Road to Nationals Retrospective

27th Jul 2022 Nicola Price

Welcome to our final look back at the Road to Nationals season for 2022! Over the last four weeks, we've seen one of the most diverse Classic Constructed metagames to date, with every hero bar one claiming at least one victory over the course of the season.

Azalea, Ace in the Hole was our only hero this season who didn't win an event, yielding the more dedicated Ranger players to Lexi. She did, however, make 4 appearances in the Top 8 over the last four weeks, courtesy of Andres Dorogan from Finland, Ciaran Harrigan from Ireland, and Sebastian Kleiner and Luis Toeffels from the same event in Germany.

Next up, we have our one-off winners of the season. In the face of the new Draconic Ninja, Katsu, the Wanderer saw less events on the whole this season, winning only one event in Poland with Bartłomiej Chrobak. Likewise, fellow Welcome to Rathe hero Rhinar, Reckless Rampage claimed a single victory in New Zealand with Gene Brumby, despite a final total of 31 appearances in the Top 8. Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn claimed seven Top 8 finishes, and in the eleventh hour, secured a win with US player Joshua Lau at one of the final events of the season.

Next on the list is another Monarch hero: Shadow Brute, and cult favourite Levia, Shadowborn Abomination, who picked up three wins over the course of the season. In the winner's circle, we see Levia's truly faithful servant Ethan van Sant alongside fellow US player Peter Hong, and Devon Bridge from Canada.

Looking at the arcane arts, we see Kano, Dracai of Aether finish out the season with two wins; fanning the flames with Elijah Calub and Eugene Galipchak in the United States. He's joined by fellow Wizard and hero of Uprising Iyslander, Stormbind, who won three events with Kristian Čurla from Croatia, and Rose Smyth and James Adams from the United States.

The next rung up is a slight jump, finding a three-way tie between Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire, Dorinthea Ironsong, and Dromai, Ash Artist, forming a triple-seven position on the leaderboard. Dash won events with Pierre-Olivier Vallerand Beaudry in Canada; Bryan Kong in Singapore; Rokas Jaskevičius in Lithuania; and Jameson Hughes, Cameron Moore Tyler Stammer, and Lee Kimball in the United States. Dorinthea's winners included Oh Oh of Taiwan; Richard Anthony Bustamante of the Philippines; Hagen Lindert of Germany; and Christian Gilbert, Jonathan Bird, Shin Inoue, and Ryan Youngquist of the United States. Taking up the mantle of Illusionist as Dromai were Zachary Lowe of Canada; Derk Hua of Malaysia; Andres Perez of the United States; Gregory Patellis of Greece; and Jamie Faulkner, Nguyen Giang, and Tom Gould of the United Kingdom.

Following on from his Elemental counterpart's monumental success earlier this year, the ever-classic Bravo, Showstopper was the most successful Welcome to Rathe hero this season, finding wins at eight events. Guardians of the season included Duy Ta in Vietnam; Vasil Popov in Bulgaria; George Rodger in the United Kingdom; Ludovic Guilmard in France; and Sebastian Burnham, Addison Hudson, Michael Fay, and Andrew Lorenz in the United States.

On the next step up, we find the three Tales of Aria heroes in consecutive order. From here out, we're only listing winners from the final two weeks of events, rather than the full season. First is Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity, who finished out the season with twelve wins. In the last two weeks, he won nine events with Minh Toan Nguyen in Switzerland; Pawel Urbaniak in Germany; Daniyar Saduakassov in Poland; and Zack Covington, Haik Voskerchian, Charles Dunn, Dylan Mangini, Ian Siczewicz, and Wesley Cole in the United States.

Lexi, Livewire rounded out the season just barely ahead of Oldhim, with a final tally of thirteen wins. The final seven events were won with Ryan Last in Canada; Seth Andrews in Australia; John Jaurigue in New Zealand; George Jones in the United Kingdom; and Anderson Soares, Nik Katebian, and Pete Buddensiek in the United States.

