Week five of the Road to Nationals season is in the books and many new champions have been crowned across four continents. A massive thank you to all of the incredible event organisers, partners, stores and of course, the players for another week of great games! Some highlights from the week include Brendan Patrick from Arsenal Pass's fourth victory in a row, Kano picking up a win at Cat Footprints Playground Chiayi in Taiwan, the largest US event this season with 84 players at The Upkeep Games and an astonishing eight different heroes represented in the top 8 at Kai of Cards in The Netherlands!
Chane’s been winning games and taking names, remaining the deck to beat. The Shadow Runeblade is still at the top of the mountain, claiming no less than 12 first place Road to Nationals finishes around the globe this week. His popularity and win rates continue to increase, however a bold leader of Light seems to really be taking flight!
Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn, the Warrior of Light has again pushed forward this week, racking up at least six victories, turning dreams into reality. Cintari Sabers is the frontrunner of Boltyn builds. The deck’s ability to chip away at the opponent’s life total early in the game while charging the soul for those big Lumina Ascension turns, then going off with upto eight massive attacks has earnt Boltyn the title of Tier 1 and the second winningest deck this week.
He’s done it! Kano has picked up his first extended art Fyendal’s Spring Tunic with a Road to Nationals victory! Starting at 30 life can be quite the challenge in a Classic Constructed landscape, but much like the sequencing of the Wizard’s turns, timing is everything! With the popularity of rocking a full set of Arcane Barrier 4 equipment to protect oneself against the Dracai of Aether in decline as of late, what better time to put the heat on your foes! Although not immediately obvious, it is said by many that Kano has a great matchup against Chane. Right place, right time and hundreds of hours of training was seemingly all it took to fan the flames of victory for Kano.
Dorinthea has remained consistent throughout the Road to Nationals season and this week is no different. The OG Warrior has still been picking up wins around the world. Typical Dorinthea decks run not many, if any attack action cards, which is a great counter to the increasingly popular Boltyn matchup. If Ser Boltyn continues to rack up wins, Dorinthea Ironsong may find herself in an even better position in the metagame as the weeks roll on.
Dash has fired up the engines again and is hitting the metagame full throttle. As trends suggested, the Mechanologist has picked up the pace and taken a handful of first places. Her flexibility and ability to apply consistent pressure whether she’s playing an aggressive or control style game. Katsu the Wanderer has collected at least four victories, predominantly in the forms of aggro and midrange builds. Control Katsu decks have fallen off a bit this week with many players opting for more aggressive Ninja builds as these decks are known to very well in the Shadow Runeblade matchup.
Has the show stopped for Bravo? Surprisingly, the Guardian has not taken out a Road to Nationals event this week! Having fantastic matchups across the board and one of the best against metagame leader Chane, spirits have been crushed in many of Bravo’s fans around the world. If Chane’s dominance continues, Bravo could still be a fantastic choice to counter it. Keep an eye out for the Showstopper. The show isn’t over yet.
Viserai, Azalea, Rhinar and Levia haven’t tasted victory this week however they have all shown up in top 4 finishes, proving they aren’t to be completely counted out. Finally, Prism the Light Illusionist is certainly one of the most popular and most played heroes, yet the Sculptor of Arc Light picked up just the one Road to Nationals first place over the last seven days.
With a constantly evolving metagame and an almost infinite amount of moving parts, any of our 12 heroes could take the W at this weekend’s Road to Nationals events!
Reaper Game Store - TX, United States
Reaper Game Store welcomed 52 players for their Road to Nationals event, seeing players from both the local community and further afield - some of the winners of the event traveled almost 9 hours to attend!
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The final rounds of the event saw two Chane players, a Boltyn, and a Bravo make their way into the Top 4, and the team at Reaper Game Store awarded four packs of Monarch first edition to the highest finishing heroes outside the Top 8 who finished the event, as well as prizes for those who had traveled the furthest.
The winner of this event, Brendan Patrick, claimed his victory for the fourth Road to Nationals event in a row, beating his opponent in a Chane mirror match to lock in his fourth first place finish!
- Brendan Patrick - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Carson Osborne - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Jason Huebert - Bravo, Showstopper
- James Teeple - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
Interview with Brendan Patrick
In light of winning four Road to Nationals events in a row, we took the opportunity to talk to Brendan Patrick and ask some questions about his experiences playing in this series, and how he prepared for his events.
