Giant Slayer


Magic Misadventures Top 32 Recap

Did you take an early Valentine’s day weekend vacation and miss the Seasonal? Did you simply not want to watch hours of AK X mirrors? I have some good news about one of those things (the card game one; not your love life. Sorry.) here in my Magic Misadventures Seasonal Top 32 recap! If you didn’t get a chance to watch, find the VOD a little too daunting, or simply want a refresher, there’s plenty of magic and mystery awaiting you in the words below.

Top 32 - Drisoth vs XxWhatAmIxX

(Pantheon/Taric / TF/Nami / BANNED: AK Go Hard) vs (Pirates / Spiders / BANNED: AK Go Hard)

We kicked off the top 32 with one of our ‘big 3’ competitors, XxWhatAmIxX, against the man who helped pull Lee Sin out of his slump this season, Drisoth. XxWhatAmIxX doesn’t usually play aggro, but he’s thrown a lot of things at the Seasonal top cut before, might as well give it a shot. 

Drisoth opener: Pale Cascade, Mountain Goat, Fleetfeather Tracker, Wounded Whiteflame x 2

XxWhatAmIxX opener: Precious Pet, House Spider, Legion Saboteur, Imperial Demolitionist, Decimate

With WhatAmI starting with the attack token, both players slammed down their 1 drops, netting 1 damage for WhatAmI thanks to Legion Saboteur’s ability. On turn 2, Drisoth initiated a staredown between Mountain Goat and House Spider, ending the turn without attacking. The aggressive tempo of the game continued, with WhatAmI playing a Precious Pet and Stygian Onlooker into a Wounded Whiteflame from Dirsoth. The 2 fearsome units were sent into combat, with only the Pet coming out alive. Drisoth was down to 17, a relatively high life total for having taken 2 attacks already. With multiple options in hand, he opted to open the turn with a pass. WhatAmI pinged their House Spider with Imperial Demolitionist, and Drisoth passed again. Another Demolitionist came down, tagging its twin. Down to a much scarier 13 health, Drisoth played another Whiteflame and tapped out to buff it with a Gem

WhatAmI drew and played a Legion Rearguard, putting him 6 units wide to Drisoth’s 2. Trying to even the playing field a little, Drisoth played Taric, putting him at just 1 mana remaining to the 5 of WhatAmI, who went in for an all-out assault on the enemy nexus. Drisoth aligned his blocks to prevent the most damage, prompting WhatAmI to use Noxian Fervor while there was no chance of Single Combat. The damage stuck and Drisoth fell to 5. WhatAmI’s last card in hand was Decimate, meaning he would only need to find 1 more damage to close out the game. This prayer was immediately answered as he drew a 2nd Decimate for the turn, leading to a swift end to the game in just over 7 minutes. 

XxWhatAmIxX 1-0

Drisoth put his heart into his lineup by bringing TF/Nami, and if he was going to lose in the top 32 he was at least going to get in a game with his favorite deck.

Drisoth opener: Pick a Card, Mystic Shot, Flash of Brilliance, Rummage x 2

XxWhatAmIxX opener: Precious Pet, Marai Warden, Decimate, Legion Rearguard x 2

As you may have astutely guessed by the opening hands, Drisoth was in for a bit of a rough ride as WhatAmI slammed all 3 of his 1 mana units onto the board for his turn 2 attack. Drisoth’s Mystic Shot onto a Rearguard felt like a Band-Aid on a broken bone, and he was down to 15 less than a minute into the game. Kicking over to Drisoth’s turn he summoned Ballistic Bot, who he trusted with the task of doing something about the Miss Fortune that had just landed opposite it. WhatAmI initiated an open attack on the following turn to which Drisoth replied with a block onto Miss Fortune, a Flash of Brilliance into Rummage pitching Sunk Cost and Ignition, finding Mystic Shot to once again take out a Rearguard. Bot was lost, and Drisoth fell to 12. WhatAmI concluded the turn by tutoring a Noxian Fervor with Zap Sprayfin.

Drisoth summoned a Zap of his own, tutoring Time Trick. He then cracked his Flash for a card and discarded it to Poro Cannon, summoning one of the Daring Poro. WhatAmI went wide with Marai Warden and Legion Saboteur. He started the next turn with a lethal threatening open attack, and Drisoth lined up a Zap trade and a chump block onto Miss Fortune. He played Time Trick, skipping the predict and drawing a card. Combat resolved without further interruption, and with 4 nexus health Drisoth confidently summoned Nami. WhatAmI just as confidently cast Decimate, moving on to the top 16 after just 10 minutes of playtime between the 2 games.

XxWhatAmIxX 2-0

Top 16 - Random7HS vs HDR Lazyguga

(Darkness / Lee Zoe / BANNED: AK Absolver) vs (Bandle Tree Bilgewater / Bandle Tree Freljord / BANNED: Bandle Tree Noxus)

Random7HS is no stranger to the triple Bandle Tree lineup, giving it a go himself during the World Championship qualifiers last year. This time around he brought a more traditional lineup and may be facing elimination against a blast from the past. 

