The Duelist Spice Session #2 with Ritish Juggurnauth

The Duelist Spice Session #2 with Ritish Juggurnauth
Ritish finished Top 4 of the Grand Championship 2020, going undefeated in the Swiss Rounds before falling to Didier in the Semis. He has a sit-down where he goes in-depth about his tournament experience, deck building processes and how he rose to the Advanced Highlander challenge of this year’s tournament. 
Interviewer:
So, Ritish, first of all, congratulations on an amazing display. What are your first thoughts after the tournament?

Ritish: 
Very satisfied with the deck overall. I almost never bricked in the entire tournament, which is quite a feat, I find. So, very happy with how the deck turned out – much better that what I even anticipated. Frustrated and disappointed in the fashion I lost the Semis, but that’s part of the luck factor in game and overall, this format was a lot of fun.

Interviewer: 
You played Invoked Mekk-Knight with Kaijus and Altergeists. Guide us through it and how/why you chose this route after knowing about the Advanced Highlander stipulation?

Ritish: 
My idea was that I wanted to go with archetypes which had a variety of monsters lineup and card pool which all had a bit of same effect and impact. That’s why I chose Mekk-Knights and Kaijus – where all Mekks provide offense regardless of their effects and all Kaijus provide removal. The Invoked engine was proven and tested with Mekk-Knights and given its recurrence, it worked well with the engines. I chose Graydle as the 4th engine over Altergeists at first, as it provided removal and columns for the Mekk-Knight cards. However, I chose Altergeist as it was something I was familiar with and it also synergized well with the control aspects of the deck with the traps and floodgates. Meluseek and Manisfestation also acted as more potent removal tools than Graydles – so I think that was the correct choice.

Interviewer: 
Anything besides the Graydles which was first considered in early drafts but which didn’t make the final cut?

Ritish: 
A few card choices but in terms of engines, that was mostly it. I didn’t include Subterror since I feel most of the players expected me to. 


Interviewer: 
I will just ask some questions about some of the cards choices which stand out in your deck and extra-deck (side-deck being pretty solid). You played nearly all Kaijus but no Kaiju Slumber, why so?

Ritish: 
Slumber – I didn’t felt that it was necessary. It is a board wipe but I think the Kaijus provide removal anyways by themselves, in a way that bypasses more cards.

Interviewer: 
Only five spell cards in the Main Deck – with four being the Invoked engine requirement. I assume that was to play the Imperial Order/Anti-Spell-Fragrance?

Ritish: 
Yeah, really wanted to accommodate the Order and Anti-Spell. I expected the spell cards to provide a lot of steam and speed to other decks, so if I wanted to play control – I wanted to counter that option.

Interviewer: 
Your trap lineups is also interesting, with the additional counter trap in Ultimate Providence, joining the Solemn Brigade.

Ritish: 
The idea was to supplement the Solemns indeed, especially wanted an additional protection to negate mainly blowout cards such as Lightning Storm, Evenly Matched ect...

Interviewer: 
Coming to the Extra Deck, why choosing Raidjin over the other Invoked monsters? You don’t seem to be playing an abundance of Wind-attributes either.

Ritish: 
I debated a lot about opting for Caliga or for Raidjin. But I chose Raidjin because it was the better target to OTK using Madness and Book of the Law, swapping either Mechaba or Purgatrio for additional damage. 


Interviewer: 
I like the addition of both “Towers-like” monsters in the Link-3 Mekk-Knight and especially the Black Luster Solider Link Monster. Did you anticipate how much big boss monsters like these would be hard to deal with in a Highlander format?

Ritish: 
They fared better than what I anticipated, but I feel they naturally belonged to this deck. Especially for how easy they are able to be made. The Kaijus and Mekk-Knights made them extremely accessible and hard to deal with.

Interviewer: 
Are there cards/techs which you never accessed over all the Rounds of the tournament?

Ritish: 
I didn’t see some of the side-decked cards, and I didn’t see handtraps such as Ghost Ogre. I actually contemplated increasing the amount of handtraps, but the one I played felt like the most all-round useful ones – while playing more different 1-ofs traps would mean playing certain handtraps which could be dead in some scenarios.

Interviewer: 
So, overall, how was your experience of a Highlander format?
Ritish: Extremely fun and enjoyable, to be honest. It is definitely something I can look forward to, if we were to get similar tournaments. 
 
See the matches of Ritish from our youtube Channel:

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