On May 6th, 401 Games in Toronto held the first local War Within Ashes tournament. (Full tournament report to follow) We had 15 people participate in the event and after four swiss rounds Fernando Andreozzi was the winner. Afterwards when discussing his success in the tournament he succinctly told me “It’s Jessa bro!”
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Fernando A. I’ve been playing card games since I was seventeen (I’m thirty-three now). I started with CCGs such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic, and Versus System. I then stumbled onto the LCG and haven’t looked back. I also really enjoy playing fighting games and follow that scene pretty intensely too.
Tell us about the deck you played at the tournament?
It was a pretty standard Jessa build. Only thing that I would say makes it unique is an inclusion of Gilder. The inclusion of Gilder is an obvious choice given how powerful he is (don’t be fooled by the fact it’s a mouse”. His constant one damage ping allows you to take out units and abuse Jessa’s ability, which is my strategy going into every match. All the other cards are typical cards you would find in any tier one deck (bears, molten gold to name a few). Also, I would like to say this is not a deck which I created. My friend and meta mate Alfredo C. sent it to me and I put it together thirty minutes before heading out for the tournament.
Can you link to the deck? or list it here?
What’s your favourite card that isn’t in this deck?
Blood chains for sure. There were times when I really wish I had it due to cards like regress. It’s just a great card where I could sacrifice Gilder to shut down a problematic unit.
What’s your favourite card from the new releases? (Odette/Namine)
Probably meteor. I just want to wipe the board and scream all of my opponent’s units for massive damage.
Even with the new meta, you decided to stick with tried and true Jessa?
Yes, she’s still insanely powerful and I plan to ride the Jessa/fear wagon until the wheels fall off. I’m not exactly sure what you refer to the ‘new meta’. Is it this whole Leo owl/mill style deck? If it is I’m not too worried about that deck. I used to play it when I first started playing Ashes and I quickly learned all of its holes, so I’m pretty comfortable playing that match with Jessa.
What PBs did you face in the tournament?
I faced off in a mirror with Jessa, then I faced a Lulu (yours), then Vicky, and then Vicky again.
This was the first tournament you attended wasn’t it?
Yes it was. I play a lot weekly at Legends, my I’ve never competed before this War Within tournament.
How does it feel to dethrone Tony Stellato?
Haha. I wouldn’t say I dethroned him. He has been much more successful in this game than me. In fact, a lot of my strategies stem from his insight and philosophical approach to the game. For example, I didn’t really see how powerful Gilder is until he explained it to me. After that conversation with him I learned how to approach assessing the value of cards and w as able to make better decks building choices and smarter plays during the match due to his approach to the game.
You know he’s coming after you this Saturday right?
Haha. Sounds good. I welcome the challenge. I’ll bring Jessa again and I’ll see how it goes. I have no idea how well I’ll do this time. I look forwards to facing off against him.
We’ve seen quite a few really talented players come from the Vaughan region of the greater Toronto area. What makes LCGs/ expandable card games so popular out there?
I think it’s primarily due to the cost of CCGs. Not only do you save money with the LCG approach, but you are open to more deck building options because you have a playset of the whole pool. At legends we like to experiment and play a myriad of strong decks, and LCGs allow us to do that. I think it’s also one of the reasons why we see success in tournaments. Because we are constantly playing a number strong decks, we also learn the weakness of those decks and therefore feel more comfortable playing against them in a tournament setting due to our familiarity with the match up.
Do you have plans to attend any of the big Ashes tournament? (Origins, GenCon)
No. I don’t have the money to travel.
What other card games do you play? Is Ashes now your primary game?
I also play Doomtown, but not many people play that so I play that mostly on OCTGN. Ashes is my primary game, but I’m looking to get into L5R when it comes out.
How do you feel Ashes compares to those others you play (or have played in the past)?
Wow. Good question. In terms of balance the game is terrific. With the exception with the small card pool the game is in a healthy place. There are a number of strong tier one decks and many tier two decks can win in the right hands. While admittedly I do feel Jessa is the strongest and has no bad matchups, a skilled player can deal with her nonsense (even though it is an uphill battle). In terms of mechanics I feel the game is kind of bland for me. While nothing about it is unbalanced, I feel that the game unfortunately doesn’t really bring anything unique to the table mechanically. Ashes can be seen as a refined and improved version of MTG. While I don’t think this is particularly bad, I feel that because of how heavily it borrows so many elements from that game, it doesn’t really have its own identity and just comes off as a clone. I prefer games that really play on the theme and bring unique mechanics to the genre. For example, in Conquest there are five battlefields and players choose where the fights take place by using a dial and secretly selecting where war is waged that turn. It’s one of the reasons why L5R is catching my eye.
Thanks very much for taking some time Fernando. I wish you the best of luck during round 2 on May 20th.