Judges Pick LA – Songs of Despair Part 1

Anthony Song

By: Chris “Chibi” Michaelis
What’s is your name and how long have you been playing TCG’s? Do you have any previous accomplishments in other trading card games?

My name is Anthony Song, and I have been playing TCGs for a very long time. I think I started somewhere around 8 or 9, playing the pokemon TCG and whatever other games rolled around such as Yu-Gi-Oh! I never really took them too seriously, just something to burn some free time. I started playing MtG casually between classes in middle school. When I turned 18, we started taking things a little more seriously and started heading out to local tourneys, pre releases and events like that for Magic, though I never actively sought those big tournaments. I had enough fun just showing up to FNMs and playing around the kitchen table.

What’s are your preferred style of decks to play and why?

As a player, I usually gravitated towards either the Control or Mid Ranged decks. I like to make play’s, I like to think about what I need to play and how it will affect the board state. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing aggro. I just prefer feeling as though I made more of an impact in the game due to my decision making.

How long have you been playing FOW? What interested you about the game or what do you like about FOW particularly?

I have been playing since the games release in the US. What got me started was that one of the players at my local game store was really into it. After he demoed the game to us, I thought it seemed like an interesting and fun game to play.

What was the event that you attended and how many players attended?

I placed 10th in the California Regionals. I think there was somewhere around 250 people? Don’t quote me on that number.

Prior to the event how did you prepare for the event and what was your expectations on what you types of decks you were going to face? How is you meta compared to other areas?

To get ready for the event, my brother and I decided to playtest and make a few decks of our own. We both expected to face a multitude of Grimm decks as well as Ebony Prophet, so we play tested against those 2 decks. We also expected a decent amount of burn as it seemed to be becoming more popular.

What deck did you decide to enter with and why?

I decided to enter with my Red/Black Alice build and go from there. The reasoning for it was that it seemed to do quite well in my local store and seemed to have a good match-up against Grimm decks as well as Prophet, the two rulers I was looking out for. I also enjoyed playing the deck and felt a lot of people would be unprepared for it, which turns out, they were

Ruler: Alice in Wonderland
Main Deck
4x Black Goat
4x Hunter in black Forest
4x Forty Thieves
3x Lora the Blood speaker
2x Carmilla, Queen of vampires
2x Mephistopheles, the abyssal Tyrant
2x Blazer, the Eater of Dimensions
2x Zero, the Magus of Null
1x Hastur the Unspeakable
4x Spiral of Despair (Hence the name Songs of Despair, both brothers used this card and their last name so happens to be Song)
4x Thunder
3x Flame of Outer World
3x Split Heaven and Earth
2x Rapid Decay

Magic Stone Deck
4x Scorched Bales
4x Flame
2x Darkness

Any tips for other players on how to play the deck?

My advice when playing the deck is to just play patiently. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and think your moves through. This is a control deck in a sense that you want to keep control of the board and your opponents resources. Force those openings behind your opponent’s defense and when they run out of steam, let them have it. Alice is versatile in the fact that you can use her to remove a threat from the board and force a card from their hand. In most cases, she ends up trading 3 cards for herself. Knowing opportune moments to activate her can be crucial in determining the end of a game.

Would you like to clarify on any particular card choices in the deck you chose?

When making the deck, I first decided I wanted to play Split Heaven and Earth in the mainboard, the reasoning being that a lot of decks were being greedy with their magic stones right now. Another card that really stuck out to me was Spiral of Despair, as it is almost always guaranteed to remove two of their cards just for one of yours. After putting that together, I went with Red/black and the deck building pushed itself off from there. Since those cards are great in some match ups, but mediocre in others, forty thieves became a natural choice as you can pitch them and not lose any value as well as smooth out your draws.

What was your match line up for the event ?

I ended up playing against Prophet control, a variety of Grimm decks, Scheherazade control, and Dracula Control. One of the games that stuck out to me was the round 7 game against “Bloody Grimm.” My opponent had the play both rounds and I managed to take him out relatively smoothly. What stuck out to me for this match was that after the game, we started talking about the plays that were going on and how he said he had what he believed were his best hands and he just got hosed, how both games he felt like he was never in control even though he got the play both times. Him feeling as though there was nothing he could do made me smile on the inside. And a little bit on the outside

Reflecting back on the event – was their any choices that you thought you should’ve made but didn’t?

There were a few things. one of my games went on rather long and I probably should have just scooped as opposed to attempting to play it through. It ended up forcing a draw between the two of us round 6, which doesn’t really help either of us in placing. Other than that, maybe a few changed to the sideboard, but overall I was happy with my level of play.

Do you foresee any changes in the format with the release later in July?

I believe that most decks will shift away from the greedy stone lists. As of now, with the somewhat limited card pool it makes sense to try to get the best of what everything has to offer, but with the increased card pool players will start building more focused decks that don’t need to rely on splashing into different stones as often as they do now. Of course, maybe things won’t change. Those are just my predictions.

What do you expect or hope will happen in the future with FOW?

I hope the game continues to grow as it has been doing. I have high hopes for this game and have been enjoying the game quite a bit.

Will you be attending any future events?

As of now, I don’t have any specific plans in attending more events, though I could definitely see myself showing up to more in the future.

Do you have any comments you would like to add? Any tips for new Players?

My only advice for new people would be to play what you like. FOW allows for a good amount of creativity. I know a lot of people like to complain about the swarm of Abduls and the plethora of Grimm decks, but in honesty the amount of different variants those decks have is somewhat staggering given what we have at the moment. Play what you like, make it work, you’ll enjoy the game a lot more if you do. I know I have.

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