Welcome one and all to the Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal Top 32 recap! If you missed it, want to relive it, or just really love reading, you’ve come to the right place. While this Seasonal isn’t part of the 2022 competitive year for Worlds qualification or the like, there’s still plenty of pride, prestige, and money on the line. With Draven/Sion dominating the Open Rounds many players were left wondering if anything could stand in its way, so read on to find out.
Top 32 - FNX Wasrusso vs XxWhatAmIxX
(Bandle Pirates / Darkness / BANNED: Zoe/Nami) vs (Lee Sin / Draven/Sion / BANNED: Sivir/Akshan)
XxWhatAmIxX is fresh off of his 4th place finish at the World Championship and is back in his 4th Seasonal Top 32, trying to make this the one he takes it all. Wasrusso, on the other hand, is coming in as 1 of 4 FNX members to make the Top 32 of this event. WhatAmI started things off with Lee Sin and Wasrusso opened with Darkness.
WhatAmI decided to go the route of playing ‘protect the Zoe’, saving her against a Pokey Stick and then equipping her with a Zenith Blade. This meant he was slower than normal to summon an Eye of the Dragon in the early game, and that allowed Wasrusso to get in a few hits with a Twisted Catalyzer. In fact on turn 5 when WhatAmI did finally summon his Eye with Crescendum, Wasrusso was already 4 units wide and had the attack token. While Darkness failed to kill the Zoe through a Twin Discipline, the casting of the spell triggered the augment of Darkbulb Acolyte and Wasrusso sent in three 3-attack units at WhatAmI’s nexus. Catalyzer ran into Zoe as WhatAmI healed her with Guiding Touch to survive the interaction, and 6 damage slipped through to knock the nexus down to 11. WhatAmI had summoned a 2nd Eye already, and would likely have no trouble stabilizing against the early hits Wasrusso put out.
On turn 6 WhatAmI played Sonic Wave to give a Dragonling challenger, then invoked a Trickster with Supercool Starchart, and finally played said Trickster to level up his Zoe and give everything elusive. Wasrusso tapped out in response, using Withering Mists on Zoe and Trickster and finally finishing off the Zoe with Vile Feast. WhatAmI elected not to take advantage of the challenger on his Dragonling and sent his 5 remaining units into the nexus, dropping Wasrusso from 20 down to 11, and healing himself to 15. Wasrusso drew and played Veigar, but since neither player had been able to bank any spell mana for the last few turns, the 4 damage Darkness would be the only other play that Wasrusso could make that turn. WhatAmI summoned Scattered Pod and tutored a Twin Discipline from his deck, setting up for another wide elusive swing with the Zoe in his hand. Wasrusso offered a pass, and WhatAmI accepted.
WhatAmI started the turn invoking a Falling Comet with Solari Priestess, which Wasrusso responded to by blasting the Trickster with Darkness. Zoe hit the field and WhatAmI’s units all gained elusive again. Wasrusso played a Senna, and WhatAmI was very much on a clock to get through the last 11 health before Senna and Veigar took over the game together. WhatAmI still had 6 mana to Wasrusso’s 3, and a few combat tricks in hand to combat the 5 damage Darkness. He used Pale Cascade on his Priestess and found another Deep Meditation, prompting him to just send in the attack. If Wasrusso cast Darkness on one of the 2-attack units then WhatAmI would win the game with an attack boost from Twin Discipline, and it seems Wasrusso was able to see the writing on the wall for that line. Instead, they used Stress Defense on the Pod, knocking the damage down to 7 and ensuring that WhatAmI would need a 2nd combat trick to end the game. He didn’t have one, and Wasrusso fell to 4. Zoe created Behold the Infinite which WhatAmI used immediately, finding a Great Beyond to try and secure lethal on the next turn by spreading spellshield to the entire board. Wasrusso opened their turn with an attack from Senna and a Darkness cast onto Pod as Vegiar had pumped it up to 6 damage at the start of the round. WhatAmI blocked with his Dragonling and then cast Falling Comet onto Veigar. Conchologist grabbed a Go Hard for Wasrusso, and WhatAmI cast Deep Meditation to activate his Eyes for the next turn. Darkness blasted Zoe, and the turn ended. WhatAmI opened his attack turn with The Great Beyond, passing spell shield and elusive to the new Dragonlings and all the other units. With only 4 nexus health, there wasn’t enough Wasrusso could do to stop the 6 attackers.
Wasrusso stuck with the Darkness for game 2 as WhatAmI swapped over to the Draven/Sion.
