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Analysis of the Forgewatch Invitational Top 8

Analysis of the Forgewatch Invitational Top 8

On Saturday, January 18, we crown the champion of the first ever Forgewatch Invitational.

We have eight players remaining.  Bludex and Darksoul are both playing variants of Grimgaunt Removal decks, although they are splashing different factions so their decks play very differently.  Holyllama, Table1, and TinyGrimes are all playing similar A/U Robots/Thundersaur/Patriarch decks, although again with important variations, while PEsh021 has seemingly adapted a similar list for usage without the Robot synergies.  Xtof is playing a variant of a U/N Patriarch/Deathweaver/Swarm deck that has become very popular lately.  And Whytefyre?  Just keep reading.

Game A: Whytefyre vs. Bludex

Bluedex: Second Place on Saturday Morning

  • Grimgaunt Removal w/ Phoenix for late-game Finishing
  • Nekrium with Tempys splash
  • The most similar deck to the pre-patch meta decks.
  • Very heavy removal to support his Grimgaunts, including Magma Hound, Dreadbolt, Cull the Weak, Epidemic, Lightning Spark, and Static Shock.
  • Zimus the Undying and Everflame Phoenix to provide late-game power.  Phoenix’s early-game big-body may also be necessary in certain match-ups.  (Lyria was also provided to add late game power, but Bludex has admitted this was an error, so I doubt we will see it played much going forward.)

Whytefyre: First Place on Sunday

  • Uterra/Tempys
  • Thundersaur, Phoenix, and Rageborn Hellion are the primary paths to victory in this deck.
  • Firefist Uranti and Lightning Spark provide lane clearance to keep Rank 2 Phoenix alive, to grow Hellions, and to support Thundersaurs.  Lightning Spark can also be a finisher if needed.
  • Patriarch, Roar, and Enrage to provide buffs, especially to Thundersaur, Hellion, and Firefist.
  • Ether Hounds, Echowisp and Mystic to provide early game pressure (in tandem with Patriarch and Roar).  Mystic can also close out games.

Matchup Notes:

  •  This is the one matchup where Bludex may want to consider playing Lyria.  Rageborn needs empty lanes to grow—and Lyria excels at lane clogging.  If Bludex can level a Lyria without sacrificing card advantage early on, he should consider doing so.
  • Both decks have plenty of options for removing Level 2 Phoenix before it can hatch. Therefore, I would expect Phoenix to play less of an important late-game role.
  • Whytefyre needs to be very careful about playing Hounds and Echowisp, lest he provide fodder for Bludex’s Grimgaunts.  Simply their presence in Bludex’s deck will likely force Whytefyre to play less aggressively than he might otherwise prefer.

Prediction: I expect this to be an extremely entertaining matchup—I’m a little sad it’s happening in the first round.  Whytefyre: 2-1

 

Game B: TinyGrimes vs. darksoulSP

darksoulSP: Second Place on Friday

  • Grimgaunt Removal w/ Thundersaur
  • Nekrium with Uterra splash
  • Predator and Movement are keys to victory; uses removal, especially Epidemic and Cull, to support that.
  • Devourer and Thundersaur are secondary paths to victory, although their usage can clog the lane movement of Predator.  Patriarch and Roar both support the Thundersaur quite effectively.
  • Note that Thundersaur is a powerful counter in certain match-ups, especially against other Grimgaunts and Zimus
  • Blight Walker, Doomwing are useful against opponent’s growth creatures, especially Grimgaunts and Thundersaurs.

TinyGrimes: First Place on Saturday Night

  • Alloyin with Uterra Splash
  • Buff stacking is the key to victory: Techtician, Patriarch, Roar, General and Warden in particular.
  • Thundersaur, Gargoyle, and Warwalker are the primary targets of those buffs.
  • Arcflight and Brightsteel are here for board control
  • Botanimate, Justicar, and Gemhide Basher are useful to keep opponent threats from getting out of control.

Matchup Notes:

  • TinyGrimes needs to be especially wary of Cull the Weak.  A significant portion of Tiny’s strategy relies on playing low attack creatures for Patriarch to buff—exactly the creatures that are vulnerable to Cull (and which can grow a Grimgaunt once Culled).
  • Alternatively, darksoulSP has to be wary of Gargoyle.  Gargoyle’s high armor and movement make it difficult to kill, its base attack is too high to be Culled or killed with Epidemic (in fact, Epidemic can take it into Patriarch range), and Gargoyle’s armor makes it immune to Blightwalker.

Prediction: The Thundersaurs cancel out, and so I’m going to go with the Robots over the Grimgaunts.  I just don’t see darksoul having an answer to that armor.  TinyGrimes: 2-0

 

Game C: PEsh021 vs. Holyllama

Holyllama: Second Place on Saturday Night

  • Alloyin with Uterra Splash
  • Buff stacking is the key to victory: Techtician, Patriarch, Roar, and Warden in particular.
  • Thundersaur, and Gargoyle are the primary targets of those buffs.
  • Arcflight, Patriarch and Brightsteel are here for board control
  • Justicar and Gemhide Basher useful to keep opponent threats from getting out of control.

