Going into The Calling Las Vegas, my deck of choice was Prism Auras. The idea behind Prism Auras is that it fights on an axis that is hard for decks like Dorinthea, Bravo, Kano and Azalea to fight against. If you know how the matchups play, you can make a large part of the metagame autowins.
The question then became how to win the Chane matchup. The piece of advice that unlocked this conundrum came from my teammate and friend Chris Iaali.
“You can race Chane or you can block everything – there is no in-between.”
Naturally, as Prism, you want to try to race the Chane, but if you want to play Prism Auras, there just isn’t enough space to play red-pitch Heralds to swing the race in your favor. This led me to where I would end up – Prism Auras Control.
The Friday of The Calling was spent becoming extremely jealous of all my friends playing Tales of Aria pre-prerelease. My job as a teacher doesn’t exactly lend itself to Friday events. That night, Chris and I made the drive up from Southern California to Las Vegas. He was playing Chane but during our four-hour drive, we both realized we were quite content with our choices and never considered switching decks last minute.
Saturday morning was filled with nerves as we walked into the convention center. I wish I could say I was supremely confident and always knew that I would win, but that was far from the case.
I played my first round against Dorinthea Dawnblade. Dorinthea is known as a bye round for Prism Auras players, but this would not be a free win for me. I took 15 damage before I could get my first aura down, which basically meant that Dawnblade had two counters and I had no counterplay to start the match. Luckily, I drew some timely Arc Light Sentinels (ALS) to take those counters off, got my aura stack off and was able to swing in for lethal with almost no life to spare.
I played my first Chane matchups in rounds two and three and was quite nervous. I made a few errors in blocking and gameplay that put the matches closer than they should have, but I came through unscathed. In round four, I played Kyle Jones and when he revealed Katsu, I knew I had run into a bad matchup. In this matchup, I decided it was best to get the life totals low by attacking with Heralds and only defending important on-hit triggers. He had a few very unlucky turns where he could only Kodachi me and my plan worked as I barely came through on this one. My last three matchups of the day were all Chane and none of them were particularly close, as I was quite comfortable playing this matchup once the nerves were out. The first day was over and I was 7-0!
That night, we went to Fremont Street to get some awesome food and just walk around. I had never been so it had the great effect of getting my mind off of the tournament for a while. We hopped around Vegas for a bit after that, but once back at the hotel, it was all business. I knew the heroes the other players were playing so I talked sideboarding all night until I fell asleep.
Day 2 I started off by playing Dash, which was one of the two matchups I was not excited to play. I was also immediately put on the feature match where I would be for the remainder of the day. My Dash opponent was nervous from being in the feature match and, as a result, made some careless mistakes that threw the match my way. He was a good sport about it and ended up making the Top 8.
In round nine, I was featured in a Prism mirror where I made more mistakes than in any other match I played all weekend. My plan was thoroughly dismantled. I became a little anxious after this match but luckily in my next match I got one of my favorite matchups to play against – Bravo. I was featured again in this match and my deck cooperated in every way possible. His deck simply could not contend with the card advantage from the Great Library of Solana. I was locked for Top 8 at this point with one match to go. My last match was a super close match against Chane that ended up being the only Chane I lost to all weekend.
I was into the Top 8 as the fourth seed and I got paired against the Dash player from earlier. I thought the matchup was 50-50 and knew if I played the matchup patiently, I could possibly outplay him. This is exactly how it played out. At the beginning of the match, I wasn’t able to draw any auras to stack, but my Heralds were able to chip away at their life total. Later in the match, I started stacking auras that pressured his life total until he was at zero. This left me – and two matchups against Chane – to get first place.
My semifinals match against Chane had so many interesting interactions. My opponent landed an important card against me in Timesnap Potion, which can give him two attack actions to break through an ALS, which is a crucial card in the matchup. Luckily, I was able to play one at an opportune time and when he went to crack my Spectra with two action points, I was able to play a second ALS in response. After this turn, I was able to draw Snags on subsequent turns to stop any big Rift Bind shenanigans and ended the game at around 25 life.
My finals match against Sebastiano was much closer. While I was able to block my opponents attacks very efficiently, I didn’t draw any super impactful ALS or Snags. The game started out super slow as he knew how to play against control. He needs to keep his Seeds of Agony and Rift Binds in his banish in order to have one or two big turns. I kept my life nice and high through the beginning, but when the big Rift Bind turns came up, I had no ALS or Snag to stop it. Instead, I had to rely on blocking efficiently and hope that was enough.
On the first big attack, my life total dropped from 34 to 23 off the back of a big Rift Bind plus Razor Reflex with many go agains. Next turn, I was facing three big Rift Binds to put me to 14. I was still standing though. I got through the other side, still at a double digit life total, and everything was on the table for the Chane player. At this point, I already knew I had won. It took me another several turns to clear out the Ursur, the Soul Reaper token and the rest of his cards, but at this point it was just a sweet victory lap. I couldn’t believe I had won The Calling. All I had been focused on was the match!
During The Calling, I played against nothing but outstanding opponents who showed the best sportsmanship. Since then, I’ve had nothing but positive energy come my way. It made me fall in love with not only the game but the community as well. Next up, I have The Calling Dallas-Fort Worth. Can I make it two in a row? It would be a monumental task in a completely new format but I’m looking forward to the challenge!