The 2022 National Championships have officially begun, with nine events kicking off over the weekend. 285 competitors turned out to take their shot at the path to greatness, and secure their spot at the World Championships in November. Every hero was represented in at least one event, with our only Blitz National Championship featuring fourteen different heroes on the field. All but four of our adult heroes made it into Top 8's around the world, with the only Rhinar player in the quarterfinals of any National Championship going on to win the final match. We'll be bringing you more on the developing metagame with Friday's guest article; in the meantime, let's look at the weekend's events and celebrate the first National Champions of 2022!
52 competitors took to the field in France, with L'Oeil d'Ophidia hosting the livestream and providing commentary for the event, hosted by local game store Playin by Magic Bazar. Despite her strong presence in the metagame, Dash didn't make any appearances in the Top 8, yielding ground to Guardians, Wizards, and Runeblades.
Nicolas Campiglia made it past the Top 8 cut at the French National Championship for the second year running, switching from Rhinar to fellow Welcome to Rathe hero Bravo, Showstopper. Yong Soon Ooi has been competing through the Skirmish seasons, taking on the mantle of Iyslander to emerge in the quarterfinals of this event. After qualifying in a Road to Nationals event earlier this year, Marc Alexandre maintained his Arknight status with Viserai, Rune Blood; likewise, Stephane Doutaz took the Warden of Thorns into the Top 8 after winning an event with the Runeblade in ProQuest Season 2.
Natalia Berger previously made the Top 8 at Battle Hardened: Madrid after only competing at five previous events, once again wielding the hammer of an Elemental Guardian. Paul Raffournier is newer on the field, joining his first event in March this year and fighting through seasons of ProQuest, Skirmish, and Road to Nationals. Kim Barroso put in a solid performance at Calling: Lille but fell just shy of the Top 8 cut, while Mohamed El Fardi put on a grand showing at Pro Tour: Lille after previously taking to the stage as Bravo, Star of the Show during the ProQuest seasons.
After fighting through to the finals, Mohamed and Kim battled it out in an Oldhim mirror match, with Mohamed El Fardi emerging as the 2022 French National Champion!
1st: Mohamed El Fardi - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
2nd: Kim Barroso - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
3rd-4th: Nicolas Campiglia - Bravo, Showstopper
3rd-4th: Yong Soon Ooi - Iyslander, Stormbind
5th-8th: Natalia Berger - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Stephane Doutaz - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Marc Alexandre - Viserai, Rune Blood
5th-8th: Paul Raffournier - Briar, Warden of Thorns
90 players gathered for the Australian National Championship, featuring one of the most diverse fields of the week! The only hero missing was Levia, Shadowborn, with fellow Demonastery resident Viserai taking the top spot as the most represented hero.
The Top 8 cut, however, saw just one Runeblade emerging with player Joel Gibbons, who also made Top 8 at the PTI event that replaced the canceled Calling: Melbourne last year. For the second time running, Matthew Clark made the Top 8, previously making the quarterfinals at the 2021 Australian National Championships with Briar. He was one of three Iyslander players and four Wizards in the Top 8 for this event, alongside Ryan Hulin-Bobart, who's been emerging in the Top 8 of ProQuest, Road to Nationals, and Skirmish events throughout the year. Fellow Iyslander player Phillip Hadley McKay has been playing Flesh and Blood since 2019, competing in The Calling 10K Sydney, Calling Auckland 2021, Battle Hardened: Sydney, Calling: Singapore, and the Pro Tour and Calling in Lille.
Our sole Kano player in the Top 8 is Fahad Safa, making his first Top 8 appearance at a major competitive event, despite making strong showings at multiple Calling events since he began playing in January 2020. Dash player Sam Sutherland has been steadily playing throughout the year, building up his skills before competing in the Team Blitz Calling in Sydney. Jordan Kassiotis brings Dromai to the field, heating up the competition at his first major competitive event. Finally, Nick Butcher of Team Dragonshield has one of the most diverse competitive backgrounds in the Top 8, and made the Top 4 teams at the Tea Blitz Calling in Sydney earlier this year.
In a mirror of the 2021 Australian National Championship, the final came down to a face off between Viserai, Rune Blood, and Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity, with Runeblade player Joel Gibbons and Guardian player Nick Butcher. Yet unlike the 2021 finals, it was the Elemental Guardian who froze out the competition, with Nick Butcher seizing the title of 2022 Australian National Champion!