Random7HS opener: Veigar, Senna, Withering Wail, Conchologist, Vengeance

HDR Lazyguga opener: Bandle City Mayor, Minion, Arena Kingpin, Buster Shot, Lonely Poro

With 4 different regions in his opening hand, Lazyguga was well on his way to a swift Bandle Tree victory as his Lonely Poro added Targon to the mix with Porofly. He summoned Minion next, which Random saw fit to kill with a Group Shot manifested from Conchologist. Lazy then summoned Bandle City Mayor, manifesting a Pompous Cavalier. On the following turn, he played a Loping Telescope, manifesting an Equinox. This left Lazy with only 3 mana, which Random saw as enough of an opportunity to summon Veigar. He cast Darkness on Mayor, and Lazy summoned an Arena Kingpin to replace it. The attack token came back to Lazy, who after a small pass back and forth after a Kingpin attack, summoned his Cavalier. Random summoned Senna, and his Darkness ticked up to 4 damage as we rolled over into his attack turn.

Random used Darkness to kill Kingpin, but damage was the furthest thing from Lazy’s mind as he slammed down the titular Bandle Tree. He still needed Piltover & Zaun, Ionia, Shurima, and Bilgewater before the game was over, and with Random having both of his champions on the field there was a real threat of a comeback. The turn rolled over, and Tree generated Intrepid Mariner. Lazy summoned it and followed it up with Loping Telescope. He manifested a Bomber Twins, but elected not to play it. With Shurima still in the pool as an unplayed region, it was slightly risky to not summon it as Tree had a 1 in 3 chance to give Lazy a Shurima unit, but Random’s summoning of Stilted Robemaker amplifying Darkness to a 2 mana deal 6 spell at fast speed made Lazy want to hold the spell mana. The attack token moved to Random, and Tree blessed Lazy with a Shadow Assassin.

Darkness was cast to kill Mariner, and Stress Defense was cast to protect Veigar from an incoming Buster Shot. Random went into combat with everyone except Veigar, getting a full block from Lazy and clearing his board. Senna generated a Darkness which Random cast on the nexus to bring Lazy down to 14, setting up a potential lethal on the next turn as Veigar would ramp it up to 7 damage. Lazyguga summoned his Bomber Twins and Shadow Assassin, leaving him 1 Bilgewater unit away from taking home the win. Sheriff Lariette Rose came out of the Tree to end the turn.

Turn 9 was undoubtedly going to be the last turn of the game, though it wasn’t exactly clear who was going to take the win. 

All Lazyguga had to do was summon his Sheriff and survive until the end of the turn. Random’s Darkness was up to 7 damage, meaning he had to find a way to generate a 2nd copy and keep Veigar on board long enough to do that. Lazy opened the turn with his Sheriff, granting vulnerable to all of Random’s units. Random responded by sending a Darkness at the nexus. It seems we were all in agreement about the win conditions here, at least. Lazy spent some time trying to find the most optimal attacks, settling on Sheriff challenging Veigar and sending in Shadow Assassin and Bomber Twins with no challenges. Random cast Vengeance on the Sheriff, prompting 2 copies of Group Shot to take aim at the 3 health champion. Random used Pokey Stick to kill the Assassin to reduce the damage of the Shots and save Veigar, but at the end of the exchange, he was left with only 2 mana. Even with a leveled-up Senna, he would be 1 mana off of drawing and summoning a Darkbulb Acolyte and using the Darkness before Bandle Tree could finish the game. He drew Twisted Catalyzer anyway, and the end of round trigger from the Bandle Tree secured the first game.

HDR Lazyguga 1-0

Normally I’d like to set the stage for the 2nd game by talking about the deck switches, but with Lazyguga effectively running 3 copies of the same deck we don’t have that problem here. It does, however, leave me with very little to say.

Random7HS opener: Conchologist, Pokey Stick, Senna, Twisted Catalyzer x 2

HDR Lazyguga opener: Proto Poro, Bandle City Mayor, Twisted Fate, Loping Telescope x 2

As we saw in game 1, the trick to winning for Random is ramping Darkness as high as possible and aiming them at the nexus with Veigar. Two Twisted Catalyzers back to back against a Proto Poro and Bandle Commando was a very effective way to do just that. Random was chump blocked by Lazy’s units, and Darkness ticked up to 4 damage as the two Catalyzers survived. Lazy summoned Mayor, manifesting Aloof Travelers. He then kicked off his next turn with a play never before seen by the likes of mankind; summoning a Twisted Fate in a Bandle Tree Deck to Red Card and wipe 2 Twisted Catalyzer. While this was a big loss for Random, he did draw Veigar to make up for his unfortunate place in this piece of history. He summoned it, and Lazy attacked with all 3 of his units to knock Random down to 12. The turn ended with Veigar ramping Darkness to 5 damage.

