MantidMan - The three most DANGEROUS letters in Competitive Card Games... G... H... P!! You said it, you called it well in advance, this was your ETS that you were just letting everyone else play in. I watched you comb through decks with the team all week, and redouble when the money was put on the line. How did you decide to lock in the Stonescar list you registered?
NotoriousGHP - I was going to submit the deck that I_Am_Monstrum played, a more aggressive take on Stonescar with 12 one drop units, bandit queen's and some burn spells, until very late Friday night. I wasn't confident in the deck, and I was expecting a fairly high representation of aggro in this ETS, and due to this I wanted to just go a little bigger than Monstrum's list, and try Stonescar Midrange. I wasn't in love with the list ManuS won the ECQ with, and I knew the deck had some new tools, so I enlisted the help from aggro expert, and SPG team member Paradox to help quickly tune a list before I fell asleep. It didn't take long to figure out what new cards we liked, Insignias are the best cards from Dark Frontier and are a huge upgrade. Eclipse Drake helped give us a 5 drop the deck seriously needed, while also allowing us to move completely away from Obliterate, a card that I have never thought was good in the deck. After removing some discard, Obliterates, Maidens, Rhystas and Dark Returns we had 2 flex slots, to which Paradox quickly suggested Nullblade and I was sold. Once we had a 75, I didn't get to test it, I was too tired at the time, but I knew this was very close to where I wanted to be going into this tournament, and felt comfortable registering it.
MantidMan - So, A lot of planning and a snap execution and it all payed off in spades, eh? Were there other decks that you were considering in the back of your head? Any Factions that stood out to you that could be viable?
NotoriousGHP - Yeah, it fortunately worked out. I considered playing some form of Hooru/Temporal Control deck, as a way to pray upon the less refined decks, alongside Jennev Peaks being a deck that got some new tools that didn’t have to change too much. 2 of these decks had a strong showing this week, but what pushed me away from them was the struggle some could have against some of the Combo decks, alongside the fact that I typically like to be the one attacking in the first weeks of the format. I think primal and shadow have stood out the most to me so far this expansion, they both got a ton of extremely viable cards that open up a lot of different possibilities for them. This does not mean I am saying Feln is great, but I do think some Feln builds could be viable moving forward, especially now that it can turn champion of cunning on so much easier.
MantidMan - Now, I know you won. But, would you make any changes to the deck if there were another tournament tomorrow? Or if someone else was going to try and make a deck like this, would you have any guidance?
NotoriousGHP - Yes, I was happy with basically everything except the market Maiden was awful. I realize it's good into an already favorable matchup against Praxis, but in reality I'd rather find something else good against midrange or control. I could see something like Ghodan in that slot instead as it has to be answered
MantidMan - We all know what happens after someone crushes an ETS: The deck ends up on EternalWarCry, then ladder is flooded with it. Instead of sending them in blind, can I get you to give us a little deck tech so they do not completely smudge your name up with the deck?
NotoriousGHP - As if Stonescar wasn't already popular enough already. I think the biggest thing I can say about this deck is try to understand what your opponent could have, and try to plan accordingly. I know this is super general, but for example, if you are relying on casting bore to kill a number of permafrost vs FTP, maybe you should cast other threats first to try and bait out the display of instinct. Look for something to do early, either units or spells such as Shakedown and treachery to slow your opponent down while furthering your information. 2 power hands are typically too risky unless your hand is something like 2 power, Shakedown, Black Hall Warleader, Ixtun merchant Torch X, because this hand has Nightfall to help draw, early interaction and pressure and if you hit power 3 the Merchant can hit power 4. Nullblade is the best answer to Merchants, and is worth protecting heavily in certain matchups such as Hooru control and Combrei Chains
MantidMan - I think one final question will do it for this Top Deck interview. Out of everything you went up against, even though you beat them, is there anything you would like to play and refine further? And, of course, is there anything you want to say to your competition or anything you would like to promote going into the week?
NotoriousGHP - I played against 2 different versions of FTP, one with 4 Ice Bolt 4 Eclipse Drake and 0 Sandstorm Titan, and 0 Permafrost. There was another list that played 4 Eclipse Drake 0 Howling Peak main, 1 Ice Bolt 1 Peak market. I think this is a situational difference but I think I prefer playing the Ice Bolt in the market as equivocate #5. Ice Bolt is either insane, or absolutely awful and ramps your Opponent to a bigger threat. The biggest thing I'd change, was in Gozu's deck, as he cut 3 Relic Weapons in place of new cards. This showed heavily in our match as he struggled to deal with my Relic Weapons and I think moving forward, cutting down on Stormhalt Knives and Auric Runehammer is a big mistake and other cuts should potentially be made instead.
I have been saying all along, I am going to the Eternal World Championship, and I have qualified for the last three qualifiers. I am going to win one of these, and there is nothing that will stop the rampage I've been on lately between ETS, ECL and ECQ's. I am the three most dangerous letters in all of CCG's, and there will be more RKO (GKO?) Gifs to come.
I'd like to shout out my team mates and testing partners, Team Rankstar who have all worked nonstop to figure out this set in both limited and constructed. I'd also like to shout out Inkedgaming, for sponsoring us (and hosting this article) and lastly, I'd like to say thanks to Paradox, who helped build this deck at the last moment and also encouraged me to bring it.
Thanks to the Eternal Tournament Series, Mantidman, GHP, Teamrankstar, and everyone else who made this article possible and everyone who continues to allow Inked to be a part of this awesome Eternal Card Game community!
Look out card game world, NotoriousGHP is coming for you!
-The Inked Gaming Team