Briar, Warden of Thorns sees a slightly larger step up, with twenty events as her final victory count. Her champions included Dustin Wells-Mcleod of Canada; Ondrej Hus of Czechia; Adrián Ruiz Yague of Spain; Bogdan-Andrei Oros of Romania; Bob De Jong of Belgium; Ren Springlea of Australia; Kieran Carnegie of New Zealand; and finally, Michael Thorington, Sam Dando, Raj Parikh, Corey Waugh, Lahoci Franco, Adam Mercier of the United States.

Finally, we have our three largest contenders in the season's winners circle. First, the hero who fanned the flames of Ninja players around the world: Fai, Rising Rebellion pulled ahead of Briar in the final weeks of the season, rounding out with a total of twenty-one events under his belt. He was also by far the most popular hero this season - while Viserai and Briar both saw 327 players across the four weeks of events, Fai truly basked in the limelight, with a grand total of 479 players registering their Draconic Ninja decks at events worldwide.

Fifteen players fought their way to victory with Fai in the last two weeks, including Eric Bun in France; Tariq Patel in Canada; Jacob Hand in the United Kingdom; Wesley Lingard in Australia; Chan Nova in Hong Kong; András Kovács in Hungary; and Archer Taylor in the United States.

The first Arknight, Viserai, Rune Blood, has been enjoying his chance to step outside the shadow of his fellow Runeblades, racking up a total of twenty-six wins across the season. Fifteen of those victories came in the last two weeks, including David Marshall in New Zealand; Samuele Constantini in Italy; John Farren and Dominic Ze in Australia; and Brodie Spurlock and Nathan Lapham in the United States.

Finally, the behemoth of the season; Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light steps out into the limelight after her time waiting in the wings. Over the last year of competitive events, Prism has inched closer and closer to the Living Legends threshold, watching as both Bravo, Star of the Show and Chane, Bound by Shadow ascended to the hall of heroes ahead of her. After this season of Road to Nationals events, she is now on the cusp of reaching Living Legend status, with August's competitive events defining whether or not her name will pass into Legend in the next Banned and Suspended announcement.

Across the thirty players who fought their way to victory with Prism this season, twenty-one players from sixteen countries won events as the Illusionist in the last two weeks. This includes Sergio Sanz Guerrero in Spain, Viet Pham in Germany, Noah Clark in Canada, Lorenzo Brambilla Pisoni in Italy, Lucas Macorano in Portugal, Jerome Bastogne in Belgium, Romanos Defiano in Indonesia, Howard See in Brunei, Romain Mamecier in Thailand, Chu Heng Eng in Singapore, Nick Donnelly in Australia, Rafał Szymaszek in Poland, Mikael Jacobs in Norway, Damon Elgie in the United Kingdom, and William Knight in the United States.

Congratulations to all of our winners this season, and to all of the Top 4 players at events around the world who have qualified for their National Championships. We look forward to seeing you all preparing for battle this September!

Azkaban Juegos

Azkaban Juegos - Spain

"The Azkaban Juegos tournament, with 36 players, was a great testing ground for the PT of Lille. Great players gathered for the tournament, such as the champion of the PT1 Pablo Pintor, Sergio Sanz, champion of the BH Madrid (and champion of this R2N) or Álvaro Francisco Toledano, champion of the second BH Madrid and well-known content creator of the Flesh and Vlog channel.

With these clear objectives to beat all the players were presented to win the prized places for the National of Spain and the magnificent Iyslander Cold Foil. During the Swiss rounds, we could see a duel between Pablo and Sergio, which demonstrated their high level of play and despite being teammates (Sun Flower Samurai) they attacked with everything, always with great sportsmanship and a good atmosphere.

During the final, we could see how Dorinthea tried to destroy all the auras with his Cintary while Prism kept the pressure with heralds and more auras and Spectral Shield. Finally, Dorinthea succumbed to so many attacks and Sergio Sanz scores another tournament to his list of victories.

As a curious fact, many players in our community practice or like basketball; taking advantage of the occasion we organized a basketball game after the tournament, FaB has made many players grow their friendship outside the game and this good atmosphere is transmitted outside the game tables."

