Hi amigos, today I have the opportunity to interview one of the Top 8 teams for the Bushiroad Spring Fest 2023 Premium event in Duluth, Georgia! They are Anderson, Nick, and Elijah! Let’s dive into it!
Team Eclipse – Lunar
Teammate 1’s name: Anderson Williams III – ND05
Teammate 2’s name: Nick “Nikkosan” Larsen – 6AA1
Teammate 3’s name: Elijah Muhammad – DLEK
Jaime: First off, congratulations to Team Eclipse – Lunar for achieving Top 8 at the Bushiroad Spring Fest 2023 Premium event at Duluth, Georgia! Today I wanted to do an interview with you amigos about your overall experience and even get to know you a little bit for the readers. Sounds good y’all?
Tell us a little about yourselves. Where are you from? Are you from any specific Vanguard teams/communities? Any other events that you and/or team have done well? Etc.
Anderson: For starters, I am a part of Team Eclipse. Founded in Lakeland, FL through my group of friends playing Vanguard. I have been playing Vanguard since the Gold Rutile trial deck came out back in 2013. I’ve played on and off over the years mainly due to a lack of a playgroup or work. My current stint has lasted since the start of the D Era.
Understand that while I’ve been playing Vanguard since 2011, I did not start playing in tournaments until 2018, shortly after I went on a break from the game due to work. During this time I was at least playing in my locals and did well enough. Since the start of the D Era I started playing again and have begun topping. I have topped multiple King Slayer Cards events, usually 60+ people. I got top 8 at Atlanta BCS 2022 with Grade 4 Nirvana, and most recently got top 8 at the Atlanta Springfest 2023 with Steam Maidens.
Nick: Well I can say the least that all of us are from the same local. We’re all from central Florida, we are all on the same team, Team Eclipse, and we’re also close friends with Team King Slayer Cards. I’m more specifically finding more and more success in Vanguard after playing One Piece and Dragon Ball Super after having much success in those games.
Elijah: Hi! My name is Elijah! I’m from Lakeland, Florida! I’m a new member of Team Eclipse! I normally play at our local shop Decks and Dice in Lakeland! Personally, I have a recent top 16 in standard at a King Slayer Card’s event in Florida!
Jaime: That’s awesome that you’re from the same locals and have a great relationship with King Slayer Cards! During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.
Anderson: Commonly most people go into an event with a deck they’ve play tested for at least over a month. I used a deck I had only played once over a month prior to the event. Initially, I was going to enter with Dimension Police, my main clan, but in all of my play testing the deck couldn’t keep up with ride-down as it wants to go second and get the first stride turn. So when I was offered Steam Maidens after going to dinner, I took the opportunity. Once getting back to our BNB, I was handed the deck and promptly went to sleep. While I was asleep my teammate Elijah was getting in practice with his Nightmare Doll deck but was having issues with the consistency of it, drawing nothing but grade 3s. My friends like Frankie (NaruSamurai), have experienced the same issues with the deck. And pointed out when using Dimension Police since if you’re going to draw nothing but Grade 3s might as make them worth it. My main idea with the deck would play Maidens and if they play Honoly, use Kurunta.
Kurunta did come into play with my round 2 Highlander matchup. It was actually a really good 1-of tech to deal with matchups. The Upstream Dragon didn’t work out too well.
Nick: I mostly focused on what decks you want to ride down against VS the decks that you just want to go into the stride game with. Thavas has a very strong pivot game when it comes to staying on G2 or going to ride up and fighting stride turns.
Elijah: Funnily enough, I was actually going into this event wanting to play Nightmare Dolls. But the night before as I was getting some more practice in, the deck really didn’t feel right. I’m still fairly new when it comes to premium so my teammates scrambled with me to find something that I could play on short notice and we settled on DP! So I only really had the morning of preparation going into the event.
Anderson Williams III – ND05
Nick “Nikkosan” Larsen – 6AA1
Elijah Muhammad – DLEK
Jaime: Awesome, let’s dive into your deck lists. With these builds, what were your Winning Images for most of your games? Like did you have a setup, game state, or strategy that you focused on?
Anderson: Basically I had no input into the deck list. I was handed the deck and just rolled with it. I can’t really comment on the building process.
Interestingly the setup for winning never changes. Go into Shlishma and use the V Steam Maiden chain to get multiple attacks.
Nick: What I wanted to capitalize on most with my deck is taking advantage of not only Prodpollen/Cycloned, but also being able to just take advantage of what Thavas does most, which is dominating the early game with rush pieces or making a near-unguardable Furiargus turn.
