Recap: Calling Utrecht and Battle Hardened Events

27th Jul 2022 Nicola Price

Over the last two weeks, we saw four major competitive events kick off across three countries, with players descending on the Netherlands, Canada and the United States to compete for their shot at PTI's and incredible cash prizes. As we prepare for a month of exciting events in August, join us in looking back at the last few weeks of July and congratulating the players who competed at Calling: Utrecht, Battle Hardened: Toronto, and Battle Hardened: Los Angeles!

Last weekend, we were finally able to welcome players to compete at the Calling: Utrecht, after restrictions forced our planned event last year to be postponed, and then cancelled. Ahead of the Pro Tour: Lille next month, Calling: Utrecht saw players from across Europe join in the action, competing for their shot at the Top 8 and a Professional Tournament Invitation (PTI).

European Champion's Battle

The weekend kicked off with a celebration of Europe's competitive players; the European Champion's Battle was an invitation-only event featuring players who had performed at National Championships, Callings, Battle Hardeneds, and the Pro Tour.

The Top 8 featured Battle Hardened: Krakow winner Sebastian Grøndal and semi-finalist Bartosz Ziemba; Calling: Krakow and German National Championship quarter-finalist Sebastian Golla; Battle Hardened: Madrid finalist Ilias Karamanis and semi-finalist Joris Verhelst; Belgium National Championship quarter-finalist Glenn Van Roey; Netherlands National Championship quarter-finalist Ian Zhang; and Calling: New Jersey quarter-finalist Robert Catton, who won the Battle Hardened event at the 2021 UK National Championship.

Top 8

1st: Sebastian Grøndal - Fai, Rising Rebellion
2nd: Joris Verhelst - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
3rd-4th:
Ilias Karamanis - Briar, Warden of Thorns
3rd-4th: Robert Catton - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Glenn Van Roey - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
5th-8th: Ian Zhang - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
5th-8th: Sebastian Golla - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Bartosz Ziemba - Bravo, Showstopper

Calling: Utrecht

Moving into the main event, 243 players tested their mettle in both Classic Constructed and Uprising Draft rounds, with three Ninjas and three Runeblades moving past the Top 8 cut.

The Top 8 included Ilias Karamanis, who made the Top 8 at the European Champion's Battle the day prior; Jamie Faulkner, quarterfinalist at Battle Hardened: Krakow; Juha Saarnilampi, finalist at the Finland National Championship; and Kevin Lerens, Belgium National Champion in 2021.

Piotr Krzempek has competed at Road to Nationals, ProQuest, and Skirmish events over the last year and a half as Prism, but here switched tracks to take up the mantle of Bravo, Showstopper; Paul Mirande competed at the French National Championship after his first event in July 2021; Peter Ward made the Top 8 at Battle Hardened: Leeds with Kassai, Cintari Sellsword; and last but not least, Sander Neeft has been playing at events since October 2021, competing at Armory events until his first ProQuest in February, and now winning his first competitive level event at Calling: Utrecht.


Calling Utrecht Champion Sander Neeft


Top 8

1st: Sander Neeft - Fai, Rising Rebellion
2nd: Peter Ward - Fai, Rising Rebellion
3rd-4th:
Kevin Lerens - Viserai, Rune Blood
3rd-4th: Paul Mirande - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Juha Saarnilampi - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Piotr Krzempek - Bravo, Showstopper
5th-8th: Ilias Karamanis - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Jamie Faulkner - Dromai, Ash Artist

Battle Hardened: Utrecht

The weekend wrapped up with Sunday's Battle Hardened event, featuring Uprising Booster Draft. 191 players competed for their spot in the finals, and their shot at one of the two remaining PTI's for the weekend. The only Iyslander in the Top 8 found her footing and shot to the top with Maximilian Klein. In his rise to victory, Maximilan Klein faced off against Christian Huack, recreating their final battle at the German National Championship last year; this time, it was Maximilian who won the battle, facing off against Swedish Nationals quarterfinalist Niklas Astner to claim the title of Battle Hardened Utrecht Champion.

