It is finished. The 2021 Road to Nationals season has concluded and those beautiful extended art Fyendal’s Spring Tunics have landed safely in the hands of over 150 champions! One more time, we would like to say a massive thank you to all of the players, partners, stores and event organisers around the world for an exceptional Road to Nationals season!
Chane finished strong again in our final week of Road to Nationals. Very much on flavour, as if his soul were being shackled, his wins and quote, unquote, popularity, increased weekly. Chane once again finishes on top with more than double the number of wins as the second winningest deck from the last week. With a new Runeblade and a new set in Tales of Aria just around the corner, many will be happy to see some new heroes at the top tables and very much welcome the elemental talents of Aria.
Aggro Katsu players did well this week with many players going for more aggressive Ninja builds that attack hard and fast from turn one. This is a great strategy against Chane and also against decks a bit slow off the mark. However, a lot of these slower decks have mostly declined in popularity as of late, seeing the Wanderer fall into a category of good, not quite great.
Despite being at times, slow off the mark, Dash and Boltyn have picked up victories this week. Both of these heroes can be super explosive and unpredictable for your opponent, always keeping them guessing about what’s coming next. The Mechanologist and Light Warrior both often aim to have big turns with High Octane and Lumina Ascension respectively, and have much flexibility in the way they’re built. With some heavy hitter cards coming in Tales of Aria, it is a mystery as to where Dash and Boltyn will go to from here.
Bravo and Dorinthea are in the middle of the pack, being the embodiments of consistency and balance. Both of these heroes have fantastic matchups across the board, although some of them are quite polarizing. Dorinthea does very well against Boltyn with few actual attack actions, but has a hard time against the ever popular Prism. Whereas, Bravo does very well against Chane while finding the Dash matchup quite a challenge. Bravo and Dorinthea, two timeless heroes and they’ll more than likely not be going anywhere soon.
Azalea put up some impressive runs this week! A third place finish at Geek Retreat in the UK and a second place finish at RC Crew in Australia. Tales of Aria has many new exciting tools for this...and another Ranger. The weeks to come will be electrifying indeed for the class!
Levia, Kano, Rhinar, Viserai and Prism had a quiet seven days. Saving their energy for The Calling Las Vegas perhaps? As one chapter ends, new tales begin. The Monarch era and the sound of Shadow Runeblades going again is almost over as a new horizon dawns...
Red Riot Games - Canada
35 players gathered in Ontario for Red Riot Games' Road to Nationals event, including regular names like Dante Delfico, Dimos Kaloupis, and Michael Caronchia, three of the highest ranked players in Canada by XP. Yet it was Shawn Dhaliwal, a relative newcomer to the game, who won this event. His first competitive event was another Road to Nationals event the week before at Enter the Battlefield; he's now placed in the Top 8 of the first two events he attended!
Steve from Red Riot had this to say:
"I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who played in our event today. This was of course not the biggest event, but the battle for first was truly hard fought. I am truly happy to see so many of our online players show up in person and battle it out. I was also great to see rep's from other stores make a showing. I am glad to see the level of competition rising higher and higher and to see each community grow within their own respective regions.
This was our first Road to Nationals and I firmly believe we ran it well, mostly due to having Paige as a MVP judge! Thanks again to all the players showing up and we hope to see you in our weeklies hosting on Saturdays at 1pm!"
- Shawn Dhaliwal - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Maxim Villeneuve - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Raymond Chow - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Dimos Kaloupis - Bravo, Showstopper
MAWO Cards - Austria
"September 4th marked the day the Austrian Flesh and Blood community was long waiting for: MAWO Cards in Mödling, Lower Austria, finally held their Road to Nationals tournament – which was the second and last opportunity to play such an important event in Austria.
Due to unforeseeable construction work in their gaming area, but also the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and regulations, the store sadly had to limit the number of participants to 16 persons. Although there were a lot more people on the waiting list, those players showed respect for this decision and gave priority to their health.
In the end, players from all different ages, all around Austria and even Germany and the Czech Republic arrived at the small but nice venue – everyone right on time, in the best of health and pumped for an awesome day full of thrilling games and heartwarming encounters.
Sidenote: MAWO Cards is the only shop in all of Austria, who (still) holds online tournaments and by that played a major part in creating the biggest national community for Flesh and Blood. A lot of those people knew each other only from a year of webcam tournaments but never had the chance to meet in real life. This was changed on this day and was an emotional moment!