Random’s first action was a Stilted Robemaker to further empower the namesake card of the deck. On Lazy’s side of things, he finally summoned one of his 3 Loping Telescope, generating another Proto Poro. Random attacked with his Robemaker and killed the Telescope. Lazy finished off the turn with Aloof Travelers, discarding a Vengeance out of Random’s hand. Darkness went to 6 damage. Lazy tried his hand at another wide attack, and most of the damage went through and put Random down to 6. With no Tree in sight, this was his best bet, but it also looked like the last significant hit he was going to be able to get. Random cast Darkness on Mayor, which Lazy immediately replaced and generated an Arena Kingpin. Random passed, but Lazy cast Buster Shot on Veigar. Random responded by casting Darkness on Mayor, and Lazy responded with Group Shot before his 4th unit died. Veigar took 2, leveled, took 3, and died. 

Lazy spent the next turn manifesting units and trying to go wide enough to finish off Random’s 6 nexus health, and Random leveled up Senna after picking off 2 of the units. Lazy ran out all of his mana trying to put as much damage on the field as possible, only to lose it all at the last minute to The Box. Going into his attack turn, all he would have was a Hungry Owlcat. After losing his Telescope to Pokey Stick, Lazy was ready to call it a turn. Random tried to slip in a Veigar, but Lazy’s pass came in big as he was able to Minimorph it.  Random tried his hand at going wide, summoning 2 Conchologist before the turn ended. With the attack token going to Random he had priority for the turn, so there was no way for Lazy to use his Aloof Travelers in hand to stop Random from playing his top-decked Rekindler to resummon Veigar and end the game shortly after.

Random7HS 1-1

With Random securing a win with Darkness he still had an uphill battle ahead of him as he tried to beat a wincon that can not be kicked with Lee Sin.

Random7HS opener: Zoe, Gifts From Beyond, Twin Disciplines, Zenith Blade x 2

HDR Lazyguga opener: Proto Poro, Pokey Stick, Marai Warden, Bomber Twins, Minimorph

After falling to 15 from a Proto Poro and Bomber Twin bashing, Random tried to set up a classic pillar around Zoe with Zenith Blade, using Twin Disciplines to save her from Pokey Stick. Lazy still had a trick up their sleeve, and played Obelisk of Power, buffing the Bomber Twins that had created it to 5 attack. Lazy summoned Mayor at the start of the next round, manifesting a Proto Poro to capitalize on the aggressive start he found himself with. Random used Gifts to find Calibrum and kill the Bomber, leaving Lazy to manifest another Proto Poro with Loping Telescope and knock Random down to 11. Turn 5 started and Random cast Supercool Starchart before attacking, invoking Moonglow. He then used another Gifts to cast Crescendum and fetched Eye of the Dragon from his deck. Lazy summoned Proto Poro and Arena Kingpin, and at the end of the turn, his Obelisk countdown completed to buff his Kingpin to 6 attack.

Lazy elected not to go for the open attack, instead taking a potshot at Zoe with Buster Shot. Random protected her with Deny, then tapped down to 1 mana to cast Moonglow on her. Lazy still had 6 mana and a Minimorph, but ultimately decided he had better things to do - namely using Twisted Fate to Red Card away the Dragonling and destroy the spell shield Zoe had just gained. Random threw up the “GG Shen” emote, but did manage to survive the combat at 2 nexus health. With his Eye of the Dragon sacrificing themself to make that happen, things were looking grim.  Lazy was still at 15 nexus health, and Random only had 8 mana to try and assemble some kind of Lee Sin finisher; an impossible task. He summoned Lee, and Lazy found it so non-threatening that he used his Minimorph on Zoe. Random cast Deep Meditation and kicked Kingpin into the nexus, but even Guiding Touch and Concussive Palm weren’t enough to stop the army of Proto Poros and friends from running Random’s nexus, and tournament hopes, into the dirt.

HDR Lazyguga 2-1

Top 8 - FloppyMudkip vs HDR 4LW

(Scouts / AK Go Hard / BANNED: TF/Nami) vs (AK Go Hard / Bandle Tree / BANNED: Star Spring)

I hope the last match didn’t make you too sick of reading about Bandle Tree because 4LW decided to open with it against FloppyMudkip’s Scouts. It’s the traditional Noxus version, so you don’t have to worry about Lonely Poro or Marai Warden generation, just the normal amount of Bandle City manifestation.

HDR 4LW opener: Fizz, Proto Poro, Bandle City Mayor, Ravenous Flock, The Bandle Tree

FloppyMudkip opener: Vanguard Sergeant, Miss Fortune, Golden Aegis, Brightsteel Protector x2

On turn 3, Floppy summoned Miss Fortune to accompany his Brightsteel Protector in their attack on 4LW’s Proto Poro. 4LW cast Group Shot targeting Miss Fortune in hopes of finishing her off with a Ravenous Flock, but Floppy smelled something was amiss and countered it with Ranger’s Resolve. He then attacked with both units, dealing some serious damage and putting 4LW down to 13 nexus health. 4LW followed up with Mayor, manifesting Aloof Travelers. He took advantage of the cost reduction to summon Fizz and ended the turn. Both players spent the next turn developing and 4LW used Buster Shot to kill Miss Fortune, and the following turn only playing 1 card each; Quinn for Floppy, and Bandle Tree for 4LW. Valor challenged Mayor while Fizz blocked Quinn, setting up 4LW to use Ravenous Flock to finish her off. Vanguard Sergeant attacked alone in Floppy’s main combat, killing a Spiderling and rounding out the turn as Tree generated Kadregrin The Infernal.

