BATTLE FOR SULARIA NATIONALS 2018 - A PROTOAN POINT OF VIEW

Written by: Matthew Greenleaf


Eat Your Tokens: A Sularia Nationals Tournament Report

Before Nationals this year I went on record saying Nationals would be won in deck building. The format was so new and power levels were more theory than practice. No one really knew what was best in this new world where you need to worry about 4 match-ups instead of 2. That means the meta as a whole contains 16 matchups instead of 3. After winning the whole thing I think that was true.

I played a Protoan list whose main goal was not to move as fast as possible. My deck building ethos was generate so much free value that victory becomes inevitable. Even going into the tournament I did not know if this was the right way to approach it. Traditionally you won in Sularia by going as fast as you can. I am not saying Synthien should try to go faster than the Jotune but there was always little value in being the second fastest Synthien deck. Protoan changes all of that.

 
Eat Your Tokens - Created by Matthew Greenleaf

Eat Your Tokens - Created by Matthew Greenleaf

 

No card produces more free value than Agropholid Hatchery. With that as the founding principle building the deck becomes much easier. If we are hoping to rely on tokens to out value our opponents than there are actually 2 goals we have to pursue. The first and obvious goal is we need to make as many tokens as possible. The second goal is actually the more important one because it is easier to overlook. After generating these tokens we need to maximize the ways we can translate them into a concrete advantage. Level zero of this goal is maxing out on 4 Blood Lusts. Level one is running two Metamorphosis Chambers and two Ashfall Plains to have early surrender outlets for Tricentis and also pull double duty allowing you to cash in excess tokens for advantages in combat or resources. Level two is including 3 Materox and 2 Parasitex to gain value even in the face of loss. All these layers build an impressive value engine that takes time but output ridiculous amounts of damage.

The Swiss

As I said I liked my chances but was very concerned about fast decks. Right out of the gate I had to face off against the reigning Nationals Champion Dustin. That made me nervous but I was glad to see him on an Exsularian list and not a Kyzr Hekaton list closer to what he won last year with. The Exsularian also want to play a longer game and most of their removal is 1 for 1 so in general I like the match-up. Things to look out for are they are good at attacking sites outside of combat and they can generate surprising value from their combatants activated abilities. My deck did its best impression of an aggro deck and I was through round 1 with a win.

Round two I was up against the other Kansas City competitor Logan and it was a mirror match. Being the slightly slower Protoan deck is especially critical in the mirror match. The early aggression from things like Syrana are too easy to shut down by It’s a Trap. Even without having the answer their window of effectiveness is so narrow they quickly become bad top decks. Being slower and more focused on free value you will often find yourself with more tokens or at least more things to do with them. This match-up also highlighted the strength Disruption. There is so much token on token blocking that a Blood Lust advantage might as well be the game if it lasts any length. Having even just 2 Disruptions was pivotal to winning the Blood Lust arms race at instant speed.

Round three I was paired down and was playing against a newer player with a Synthien combatants list that was just too fair to fight against the free token spigot turning on consistently on turn 2. The Synthien match-up some people like because they see Satellite Network Facility as a breaker. While it can be, I think that as your plan A is short sighted. Despite being slower than the fastest decks tokens still usually end the game before round 7. Also Materox and Parasitex are there specifically to take advantage of tokens dying. Also Mount Killara comes down a turn sooner to consolidate your strength onto a smaller number of big combatants to finish out the game.

Round 4 I played against my play test partner Aidan with his Kyzr to Skobn combo deck. There is not much I can hope to do against a turn 2 or 3 Skobn but I dodged that bullet and won with a stronger mid game. An interesting card in the mirror match is Carapace Dome. Dome is a card that if played tactically can win you races where their damage output doubles yours but it just does not matter because of the hardened and lair keywords.Carapace Dome is an excellent choice when it comes to racing your opponent.