The tournament itself was organized in cooperation with the official Austrian fan club „Flesh and Blood TCG Austria“ (www.fabtcg.at) and together they put on a real show: nice little gimmicks such as "Free Snags"(granola bars) made people laugh and became the running gag of the day.
After 4 swiss rounds and 3 elimination playoffs, Germany-based player Việt Pham was able to win his second Road to Nationals event with his Prism deck, overwhelming Austrian Maximilian Gamperl and his Katsu build.
MAWO Cards, who threw over 25 events (including Armorys, Skirmishes and Pre-releases) since the release of Flesh and Blood in Europe in October 2020, wants to thank LSS, Blackfire and last but not least the Austrian fanbase who united as "Flesh and Blood TCG Austria" (www.fabtcg.at) for making this very special event possible!"
- Viet Pham - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Maximilian Gamperl
- Alexander Kaponig
- Stefan Klein
Fabled Collections - United States
"Fabled Collections was proud to host 51 competitors from all over the country in a 10-hour Road to Nationals tournament in Estes Park. Players traveled from Florida, Nebraska, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and all across Colorado to compete for their invitation to Nationals. There was a wide range of heroes and playstyles represented, and a high level of competition from beginning to end. Unsurprisingly, the Flesh and Blood community acted professionally and displayed good sportsmanship throughout the entire event. We were also lucky enough to have two content creators join us that livestreamed the tournament - Team Kitchen Fable and Dad & Daughter TCG."
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- Stephen Leany - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Jie Ma - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Katherine Merwin - Bravo, Showstopper
- Nick Zimmerman - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
Drugiyat Zamak (Other Castle) - Bulgaria
"Our Road to Nationals event went really well. We had 22 participants, a whole group of them travelled from Greece for this, and the event went smoothly. We had two separate streaming tables, and a very competent and good judge - Plamen Markov - he was awesome, explaining things all the time, reminding everyone of the time left, coordinating with the players between rounds (we gave him one of the People's Champion mats, he was an absolute treasure!)
The nice plot twist was that the player who made it 8th to the top cut was the one to eventually win first place."
- Aleksandar Atanasov - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Ivan Ivanov - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Vasilis Kirlis - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Kaloyan Yanev - Katsu, the Wanderer
Critical Games and Hobbies - United States
"27 players joined us for the first Road to Nationals event Hosted by Critical Games and Hobbies in East Liverpool, OH. Shout out to the East Liverpool LEarning and Community center for providing us with an amazing venue with plenty of space with which to host the event, we look forward to doing future tournaments at this venue!
After 5 rounds of Swiss, we had 1 undefeated player on Boltyn Sabres, and 4 players with 4 wins, those being Dorinthea, 2 Chanes and a Prism. We then had 3 3 win players sneak into the top 8 on Boltyn w/Radyn, Bravo, and Dash.
After the results of Top 4, it was Kevin Brayer and Chane taking down the tournament, with Ciro Gambone and Prism in Second.
All in all, it was a fantastic event and great fun was had by all attendees, we want to thank those who travelled in for the event and LSS for making a great game and allowing us to be a part of it's continuing growth! Here's to many more great events in the future!"
- Matthew Mosholder - Dorinthea Ironsong
- Ciro Gambone - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Kevin Brayer - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Ian Olson - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
Azkaban Juegos - Spain
We had 42 players, 31 from Madrid and the rest traveling from Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, and Guadalajara for the event. We also had to waitlist some other players because COVID restrictions would not allow us to hold a bigger event, but we teamed up with Padis to celebrate a fabulous weekend with both events taking place on Saturday and Sunday respectively, which allowed many of the players to attend both Road to Nationals.
Surprisingly enough, none of the seven Katsus made it into the top cut, but four of the seven Boltyns and only one of the nine Chanes made it. The top 8 was completed by Bravo, Prism, and Dash.
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One of the players that travelled for the event, Max Dieckmann, made an incredible run going 6/0 into the elimination playoffs and also winning his first elimination against Prism, but only to be defeated by the mirror matchup in the next round, ending his streak, but leaving him with a top 4 ranking that qualifies for Nationals. The final was also a mirror matchup between Jorge and Adri, both armed with a Cintari Saber in each hand and looking desperately for those juicy Lumina Ascension. In the end, after both Boltyns managed to pull off the combo in a very tight match, Adri took the win, together with the beautiful Fyendal Spring Tunic.
- Adrián Ruiz - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Jorge Moreno - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Max Dieckmann - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Enrique Escudero - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
Flagship Games - Singapore
Flagship Games hosted their online Road to Nationals event over the weekend, with 48 players booting up their webcams to test their skills, and fight for an invite to the National Championships. Two of the five Dash players at this event made it into the Top 8, blazing their way to the top until they were unseated by Katsu player Abbey Fong.