4LW opened with Aloof Travelers, discarding For Demacia! from Floppy’s hand. He summoned Loping Telescope, manifesting The Messenger and ticking the Tree up to 7, missing Demacia, Shurima, and Ionia. Floppy summoned Island Navigator to put each player at 4 units, and 4LW ended the turn without attacking and generated a Destined Poro with Bandle Tree. Floppy summoned Miss Fortune and went in for his scout attack, trading away his Astute Academic. Both players developed additional units and Floppy ran one wall into another, killing all of 4LWs chump blockers and maintaining 4 units of his own. He then counteracted his previous Marai Warden low roll with a Crusty Codger pull on a fresh copy, and 4LW set up a few Poros to be sacrificed on his next defensive turn.  The turn passed, and Tree granted a Captain Arrika to 4LW just in time for turn 8. It was the perfect card at the perfect time, and 4LW summoned Arrika, capturing Miss Fortune. With 2 Golden Aegis in Floppy’s hand, the loss of his champion was a tough blow, but one he’d have to fight through as 4LW’s Arrika put him at 9 regions summoned. He started with Brightsteel Protector to shield his Maria, then cast Golden Aegis on his Protector, but lost it to Group Shot. He swung out, losing Navigator to Arrika and killing a Proto Poro with Vanguard Sergeant, and connecting 4 damage into the nexus to put 4LW at 5. With 5 mana left Floppy passed into the final turn of the game, and Fae Bladetwirler was gifted by the Tree

Marai Warden summoned Shellshocker and an opposing Loping Telescope found Icequake. Floppy went in for a full swing, using Sharpsight to trade his Sergeant with Arrika to get back Miss Fortune and trading away the rest of the field, leaving Floppy with Miss Fortune, Star Shephard, and Crusty Codger while 4LW had no units. He cast Buster Shot on Miss Fortune, then summoned Fae Bladetwirler to complete the Tree. With Miss Fortune gone, Floppy’s last hope was snuffed out, and the Bandle Tree continued on its rampage.

HDR 4LW 1-0

After 4 games of Bandle Tree it was time for another deck to take the stage, this time *checks notes* AK Go Hard vs Scouts? Is it too late to get Bandle Tree back?

HDR 4LW opener: The Mourned, Go Hard, Deny, Ahri, God-Willow Seedling

FloppyMudkip opener: Fleetfeather Tracker, Brightsteel Protector, Marai Warden, Vanguard Sergeant, Cithria the Bold

After losing a Fleetfeather to Go Hard the first time, Floppy made it clear he wasn’t playing around. On Floppy’s round 4 attack, his board was comprised of Marai Warden, Astute Academic, Vanguard Sergeant, Fleetfeather Tracker (with barrier), and Brightsteel Protector staring down 4LWs The Mourned and Ahri. Ahri blocked and killed Marai while The Mourned ghost blocked the Fleetfeather thanks to Recall. The rest of the attacks connected, and 4LW fell to 12 to the 16 of Floppy. With little action left in the hand of either player 4LW simply attacked and replayed The Mourned while Floppy cast Blinding Assault, and with those relatively small plays, they would both move into turn 6 with full spell mana. A scout attack from Valor took out Ahri, prompting a post-combat pass from 4LW. Floppy ran out his first Cithria, leading 4LW to play his first Sai’Nen Thousand-Tailed. Fleetfeather pulled The Mourned, Twin Discipline was used to ensure a trade between Sai’Nen and Cithria, but 3 units connected with the nexus again and put 4LW down to his last point of life. He drew Kennen and made a valiant effort at the beginning to clear up the board, but Floppy simply waited for it all to play out before summoning his Miss Fortune. While 4LW had Deny for the Love Tap, Floppy was still 1 unit wider and there were no tricks left up 4LWs sleeve.

FloppyMudkip 1-1

You didn’t think you could make it all the way to the top 4 without an Ahir/Kennen mirror, did you? It’s a right of passage! You can’t just skip ahead! I promise to make it painless.

HDR 4LW opener: Kennen, Dancing Droplet, Homecoming, Kinkou Wayfinder x 2

FloppyMudkip opener: Ahri, Dancing Droplet, Deny, Navori Conspirator, Twin Disciplines

The early game was pretty low on action from either side, with Floppy getting the better of the relative inactivity by bouncing Dancing Droplet with Navori Conspirator and developing an Ahri. 4LW had only played a Kennen during that time and tried to make up for lost time with Kinkou Wayfinder. Instead, the Wayfinder loudly announced to both players and everyone watching that there was a Go Hard on top of 4LWs deck. Since this meant there were no elusive blockers on 4LWs side, Floppy pushed the issue by attacking with 3 of them and returning Droplet to his hand with Ahri and The Mourned with their own ability. 4LW tried his hand at Wayfinding again, this time successfully summoning Dancing Droplet and The Mourned. Floppy tried it as well, pulling Droplet and Kennen. 4LW tried to kill a Droplet with Go Hard only to have it countered by a Recall, and Floppy replayed it to end the turn.