We came into the game a little late and caught WhatAmI blocking a Darkbulb Acolyte with his Risen Rider. After the exchange of units, WhatAmI summoned Aloof Travelers, drawing a Get Excited and trading Wasrusso’s Ixtali Sentinel for a Hidden Pathways. With the opponent tapped out for the turn, Wasrusso summoned Veigar.
WhatAmI tried to continue on his aggressive path on the following turn, summoning Risen Rider. It was met with a Twisted Catalyzer from Wasrusso. Rummage discarded Reborn Grenadier and Lost Souls, and WhatAmI swung with all of his units. The Rider and Catalyzer collided and the Spiderling took a chump block into the Travelers. Wasrusso valued the health of the Veigar over their nexus and let the Grenadier hit face. Veigar would live another turn with no removal for it in sight, and Darkness continued to tick up in damage.
Wasrusso started the turn using Darkness on Travelers. WhatAmI summoned his Twinblade Revenant as Wasrusso grabbed another Darkness with an Acolyte, and that was the end of turn 6. Veigar ticked Darkness up to 6 damage, and although there was no Minimoprh or Stress Defense to cleanly answer the Sion, he could at least blast it with Darkness. Since this was publicly available information, WhatAmI decided not to summon his Sion at all and instead played Rummage into Risen Rider. Wasrusso shot both units with Withering Mists, and WhatAmI went into full desperation mode, discarding his Draven’s Biggest Fan and Grave Physician to Poro Cannons. After the 3rd Daring Poro touched down, Wasrusso finished off Twinblade Revenant with Pokey Stick. WhatAmI summoned the 4th Poro and lost it to Darkness. He attacked, but Wasrusso was still ending the turn at 13-- 1 life higher than they had started it with. Wasrusso opened turn 8 with Senna to make sure another Darkness was ready and Veigar could finally level, and then WhatAmI played Sion. Conchologist manifested a Poison Dart, and the turn ended.
WhatAmI decided not to go for an open attack and instead played Sump Dredger to discard Lost Souls. Wasrusso picked up Stress Defense and Withering Wail with Hidden Pathways, and seemed to now have things covered on all sides. WhatAmI wasn’t out yet, however, and played Aloof Travelers to snipe out the Withering Wail and confirm an absence of Minimorph in Wasrusso’s hand. WhatAmI full-sent his 6 units in for an attack, and Wasrusso threw out their Darkness and Poison Dart onto 2 Poros and used Stress Defense on Sion. WhatAmI used his Get Excited to discard Draven and kill his own Daring Poro, stopping Veigar from leveling up. This also meant that Wasrusso would need to attack with Senna on their turn in order to generate a Darkness, and then either lose her to Sion or kill the Sion and give WhatAmI a rally. A Pokey Stick to finish off a Dredger drew Wasrusso a Minimorph, and the entire course of the game was altered. Both players went as wide as they could. Wasrusso used a Vile Feast to finish off another unit and level up Senna, and ultimately the turn ended without a Darkness in hand for Wasrusso. WhatAmI’s ensuing open attack threatened the life of both Veigar and Wasrusso’s nexus, but Wasrusso saved their nexus with a Minimoprh onto Sion and fully blocked the board, staying at 12. With 2 Mist’s Call in hand, Wasrusso decided to roll the dice on a 25% chance to reanimate Veigar and essentially win the game from that point forward. They got a Hapless Aristocrat. Deciding to cut his losses, he didn’t use the 2nd copy and instead manifested a Group Shot with a Conchologist to round out the turn.
Wasrusso lost Senna to a Lost Souls powered up by Survival Skills on the next turn and was able to bring her back with the saved Mist’s Call. WhatAmI’s board was starting to look very threatening as he was able to establish 2 Twinblades and still had a Minitee, Sump Dreger, and Lost Souls hanging on at low life totals after his Draven was killed by a 10 damage Darkness. WhatAmI drew his 3rd Lost Souls while Wasrusso got Withering Mists, and the grind continued. Let’s fast forward just a little bit, to the end of the stalemate.
WhatAmI drew Sion and Wasrusso drew Ixtali Sentinel in the same turn. They both summoned their respective outs, and since it was Wasrusso’s attack turn, they sent in the Senna and lined up Darkness onto Sion, killing it and dealing 10 damage to the nexus. This puts WhatAmI at 9 health. WhatAmI attacked Senna with Twinblade and sent Sion Reborn in, which he lost to Darkness.
WhatAmI was left to run out Lost Soul after Lost Soul to get his Revenants, but the awkward mana cadence of it all meant he would have a difficult time getting through Senna. Before that was really a concern, Wasrusso mercifully drew Veigar and ended the game.
