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Beyond the Bandlewood Open Rounds Recap

This past weekend was absolutely jam-packed with a number of historic esports events, so if you didn’t manage to catch the Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal tournament, I understand. With the VOD coming in at over 9 hours it's certainly intimidating to find time to go back and watch it, so I’ve recapped it for you here. So welcome to those of you who missed it, those of you who want to relive it, and those of you who just like seeing your name mentioned in an article and are here to read my recap of your feature match!

Round 4 - GrandpaRoji vs HunterHunter

(Spooky Viego / Taliyah Malphite / BANNED: Lee Sin) vs (Bandle Pirates / Sion / BANNED: Zoe/Nami)

We kicked off our Seasonal broadcast with a spotlight on GrandpaRoji, a player who made a name for themself when they went 7-2 in a Seasonal with Taliyah/Malphite ( though unfortunately did not make the Top 32 of that event due to tiebreakers). He’s returned with his signature deck, and paired it up against HunterHunter’s Bandle Pirates for game 1.

Roji started the game with the attack token, and both players hard curved out. Turn 1 kicked off with an Ancient Preparations for Roji, matched by a Crackshot Corsair. Stone Stackers came down to be met by Chip, but Hunter took the attack anyway to push a little damage and progress the Gangplank level up. For turn 3 Roji ran out Endless Devout, and Hunter played a Conchologist. Roji took the reins with a full swing, killing the Conch and pushing 5 nexus damage. With Roji’s board nice and soft, Hunter cleaned up the 3 attack units with a Red Card from Twisted Fate. The nexus damage from the AoE meant that Hunter didn’t have to attack to get his GP proc for the turn, which was fortunate as Roji’s Earth Elemental dissuaded any further aggression.

With TF on the board already, there weren’t any punishes available to Hunter if Roji developed before attacking, so he did. Rock Hopper hit the field and Dreadway Deckhand ate the vulnerable. Then Roji attacked with everything, pulling the Keg with his Elemental and the Deckhand with another Endless Devout. Group Shot killed the Devout and Pokey Stick killed the Hopper, but the Sarcophagus was the 4th landmark needed to activate Earth Elemental, and Hunter took another 8 nexus damage. On his attack turn, Hunter started things off with a Lecturing Yorlde, which was blocked by Roji’s freshly played Blue Sentinel. One Poison Dart was used to finish off the Clockling, and another was sent at the nexus. On turn 7, with his 8 mana, Roji opened with a 2nd Earth Elemental. Hunter played Gangplank, but all Roji saw was a 2nd vulnerable unit put into play for his Elementals to run into, and took the win by overwhelming the Keg and Deckhand.

GrandpaRoji 1-0

With one likely unfamiliar matchup for Hunter down, he was thrown into another one as Roji readied his Thresh/Viego deck. Hunter elected to remain on Bandle Pirates. 

With turn 1 passed by both players, Roji found his Greenglade Lookout contested by Stone Stackers. Hunter opened the turn with an attack on 3, letting Roji reduce the cost of his Viego and develop another Lookout. Roji had a strong hand including a 4 mana Viego, and Hunter had just gotten his first damage into the nexus on turn 3. Roji summoned his Viego on curve and a Deckhand from Hunter still left his board wanting a fearsome blocker, so Roji attacked and pulled the Keg with his Lookout. Make It Rain stopped the Lookout Strike and killed it, but Viego connected with the nexus for 6 damage. Hunter returned the favor the following turn with a 3 wide open attack, and Roji elected to take all the damage and not block with his 3 health Viego, lest he lose it to a ping. He was down to 10 to Hunter’s 14, and played a post-combat Thresh, then defending his Viego from a Keg empowered Double Up with Twin Disciplines. 

It was back to Roji’s attack token and he started the turn with Tasty Faefolk. Hunter immediately gassed out for the turn, playing 2 copies of Hidden Pathways and a Crackshot Corsair. Roji full swung, losing the Faefolk, but pushing another 7 damage with Viego and even reviving the Faefolk post-combat with Mist’s Call. Hunter started off their turn 7 with Conchologist, and Roji decided to tap out with Invasive Hydravine, deciding whatever Hunter could do with his 5 remaining mana was a non-issue. Hunter ran out his last 2 copies of Stone Stackers, but remained only 1 unit wider than Roji. The Stackers attacked and died to a Mist and Faefolk, leaving Roji at the same life total he was prior to the attacks. Roji’s Thresh and Viego leveled up, and Hunter surrendered. 

