The First Dracai of Aether - A Blitz PTI report by Nick Holding

Hello! My name is Nick Holding, a FAB player from Wellington, New Zealand and this past weekend I managed to win the Blitz PTI Qualifier at the New Zealand National Champs using Kano and was crowned as the first Dracai of Aether!

A little about myself, since i started playing FAB I have spent a lot of my spare time playing many games, both Classic Constructed and Blitz. I started off with a bit of Katsu followed by Dorinthia until ARC dropped and then i discovered Kano and his unique playstyle, since then i threw all other decks aside and dedicated myself to playing the Wizard deck. During COVID lock down i was lucky enough to get locked up with Jason Thomson who placed Top 8 at NZ Nationals with Dorinthia as a testing buddy, we had plenty of time to play and we ended up using most of it to practice, sadly did not do well with Kano during the Road to Nationals events, had a hard time figuring the deck out, but after CRU dropped it felt like the deck got a lot more power and i went straight back to testing.

Leading up to nationals, about a week beforehand i was having an awful time with Brute and control Dash, I started to doubt things and started playing some Dash and Rhinar, I had decided to play Rhinar but switched back to Kano because I felt i had a little better understanding of both the other decks and figure it would help at Nationals. Sadly I left Saturday 4-3 losing in the final round to none other than Nic Andisen (From the editor- Nick fought a hard game and truly showed his stuff with Wizard) piloting his signature Katsu, disappointed and tired i went home and started talking to people about Blitz. I sadly could not make the blitz event at Calico Keep the Friday before nationals, however I had multiple people tell me about the famous Jason Chung’s Undefeated Kano and all the plays they had seen.

Sunday morning arrives, and while most of the best players in NZ were busy playing for top 8 i was sitting at the venue an hour before the event started, talking to some other Wellington players, trying to build a Kano Deck, having little to no knowledge and the help of Kirean Carnegie, I had decided i wanted the main goal to be pairing up stir and forked while playing a bunch of cheaper spells to go wide past 3-4 Arcane this was the list i ran.

1 x Crucible of Aetherweave
1x Aether Conduit
1x Metacarpus Node
1x Talishar, the Lost Prince
1x Gambler’s Gloves
1x Robe of Rapture
1x Arcanite Skullcap
1x Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
1x Storm Striders
1x Ironrot Gauntlet
1x Talismanic Lens
2x Tome of Aetherwind
1x Scalding Rain
2x Zap
2x Blazing Aether
2x Stir the Aetherwinds
2x Aether Flare
2x Forked Lightning
2x Reverberate
1x Snapback
1x Cindering Foresight
2x Chain Lightning
2x Sonic Boom
2x Lessons in Lava
2x Tome of Fyendal
1x Eye of Ophidia
2x Timesnap Potion
2x Energy Potion
2x Zap
2x Scalding Rain
1x Aether Flare
2x Reverberate
1x Foreboding Bolt
2x Gaze the Ages

There are a lot of changes I would make after playing in the tournament, a few examples would be cutting Blazing Aether to 1-0, playing 2 Red Cindering Foresight, and 2 Red Snapback. I didn’t use a lot of equipment. I always used Crucible of Aetherweave and just swapped the armour depending on the matchup. The list is messy but it was good enough to take out the event, here are how the rounds went:

Round 1 - Jed Lawless (Kano) 1-0

So first round I had a mirror with Jed. We both laughed as just before the event started we were talking about playing in the mirror. I won the die roll and chose first did some poke damage turn 1 I naturally drew Stir, Forked and 2 blues in my second hand and took the lead and managed to close the game pretty fast from there.

Round 2 - Kasharn Rao (Bravo) 2-0

This round I had to verus a Wellington player and a mentor of mine who had helped me a lot with building Kano for constructed, I won the die roll and chose first. I remember putting Forked Lighting in the arsenal turn 1 and leaving it there for around 5 turns while I looked for a Stir, too which I eventually found and got through for 8 as he blocked 4 of it. After a bit of grinding and trying to play while he has no hand, I eventually took the win.

Round 3 - Kieran Carnegie (Kano) 3-0

Again i found myself paired up with another Wellington player with Kieran playing Kano too. We had a great game on our hands and both agreed to use a die to symbolise whos turn it was to avoid confusion, I won the die roll choosing first and started with an energy pot. I had a massive lead at one point with him being on 7 and me being on 14, it was his turn and he played Red Stir into Red Voltic bolt so in response while he was tapped out i played a card bringing him down to 2, and this was when i realised the difference of Blitz and Classic Constructed. Since i was only missing 1 health I figured i could take the damage without worrying too much, the issue was i was left with a Yellow Sonic Boom and when Keiran drew up to 4 it was 6 plays 2 while he still had his Storm Striders. I pass priority and he starts thinking, there was a bit of confusion here as we both thought it was Kierans turn, so he used his action to break his Robe of Rapture for 3 energy and does a big Stir into Voltic Bolt again. Right as i thought i lost i realised it was my turn because of the dice we were using to keep track and he wasn't able to use the chest, we call over the Judge which in this case was Chris Gehring- one of the developers of this game to help us fix the situation. He laughs at us and just gives us a warning, Keiran tries again without his Robe and can only do 7 damage to which i block 2 and go to 1, draw up and kill him before he can draw again. What a match!

