartoffel “the Dark Horse” (20 IP, 6 SP)

In a rare turn of events given how deep we are in the season, kartoffel is a player I don’t actually know that much about. He earned all of his points this season, with a pair of Top 4 and some end of season points on his way to the Invitational. He did join up this season with a couple of players to form LUTHA Doc, a team centered around Doc28 being a doctor. Teams have been formed for worse reasons – will kartoffel be able to continue his presumably team powered succcess?

theovermaster “the Continued Surprise” (20 IP, 16 SP)

Wait, what the hell happened? In the season three writeup I was commenting on how overmaster had earned his first ever series point off his first ever ETS Top 8. Then he goes off and comes within a match of winning the whole event. The world may not have been ready for the timeline with overmaster, Invitational Champion – my heart sure wasn’t. However, he’s back again and this time he has a Top 4 to brag about – his chances look twice as good this time!

BruisedByGod”the Slumping” (19 IP, 34 SP)

It looks weird to say, but only a single Top 8 in Season Four really is a weak season based on what we’ve come to expect from BruisedByGod. Of Seek Power Gaming’s many strong players, including two Invitational Champions, BruisedByGod is the highest ranked. He’s had a very lethargic season – will he shake off the rust and bring home a third Invitational for SPG?

gozuuu “the Runback” (19 IP, 10 SP)

After sneaking into the Season Three Invitational on tiebreaks with only a single SP to his name, gozuuu earned a very respectable Top 8 finish and ran back a much stronger Season Four. He’ll be stepping back into the Invitational ring with higher expectations on him – can he perform without the element of surprise?

Grimfan “the Streamer” (19 IP, 11 SP)

The nickname is a bit of a gimme, but Grimfan did split his attention during an Invitational tournament in order to give his viewers the best experience possible. That’s some dedication! He also ran a streaming panel just this week to help teach the community how to get into streaming Eternal. That said, he promised that all cameras are off this coming weekend and that the Invitational has his full attention. ET tends to perform when they show up… How will Grimfan fare?

IllserbIll “the Player With Useless Letters” (19 IP, 9 SP)

Sorry serb, they’re holding you back. Despite his training weights, serb was able to put together two weekly Top 8s, but wasn’t able to go any further. He’s waited as long as he can – for this tournament, the training weights are off and serb will be going full force.

Krizalio “the Странник” (18 IP, 15 SP)

In theory, I need some new material. In practice, I’m gonna keep going back to that well. Krizalio has had a quiet season with only a single top 8 to his name, but this was the pattern that set up his Season Two Invitational Top 8. He also keeps making Invitationals without fail, hence the constant well-going. Let’s see if history will repeat itself (again).

Paradox “the Gambler” (18 IP, 20 SP)

High risk, high reward. It may come as a surprise to many that Paradox actually has one of the lowest winrates of the Worlds players. He’s a proponent of aggro and he’s not afraid to bring an untuned list, nor is he one to drop early. However, when it works, it really works, as his Invitational win will attest. I’m expecting something fun from him this time around – don’t let me down!

sifar “the Players Whose Name Caused a Good Deal Of Confusion During The Test Tournament Where There Were A Large Amount of Placeholder Players Named Siraf” (18 IP, 2 SP)

The nickname doesn’t really say anything about his play, but it was the moment that stuck out the most for me. sifar has had a quiet debut – this is his first ETS season and he played all eight weeks! He also Top 64’d at least one DWD tournament during that time, hence the nickname. Will his premiere tournament debut be a success?

Tobbo “the ex-Captain” (18 IP, 25 SP)

After leading team Eternal Titans to success in a myriad of Team Leagues and Series, Tobbo takes a well deserved break and hits the bench for a season, presumably to focus on his individual play. Tobbo is currently in line for a direct invite, but needs to be careful – there’s plenty below him who would love to snatch it given the opportunity. A Top 16 here will basically secure his berth, and I imagine that’s what he’ll be aiming for.

Doc28 “the Doctor, not a Captain” (17 IP, 1 SP)

Star Trek joke aside that I was unable to start with Damn, Doc28 is the whole reason for team LUTHA Docs existence, or at least its name. Both the team and Doc himself are new to the ETS and he hasn’t been able to put up good numbers just yet. This will be his debut premiere tournament – will he be able to make day two?