GrandpaRoji 2-0

Round 5 - Gameboyrob vs Hazai

(Zilean Xerath / Bandle Tree / BANNED: Darkness) vs (Sion / Viktor Heimer BC / BANNED: Zoe/Nami)

Round 5 looked to highlight another player with a signature off-meta deck, the Legion Marauder master Gameboyrob. While he wasn’t on his usual off-meta deck, he was going to give us our first look at Xerath for the day.

 

Or at least we hoped he would, as he led off with Bandle Tree into Draven/Sion. Both players started off their game plans on the right foot, with Hazai discarding a Lost Souls to Grave Physician, and Rob opening with House Spider and following it up with Bandle City Mayor. It was instantly killed by a Mystic Shot. Hazai opened the 4th turn of the game by playing their Twinblade Revenant, not allowing Rob to freely play his Mayor, and left him wondering the most effective way to pass back priority. After much debate, he settled on Proto Poro, and when Hazai passed again to keep up their Revenant + attack token threat, Rob shot the challenger with a Buster Shot. Rob decided to open his turn with an attack, trading his Poro for Boom Baboon and letting his Spiderling connect with the nexus. Rob played and then lost another Mayor. His Bomber Twins stuck, putting him at the halfway point of his Bandle Tree win condition.

But his Bandle Tree was nowhere in sight, and it was up to his manifested Poro Sled to hold down the fort until the Tree arrived. Hazai was stacking up some heavy hitting threats like Draven and Risen Rider, but they weren’t threatening enough to stop Rob from taking an open- attack on turn 7, leaving behind his Bomber. Rider blocked Proto Poro, Zaunite Urchin chumped the Sled, and Draven blocked the Sled-summoned poro, using 2 axes to push through the level up. Rob had Group Shot and 2 Pokey Stick to try and kill the Draven, but with exactly 4 units in play, a Whirling Death out of Hazai would likely be the first nail in Rob's coffin. He lined up Group Shot on Draven so it would trade with the poro and not level as he was blocking. Hazai threw Mystic Shot at the Bomber, and Rob played Pokey Stick to once again ensure Draven would not level up. Hazai had no more responses or didn’t want to tap below 7 mana, and combat resolved. Rob was left with a damaged Poro Sled, and Hazai with a 4/1 Risen Rider and a Flame Chompers. Hazai played Twinblade Revenant post-combat, and Rob stared at his poor hand. Pokey Stick, Minimorph, Poppy, Star Spring, and Ravenous Flock was not a hand that presented any particularly enticing options to try and keep up the tempo. He settled on Poppy, and the turn ended. 

Hazai kicked off the 8th turn of the game with Captain Farron. Rob was sitting at a nice 20 health, but he didn’t have a lot of ways to refuel the board and Twinblade Revenant was a problem that was not going away any time soon. He Pokey’d Risen Rider to pass priority, and Hazai full swung, pulling Poro Sled with Chompers and Poppy with Revenant. Rob used Minimorph on Farron, which Hazai responded to with a Spinning Axe onto the Chompers, discarding Survival Skills to save the Twinblade. Rob summoned Bandle Commando to round out the turn. With his 3rd Mayor in hand and Commando on the field, Rob was starting to turn his bricks into a wall. With Minimorph cast and no Tree in sight, the game hit a win-con waiting room. Thanks to Lost Souls this kind of stalemate heavily favored Hazai, and the Furious Faefolk manifested by Mayor did little to change the situation. Hazai also had much smoother top decks available, which was emphasized as Rob drew Scorched Earth, followed by Group Shot, followed by Proto Poro. With no gas left in the tank, Rob threw his entire board and hand into Hazai’s, which had little impact and did nothing to stop the Twinblade train. A Loping Telescope top deck into Starlit Epiphany gave Rob some hope, but his Invoke options left something to be desired and he was overrun the next turn. 

