Posted on Leave a comment

US Nationals Report – Part 2: Deck Lists and Day 1

1st Day of US Nationals

It’s the night before Nationals and I'm a bit stressed out on what my third deck should be. My third choice at the time was Anzi the Mender.

I felt like Anzi the Mender would be a bit slow to set up, since you exhaust your opponent’s resources and then OTK them with a combination of Crumbling Tower, Mimicking Magmites, and Duplication. I wanted to play something a bit faster so my games wouldn't go to time.

My friend Dratylis then suggested “No Buff Zuna”. The point of No Buff Zuna is to be extremely aggro as you have no buffs. This makes buff removal cards in your opponent’s deck worthless. This deck has great match ups against Mimicking Horror Treanu, Sicario, and any buff heavy deck.

Even though I built the deck the night before, I was still feeling more comfortable with this deck than Anzi the Mender.

Here are the decks I finally decided to use:

So we arrived at exhibition hall for Nationals around 10AM with our awesome Superior Seekers jerseys. We then proceeded to fill out our deck lists.

During this whole time, I was feeling so sick to my stomach, as I didn't think I was going to do well at Nationals. I quickly shoved those thoughts out of my head as I need to be a bit more confident.

All of the Nationals competitors took a picture in front of the Lightseekers booth before Round 1 started. Shortly after, Round 1 was posted and all of the competitors took their seats waiting for Round 1 to start.

Disclaimer: There will be one or two rounds I was not be able to accurately remember information as I waited too long to write this tournament report, so please bear with me. Thank you!

Round 1

Opponent: Build Better Jon
Hero I Banned: Dolo the Mighty
Hero Opponent Banned: Dolo the Mighty

We began by each banning one hero. I wasn't surprised when he banned Dolo nor was he when I did the same. Before the tournament I decided I was going to lead every game with Seleni (assuming she wasn't banned) so I have the match momentum in my favor.

Game 1 was Seleni vs Tempuz. As expected, Tempuz was being quite aggro, but that wasn't a problem for Seleni since I have ways to put Attack cards back into the opponent’s deck and a good amount of healing.

I was able to get my set up fairly easily with Reality Rift to bring Stellar Fusion and Flying Fortress or Time Chamber back into play. That game finished fairly fast so I had the momentum I needed for game 2.

Game 2 was Zuna vs Cassini. I was hoping he would stay with the same hero, as I felt my Zuna build had the upper hand when it came to playing against his Tempuz build, but he changed. So Game 2 was fairly tough.

Luckily, I was able to push damage with Zuna constantly thanks to Dugout Reactor and was able finish the game in a fair amount of time.

After the set was over, his friend approached him to ask him how he did. He responded with, “Oh man, I got swept!” We both chuckled and waited for our next round. Better Build Jon went on to be in top 8 with me being his only loss in swiss. Congrats man!

Match Record: 2-0

Round 2

Opponent: xSamwellx
Hero I Banned: Dolo the Mighty
Hero Opponent Banned: Dolo the Mighty

After we had banned each other’s hero, the judges checked our decks as part of their random deck checks (to keep everyone honest). We just sat there and waited for them to come back with our decks. When they returned with our decks, we were granted a time extension for our round.

Game 1 was Seleni vs Cassini. I was ready for this match up as I could get a faster set up than my opponent, and that's exactly what I did. I was able to do huge amounts of damage thanks to Flying Fortress and Time Chamber combined with Starhorn Tusker.

Game 2 was a different story. He stayed with Cassini and I switched to Zuna. He was able to get everything he needed to do a huge amount of damage early on and I couldn’t find any Crazed Bombers to save my life. I ended up losing that one.

Game 3 was Zuna vs Sicario. I was fairly certain that Zuna would win this match up easily, but oh boy was I wrong.

I had to work for that win after he got everything he needed to set up.

I was doing great in the beginning, then when I had him at low health, he played Shroud of Night to heal up and prevent me from attacking him. Without any damage reduction, I had to take those Abyss Tentacles, but eventually I was able to heal up and push damage whenever Shroud of Night expired.

Man, that was a close match! xSamwellx was able to make it to Top 16. Congrats man!

Match Record: 2- 1

Round 3

Opponent: Dratylis
Hero I Banned: Cassini
Hero Opponent Banned: Zuna

Watch This Match

When I saw we were paired at the top table, I approached him laughing, saying that we were matched up. We went to the top table and sat down only for Jacob from PlayFusion to come choose us for the featured table. This is the only round where I didn't care if I won or lost because I wanted both of us, as well as the rest of the team, to do well.