Dunkelwerk “the 33rd Best Player” (17 IP, 1 SP)

Best known for very publicly landing on the bubble during the first DWD test tournament, Dunkelwerk ran it back and made day two of a later tournament to redeem himself. He’s yet to make day 2 here – his single top 8 this season was his first ever point. Will he be able to translate in client success to the Invitational, or will he end up 33rd again?

Kangbreath “the Player Most Frequently Thought To Be On OND” (17 IP, 25 SP)

He’s not on OND. He’s not Unearthly’s successor, and he’s not even particularly toxic. Basically, all of my information is wrong.

Like any good journalist, that’s not going to prevent me from continuing to report rumor and/or hallucination as fact. Kang continues to earn ~6 points per season and is currently in line to earn a direct Worlds invite. Like Tobbo, he’ll be looking for a few points to cap his season – and unless something goes wrong, he’s likely to get them. Good luck Kang!

aromanova “the Silent” (16 IP, 10 SP)

A silent season for aromanova – no points, no top 8s, no news of note. After two hyped Invitationals, he’s flying way under the radar and well back from Worlds contention. Will he put together a late run or keep his peace?

flash2351 “the Tolerant” (16 IP, 18 SP)

I flamed flash pretty good in Season Two. In Season Three, I built him up to ensure his fall. Not once did I get a word of complaint. One of the few surviving members of OG salt Mine Owls and Dragons, flash’s thick skin lets him tune it all out and keep his cool. He’s heading into the most important tournament of the season with his potential Worlds Invite on the line… He’ll need all the cool he can keep.

heywhyyou “the Vape Guy” (16 IP, 13 SP)

Once every couple months HWY will post a bunch of stuff pushing vape stuff and other… products, and we’re not entirely sure why. These incidents have caused some stress, especially on the team side, but HWY seems to be mostly unaffected by any fallout. After a HUGE Season One Invitational second place finish, HWY has been mostly quiet, adding a single top 4 this season. Will he return to his Season One success or will he remain as inscrutable as ever?

jez2718 “the MAC” (16 IP, 18 SP)

MAC stands for “mostly Aggro-Control,” because that’s how jez quantifies every deck. Yes, quantifies. Numbers are involved, probably as accomplices. Despite his offbeat deck naming conventions, jez is a strong player and one of the players best poised to snipe a Worlds invitation. All that’s left is the execution – can he handle the pressure?

Pupicitus “the Disappointed” (16 IP, 15 SP)

It’s been an “almost but not quite” kinda season for Pupi – let’s see if he can go the full distance at the Invitational.

That quote from the Season Three Invitational writeup proved unfortunately prophetic – Pupi fell short of Day 2 and wasn’t able to put together a single point in Season Four, which is particularly frustrating for him because he was in such prime position for a Worlds Invite going into the third Invitational. He’s got one more tournament to get back on track – can he do it?

_kubi_ “the Italicized” (16 IP, 0 SP)

Another victim of the 5 character minimum, kubi’s name is often italicized in Discord because, well, underscores are how Discord marks down italics. Things have not looked good for kubi – he has yet to earn his first point. However, he’s a founding member of the illustrious LUTHA Doc, all three of which made the Invitational – I expect the three of them to break the meta and take it down.

DrPringles “the (other) Doctor” (16 IP, 9 SP)

Its some Doc-on-Doc action as Pringles faces off against Doc28, probably in the first round because we like that kind of storyline. I still don’t know if Pringles is actually a doctor of any kind, but I don’t know if Doc is either so it balances out. As a player, Pringles added a top 8 to his solid but unexceptional point total – he’ll be looking to the Invitational to get him over the hump and into Wildcard territory.

I_Am_Monstrum “the Monster” (16 IP, 2 SP)

After some weak initial tournaments, Monstrum has battled back to become a solid middle of the pack grinder. However, that’s all he is – for now. The Invitational is a great place to take the step forward into the top ranks. He wasn’t able to do it in Season Three… will this time be different?

JonahVeil “the Legend” (15 IP, 0 SP)

JonahVeil is something of a legend in the streaming community – people have a lot of strong opinions about him. Jonah has played a few tournament in the ETS, but this will be his premiere debut. This is a whole other ball game and importantly, played off stream. Will he be able to focus, or be put out of his element?