FNX Wasrusso 1-1
Draven’s Biggest Fan collided with a Jagged Butcher to kick things off, and Stoney Stacker was able to bypass a Zaunite Urchin to strike the nexus on the 2nd turn. Parlay killed the Urchin on turn 3, and Wasrusso was on their way to a very quick Gangplank level up. They gassed out a little quicker than the might like, though. Their turn 4 attack of Stoney Stackers, Crackshot Corsair, and Inventive Chemist was shut down by Mystic Shot and 2 Axes on Draven, summoning a Reborn Grandier, and full blocking and leveling up Draven. The ping was done for GPs purposes, but Wasrusso was left with just Make It Rain, Monster Harpoon, and Dreadway Deckhand in their hand and no field to get through WhatAmI’s 14 remaining nexus health. GP might be leveled up on curve, but if he wasn’t drawn on curve, Wasrusso was in a world of trouble.
Draven dragged the Keg and Zaunite Urchin went into battle, and Wasrusso used Make It Rain to continue to play for the GP top deck and ensure he would come down leveled up if he was drawn on the next turn. This did mean that Draven’s overwhelm put Wasrusso at 13, and 2 more axes went into WhatAmI’s hand. Marai Warden let Wasrusso go a bit wider, and when Tenor of Terror came off the top they were able to go wider still. WhatAmI was down to 11 health, and Wasrusso was now 5 wide coming at WhatAmI’s 3 blockers and full unit hand. Monster Harpoon was used pre-combat to kill Twinblade Revenant, and it was replaced with Daring Poro. Combat ensued, and WhatAmI played his 2nd Poro into the board of Deckhand, Marai Warden, and a damaged Legion Rearguard. The next turn was WhatAmI’s time to go on the offensive, as he had 2 Sion waiting in the hand to try and get through Wasrusso’s last 13 nexus health. He was down to 5 himself, but that meant no single top deck from Wasrusso would be able to kill him. Sion hit the field, and Wasrusso blocked Sion with Deckhand. With 4 Spinning Axes in hand thanks to level 2 Draven, WhatAmI discarded Lost Souls, its generated Twinblade Revenant, his 2nd Sion, and his Sump Dredger to completely empty his hand and pump Sion up to 14 attack, presenting exact lethal over the Deckhand with the help of the Daring Poro. Wasrusso’s top deck of Dreadway Deckhand could only sit back and watch as WhatAmI won the match.
Top 16 - Seku vs Syxton
(PnZ Yorldes in Arms / Sivir/Akshan / BANNED: Elusive Rally) vs (Lee Sin / Star Spring / BANNED: Riven/Vi)
Syxton’s swiss lineup was a personal favorite of mine, as they were the only player to top with Lee Sin/Zoe and Tahm Kench/Nami, an adaptation that reminded me a lot of MajiinBae’s Seasonal winning Tahm Kench/Aphelios deck. Here in the Top 32, they replaced the Nami with Soraka and went back to an old favorite in Star Spring, but they had still won me over.
Seku opened the Sivir/Akshan v Demacia matchup with Treasure Seeker and Fleetfeather Tracker to push 4 damage on turn 2, and even had a Merciless Hunter ready to give Eye of the Dragon vulnerable as soon as Syxton pulled it out of their deck. When the attack token went back to Seku for turn 4, he played Waking Sands. A Solari Priestess from Syxton yielded a Traveler, and Seku sent in the cavalry. Which, in this case, was just Sandstone Charger at the Eye, not wanting to attack with his Merciless Hunter despite a lack of fearsome blockers for fear of some kind of pump spell. He played another Tracker and ended the turn.
Traveler invoked a Serpent, which was used to kill one of the Trackers. Sivir came down for Seku, and both players banked a bit of spell mana into the next turn. With a hand full of combat tricks, Seku could only open attack, pushing Syxton down to 9 and clearing his field. The redevelopment started with Eye of the Dragon, followed by Gifts from Beyond to pull the 3rd Eye from the deck. Seku played Cataclysm, pulling Eye and Sivir into the arena. Syxton elected not to protect it, and Seku didn’t try to kill the 2nd one. Lee Sin was greeted by an immediate Concerted Strike on turn 7, forcing a Sonic Wave // Resonating Strike onto a Dragonling to give Lee barrier. With his life still being threatened by the Strike, Seku used a health-boosting Twin Discipline to level up Lee and put it at 9 health. With a hand of 2 Single Combat and a Resolver, Seku didn’t have the leveled-up champion required to get The Absolver’s Return and had to let the Lee live for the time being. Dragonling pulled Sivir and Lee pulled Treasure Seeker, and Seku used Single Combat to trade Sivir for Lee, dodging the Dragonling lifesteal and killing Lee Sin. Both players had a 2nd copy of their respective champions in hand, but on the following turn Syxton held back his Lee and Seku played Akshan and Sivir. Seku charged in for a full attack and once Eye was used to block Treasure Seeker and Dragonling on Sivir, Seku committed the Absolver onto Seeker, and Absolver Returns on Sivir to spread out overwhelm and kill the Eye. Double Hush onto Sivir stopped the overwhelm and gave a little lifesteal to Syxton, but his Eye of the Dragon was still killed. Syxton’s next turn consisted of playing Lee and kicking Sivir into the nexus, but without overwhelm, lethal was not being represented.