Elijah: As this was really my first day with the deck, my goal really was to just get to Dailliner, when I stride go into Geomaglass, and try to just get my opponent in range to one shot them One Punch Man style.
Jaime: Simple yet effective game plans! Great, can you elaborate more on why you came to those choices/ratios for your lists? Feel free to break it down by Grades or groups of cards, whichever makes more sense for your decks.
Anderson: The thing is I can’t really comment on the breakdown of the list as I didn’t put it. It worked really well though so no complaints there. It was fun to play though.
Nick: For the most part I think all of the Thavas lists that I’ve come across have been very cookie-cutter and set in stone, but my list takes advantage of Furiargus as a kill turn. Wheel Assault has been such a better addition to the deck than I was expecting. The combos you can think of when it comes to resting cards for the utility of Thavas and retire cards, then call threats to swap with Wheel Assault and reset an attack that Furiargus gets to restand and pull to the accel marker he makes is by far a broken interaction.
Elijah: It was my friend’s list, so I had no input when it came to choices or ratios for the list. But playing it, I felt like everything he chose was perfect!
Jaime: During your games, which decks/clans did you face? How were your personal records?
Anderson: Contrary to what most people would believe I did not mirror match all day. In Swiss played against Deletors, Highlander, Lawkeeper, Prism, Jewel Knights, Nightmare Dolls, and Steam Maidens. In top 8, I played against Cradle with a V Gredora focus. In Swiss, I finished 5-2 and in top 8 I won my game against a fellow Team Eclipse member Peter Van Allen. The game was really close but OT clutched it out.
Nick: My decklist was 6-1 for Swiss and sadly losing in top cut by 10k shield. Round 1 I played against NLK, round 2 was against Jewel Knights, round 3 was against Altmile, round 4 was against a mirror match, round 5 was against Steam Maidens, round 6 was against Highlander and lastly round 7 was another NLK match. The last round was the only round I lost in Swiss because of a poor Hope on Damp ruling that was given to my opponent and I.
Elijah: Unfortunately, I only picked up 2 games during the event. I beat NLK and Nightmare Dolls. I was still kind of learning the deck as the day was going by so I didn’t really get into my groove until the later games! My memory is bad but I remember facing Steam Maidens twice, Nightmare Dolls twice, and NLK once.
Jaime: Was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.
Anderson: How do you quantify the best game? To me the best game is the top 8 game against Peter. It’s a matchup that is heavily favored in Peter’s Megacolony deck due to it stopping Steam Maiden’s ability to call from bind. The game went as expected for the most part with me getting first stride so I got a turn of using Shlishma. Peter was the one who lent me Maidens and told me the night prior that the only out to Megas is to use the Zodiac Time Beast package in the G-zone to take an extra turn with Chronovisor Heritage. I fully set up the play but, due to a misplay on my part of discarding one for Englisha’s skill, I didn’t have a 3rd grade 3 to ride to finish out the Heritage play, but I 6th damaged OT on Peter’s turn which got me another turn but no stride fodder so I swung 3 times and passed. Peter went into his now final turn as he strode Gredora and used Malamantis’ skill. He swung with vanguard with only 4 cards left in deck. He didn’t deck out but I did guard his remaining attacks giving me the win.
Nick: I think the sweatiest match that I had all day was in Round 6 against Highlander and it wasn’t because it was a normal game. My opponent tried to ride down and ended up whiffing on riding a Grade 4 so he rode a heal guard instead. And when it came time for the stride turns, we kept 1-2 to pass our vanguard swings with both of us whiffing drive checks. The game eventually ended with my gut play to go into Alexandros and make a bunch of attacks that he couldn’t guard.
Elijah: There are a few! My first match against Crow playing Steam Maidens was great! I always enjoy facing great players and he piloted the deck masterfully! My favorite matchup would’ve been my last match in Swiss against team Cardfight University! My opponent played NMD. Overall, the match was competitive and my opponent was very fun to talk to and play against! Lastly, our game in the top cut against our teammates was a big highlight. It’s always sad to get paired up against fellow teammates, but I really enjoyed the experience of being able to play against my Teammate Frankie who is such a great player! We were able to have fun while playing, he was playing Steam Maidens masterfully, and I felt like I played my best game against him!
Jaime: Wow crazy games overall! During your games, what is something that you appreciated about your decks from the preparation you’ve done? The strategy of it, consistency, power, plays, etc.
