Kael Cup Championship Review and Interview with jmo101, Master of All Formats

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October 30, 2014 by Hectares

solforgeladder-registerThe first Kael Cup Championship [KCC] was a four day competitive SolForge event taking place on Oct 18, 19, 25, and 26. Qualification for the event was based on performance in Ladder tournament events and season finishes from May to October.

Many familiar names from the ForgeWatch Invitational tournament series, the World Championship qualifying events, and consistent Ladder season Top 5 finishers competed in a three-format fifteen-round Swiss.

Full coverage of the event was provided by Seyfert with guest casters WookieMike, myself, and GottaBeKD over the course of the day:


twitch.tv/seyfert_zero

The final day of the event featured a Top 16 that rewarded players with more open formats for winning in the first two rounds, progressing from Unheroic, to Unlegendary, and finally to Standard for the semi-finals and finals matches. While Dysian Broodqueen had a healthy presence in the Standard field, it was jmo101 winning a Rage of Kadras card-for-card mirror over Jabor to take home the title, Master of All Formats. Congratulations jmo101! The winning list:

 

Watch the World Burn

 

rageofkadras2003 Ashurian Flamesculptor
3 Everflame Phoenix
3 Flamebreak Invoker
3 Frostmane Dragon
3 Xithian Direhound

3 Burnout
3 Flame Lance
3 Lightning Spark
3 Rage of Kadras
3 Static Shock

 

Kael Cup Championship Top 16 – Placements, Deck Archetypes, and Prizes

 

Rank Player Unheroic Unlegendary Standard Prizes
1st jmo101 NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker T Rage of Kadras IRL Trophy, 60000 Gold, MoAF Ladder flair, KCC2 Invite, KCC2 3-Bye
2nd Jabor NU Toorgmai Overload NT Tempo T Rage of Kadras 45000 Gold + 5600 Gold
Top 4 crazychan NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 30000 Gold
Top 4 zrandles NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 30000 Gold
Top 8 piquadore NU Toorgmai Overload NT Tempo T Rage of Kadras 5600 Gold
Top 8 DmcRaze NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 5600 Gold
Top 8 Caitiri NU Toorgmai Overload NT Tempo T Rage of Kadras 5600 Gold
Top 8 Coxatrice NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 5600 Gold
Top 16 CarlChu NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 2750 Gold + 5600 Gold + 5600 Gold
Top 16 Zwaxor NU Toorgmai Overload NT Tempo T Rage of Kadras 2750 Gold + 5600 Gold
Top 16 jotto NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker T Rage of Kadras 2750 Gold
Top 16 Likeaboss NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 2750 Gold
Top 16 N3Rk NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 2750 Gold
Top 16 Driagraz NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 2750 Gold
Top 16 Hectares NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker NU Broodqueen 2750 Gold + 5600 Gold + 5600 Gold
Top 16 Aterocana NU Toorgmai Overload NU Broodqueen Tracker T Rage of Kadras 2750 Gold

There were subtleties to these lists that this simplified archetype view doesn’t show. For a closer look you can see the full decklists from each Swiss event (which had to be used again in the Top 16 event): UnheroicUnlegendaryStandard.

blingGold codes were delivered to winners’ Ladder accounts shortly after the event. All of the Top 16 competitors were guaranteed Gold and each victory was a substantial boost in winnings. Players who went undefeated in individual Swiss events and those that had the best overall fifteen-round Swiss performance were awarded with additional 5600 Gold prize codes.

 

Achievement Recipient
Unheroic Undefeated Zwaxor, Hectares
Unlegendary Undefeated CarlChu
Standard Undefeated Jabor
Best of Swiss Hectares, CarlChu

Congratulations to all of the Top 16! Huge thanks to SolForgeLadder.com founder and developer Kaelari Sha’tal for organizing the event and providing massive prizes! Seriously, those prizes are major, and the Top 4 will likely get to enjoy their next several months of SolForge however they want.

This event was overloaded with twists and turns that were bound to make some players rage. Fifteen players were banished and left to brood. After the smoke cleared, I tracked down jmo101 and asked him how he was able to sculpt such a consistent performance. Here is my interview with the first Kael Cup Champion:

jmo101 – Master of All Formats

 

Hectares: How long have you been playing SolForge?

jmo101: I’ve been playing SolForge since the early days of open beta. I (fortunately?) missed the “Packmaster OP” days, but got caught up in the N/T shaper meta. Although the meta was oppressive, it at least allowed me, as a free-to-play player, to be somewhat competitive. Having no prior experience with other card games (Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, etc.) I was pretty bad back then–I’m still learning now 🙂

 

H: How did you qualify for the KCC?

J: I won a weekly Unlegendary tournament running Zombies and got 2nd in an Unlegendary Kael Cup Qualifier, losing to Jabor (the true master of the Ladder!)

 

H: Prior to your preparation for the KCC what was your experience with Unheroic, Unlegendary, and Standard constructed?

J: As a free-to-play newbie, a lot of my early competitive experience came from Set 1 Unheroic events, where there was more variety than Standard. The current meta is very different and encourages innovation and flexibility much less; since I’m not a very good deckbuilder anyway, I examined the decks top players were using and worked off those, practicing on the Ladder. My Standard experience mainly came from preparing for the Second Forge Watch Invitational with my team, where I narrowly missed the Top 16.