Both players sat in a bit of a stalemate for a few turns as the Warlord’s Palace continued to count down, and when it was on 2, Syxton decided to play the Zenith Blade he had drawn on the previous turn. Seku responded by giving barrier to Akshan with Brightsteel Protector, ensuring it would go back to hand if it was kicked by Lee. This also prevented Akshan from trading into Lee Sin with the Single Combat in Seku’s hand, and the buff from Twin Discipline made sure Lee was able to come in for a lethal swing at the Akshan.
It wouldn’t be a proper Americas Seasonal Top 32 without Star Spring, and Syxton is here to give us our fix as he tried to close out the series vs Seku.
To ensure that we would get to see the deck function as intended, Syxton was kind enough to open the game with Star Spring. A Soraka on the following turn meant he was firing on all cylinders, despite how anticlimactic things may look. Seku was able to connect with a Sivir on the following turn but the damage was quickly undone by a Broadback Protector on the side of Syxton, who seemed to have everything going right in the early game. Despite not having any copies of Astral Protection in hand, Seku had to respect the blowout potential of the card which made his Concerted Strike awkward as Seku continuously left open 4 mana. Syxton played Boxtopus and set his sights on Sivir, and Brightsteel Protector did her duty and kept her safe with a barrier. Seku also decided now was the time to line up the Concerted Strike and kill Soraka, but a 2nd copy was waiting in the wings for Syxton who rounded out their turn with a Fortune Croaker. Star Spring count: 3.
With Syxton’s nexus back at 20 thanks to Broadback, it was time for Seku to try and knock it down a peg again. He lined up an open attack but pulled it back, playing a Preservarium instead. Syxton passed. Seku lined up his attack again, but pulled his units back to the bench and ended the turn. Star Spring count: 5. Syxton summoned a level 2 Soraka, ready to run Boxtopus into Sivir, but another Brightsteel Protector stopped her in her tracks. Instead, Syxton had to use one of his Shakedown, giving vulnerable to both Brightsteels and running Soraka and Broadbacked into them. Seku played a Vekaraun Bruiser, and Syxton played a Crusty Codger to fill his board. Star Spring count: 15. Seku found themself on something of a hail mary turn. He had Relic of Power, 11 mana, and a rally staring down 5 units and a 15 stack Star Spring. The game wasn’t getting any easier, and it was time to do or die. He fetched a Merciless Hunter with the Relic, and summoned Akshan. Syxton cast Shakedown on one of his units, then cast Soraka’s Wish. Seku ran the math and realized this would put Syxton’s Star Spring at exactly 22, and promptly surrendered.
Top 8 Kochua vs Prodigy
Game 1 of our Top 8 would see two very different Bandle City win conditions going at it: Bandle City Mayor and Bandle City Mayor. Wait, that’s not right...I meant Yordles in Arms and Bandle Tree. Those two.
Prodigy drew first Mayor blood after Kochua elected not to attack on turn 3 with his field of Fleetfeather Tracker, Conchologist, and Bandle Commando in order to prevent Prodigy from playing their Mayor, and instead they patiently waited until turn 4 to drop and manifest a Proto Poro. Kochua was able to topdeck a Mayor of his own and return the favor by manifesting a Loping Telescope. Prodigy played a Telescope from their hand, taking Equinox over Rite of Negation. Kochua responded in kind with a slightly weaker pull in Moonglow, and his Mayor was hit with Equinox. Since Prodigy’s Mayor still had its ability, he played Fizz and Proto Poro for 0 mana each, and then attacked with Telescope which Kochua traded with his own. Kochua elected to open attack, full-sending his 4 units and pulling Mayor with Fleetfeather Tracker. Kochua also cast a manifested Chain Vest onto his Tracker for reasons that still remain a mystery to me before locking in the attack. Prodigy took the 5 damage without fuss and played another Bandle City Mayor, yielding an Aloof Travelers. Kochua played an Aloof of their own in response, replacing Prodigy’s Bandle Tree with a Buster Shot.
