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The Road to Worlds: Erigby Player Profile

There’s something to be said about experience.

It doesn’t mean everything, as we often hear stories of people topping their first tournament. It’s not unheard of for someone to even come in and win their first World Championship - in fact that's probably the more common outcome. But experience certainly doesn’t mean nothing. To my knowledge no one currently has more experience than the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal champion Erigby, who attended their first World Championship for Magic: the Gathering nearly 20 years ago.

Now, a lot of the players I (Boulevard) write about are on the younger side - I’d estimate around their early 20s is the norm. For a lot of them, Runeterra is their first competitive card game if not their first competitive game in general. But the vast gap in experience isn’t the only thing that sets Erigby apart from the other Worlds qualified players - he’s the first player I’ve written about who has an outward love of expeditions. While it probably comes to the surprise of no one that a storied MTG player loves limited, it’s an unexplored competitive space in Runeterra. While this means it's very unlikely there’s going to be an expedition portion at the upcoming World Championship next month, there’s a largely undervalued skill translation to be found from limited to constructed. While I myself have never been able to fall in love with drafting, many of the players I’ve come across with a deep love of the format usually have a fundamentally different way of looking at the game, and can usually find a unique way to crack open a solved meta.

And that’s exactly what Erigby did at the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal. Many of you may remember that as the least diverse Seasonal we’ve ever had on the Americas shard, with only 16 unique deck archetypes making it into the Top 32 (that’s 16 out of a possible 96). It was a meta dominated by 2 major players - Nasus and Lissandra. Dragons was easily the third deck of the format, but it didn’t have the sort of cultural impact on the meta as the king and queen. And so amidst a sea of X/Y/Z players, Erigby managed to snag the win with a pretty off-meta lineup of Deep / Dragons / Rubin Pile. The Rubin Pile (Zoe/Vi) was certainly a bit of a surprise to see in the winning lineup, as the only other player who managed to make it to the Top 32 was a triple-Targon enthusiast. More surprising than that perhaps was the Deep mirror in the finals, which was only eclipsed by the lack of Nasus in the finals altogether. It was certainly a weird event to watch live, with twists and turns coming from every which way in an event that was supposed to be a very cut and dry win for one of the Lissandra/Nasus/Dragons players. And that is where the competitive experience Erigby has gathered comes into play. It’s a small edge, but the ability to adapt to the chaotic bracket and keep you cool in off-meta vs off-meta matchups is one of the few tangible places you can point to experience. 

If the World Championship were happening this weekend instead of our last Seasonal, I think Erigby would be a pretty easy pick for a top 5 spot in the power rankings. Worlds is going to be a stressful event where the script is likely to get flipped a few times, and Erigby has shown to be a player who isn’t caught off guard by such things. Every little advantage you can eek out can be the difference between winning and losing a single game, and a single game can be the difference between going home a champion and going home with nothing. After all, there’s something to be said about experience.

Tagged: esports
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