Hazai 1-0

For game 2 Rob elected to swap onto Zilean Xerath to try and take down Viktor/Heimer, a matchup that neither player likely has much experience in. With both players on slower decks, the first meaningful interaction came on turn 4 when Hazai used an Aloof Travelers to discard The Arsenal. They then used an Equinox from a Loping Telescope to silence Rob’s Endless Devout. Things continued to look back for Rob when Viktor touched down on turn 5, followed by Heimer on turn 6. His response was to go 6 thanks to a Desert Naturalist, but a few chump blocks from Otterpus and other self-replacing cards meant that Hazai didn’t have to block with either champion and still sat at a cool 13 life. With Stress Defense then being used to save Heimer from Rite of the Arcane, things were looking dire. 

With  Heimer on board Viktor was very quick to level. Rite was Rob’s first and last chance to break the lock, and he was now being drowned in advantage by the Turrets and staring down a 15/5 Viktor with impact and overwhelm. He managed to stick down a leveled Xerath and get down a time bomb, but Hazai had plenty of units out to ensure his champions remained safe. With no Minimorph to be found, everyone’s favorite mad scientist swung in for a massive lethal hit.

Hazai 2-0

Round 6 - RealPrismsword vs Sucessor

(Sion / Thresh Asol / BANNED: Lee Sin) vs (Sion / Darkness / BANNED: Lee Sin)

For this round, the broadcast checked in one RealPrismsword, a player who has come close many a time but has yet to top a Seasonal tournament. If he wanted to make today the day, he was going to have to take down a 2-time Top 32 player in Brazil’s Sucessor. 

After losing Draven to The Box and using the Axe to draw a card with Sump Dredger, Sucessor was apparently out of good discard targets. When Thresh hit the field on curve for Prism, it was a Poro Cannon that was discarded to Grave Physician on the side of the opposition. It found what it was looking for, as Zaunite Urchin followed up by discarding Lost Souls. Twinblade Revenant came down the following turn to contest the Thresh, but a 2nd copy of The Box kept it safe for another turn. Notably, Prism chose to use Thresh’s Box rather than the real Box in his hand, valuing his third copy more than a 2nd Thresh.

Turn 7 came with an attack token for Prism, who developed a Charger and Mountain Goat alongside his damaged Thresh, prompting full mana passes out of Sucessor both times. Prism took the pass, ending the turn after playing the Goat. Successor started his own turn casting Get Excited on Prism’s nexus, discarding a 2nd copy of Lost Souls. Prism invoked Falling Comet with Solari Priestess, and the turn ended after Sucessor cast his Twinblade Revenant. On turn 9 Prism decided it was finally time to level Thresh, and kicked off his attack turn with a Withering Wail to kill Sump Dredger. Sucessor used Arachnoid Sentry to stun the Thresh. 

Sucessor kicked off the 10th turn of the game with a Sion who was promptly removed by Falling Comet. Sump Dredger was played, putting Sucessor down to just 3 spell mana. He attacked with all his units, challenging the 4/5 Thresh with his Twinblade. With only 3 mana left, Prism knew his opponent would likely finish off Thresh with a burn spell that turn, so he used Atrocity on his Charger to kill the Twinblade. Any spell that would have been used to finish off Thresh would have to be used on the Charger instead, guaranteeing an open attack and pulling an Aurelion Sol out of his deck. Sucessor held back whatever trick he had up his sleeve, and Prism was able to open attack on the following turn to put Asol on the board and knock Sucessor down to 9 nexus health. He responded with Captain Farron and immediately played one of the Decimates, evening out the life totals by putting Prism to 10.

Sion kicked off the turn for Sucessor, but was stunned by a Sunhawk and removed on the next turn by a Falling Comet that Asol made at the start of the round. He was only able to push through 3 damage in combat and knock Sucessor down to 6, who started to run out his army of Twinblade Revenants. The first 2 were both hit with Equinox as soon as they touched down, and when the third hit the board on the following turn Prism elected to use yet another copy of The Box. Rummage discarded the Lost Souls again, and Twinblade popped back onto the battlefield. It pulled Asol off to the side, allowing Farron an attack that would deal some damage. He ran over Tenor of Terror, putting Prism at 5. He played Thresh, and readied himself for the end of the game. Thresh and Asol open-attacked for Prism, pulling another Asol out of the deck and putting him 1 wider than his opposition. Sucessor cast Get Excited and Mystic Shot, agreeing it was time to end the game. Prism cast Vile Feast on his own Aurelion Sol to survive, but a 2nd Mystic Shot from Sucessor sealed the deal, and Prism’s nexus fell to 0 before his attacks could connect.

