Back in 2016, I made my first top cut in a major tournament at Canadian Nationals and was quickly eliminated in 8th place. Two years later, I played in the 2018 Canadian Nationals, finishing 2nd. After a long break, I attended the ~40-player 2023 East Coast Canadian Nationals in Montreal and managed to take 1st this time.
Given that my testing partner Wikignometry won the US East Coast Nationals last month, this hereby signifies the complete regional domination of our 5-person testing group (and of the Pittsburgh area) over the entire NA East Coast. 😎
For the deck itself, our starting point was this deck from The Process, based off the earlier Hermes Hoshiko from QtM. The core idea of Hermes + Bankhar felt very strong, but we found that the reliance on Aumakua was too exploitable when basically every corp is playing Mavirus. In particular, Asa can easily set up repeated Mavirus + Drafter/Hagen blowouts, Ob can do Mavirus + Stavka/Hafrun or just gearcheck you with purges, R+ can force you into Starlit Knight, etc. Instead, you have the influence to just play the “normal” breaker suite of Cleaver/Unity/Carmen. The Num over the second Carmen is mostly to save influence, but it’s pretty comparable overall (slightly better if you expect Trebuchet/Hydra). The Leech is mostly to help against big barriers but also can fix some of the awkward breaker numbers (notably against VSA and Drafter).
This left us with no influence for tech cards like Pinhole/Bones, which I didn’t mind. In general, I strongly prefer slotting more generically useful cards like money/draw or multiaccess (see also: Legwork) over more specific tech cards in situations where the best decks aren't common knowledge. Even if my group was sure we’d figured out the best corp, I wouldn’t have any confidence that enough of the field was on the same page as us for it to be worth teching against. That being said, we really didn’t do enough testing to determine if there are particularly weak matchups that are actually worth shoring up with tech.
On the day, the deck only went 3-2 in swiss and 2-0 in the cut, losing to Izzy’s Keeling Ag and vazmanian_devil’s Punitive Issuaq. Despite this, I think the deck felt great and there aren’t any immediate changes I would make, although we probably should test against Keeling a non-zero amount.
For my corp, due to a lack of testing time post-EMEA and on the advice of my group, I played exactly Sokka’s Asa. My preparation consisted of playing 3 games with it and watching Sokka play it on-stream, but I went undefeated with it on the day (4-0 swiss, 2-0 cut). I semi-seriously considered cutting the Tatu-Bola (mid) for the 3rd Ablative Barrier (busted) and just floating the influence, and I think that’s actually worth trying. Solid deck!
7 Sep 2023 lasarab
21 Sep 2023 Dave976