This week’s MWO was won by the very first person to be featured in Journey of Souls. I got the privilege to talk with DecadentHamster about the latest tournament and the upcoming purple cards.
Card game experience: 7 years
Mythgard experience: ~2 months
Q: Do you tend to do better at playing a pre-existing archetype or do you prefer building your own decks and refining them over time?
A: My favorite way of playing is taking other people’s decks and giving them my own spin, but I don’t mind netdecking or trying to build my own (although I am bad at the latter)
Q: What’s your favorite Mythgard card?
A: My favorite card in Mythgard is Ollama Ring, as in most card games my way of playing was tokens + anthem effects or similar go-wide strategies
Q: What’s your least favorite Mythgard card?
A: My least favorite is Bald Mountain, because I think the pattern play mythic -> Wake the Bones to play mythic -> Bald Mountain to Wake the Bones to play mythic goes against why these cards are one- or two-ofs
Q: What’s a feature you would love to see added to Mythgard?
A: A feature I would love to see is more usage of digital space in general. As much as I don’t like Hearthstone, their cards that “crafted” other cards, like Kazakus, were super cool, as was Eternal’s permanent modification. Also, more graphic imagery! Limited to technical constraints of course, but it would look great if a Soma Oasis splashed some water on each card played. There is already some (Brainstorm looks great) but having ways to spark imagination is always nice.
Noah: Hamster, Hamster, Hamster…. here we are again. You became the second player to win the Mythgard Weekly Open twice and now you’re the first player to be featured here on Journey of Souls twice. I enjoy talking to you, but if you keep winning at this rate, we’ll soon have nothing to talk about. First, I’d like to congratulate you on your MWO win. You were on a deck that I was not expecting to see show up this week in that Vampire tribal list. Walk me through your decision to play that deck this week.
Hamster: Hello there Noah. I don’t think I will keep winning at this rate when the beta starts, and we have many more players – but thanks for believing in me! Basically, the main idea of playing vampire tribal was that mono red can win by turn 5, even when it doesn’t quite kill the opponent by then. And I believe that after the Trapeze nerf, vampire tribal is the best mono red deck there is. The exact cards I am not fully sure about and probably someone could build a better vamp tribal deck – but it did what I wanted it to do, that is punished exceptionally slow opponents. It is midrange, but closer to aggro than control.
Noah: I remember seeing your list on the deck registration sheet and asking my co-caster, TheMantidMan, if he thought that Vampires were a good choice for this event. We were both a bit unsure, but admittedly, he had a bit more faith in you than I did. After seeing red fall off so hard in tournament play following the Trapeze nerf, I wasn’t sure there was room for many red hybrids, let alone a mono-red deck at the top tables of tournament play. I’m glad that you proved me wrong. You were not the only player who suddenly shifted back to red this week. Was that shift something you expected and were prepared for or were you expecting something different in this week’s decks?
Hamster: I did not expect the shift at all. I did think that red is a little bit underplayed, but this week more than a little difference from the last. Maybe it’s just people being moodier and wanting to play a little with something out of the spotlight. The meta is very flexible still, after all, and there is room for a surprising lot of experimenting. It’s great that people do that, in my opinion
Noah: The change in red from last week to this week was an increase of 31.8% over the field as a whole. We’ve also seen blue jump around anywhere from 11-34% of the field over the last 3 tournaments alone. With such a wild and fluctuating meta, do you take much time trying to predict meta shifts and plan around them, or does your tournament prep focus more on making sure you’re playing a deck you’re comfortable with, regardless of the rest of the field?
Hamster: Definitely the second. I do that even in games with a more stable meta – understanding the spirit and the gameplan of the deck helps me win much more than just playing a T1 deck. Case in point – Red Orange midrange. A deck popularized by Envesy, and commonly considered as very strong. Rightfully so, because I saw what people can do with it. But I can’t, and it’s more efficient for me to just play what I like and feel comfortable with.
Noah: I’m glad you bring up the Red/Orange midrange decks. It’s what I’ve personally been playing for the last couple days and we saw Blue/Red/Orange and Yellow/Red/Orange lists this week. One of the more prominent sights of the tournament, at least for the stream, was Orange/X decks using Temptation to just blow out games. Did you experience that this week? How did you approach matchups that played Temptation, knowing that each of the 3 color hybrids could potentially take your Lord Valentine and hit with a transformed Freki Huntress to hit a second time with Lord Valentine? That’s obviously the land of perfect situations, but was that thought present in your mind, and do you think Temptation is a card you pretty much have to play around, given its swingy nature?
