WC 2014 Top 4 Interviews – A1 Sisyphos

How does it feel to finally get that boulder to stay on top of the hill?

😀 You have to imagine me happy ofc. But also quite ready for a little nap. My back hurts. I guess i could lean against that boulder over here.

When did you first start playing Shadow Era?

~3 and a half years ago.

How did you find the game?

I googled „bored“ and „browser game“. Was at work so it had to be a browser game.

Have/do you play other Trading Card Games? If so, which game(s)?

No. There was some buzz surrounding Hearthstone (both online and amongst friends), so i checked that one out, but didn’t enjoy it ’cause you fight the dice more than the player.

How often do you play Shadow Era?

Depends. Most of this year i haven’t played much at all, after having been involved with Shattered Fates so much already. Entered a couple competitions in fall. Not qualifying for the wc in the european regionals kinda resparked my drive though, and the following weeks until the wildcards i averaged ~2 hours a day.

Why do you enjoy Shadow Era?

Deckbuilding and sac’ing requires planning ahead more than anything, which is what i’m looking for in a multiplayer game. As a kid i had to endure countless sessions of parcheesi with my family and i cannot begin to tell you how irrational my hatred for that game has become. As part of the pfg it’s also always fun to work on a better balance by means of long-winded essays, analyses and discussions. And hey there’s a pretty friendly community inhabiting this part of the internet, too.

What do you hope we will see in the next set?

Artwork would be nice, wouldn’t it? :) I’ll be disappointed if the other 3 interviewees don’t make the exact same joke.
A higher ability:allies ratio. Right now it’s mostly items and abilities that define how a deck operates, simply because there are many you can’t go without.
Better healing and armors whose value goes beyond extra hero health.
That the best cards don’t synergize the best with direct damage heroes (looking at you, Krygon).
It’s not that current tribal cards are bad per se, but they’re not as well-rounded as decks that can pick the allies they need freely. Seeing either the payoff or the consistency of tribal shenanigans improve a little would be nice.
And ofc a few better options for rush, combo and control, so that Fou and Airact can finally stop going on about it.

Did your guild play a major part in your preparation for the tournament? How?

Not a major one. I had a pretty busy week ahead after i qualified, so I prepared by running 2 accounts i controlled into each other, which is pretty time-efficient and you can get to it instantly. It was Caitlyn who borrowed me the accounts, so that i wouldn’t have to use my main and alt for everyone to watch. During the event and thanks to my guild mates, i also didn’t have to do the dirty scouting work that’s normally involved with such events and does make them more exhausting over the hours.

How did you decide on Banebow?

I gotta reach back a little for that one.
Originally „the plan“ was to qualify during regionals with a Banebow deck that rarely let me down before, then bring this Moonstalker to the finals. The hero was unexpected ’cause he struggles against mages and Zaladar and even Banebow to some extent, but this one had Full Moon (vs Supernova) and Font (vs MC; also kills every unprepared control deck ofc), so i felt pretty confident it could take me places.
During the regionals i ran into emigor’s discard Zal and had to learn the hard way that oldschool BB couldn’t produce enough threats anymore now that Zal had Brimstone, Dagger and Krygon on top of everything else. Plus my WotFs got shrieked constantly. That i lost that match wasn’t due to misplays or bad luck. Next came Mr. 8’s Garth and again „pushing until they can’t answer that SK or Behemoth anymore“ wasn’t a worthwhile strategy in the face of AB/Shuriken, Viska and Garth himself.
It was for the better though i think that i didn’t qualify then and there, ’cause i would’ve assumed that i’m good to go, which i wasn’t, and in no way would’ve gotten past 4 rounds of high-level competition during the main event.
Still what do you do next? Half-ass the qualifier again and hope for the best, or bring your „real deal“? I played a lot of quickmatches to find a better-suited Banebow deck, so that i wouldn’t have to sacrifice my Moonstalker one. Disciple had to be in there ’cause of the discard Zal experience. I also wanted to see how i could roll with Gambit instead WotF – just glancing at the amount of SoVs, Smashing Blows and Stop. Thief!s used during the regionals was sickening. I’m telling you they were out to ruin my day. =)
No WotF worked to some extent, but my 2-drops were becoming dead weight now, so i dropped them and instead tried various control like Poison Arrow or Longbow/Crossbow. Vermin won me a couple matches against Amber, too. And in the end i still wasn’t satisfied because i took too many losses against Garth, Zhanna and the likes. Esp. on day 1 of the wildcard there was no way to guarantee i wouldn’t run into a slow-ass control deck. They’re out there, man. Hence i decided i had to disclose my Moonstalker.
Afterwards i had a week to come up with sth. Couldn’t just bring an MS that banks on Fonts again, esp. after maxi took the wildcard with the stall kind, which people would take note of. So like i said Caitlyn borrowed me 2 accounts to simulate possible wc matches. Playing against yourself is not a boring activity, the same way that modeling railroads or tuning cars isn’t. I.e. ofc it is, but you’re too busy working on perfection to realize it.
I used the deck lists Gondorian provided extentisively here, and it seemed likely to me that most players wouldn’t go for a big surprise. The thing is that you need to become really good with the surpise deck, too, and spend a lot of time tweaking it along the way; and maybe people will do that next year when the new SE champ becomes a millionaire, but until then i figured they’d go to work, stick with their guns.
Anyway, at first i thought Moon could still be a good choice, i just had to use „fair“ control instead of hiding until Furrion clears everything. The idea was to run Platinum Chainmail and Krygon, supported by What Big Teeth and Furrion, to pick off all kinds of allies. And for just that it worked, but the amount of low hp allies in the deck made it easy pickings again for Zaladar and Banebow. That’s all the testing i got done during the week. Maybe there was a „correct“ MS build somewhere in the card pool, but i wouldn’t find and get it just right in a day.
So, uh, why did i decide on Banebow? I didn’t know what to do at this point. Every competitive deck of mine could run into trouble one way or the other. Too many Banebows around for my rush builds. Too much rush for Tala. No way was i gonna use Victor – just imagine the headlines: „Dumbass duped by stall, again!?“ With Banebow i have the most experience and don’t need a lot of sparring to be able to tell if sth works or fails.
I got up early on the day of the wc to get some rl stuff out of the way aqap, then after lunch went on to run my qm Banebow into various decks i felt i’d have to be able to get past if i wanted to win. During these couple hours i learned quite a lot about decks i wasn’t very familiar with, what kind of hands they have to deal with, what the sac’ing priorities become, etc. I think it was during the test games against Serena when i really settled on Banebow. With 4 or so hours to go i could’ve still prepared sth else had she crushed me which surprisingly enough she couldn’t with Black Garb no longer factoring in to buy her time.