Top 8:

1st: Sergio Sanz - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
2nd: Maria Jesus Penella - Dorinthea Ironsong
3rd-4th: Jose Carlos Gonzalez - Lexi, Livewire
3rd-4th: Santiago Ortega - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Alvaro Feijoo - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
5th-8th: Javier Querol - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Mario Donoso - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Pablo Pintor - Viserai, Rune Blood

Event Photos

GL Book Exchange Logo

GL Book Exchange - United States

"33 heroes journeyed from far and wide on a humid day to battle for prizes and a seat in the US national championship. Ninja stormed the battlefield (7 Fai, 1 Katsu). The illusionists held their own (4 Prism, 4 Dromia) hoping to claim their seat in the championship. The field saw representation from many regions of Rathe (2 Bravo, 1 Oldhim, 5 Viserai, 2 Lexi, 2 Rhinar, 1 Iyslander, 1 Levia, 1 Dorinthea, 1 Briar, and 1 Dash)

As the battles raged on 8 heroes emerged claiming a cold foil prize and a chance at the coveted seat in the national championship. Bravo, Briar and Prism all faced off against a Fai. While another uprising hero Dromia battled Viseria to round out the top 8 matchups.

One Fai rose up and made it to the top 4 while Bravo and the Runeblades squashed the rest of the uprising. In the end, Viserai came out on top defeating Fai in the finals."

Top 8

1st: Caleb McDonald - Viserai, Rune Blood
2nd: Wesley Chandler - Fai, Rising Rebellion
Bradley Liestenfeltz - Briar, Warden of Thorns
3rd-4th: Josh Martin - Bravo, Showstopper
5th-8th: Nathan Lapham - Dromai, Ash Artist
5th-8th: Jake Smith - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: William Harrison - Fai, Rising Rebellion
5th-8th: Steven Caraher - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light

Event Photos

Card Merchant Hamilton Logo

Card Merchant Hamilton - New Zealand

"This was the first Road to Nationals in Hamilton, NZ. We had 36 players, including well-known players like Matt Rogers and Cayle McCreath who both ended up top 8. We also had many players travelled from Auckland. It was a long day of draft and Justin Wong went undefeated all day through 3 draft pods to show he is the best at drafting Uprising! As an extra bonus, content creator Melody travelled from Tauranga and donated a few content creator promo cards as giveaway to a lucky player!"

Top 8:

1st: Justin Wong - Iyslander
2nd: Edward Kim - Fai
Henry Moore - Iyslander
3rd-4th: Cayle McCreath - Dromai
5th-8th: Adrienne Morales - Dromai
5th-8th: Keegan Walls - Fai
5th-8th: Matt Rogers - Iyslander
5th-8th: James Arnesen - Fai

Event Photos

Nexus Tabletop Games - Indonesia

"Sun is up and we are ready for Road to Nationals 2022! This event is one of the biggest event of Flesh and Blood. We were delighted with their enthusiasm in joining us.

It was such a fun and lively gathering, and it’s getting more thrilling when we reached to Final Round. Joyful and thrilled. Those two words could be best described in representing the celebration at the end of the event!"

Top 8

1st: Romanos Defiano - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
2nd: Laksana Eka S.P. - Dromai, Ash Artist
Abdurrahman Putra - Briar, Warden of Thorns
3rd-4th: Randy Stephen - Lexi, Livewire
5th-8th: Ivan Abundan - Viserai, Rune Blood
5th-8th: Anditya Tornando - Dorinthea Ironsong
5th-8th: Ricky Wiranata - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage
5th-8th: Christian Andersen - Katsu, the Wanderer

Event Photos

The Imaginarium Logo

The Imaginarium - Singapore

"This was such a fun event. The meta was one of the most open ones in months. Old heroes came out of hiding onto the battlefield. Our Top 8 was a good diverse mix of old and new heroes. The winner, Bryan Kong, went undefeated the entire event as Dash. He has been piloting Dash from the early days with absolute loyalty, through the good times and the bad. "Fear not the man who plays a hundred decks, but the man who plays a deck a hundred times."