Sucessor 1-0

Prism elected to stay on Thresh/Asol for game 2. As you can imagine, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the early stages of the game, but Sucessor did stick a Veigar on curve. Prism was unable to find an answer for it until Solari Priestess found a Falling Comet that he could cast on turn 6. With a Twisted Catalyzer connecting earlier in the game combined with the 2 turns Vegiar was on field, Darkness was up to 5 damage. A second Catalyzer hit the field the turn that Veigar died, ramping up the Darkness even more in the background. 

For turn 8 Prismsword Summoned a Thresh that was buffed by Written In Stars into Sucessor’s 5 wide field of 1/1s and 2/2s. Ixtali Sentinel generated a Darkness that hit Thresh down to just 2 health of his own and blasted Prism down to 13 nexus health. A Withering Mist finished it off on the following turn, Sucessor pushed through a little more nexus damage with a Conchologist. Turn 10 kicked off with Aurelion Sol from Prism, who invoked Supernova without another celestial readily available, sure that his Sol would survive the turn and give him another one at the start of round. Sucessor cast Vile Feast to pop the spell shield, then Darkness, then another Darkbulb Acolyte into another Darkness to kill the dragon, leaving Prism high and dry.

Both players sat on air for a few turns, and Prism was the one to break the stalemate with Starshaping. He grabbed Living Legends, pairing well with his near empty hand. When he cast it he found a 19 attack Great Beyond and felt that should do the job of ending the game rather nicely. Unfortunately for him, there was a Withering Wail and Minimoprh waiting in the last few cards of Sucessor’s hand, and the game continued. Thresh, at the very least, was on board to see all of this happen and was able to level up a few turns down the line. He did not, however, survive to see an attack token and died to another Darkness. We went back into a waiting room for a player to draw a threat.

Sucessor broke the stalemate with Rekindler, but Veigar was instantly lost to Sunburst. A turn or two passed and Prism tried his hand at looping Loping Telescopes, but Sucessor put on some real pressure by finding another Veigar. He shot the nexus for 7, putting Prism down to 8. Prism used his first action of his turn to open attack, gaining back a bit of life with his Fangs that he found off his 2nd Telescope. He also hushed Veigar in combat, ensuring his nexus would remain safe, and then finished it off with Ruination. With only 2 cards left in his hand, Sucessor revealed he had his 3rd copy of Veigar, shooting the nexus down to 2 health. With Prism out of resources, there was nothing he could do to stop the Darkness from killing him the following turn.

Sucessor 2-0

Round 7 - LuserBeam vs Niroku
(Lee Sin / Zoe Nami / BANNED: Darkness) vs (Sion / Lee Sin / BANNED: Zoe/Nami)

There was some speculation coming into this Seasonal as to whether you could fit Lee Sin and Nami into the same lineup given the overlap of Zoe, and both players in the matchup chose to replace her in Lee Sin with Zed. Luser queued up Lee/Zed for game 1 and Niroku started with Sion.

Niroku started off aggressive, using Poro Cannon to get Risen Rider for an impactful turn 2 attack. Luser healed up a bit and used Gifts From Beyond to grab Eye of the Dragon from his deck on turn 3. Niroku summoned Draven. On turn 4 they kept up their on-curve game plan and discarded Lost Souls to Spinning Axe, and summoned it with the intent to kill Eye of the Dragon. It was a success, but a Pale Cascade on the Dragonling did mean that Risen Rider was lost in combat and Luser kept his head above water for the time being. He summoned Zed, then open- attacked with it on the following round. He was forced to use his only Deny to save it from a Whirling Death, but he needed to make sure he was keeping the board manageable on the side of the opposition. Turn 7 came and went with no Sion, and Luser was even able to stick a Lee Sin to the board. Captain Farron touched down on 8, but if Luser could survive the turn he had all the necessary tools for a Lee Sin lethal. Will of Ionia was used on Farron and a few blocks were lined up, so when all was said and done Luser was still at 9 nexus health going into his attack turn after Niroku used a Get Excited on the nexus.

Luser kicked off potentially the last turn of the game by grabbing a Severum from Gifts to ensure that even if his Lee Sin kick didn’t kill this turn, he’d be at a very nice life total outside the range of things like the 2 Decimates waiting in Niroku’s hand. It seems the Get Excited was the last of Niroku’s kill spells though, as they surrendered when their Poro was lined up for the punt.

