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. The champion for Season 1 Week 4 of 2019 is the badass with the belt, THEBOXER.
MantidMan - The Boxer, I am tempted to call you a man that is stuck in time. You do realize it is nearly February 2019, don't you? Crunchy Hour was supposed to be dead? Why did you decide to run it, what mad ravings pushed you to this point in your life?
TheBoxer - Grenadins was the first deck I ever played in a tournament. A couple days ago I was looking through Eternal Warcry and saw a list from Lights Out Ace titled Defiance Scrappy Hour. I decided to give it a go for fun on ladder and it actually seemed to be good, bringing me from 115ish to 25 on ladder. On Friday night 7 hours before the tournament I decided to register it. I hadn't really liked any of the tier one decks recently. I also had afternoon plans on Saturday with friends and figured I could play a few rounds and then drop. Well, luckily for me, things didn't really go according to plan.
MantidMan - No, no they did not. I think it is funny that you fully intended to get blown out, just looking for a little fun, and it turned into a full-fledged tournament for you. Did you think of anything else that you had possibly wanted to play or was this fully just a "Set it and forget it" moment? Was there anything specifically that you expected to see that would really have shut you down?
TheBoxer - The other decks I had been trying recently were IlyaK/LOA's Big Argenport, GHP's Haunted Highway, and Grimfan's torchless praxis ramp. They all seemed reasonable, but none seemed too much more powerful than the rest of the meta. I feel like I am much better at playing decks with inevitability and almost always avoid playing aggro or aggressive midrange. Highway breaks this rule for me sometimes though. Maiden was what I feared the most. I still don't understand why people play Highwayman over Maiden in FJS. I also didn't want to see hailstorm from Jennev. Harsh rule is fine because it is tempo negative most of the time, but hailstorm and leaving behind a heart or titan can be brutal.
MantidMan - Ugh, don't I know it, it seems like any time I grab aggro that is exactly what happens, I lose all of my units and they do not.
If you knew then, what you know now after winning, what would you change in the deck? Or, maybe more so, if someone came to you asking if this deck was really strong for climbing or another tournament would you tell them to change anything?
TheBoxer - I honestly don't think there is much room for change in the main deck. Because of how synergistic the deck is, you can't fiddle around with it a lot. There's not really anything I would like to add and even if there was tI have no idea what could be cut without hurting the synergies. The market could change a little bit maybe, but you have to keep Waystone, Scrapper, and Madness. I think Dizo's Office is very powerful. Maybe you could move a combust from the main to the market in place of ICB and play one more Madness main, but I don't see much motivation for that. I never once missed Burglarize during the tournament, you just don't need relic removal in this deck.
MantidMan - Especially after hearing all of that, there will be a lot of people that grab this deck up and try and finish getting to masters or they may try to break into the top 100. Can you give us a little deck tech so those players can learn how to prioritize plays from the mind of a champion? Having access to you could really give strong insights as to how this deck functions best.
TheBoxer - This deck is looking to play the really long game. Unlike Kennadin you don't have an explosive 6 or 7 you want to spend the early game staying alive and setting up a Gearcruncher. Don't use removal on just anything. Overwhelm and flying are dangerous abilities. You can always chump a ground unit. Scraptank is mostly just a big assembly line in most matchups. Use it to bridge to the late game. Don't be afraid to trade away the 3/3. Once you get to the mid game you can start scapping your grenadin and play second and third crunchers and then some hours. Almost always play scrapper on 6, unless you are against Skycrag. Be thoughtful about fetching power. Six shadow is important, but three fire can be as well for waystone. If you can, save merchant for waystone. Some other random interactions: when it gets to the very late game be wary of board space. You don't want to waste pale riders, but a full board also allows madness to be a slay. If you are against aggro and need a seventh power for cruncher sometimes you want to merchant for waystone and wait a turn to not give them a draw off of nightfall.
MantidMan - That is some great insight, and it should help some people out for sure. Out of all of the decks you went up against, or lists you saw registered, which one do you think you will try out? Are there a few? And do you think Crunchy Hour is well positioned for moving forward deeper into Defiance and the coming chapter?
TheBoxer - I want to try out one of the Jennev decks with Howling Peak Smuggler and downpour in the market. I think Jennev Merchant is very bad card now. I also want to try out FJS and see how much worse it really got from the nerf. I think Crunchy Hour is reasonably well positioned. It will certainly get a lot worse if more Maidens start popping up. It eats Jenenv for breakfast though. I don't think the meta has settled down yet after the nerfs so we may have to wait and see what happens in the next couple days.
MantidMan - I am kind of glad it is working out this way, i like when things are tumultuous for a little while. Unpredictability is fun for me.
Last thing, open mic! Any shout outs or things you want to make sure you promote as this week's champion? Team members or sponsors, anything you like is fair game, GO!
TheBoxer - I want to give a shout out to the team I am on, Friends of Eternal and I want to thank Lights Out Ace for the incredible deck list. Additionally, I would not have been able to win the tournament without Simon & Garfunkel. Throughout the whole tournament I was listening to their music to stay focused. During the finals I had one song in particular playing on repeat. I think you can probably guess which one.