Anderson: Ecstasy. Is how to describe the fun of going plus 3 for cb1. Plain and simple, it can’t be beaten.
Nick: Well in all seriousness, I believe my deck was the one that stayed in the lineup before any last-minute changes. Anderson was originally playing Dimension Police but changed into Steam Maidens and Elijah was going in with Nightmare Dolls but ended up playing Anderson’s DP list. Thavas had the better ride down between the decks I wanted to play and it has such a strong stride game that I wanted to play something I felt confident in making decisions with.
Elijah: I appreciated that my teammate who crafted the deck is a great player and knows what he’s doing. The deck played like a dream even with such little time for preparation.
Jaime: After the tournament, did y’all take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experiences?
Anderson: So afterward we just went out to eat and hung out. At least personally there wasn’t much reflection as I went in with a deck I had only used once before into a meta I didn’t practice much with. I just thought it was funny I did so well.
Nick: I think most of the time we took the time to reflect on how much we were grateful to be in the top 8. We definitely went out to celebrate and just hang out after going in the trenches all day.
Elijah: Definitely! I reflected before we made it into the top cut. I was thankful for the fun experience of being able to play against great players and that I had a great team! As this was my first big premium event, I learned a lot about matchups and just how fun premium can be.
Jaime: Awesome! Would you like to do any shout-outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journeys?
Anderson: My man Peter Van Allen for handing me the deck, Nick and Elijah for getting us to top tables after a round 1 loss. Logan Johnson for being the guy that helped Peter brew up the Megas list and running it enough times against me that I know the deck without knowing the matchup. Franz for being the predecessor. Connor Cintra for always running Highlander. Frankie for being the friend and the El Jefe challenge runner-up, and all of King Slayer Cards for being great friends.
Nick: Shout out to my team, everyone in the Eclipse family that got all of us here. One of our teammates especially, Logan Johnson, who helped me fully test this list out and see what we wanted to do to maximize what Thavas brings to the table in our meta. I also want to thank both Elijah and Anderson, playing the weekend with them was a lot of fun because we got to just play what we knew best and just try to do what we do best. I’m glad I got to get my salty runback from last Springfest where Anderson and I just barely missed the top cut for standard and didn’t do so hot for premium.
Elijah: I’d like to shout out everyone on my Team, Team Eclipse. Especially Nick, Anderson, and Frankie who helped me understand the deck I was playing the night/day of the event. Also, big ups to Logan Johnson and Matt Rivers who have helped me get into/understand the format before the event. And a big shoutout to my homie Jesse!
Jaime: That’s all great stuff! I’m sure your friends are happy and excited for your accomplishment! Just one more question and we’ll be done amigos.
While preparing for your decks, did you use/see any social media to help you solidify your build? Such as blogs, YouTube videos/channels, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
Anderson: I didn’t make the deck so I’ve got no clue. Byyyeeeeee!
Nick: Like I said earlier, I do watch a lot of videos about Thavas and the lists people put together. All lists seem very cookie-cutter when it comes to the usual Thavas list, so I wanted to make something people could take inspiration from and differ from the norm when it comes to Thavas. When you take chances in making your list, you’ll see the merit when you’ve put in the work in making those changes.
Elijah: I didn’t put together my deck so I didn’t use anything to help solidify my build.
Jaime: Awesome! Thank you for sharing that as well, very much appreciated. Thanks again for joining me in this interview! I wish you the best and hope to see more from y’all in the metagame! Till next time amigos!
Success Is Transferable
Nick had mentioned, “I’m more specifically finding more and more success in Vanguard after playing One Piece and Dragon Ball Super after having much success in those games.“
Trading card games do have similarities such as deck building, play testing, preparation for a metagame, etc. Once a player experiences success in one, it oftentimes is transferable to another trading card game that they play.
Sometimes playing a different trading card game can also influence the way you see deck building differently. It’s almost like you’re taking all the good perspectives from multiple trading card games and combining them in your overall experience.
A Top Deck Can Take You Far With Some Help
Anderson had mentioned that he changed decks the night before! It’s generally not advised to do so. Especially if you’re not confident in the new deck.
However, Anderson did have some help from their friends to show them the key plays for the deck. Furthermore, the Steam Maiden deck is still a top contender for their metagame and it has great plays that outshine most decks. Plays like +3 cards with Entarahna and the Slishma stride turn are very powerful.
You’d be surprised with some help and using a top contender deck can get you far even if it was the night before. Of course, the player has to learn and adapt during the event so they can still perform well enough. So kudos to Anderson too on his experience.
You got what it takes!
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