Luserbeam 1-0

Luser opened game 2 with Zoe and Nami.

Luserbeam 2-0

I’m just kidding, it’s not quite that simple. Niroku used Gifts to summon Eye of the Dragon from their deck, but without Luser opening Double Trouble the lifesteal was only going to be coming on off turns. Luser buffed up his Zoe with Moonglow, and played his level’d Nami on 4. Niroku played Lee Sin on 5, and Luser summoned Sparklefly. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, and sometimes what you see IS what you get. Niroku cast Sonic Wave // Resonating Strike on their Dragonling, challenging Sparklefly with it and Nami with Lee Sin. Sunblessed Vigor kept Nami healthy, but the Sparklefly could not be saved. Luser didn’t seem to mind much and summoned Fleet Admiral Shelly on the following turn, and after using a few more spells was able to get down a Wiggly Burlbfish as well. In the ensuing combat Hush was used on Shelly so Lee could block it, and Luser used Shakedown on his dying Burblefish (killing it) to grant vulnerable to Lee and Eye, but more importantly, level up his Zoe.

Niroku tried once again to kill Nami as they played Sonic Wave on their Dragonling, dragging Zoe to it and Nami with Lee. Guiding Touch was enough to ensure Nami lived through the kick thanks to the extra health from Vigor, and after Niroku commited the Resonating Strike to Lee Luser Hushed it. Nami went back to hand, and was safely replayed. Luser kicked off their turn invoking Trickster Behold the Infinite, but Gravitum ensured that Niroku would have at least one more turn. Zoe hit the nexus and Nami hit Eye, and Behold the Infinite hit Great Beyond. With another Hush in Luser’s hand it was going to take Bastion to save Niroku from the brink of defeat, so when they started the turn with Zenith Blade onto Zed it seemed all but over. Lee was Hushed, shutting down any hopes of lethal for the turn. Double Trouble was cast granting Luser some additional units, and Niroku surrendered. 

Luserbeam 2-0

Round 8 - Seku vs KDoritos
Lulu Poppy Ionia / Sivir Akshan / BANNED: Ziggs Burn w/Teemo) vs (Plunder / Zoe Nami / BANNED: Sion)

Seku opened game 1 with the first Poppy rally deck we’ve seen so far, and made it look good by opening with the Fleetfeather Tracker/Lulu combo. KDoritos tried to make him work for it with Make It Rain, but a Twin Discipline saved the Tracker and Seku killed Zoe and pushed some damage. Seku kept up the pressure with a Poppy on the following turn, and while KDoritos was able to put up a wall with Double Trouble, they didn’t seem to have a Nami to follow it up. Seku debated going wider before attacking, eyeing the Supercool Starchart that could turn into a Crescent Strike. Ultimately it seemed he decided he was ok if his opponent's entire turn was Crescent Strike, and played a Greenglade Duo. Starchart was cast but there was no additional follow up, and Seku swung out, challenging Sparklefly with the tracker. KDoritos chose not to block, hanging back his units for the next, more impactful attack and falling to 7 in the process. 

KDoritos didn’t have Nami, but they did have Fleet Admiral Shelly. They played Line’Em Up first to utilize the attune, then summoned everyone’s favorite Admiral. Seku sent it to the top of the deck with Poppy’s Keeper’s Verdict, then let his Duo die and replaced it with a Shadow Assassin. The Assassin drew him a Relentless Pursuit, but it proved unnecessary as he was able to take the win on the open attack.

Seku 1-0

KDoritos switched over the Plunder and kicked off game 2 in an absolutely classic fashion: turn 1 Warning Shot into Jagged Butcher. Seku responded with a Fleetfeather Tracker, and threw it under the bus on turn 2 to stop any nexus damage coming through, then summoning Akshan. He offered to pass turn 3 since KDoritos had yet to deal any nexus damage, and they accepted. For how aggressive their turn 1 was, they had yet to play another card. When they attacked on 4 and Seku blocked with Sharpsight, they used a Make It Rain to secure nexus damage and try to kill Akshan, prompting a 2nd Sharpsight from Seku to keep him safe and healthy. He followed it up with Brightsteel Protector post combat, getting solidly on board and ensuring Akshan would live to see the next turn where he could level up when the Palace countdown completed if he played Shaped Stone. KDoritos simply played another Jagged Butcher.