The Top 4

The Semis was a rematch against Aidan who I had just played. Again without a fast Kyzr hand I just out-valued the other Protoan deck. At this point I am pretty thankful for just how good my deck is in the mirror match since it to this point was half my matches. The finals are next and they are against Jasper who won the first ever Sularia tournament back at Great Plains Game Festival in 2016.

Jasper is on a Synthien Combatants list. Our games came down to both of us dead at the end of several of them. Disruption was again surprisingly useful just shutting down late Master Mining Programs forcing him to fight harder for his Sularium. They (Synthien) have to spend sularium for all of their sources of damage so any way you can fight that helps. Some games they will generate too much for the 2 lost to matter but when it does matter it can give you multiple turns of breathing room. At this point I was very happy with my choice of tactics in 4 Mind Shell, 2 It’s A Trap, and 2 Disruption. When the dust settled I had won the finals 3 to 1.

Wrap Up

To win there is always an element of luck and I had that in spades. I had favorable match-ups across the tournament and dodged my worst possible match-up of Jotune decks. I also drew like a boss which makes things easy. The Blood Lust showed up for me and so did early tokens in the form of Hatcheries and Tricentis. All in all Nationals was a great event and I really feel I learned something about the game from playing in it. It was for value to chalk up a win against tempo.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 - A SYNTHIEN POINT OF VIEW

Written by: Jasper Birch


Battle for Sularia nationals: The road to almost champ

Last year I had to miss nationals for Battle for Sularia, because I was not able to get the day off. Therefore I had decided that this year I was gonna prepare extra good for the tournament, so I would have a good shot at winning it all.

Yeah, that ended up not happening. Being busy with work, family and just life in general I had not played much Sularia in the months leading up to nationals. With less than a week until the tournament I still had to pick what faction I was going to play, let alone put a deck together. In my head I thought that Protoan was probably the strongest faction at this point, but the deck I had in mind for it was not necessarily one I was desiring to play. So I decided to just build one deck for each faction that I thought would be strong. Even within deck building I noticed that Jotune, as much as I like them, did not seem in a very strong position right now. Exsularian seemed pretty promising, but with the lack of play and the complexity of some of their faction I thought playing it might not be the best idea. So it came down to Protoan or Synthien. As much as I wanted to favor Synthien, the Protoan deck kept beating it in test play.

The day of nationals I had still not really decided. I asked myself if I’d rather play for foil Projectus than for the title (and the foil Johnny’s!). I decided against the Protoan deck, partially because I wanted to play what fits my playstyle, partially because I felt there might be a lot of answers against the Protoan deck I would play. So Synthien it was. My Synthien deck was mostly a renewed version of the Hekaton Experiment deck that won Dustin Rogers the title last year and had been successful before the release of the Protoan and Exsularian factions. Now my version was not as heavily depending on the combo going off, or protecting it by any means necessary. I brought in just a bunch of overall good cards to just have several potential threats coming out. I was planning to make a bunch of sularium with Master Mining and Hero’s Boon and then I had multiple options to bring into play that could become a big threat. After having tested so much against my own Protoan deck I had made a last minute change where I took out the one STAB I had in the list plus a System Scramble (which I never liked in the list anyways), to replace it with two It’s a Traps, since I had issues dealing with the super aggressive Protoan list I had and was expecting to show up at nationals as well.

 
Jasper’s Hekaton Experiment 2.5 - National Championship 2018 Runner Up

Jasper’s Hekaton Experiment 2.5 - National Championship 2018 Runner Up

 

