Updated: Mar 9
Lonk joins us to go over his experience with the recent Heartbreaker Bash, and tells us his prep routine and thoughts on the Conquest format.
So, I did a thing this past weekend.
Namely, I signed up for the Heartbreaker Bash for the fun of it and found myself in the Top 8. I was not expecting to play more than a few games before dropping, let alone make it to day 2, but it happened.
I think my success came down to some planning and preparation on my part. So if you are looking to get into some competitive play, I’ll share with you how I approached things. Hopefully, it will help you when planning to compete either in a tournament, or on the ladder.
The format style was conquest and best out of 3. Players submitted 3 different decks, but could not repeat color combinations of 2 or more colors. So you could play red and red orange, but you could not play red orange and red orange green. All decklists were posted to Mythgard Hub, and once pairings were announced, we would look at each other’s decklists and choose one of the opponent’s decks to “ban”. They could not use that deck for the match and had to win with the other 2. If you won with one deck, you then had to win with the other. If you lost, you could choose to either replay the same deck or use your other one and try to win.
Now the question was, what do I want to play?
The first thing I had to figure it is, what is everyone else doing? The meta is still getting settled after the recent purple patch, but the “Big 3” with red orange midrange, green yellow control, and aztec control are definitely still very prominent. Of those three, I expected red orange midrange to be popular because versatility is the name of its game. It can run aggressively against the control decks, or slow down and play a more controlling game against aggro.
So of course I was interested in RO midrange. But remember, the opponent can choose a deck to ban, and red orange midrange, well, let’s just say it tends to draw a lot of ire. So there was a good possibility that I would never even get a chance to play it at all. Perhaps I could instead use it as bait for my opponents to take so I could consistently play the decks I wanted too. And if they didn’t take the bait, then hey, I get to play one of the top decks in the meta game.
I still wanted a versatile midrange deck that could handle a variety of archetypes in my arsenal. If only I was a youtuber and got to try out a variety of de- oh wait, there was that sweet red green midrange that I showcased a couple of weeks ago. The deck has gone 7-4 since the patch, so maybe its cooled a bit, but it was 18-7 overall, and maybe RG is not as powerful as RO, but RG is still very good in its own right.
For my third deck, I went with purple green control. I haven’t played it on my channel yet, but stay tuned. PG uses a bunch of big, stompy minions that are also good at controlling the battlefield. It’s also a fairly new archetype working its way into the metagame, so not everyone may be prepared for it or see it as a big threat. I was 7-1 on the ladder with it at the time, so I was fairly confident that it was at least a good deck.
With these 3 I knew I had a good plan vs aggro and midrange, and both RG and PG have had success vs Aztec control and RO midrange. GY control is still such a tough deck to beat, so my plan was if the opponent had GY control, ban it. Outside of that, it would be decided on a case by case basis. I could use my ability to ban to work the odds in my favor.
On Saturday, we did the swiss rounds, and overall my deck went 3-2. I won 2, lost 2, and when it became clear that 3-2 would be good enough to make the final cut, I was able to win the “win and you’re in” match.
Some cool stuff that took place:
I won one game at 4 life because Seven Ring Ritual turned the corner against blue red midrange. Then an Iku-Turso top deck sealed the deal.
Perfect Grade was, well, perfect. He got onto the battlefield a few times and had a propensity for taking control of the board. And I owe a special thank you to my subscribers who reminded me multiple times after my Purple Yellow control video that you can use Grade’s abilities multiple times in a turn.
I didn’t get to play Pentacle of Flavors a whole lot, but in my last round of swiss, I got one on a Night Hag who proceeded to take out a Zolea, a Herald of Pestilence, and then dealt enough damage to Kushiel to allow other minions to take her out. Pentacle is one messed up card, but in a good way.
My worst punt was when I failed to attack into my opponent’s pair of Twins, and instead played the Seven Ring Ritual first. Instead of having a Hellion in every lane, I ended up with 2 open lanes after I did crash into the twins, and was unable to finish off those twins because of it. I rightfully ended up losing the match.
Like I said, I ended up going 3-2 and making the Top 8. My first match in the playoffs was against 2_faca, and I had defeated them in the swiss rounds the day before. Their Blue Red midrange was able to get underneath my GR before I could get out the Seven Ring Ritual in game 1, and game 2 was lost because they played out a Lavish Proxy while I was empty handed with PG, and I just could not come up with a way to remove it in time. I would have had lethal if not for that Proxy. Oh well.
2_faca, by the way, ended up in second place overall.
Afterwards, KoolKat asked if I would have done things any differently, and my answer was, and still is, no. My execution maybe could have been better, but I feel my strategy was sound. I believe there were 3 GY control decks that I chose to ban, as well 3 RO midrange decks. My RO midrange as a distraction plan worked like a charm. Of the 6 matches I played, my opponent banned it 5 times. The first match I played the opponent picked RG, so RO came in off the bench and won the game. When I didn’t have RO, RG, was able to step in and fill the void nicely.
I was also correct in having faith that my decks could handle Aztec control. It ended up being my most common matchup. I played 4 games against Aztec, and was able to go 3-1 against it.
My record was not as good as I would have liked it, of course, but at the end of the day, I was able to do enough to make day 2. I’m glad I did the preparation I did though. I think the fact that I did think things through helpwed carry me through the day, even if I couldn’t quite make it to the finish line.
This was my second time playing in a tourney hosted by 983 media, and once again it was a lot of fun. But there are a couple of things I have to nitpick on with the conquest format.
As someone pointed out just before the event, there should be a way to decide who picks which deck to ban first. The person choosing second could make their decision based on what their opponent banned. I pretty much knew what I was banning before my opponent even chose, and I think the other players I faced did pretty much the same. Unfortunately, there’s just no easy to set up who picks first at this point, but it didn’t detract from the gameplay or give anyone an unfair advantage.
The other issue I had was with the conquest format itself. The tournament did not have a great turnout, and it’s not surprising as to why. A lot of players may only have one or two competitive decks, and asking them to have 3 in order to participate is a lot. So there’s a big barrier to entry for newer players.
I enjoyed the format tremendously, I loved the strategy involved in it, but I don’t think it should be a format that’s used too often. You really want to allow newer players to come in and enjoy something as fun and exciting as a tournament, and requiring 3 competitive decks leaves a lot of players feeling excluded. Maybe this is a format to use as a competition among content creators, or maybe as a once a year prestige type of event. The more competition, the more fun it tends to be.
So congratulations on mkwht603 who took home the proverbial trophy. I would encourage everyone to try out a tournament, because you have nothing to lose from participating. And if you do a little bit of planning and preparation, you might find yourself in places you never expected to be.