How has your experience been with Road to Nationals so far, across the four different events?
Road to Nationals has been and incredible experience so far. It was great being able to finally meet a lot of the friends I had made during the seasons 1/2 of online Skirmish. In the the Central/South United States we were lucky to have multiple large and well run events.
How did you prepare for the events, and how did you decide on your current hero build?
My testing group and I have been on Chane since around week 1 of Monarch and the Pro Tour Invitational at the Calling. After seeing the decks success there and working out the match up vs. control, we felt that we were able to refine the deck to a point where it was favored into almost every match up. Chane has been an interesting deck to be on; the deck feels high variance at first, but after getting reps in and practicing, that feeling of variance can be greatly reduced.
I'm very appreciative to Dante Delfico, Hayden Dale, and Dan Mckay, all of whom helped create/refine the deck and practiced with me since the beginning of Monarch.
What are you most looking forward to at the National Championships?
The prospect of a large scale National Championships in the United States is very exciting from a competitive standpoint, and I'm most excited to see all the top players in the US competing in the same event. For a lot of us in the United States, it's an event where we'll be able to finally meet all the players that we've known for so long through online mediums during the pandemic (Discord, Skirmish, Facebook groups, etc).
Is there anything else you'd like to add, or anyone you'd like to shoutout in particular?
I'd like to shout out myself and Hayden Dale's podcast and YouTube channel Arsenal Pass, and all of our viewers and listeners who have been so amazing in growing our channel over the past few months. Finally, I can't say thank you enough to the players in my testing group; Dante Delfico, Hayden Dale, and Dan Mckay.
White Rabbit Community Game Store - Germany
"A total of 29 players from across Germany started gathering in the White Rabbit Community Game Store early on Saturday, August 28th, to experience a day coined by excitement, suspense and good sportsmanship. From 11 am on, five rounds of Swiss were fought out hard but fair to determine who would enter the Top 8 Cut to get a shot at the main prizes and to directly qualify for the Nationals later in the year. Sadly, 3 players had to miss the event due to private reasons on short notice.
In line with the current global metagame, Chane players claimed the majority share of the Swiss portion of the tournament, counting 9 of the total 29 decks. As a staple of the current competitive CC play, Bravo came in as second with 6 decks, of which however none made it to the Top 8 Cut. Instead, one of the three Dash players led his heroine to the play-offs, clearly leading the scoreboard at the end of the fifth round unbeaten. Sadly, Azalea, Katsu and Rhinar did miss the play-offs, but their players stayed part of the day attending the side event.
Even though the Top 8 saw three Chanes putting their spells mainly on the brave and bold forces of light, said party was nicely mixed consisting of one hero each of Dorinthea, Prism, Ser Boltyn, Kano and the unbeaten Dash."
- David Römisch - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Marco Keppel - Dorinthea Ironsong
- Kevin Zänker - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Tim Jakobsmeyer - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Preepong Samalee - Kano, Dracai of Aether
- Christian Weißling - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Sasha Bachhausen - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Nico Thometzki - Chane, Bound by Shadow
"Following the Top 8 Cut in the afternoon, the previously unbeaten Dash by David Römisch had a hard time versus Sasha Bachhausen’s Chane and the Runeblade Hero eventually found his way to shackle down Dash and get the win, letting the two friends part their competitive way that day with an instant fist bump after the final blow. In the second quarterfinal Preepong Samalee, who had already qualified for the Nationals before, attempted to solve the Meta from a different angle with a Kano deck. This so far successful attempt was only halted by Tim Jakobsmeyer and Prism’s powerful illusions in a long fought battle. The second of the three Chane decks present in the quarterfinals, played by Kevin Zänker, could eventually not withstand the power of Ser Boltyn, who was led to the semifinals by Christian Weißling, Germany’s current 90 days and lifetime XP leader. The sole Dorinthea in the Top 8 , who had fought her way up by the hands of Marco Keppel, followed the fate of Dash and went down shackled by Chane’s runechants, in this instance induced by Nico Thometzki.
