MantidMan- Hopefully Pringles found his way here, I am sure he did as most Champions do! The last time we were here we talked about how easy it was for you to choose Haunted Highway to win the ETS open, and you have done it again! This time in the Invitational Championships. Back over on Trail Stories you said that this was less about prep and more about having a feeling for what would actually show up, somewhat the same way you won’t the ETS open a couple weeks ago. Are you just cool as a cucumber, lucky, or is there something more to this dominance that you have shown?
Pringles - I would consider myself an intuitive player. I can learn how to play certain matchups quickly, rather than testing a lot as long as I know the capabilities of my deck. So, I just trusted in my skills when coming to the tournament. But, for winning a tournament it definitely takes some luck or bad luck from your opponents. As a good player you can just increase your odds of winning. SooNo, who was my opponent in the finals, is an incredible player, but he mulled to 6 in all 3 games of the series. I'm sure he was prepared for Haunted Highway, but in this case, he was just unlucky. I obviously can't complain about my luck in this tournament. I was on the play in the majority of my games and also had a lot of turn two Duskraiders, which is pretty much the optimal start for Haunted Highway.
MantidMan- Hell yeah it is, time and time again we see Duskraider indirectly run away with the game, giving something big berserk. The deck you brought to the invitational is almost identical to the deck you won the ETS with in week 3. Can you speak to the changes and if you think this is the top form of the deck before the Homecoming Campaign hits?
Pringles- Haunted Highway has very few flex slots. I removed the single Devour and added a Shakedown. In the market, Secret Passage was replaced by an additional copy of Dark Return. Haunted Highway has its roots in the old FJS Value Scream decks. That deck was a card advantage deck. Your goal was to Haunting Scream Gorgon Fanatic and just draw more and cheaper cards than your opponent. Devour fit perfectly in that deck with Madness, you could sacrifice your Greanadin to draw cards, or you could use it with Madness as a removal suite. The early versions of Haunted Highway also played two or three Devour, but the deck works differently now. You just try to pressure your opponent as much as possible in the early turns and then finish with Haunting Scream or Madness. Devour doesn't help you with that at all. As a card draw spell you remove pressure and as combo with Madness it's often unnecessary or too expensive. Shakedown felt very good in the current meta. A lot of decks rely on their merchants to have a viable turn four play. You can really punish them with Shakedown. I will put in the extra copy, probably removing a Dark Return. I also would like to add another Annihilate because it removes Sandstorm Titan, Vara and Moonstone Vanguard, which are all hard to beat. The market is pretty much a 4 card market anyways. I rarely use the Dark Return /Secret Passage slot. I think Annihilate or Rindra’s Choice are also viable options for that spot.
MantidMan- So, with those insights, you have assuredly cemented Haunted Highway as a continuing staple and not just a fluke. I have seen a lot of them running around on Ladder as well, likely because of you. Do you think it is as strong on ladder now as it was for you in the ETS. Will it be good for the ECQ as well? Or do you think after all of this people will be teching more against it?
After that, would you recommend it as a deck to build for some of our newer players, does it have the staying power?
Pringles- It's definitely also a strong deck on ladder, but not the easiest to play. I wouldn't really recommend it for newer players because of that reason. You need to know your opponent’s deck because small mistakes can cost you the game. But, if you are willed to learn, the deck can be rewarding. The crafting cost is also low compared to other top decks like FJS or FTS. Although you have to own cards like Bandit Queen, which don't see much play elsewhere at the moment. I think the only decks that are really problematic for the deck are token strategies. As long as they are not overrepresented Haunted Highway is always a safe choice for a tournament where you face up to 30 different decks. There is also not much to tech against you. The only cards that are really problematic are Urn of Choking Embers and Yushkov. You don't want to face those. You can also run into Adjudicator's Gavel which can be annoying, but Haunted Highway is not relying that much on its void as it currently stands.
MantidMan- We talked about the deck tech in your last interview, so I do not think it is needed again. I would love to ask if you are thinking of running Haunted Highway in the ECQ, but I do not want you to out yourself or your team so I will steer clear of that as well. But, let's say that you knew there were guaranteed to be three or four token decks in the top 64 of the ECQ that made the cut. Let's even go further and say they are praxis and running Urn of Choking Embers. What other decks do you like that you would maybe consider running if Haunted Highway was locked out? What do you think could be strong for those who do not have their own minds made up?
Pringles- I am pretty sure that I will play Haunted Highway and I don't think anybody will be surprised if I play it against them. My second choice would be FJS or FTP. These decks are just super consistent and have a fair game against the field. There are a lot of different List of these Archetypes out there, so I don't know which version is the best. Some are better against aggro, some better against control. I personally don't like Skycrag, but it's always a solid choice in my opinion. Stonescar Grenadins is also a deck that I really like in the current meta.
MantidMan- Well Pringles, we wish you a TON of luck, a sprinkling of skill, and a whole mess of victory when it comes to the ECQ, the Community Championships, and beyond. Thanks for hanging out with me and being so fun to talk to and learn a little from. If there is anything else you want to shout out, now is the time to do it!
Pringles- Thanks for having me. I want to greet my friends from The Great Parliament and I want to encourage everyone to play in the community tournaments. The more people come to play, the more fun we will have.
Check out the Eternal Tournament Series here.
Check out Team Rankstar's Eternal Content Captain and amazing interviewer, Mantidman here.
Be sure to check out Dr. Pringles amazing Eternal team, The Great Parliment, here.
Congratulations to all Invitational competitors and good luck to anyone playing in the Eternal Worlds Qualifiers this weekend!
The Inked Gaming Team