Predictions

The real draw of this document – two RNGEternal members randomly guessing which players they think will make day two and Top 8. We’ve never had much success with this, but as always, these predictions are just for fun! There are 32 players at the Invitational, and 16 make day two, but we’ve chosen to pick Top 8 players rather than Top 16 to make it less of a coin flip. Players are listed in alphabetical order. Rumors of RNG once getting more than two players right are unconfirmed.

aReNGee’s Top 8 Predictions

  1. Almost – His legendary rise is missing something… A strong result to boost him into worlds or at least wildcard contention is it. The train won’t stop here!
  2. camat0 – I have chills just thinking about his (terrible) decklist and even greater chills imagining the success he’ll have with it.
  3. Doc28 – Doc1 through 27 did not survive their training. Doc28 is a killing machine sent from the future to destroy Pringles… and also make Top 8.
  4. Mouche – Player of the Year ain’t just for show.
  5. sifudanny – This is SPG’s tournament to win and I think this is the player who’s gonna do it.
  6. Grimfan – This is ET’s tournament to win and I know this is the player who’s gonna do it.
  7. SooNo – No player in this tournament is hungrier and no player wants it more. Also, no player will be saltier if it doesn’t happen.
  8. theovermaster – I’m not sure who was most surprised that this was my correct prediction last time, but it worked out so I’m running it back.

Bradykin’s Random Top 8 Predictions

He didn’t do them

SPG childroland’s Useful Top 8 Predictions

These might actually be based in reality

  1. Almost – He just burst onto the scene with great results from innovative decks. Rumor is he has something even more spicy for the invitational. We’re all eager to see the new tech perform.
  2. SPG BruisedByGod – As aReNGee notes, he has been on a bit of a slump recently, but he’s an extremely skilled player and brewer, this is the perfect time to break that slump.
  3. camat0 – One of the best players ever to pick up the digital cards we all love, it would be odd to see weak performance from Camat0.
  4. Mouche – Will Mouche be our first ever 2 time Invitational winner? His recent results certainly make a strong case.
  5. SPG Overmaster – For those who missed the top 64 of the last DWD test tournament, and since it wasn’t broadcast, that’s probably a lot of people, Overmaster put up his second top 4 in a row. I expect that momentum to translate here.
  6. SPG Paradox – He’s a great player whose had a great season and I was forbidden to chose TonyGeeeee for “curse” reasons. Which is odd, because this isn’t even Team League.
  7. SPG SooNo – SooNo is a very good player who has been putting up even stronger than usual results recently, expect him to continue the streak.
  8. Tobbo – A well established player with consistently strong results, it would be silly to count him out.

Xenorath’s Top 8 Percentages

  1. aetherllama – While other players grind aetherllama wins. Having two ETS weekly this season they sure understand what it takes to win and win when it matters.
  2. Almost – When you have a seasonal debut and show a 75%+ winrate over 37 rounds its difficult to argue. Many competitive players tend to think combo is a joke. Ignore their 75% at your own peril.
  3. BruisedByGod – With a whopping 196 rounds played this year BBG is the ETS’ most active player so far for 2018. Keep up a 62% winrate through all that gives BBG a huge edge in competitive endurance giving them tournament inevitability.
  4. camat0 – While his winrate is only 58% this season his last three event lists this season were certainly on the significantly more experimental side of the meta. Maybe to test them out, maybe to tank his winrate and fly a bit under the radar. These are the lines of play I expect from our World Champio.
  5. Mouche – If you discount Almost’s winrate as variance Mouche is the only other player to show a greater 70% 2018 winrate. These number come from 136 rounds played this year – variance isn’t going to hand wave that away.
  6. Kroge – A solid 67% win rate over 43 rounds this season, almost 10 whole percentage points up from his non market winrate this year Kroge adapted better than most in the sideboard to markets switch.
  7. sifudanny – The second best winrate this season: 69% but no weekly wins. This sifu has been quietly putting up results and there is no indication that this will change.
  8. TonyGeeeee – Has the biggest difference between game win rate (53%) and round winrate (61%) of all players this year. That shows an ability to adapt to the matchup and win out a round when it matters.