Hamster: Temptation is a very strong card – not overpowered by itself, but swingy and requiring careful play from both sides. But Lord Valentine is not the best target for the card, as his power comes from other vampires. The biggest loss (and related mistake) was a Blood Mooned Dashing Ringmaster in I think one of the games with Den. And Ringmaster was the card that I was most cautious with playing when against decks running Temptation. Funny thing about a Tempted Lord Valentine is, as he now costs 2, you can combo the enemy down with Ringmaster, Valentine and a vampire that is able to hit face from hand. Still, the card is very strong and probably was before Impel buffs, although people seemed to realize it only just then
Noah: It’s funny you bring up the reduced cost of a Lord Valentine off a Temptation, as it was that setup specifically, which closed game 3 of the finals for you. We saw you staring down 8 damage with an empty board and a lead of 17-12 on life. You dropped a Ringmaster, a Lord Valentine, and a Strigoi Familiar for game. That match with Tenchuu was not only fun to cast, but it seemed to be an even matchup. Talk me through those last couple turns, as they were so close, and it seemed like the game could go either way right until the end.
Hamster: These were the “adapt to control” turns, as I tried to slow down the game to be able to do this or similar combo. Cards like Extract Life are great for that job, and in a pinch, I could even use Panic Raider for defense. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Tenchuu took a more defending stance themselves – but it’s okay, I also make mistakes and mean no disrespect to Tenchuu. In fact, I love that RBO deck of Tenchuu’s! And this is exactly why I mention it – the moment felt really memorable to me.
Noah: Tenchuu got revenge, taking down the first MythTournaments test event with said Red/Blue/Orange deck the following day. I look forward to seeing how that deck continues to evolve and will be watching it closely. Learning how to adapt your deck and build on previous success is a big factor to staying atop the competitive scene. Do you have any cards that you felt didn’t quite perform like you wanted them to this week?
Hamster: The card closest to performing badly was Seven Ring Ritual. Paying 7 mana is risky when the investment is nullified by popular 4 mana (Thunderclap and Seal) or 5 mana (Magnus) and you’re basically naked after that. However, it did win me a game when Ringmaster 7RR was basically what I needed to break through. It needs closer investigation, probably. Other situational cards, particularly Faun of Decay, proved situationally useful however, and it is closer to a proportions question.
Noah: I’m often so indecisive on Seven Ring Ritual. It seems like I only want to see it when I’ve got access to Ringmaster as well. It’s definitely a case of high risk – high reward deck building. To contrast my last question, are there any cards that you might suggest playing in this deck that you weren’t playing this weekend? You mentioned earlier that someone else may find a more optimized build. What changes might you make to this deck if you were looking toward ladder play with it this week?
Hamster: I’d probably cut Freki Huntress to 1 copy – when the card is good, it’s great, but it competes on a mana slot with things like Panic Raider. Another way of running the deck is cutting some more expensive threats and Magmataurs and add Trapezists and Trapeze. What you would get is a typical Red Rush deck with a vampire subtheme, which might be the best way to approach Red Rush nowadays. And a completely different change – I sometimes longed for Detained/Deported and Wake the Bones. This may have no future, but if someone is willing to splash green, they might get some results. Or not, but even then, it could be interesting!
Noah: I always want to play around with a Red/Green shell, simply because I like Fated Firebird so much. To close things out this week, I’d like to look forward to the purple release that is looming large over everyone’s heads right now. We’ve had quite a few purple cards spoiled now. My personal favorite is probably Shinobi of Fire. What spoiler has you most excited and what have we not seen from purple yet that you would like to see?
Hamster: We are in agreement here, as Shinobi of Fire might be my favorite of the spoilers. The second candidate is Imperative Bell, which is a great idea to interact in the opponent’s turn and shows that Rhino are not afraid to push boundaries of what can be expected of their game, while still not feeling very interruptive. And, semi-unrelated, the art quality is insane, I’m honestly surprised at the artists’ imagination. And the thing I wish for the most is a viable aggro/tempo deck that wins or loses quite quickly. As much as I like Mythgard, a meta full of unit-based control decks will not make people eager to play it. And without eager recruits, how will we play tokens? (This is a place for a groan)
Noah: I would love a good true tempo deck to emerge. I’ve had a blast talking with you this week. I appreciate you taking the time to do another interview and look forward to our inevitable third meeting the next time you win the MWO.
Hamster: Thank you and have a great week!