Top 8

1st: Bryan Kong - Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire
2nd: Ho Wei Jie - Fai, Rising Rebellion
Sebastian Lim - Dorinthea Ironsong
3rd-4th: Gordon Koh - Viserai, Rune Blood
5th-8th: Marco Ng - Bravo, Showstopper
5th-8th: Abbey Fong - Viserai, Rune Blood
5th-8th: Liam Xian Xun - Rhinar, Reckless Rampage
5th-8th: Elliot Lucas Marcell Tan - Dromai, Ash Artist

Wizard's Tower Logo

Wizard Tower - Canada

"The Wizard’s Tower opened its doors to 26 eager competitors thirsty for a victory at the 2022 Road to Nationals. After five rounds, the Top 8 cut saw the dust settle with 3 Dromai, 2 Viserai, 1 Iyslander, 1 Briar, and 1 Prism facing off. The final table featured the new Draconic Illusionist Dromai, Ash Artist piloted by Zach Lowe against Alexandre Lefevbre and his Viserai, Runeblood, the original staple Runeblade hero. After a brutal back and forth, Zachary Lowe (who was playing his first official event, he made his GEM account right before the event) and his dragons emerged victorious!"

Top 8

1st: Zachary Lowe - Dromai, Ash Artist
2nd: Alexandre Lefebvre - Viserai, Rune Blood
Karl Del Duchetto - Briar, Warden of Thorns
3rd-4th: Jordan Robson - Dromai, Ash Artist
5th-8th: Jibril Jeewanjee - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
5th-8th: Clark Johnston - Viserai, Rune Blood
5th-8th: Michel Corvino - Dromai, Ash Artist
5th-8th: Nicolas Plouffe - Iyslander, Stormbind

NB: The team from Wizard Tower wanted to thank their judge, Jonathan Cameron, for taking the photos below; you can find more store pictures on their website.

Event Photos

Heretics Haven Logo

Heretics Haven - Australia

"We had 28 players descend upon the Queensland Sunshine Coast to battle it out for glory and national invitations; some traveling from interstate as far as Victoria (2 hour flight followed by a 2 hour drive!). Among the swiss drafts there were 8 Legendaries pulled and 7 marvels including a Dracona Optimai!

After 6 rounds we were left with our top 8 which after a draft where another two legendaries were opened in the draft; and saw 4 Fais, 2 Iyslanders and 2 Dromais enter the elimination rounds. After all was said and done Henry De Malmanche with some very intricate Iyslander play, took down Zachary Cauchi playing Fai in the finals to claim victory and the coveted Iyslander Promo.

The true star of the show though was not Bravo, but our youngest-ever competitive Flesh and Blood player. At only 7 years old, Xander Harris took to the field to compete for national glory. I asked Xander what hero he wanted to play and why and he said "I really want to play Fai because he attacks a lot of times and has a fire sword, and that's cool"

Really, I couldn't have put it better myself. Having traveled over 3 hours to be the head judge for this event I loved the diversity, energy, and passion of the Flesh and Blood players in the room. It was truly a fantastic experience."

Top 8

1st: Henry De Malmanche - Iyslander
2nd: Zachary Cauchi - Fai
Ryan Hulin-Bobart - Dromai
3rd-4th: Linford Hulin-Bobart - Iyslander
5th-8th: Robert piper - Fai
5th-8th: Freeman Monika - Fai
5th-8th: Luke Fletcher - Dromai
5th-8th: Charles Nelson - Fai

Event Photos

Fyendal Hobby Logo (Transparent)

Fyendal Hobby - Singapore

"A huge turnout! Probably the largest Road to Nationals. There were near to 100 sign-ups for the event, however, due to the volatile nature of the covid19 virus, a number of players who were interested to play, weren't able to turn up to play!. We also lost a few judges who weren't able to turn up for the event due to covid.