So here I was, not as well prepared as I had said I would be, with a deck I was unsure about that it was the strongest. Round 1 would be a first test to see how it would perform. I was playing a mirror match-up against Thomas and the first game was not promising for my deck. I kept a slightly questionable opening hand that was light on Sularium generation and my small sites got stomped before I could even get anything going. My confidence level in the deck plummeted immediately. I was just hoping to not lose all my matches now. Game 2 fortunately was the complete opposite of the first game. I played a turn 2 KYZR/Hekaton, and even when that got blown up right away with a STAB, I played a Johnny right afterwards, which controlled the rest of the game. Game 3 was close. It was pretty slow as we both got some dudes out and both had a Centropolis on the field, which prevented any possible attacks on either side. That was, until I drew my one copy of Harp from my deck. I flipped 2 Defense Overrides, played Harp, so I could play a third copy, which killed three sites and left Centropolis open in the back row, so I could hit it with my combatants. After taking out Centropolis, I took control of the game and won. I was happy with the win, but it was not a convincing win to say the least, so I was not very optimistic about my chances to reach the top 4.

In round 2 I was facing Zach and his Protoan list. I had not very high hopes for a good outcome in this match as I was facing Protoan, a faction I had lost so often to in testing, and I was facing Zach, which I know is a very skilled player. Game 1 I quickly got behind and I could never get back into it, the Protoan just making too many tokens. Game 2 went pretty quickly my way as I managed to get a pretty quick KYZR/Hekaton combo going that took care of the little sites that Protoan have. Game 3 was the closest game of the three, and every time I thought I had an answer to Zach’s rapidly growing board, he flipped either an Evasion or a Frenzy to make any combat a bad trade for me. So I went to 1-1, but the loss was not as devastating as could have been. Still I was hoping not to face two more Protoan decks.

But Protoan it was in round 3. I was playing Aidan and he played a turn 2 Syrana. I answered by playing Johnny and after thinking about it briefly I decided that it was gonna be best for me to trade Johnny’s life for Syrana as I could not answer attacks at that point and I could not wait a turn, so he could answer with Evasion on top of Mind Shell. After Syrana’s death, I felt like Aidan had a hard time building up a good offense line and I had enough time to play bigger threats than his and win the game. The second game I was fortunate enough to draw the one card that can ruin Protoan really quickly, and that is double Defense Override. Aidan lost all his sites early on and never got enough Sularium production going after that to get back into the game. So I beat Protoan. It made me feel pretty good, and suddenly I was only a win away from making the top 4.

In round 4 I was facing Colin and his Jotune list. He was to my surprise still undefeated, because I didn’t think Jotune would do well this tournament. In game 1 he definitely proved me wrong. A turn 2 Oathki, turn 3 Fenris and 3 Art of Wars later I was very dead. In game 2 I fired back with Johnny, still my all-star guy, who is very good at killing early sites or taking out small combatants. Game 3 was slow as we both mulliganed into pretty poor hands, but eventually became a battle between the big guys. His Oathki and Fenris were up against my robot army. Fortunately he split his attack, so I could take out Oathki with a Trap and Feedback. Then my robot army was big enough to win me the game.

And suddenly I was in the top 4. I thought: ‘I might as well win it all now’. I think fortunately for me I was facing Colin again, so I avoided both Protoan decks in the top 4. I had more faith in my match-up against Jotune. Game 1 of our rematch went pretty quick. I was able to deny Colin of sites fairly early and snowballed it from there. Game 2 I mulliganed into a hand with 3 Hekatons. I was like: ‘Game 3 it is..’, until I saw Colin shaking his head after his mulligan. I think we both did nothing for 3 straight turns and eventually I drew cards that let me get out a KYZR/Hekaton and another Hekaton. Colin did not draw that well either, so I lucked out on that game. But.. I made the final table! I had not expected that with my last call deck decision.