Seku opened his turn with Merciless Hunter onto the Butcher, and KDoritos tagged the nexus, Brightsteel, and Hunter with Make It Rain. Seku sent in his attacks, pulling the Butcher with Brightsteel, and KDoritos took aim at Akshan with Monster Harpoon. Shaped Stone onto Merciless leveled the Akshan, and a 2nd Harpoon meant that KDoritos was going to remain at 20 nexus health and the board was going to be cleared on both sides. It also left KDoritos with just 2 cards in hand to Seku’s 3 thanks to the Warlord’s Palace. Zap Sprayfin closed the card gap at the start of the next round, and Seku developed Sivir while taking the 2 elusive damage.

Sejuani came down on defense for KDoritos after Vekauran Vagabond erected a Warlord’s Palace next to the Hoard, and that was the end of the turn for Seku. KDorito went for the open attack and Concerted Strike threatened to kill the Sejuani, but KDorito had a 2nd copy which they used as Fury of the North to make sure that Sej would survive long enough to push through her overwhelm damage before trading with the Vagabond. The whole ordeal put Seku down to 6 health and still it wasn’t enough damage pushed out to level up his Sivir. Preservarium into Akshan put the Hoard down to countdown 2, but Sejuani number 3 froze Sivir and set up a blocker too big for Akshan, meaning Seku was going to lose another attack turn. With Zap, Monkey Idol and Crackshot Corsair all backing up the level 2 Sejuani, Seku was going to need a miracle to punch through it. He played Brightsteel Protector on Akshan and swung in with his 2 drops, losing the protector to Sej and finding Treasure Seeker and Radiant Guardian off his Fount of Power. Gangplank hit the field for KDoritos on their attack turn, and despite all the abilities in play, the 2 overwhelm champions were enough to take this series to a game 3.

KDoritos 1-1

With how much the meta has evolved since the World Championship last month, it was nice to get a staple matchup from the event in Sivir/Akshan vs Zoe/Nami. Arguably less nice was KDoritos hitting some really choice units off their Double Trouble (Gift Giver and Dunekeeper) and then having Pale Cascade into a top-decked Sunblessed Vigor to protect Nami from a 5 damage Concerted Strike on turn 4. Seku took an open attack on 5 to try and kill the Nami with Fleetfeather Tracker, and a Make It Rain hitting all 3 of his units forced a Sharpsight out of Seku to finish off the Nami. Line’Em Up was used to make sure all 3 units died to the Make It Rain, and Seku succeeded in killing the Nami, but was left to deal with 2 5/4 1 drops, now accompanied by a 0 mana Wiggly Burblefish. Seku summoned Sivir, lost the spellshield to Knock’Em Down, and a 2nd Burblefish joined the party. Seku traded his Sivir for Gift Giver on defense, activating his Radiant Guardian and falling to 11. 

Turn 7 kicked off with Seku using Merciless Hunter onto Sparklefly, challenging it with Radiant Guardian. Another Pale Cascade + Sunblessed Vigor combo kept the Fly safe for the time being, but the elusive race was only pushing 5 damage from KDoritos. Sivir and Akshan joined the fray for Seku, and things were looking quite salvageable as he sat on Concerted Strike, Single Combat, and the Absolver to ensure nothing too crazy happened. He really put his foot on the gas with Waking Sands, forcing KDoritos to Spell Thief the Waking Sands and play it on defense. Sivir leveled up at the start of combat, and Seku climbed to 14 while taking out both Sparklefly. KDoritos played another Double Trouble, but the walls could only last so long. Seku used Single Combat to take out one of the Wiggly Burblefish on KDoritos’ attack, prompting Spell Thief into Sharpsight in conjunction with a Hush into the Radiant Guardian to make sure the lifesteal follower died. When combat was finished, Seku was still at a high and mighty 12 while KDoritos only had 2 cards remaining in hand. Seku played another Merciless Hunter, and with the Absolver in hand and a level 2 Sivir, there was nothing KDoritos could find off their 3rd Spell Thief to save them. 