Two Chanes were present in the semifinals, one in each, but both finally had exhausted their powers up to a point that after two more nonetheless extremely suspenseful games, in the final match of the day, Prism and Ser Boltyn went head-to-head to determine the winner of the day. During the final, a great silence befell the room previously frequently filled with the noise of winning and losing players alike. The nearby commentator team would not dare to raise their voices, even when a key play was carried out to bring the game forward while the sun set, heralding the nearing end of the day and the tournament. The final battle went back and forth and the small audience in the room was as captured by its intensity as the players who did not make the Top 8 Cut, now watching the live stream nearby in the main store alongside the online audience. And disappointed they were not. In a well built-up combat sequence stretching across two turns showcasing the power of Courage of Bladehold, two Lumina Ascensions and both of Boltyn’s Cintari Sabers in a single round followed by a final attack led by V of the Vanguard, Christian Weißling happily secured his first win at a Road to Nationals event. Asked to sum up the final game in the winner’s interview, Chris said “I have to say [Tim Jakobsmeyer] performed very well […] and in the end luck was on my side. […] I am very satisfied that eventually it worked out for me once in the final round.”, taking home the as beautiful as desired extended art rainbow foil Spring Tunic as his main prize.
A flock of exhausted but happy players left the venue in the evening, in unison about returning as soon as possible."
The play-offs were streamed live on YouTube, you can check out the stream here.
"This stream was the first live one for the team of the White Rabbit, bearing witness to the Chinese proverb “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”. Said journey will lead the White Rabbit team to organizing the German Nationals next later this year.
Overall, the event was a great and fun experience for all involved. Friends were met and made, battles fought, wins and experience gained, prizes and next steps taken. The White Rabbit team thanks everyone involved for being a part of the event - especially Dennis Matuschek and Marco Keppel for joining our commentary team after their last matches and thereby contributing greatly and brilliantly to the event’s success. For the same reason also many thanks to all members of the community including Patrick Koczur and Christian Schwebke from our distributor ADC Blackfire for their involvement in the interviews after and in between rounds. See you again soon – in the Flesh and Blood."
Cards Central - Germany
"Cards Central Gelsenkirchen was unable to do an In-Store Road to Nationals due to recent corona restrictions in Germany. With those, It would not be possible to fit more than 8 People inside the store.
The online tournament was hosted by LivingLegends.gg on the Flesh and Blood TCG - Germany Discord Server since many other stores do their online events there as well since nearly every german Flesh and Blood player is a part of our Discord-Community
It was a great opportunity for people across Germany to participate in an Online Road to National event since not everyone was able to attend or get a seat at other RtNs in Germany
Everyone at the online tournament did their best, played fair, and enjoyed the virtual "get together" for over 9 hours. After 6 rounds of swiss with only minor problems, we did continued to the top 8 cut."
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"Christopher, Daniel, Roy, and Szymon proceeded to the top 4 and were able to secure an invitation to the Nationals. At the semifinals, it was Daniel vs. Szymon and Christopher vs. Roy. We had some great plays at both tables, at the end some unfortunate misplays or bad hands did cost Roy and Szymon the chance for the finals.
Finals: Daniel with Dorinthea (7:1) vs. Christopher (6:2) with Katsu. Daniel Dominated the game with his Dawnblade, there wasn't much room for Christopher and his Katsu to recover or hit back. Entering the late game Daniel and was able to swing twice with his Determination and Supremacy for the win!"
- Daniel Möller - Dorinthea Ironsong
- Christopher Klensch - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Szymon Wrzesień-Kwiatkowski - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Roy Opitz - Chane, Bound by Shadow
Game Den - UT, United States
Game Den kicked off their 39-player event with all twelve heroes represented on the battlefield, welcoming their burgeoning local community to join the fight.
"When we began Flesh and Blood in my store it was just Stephen and I. We played and practiced together and worked hard to really get the community going here in the state. It was an emotional moment when I saw all these people show up and even more so after seeing Stephen win, the hours of practice are paying off and we hope to keep the community happy and growing. It's amazing to see the growth of the community."
- Stephen Leany - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Ryan McClain - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Zakaria Alasry - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Steven Hawker - Bravo, Showstopper
Kai of Cards - Netherlands
"Saturday the 28th of August it was finally time for our Road to Nationals event! With everything planned in advance we had a really good time running the event and we enjoyed seeing a lot of people showing up and having a great time.
There were 52 players, with people from Belgium and Germany dropping by for our RTN event! As you will see, the meta was diverse and ALL the heroes were represent. This also resulted in a top 8 where there were 8 different(!) heroes!