Prodigy summoned Poppy with the attack token, prompting a defensive Brightsteel Protector out of Kochua. Prodigy followed up with Aloof, replacing Kochua’s Yordles in Arms with a 2nd copy of Sharpsight. With both players having full fields, Prodigy sent his entire arsenal into combat. Kochua lined up a few good trades including a Sharpsight block to get his Commando over his opponent’s as well as a Sharpsight onto his silenced Mayor to kill Poppy. With Kochua tapped out, Prodigy decided to use his Group Shot while he still had enough units to activate it and killed Brightsteel to keep his Mayor alive. When the dust settled, Kochua was left with Commando, Aloof, and Hungry Owlcat to Prodigy’s Aloof and Mayor that had been buffed by Poppy. Kochua started off his turn with another Aloof Travelers, yielding himself a Golden Aegis and replacing his opponent’s Minimorph with Ravenous Flock. Prodigy played another Telescope and passed up another Equinox in favor of a Shark Trainer. Kochua generated another Owlcat with a lone Commando attack and then manifested a Sharpsight with Conchologist as Prodigy developed his Shark Trainer.
Prodigy kicked off turn 8 with an open attack, and thanks to a little banked spell mana, activated Shark Trainer. Kochua lined up a few blocks with some trades, prompting a Group Shot from Prodigy to pick off a backline Commando before he fell below 4 units again. Kochua didn’t respond, and fell to 9 life. He played out an Owlcat and Poppy, using Ranger’s Resolve to save Poppy from Buster Shot. With his rally plans for the turn now gone as the Resolve tapped him below the necessary mana, he once again looked to Loping Telescope to give him something juicy. Judgment was offered, but the Charger was taken and played. Prodigy had snuck a Bandle Tree down in the middle of it all at 6/10 regions and was given a Minotaur Reckoner at the end of the round. Without Poppy to buff up his board, Kochua’s open attack was looking a little pitiful, and it took Kochua’s Sharpsight to get just 1 trade alongside the 6 damage he pushed to take the life lead as Prodigy fell to 8. Prodigy played his Reckoner and the House Spider he drew for turn, bringing his Tree up to 8. He was given a Shadow Assassin at the end of the round, and while his open attack on the following turn was not enough to end the game, his elusive blocker was enough to ensure that Kochua had no hope of victory on his following attack turn before the Bandle Tree could end things.
Prodigy however did not want to take the Bandle Tree win and passed away the turn they got their Shurima unit, and instead finished Kochua off with an open attack on the next turn.
Both players swapped decks, and Prodigy’s Spooky Viego deck seemed very well suited into the limited interaction Demacia lineups that Kochua had brought. Prodigy was on the old school Darkwater Scourge/Deathmark combo that tends to kick off Ionia/Shadow Isles innovation but is cut in the refinement. With no Single Combat or Concerted Strike in either of Kochua’s unbanned decks, one Deathmark could be all it took to knock him out of the Top 8.
Kochua set up Lulu/Fleetfeather for a turn 3 attack but was shut down when Prodigy played Vile Feast. Kochua used Nopeify to save the Tracker, but a Concussive Palm follow-up meant the turn was done with no attacks. Turn 4 came and went quickly with Kochua developing a Greenglade Duo. On the following turn Kochua had no units to develop and chose to open attack, supporting the Fleetfeather as it challenged Tail of the Dragon instead of prioritizing damage with the Duo. Prodigy lined up Vile Feast on Duo, and Kochua cast Sharpsight to save it. Prodigy still had some spells in hand but elected to save his mana instead and took the damage, then summoned a Darkwater Scourge and ate it with Mask Mother, giving him a fearsome 7/7 with lifesteal. With Prodigy tapping out to create such a beast Kochua cast Golden Aegis onto his Fleetfeather, dealing another 4 damage to the nexus with his Duo and pushing some damage into the Mask Mother. With only 8 nexus health left, Prodigy started their turn with an attack from the mother, but a 2nd Lulu in hand meant Kochua had access to Whimsy. The Mother was turned into a squirrel and Lulu was put on block duty, prompting Prodigy to fight over it with Grasp of the Undying to ensure his Mother made it to the next turn. Kochua countered with Twin Discipline. With no fast speed spells left in their hand, Prodigy fell to 1 on the next attack from Kochua, and not even the Withering Mist was enough to save them from the onslaught of elusives and rallies that were to follow.
Prodigy opened the 3rd game with 2 copies of Death Mark and no Scourge, the total opposite of the previous game. A Camavoran Soldier in hand meant they weren’t totally useless, but that was something to keep an eye on turns down the line.