Top 8

1st: Maximilian Klein - Iyslander
2nd: Niklas Astner - Fai
3rd-4th:
Christian Hauck - Fai
3rd-4th: Tadej Kadunc - Fai
5th-8th: Khalid Abatouy - Dromai
5th-8th: Guy Duparcq - Dromai
5th-8th: Hamish Chisholm Brown - Dromai
5th-8th: Jerome Bastogne - Fai


Battle Hardened: Toronto

Forest City Coins hosted this 43-player Battle Hardened event at the Anime North convention, working with the Canadian Community Hub to raise money for Extra Life. They provided their own write-up of the weekend's event.

Community.

No other word could better summarize this weekend. The excitement and joy in the room was palpable. Acts of kindness were everywhere. Distant friends were reunited to enjoy great games together and new friendships were made. To stand witness to all of this was nothing short of a dream come true.

Some of the most highly skilled players in Canada, after seeing the prize pool allocation, decided to split it more equitably among the top 8, truly demonstrating the spirit of community that this event had showcased.

Charity

The Canada Community Hub decided that the best way to honor this community was to run a digital donation campaign during the event for Extra Life. At the time of writing, we have raised $1,605 USD, all going directly to the Children's Health Foundation in London, Ontario, Canada and the campaign remains open for further donations. https://www.extra-life.org/team/fab

The Art House Syndicate Auctioned a 1/10 Phu Thieu signed custom art playmat in solidarity with our event raising $300 USD. They were also generous enough to make their own donation to Extra Life, supporting Canadian children's hospitals.

Learn to Play Event

Our volunteer’s enthusiasm for the game was contagious as they taught new people the game. Many new players returned again and again after purchasing new cards, booster boxes, and decks from vendors at the convention seeking guidance in upgrading their newly acquired skills.

At one point in the weekend, we even had a newly taught player so enthusiastic that he ended up staying at the table and teaching others himself.
I’m told prebuilt and store-built decks became scarce at the vendor tables by the end so if you're a vendor going to a convention with a Learn to Play event, take note and stock up.

Road to Nationals at Anime North Classic Constructed

The competition was fierce and the talent in the room was top-tier at the Anime North RTN on July 16th. Featuring such faces as pro tour competitor Michael Caronchia, Canadian XP leader Matt Dilks, and U.S National Champion Tariq Patel, this truly lived up to being the largest RTN to ever take place in the Great White North.

Standing victorious in the end though was none of these names. Instead, it was Noah Clark. Fresh off his RTN win the previous week at Xlevel hobbies, the local competitor brought his own build of Prism, Arc Light Sculptor decimating the opponents with an avalanche of auras.

Battle Hardened Toronto Blitz

The third and final day of the event it was easy to tell that the weekend had taken its toll. People enjoyed the festivities late into the night and awoke early yet again to prepare for battle. Despite that everyone rose to the challenge and played with all their heart.

The competition was even fiercer than it was during the RTN, with Pro Tour competitors like David Rood and Isaak Krut being roused by the promise of PTIs and Gold Cold Foils. At the end of the day it came down to close friends Michael Caronchia and Nghia Tran in a duel of Kano vs Iyslander.
No punches were pulled, both stood toe to toe playing their best in search of the coveted PTI. In the end Nghia Tran stood victorious as the better Wizard, proclaiming that he was going to Worlds.

A special thank you to all our sponsors

The community is blessed to have so many great stores supporting them here in Canada.

  • Carta Magica
  • Forest City Coins
  • Gamers Lair
  • Hairy Tarantula
  • Red Riot Games
  • Gods Arena
  • Chimera Gaming
  • Enter the Battlefield
  • Skyfall Studios
  • Palico Cards & Collectables
  • Manta Trading
  • Tiestaminis
  • Black Knight Games
  • Game Knight Leagues
  • Nerds Cafe

Top 8 at Battle Hardened Toronto

From left to right: Tariq Patel, Hunter Platt, Victor Mercado, Sunny Yang, Noah Clark, Aidan O'Sullivan, Michael Caronchia, and Matthew Pelletier.


Top 8

1st: Nghia Tran - Iyslander
2nd: Michael Caronchia - Kano
3rd-4th:
Chris Borecky - Dash
3rd-4th: Gabe Sher - Kassai, Cintari Sellsword
5th-8th: Aiden Dee - Rhinar
5th-8th: Isaak Krut - Oldhim
5th-8th: Sunny Yang - Ira, Crimson Haze
5th-8th: Tariq Patel - Briar


Nghia Tran Battle Hardened Champion


Battle Hardened: Los Angeles

Hosted by Odyssey Games Pasadena, Battle Hardened: Los Angeles kicked off the fight in the City of Roses with 99 players. You can also see their stream of the event via their YouTube channel.