Floppy started the turn with another Droplet, leveling up his Kennen. 4LWs hand was looking to be in an awkward state, forcing him to cast God-Willow Seedling on his Droplet, drawing an Ahri. A few more units were played on both sides, and combat ensued - the results left Floppy with Ahri, Kennen,  and Kinkou Wayfinder while 4LW had just a Wayfinder after his Kennen was killed by Mark of the Storm. Both players summoned one more unit, Ahri for 4LW and Droplet for Floppy, and the turn passed to 4LW. Down to 9 nexus health with 5 cards in hand (3 of which were Homecoming), the match was looking all but over. Floppy had the board, more level progression on Ahri, and a 9 card hand packed with counterspells, combat tricks, and even a few copies of Sai’Nen. But, you play to your outs. 4LW attacked with Ahri and bounced his Droplet, drawing a Recall which he used to save his Wayfinder from Floppy’s Go Hard. He recast it, summoning Kennen and Droplet, giving Floppy the green light to rip off a Sai’Nen.

Turn 8 saw FloppyMukdip initiate an open attack, and a near-full block from 4LW who chose to Homecoming the opposing Kennen rather than block it. Floppy cast Kennen’s Lightning Rush onto his Sai’Nen, targeting the Droplet being used for Homecoming. 4LW used Homecoming on his Arhi and the Sai’Nen, which Floppy countered with Deny. With only 3 mana left for 4LW he cast Twin Disciplines on his Ahri to save her from Floppy’s Ahri who was set to run a conga line down 4 units and kill its counterpart. Floppy responded with a Twin Discipline of his own, and the extra attack from his Ahri leveling up mid-stack allowed her to wipe away all of 4LWs defenses without much trouble. 

The grand climactic resolution left 4LW with just 3 nexus health, a Kennen on field, a God-Willow with a Dancing Droplet under it, and no hope of winning the game as Floppy replayed his Kennen and used Recall on it to get 2 Mark of the Storm and kill the opposing champion.  4LW tried to line up what defenses he could to prepare for another push and made a valiant effort at it, but all it took was one Dancing Droplet with a Twin Discipline slipping through the cracks to knock out the Brazilian superstar.

FloppyMudkip 2-1

Top 4 - NNT Elder Senior vs XxWhatAmIxX

(AK Absolver / Bandle Tree / BANNED: Darkness) vs (Pirates / Spiders / BANNED: AK Go Hard)

With Black Boss and MajiinBae falling in the round of 32, XxWhatAmIxX was the only member of ‘the big 3’ left in the tournament. While aggro isn’t his usual style it had taken him this far, but NNT Elder Senior was prepared for the challenge, being one of the only players in the top 32 to put Tasty Faefolk in their AK X deck. 

NNT Elder Senior opener: Dancing Droplet, Twin Disciplines, Tasty Faefolk, Ahri, Navori Conspirator

XxWhatAmIxX opener: Legion Saboteur, Crackshot Corsair, Noxian Fervor, Precious Pet x 2

Can you guess what WhatAmI did with his turn 2 attack token? Did you guess “vomit Corsair and both Precious Pet onto the battlefield and attack for 5”? If you did, then you’re correct! Senior’s Conspirator was powerless to stop the Pets but did deter an attack from the Corsair itself, and on his next turn he really got on board with both Kennen and Ahri. WhatAmI spread his forces out, going to 6 units on field thanks to Marai Warden and Saboteur. Senior attacked with Conspirator and Ahri (in that order), evening the nexus’ to 15 each and passing the turn over to WhatAmI. He sent in his 6 unit open attack, knocking Senior down to 7 nexus health and killing off a few units. With 2 Noxian Fervor in hand, he chose not to use either, waiting for a more opportune moment than when Senior had 4 open mana. For this reason Senior passed, and WhatAmI passed back, ending the turn.

On Round 5 Senior summoned his Faefolk, and WhatAmI played Saboteur. Droplet hit the field as well, and Senior declared his attacks. WhatAmI blocked Faefolk with a Pet, and cast Fervor onto his blocker and the opposing nexus. Senior tried to counter with Homecoming, and WhatAmI responded with his 2nd Fervor to kill his blocking Pet and the Faefolk. Left with just an Ahri and no mana, Senior ended the turn. WhatAmI opened his turn with a Saboteur which was punished by Concussive Palm. He then summoned Zap Sprayfin, fetching Make It Rain. Senior summoned Droplet to defend against the elusive Zap and WhatAmI cast Make It Rain, killing Ahri, and tagging Tail of the Dragon and the nexus. Senior summoned The Mourned with his last mana, and WhatAmI was in more or less the same spot as before he had cast his spell. He attacked, and Senior sacrificed all his units to hang on to 3 nexus health. WhatAmI lost many of his units as well, being left with only a Saboteur and Oblivious Islander

Round 7 Senior summoned Ahri. WhatAmI drew and summoned an Imperial Demolitionist, killing his Islander. Senior chose not to use the Deny in his hand and fell to 1. He then summoned Wayfinder, grabbing Kennen and Droplet. In his ensuing attack, he used Ahri to bounce Kennen and replayed him, giving him 2 copies of Mark of the Storm to kill off the Saboteur. WhatAmI drew and summoned Twisted Fate, attempting to steal the win with Red Card. Senior used Deny, then cast Palm onto Twisted Fate. WhatAmI ended the turn without attacking, and drew Noxian Fervor on the next turn! Senior went in for his all-out attack and WhatAmI aligned his blocks and cast Fervor to steal the game, only for Senior to steal it right back with Homecoming to negate the burn and a Twin Disciplines to set up exact lethal into the 8 health nexus.