To give you a feel from a players perspective, see down below for the story of 2 players on their view:
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“The last and largest Road to Nationals in the Netherlands was held by Kai of Cards in the town of Ede. The venue in which the event was held was a nice big conference hall which contained Kai's shop for those last minute cards/sleeves and a dedicated catering facility which all the players loved.
About the event itself, it was ran very smoothly and the atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant but still competitive.
There were a total of 52 (Dutch and some international) players who battled it out for the shiny full-art Tunic and the final chance to get an invitation for nationals. The field was very diverse and all adult heroes were represented. This resulted (after 6 rounds of swiss) in a top-8 with 8 different hero's represented: Prism, Dash, Katsu, Chane, Bravo, Dorinthea, Levia and Azalea.
In three gruesome matches (on stream) Prism knocked out Azalea, Dash and finally Katsu to secure the full-art tunic and the tournament win.
A big thank you for Kai for hosting the event and to Joost for his awesome judging and the speed he ran up and down of those stairs.”
Nick from OnlyFabs:
“Arriving at the venue one thing was clear, this convention hall is going to make for some classy Flesh and Blood! Nice chairs, tables and good coffee I was all set to play!
Having access to free water helped a bunch to keep the focus! Although I should’ve noticed the possibility to buy fruit before I ate my 2nd “frikandellenbroodje”(if you ever have been to the Netherlands, you know), although I blame a bad match up for that loss, not the food coma that was creeping up on me.
Bringing Viserai Sonata OTK I felt a bit sorry for my first round player (his first event), but he still seemed to enjoy himself! Evident by the fact that he was still around playing games with other players who didn’t make the top cuts. when top 8 hit playing other players who didn’t make the top cut as well.
With all my match opponent being friendly people, even when faced with 30 arcane damage in a turn. I asked around, how have your matches and opponents been? Each and everybody just was straight up enjoying themselves and spoke highly of the community and their opponents.
I had as much fun playing games as I had listing to everybody talk about their super close matches! From newer players say they’ve learned a ton, to more experienced players explaining how they stacked the deck correctly with early red pitch.
And finally getting to match the hands & names of peoples I played online with, getting a chance to talk non-stop about Flesh and Blood was an amazing experience!
Thanks Kai for hosting, Joost for judging and all opponents for being gracious in defeat and humble in victory!”
- René Heijnen - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- James Bamfield - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Freek Zwart - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Laurens Overgaauw - Bravo, Showstopper
The Upkeep Games - MI, United States
The largest Road to Nationals event in North America to date, a massive turnout for this event saw 84 players gather at The Upkeep Games, with every adult hero represented on the playing field.
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GG Lounge - Portugal
"Our Road to Nationals this weekend was filled with 22 players, of which 4 Spanish players. Many new players joined us to try their luck, and simply have some fun and gain experience. We also had some of our top ranking Portuguese players that joined to earn a chance at the beautiful Tunic play-mat & full art card.
We played 5 swiss rounds, with very few problems. Everyone had a great time and the newer players were super excited to finally be able to play in person and experience the game with others. One of our "first timers" almost made it to the top 8 with his Katsu, but just missed out due to the tie breaker not being in his favour.
The tie-breaker was however in favour of our only Boltyn player, Mario. He started the day with a loss against Nuno's Dash, and ended the swiss with 3 out of 5 wins, barely making the top 8. Where he would face the same Dash again, but this time claim victory.
Meanwhile, the 4 Spanish players also made it into the top 8. Thus our top 8 was 50/50 split between Portuguese and Spanish. After some very close, nail biting games, 2 Portuguese and 2 Spanish players made it into the top 4. Mario (Boltyn) facing Guillermo (Chane) and a Prism mirror match between Gwydion and Bruno. After some tough games Mario and Bruno made it through to the finals.
The finals were a true face-off between the Portuguese top ranked players. Prism's Aura's could however not help her against the fury of Boltyn. Mario beat Bruno, and took the victory with his Boltyn, taking home the Tunic.
During the top 8 we also ran a Monarch 1st edition sealed side event. That event was joined by almost all players that didn't make it to the top 8, it had 13 players. The victory there was claimed by a Prism, taking home the Boltyn Cold Foil weapons from the Armory Kit.