Prodigy was able to deal with everything Kochua put down in the early turns, even ripping a Grasp of the Undying onto a Mayor before things could get out of hand. But when Kochua played an Aloof Travelers on turn 4 and hit a Deathmark out of the hand of Prodigy, it became apparent that there was no more impactful removal or threats. Kochua used his next turn going wide with the information given, and a Camavoran Soldier from Prodigy did a little to combat what was coming but wasn’t able to come down with enough mana to use Death Mark as well. Glimpse Beyond was used instead on the Mist that blocked, getting an Atrocity and Will of Ionia to pair with the Invasive Hydravine that Prodigy had drawn for turn. Prodigy’s hand still left something to be desired, as they played out a top-decked Greenglade Lookout on their next turn. Kochua played Poppy, and used Ranger’s Resolve to combat a Vile Feast onto his Fleetfeather. Prodigy used his Mask Mother to eat his Camavoran Soldier, giving him a 5/3 statline that was capable of going toe to toe with Poppy if not for the Fleetfeather. The open attack did indeed see Fleetfeather being traded for the Mother, and with what other chump blocks they could align Prodigy still fell to 6 life while Kochua sat at 20 with 4 units on board. Fearing a Rally, Prodigy played out their Darkwater Scourge, and before the Deathmark came Kochua played another Aloof to replace Atrocity with Thresh. When the Deathmark was cast, it was used on a 4/4 Aloof rather than the 5/2 Poppy, perhaps sniffing out the 2nd Poppy that was in Kochua’s hand. The turn then ended with Kochua manifesting another Aloof off of a Loping Telescope.
Prodigy attacked with their Scourge straight away on the 8th turn of the game, but using the Deathmark on an Aloof meant that Poppy was still around as a 5-attack unit to block and kill the Scourge, which Kochua did. Prodigy was up to 11 again but Kochua still had 4 units and started things off with Aloof, knocking out Hydravine for Twin Disciplines. Prodigy developed a single blocker in Thresh, then used Will of Ionia on Kochua’s freshly played Poppy. Kochua replayed their Poppy as soon as it was their turn and their mana was refreshed, and Prodigy hit it with Concussive Palm. Kochua responded with Yordles in Arms, which allowed Prodigy to play out their Darkwater Scourge. Kochua attacked with everything, and Prodigy even used a Twin Discipline to pump the Scourge to ensure maximum survivability, but at the end of it all Prodigy was left with was 6 health, no field, and a very lonely Glimpse Beyond as the only card in their hand while Kochua still had 5 units on board to play with. Prodigy drew a unit to sacrifice to the Glimpse but was only left with 6 mana, and Viego was not enough on his own to stop the 6 wide Demacia board.
Top 4 Kochua vs Syxton
We saw Syxton pick up a win against a similar lineup to Kochua’s in the Top 16, but a rather different Yordles in Arms list could be the difference-maker.
Both players got about everything they could ask for in the early game, with Kochua’s 2 Merciless Hunters alongside Akshan taking care of Zoe and an Eye of the Dragon. But a 2nd Eye from Syxton looked like it was going to survive for the time being. Sivir even came in for Kochua on turn 5, being the unit of choice to actually take the kill onto the Eye while one Merciless Hunter pushed damage and another was lost to a Pale Cascaded Dragonling. Kochua’s hand was looking strong with Concerted Strike and Single Combat, but Syxton had Lee Sin and Zenith Blade already in hand ready to go.
The problem Syxton was running into was the mana commitment of Lee Sin wouldn’t allow him to continue his Dragonling train, and Kochua’s board was getting wider every turn. With Akshan leveling thanks to a Vekauran Vagabond coming down, the 2 copies of The Absolver in his hand were looking mighty scary next to Sivir too. Syxton was privy to the importance of Sivir, and combined Sonic Wave // Resonating Strike onto a Dragonling to challenge her. Kochua committed an Absolver and Absolver’s Return to push Sivir 1 health above the Dragonling, and Syxton countered with Twin Disciplines. Kochua used his last 2 mana on Single Combat to sacrifice his Vagabond into the Dragonling, and both players would head into Kochua’s turn 7 attack without any spell mana.