Then I was facing Matt in the finals. I knew it was going to be rough for me as Matt had not lost a single game all day and he was playing a Protoan deck that makes as many tokens as my deck makes sularium. It was decided that the finals would be a best-of-5 match. Game 1 was a quick stomp. Multiple tokens plus double Blood Lust equals death. Game 2 was better for me, but I feel like the game changed into Matt’s favor after he flipped a Blood Lust make my Johnny trade for one of his many combatants. Without Johnny being able to take out some of the growing swarm of tokens I could not keep up the pace. Game 3 I was off to a good start. I got an early KYZR/Hekaton out and took out most of Matt’s sites. But Lifeblood still provided Matt with enough sularium to play a bunch of threats and Carapice Dome prevented me from getting in a lot of damage. It came down to a last round of attacks. I calculated the numbers and then attacked with everything, putting him at -13. On the swingback I just had to hope he didn’t have a Blood Lust or Frenzy or anything else that would increase his attack. He did not and took me to -12. I made it to game 4, but with him now being on initiative again a reverse sweep was not very likely. And game 4 proved just that. I could not overcome an early Materox and Matt quickly swarmed the board again, taking me out. Not completely to my surprise, Protoan won nationals, but I was very happy that my Synthien list came in second.

I think I also proved myself right to go with my gut instinct to play what I wanted, especially after playing Neil with my Protoan build and making a bunch of little play errors that ended up losing me the game. Overall, my deck performed well and did what it could do. KYZR/Hekaton remains pretty strong, though I did not play against Exsularian all tournament, which has a bunch of good answers for it. Johnny is still my favorite guy and I will pretty much auto include him in pretty much any deck right now. Centropolis still provides a lot of control and Harp was amazing every game I drew her. I was glad I included the 2 Traps, though I was slightly surprised how much sularium I sometimes made. A STAB or a fourth Feedback would have been very welcome sometimes. The one card that I was actually slightly disappointed in was Furtim. Every game I played him he seemed to be doing very little to nothing. I think I also played him over Johnny or a Terminator, where the attack threat would have been better probably. I am not sure if I should cut him, as he is still super strong against Exsularian, Synthien and any sort of Evasion, but just based on nationals I could use the 4 points elsewhere. And as far as dealing with these stinky Protoan, if you have seen some of the Alpha program cards, there will be an answer coming really soon!



NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 - A EXSULARIAN POINT OF VIEW

Written by: Dustin Rogers (2017 National Champion)


Jesse asked me to do a write up of how it felt playing the ExSularian faction at Nationals. As this was the first time the faction had seen any competitive play in a National tournament, I was happy to oblige. So how did the least well place faction at nationals perform? Well as I pulled an overall 6th placement, it was a rough road.

Let's all go back to why I had decided on this faction…. For FUN! As the faction had the most variability in their playstyle, I wanted to get into my opponent’s psyche if you will. Another player in our playgroup, had given them a fair run, using all of the denial strategies available to him, and that provided for some very long and drawn out games. It opened up my mind to what possibilities that were available to them, Once that strategy entered our play group, of course as the deck brewer of the group, I had to see if i could play them counter to their obvious denial strategy. I built an aggro list that really felt punishing, but was fairly inconsistent specifically against certain Protoan builds. It was tons of fun to play though. It was a deck I had tuned up to compete for nationals, and was seriously a contender. And while I did play ExSul, it was not close to this list at all. So why did I go with a different playstyle, and change it up so close to nationals?

Well this all comes down to what happened with the final release of ExSul. Up until this point we had only been testing with what was the released as the Alpha versions of the faction, and when the final cards we announce there were many changes to some of the cards, and not in a negative or powering down version. There were changes to Anarchist, Anarchy, and biggest of all Village of San Clementa. This got the gears turning in my mind I decided to build a deck that incorporated all of these changes. And all I can say was, it was fantastic.

 
Dustin Rogers - Exsularian Nationals Decklist - 6th Place

Dustin Rogers - Exsularian Nationals Decklist - 6th Place

 

This deck entered our play group and blew our playtesting meta up!! It was sooo crazy, I just had to run this version at nationals. I spent the remainder of our time testing and editing this deck to be the most optimal. I was ready for nationals, I had decided I was going to run this list, knowing full well I was going to have some trouble with Protoan lists..

So how did the ExSul list fair at nationals… well I think that if i had drawn just a little better, in one game, the whole night may have gone differently. Let’s break down my matches.

