This past weekend marked the second installment of The Amazyng Race and what a race it was! I’m happy to report that this Saturday’s event grew in every metric: more people played, more people watched, more shenanigans ensued. From a Beam Shock ricocheting back and forth to dueling Paddos, the event was as hilarious as it was exciting.
For those who missed the event but whose appetites are whetted for unadulterated Amazyng Race fun, feel free to check out the VOD here. Check it out now, as there are obviously spoilers below. Consider yourself forwarned.
Wait, what’s going on?
For those of you are scratching your heads in confusion, The Amazyng Race is a custom Duelyst format that pits players against one another in a semi-peaceful battle of wits. Unlike regular ol’ Duelyst, players win by being the first to have their general touch all 4 corners of the map! You can also win if your opponent happens to die via damage; however, there’s a big caveat to that as you aren’t allowed to attack your opponent with either your general or your minions. There are some more detailed rules–what about battle pets?!–that you can check out if you’re so inclined on the official Battlefy page. For now, I’m going to press onward for those who already know what I’m talking about.
Going into the event, I was please with variety of decks that I was seeing. Every faction was represented, with a breakdown that looked a little like this: (This is somewhat incomplete, as I’m missing one decklist)
- Vanar: 6
- Lyonar: 6
- Abyssian: 4
- Vetruvian: 4
- Magmar: 2
- Songhai: 2
As you can see, Vanar and Lyonar made up about half of the field, with Abyssian burn and Vetruvian in the middle followed by Magmar and Songhai trailing. This breakdown was largely unsurprising except for the complete dearth of Songhai. I would have assumed that faction to be a big draw, especially to new players, based on its obvious movement-based synergies, Mist Walking in particular.
Who’s the fastest of them all?
Congrats to Utracjusz, ultimate victor! Here’s how things panned out:
|1||Utracjusz (Songhai Race)|
|2||Gil4 (Abyssian Burn)|
|3||NinthGhost (Lyonar Race)|
|4||Destroy666 (Magmar Burn)|
|5||Rainesama (Vanar Race)|
|5||TheZJ (Magmar Burn)|
|7||TM87 (Abyssian Race)|
|7||Janonator (Vanar Race)|
Things broke down more-or-less as expected percentage-wise, although there were clearly some interesting outliers.
One of these outliers was clearly Songhai’s success. Tied for least represented faction, Songhai ended up winning the event despite that fact. Bask in the glory of Utrajusz’s winning list:
It was clear that Utra came to race. Hiss hyper-tuned deck is designed to move around the board lickety split, with a full playset of Silhouette Tracers, Mist Walkings and Alcuin Loremasters to double down on the powerful one-mana movement spell. He’s also primed his deck to deal with opposing “threats” through displacement effects such as Repulsor Beast, Ghost Lynx, Paddo and Juxtaposition. All of these things I see as more or less typical of a Songhai race list.
He’s also running some awesome tech choices. The first is Wings of Mechaz0r, one of my favorite ways to interact early. For just 2 mana, you can put a relatively high health minion in the midst of the opponent’s path. This can make life difficult, and time and time again we saw how powerful Wings could be when it came to slowing opponents down. He’s also running the Pandamonium/Ghost Lightning/Crescent Spear combo to destroy all opposing creatures. Why bother moving minions out of the way when you can just destroy them? This was extremely powerful, getting him out of tight spots time and again.
Despite the tools that Songhai has at its disposal and notwithstanding this win, I’m not convinced that Songhai is necessarily the best faction, or even second best. Still, Utraxjusz won the tournament handily, going undefeated throughout.
And if it weren’t for him, Gil4 might have netted another Race victory for the Burn Abyssian deck, his only loses coming to Utracjusz not once, but twice. This marked the second Race finals in a row to feature a Songhai/Abyssian matchup, and while I didn’t have a dog in the fight, I was glad to see the racing deck win this time.
Still, Abyss burn proved to be a powerful option yet again despite the newly banned Spectral Revenant and Decimus. Here’s Gil4’s list:
This deck seems relatively straight forward, with mainstays like Ooz, Flameblood Warlock, Venom Toth, and a litany of direct damage in the spell suite. There are some new contenders from Rise of the Bloodborn here as well. Meltdown provided Gil4 with a very solid source of repeatable damage once he reached 8 mana. Punish also proved to be just as powerful in the race as it is on the boring, regular Duelyst ladder.
I’m not sure what the future of Burn will look like in Amazyng Races to come. It did ok in the event, with 3 of the 7 burn lists that entered making the top 8. This is a little better than average, but not disconcertingly so. Still, folks seem to dislike Burn in the format for a variety of reasons, from “it’s not fun to play against” to “its too powerful” to “its against the spirit of the event.” I can understand these sentiments, and I’ll be open to any suggestions on how to proceed with the format as far as Burn concerns.
