I had been preparing for this event ever since Nationals 2018 had ended. The very next day I had the next Nationals in the head. Winning the league event or the team challenge was nothing compared to the thought of winning Nationals. That event for me was nothing short of an obsession.
It was a pain to choose a deck for that day. Altergeist, Subterror or Mekk knight invoked for the element of surprise, that question was on my mind a while before the event. In the end, I chose to go with Subterror simply because I felt it was more competitive yet suited my style of play. I had been playing with it in league events and practicing online for months so these influenced my choice. So I prepared the deck on the very morning of the event and had to rush to be on time. I was also a bit annoyed that I was missing one of the techs I wanted in the deck so I had to replace it with another card. On top of that, on arriving at the event, I realized I left my mat at home. Nothing was going right and that left me wondering...
Swiss round started and I targeted 4 wins to ensure qualification to the next round.
The first round started and it was against my good mate and test buddy Sharun. I lost the first duel against his Invoked Darklords which was a real blow as it was unexpected. I used to play against him and that deck but such stuff happens. I pulled myself together and managed to win the next 2 duels.
Next the next match was against another buddy. Dylan, who caught people by surprise playing Orcust. I won the game 2-0. I had been playing vs various Orcust players online and that definitely helped. It will also come in handy later on in the tournament in the knockout phase.
The 3rd round was vs Irfan, one of the favorites and I ended winning 2-1. I was a bit surprised as the game was quite under control during the 2 duels I started. Certainly winning the dice roll was determining.
Having 3 straight wins I was relaxed going into the next 2 matches knowing I had already qualified for the knockout phase. I still wanted to defeat my next 2 opponents to destabilize them. Won my last two matches vs Shafeeq and Didier 2-0 and 2-1 respectively.
Overall Swiss rounds were quite a smooth run except for the little scare at the start of it. I wanted my matches to be short and less demanding as I wanted to be in good condition mentally going to the knockout phase. And I succeeded in doing that as I had plenty of time to relax between my matches.
To end Swiss undefeated was not expected but I told myself that it's nothing. If I lose my first knockout match it would be all over. And I was close to happening as I bricked during the first two duels of my knockout phase match against Shawn. I lost the first one and managed to grind out the second one. During the 3rd and final duel I opened well and eventually won the game. It was funny to see Shawn in despair when he knew he had to face me but he also gave me the biggest scare of the tournament with his Prankids.
During the semi, I played vs Oomar who was also playing Orcust and again the hundreds of games I played against Orcust online helped and it was also the reason why I had Imperial Iron Wall in my side. They were very effective in duel 2. Match ended 2-0.
Attaining the finals was very satisfying and before the game it was a bit strange. I had mixed feelings: winning it, not winning, etc. The match got underway and when I won the dice yet again, it was a real boost. So I played the game to win it and eventually succeeded in doing so. Match ended 2-1.
That day was a long one but I never felt any kind of tiredness and the joy at the end of the final match was immense given I thought about this for a whole year. Winning it was an obsession no matter the way but having won it in such a dominating style and being undefeated that day was something I never thought of.
Everything started badly but in the end, that just made the win tastier.
Find the full interview of Ritish here:
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