 

H: What special preparation did you do in the week(s) leading up to the event?

J: Nothing special–mostly just asking my teammates for testing and advice. They’re all great players, and I couldn’t have come this far without their help. I also tried to guess what some of the top players like Jabor, Caitiri, [you] and Zwaxor might be playing.

 

H: Describe the role your team [5th Faction] played in your success in the event.

J: Huge. I consider my teammates to be more skilled and experienced than me, so their input was invaluable. Unfortunately none were able to play the event, but I hope I did a decent job in representing our team 🙂

 

H: Your Standard list was not Broodqueen… how did that happen?

J: In the days leading up to the Cup, I had been struggling against Rage decks with my BQ list. Although the matchup can certainly go either way, I enjoyed piloting the Rage deck more and felt it had good matchups all-around (the only other archetype I expected was A/T level). Besides, Doomrider math is annoying ;p

 

H: What was your toughest matchup in the Top 16?

J: My [quarter-finals, Unlegendary] match with piquadore was particularly tense. NT can put a ton of pressure on an NU player trying to level weak Consistent cards in PL1, and that pressure can snowball into PL2 where powerful creatures like Grimgaunt Predator 2 and Byzerak Frostmaiden 2 can easily seal the deal. Several Broodqueen decks (including mine) were running Shimmerfang Serpent and Tangle, both which helped me immensely against the growing threats in piquadore’s deck.

 

H: How has the Ladder influenced your overall SolForge experience?

J: It’s awesome to have a place [SolForgeLadder.com] where consistent high-level play is rewarded. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t a feature built into the game itself, but Kaelari has been doing an excellent job in maintaining and improving the Ladder, and more community members such as Caitiri and Foxhull have stepped up to contribute and run events. Without the Ladder, I feel my SolForge experience would be much duller.

 

H: Is there anything you would like to see done differently for the next KCC? Changes to the format/qualification/etc. any element that you would improve?

J: I really enjoyed the point system for rewarding consistent play across all formats. Scheduling did appear to be an issue for several players, and I understand that a tournament stretched across four days can be impractical for some; I’d love to have a more accommodating schedule that doesn’t sacrifice rewarding consistency. Speaking of consistency, I’m excited to see how the “K-point” system will work for the next Cup. Big, splashy events are cool, but I also really dig events that are gradually built up over time.

 

H: How will you spend all that gold!?

J: Well, I have school loans and car payments, plus I’d like to settle down and start a family soon…but until that happens, I’ll be happily buying cards from new set releases and hopefully sharing the love with my team (c’mon trading!)

 

H: What is your favorite card across all three sets and why?

J: Ooh, this is a tough one. I’ve always loved growing huge Grimgaunts (I played N/T Grimgaunts in the first Forge Watch Invitational) and I like flavorful non-competitive cards like Hinterland Watchman and Soul Drinker. Probably my favorite, though, is Xithian Shambler. I just love playing fatties and getting fatter. I’ve made decks with it in every set, and even though they never end up Tier 1 (someday!), they’re always a blast to play. ♪  Erryday I’m shamblin’!  

 

H: Are you also a Draft master?

J: Having received training from the Draft Master Kit himself, in previous sets I’ve been able to comfortably go infinite (although certainly not long strings of 4-0s like some players are capable of). My draft results could probably be a lot better if I just drafted U/N all the time, but since that’s boring I don’t do that. So right now I’m just doing okay 🙂 Hoping the next set really shakes things up!

 

H: What’s next… are you going to take down a World Championship Qualifier?

J: The Kael Cup had a high number of strong players, but the WCQs even moreso. I don’t consider myself a top tier player, so I’m a bit hesitant to drop money on an event I don’t have a high chance of winning (especially since I don’t need the Gold).

Still, my teammates might convince me to play, and I think I’d do all right. More importantly, though, the meta has felt a bit stale and I feel that’s a big factor in my motivation to play. But who knows, maybe there’s still a fresh new deck out there waiting to be discovered by better players than me. I believe!

Thanks so much to jmo101 for sharing some insight into his journey to winning the first Kael Cup Championship. Thanks again to Kaelari for organizing and making it all possible. If you have ideas or suggestions, stop by this forum thread and share your feedback to enhance the next KCC event.

Thanks also to all of the tournament organizers that run other events on the Ladder that help it grow and to other various Ladder supporters including those who contribute code, buy Premium membership, stream events, watch event streams, and of course play and encourage others to play. Finally, a quick shout out to SBE making the incredible game that drives us to compete.

 

Kael Cup Championship 2 – LET’S GO!

 



4 comments »

  1. Kababesh says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of Nekrium

  2. Snausages says:

    Outsider here. What happened with the 15 players being banished? Is this just a way of saying they were eliminated from the tournament (naturally, by not winning enough), or were there some cheaty-cheatertons doing nasty things?

    • Hectares says:

      It was all aboveboard. I was having some fun throwing in popular keywords from the format for the pun loving members of the SolForge community. 🙂

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