Match one was vs the man with the plan who won it all, I did stuff he did more stuff, Protoan ran over me.

Match two was vs the man with a vendetta on me, this was the game i felt draws lost me this one, I had him on the ropes but the ropadopes never came, Protoan ran over me.

Match three was my mirror, the other ExSul player himself. This was without a doubt the best matchup and the most fun I had.

Match four vs a Synth player, I won. I pulled all the tools out of my deck in this match.

All said I know that when my deck won a game, it really won. I honestly think variance was got the best of me, even against some of the matches against the Protoan that I knew were going to require me to get a little lucky to win.

So for all those out there who are curious about adding the ExSul to your repertoire right now, you gotta know your command windows inside and out, and you have to know the other factions as well as everyone else. They require patience and you must be constantly thinking, what the best moves are, far more than the other factions. You must be prepared to play on your opponent's turn more than your own. Or you run an aggro list that's totally viable.

I had to carefully pilot my way to an Exsul Victory and at the end of the day, I would absolutely run them again.

BATTLE FOR SULARIA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2018

Battle for Sularia National Championship 2018 is Almost Here!

Nationals is an opportunity for players of all skills to test their mettle against other players. The Battle for Sularia player community is so awesome, that last year we even had players that were still just learning the game competing at this level. The championship last year was won by Dustin Rogers of Kansas City. Will KC take the trophy home for another year, or will a new contender step up and claim the glory for themselves?

Details

Entry Fee: $15

Event Location:

HobbyTown USA
4107 Pioneer Woods Dr #108
Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 434-5040

Event Schedule:

When: Saturday November 17, 2018
Day of Registration: 10am to Noon
Start Time: Tournament Round 1 starts at 12:30
Format: Omega
Set Legality: The Battle Begins - Blood, Profit, and Glory - Reign of Terror - The Good, The Bad, and The Savage - All Mercenary cards including Crazy Joe and Disruption.
Additional Notes: Pre-Registration before November 1st will guarantee you a copy of the participation prize Disruption. Any late Registrations or day of Registrations will receive the prize on a first come first serve basis.

Prizes:

Participation Promo Card: Full-Art Disruption
Top Protoan Player: Parasitex Full-Art Foil
Top Exsularian Player: Solomon Full-Art Foil
Top Synthien Player: Projectus Full-Art Foil
Top Jotune Player: Worgana Full-Art Foil
Winner: Johnny Cache Full-Art Foil, Winners Plaque with Johnny Cache, Design a Battle for Sularia Card for release in a future set.
Top 2: Mercenary Disruption Nationals 2018 Play Mat
Furthest Traveled Player: Lord Oathki Kickstarter Edition Play Mat

 
 

Additional Helpful Information

Nearby Hotels:

Candelwood Suites
4100 Pioneer Woods Dr, Lincoln, NE 68520
(402) 420-0330

Hampton Inn & Suites
5922 Vandervoort Dr, Lincoln, NE 68516
(402) 420-7800

New Victorian Suites
225 N 50th St, Lincoln, NE 68504
(402) 464-4400

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Lincoln Southeast
8455 Andermatt Dr, Lincoln, NE 68526
(402) 325-6400

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lincoln South
8801 Amber Hill Ct, Lincoln, NE 68526
(402) 423-1176

Nearby Restaurants:

Venue Restaurant & Lounge
An upmarket menu of New American plates & Angus steaks with a vast wine list in stylish surroundings.
4111 Pioneer Woods Dr #100, Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 488-8368

The Oven
Refined Indian restaurant pairing traditional cuisine with a wine & beer selection.
4101 Pioneer Woods Dr # 110, Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 488-0650

MōMō Pizzeria & Ristorante
Upscale restaurant & bar creating modern takes on classic Italian fare, with specialty cocktails.
7701 Pioneers Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 261-5966