Kochua played his 3rd Merciless Hunter onto Eye of the Dragon and went into combat, pulling the Eye with Sivir. Concussive Palm was used to save Syxton a bit of life and keep up on board, but with no more Eye of the Dragons to stall out, it was time for Lee Sin to enter the game. Syxton started the 8th turn of the game playing 1 of the 3 Lee Sin in his hand, prompting a Brightsteel Protector from Kochua to give barrier to Sivir. Syxton played a Lee Sin’s Sonic Wave onto his Messenger, and his Lee readied a kick at Akshan while the Messenger swung out of its weight class at Merciless Hunter. Kochua expended Concerted Strike onto Lee, and Syxton used a defensive Twin Discipline to give Lee barrier and 9 health. Kochua countered with Absolver // Absolver’s Return, and Lee Sin was unable to survive the strike from Sivir. Fount of Power drew Kochua a few more cards, and the turn ended. The attack token came back around to Kochua, and an open attack left Syxton with no units in play and 6 nexus health. He played his 3rd Lee Sin and prepared himself to try and win the game on the next turn, but Kochua didn’t want there to be one. He played Sharpsight onto his Sivir and attacked Lee with Akshan’s Grappling Hook. Syxton played Guiding Touch and Hush to give Lee his barrier, but without any mana left he couldn’t survive the ensuing Golden Aegis.
Syxton opened game 2 with Eye of the Dragon, but an awkward hand for getting continuous Dragonlings. Eye also did nothing to stop Kochua getting in an early hit with Teemo, and a manifested Purify from a Conchologist was going to make sure this Eye never did much of anything. Kochua’s Aloof Travelers missed Lee Sin and hit Deep Meditation, and Syxton decided that 1 Teemo attack was enough so they stunned it with Concussive Palm. That was however, the only spell played that turn, and we went into turn 5 with Syxton still not having summoned any Dragonlings while Purify continued to sit in Kochua’s hand in anticipation of 2 spells being played. It didn’t look like turn 5 would yield a Dragonling either as Syxton developed Lee Sin, and refused to attack until something meaningful like a Poppy or Mayor hit the field. With 2 Mayor in hand Kochua decided it was worth it to force Syxton to play a spell, and he summoned a Mayor to manifest another Aloof. Sonic Wave // Resonating Strike let Lee kill the Mayor, and Kochua finally silenced the Eye with Purify.
Kochua kept up his wide posturing with a Bandle City Mayor into a Tenor of Terror, putting him 6 wide around the Lee and Eye. Syxton evened things out a little with a Concussive Palm onto Bass of Burden, and Kochua attacked with everything he had left. Syxton prioritized removing the Tenor over the Mayor with Lee’s block, and he fell to 11 while getting another 5 Puffcaps shuffled into his deck for a total of 10.
On turn 7 Syxton played Scattered Pod, selecting a slow spell and getting Zenith Blade. Kochua played his Aloof, giving a Nopeify to Syxton that would help tremendously against the Relentless Pursuit in hand. Lee challenged the Mayor and Pod attacked, killing an Aloof. Kochua replaced his dead units with Telescope and Bandle Commando, and kicked off his own turn with Poppy as the 6th unit. Syxton played Zenith Blade to put some health back onto his Lee as well as give it the all-important keyword in overwhelm and braced for Kochua’s full swing. Syxton lined up the blocks as best he could, and Kochua played Teemo’s Mushroom Cloud to level up his Teemo and threw a Sharpsight onto his Commando to present lethal. With 5 mana Syxton could only Hush 1 unit, and chose the 4/5 Commando. Teemo connected, doubling the Puffcaps in deck to 30 as Syxton fell to 2. Nopeify onto Relentless Pursuit used up the last of both players’ mana, and Syxton needed to draw 1 more buff spell for Lee Sin while dodging the traps to take the series to a game 3. Sometimes, things are totally out of your hands at a certain point, and the only 3 we were going to see was the 3 Puffcaps Syxton drew for lethal.
Finals Kochua vs Ociti
While we have seen Kochua’s lineup perform admirably thus far, he was going to need to take down arguably the 3 best decks in the game in order to take things home as Ociti had decided to just jam as much raw power into a lineup as humanly possible.
For game 1, Ociti opened with three 1 drops and a Decimate against Kochua’s Elusive Rally deck. He hit for 3 on turn 1 with a Legion Rearguard, and played another one along with a Precious Pet to stack up against Kochua’s Brightsteel Protector. Imperial Demolitionist knocked Kochua down to 15 before the attacks even started on turn 3, and Lulu was played to try and get a value trade. Kochua still fell to 10, and without a strong board presence he was going to have an uphill battle trying to survive long enough to mount an offense. He summoned a Fleetfeather Tracker and Brightsteel Protector, killing the Demolitionist and pushing 6 damage. Ociti, who had not played a card before the attacks, now summoned Stone Stackers and another Imperial Demolitionist. He went for an open attack on turn 5, leaving Kochua to full block and offer to trade board. Ociti cast Might on his Rearguard that was being blocked by Fleetfeather, and even with Sharpsight Kochua still fell to 4 nexus health - the perfect amount for Ociti to secure the fastest win of the Top 32 with a Decimate.