PEsh021: First Place on Saturday Morn

  • Alloyin with Uterra Splash
  • Buff stacking the key to victory: Techtician, Patriarch, Roar, and General in Particular.
  • Thundersaur, Warwalker, Gargoyle are the primary targets of those buffs.
  • Heart Tree useful here for board control.
  • Botanimate and Justicar useful to keep opponent threats from getting out of control.
  • Oracle improves late game in certain matchups—in tandem with Patriarch and Roar gives up only a little in early game power.
  • Echowisp is here to play in Player Level 2 at Rank 1, where it can block multiple lanes.
  • Jet Pack is useful for the move—to finish off a low health opponent.

Matchup Notes:

  • The closest thing to a mirror match as you’ll see in the first round, although the decks are actually quite different.  They share only Roar, Techtician, Patriarch, Thundersaur, and Justicar.
  • Pesh’s deck is more centered around Patriarch and especially Thundersaur, although they both contain the two cards.  Holyllama’s Robots give him a stronger secondary strategy, at the cost of weakening his primary one.
  • Neither player has much in the way of removal or board recovery, while both decks are capable of snowballing pretty hard.  Don’t expect to see a lot of dramatic comebacks.

Prediction: I’ll be rooting for Pesh here, but my gut tells me the Robots will be the edge.  Holyllama: 2-1

 

Game D: Table 1 vs. Xtof

Table1: First Place on Friday

  • Alloyin with Uterra Splash
  • Buff stacking the key to victory: Techtician, Patriarch, Roar, and Warden in particular.
  • Thundersaur, Gargoyle, and Warwalker are the primary targets of those buffs.
  • Arcflight and Brightsteel are useful here for board control
  • Botanimate, Justicar, Gemhide Basher, and Metasculpt are useful to keep opponent threats from getting out of control.
  • Oracle improves late game in certain matchups—in tandem with Patriarch and Roar gives up only a little in early game power.

Xtof: Second Place on Sunday

  • Undying Swarm
  • Uterra with Nekrium splash
  • Leafkin, Deathweaver, Patriarch, the primary keys to victory in this deck, in tandem with Roar.
  • Grimgaunt Devourer secondary path to victory, especially against other swarm or heavy removal decks.
  • Phytobomb, Ether Hounds, Echowisp there to provide the necessary bodies to be buffed.
  • Epidemic and Dreadbolt are situational removal spells; Epidemic especially useful in tandem with Phytobomb.
  • Dryad provides situational buff with board is full.
  • Zimus provides late-game power in certain match-ups, on in games where Deathweaver has been leveled heavily.

Matchup Notes:

  • Xtof needs to come out as aggressively as he possibly can.  If these games go long, he will find himself unable to pound through the Robot armor with his relatively low damage creatures.
  • If Table 1 can keep a Justicar on the field for most of the first 8 turns, Xtof has little chance of victory.  Xtof needs to do all he can to keep that from happening.
  • Table 1, meanwhile, needs to get good usage out of Patriarch, Arcflight, and his buffs in order to survive the early game.  He also needs to quickly remove or Metasculpt the Deathweavers as Xtof plays them.

Prediction: This was probably Xtof’s toughest first round matchup.  Table1: 2-0

 

Overall Predictions

Clearly the Thundersaur/Robot decks are strong; there is a reason that three of them made it this far in the tournament.  That being said, don’t count out either Whytefyre or Bludex.  Personally, I think that the winner of that game is the most likely to defeat the Thunderbot decks; and, in fact, to win the tournament as a whole.  Sorry, Bludex, if I’m right (and who is to say that I’m not?) that means you’re about to get the short straw.

Otherwise, I’ll give the edge to Table1 in the Thunderbot matchups–although that’s just a guess, to be honest.  By the way, if I have it wrong, and PEsh’s deck proves successful against the Robots, he’s well positioned to go very far.

To summarize, my final tournament prediction is:

  1. Whytefyre
  2. Table1
  3. TinyGrimes
  4. Holyllama

So make sure to tune in tomorrow to the livestream at 2:00pm US East Coast (7:00pm UTC), and make sure to use this as a reference.  It makes a great drinking game.  Also, this is great fodder as you laugh at all the things I got wrong.

To get an additional prospective on the competition, check out these video interviews that Noetherian and Kit did with each of the Top 8 players.

About mnmike2002

mnmike2002 (aka Mike Edwards) is a writer and blogger. When he's not writing, he's probably either reading (history books or fantasy novels) or playing video games (mostly RPGs). He's published one book so far: Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System that Shouldn't Work at all Works So Well, co-authored with Danny Oppenheimer. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Sarah.

2 comments

  1. Wow, I’m surprised. You clearly have no idea what darksoulSP’s deck does. The core of the deck is Witherfrost Succubus and Blight Walker supported by Weirwood Patriarch and Ferocious Roar. The grimgaunts are the secondary path to victory when you can’t find your key cards. I’ve tested a lot with this deck, and it has a favorable matchup against any deck not running 3x Cull the Weak (Bludex’s deck in particular is very hard). They can’t gain any board presence in level 1 because of the Succubi and Blight Walkers, and then level 2 WWPs close out the game. Gargoyles even on the defensive die to an evenly leveled Blight Walker + buff, and the Succubus makes the defensive gargoyle plays terrible anyhow.

    Other than that, I think your guesses are spot on.

    • I fully admit that darksoul’s is the deck that I grock the least; you may very well be right that his has more synergy than I am giving it credit for. To be honest, I hope that you are; I’m way too much of a Johnny to hope that we have three Thunderbot decks advancing…

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