NNT Elder Senior 1-0

Did you miss Bandle Tree? Me too, luckily it’s back for this game! XxWhatAmIxX chose to stay on Pirates, while Senior would be trying to secure his win with his own Noxus deck.

NNT Elder Senior opener: Bandle Commando, Group Shot, Fizz, House Spider, Bandle City Mayor

XxWhatAmIxX opener: Legion Saboteur, Make It Rain, Imperial Demolitionist, Miss Fortune x 2

Legion Saboteur may have died to Group Shot before she was able to attack, but a copy of The Mourned off a Marai Warden felt like just the change of pace that WhatAmI needed. Senior summoned a defensive House Spider, and on the following turn manifested Tenor of Terror off his Bandle City Mayor while WhatAmI summoned a Miss Fortune. He held her back for the attack, and Warden traded with House Spider while The Mourned connected and returned to his hand. Senior played Fizz thanks to Mayor’s cost reduction ability and ended the turn. Round 4 was a time of development for both players; The Mourned and Legion Rearguard for WhatAmI and Bandle Commando and Loping Telescope for Senior, who moved to combat. The Mourned traded with the Commando and everything else connected, knocking WhatAmI down to 15. He immediately evened out the life totals with Imperial Demolitionist, and the turn faded out into the next.

WhatAmI played Island Navigator, summoning a Demacian Sentinel. Senior responded with Poro Sled, needing to get a fearsome blocker into play. The scouts came in for their free attack and Poro Sled killed the Sentinel while a Spiderling bravely jumped in front of the Navigator. WhatAmI went straight back to combat, losing his Navigator to the Sled but keeping the rest of his board intact thanks to Love Tap. The turn ended and Senior tapped out quickly with Proto Poro and The Bandle Tree, leaving WhatAmI full reign of the turn. He summoned another Imperial Demolitionist, then used 2 copies of Make It Rain to clear Seniors board and prompt a surrender.

XxWhatAmIxX 1-1

With their tournament lives on the line, it was time for Spiders to do or die. Aggro performed exceptionally poorly during the open rounds, but was it the secret to taking down the entire event from the top 32 onward? One Tree stood in between XxWhatAmIxX and his first Seasonal finals, and NNT Elder Senior was not going to go down easily. 

NNT Elder Senior opener: Fizz, House Spider, Arachnoid Sentry, Bandle City Mayor, Group Shot

XxWhatAmIxX opener: Legion Rearguard, Stygian Onlooker, Arachnoid Horror, Frenzied Skitterer, Doombeast

Both players seemed to have close to ideal opening hands, and the battle of the curve commenced. Legion Rearguard was played opposite a Fizz, and Arachnoid Horror was responded to with a Bandle Commando. These early trades left Senior with a slight health advantage, at 17 to 15 as both players chose to float all of their mana from the third round into the fourth. WhatAmI immediately used the banked mana for Stalking Shadows, duplicating Imperial Demolitionist. He chose to burst pass, and Senior played an Owlcat. WhatAmI played Stygian Onlooker, only for an Arachnoid Sentry to come down and stun his Horror. He followed up with Skitterer, tapping him out for the turn. He swung out, but Owlcat blocked Rearguard and Group Shot sniped out Onlooker, meaning only 3 damage was pushed through. Senior fell to 14, and the attack token moved to him.

Senior manifested a Shark Trainer with Bandle City Mayor, and played a House Spider. WhatAmI responded with some spiders of his own, developing Precious Pet and Doombeast, gaining a solid life lead at 17 to 12. Senior immediately leveled the playing field with attacks from Commando, Fizz, and House Spider, evening out the life totals. Not quite done with his onslaught, Buster Shot was cast to kill Skitterer. Only then was WhatAmI allowed to start their next turn. 

With a dwindling amount of fearsome units and a hand full of burn, WhatAmI would easily be the one moving on to the finals if he could find the time to survive the board of Senior and actually play out all the cards in his hand. He started with Astral Fox, sacrificing his Doombeast to avoid a potential Ravenous Flock. It would leave him with one less blocker, but it was a risk he was willing to take to ensure his burn went through. Senior overwrote his Spiderling with Shark Trainer, and WhatAmI summoned his non-ephemeral Imperial Demolitionist. He tagged his Astral Fox, putting Senior at 7. All he had to do was survive the next attack and his 2 Decimates would be enough to book his ticket to the grand finals for the first time. 