You made a lot of interesting meta calls in your deck 4x Weevil-tipped Crossbows, 2x Shadowspawn, 4x Disciple of Aldmors, 0x A Perfect Shot, 4x Morbid Acolyte, 3 x Rapacious Vermin… What were you expecting and not expecting and why did you make those calls?

In pure ally-based fights i wasn’t really afraid of anything, not even fatties. Sandworm f.e. doesn’t do much when you’ve already taken the board with an Acolyte or Shadow Knight. But against item- or attachment-heavy builds there are many ways in which Banebow can fail, so i was mostly looking for the right counters there. No matter what you face though, there’s always games when Ley Line, either Shriek, Dawn Raid or Acid Jet are just dead weight. Crossbow isn’t and in fact allowed me to close out games faster than i used to, which can mean the entire match against slower decks.
DoA was against BB, Zal, Elad/Loest, Victor or Garth. Spawn against these same heroes after managing to give them nothing to do with their se for a while, plus Serena and Moon. Vermin against stall, warriors and potentially rogues, baduruu, undead bb and priests. MA is just a well-rounded ally. I contemplated Gargs instead, but their selling point is sturdiness which has suffered a bit due to Krygon, while MA if anything has improved with cards like Devoted Knight, Der’Kan, Fort Wisp or Phoenixes to target, and cards he always used to be good against still being around (Oracle, Shade, Worms, Aeon, Moonstalker, Gargs, Disciples, CoI).

Would you recommend this deck to other players playing quick match? What about other tournaments? Why/not?

I’d suggest swapping out the Shadowspawn for WotF, ’cause on qm not everybody is as prepared for it. And people tell me they need more draw than my decks offer anyway. Other than that, i’m not a huge believer in the whole schism between qm and tourney decks. What does well on qm is tournament-worthy.

Did you ever feel like you were short on draw with only 4x Hunter’s Gambit as your primary draw?

Yes, when i didn’t draw a single Gambit and was up against Moonstalker, where my Shadow Knights were hard to get work done, too.

Which match during the tournament gave you the most trouble?

Emigor’s discard Zal and Mr. 8’s Garth during the european regionals. If you mean just the main event, the finals were the hardest and could just as well have gone the other way.

Were there any decks that you were surprised to see or any you expected to see but did not?

Liu’s Elemeatalis and Vince’s Packstalker were surprises. Surprising no-shows, maybe Zhanna. Even though she wasn’t on the qualifier lists, there’s always that one guy usually.

What decks (if any) were you afraid of seeing? Do you know of any decks in the tournament that would have given you trouble?

I actually made that deck (or a very similar one) during preparation, just to see how much of hard time i could give myself after i settled on a build.

Some have said BP Maxi1230 was the MVP of the tournament for beating BP Hachi’s “Millstalker”. Do you think that’s true? Do you believe your deck could have won?

Think so. Losing to millstalker is often a little embarrassing, ’cause basically you’re just being told „I know you forgot the tech for this!“ in the most long-winded way possible. At least Banebow has a lot of reasonable ways to dispatch stall, it just has to be on the map before the event. That’s what didn’t happen in the wildcard finals where i conceded to maxi’s millstalker. During prep i pitched that exact same deck against mine and the results were pretty easy wins thanks to Spawn, Vermin and SKs resurrecting more Vermin. WBT version didn’t fare better either.

Thank you for your time and congratulations again on becoming the 2014 Shadow Era World Champion!


About Samuel Hendrickson

SamuelJ, also known by some as Samdroid, is an avid gamer and a champion of justice. Half man, half machine, all player.
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