Before we leave, I want to highlight TM87’s unique top 8ing Abyssian list:
We unfortunately only watched one of TM87’s matches on the official cast and it happened to be one which he lost. In was a close match though, and he did slog his was through the loser’s bracket to before finally taking a second loss.
If I had to Race myself, Lyonar is almost certainly the first faction I’d look at. It’s got a ton of avenues to explore, and with a great natural foil to the Burn decks in Trinity Oath. That said, despite being tied for most registered faction, Lyonar didn’t perform particularly well, with only NinthGhost, runner up from the last Amazyng Race, placing. Here’s his list:
NinthGhost adopted the same general plan as he did last Race, namely Arcanysts. With the ability to spam the board with cheap spells, Prismatic Illutionist and Owlbeast Sage can make an almost impenetrable wall that an opponent can’t hope to ever traverse. And what great spells! Beam Shock, obviously, is a Race all-star, Aegis Barrier can make an Ironcliffe in the corner downright impossible to remove, and Aerial Rift can enable some insanely funny plays such as a turn 1 Sol in your face!
One card I’m surprised to not see is Elyx. It’s quite powerful for racing, allowing your general to scurry around the board and mitigating the displacement effects (e.g. Repulsor Beast, Ghost Lynx) from opponents. Speaking of Repulsor Beast and Ghost Lynx, he’s also not running either of these ubiquitous options. He clearly needs to run a critical mass of spells for the Arcanyst synergy, but moving something aside is such an invaluable ability in the Race, I’m surprised to not see either animal here.
Vanar saw two people make the top 8, including our winner from Amazyng Race numero uno, Janonator. I’ll note here that Rainesama actually had to unfortunately leave early and forfeit his later matches due to time constraints. Who knows if he would have gone further if he had not. Here’s his list:
I’m surprised to not see full playsets of cards like Icy, Gravity Well and Mesmerize–ones that I consider to be pretty solid in a Vanar race strategy. Instead, Rainesama’s running some interesting one-ofs, the most impressive of which both on paper and in application has to be Sunset Paragon. It’s rare that I say, “On wow, I hadn’t thought of that card at all,” but that’s just what happened when he used the unicorn to clear out a mess of blockers in a game we watched on the official cast. On a final note, I’ll highlight the use of Blistering Skorn and Enfeeble. Like Utracjusz’s Ghost Lightning combo, these two cards allow Rain to just remove everything from the board no matter the size. It looks like the ability to undo all of an opponent’s hard work is powerful. Who knew?
There were only two Magmar lists entered into the tournament and both made the top 8 meaning Magmar was far and away the best performing faction of the event. Both lists were Burn-based, and both revolved around the same combo: Ion, Sol, and pump spells. With Thumping Wave in particular, for a mere 8 mana this combo deals a whopping 14 points of damage. Toss in a few Entropic Gazes or Makantor Beast hits, and you have the trappings of a powerful way to take down an opponent. Here’s Destroy666’s list, the better performing of the two:
This has the usual neutral suspects: Flameblood Warlock, Venom Toth, Meltdown. It’s also got Earth Sphere as a Burn mirror foil and Paddo to mess with those foolish enough to race. Flash Reincarnation means that you can pull of the combo even earlier, which is a little disconcerting. Despite the Abyssian deck being “the deck to beat” going in and in fact making it to the finals, this is the list that I have my eye on moving forward.
No Vetruvian deck made top 8, which saddened me a little. I think Vetruvian actually made out the best in Rise of the Bloodborn, as Incerina is just incredible in the Amazyng Race. The 5-drop allows some powerful starts, and can let a player go from a top corner to the bottom in one fell swoop, or combined with Time Maelstrom, across the entire board in a single turn. This actually means that a turn 2 Incerina can lead to a turn 3 win for a Vetruvian player with the help of two Time Maelstroms, which just has to be the fastest win possible. Here’s MotherGreen’s list, one I was particularly impressed by:
I don’t know evilness stopped this player from doing better, so unfortunately I can’t comment on how the deck’s awesomeness on paper translated to the actual game.
That’s all for this Amazyng Race recap. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. Potentially you might be inspired to try it again the next go-round. I encourage suggestions for next time, particularly your feelings on the Burn archetype’s healthiness. I’m going to try and whip together a small purse for folks to really sweeten the pot of Amazyng Race III: Bride of Kaleos, so hopefully that piques your interest even further.
Thanks for reading!