Seku 2-1

Round 9 - Jason Fleurant vs FNX Wasrusso
(Bandle Pirates / Sion / BANNED: Ziggs/Poppy) vs (Bandle Pirates / Darkness / BANNED: Zoe/Nami)

If you’ve stayed till the end of a Seasonal broadcast before, chances are you’ve seen Jason Fleurant. He’s been on the win-and-in on multiple occasions in the final round and has yet to be able to break through into the Top 32. Today, he’s finally looking to break that streak. On the other side of the table, FNX Wasrusso was looking to join their 3 FNX teammates who had secured their Top 32 spots.

Jason started off the game of Bandle Pirates vs Darkness on the right foot with Inventive Chemist hitting the nexus on the first turn. Things slowed down a little on his next attack turn when Stone Stackers collided with a Twisted Catalyzer and the Chemist was lost to a Vile Feast, but the nexus damage still counted for both Gangplank’s level up and the Jagged Butcher he played post-combat. Wasrusso started off turn 4 with Aloof Travelers, trying to snipe out the Gangplank in Jason’s hand. He had drawn Monster Harpoon for the turn, but the Scrappy Bomb countdown had gone off at the start of the round, making the Harpoon cost 3. Instead, he won the 50/50 and lost his Hidden Pathways to keep his GP safe. Lecturing Yorlde hit the field, and with the GP still in hand things were looking good for Jason despite how little progress he had actually made on the nexus thus far.

Jason took the route of an open attack on 5, finishing off Aloof Travelers with Poison Dart post-combat. He still had his Harpoon for whatever threat Wasrusso developed, but it was just a Conchologist. Jason decided to go wide and started off with Inventive Chemist, and a Withering Mists from Wasrusso finished off Lecturing Yordle and pushed damage into the Butcher. This stopped Jason from playing his Fortune Croaker as his board was set to 1 hp on both his remaining units. With Wasrusso on 6 mana for their attack turn, they offered a pass and Jason played Gangplank, 1 turn off of leveling up. Stilted Robemaker hit the field, and Jason tried to devastate the board with Make It Rain. Wasrusso cast Pokey Stick on the Keg, but the Gangplank level up was still completed. Conchologist was saved as a blocker, and Wasrusso lost their units and fell to 8 on the open attack. Or so the oracle eye said, but all it took was a Withering Wail to make combat go smoother for Wasrusso. Jason used Pokey Stick on the Robemaker, using the Keg before it was lost to the wail and preserving the health of his GP in the process. Everything died except GP, and Wasrusso was left at 13 nexus health. With 2 Monster Harpoon still in Jason’s hand, Wasrusso was unable to secure healing with Ixtali Sentinel, even after the use of Fading Memories for a 2nd copy. While GP did fall to Darkness and Go Hard, the rest of Jason’s board left Wasrusso at 3, and from there the deck sometimes known as Ping City had no problem chipping down the last bit. 

Jason Fleurant 1-0

While Jason was on the board and 1 win away from securing his Top 32 spot, he still had a long road ahead of him. He had to pick up a win with Draven/Sion, a deck that Wasrusso had set out to soft counter with their lineup. 

Jason’s opener in game 2 left something to be desired. He had plenty of burn but very little in the way of units that could help him deal damage to get to the burn finisher. On top of that, we had no Lost Souls or Sion to speak of. This meant he had no way to deal with the Veigar that Wasrusso played on turn 4, and on turn 5 had to consider using a Get Excited and Mystic Shot to kill it; far from ideal. He ended up playing Risen Rider after Wasrusso played Stilted Robemaker, and when the Darkness was aimed at the Rider Jason thought for a moment whether to send his Noxian fervor at Veigar or the nexus and ultimately decided on the nexus. He even found Lost Souls on the next turn to kill Veigar anyway, so it was probably for the best that the Fervor went where it did. 

1 Lost Souls is not a winning strategy, however, especially when backed by 2 Get Excited, Mystic Shot, and 2 Survival Skills as your hand on the turn you really want to be slamming a Sion down and telling your opponent to deal with it. One Rummage found another and once he was down to 4 mana for the turn he was able to find Sion and Captain Farron as well. Wasrusso used Darkness to kill a unit and played Senna to keep the steady flow of removal up. On 8 Jason played the on curve Farron that seemed to be more common for the deck than Sion, and Wasrusso used Darkness and Vile Feast to kill a Flame Chompers and Twinblade. Jason responded with Mystic Shot on the Robemaker, and attacked. His remaining Chompers pulled Senna to the side, leaving 2 Spiderlings to defend against Farron and Risen Rider. Farron was Minimorphed, and the path was clear for Sion on the next turn. If that didn’t work, the 2 Decimates, 2 Get Exciteds, and Mystic Shot should be enough to chew through the last 14 nexus health.