- Abbey Fong - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Chu Heng - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- James Lim - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Jose Lau - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage
Fantasy Shop - Greece
The first of two stores this past week to partner with the team at OrganizedPlay.eu in a double-header event, hosting 33 players in the beautiful venue of The Rubicon gaming house, making this the biggest live event to date for Flesh and Blood in Greece. After 6 rounds of swiss and a cut to Top 8, the Top 4 was consisted of two Boltyns, one Katsu and one Chane. At the end of the day, Boltyn and Chane crossed swords and it was Yorgos Samaras with the Light Hero that prevailed.
- Yorgos Samaras – Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Kanaris Bounas – Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Michail Georgiou – Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
- Nikos Mammonas – Katsu, the Wanderer
No Label X - Greece
Once again hosted in the Rubicon gaming house, the team from No Label X and OrganisedPlay.eu welcomed 24 players for their sister event, this time cutting to a Top 4 which was a 50/50 split between Boltyn and Chane players. Yorgos Samaras came with guns blazing, again with his trusted Boltyn deck, and made it up to the final with an impressive 16-0 across both days. The final game came down to Light versus. Light, but it was Michail Georgiou that managed to grab the win!
The team from OrganisedPlay.eu passed on this message: "Special thanks to everyone participating, making it a weekend to remember! Special thanks to KentaYui, the German player that travelled far to join us in these events, and to our sponsor Zauberhand, that provided extra prizes for both tournaments."
OrganisedPlay.eu streamed both events on their Twitch channel, you can check out the replays of these streams here.
Fable Hobby - OR, United States
29 players gathered for Fable Hobby's Road to Nationals event, with seven Bravo players dominating the field. The winner of this event, Phillip Plew, previously made the Top 4 of the Mr Bill's Collectible World event, this time achieving his victory and securing another invitation to the National Championships, as well as a Fyendal's Spring Tunic prize card.
- Phillip Plew - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Dylan Nollen - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Mitchell Brooks - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Billy Horn - Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn
Topdeck - Denmark
"We had a cozy little Road to Nationals with 20 happy players from all over Denmark and one guy from Poland. We had Denmark's first Level 1 judge on board, but every attendee was so helpful and good to the game that we almost didn't need a judge. Only a few calls happened throughout the day.
After a little over 8 hours we were done and celebrated the winner."
- Peter Nielsen - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
- Thomas Enevoldsen - Dorinthea Ironsong
- Sebastian Grøndal - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Michael Bonde - Chane, Bound by Shadow
Unplugged Games - Australia
This online Road to Nationals event welcomed 53 players, including long-standing community member, previous Calling Champion, and Arsenal Pass co-founder Hayden Dale.
- Noah Nahkle – Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Joshua Carroll – Bravo, Showstopper
- Arthur Kindl – Bravo, Showstopper
- Luke Ranasinghe – Chane, Bound by Shadow
Unison Games Cafe - CT, United States
70 players joined the fray for Unison Games Cafe's Road to Nationals event, with every hero represented on the battlefield. One of the players at this event, Joe Colon, has placed in the Top 4 of three different events this Road to Nationals season, previously winning the event hosted by Akiba Underground.
- Jason Annichiarico
- Cody Williams
- Joe Colon
- Zachry Benz
Alara Games - Sweden
Alara Games hosted 24 players for their Road to Nationals event, including four of the top five players in Sweden by XP - Joel Halvars, Tobias Lind, Kenny Hero Lengrell, and André Pankhurst. The current top player in Sweden, Shahin Ghorbani azad, took a step back this time to judge the event, and was awarded a playmat or his overall commitment and Judge certificate. A People's Champion playmat was also awarded to David Sandberg for his commitment in growing a community in Gothenburg. In the end, it was Norway's top player, Oscar Kruse, who took the final victory at this event.
- Oscar Kruse - Dorinthea Ironsong
- André Pankhurst - Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Christopher Reyes - Katsu, the Wanderer
- Tobias Lind - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
Bento Gaming - Canada
The team at Bento Gaming hosted a 31-player event over the weekend, seeing a variety of heroes take to the field in their effort to secure an invitation to Nationals. One of the players, Oliver Chen, did a write-up about the event on his blog, while the Bento Gaming team also produced a short video recap of the event.
- Eric Lerer – Chane, Bound by Shadow
- Tarek Alatrach – Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
- Andres Torres – Bravo, Showstopper
- Felix Chung – Bravo, Showstopper