Ociti opened game 2 with Nami and Double Trouble, but Kochua wasn’t going to give him the time to run out his ideal opener. Kochua laid down Fleetfeather Tracker, Young Witch, and Lulu. Ociti elected not to wall up with Double Trouble, and instead cast Line’em Up. He thought really hard about layering Knock’em Down onto Lulu under Make It Rain and potentially getting a full board clear if the Rain hit all 3 units, but decided the risk of missing Lulu wasn’t worth it and pulled back the Knock’em Down. The Rain fell on Lulu and the Tracker, letting Kochua swing in for 7 and hit Ociti down to 11 before Knock’em Down could finish off Lulu. This also meant only 1 spell mana was banked, and Ociti’s Nami was stuck at 4/7.
Ociti offered a pass on turn 4, which Kochua met with another Fleetfeather Tracker. Ociti played Gifts From Beyond to grab Crescendum, and Kochua played another Tracker. Ociti passed again, and Kochua slammed down Greenglade Duo. Ociti passed one more time, and Kochua had to pass back to end the turn. Nami was now leveled up, but Ociti had no board yet. He did have 2 Guiding Touch and was staring down a relatively weak 8 damage open attack, so it was unlikely he would die before he could develop some kind of defense. Kochua summoned Zed, and Ociti walled up with Double Trouble, but hit a Legion Rearguard. While they were very good in the first game the inability to block was a huge liability here, and Kochua offensively pumped Zed with Twin Discipline and pulled Treasure Seeker away with a Tracker, pushing through 21 damage to take the set to a game 3.
Ociti once again opened with Nami and Double Trouble, and this time was against a deck that was unlikely to put on so much pressure that he couldn’t do his bread and butter play. An on-curve Akshan was the only offense Kochua had been able to mount, and this time Ociti’s Double Trouble was more favorable, yielding a Sparring Student and Shadow Apprentice. Kochua played Merciless Hunter to grant vulnerable to the elusive, and used Shaped Stone on Akshan to block the Student. Kochua continued his curve with Sivir, and Ociti played Gifts From Beyond. Akshan killed the Apprentice while Sivir and Hunter took Ociti’s nexus down to 9, but Nami came down leveled up and Crescendum pulled Sparklefly from the deck. Ociti played Guiding Touch and sent the 5/4 Fly at the nexus, but Kochua cast Concerted Strike to shoot it out of the air. Akshan leveled, and Relic of Power grabbed a Golden Aegis. Ociti played Sparklefly, then used Spell Thief to grab Relic of Power to find a Pale Cascade, giving him another 5/4 Fly to replace the one he had just lost.
Turn 6. Kochua elects to open attack, and Ociti blocks Akshan with Fly and Hunter with Nami. Kochua didn’t want to pass up the chance to kill Nami, and hit the accept button. Sivir leveled up, Akshan died, Nami died, and Ociti remained at 11 thanks to the lifesteal. Ociti played another Nami and Kochua cast his Golden Aegis onto Sivir. Ociti didn’t want to have to block with either of his units, so he summoned a Burblefish which grabbed another Spell Thief. Kochua played Akshan, and Spell Thief again grabbed Relic of Power, this time being used to summon a Sandstone Charger. Charger blocked Sivir and Ociti fell to 4, but his powerful elusive board with Nami remained intact.
19 life didn’t seem like a tall task for Fleet Admiral Shelly and Zoe to help push through, but after Zoe hit the board Kochua used Akshan’s Grappling Hook to take out Sparklefly. Ociti cycled Pale Cascade onto Zoe, drawing another copy of Spell Thief. Kochua cast Fount of Power, and Ociti immediately fired off Spell Thief and also cast Fount of Power. Ociti drew Wiggly Burblefish and played it, and with the reduced cost of all his cards, Nami and Fleet Admiral Shelly were firing on all cylinders pumping up the board. Ociti attacked with his 4 elusives and even with a Sharpsight block from Sivir, Ociti was able to cast his 1 mana Guiding Touch and 0 mana Shakedown from Burblefish to present exactly 20 damage and become the Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal champion!
If you’re reading an article like this my assumption is that you wanted to save a little time from watching the VOD of the main broadcast. While I’ve made things seem simple here, the last few turns of the third game were quite complex. If you find yourself with some spare time, I sat down with Kochua to go over the last 2 turns in depth.
But Ociti was the one who came out on top, and it’s his name that will go down in history as the champion of this event. A big congratulations to all who entered, and we look forward to the next one!