Hello everyone and welcome back to another GiantSlayer Top Players to Watch article for the Americas Seasonal. I'm Blevins, and this time around I’m of course going to be previewing players for the upcoming Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal tournament. Normally I do a Top 10 article, but if you read on you’ll understand why I decided to only give 8 spots on the list. As always, if you think I missed someone or overrated a player, fight me on Twitter! With that, let’s jump on in!
Recent Deck: Nami Zoe
Drisoth is a player that I always try to get on the list, so whenever I can have any sort of reason to throw him on, I jump at the chance. To this day, Drisoth still has my pick for Biggest Brain play at a Fight Night tournament, but that’s only a small portion of my bias. Drisoth is also a master of deck optimizations and choices. He’s on my shortlist of players that I will blindly copy decks from when I’m unsure what I want to play (Tealred, Yost, and Wrapter are my other picks btw). Drisoth has really been carrying the banner of Darkness at a competitive level, and while it’s not the only deck that he’s played this season, he has definitely given us Darkness players hope. Drisoth doesn’t always play a ton of tournaments, but he’s coming off a Finals placement at the Mastering Runeterra tournament last weekend. If you want to see a masterfully crafted lineup and some insane plays, definitely check out Drisoth.
Recent Deck: Nami Zoe
I promise I’m not just filling the list with Darkness players… In all seriousness, I wanted to grab some players that might be considered sleepers or at least someone who hasn’t been on a Top list before. I don’t believe that I’ve included Luser on a Top list to watch for Swiss, but it’s definitely a bit of a lukewarm take to put him as a sleeper pick. Luser has actually been crushing it lately and honestly, it’s been a long time coming to have him on this list. He’s currently at Rank 3 on the ladder and is always floating around the top 5, and even hitting rank 1 earlier. He’s definitely a bit of a memer, but if you like that type of player who’s also amazing at the game, look no further.
Ezreal / Vi Shellfolk
Coming into the last Seasonal, Briguy was on top of the tournament scene. He had won a few Fight Night tournaments in a row going into the Seasonal and had notably done that with his ‘pet’ deck of Karma Ezreal. He hasn’t quite been on the same tier that he was going into the last Seasonal, but he’s still been in the mix on the ladder. In fact, he’s currently number 2 on the Americas ladder. He has shifted from Karma and went over to a different value-generating unit in the Curious Shellfolk. Bandle City definitely has a different feel than Ionia, but the difference is not in the amount of card selection and value generated. Briguy has cut his teeth on some of the biggest brain decks in LoR which to me is always a great reason to keep an eye on him!
Recent Deck: Nami / Zoe
I have made the mistake before of not including Tomas on prior lists and even massively underrating him on a Top 32 Power Rankings list. I will not soon make that same mistake! Tomas is another player on the list who has made the Top 32 before and has just done well overall in tournaments and Ladder. Tomas is currently sitting at Rank 4 in the Americas, and at this point has really just cemented himself as a top player in the LoR world. It goes without saying that all of the players on this list are top players, but Tomas is definitely someone that I want to keep an eye on in a field of top players.
Recent Deck: Lissandra / Taliyah Thralls
Cameron has basically become an overnight success. By overnight, I mean over the course of the past few seasons. He went from being a relatively unknown player to a top Seasonal and tournament player. He’s also one of the most wholesome players out there too. He messaged me a few times on discord just talking about how excited he was to be featured and be able to play in the Seasonal. It really is great to see someone really enjoying the moment. The other notable detail about Cameron is actually the deck he’s been using. Thralls of all decks has really not been in the meta by any stretch of the imagination, but Cameron has been playing it a decent amount both on the ladder and in tournaments. If you want to see a top player possibly playing off-meta decks and who is super wholesome, CameronHanzo is your player!
Recent Deck: Poppy / Fizz / Teemo Ping City
I know it’s a bit of a cop-out to put the number 1 ranked ladder player on the list, but in this case, I’m happy to defend it. Mtuck has in fact been at number 1 in the Americas for most of this season, but he’s also been dominant in Fight Nights. We obviously put a lot of stock in our Fight Night events, but even if you don’t, the level of play he’s demonstrating in them is phenomenal. He’s been playing one of the top meta decks in Draven / Sion, but more impressively has been piloting the much ignored Lee Sin / Zoe deck to great success. Lee Sin has been in and out of the meta many times since his original buff down to 4 mana long ago, but time and time again he comes back with vengeance. These days, Lee Sin decks aren’t as popular and since the learning curve for those decks is so high, we only see a few high-skill pilots of the deck. Mtuck has certainly come out as one of those high-skill pilots. Lee Sin specifically is in an interesting position where it’s not really considered a high-tier tournament deck, if only because it uses the Zoe that wants to be in Nami Zoe. Therefore, if you are able to build a lineup including Lee / Zoe and you play it well, you can have a powerful lineup that most are planning for. This is where Mtuck is in my mind going into these Swiss rounds.
Recent Deck: Darkness
A man after my own heart, Jtamonda is rocking the Darkness deck on the ladder. Many of the players on the list have played Darkness in tournaments, but it takes a certain cut of player to rock it on the ladder, and to the top 10 no less. Jtamonda is also one of the few players who made Mtuck look like a mere mortal in the past few weeks in Fight Night. He put on some masterclasses in the most recent week of Fight Night, and to the untrained eye, it may look like he got some lucky top decks. While that technically is true, the bigger picture here is that he put himself into a position to actually hit those top decks to win. Multiple matches were in such a bad position for him, but looking back at the games you can tell Jtamonda was actually setting up the game state many turns in advance. I believe that we are really starting to see players ascend to a higher level of play, and Jtamonda, as well as many of the other players on this list, are paving the way for the super high level.
My master plan is now revealed! I went with the ultimate cop-out for my top pick(s) by not only combining multiple players into one spot but also picking the players from the Americas who were in the Top 8 of Worlds! All jokes aside these players are clearly at the top of the game now. It should go without saying that the Worlds players are, but getting to the Top 8 is just another level of competition and difficulty that we’ve actually never seen. Between qualifying for the Qualifiers, making it through said Qualifiers and then playing against the other best players in the world the whole way there, you just have to sit back in awe at what these players have done so far. This is of course the first big event post-Worlds, so I’m really excited to see what these players bring to the table, whether it’s a more lax take or just continuing the grind.
Before we go, I want to do a few honorable mentions. Both of these players have won Seasonals previously and I’ve featured them many times. I’m officially retiring both of them from my lists and considering them the first members of my personal Top 10 Hall of Fame. This is not because they don’t deserve to be on the list, but in fact, the opposite: They always deserve to be on it. Because the list is meant to feature players to a wider audience, I want to retire them to greatness on the list to open up spots for other players. So for the first time, I introduce to you my first LoR top 10 HoFers, Majiin and MrEmoetional!
That’s it for the Top 8 10 12? Players to watch for the Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonal Swiss rounds! Be sure to check out Giantslayer’s coverage on Saturday featuring Silverfuse and me on the desk!