Senior opened with an all-out attack, leaving behind his Arachnoid Sentry in order to summon Longtooth. WhatAmI aligned his blockers, and only 4 damage was pushed through. He cast Decimate, needing to wait until the next turn before he had the mana to cast the 2nd copy. This gave Senior the window to summon Aloof Travelers, discarding Decimate from WhatAmI’s hand! He drew Stalking Shadows off the Aloof, but waited until the next turn to play it. He found 2 copies of Precious Pet, summoning both of them followed by a Frenzied Skitterer. Senior only had Shark Trainer as a fearsome blocker, and any connecting attack would be lethal. But he had the answers, blocking a Pet and killing the other with Group Shot while casting Minimorph on Skitterer, blocking it with Owlcat. With no damage done, WhatAmI summoned House Spider and ended the turn. Senior shipped in his open attack, and with some spell mana in the bank, he was able to summon another Longtooth. WhatAmI had drawn another Stalking Shadows for the turn, meaning he had no way to stop the Bandle City beatdown brigade from dealing exactly 8 points of damage to his nexus, and advancing Senior to the grand finals where he would face off against fellow Brazilian HDR Lazyguga.

NNT Elder Senior 2-1

Grand Finals - HDR Lazyguga vs NNT Elder Senior

(Bandle Tree Bilgewater / Bandle Tree Freljord / BANNED: Bandle Tree Noxus) vs (Darkness / Bandle Tree / BANNED: AK Absolver)

If you had asked me Saturday morning what I thought writing this recap would be like, my answer would not be “well I think I can fit in maybe 5 games that don’t involve Bandle Tree”. With HDR Lazyguga in the finals, every game is going to have Bandle Tree in it, making this a very poor reflection of the meta as a whole. If you’re reading this as your first glimpse into competitive Legends of Runeterra, I promise it’s not normally like this. 

HDR Lazyguga opener: Bandle City Mayor, Bomber Twins, Marai Warden, Minion x 2

NNT Elder Senior opener: Senna, Ruination, Veigar, Mist’s Call, Pokey Stick

We saw in our top 16 match how this matchup can be for the Darkness player, with Veigar being the key piece of the puzzle and immediately available in Senior’s opening hand. On top of that, being that the Noxus variant was banned, there was much less removal for it in Lazy’s deck. As for the actual game, Veigar was hit with Minimorph as soon as he hit the battlefield. It was also immediately replaced by a 2nd copy, and Lazy did not have nearly as much sticking power to the board as he would have liked. While he already had Senior down to 15, he only had a Yeti Yearling on the field to hold things down vs Veigar and the Minitee. He rectified his board situation with a Bandle City Mayor and Loping Telescope, yielding Pompous Cavalier and Moonsilver respectively. 

On the following turn, Senior summoned Stilted Robemaker while Lazy ran out another Loping Telescope and a Minion. He then used Moonsilver to cast Twisted Fate, using a Red Card to push some damage onto the board. Then, the attack. 

Senior lined up 2 Group Shot onto the Loping Telescopes, getting a response Group Shot from Lazy to set Veigar to 1 health. Before Lazy could cast Go Hard to finish off Veigar, Senior attacked with all of his units. Veigar and Robemaker fell in the scuffle, and when Go Hard was cast to finish off the Minitee Senior cast Mist’s Call in response, winning the coin flip and reviving Veigar. Lazy played out the remaining units in his hand but was in desperate need of a Bandle Tree to try and end things before the Veigar could get totally out of control. Senior continued to evolve his Darkness, playing another Stilted Robemaker on the following turn to amp it up to a 1 mana deal 4 spell. The turn after, he drew and played another Robemaker alongside Senna, giving him access to 0 mana 5 damage fast speed Darkness. With Senna stunned by Hexplosive Minefield, Senior ended the turn without attacking, but not before killing a Mayor with Darkness to level Veigar. 

Lazy drew Pokey Stick for the turn, using it to draw Aloof Travelers. He used that to draw Twisted Fate and then used that to draw another Aloof Travelers. All the while Senior was throwing Darkness’ at Lazy’s nexus, and without a Minimorph to turn off the Veigar, the game was out of his hands.

NNT Elder Senior 1-0

I hope you weren’t tired of Bandle Tree mirrors because we have at least one, maybe even two left in the tank before this Seasonal is over and we have a champion crowned. 

HDR Lazyguga opener: Loping Telescope, Marai Warden, Aloof Travelers, Twisted Fate, The Bandle Tree

 NNT Elder Senior opener: Pokey Stick, Loping Telescope, Bandle Commando, The Bandle Tree, Arachnoid Sentry

With both players having Bandle Tree in their opening hand, it was a race to see who could get down the most regions the fastest, with a possible silver bullet in the deck of Senior in Scorched Earth upsetting things. Senior opened with Bandle Commando while Lazy went with Marai Warden, summoning a Sparring Student. Commando made contact with the enemy nexus, and the race to the 10th region was officially on. Lazy drew a Yordles In Arms for the turn, something that could surprisingly swing the game but one that was unlikely as Senior was going to stay very wide as he slammed down units to accelerate his win condition. Both players played a manifest unit, with Lazy finding a Crescent Strike to help with a potential Yordles In Arms finish while Senior found Proto Poro. Senior kicked off the next round with Aloof Travelers, discarding Minimorph while Lazy used Twisted Fate’s Red Card in combination with Pokey Stick to kill the Mayor, giving the green light for Senior to summon his Proto Poro. At this point, both players were up to 4 regions played, on par with 1 region per turn so far. Someone was going to need to pick up the pace.

