Interview with Brandon Noland

Void and Moon took a moment to sit down with Chicago, Illinois regional champion Brandon Noland and discuss his deck choice. A well known ruler with a not-so-well-known twist. Take a look at how Brandon won out the day with… cats! Meow.

top31) Why did you start playing Force of Will? Do you have experience playing any other trading card games?

I started playing Force of Will because it felt like an upgrade from Magic: the Gathering. The Ruler concept was very appealing and also very similar to MTG’s Commander rules, and the stone deck also seemed like a very nice idea to help avoid the various problems associated with drawing lands. I played a lot of Pokemon TCG as a young child and then started playing Yugioh competitively in 2013. I also play Magic somewhat competitively.

2) What made you decide on Liberator of Wind as your ruler?

I played Liberator of Wind/Scheherazade, the Teller of 1001 Stories because I strongly believe it is the most powerful ruler in the game, especially alongside Necronomicon as an overwhelming source of late game card advantage.

3) Your use of Liberator of Wind is very unique, how did you come up with the deck list?

I started playing control in January with a build similar to the Japanese Abdul lists, though I felt like I wanted a ruler that provided card advantage rather than negation effects. I tested my deck extensively against very aggressive decks to make sure it was able to handle what traditionally has been control’s greatest weakness. Over time, I adjusted my build based on my match results. With the release of Moon Priestess Returns and Liberator of Wind, I finally found my perfect control ruler, and I adjusted my deck to be as strong as possible in the early game in order to survive into the lategame where Scheherazade is searching out Necronomicon and drawing me 2 cards per turn.

4) Can you tell us about your choice to play 2 Magic Stone of Deep Wood for casting Cheshire Cat?

cat2The 2 Magic Stone of Deep Wood are indeed in the deck exclusively to cast Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant. When building my deck I decided that although the usual control stone lineup of 4 Magic Stone of Blasting Waves, 4 Magic Stone of Black Silence, 1 Feethsing, the Holy Wind Stone and 1 Grusbalesta, the Sealing Stone was very powerful, the true stones conflicted too much with Gretel for me to want to include them. Since I wanted to play Wind, Fire, and Dark, and wanted to play Gretel, I would want to play 4 Blasting Waves and 4 Black Silence, and would have room for 2 more stones, so I realized that I could possibly splash a color. I felt like Cheshire Cat was the best card to splash for since its incredibly low mana cost and self-replacing effect make it almost immune to being drawn dead, and at one mana, I would be able to see it in my opening hand, search for the stone with which to play it thanks to Liberator’s ability, and then immediately use it. The card’s draw effect is incredibly powerful in a control deck, and its use as an unstoppable blocker has won me a lot of games.

5) What card was the “MVP” for your deck?

It’s tough for me to pick an MVP because I really like the way the whole deck performed, but I would have to say Necronomicon, since it’s really the backbone of the strategy. The deck tries to grind out all its opponents resources, then use Scheherazade to find Necronomicon and quickly bury its opponent in card advantage. With all my blockers and removal, it’s easy to buy time to last until the late game, and with counterspells, it’s easy to put the game far out of the opponent’s reach once you’ve pulled ahead.

6) How did you prepare for the Illinois regional event?

I playtested quite a bit for the event in June but wasn’t playing actively in the two weeks leading up to the event. I didn’t sleep the night before the event, and didn’t pre-register, so I was afraid I might show up and not even get to play. As far as my testing goes, I mostly played against Grimm, the Fairy Tale Prince and Falltgold, the Dragoon. I played against some Abdul Control decks but I don’t feel like I tested that matchup enough. I played 2 Abdul decks in the swiss rounds, earning myself a loss and a draw. Fortunately, the one Abdul deck I did manage to beat happened to be in the finals, so I feel pretty grateful for that.

7) Any thoughts going forward to the championship in Japan?

I hope I’ll still be playing Scheherazade for Worlds, but no matter what ruler I’m playing, I’ll still try my darnedest to play as many Cats as possible!

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