Round 4 - Sam Payne (Bravo) 4-0

After previously playing a Guardian I had a little more confidence than most matchups with how to play, I can't remember too much, i believe i lost the die roll and he started with a Crippling Crush which was Dominated. After some back and fourth i stole the game with Storm Striders while he was tapped out for a big burst of damage to win the game. 

Round 5 - Rommel Estalilla (Kassai) 5-0

First time I came up against Kassai, I wasn't entirely sure how to play the match. I sadly don't recall a lot from this game but i do remember it being very close but I took it out, it's a lot different to play against than Dorinthia, but not playing any attack actions made the effect on the weapon irrelevant.

Round 6 - Andrew Peek (Kassai) 5-1

Back to back Kassai and after just coming up against one i felt ready, however i was not. On a big turn where I had use Stir/Crucible into a Red Aether Flare, the mad lad plays an Erinia’s Prayer pitching a Blue revealing a Red and blocking the rest, it completely caught me off guard and i was too far behind to recover. However i wasn’t bothered because i knew I was going to top and I came in first after swiss.

After nervously waiting for the rest of the round to finish, Top 8 was announced and we all received our cold foil Young Ira heroes, went for a picture and then we were told our pairings.

Top 8 - Kasharn Rao (Bravo)

It was time for a rematch, I decided to go first and stick with the same plan the first time round, I eventually paired up Stir and Forked followed by chipping to take the win, it felt very one sided. I think Bravo may be a good matchup for Kanokano in Blitz, but i'm not entirely sure.

Top 4 - Brett Rogers (Kassai)

Third Kassai of the day, by this point I was scared because of how the last round of swiss went, i chose to go first with a bad hand. He got ahead at the start with all the Go Again and weapon swings with pumps but i managed to have a few strong turns and Zap him at the end locking me in for the finals. By this point I was super nervous as i watched the other match to see who my final opponent would be.

Finals - Ash Singh (Dorinthia)

This was by far the hardest matchup of the day, Ash played amazingly well and got a massive lead on me. By playing slow and careful, i managed between all the damage to get 2 potions on the field, 1 energy and 1 timesnap and by then the score was 16-6 in favour of Ash. I had Red Aether Flare in Arsenal with Lesson in Lava, 2 Blue cards in hand and Tunic on 3 counters so i knew i had to make a play sometime soon or i was going to lose. I use Crucible and play Lesson for 4 to which he blocks 3, i put Scalding Rain on top with Lesson and proceed to play Aether Flare as my second action, he has 3 cards in hand and doesn't block. I later found out it was because he had 3 Red cards at that time. After that I pitched my other Blue to use Kano’s ability and used Tunic to pay for Scalding Rain for 7 bringing the game even at 6-6. In his turn he pitches a Red and swings for 3, i block with Skullcap, Tunic and Ironrot Gauntlet Gaunlet to which he doesn't respond. My hand is at this point is Stir, Forked, Chain Lightning and Cindering Foresight, so i use the Cindering to pay for Stir and the Red + Energy Potion for Forked Lightning coming in for 10, he can only block 3 taking 7 meaning i had just won the finals and was crowned the winner.

James White proudly crowned me as the first Dracai of Aether - for being the first person to win a Legend Story Studios tournament, and awarded me with a special Kano, Draci of Aether for which I will have a picture of below.

Nick Holding PTI Winner


And to top it all off I got the random gold Legendary Equipment drop which the Top 8 in the main event and winners of the Road to Nationals events got, and guess what, it had Arcanite Skullcap inside! 

I couldn't believe I had managed to take the entire event out having slapped together a deck and hoping for the best. Thanks to everyone in Wellington for all the help and testing, big shout outs to Jason Thomson, Adam Little and Kasharn Rao for always being keen to discuss things and hear out my wacky ideas.

And also another shout out to Matt Rogers for taking out Nationals and being crowned as the first NZ National Champion! He has proved how excellent of a player he is and really deserves the title. This was the greatest weekend I have ever had playing card games and I am very grateful to be a part of such an amazing community.

Thank you to everyone at LSS for all your hard work and for putting on an amazing weekend.

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