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TOP DECK: An ETS Champion Interview

As we have started doing, every new champion in the ETS open series will get an exclusive Inked Gaming TOP DECK interview. I am proud to not only get to cast the great matches or recaps of these players carving a legacy each week in the ETS, but allowing the ETS to partner up with Team Rankstar and Inked Gaming to dive into the minds of these champions is so much fun. This week we sit down with Grimfan for some insight into his Season 1 Week 5 run in the 2019 Eternal Tournament Series.

MantidMan: Grimfan, we can all see from the Title of your deck who Designed it, but what is more impressive than the design is the implementation, and winning the ETS is a solid showing. Why did you decide to bring this deck? What did it have that piqued your interest and told you that it would be so well placed?

Grimfan: I did a lot of practicing for the ECQ this week and this was the list I liked the most. Sunyveil had posted a version of it earlier in the week and I took some power out of it and did some small tweaks. I tried 6 merchants and didn't like that so eventually I set it aside and Suny finished it. His 20-4 run with it in the ECQ and locked in my choice for it there and after playing my 28 games with it I decided to take it to the ETS to practice for tomorrow. I didn't really intend to win with it to be honest I just haven't played it in best of 3 open deck lists yet.

MantidMan: Yeah absolutely understandable. Seeing you and Suny set for the top 64 shows the power of the deck, but also the mettle of you both as players, especially with your win today. Did you have any other deck's you were considering while looking at this one? Or more over, what were the match-ups that worried you coming into today or into the ECQ?

Grimfan: I was considering an FJS list as well. I decided I wanted to play a deck with decent matchups against an open field and I think that both fjs and peaks are similar in that way. I was worried about decks that tend to go wide like genadins or Praxis tokens, decks that are aggro with a burn focus like skycrag and decks that go way bigger like reanimator with Azindel and Vara. Also, the deck I played in the ETS a couple weeks ago is tough for Jennev Peaks. Kerasaur is a headache for the deck.

MantidMan: A lot of players are going to look to this deck to continue their climb up to or through masters. Knowing now how the deck interacts with its opponents and match-ups, how would you recommend changing it for those players that are looking to pick it up if anything?

Grimfan: I'd just play a lot of games with it. I think the Moonstone Vanguards can be replaced if you see a lot of the mirror but I'm not sure what with. Also, it's not too bad there because endurance units are your best threats. Yeah, I'm not sure what changes I'd make. I know some people have been experimenting with a primal market and 8 smugglers, playing downpour instead of rockslide and I think there's some merit to that as well Molot and Nakova could be better than Zal Chi in the market as well. But I'm not positive on that since I haven’t tested that yet.

MantidMan: The flexibility of the deck speaks to how strong it is, your recommendations are small but could change the deck and the gameplay drastically. If someone was to pick up your list directly, which could happen, could you walk us through a little miniature deck tech here and now on the things to look for when playing this version of the deck from your perspective?

Grimfan: Sure, sadly the deck has some very unintuitive plays that you tend to have to make in the mirror and against value-based decks like fjs. Basically, the greedier your play, the higher the reward and often times you have to make those plays that could potentially cost you the game if they go sour. Stuff like setting up heart and peak way before the power is available and bottoming sigils with crests even if you think you might need it sometimes. Playing it safe in those matchups is a fast way to lose. On the other hand, on ladder you need to be looking for hands with merchants or early interaction like hurler, permafrost, torch, equivocate, because often times the aggro decks are so powerful that if you're not ready for them with at least one thing you'll die before you can recover, especially with ankle cutter finding a home in skycrag. All your cards tend to have a purpose in each matchup which is where it's important that you put in plenty of games with the deck. Using an equivocate on my opponent’s pressgang in that last matchup would have been awful when they're my only clean answers to xo and scrapper That's all the short stuff I can think of but cycling cards in and out of your market has to be one of the most important things about getting used to an 8-merchant deck. Hopefully I didn't shoot myself in the foot for tomorrow.

MantidMan: For Sure! Some exception insight that will hopefully help some players who are a little greener on this kind of deck. Do you think this deck is good for climbing into a through masters, or is it more geared to a tournament environment? Also, once these tournaments are done for the weekend, did you see any other decks in the ETS or that others have played in the ECQ that you thought were really cool and that you want to try out?

Grimfan: I think that this is a great deck to climb with assuming it's not nerfed. I want to try Serb’s deck really bad. I think I'll be playing it very soon on stream.
We have a teammate in the top 10 of ranked right now playing it there so I think it has ladder chops for sure. I believe everyone that brought it to the ECQ also had a generally positive record, but obviously only a few of us made top 64 and some of the lists were very different.

MantidMan: The Friends of Eternal team has been putting up some awesome results so far, so I cannot say you lot are doing anything wrong, glad to see it going so well for sure. The last part of this interview is something I enjoy doing in these one-on-ones and that is an open platform for you. Any shout outs or things you want to promote as this week's ETS Champion? Anything is fair game from sponsors to team members that you think deserve a shout, what do you have for us?

Grimfan: Sunyveil is obviously super awesome, and I wouldn't have done well in anything without his support and deck building prowess. I think the Friends of Eternal are awesome and hopefully anyone interested in joining will read this and know you have a home there. GG's to all of my opponents this weekend.

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