Lazy didn’t quite pick up the pace, but he did summon an Aloof Traveler’s which discarded Senior’s Bandle Tree, which is just as good if I do say so myself. Senior continued to play out his units, summoning Fizz and Loping Telescope to manifest a Messenger and take the region lead at 6 to 5, while the following combat put him behind in nexus health 13 to 19. A freshly drawn House Spider then accelerated the count to 8, meaning Lazy was in big trouble if Senior could find a 2nd Tree. Lazy manifested Tenor of Terror with Bandle City Mayor, losing it to a Buster Shot before he could take advantage of the cost reduction. Fizz tickled Lazy’s nexus, and the turn ended. Bomber Twins found an Emperor’s Dias for Lazy, to which Senior responded by casting Pokey Stick on the nexus. Loping Telescope found an Arena Kingpin, and with no response to that from Senior, Lazyguga cast Yordles in Arms, running his board into his opponents and knocking them down to 6. Senior was able to get a rather strong redevelopment, getting back up to 4 units no problem. 

Senior attacked with Commando and played his Owlcat, trying to figure out what trick was up Lazy’s sleeve after the Yordles In Arms onslaught. Lazy summoned Kingpin and played Bandle Tree, revealing itself at 8/10 regions played (missing Demacia and Shadow Isle). With Tenor of Terror already in his hand and the Tree generating a Mageseeker Investigator, the lack of Scorched Earth or a way to dig for it in the hand of Senior meant the game was over as soon as the turn ended, prompting a surrender from Senior.

HDR Lazyguga 1-1

Didn’t like how that game played out? Don’t worry, we’ve got the same matchup coming right up to decide the champion of the Magic Misadventures Seasonal tournament!

HDR Lazyguga opener: Group Shot, Lonely Poro, Pokey Stick, Grumbleslug x 2

NNT Elder Senior opener: Buster Shot, Arachnoid Sentry, Group Shot, The Bandle Tree, Loping Telescope

Both players restarted their trek toward the completion of the Bandle Tree, with Lazy having a more straightforward path as he had less card generation in his hand. Senior used Loping Telescope to find Singular Will, a card that could come in big in the later stages. 

The players got into a little spat over the life of a Fizz, with Lazy drawing the card he was looking for off of his Pokey Stick: Aloof Travelers. Sure The Bandle Tree would have been a little better, and there was a Singular Will standing between his Aloof and his opponent’s Tree, and Senior’s Pokey drew them a Minimorph just in case Will wasn’t there but…ok maybe he wasn’t looking for Aloof. In fact, he was so disinterested in it that on turn 4 he summoned Poppy, a play thwarted by a House Spider from Senior. Spiderling chumped the Poppy and Senior finished her off with Buster Shot. The next turn Senior slammed down his Bandle Tree, marked halfway to victory. Lazy summoned Aloof, failing to find his own Tree but still had some digging to do with the 2 Pokey Stick in his hand. 

Lazy opened the turn with a Grumbleslug, following up with Buster Shot to kill Senior’s freshly played Bomber Twins. He replaced it with Avarosan Outriders, ticking Tree to 7. With Senior tapped out for the turn, Lazy summoned Icevale Archer frostbiting the Outriders and used Group Shot to kill House Spider before going in for his attack, knocking Senior down to 7. The Bandle Tree gifted Senior a Boomcrew Rookie which he played as the first card for his turn. Lazy used a Pokey Stick to finish off Outriders, and used another to clear a Spiderling made by a new House Spider. Having drawn Minimorph off of both of his Pokey Sticks, Lazy wasn’t left with many options but to summon Poppy while Senior used Bandle Commando to generate an Owlcat, which he summoned, moving the Bandle Tree to 9 out of 10. 

Towering Stonehorn stood tall in the hand of NNT Elder Senior, ready to make him the Seasonal champion if he could survive just one more turn against HDR Lazyguga. Lazy drew The Bandle Tree, but was insurmountably far behind. He moved to combat, but with 4 blockers on the side of Senior things looked hopeless. Senior initiated a full block, and only 1 unit slipped through for Lazy. Thanks to Poppy everything was already at 3 attack, meaning he couldn’t even use Minimorph to push more damage. Elder Senior summoned his Towering Stonehorn, and Lazy played his Bandle Tree, showing a defeated 6 out of 10 regions played. The turn ended, the vines of The Bandle Tree took root, and rose NNT Elder Senior to the status of champion.

NNT Elder Senior 2-1

A big congratulations to all the competitors from this weekend, and a special shout out to Brazil for taking half of the top 8 as well as the entire finals. If you want to look at any of these moments you can find the VOD for the top 32 here, or you can follow me on Twitter. The latter won’t show you the cool moments from this Seasonal, but it will show you a lot of other cool things. Until next time folks, rest up and prepare to go all out for A Curious Journey!

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