Wasrusso spent their turn leveling Senna, and Jason played Sion. His open attack on the next turn of Sion and Rider was countered by Darkness and Withering Mists, and thanks to Senna’s cost reduction on spells, Wasrusso still had 8 mana to deal with the redevelopment and attack from Sion Reborn and friends. Jason however, having all that burn in hand, didn’t have much in the way of redevelopment. He cast Get Excited on Senna to get a Twinblade and played it. Darkbulb Acolyte fetched another Darkness, and Sion Reborn was lost to it as Twinblade traded with Senna. With Wasrusso now up to 19 health and a Get Excited used, the burn plan was looking less inevitable. What Jason did now have going for him was an abundance of Twinblade Revenants, but Wasrusso had a very chunky board that was going to take a long time to get through, including 3 Spiderlings, 2 Conchologist, and an Aloof Travelers. Jason punched through what he could but another Senna was cast by Wasrusso, forcing Jason to completely abandon the burn plan and spend his spells inefficiently removing Senna. With the cost reduction, Wasrusso was able to clear the rest of Jason’s board and continued to chip away at the nexus with their spiderlings. Senna died to Get Excited and Darkbulb Acolyte to Mystic Shot, and Wasrusso was solidly in the life lead at 20 to 9. Their cards in hand were dwindling however and Jason still had plenty of Twinblades coming in, but Wasrusso would likely only need 1 more threat to end the game now that Jason had expended all their removal. It was an LoR classic; a race to the champions. 

Jason won the race by drawing Sion, but it came 1 turn after Wasrusso drew Ixtali Sentinel. The Darkness onto the nexus left Jason at 2, and when Splinter Soul was cast onto the Ixtali on Jason’s turn he knew there was nothing to stop the Darkness from hitting his nexus and the lethal open attack. With 3 and a half minutes left on the in-game clock, Jason conceded.

FNX Wasrusso 1-1

No one wants to be knocked out of the Seasonal because they lost their win-and-in to the timer, so Jason came out of the gate playing much faster than before. When the 5 minutes of overtime is accounted for, game 3 had 8 and a half minutes to play out, which is arguably enough time for a full game of Draven/Sion vs Bandle Pirates.

Jason pulled ahead on the clock early, garning an 8 second lead by turn 4. Wasrusso had the board and life advantage, going wide around the 1 unit a turn Jason had been putting out and knocking him down to 10 thanks to Tenor of Terror. Jason tried to challenge the Bass of Burden with his damaged Twinblade on turn 5, but Pokey Stick threatened to keep the Burden around. Jason used Noxian Fervor to secure the kill, but since he had been playing on curve all game this only left with with 2 mana for development, meaning potentially his 2 Zaunite Urchins. Not the ideal development into Bandle Pirates, even less so when the 2nd one was used to discard Jason’s Sion. With Sion being tossed away on turn 5 it looked as though Jason was playing for the clock, which still had over 5 minutes remaining. Perhaps he knew he would never make it to turn 7 anyway, as the turn 6 combat knocked him down to just 2 nexus health thanks to Gangplanks overwhelm, 2 Kegs, 2 Crackshot Corsair, and a Dreadway Deckhand were all sent at his dwindling life total. He lost his board defending it, and just as Jason demonstrated in game 1 it doesn’t take much for Bandle Pirates to find that last bit of damage. Wasrusso played Marai Wardens, which yielded a Daring Poro. Jason would have to use both Get Excited in hand to kill GP and the Poro to stay above 1, but a Double Up from Wasrusso forced Jason to kill one of his own units with the Get Excited. Wasrusso then started their turn with Crackshot Corsair, the 1 damage that was needed to ensure Daring Poro was enough to win the game when Get Excited was thrown at Gangplank. It was an uphill battle from the start, and Jason was unable to break his streak of 7-2s this time around.

FNX Wasrusso 2-1

Be sure to check back this weekend to see Wasrusso and the rest of the Top 32 battle it out for the title of Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal Champion at twitch.tv/legendsofruneterra!

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