I went into this match with a good mindset about having fun as well trying my best.

We both banned the decks we were most scared of on each other’s side.

I was scared of his Cassini deck because he had one or two Paralysis Bugs in there. Knowing him, he would've kept Paralysis Bug out as long as he could to stop my Seleni deck.

He banned my Zuna because he knew I had two Dugout Reactors in my deck to constantly push damage, as well as Chrono Warper for buff control and Kreebal Jester for hand size control.

Game 1 was Treanu vs Seleni. It was interesting to say the least. This was our Astral vs Nature rematch from PAX South. This was a tough game as he kept putting up his defenses with Mossridge Defender, which forced me to constantly get rid of it.

I wanted to get through this game fast as the long game favored Treanu more than me.

I was able to set up a nice Reality Rift with Stellar Fusion, Time Chamber, and Flying Fortress. I then put another Flying Fortress down to force him to do something. He was able to stall me to the fourth corner of Stellar Fusion, but then I was able to make my push for 36 damage winning me the game.

I had to draw the last card in my deck to make this happen.

Game 2 was Treanu vs Dolo. I knew I had to end this game fast if I wanted to win, but I couldn't get my Crushing Blow to get rid of Stormshell so he kept playing Confused Shaman to heal up consistently.

I was able to get Crushing Blow towards the end, but it didn't matter since I didn't have enough damage in my deck to finish him.

Game 3 was Dolo vs Dolo. We pretty much had the same the deck list for Dolo except he one more Magma Spitter than me.

This game was pretty much standard Dolo game. He had better draws and piloted a bit better than I could. I made a mistake the 2nd last turn of the game.

But this was okay though since it was a close game and I was sitting as 2-1 only losing to my teammate so far. This meant I had to step it up and not lose my next rounds to have a shot at the Top 8.

Dratylis was able to make it to the Finals of Nationals. Congrats man!

Match record: 1-2

Round 4

Opponent: chris
Hero I Banned: Granite
Hero Opponent Banned: Dolo the Mighty

After a satisfying lunch, we decided to head back to the expo hall to get ready to start Round 4. At this point, my confidence was extremely high because of the close match last round with my teammate which demonstrated my progress over the last few months.

I felt like I could make it to the Top 8 by the end of the six rounds of Swiss. However, as soon as we were going to start Round 4, they made the announcement that it was going to be Top 16 instead of Top 8. This gave me a bit of a breather as I could afford to make a mistake or two if it came down to it.

Game 1 was Seleni vs Kora. This game shocked me as I didn't expect to see Kora at all at the US Nationals, let alone closer to the top tables.

I didn't want to find out what this deck could do so I tried to push for the win as soon as possible.

Kora is very good against aggro decks since it can heal up very good and do chip damage at the same time. However, since my Seleni was burst damage and not full aggro, I was able to out damage his healing letting me to win the first game.

I was able to Reality Rift everything I needed for the burst damage.

Game 2 was Zuna vs Kora. I knew I was going to have a rough time with Kora using my Zuna deck. Like I expected, he was able to heal every time I did a decent amount of damage to him.

He was eventually going to whittle me down to 0 with Kora’s trait. I started to see his deck get thinner and thinner, which made me believe that he was going to run out of healing soon. Man, I was so wrong.

The thing with this Kora deck is that it splashed into Shadow for Spirit Gate. He would then repeat the loop with Spirit Gate, Tornado, and Storm Calling to get his combo and action cards back infinitely. At this point, I knew I couldn't win this match and he proceeded to kill me with a combo.

Game 3 was Zuna vs Cassini. After what happened in Game 2, I had to make sure I saved my Chrono Warpers and Crazed Bomber whenever I drew them for stuff like Flying Fortress and Spectral Guides.

I was able to put on aggro pressure while removing pretty much every Flying Fortress he put down. He couldn't get the cards he needed to pay for his combo for lethal towards the end which caused me to win the set.

Chris went on to the Top 16 at US Nationals as well. Congrats man!

Match record: 2-1

Round 5

Opponent: WingedWeasel
Hero I Banned: Treanu
Hero Opponent Banned: Zuna

I knew I needed to win this round to be guaranteed a spot in the Top 16 and it wasn't going to be easy.

I actually talked about deck lists with WingedWeasel a while back. He had mentioned to me that he wasn't sure if he was coming to Nationals or not.