1st: Nick Butcher - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
2nd: Joel Gibbons - Viserai, Rune Blood
3rd-4th: Sam Sutherland - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
3rd-4th: Matthew Clark - Iyslander, Stormbind
5th-8th: Fahad Safa - Kano, Dracai of Aether
5th-8th: Jordan Kassiotis - Dromai, Ash Artist
5th-8th: Phillip McKay - Iyslander, Stormbind
5th-8th: Ryan Hulin-Bobart - Iyslander, Stormbind
The field opened at Three for One Trading to 22 players, with several familiar faces emerging in the Top 8. Florin Cristian-Loghin, Martin Hechtberger, and Long Dao all made it to the quarterfinals of the Austrian National Championship for the second year running. Martin Hechtberger, first player in Austria to reach 1,000 XP, made the semifinals last year with Briar, this time switching to Oldhim; Florin-Cristian Loghin also switched from Briar to Oldhim after making the quarterfinals in 2021; and Long Dao maintained his hold as the Elemental Runeblade Briar.
Alexander Tsohohey previously made the Top 8 at a ProQuest event with the Shadow Brute Levia, and Francisc Loghin made the Top 8 of the same event with Chane, winning a second event as the Living Legend, Prism. Rafaelo Sarmiento competed at the Callings in Utrecht and Madrid, as well as Pro Tour: Lille; Alexander Steiner made his Flesh and Blood debut and competitive debut simultaneously at Calling: Krakow; while this event marks Bernhard Auers' first competitive event.
Launching himself into the finals, Alexander Tsohohey faced off against Long Dao, with the Metrix inventor Dash bearing her pistol against Aria's ancient warden of the Rosetta, Briar. Long Dao wielded sword and sorcery with finesse, winning the final to become the 2022 Austrian National Champion!
1st: Long Dao - Briar, Warden of Thorns
2nd: Alexander Tsohohey - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
3rd-4th: Francisc Loghin - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
3rd-4th: Martin Hechtberger - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Rafaelo Sarmiento - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Alexander Steiner - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Florin-Cristian Loghin - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Bernhard Auer - Dromai, Ash Artist
Metagame Kártyabolt hosted the first-ever Hungary National Championship, opening the field to 21 players, many of whom were competing in their first Flesh and Blood competitive event. The three most popular heroes on the field were Briar, Dromai and Lexi, forming an Elemental and Draconic triple threat that emerged into the Top 8 alongside Fai, Viserai and Dorinthea.
Balint Herendi and Barna Terjék are two of the only players in the Top 8 to have competed at a higher-level event, taking their shot at the Calling: Krakow earlier this year. Gaál Benjamin and András Kovács also competed at the Calling: Krakow, as well as Calling: Lille just last month. The National Championship marks Valentin Varga's seventh event to date, István Balogh's eight, and Tamás Somoskövi's second - Tamás has only ever competed at one other Flesh and Blood event, a Road to Nationals tournament in July.
The final player in the Top 8, Briar player Domonkos Ács, took out the finals against Balint Herendi's Dromai deck to become Hungary's first National Champion!
1st: Domonkos Ács - Briar, Warden of Thorns
2nd: Balint Herendi -Dromai, Ash Artist
3rd-4th: Valentin Varga - Lexi, Livewire
3rd-4th: Gaál Benjamin - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: István Balogh - Dorinthea Ironsong
5th-8th: Tamás Somoskövi - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Barna Terjék - Lexi, Livewire
5th-8th: András Kovács - Viserai, Rune Blood
Stalo zaidimai EU hosted the inaugural Lithuanian National Championship, with 20 competitors emerging to take their shot at the title. Pro Tour competitor Julius Jonauskas emerged from Lille to fight his way into the quarterfinals alongside Calling: Krakow players Edgar Strogonov, Emilis Dirmeikis, and Rokas Jaskevičius. Darvydas Čepukaitis played his first event in February 2020, Andrius Pečiulis in November 2021, and the final Top 8 player, Aleksandrs Vavilovs, has never played in any Flesh and Blood event prior to the Lithuanian National Championship.
1st: Darvydas Čepukaitis - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
2nd: Edgar Strogonov - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
3rd-4th: Emilis Dirmeikis - Fai, Rising Rebellion
3rd-4th: Aleksandrs Vavilovs - Iyslander, Stormbind
5th-8th: Rokas Jaskevičius - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire|
5th-8th: Andrius Pečiulis - Lexi, Livewire
5th-8th: Oleg Zabalujev - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
5th-8th: Julius Jonauskas - Viserai, Rune Blood
48 players competed at the Malaysian National Championship, hosted by local game store and community staple Invictus Forge. The Top 8 cut included 2021 Malaysian National Champion Lee Derk Hua, finalist Xi Shern Tan, and Top 8 finalists Saiful Bahari Hassan and Clement Ling. Also on the field were Keith Yong, a finalist at Calling: Singapore in August; Mark Siew, who also competed at the Calling: Singapore; Alexi K, entering his first competitive event since he began playing in March 2020; and last but not least, Nitya Kalaichelvan, who previously competed at the Calling: Singapore.
