February Winner - Eric Jones, Casper Wyoming, currently in Irving Texas
How long have you been playing Strategy/Trading Cards Games?
I learned how to play chess a little over 23 years ago. I started playing magic about 13 years ago. I now play a lot of top end strategy board games.
What are your favorite aspects of playing these types of games online?
I find the card collections are easier to manage. It makes it a lot easier to put decks together, and maintain more decks. It’s also nice to be able to play at least casual games nearly anytime day or night. I really like the posted trade system that Legends of Norrath uses as well.
What peaked your interest into playing Legends of Norrath/How long have you been playing Legends of Norrath?
I’ve been playing EverQuest for about five years. When the card game was announced, I figured I would buy into it and give it a try. I started playing immediately upon the release.
What was your strategy going into this Championship Qualifier? Tell us a little about your deck(s), what makes it work, and why you chose that deck for the tournament.
Well, I started looking at making a deck about 11pm the night before. I made 2 decks, both of which I was pretty unhappy with. So, I added Runnyeye Cooks to the deck I used last time and ran it again. I figured it was decent against a field, and could probably go 6-2 with it.
The deck is really not very good at anything except not dying. I use and reuse abilities for their effects. The deck is easy to alter to tune it to whatever I’m afraid of at the time, often it’s able to do this during the game. It has a lot of versatility and redundancy. I actually won almost as many games by damage as questing, not many decks have that option. It’s surprising how often I end up with a couple dragons on the board facing down a lone almost dead avatar, and I’m about to complete my 4th quest.
The best card in the deck is probably Zealotry, the deck is really built around using that card. One interesting key card is actually the gnome avatar. I was running the Iksar avatar to recur my shadow cards, which is a solid plan, but I found that being able to kill my own abilities was better (oh, he can also dodge combat, which is a decent side effect).
Can you go into detail of how the two days of competition went? Any memorable match-ups? Interesting decks that you saw others play?
Day 1, Round 2, I was playing against a scout avatar vs avatar deck. Game 3 he attacked me using a tactic to put me to one life, with a brutal amount of damage potential available. I was able to use Poison Storm to kill him before combat ended, it took him about a minute to figure out what had happened and how he had died.
I also played a very good player using Grim Spellbinder, which I thought was interesting tech.
I played Kensu both days. I really liked his deck day one. He had a warrior deck running Barbarian Hunter/Fanatic Zealots engine. He had the biggest surprise on me when he played Righteous Cause on his Steel Dagger. He said he really liked my deck, and was planning on playing it if he made day two. We discussed the decks for most of the rest of the tournament, as we waited for rounds to end. Day two he had copied my deck (with a few cards I thought were questionable), and was not as comfortable playing it as I was and I was able to win fairly easily. An amazing first turn Cannibilize/Reclaim/Journeyman’s Boots in game one didn’t hurt either.
You are the only person to make the top 16 cut in all three Championship Qualifiers and you are the current earnings leader. What is your secret that keeps you on top of this very competitive field?
I have a lot of trading card game experience. This experience allows me to rapidly evaluate cards and situations. I use what I learned from other card games like card advantage, tempo, casting curve and versatility to help in building decks. Timing in this game is hugely important as well, being able to take the time to analyze what order things need to be done in is important.
Can you give us some details on the final two matches with Zgabu? How did you lose in round 4, and then turn it around for the finals?
He was actually playing a deck very similar to what I played in the first qualifier. I was pretty sure we would be playing again after the 4th round, but he certainly played the deck amazingly well. A mage balanced (light and shadow) rush deck, with Roar of Flames, Shock of Fire and Igneous Adepts.
Game one I came out great, and won easily after a timely Poison Storm. Game two, he had an amazing start and killed me around turn 7 with an Igneous Adept. Game three, I thought I was safe taking two damage to kill a Terror Wraith, but he was able to clear out my defenders on the other side and hit me for 4 with a Shock of Fire for the win. I probably could have won if I played more conservatively.
When we got to alter decks, I was hoping he would keep his same deck, so I made changes to mine appropriately. I took out 4 Disables, 2 Sunders, and 2 Poison Storms (which may seem odd since it won me the one game I won). I added 4 Healing Ritual, 2 Slash, and 2 Smite. I also added a few creatures for some items I thought were less useful. The Slash and Smite were insanely good against his Igneous Adepts, which are his biggest threat. I won in two straight games that weren’t really close.
How did it feel to win?
I was wired, and couldn’t sleep. I really didn’t think I would win. I was shooting for another $200-400 check, and hoping to take the lead on money winnings. It still was very nice to get the win and maybe a little respect, since only the very good players seemed to recognize me.
What will you do with the Championship Qualifier prize money?
Probably get a new computer. Mines getting a bit old and laggy. I’m sure I’ll need some money for Gen Con. I’ve won $1100 so far, so that’s not too bad.
Have you ever been to Gen Con Indy before?
With Inquisitor hitting now, how do you expect the metagame to change with the new cards and keywords you’ve seen?
Well it seems they are adding effects to the loot again, which hopefully means the cards will be easier to get. I’ve heard there will be cards that can remove cards from graveyards, which makes Reanimate worse. The Vigilant ability seems risky, being that it requires your opponent to help you activate it. Restore is probably going to make Barbarian Hunter even better.
As for the metagame, I believe the class breakdown was 5-4-4-3, which seems insanely healthy. It would be nice to see mages have a little more versatility, and scouts are cornered mainly into avatar combat, where as warriors have at least three viable decks and priest can just do anything.
Anyone you would like to thank in helping you achieve this win?
My EverQuest guild Forged Souls. The have provided me many of my cards, and have been encouraging.
Lacein’s Priest Reanimate Deck
Draw Deck 4x Cannibalize (1U124) 4x Divine Aura (1R130) 4x Zealotry (2U73) 4x Disable (1U242) 2x Flowing Black Silk Sash (1R258) 3x Bracers of Forbidden Rites (1R150) 2x Lord Nagafen, Imperator of Fire (1R324) 2x Reanimate (1R140) 1x Journeyman’s Boots (1R259) 4x Reclaim (1C249) 4x Hoard Hound (1U320) 2x Poison Storm (1R167) 2x Scepter of Shielding (2R80) 4x Runnyeye Sorcerer (2U196) 2x Slow Healing (1C143) 1x Lady Vox, Queen of Ice (2R186) 2x Runnyeye Cook (2P7) 2x Sunder (1U274) 1x Quill of the Arch Lich (2F28) Quests: 1x Severed Paw of Opolla (1U118) 1x Symbol of Cazic Thule (1U120) 1x Fervor of the Dark Reign (2U138) 1x Forging Stormhealer Armor (1U115) Avatar: Name: Mediik Race: Gnome Attack: 1 Defense: 3 Health: 10 Game Text: At the start of your quest phase, you may exert this avatar and destroy one of your abilities. If you do, prevent all combat until the end of the phase.