Carmela's Bistro & Wine Bar
Refined New American dishes & wines are presented in intimate, contemporary surrounds.
4141 Pioneer Woods Dr #110, Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 489-0005

Mr. Hui's 2
Asian
4131 Pioneer Woods Dr, Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 486-0111

Culver's
Fast-food chain specializing in frozen custard & signature burgers made with Midwest beef & dairy.
4121 Pioneer Woods Dr, Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 488-4121


STATE OF THE GAME 2018

Written by: Jesse Bergman


Battle for Sularia has been out for a little over two years now and we love all of the feedback and competition that has derived from its release. Every year in June we revisit the state of the game and talk about any issues that we see regarding the game. 

This update always serves to shape the Omega Program for the coming year.  In this update, you will find the following items:

  • Errata
  • Restriction
  • Bans
  • Formats Affected

Errata

Last year we errata'd both Verker "The Berserker" and Centropolis to have a construction cost one point higher than their printed values. When we ran a casual tournament at GPGF we realized that many folks had not seen those errata's and submitted decklists with construction costs on those cards 1 point under their new values. 

Of course, in that tournament we had everyone update the cards so that they were aware of the changes and the tournament lists were checked for legality and accuracy.  We will begin offering updated cards soon on our site to replace these cards if you so choose. Additionally, the Full Art Booster packs launching later this summer will also provide the correct construction costs on these cards.

For 2018, we do not need to adjust any additional cards and we will retain the errata's from 2017.

Errata List

  • Verker "The Berserker" has a printed construction cost of 2cc, the card should have a construction cost of 3.
  • Centropolis has a printed construction cost of 1cc, the card should have a construction cost of 2.

Restriction's

Last year we were seeing an alarming deck list arise out of the current card pool that was degenerate to the competitive metaspace. Furtim Braccae was punishing to the meta and there were not sufficient enough answers to provide valuable interactions. 

Going into 2018 we don't feel that Furtim Braccae can come off of this list quite yet, but we will continue to test and analyze the meta and use the Alpha Program to determine if and when he can be removed from the list.

With the restriction of Furtim we saw another card rise in power, but typically was not being used in a majority of competitive decks. That was up until recently when internal testing and Alpha Program tournament results showed another card causing very degenerate gameplay states and very high win rates. 

While we never take these situations lightly, and we always do our best to balance designs, the first card to be restricted was a backer designed card from our original campaign, and this card is also in the same boat. One of the challenges we faced offering backer designed cards was whether they could be considered tournament legal at all. We ultimately landed on that they should, but they have also proven to be the most difficult cards to balance and develop internally. 

As you can most certainly ascertain from this update, we are adding one additional card to the restricted list for the Omega Program this year. We did not come to this decision lightly, in fact in our internal testing we proceeded all the way through Escalation (Command Pack: Series 1) testing and into the Command Pack: Series 2 (CPS2) line of cards before we ultimately decided this card was only going to grow in power with more cards introduced into the pool.

Restricted cards in competitive play can still be used in decklists but they are restricted to only one copy of the card in order to reduce the consistency of the deck.

Restricted List

  • Synthien - Furtim Braccae
  • Mercenary - Dr. Lehner "Time Hopper"

Bans

Last year we determined that no cards in the card pool would require a full-out ban from the format. I'm happy to announce in 2018 that we do not feel that any cards warrant a ban at this time. We always monitor our tournament results, our National Championship, and our community.


Formats Affected

Each one of the above-mentioned changes will impact legality for Alpha Program and Omega Program tournaments for 2018 and early 2019. If we see a situation arise that requires an update to this state of the game we will post it on our blog and through our email lists.

We hope that this update provides you with insight into the meta and additionally helps everyone have enough time to prepare their decklists for upcoming tournaments in both the Alpha and Omega formats.

These restrictions will go into effect immediately on this date:
July 12, 2018.

As always we want to hear from you, head over to our Facebook community or comment here with your thoughts on this update and Battle for Sularia in general.