Lots of newer players and also returning players came to play in this event, and as Tournament Organiser for this event, we're really glad to see everyone coming together to support us and make this event a huge success! We want to thank the judges and players who gave us this chance!

In the end, 79 Players piloting a total of 16 heroes vie for the top 4 slots to qualify for the Singapore Nationals. And the top 8 was filled with 7 different heroes with Chu Heng taking down the event with Prism! A truely diverse metagame!"

Top 8

1st: Chu Heng Eng - Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light
2nd: Abbey Fong - Bravo, Showstopper
Keith Tan
3rd-4th: Sebastian Lim
5th-8th: Jose Lau
5th-8th: Eugene Phua
5th-8th: Gordon Koh
5th-8th: Winter Fong

Event Photos

Red Riot Games Logo

Red Riot Games - Canada

"Amazing turnout for today's Road To Nationals event. 37 players show including Dante Delfico, Michael Caronchia, Tariq Patel, Matthew Dilks and much much more. Players from all over the GTA came out to thrown down in their favorite game.

Though the field of competitors was vast, and the competition was fierce there was one player who rose among all other players. Coming to his last event in Canada Gabe Sher, the tunic sleeve master himself froze his opponent into submission as he cast his final spell of the day taking out David Park.

The fight raged on for a century,

Many wins were claimed, but eventually

The champion stood, the rest saw their better

Iyslander and Gabe Sher taking the Win and all the chetter"

Top 8

1st: Gabe Sher - Iyslander
2nd: David Park - Fai
Adam Ragsdale
3rd-4th: Dante Delfico
5th-8th: Tariq Patel
5th-8th: David Bellardini
5th-8th: Sau Hoang
5th-8th: Derek Chiu

Event Photos

Le Coin de Jeu logo

Le Coin du Jeu - Canada

"19 competitive players from the Greater Montreal Area joined the fight at the Coin du Jeu last Sunday! Jonathan Lemire came out on top with 8 victories out of 9 total matches, as his loyalty to the firebrand ninja Fai payed off, even in the face of his natural adversary in the finals: Iyslander, piloted by Jibril Jeewanjee."

Top 8

1st: Jonathan Lemire - Fai
2nd: Jibril Jeewanjee - Iyslander
Nicolas Plouffe - Fai
3rd-4th: Michel-Etienne Fortin - Iyslander
5th-8th: Adam Mavridis - Dromai
5th-8th: Alexis Cloutier - Dromai
5th-8th: Michel Remillard - Fai
5th-8th: Daniel Dreisziger - Dromai

Event Photos

Zulu Board Game Cafe Logo

Zulu's Board Game Cafe - United States

"What’s better than Uprising draft? Three rounds of uprising drafts! At Zulu’s Road to Nationals event both the camaraderie and the level of play were outstanding. We had enough players to require two rounds of swiss, which made everyone happy. Plus, we had our first ever draft pod of 11 which was novel and required some moving of furniture and our biggest table.

Our final draft was very balanced, with 3 Fai, 2 Dromai, and 3 Iyslander players. The Quarterfinals featured a Fai mirror and an Iyslander mirror. Both were super close nail-biters, with tense plays as the Iyslander players were at 2 life each and the Fai players at 3 life each. Every card presented lethal and players strained for advantage! The final game was brisk, characterized by confident and thoughtful play. After the first round, both players preferred to play attacks over blocks and quickly fell to 7 life. Pressing the attack, Fai then hit a 5-link combat chain to reduce Iyslander to 2 and the match was basically over since Iyslander couldn’t save any cards to fire back. Thanks to all our players for a great day of competition and to Judge Noah for keeping things running smoothly."

Top 8

1st: NIcholas Horn - Fai
2nd: Antonio Otero - Iyslander
Marco Marcelli - Fai
3rd-4th: Dexter Canright - Iyslander
5th-8th: Brendan Coleman - Iyslander
5th-8th: Ryan Biggs - Dromai
5th-8th: Ryan Baker - Dromai
5th-8th: Austin Yost - Fai

Event Photos