Champions deserve the spotlight, don’t they? Every week during the Open Season at the Eternal Tournament Series we see the top decks in the hands of all kinds of players. Some of them are content producers, but many of them are not. Time and time again we get asked if the Champions would have done anything different or if they can point others in the direction of how to become so successful. Because of all of this outreach from the community RNG has asked to partner with Team Rankstar and their sponsor Inked Gaming to Bring you a new weekly series immediately following the ETS finals. This is TOP DECK: An ETS Champion Interview. This week it is The Doctor… Pringles! (Editors Note: English is not Dr. Pringles’ first language, some editing was requested by the doctor to ensure that his message was clear.)
MantidMan - Dr Pringles, an impressive showing with a deck that people thought would be dead for sure in defiance. Does it seem like no one is learning their lesson with how well this deck has done three weeks in a row? What made you think this week would be safe to run it again? Pringles - To be honest I just played Haunted Highway because I had no time to figure out a new deck before the tournament. I played the deck a lot last season and the only thing that changed is the Urn of choking embers. which shuts off like half of my deck. FJS was also a bad match up and while I think that the deck is still very good I expected players to step away from it this tournament.
MantidMan - So, this was not even a story of careful planning, or trying a bunch of decks, it was just play what you know and rely on skill and luck? Did you consider anything else, or was it just a perfect storm of time constraints and a strong choice in the forefront? Pringles - I didn’t play much ladder since the balance changes so I didn’t know what to expect. Since Haunted Highway has a good chance against every deck, I just played what I know and it worked. And I definitely was lucky with my match ups. I didn’t feel like the underdog in any of my matches.
Fun fact: My only loss was in round one to TCGcthulhu, who I beat in the finals.
MantidMan - I noticed that! What a great fact for sure, a little chance at redemption is always good. Especially in the finals. So, if you had the gift of foresight, would you go back and make any adjustments to the deck? Or if someone was going to take this deck to a future tournament would you make any recommendations to them? Pringles - It's hard to change anything in Haunted Highway because people like NotoriousGHP and theovermaster (and probably many others) have tuned the deck really good. The new expansion (Set 5: Defiance) didn't really add new cards that fit into the deck. I played a Secret Passage in my market but I never even considered grabbing it. Annihilate, Devour, the two Shakedowns and the Secret Passage are the flex slots.
MantidMan - There are a lot of players that will be picking this deck up for their climb to masters over the course of the next week. Care to give us a little miniature deck tech on what to look for and do from your perspective? This is a great teaching moment for the readers to learn something from an ETS Champion. Pringles - One of the biggest challenges is the power base. You definitely need double fire, the second shadow is also important but only for highwayman, Champion of the fury is also good without the second primal so that is just nice to have. So, when mulliganning you need to take care of your influence. The strength of the deck is that it uses its power very efficiently, so make sure to have a good curve and that your hand is not to clunky. Be careful which power you play first. It can cost you games because you might need to play a tapped land later or you don’t get the influence from Diplomatic seal. Always think one turn ahead when playing your power. Another important aspect of the deck is the use of Madness and combust. If your opponent is on a creature deck your goal isn’t to combine them. Try to remove their units with your other removal spells first but use your combusts if you need to. Against creature light decks Madness is often just a burn spell because they might not even play a second unit. If you plan to Madness and combust also consider if you can attack or not. For example: if you Madness a Vara and they have only a Merchant as a second creature you don’t want to attack because they can block and you lose your Combust target. Attacking can also differ from other decks. You might want to make bad trades to push through damage. The deck has a lot of reach so always plan ahead.
MantidMan - I think one final question will wrap us up. Out of all the decks and pilots you went up against, which one do you think you will try out, maybe try to refine further? Anything you would like to say to your competition from this weekend or those who will go up against you in the future? Pringles - I played against TRS Combrei Chains twice and it looked like they would have had a lot of fun if I didn't kill them so early . I might try that one out. Otherwise I also played against Haunted Highway aggro. I’m definitely trying that one. Thanks to all my opponents and greeting to everyone in The Great Parliament!
Thanks again to our champion, Dr Pringles, for taking the time to sit down with us after 8 hours of tournament play. We would love your feedback, as a community, on this new series. If you want to learn more about even more players do not hesitate to check out Trail Stories, also from The Mantid Man!