I'm glad he came to Nationals though, he gave me one heck of a round. Not knowing on what he decided to bring to Nationals, we got ready for Round 5.

Game 1 was Seleni vs Sicario. I knew this matchup was in my favor since I have the ability to get set up faster than Sicario.

He was able to get his defense cards early so he kept on healing while having Wall of Bones out. I was able to get to a point in the game where he was around 18 health remaining with no Wall of Bones out.

I proceeded to finish him in one turn from 18 to 0 with one Time Chamber and that was it.

Game 2 was Dolo vs Sicario. I knew this matchup was dependant on whether or not he gets set up quickly.

This guy had the god hand with Sicario.

He was able to get his item out as well as Tentacle, Abyss Hoarder, and another Tentacle on the first 2 turns. I knew I was going to have a rough time. I believe I was able to bring him down to low health, but he was Shroud of Night which shut me out from lethal. He was able to finish me off from that.

Game 3 was Dolo vs Sunhunter Tuktu. I felt a bit more comfortable in this matchup as I could see what was coming in his next couple of cards and plan accordingly.

Knowing what cards came next did not help me in this matchup. He was able to get every card he needed at the right time.

He was able to get all the defensive cards whenever I had lethal while being able to do massive damage to me with combos and buffs. This was the most aggro Sunhunter Tuktu that I ever played. This was even pushing Dolo to play defensive since he was so aggressive.

Luckily, he made a misplay towards the end. He used Meteor Shower when he could've used Tuktu's ability for a Mountain Fort to reduce my incoming damage to prolong the game a bit longer.

We were both on low health so I'm sure he could've pulled out the win if he didn't misplay. I was able to throw down a Crystal Bat, Rock Rager combo with the increase from Colossi Ritual Site for game.

WingedWeasel went on to the Top 4 at Nationals. Congrats man!

Match Record: 2-1

Round 6

Opponent: Cj_seeker
Hero I Banned: Seleni
Hero Opponent Banned: Seleni

I was finally going against the infinite loop lockout deck that all of my teammates were talking about. I felt uneasy going into this matchup as this meant I had to play flawlessly and fast to have a chance at winning.

To make things worse, this was the creator of the deck so the chances of him making mistakes were closer to 0%.

Anyways, I proceeded to ban his Seleni because I heard that was easiest to pull off the infinite lock. He also banned my Seleni because he had a feeling it was the Flying Fortress/Time Chamber archetype he was testing before Nationals. (Which it was.) I knew I had to win this game to be a higher seed in top cut.

Game 1 was Zuna vs Dolo. The primary job of the Dolo version of his lock deck is to stop attacks. This meant I couldn't push damage whenever he locked me.

Luckily, I had access to Chrono Warpers to help accelerate his Subjugator and Stone Scribe which ruined his loop.

However, he kept me constantly locked out. After turns of passing and not doing anything, I proceeded to scoop and give him Game 1.

Game 2 was Zuna vs Treanu. I felt like this matchup was in a bit in my favor since this was the Paralysis Bug version rather than Subjugator.

This version stopped Defend cards and drawing. I knew I had to draw a bunch of cards and save my resources for later in the match.

I didn't want to risk being aggro now and then have no cards whenever he locked me out. I remember passing my turn around 30 times whenever he had me locked to study his loop. I was then able apply aggro pressure at a specific point which caused the loop to become disturbed.

I quickly played Umbron Informant for more cards. The following turn I was able to Chrono Warper his Spectral Web and then Crazed Bomber his buffs.

This left me a couple of turns to put on aggro pressure. I was able to bring him to 0 shortly after. I knew this had to be my game plan for next game.

Game 3 was Dolo vs Treanu. My game plan was the same as the last.

I knew I had to draw a bunch of cards and wait for the point in the loop where I could put enough pressure to disturb it. This game went to time before I started applying pressure on the loop.

I was able to damage him while staying healthy which caused me to win this game in time.

After the game was over, I let out a sigh of relief telling him, “Hey man, good game! I didn't think I was going to win that one.” He replied, “Yeah I know, I thought I was going to have this game.”

Cj_Seeker went on to the Top 16 at Nationals. Congrats man!

Match Record: 2-1

This final win put me as 2nd seed with a record of 5-1 right behind my friend Dratylis. Mumbles and Bova (also Superior Seekers) placed 3rd and 5th respectively.

We were set up well for Day 2. We decided to celebrate our success with some pizza and wings at our Airbnb while we got ready for Day 2 of Nationals.

Keep Reading
Part 3: Top 16 and Final Thoughts