Top 8 at Battle Hardened: Los Angeles


Top 8

1st: Brian Moss - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
2nd: Nicholas Snyder - Viserai, Rune Blood
3rd-4th:
Taotao Chu - Katsu, the Wanderer
3rd-4th: Andrew Rudin - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
5th-8th: Graham Soloway - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage
5th-8th: Jerick Fomocod - Dromai, Ash Artist
5th-8th: Adam Fiffles - Dromai, Ash Artist
5th-8th: Alan Chavarin - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn


Battle Hardened: Los Angeles Champion


Battle Hardened: Los Angeles Player Interviews

Taotao Chu

What was the best card in your deck today?
I played Prism 4 times, and Breeze Rider Boots were great! They led to really explosive turns with Lord of Wind.

What is the best deck in the format?
Prism. I think Katsu has a decent matchup against it and was the reason I played Katsu today.

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Mask of Momentum. It forces blocks and makes the opponent make tough choices.

Highest Placements
3rd BH: LA!

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
2 PQ’s

Underrated Uprising card
Double Strike and Take the Tempo in Katsu.

Favorite Fab Moment
During round 6, I forgot my Tunic 3 times and still won.

Graham Soloway

What was the best card in your deck today?
Bloodrush Bellow, as always!

What is the best deck in the format?
Prism

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Channel Mount Heroic

Highest Placements
Top 8 SoCalling 2 + Currently happening now!

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
2 PQs with Rhinar and Briar

Underrated Uprising card
Is That All You Got?

Favorite Fab Moment
Reckless Swing to secure a Top 8 placement

Brian Moss

What was the best card in your deck today?
Arc Light Sentinel

What is the best deck in the format?
Fai

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Herald of Erudition

Highest Placements
Top 8 RTN and now Battle Hardened

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
1

Underrated Uprising card
Is That All You Got?

Favorite Fab Moment
Opening a Great Library of Solana in Draft

Alan Chavarin

What was the best card in your deck today?
Lumina Ascension

What is the best deck in the format?
Hybrid Boltyn

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Lumina Ascension

Highest Placements
Top 8 Battle Hardened Las Vegas

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
2 RTNs and 1 PQ

Underrated Uprising card
Fyendal’s Fighting Spirit

Favorite Fab Moment
First PQ at A Hidden Fortress

Jerick Fomocod

What was the best card in your deck today?
Eye of Ophidia. Opting is so powerful!

What is the best deck in the format?
Dromai

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Eye of Ophidia

Highest Placements
PQ win

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
1

Underrated Uprising card
Inflame

Favorite Fab Moment
Watching Alex Vore’s match at the PT vs. Yuki Lee Bender

Adam Fiffles

What was the best card in your deck today?
Sigil of Solace.

What is the best deck in the format?
Dromai

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Yellow Pummel

Highest Placements
Top 16 2x Calling, 5 PQs, Top 32 Nationals, and a couple of RTNs

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
“A lot. I don’t know.”

Underrated Uprising card
Fog Down

Favorite Fab Moment
My first competitive tournament. It was an RTN that I won with Chane.

Nick Snyder

What was the best card in your deck today?
Amulet of Ignition.

What is the best deck in the format?
Viserai

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Meat and Greet

Highest Placements
1st in SoCalling 1 + Currently happening now.

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
3

Underrated Uprising card|
Take the Tempo

Favorite Fab Moment
Winning SoCalling 1 against a 7-0 Dorinthea player in the finals!

Andrew Rudin

What was the best card in your deck today?
Library of Solana. It provides so much value in certain matchups!

What is the best deck in the format?
Viserai

What is your favorite FAB Card?
Alt art Scar for a Scar TC

Highest Placements
2nd BH Vegas

How many PQs and RTNs have you top 8'ed
4 PQs with two wins. 3 RTNs.

Underrated Uprising card
Fog Down

Favorite Fab Moment
My first PQ. I was still new to the game, and I thought I bubbled out of the Top 8, but I made it and celebrated with a bunch of friends.