In a Welcome to Rathe showdown, Rhinar, Reckless Rampage faced off against Bravo, Showstopper with finalists Nitya Kalaichelvan and Mark Siew. In a stunning victory, that included defeating Calling finalist Keith Yong in the quarterfinals, and 2021 Champion Lee Derk Hua in the semifinals, Nitya fought back the competition to claim the title of 2022 Malaysian National Champion!
1st: Nitya Kalaichelvan - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage
2nd: Mark Siew - Bravo, Showstopper
3rd-4th: Derk Hua - Dromai, Ash Artist
3rd-4th: Alexi K - Dorinthea Ironsong
5th-8th: Clement Ling -Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Keith Yong - Iyslander, Stormbind
5th-8th: Saiful Bahari Hassan - Briar, Warden of Thorns
5th-8th: Xi Shern Tan - Briar, Warden of Thorns
Once again hosted by POKE4DAYZ AS, the 2022 Norway National Championship kicked off with 23 players, seeing several players from the 2021 event compete for their shot at the title, including 2021 National Champion Oscar Kruse.
He was joined by 2021 Nationals quarterfinalist Peter Bråss, and fellow 20221 Nationals competitors Christan Johnsen, who also played at the Calling and Battle Hardened events in Utrecht, and Kenneth Punnerud, who competed at Calling Krakow. Uno Hanssen competed at the Calling event in Madrid, and Magne Gjennestad competed at both events in Madrid and Krakow.
The only player in the Top 8 without a history at high-level competitive events was Adrian Fjell, for whom the Norwegian National Championships were his tenth Flesh and Blood event to date.
"The Top 8 story was one of revenge where Adrian went on to beat Uno Hansen in the quarterfinals (who he lost to in the swiss), and then met the current National Champion who also gave him a loss in the swiss rounds. But thanks to the power of Dracona Optimai, and the dragons the Illusionist prevailed and pushed him to the finals against another impressive player, Magne Gjennestad, who piloted Viserai. Magne tried to mimic Pablo Pintor's amazing run at PT1 by starting the day with 2 losses and then climbing his way back to land in the finals against Adrian's Dromai. Ultimately it was Adrian's Illusionary Dragons that snatched the victory from the OG Runeblade."
1st: Adrian Fjell -Dromai, Ash Artist
2nd: Magne Gjennestad - Viserai, Rune Blood
3rd-4th: Oscar Kruse - Dorinthea Ironsong
3rd-4th: Peter Bråss - Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
5th-8th: Torgeir Lebesbye - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Uno Hanssen - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Kenneth Punnerud - Bravo, Showstopper
5th-8th: Christian Johnsen -Dorinthea Ironsong
This small tournament, hosted by Črna Luknja, is the first Flesh and Blood National Championship in Slovenia. The Top 4 cut saw three previous Calling competitors — Rok Havlas at Calling Lille, Jan Sinkovec at Calling Utrecht, and Jan Ban at Calling Lille, Utrecht and Krakow — joined by Leon Jablanovec at his first major competitive tournament.
In a face-off between Aria's Elemental Guardian and the Warrior of Solana, Jan Ban took the finals with Oldhim, becoming the 2022 Slovenian National Champion!
The first Vietnamese National Championship kicked off with 27 players, hosted by Minipolo - The Boardgame Cafe. The only Nationals event in 2022 to feature the Blitz format, it was also the first competitive event for many players in the Top 8. Duc Dao is the only player in the Top 8 to have previously competed at the Calling and Battle Hardened events in Singapore, and is currently second on the lifetime XP leaderboard in Vietnam. Minh Pham is at the top of the leaderboard, while Quang Duong sits in third.
Việt Dũng Lê is currently second on Constructed Elo leaderboard for Vietnam, and Duy Ta sits at fourth. Both Minh Pham and Hoàng Vũ started playing earlier this year - Minh since January, and Hoàng since May.
In the finals, the Elemental Guardian yielded to the classic Warrior Dorinthea, with Quang Duong claiming the title of 2022 Vietnamese National Champion.
1st: Quang Duong - Dorinthea
2nd: Duc Dao - Oldhim
3rd-4th: Việt Dũng Lê - Dorinthea
3rd-4th: Doanh Cao Xuan - Chane
5th-8th: Duy Ta - Bravo
5th-8th: Ronald Edward Venter - Dash
5th-8th: Minh Pham - Iyslander
5th-8th: Hoàng Vũ - Briar