All in all, it was a great, positive and successful day. All players enjoyed their day (as far as we could tell) and there were a lot of exciting matches taking place. Up to the National Championship in November!"
- Mário Abrantes - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Bruno Patrão - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Guillermo Pedernal - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Gwydion Martín - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
Star City Games - VA, United States
Star City Games hosted their 43 player event in southwest Virginia, seeing a spread of heroes take up their weapons in the battle for a PTI.
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- Matthew W - Dorinthea Ironsong
- Josh Netto - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage
- Matt Henemyre - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Stephen Didion - Viserai, Rune Blood
Bricks Play - Singapore
"Bricks Play's Road to Nationals had 48 players competing for the 4 spots for Nationals. Chane was the obvious chice for many as we continue to witness his rampage across Classic COnstructed. almost a third of the players registered Chane (15), followed by a healthy amount of Katsu (8), Dash (7), and Dorinthea (6). Unfortunately, there were no Kano or Levia spotted.
Although Chane was the big bad at Brick's Play Road to Nationals, it was Abbey Fong's Katsu that went 6-0 undefeated in the Swiss rounds, only to fall to another Chane in the quarterfinals. Our top 8 had 4 Chane, which meant that they all paired against non-Chane in the quarterfinals. They were however each dispatched quickly by Soul Shackle's power. This meant that we got to watch 3 Chane mirror matches throughout the semifinals and finals!
In the finals we witnessed Travis utilizing the power of Art of War, banishing Soul of Ursur drawing into Flock of Feather Walkers then using a burst of resource generated from Aether Ironweave (Rhasta was on Carrion Husk) stringing together a 5 attack chain against Rhasta to claim victory.
Congratulations to Travis Wong for winning the first Road to Nationals event in Singapore!"
- Travis Wong - Chane, Bound by Shadows
- Rhasta chuah tiong chee - Chane, Bound by Shadows
- Gordon Koh - Chane, Bound by Shadows
- Eugene Phua - Chane, Bound by Shadows
Gift of Games - IL, United States
The Road to Nationals event hosted by Gift of Games saw 27 participants enter the battlefield, in their fight for a spot at Nationals.
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Despite a number of Chanes and Katsus on the battlefield, it was the sole Dorinthea player, Tamren, who rose to the top, beating back fellow warrior Boltyn to claim a final victory.
- Tamren Cardwell - Dorinthea Ironsong
- Shane Ginter - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Ivan Lester - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- John De Jesus - Chane, Bound by Shadow
Games Gauntlet - WY, United States
"37 players from across the Rocky Mountain region came to battle at Games Gauntlet in Laramie, Wyoming. In the end it came down to Dash facing off against Chane; with Dash emerging victorious after a long and well played match from both sides."
- Chris Brummett - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- John Siadak - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Chad Burden - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Kyle Blankenship - Chane, Bound by Shadow
Ménard Comics - Canada
14 players gathered in Champlain, Quebec for Ménard Comics' Road to Nationals event, with local player Shawn Hill taking the final victory of the day with his Chane deck.
- Shawn Hill - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Julien Abenhaim - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Alexis Cloutier - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Guillaume Couillard - Chane, Bound by Shadow
Forgotten Path Games- CA, United States
The 38 player event at Forgotten Path Games saw newcomer Christian Vitanza take to the field with his Katsu deck, cutting down runeblades and fellow ninjas to claim his place at the top, winning his very first Flesh and Blood competitive event.
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- Christian Vitanza - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Brishen Jaimes - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Taylor Morrow - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Brooks Mitchell - Chane, Bound by Shadow
Highlander Games - NJ, United States
Highlander Games kicked off their Road to Nationals event with 58 players,
- Anthony Nguyen - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Joe Colon - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Jose Pintor - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Craig Krempels - Viserai, Rune Blood
Meeple Madness - GA, United States
The Road to Nationals hosted by Meeple Madness saw 27 players take to the field. Local player Samuel Blitch lost to Nathan Crawford in the final round of the day, with the Chane mirror match ending in favour of Nathan, who travelled over four hours to attend the event.
- Nathan Crawford - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Samuel Blitch - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Nam Vo
- Kyle Jones
Infinity Cards & Collectibles - Canada
Infinity Cards & Collectibles hosted 24 players for their Road to Nationals event over the weekend, with newcomer Lucas Ng winning his first competitive event!
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