An Interview with the test league game week one winner SwapGo
The following is an interview with the man the myth the legend, winner of the first Skyweaverleagues tournament, Swapgo. Together we discuss his TCG roots and his unique perspective on deck building that has influenced the tournament topping lists which saw him come out on top in week one’s games.
SH = Shpungo | Swapgo = Swapgo
SH: So to start with, can you tell me about yourself and especially your history with card games? Seeing as everyone seems to have some background of playing tcgs around here, where did you kinda come from in that regards?
Swapgo: I picked up card games very early after yelling “Exodia, Obliterate” watching TV. I dabbled between Yugioh and MtG through school with a very close circle of friends, though, I had to stop as getting physical product was becoming prohibitive. I really liked the customization aspect of deckbuilding and took on quickly some of the online TCG classics
like Elements, though outside of a few MtG events, I don’t really have any tournament pedigree outside of Skyweaver.
SH: Would you say Skyweaver has been the one you’ve spent the most time on?
Swapgo: Not really, that has to go to either HEX or TES:L (The Elder Scrolls: Legends), one of which is dead and the other of which is comatose. HEX’s PvE was what kept me through. It just wanted you to do wack stuff and there was a lot of customizability to really express yourself.
If you pay attention I dont actually spend much time on Skyweaver, there was a time where I did, but due to personal reasons it’s really hard for me to just sit in queue for so long, often playing the same people. I’m one of the many people that are just anxiously waiting for OB to really push through a broader ladder again. In the meantime, leagues and gang wars do the trick.
SH: What’s your favourite prism combo? or even top 3, whatever ur feelin.
Swapgo: I’d say I have a history with Iris that speaks for itself. Even outside of Mulligan, I’ve always enjoyed Agi decks that rely more on tempo swings rather than nonstop aggression. In previous patches I’ve run Agi/Hrt and Agi/Wis decks that are more reliant on floodgates and enchantments that I’ve enjoyed playing quite a bit. It also helps that Agi has very defined elemental synergies. So I like Agility for objectively the wrong reasons, which at this point is probably in character.
SH: Wow yeah you’ve gotta be basically the only player who actually enjoys Agi for anything outside of constant aggression. Would you say Combo is your favourite deck archetype then?
Swapgo: Combo is not as much of a deck archetype in Skyweaver. In this game there are too strong synergies and card flow to not pack some sort of illicit combination of cards that do something dumb.
SH: Yeah I guess in Skyweaver Combo decks just mean the combos that can actually kill your opponent.
Swapgo: Yeah, all in combo decks like Mulligan and Zam are cool and have a place in tournaments, but if they’re also strong on ladder then chances are something went wrong. Either way, Id say my favorite deck archetype is mostly Midrange because it lets me exploit all the cool synergies the game offers, and I dont deal very well in the kind of hypergrindy game that Control HRT/X lists lead to. I like to have gotten to do something by the time I have gotten to the bottom of my deck.
SH: Speaking of lists can you tell me about the lists you brought to Skyweaverleagues test league game week 1?
Swapgo: Right. Banner Iris is the newest iteration of the combo, and I knew it is a deck that gets wins and that a number of people were concerned about. I made the mistake of not teching too much against HRT for this tournament. There was 0 dusting in the deck. While it can put out damage before the combo turn by virtue of being an AGI deck, you can fold to a single Earth Golem if you’re not fast.
The combo does up to 40 damage and perhaps even more, but it’s a deck that chokes easy if you draw as many as 2 cards from out of deck, so right now the list isn’t really strong. Unrise Horik I think needs no introduction, it’s a deck that changes one card per patch. Play a combination of resilient and/or value generating unit, do it again with Unfallow, do it harder with Ancients Rise, game.
SH: Yeah lmao and we’ve seen Bacon adapt his own Horik to include Ancients Rise too so it’s really become a more prominent strategy than ever since you brought it to tournament play.
Swapgo: There might be space for something else in this deck still, but until the day you can’t run two Unfallows, I dont think the list is gonna change. Frogs Banjo is of course the outlier. It is in fact a deck that I had abandoned for a while and there’s a good reason the list is called “What the Frogs” I dont really think of this as a handbuff deck anymore . The handbuff theme was way stronger in Wis/Hrt thanks to Unfallow and the general theme of Hrt units. Minstrel actually has a hard time doing much and might be deprecated eventually, but for now he has been good in the games where he lines up with Rosewater.
Double Orchid with Keywords is still really strong, though, and the deck gets carried more by the attachment synergies. It is really an Inspirator deck and I think it showed.Probably the strongest aspect of this deck is how many cards you can run two times, there’s two Forcefields, two Teleports, two Drop Anchors, two Orchids, you just have a very straightforward plan and the means to do it eventually. The deck has some serious struggles vs Aggro, however It can highroll and a good Supermind/Inspirator can close the game. But it relies a lot on accruing value off of Thought Leader (You have two of those!) and going through water cards for Drop Anchors (Which you can give Wither to.) It’s no coincidence that the deck came out on top against the grindy matchups
SH: Oh yeah, that’s something that’s definitely an underrated strength in Skyweaver decks in general. Being able to run two copies of a card is so impactful in a singleton format and I feel like it’s not really thought about a lot in most deckbuilding, which is definitely a strength of yours. Do you think it was just that sheer value you were generating that got you the finals victory? I know Bacon went on a little rant about the main factor contributing to his loss but what do you think was the decisive factor for winning those games
Swapgo: Raw Tooth Hurty RNG. Not really though, Supermind I believe is generally the strongest contributor. It’s a card that commands the board, generates bodies, and really puts a wedge in HRT because it doesn’t need to kill their units. Of course, the deck having a resilient finisher in Gemini is really big as well. Gemini just really likes Orchid, and this deck has a bunch of bodies that dont matter around at most times.
Orchid provides Handbuff and Burst mana, and you only need a random Ebb Flo or Tactician to just really put the hurt down. One more reason as to why this deck is best against control lists, usually control has to commit a card to remove some nonthreatening units, while a good Agi deck will happily Banner it dead.
SH: Wow yeah that’s a lot of strong synergies which I think, and he will definitely agree, Bacon was not prepared to deal with. Do you think Bacon actually screwed himself by bringing two Horrik decks? Thus forcing him to play control 100% of the time, which you could then easily counter pick.
Swapgo: Allayam did the same and I got them the same way. I think that strategy only works if your deck is really tier 0 or if it has no terrible matchups. I think Hanoo couldve brought 3 Axels and we wouldve been screwed. I feel like if Bacon didn’t want to play Horik (which he said he did), he could’ve just brought 3 different Foxes. Then how do you mulligan against that other than “well its aggro-ish”
SH: That would’ve been an interesting approach definitely. Especially considering, at least in regards to Fox, there’s a ton of different deck lists you can run which have pretty major differences. Overall thuogh do you think it’s a good thing Zygote’s introducing the rule of “all 3 heroes must be different” for the second tournament?
Swapgo: Yes, it makes much more sense. It’s very common in digital card games because the one thing you see at the start of the game tells you a lot of what to expect and in Open Decklist in particular it’s quite important for transparency
SH: Yeah I’m pretty happy about it too. Personally I’m having trouble deciding on whether I should bring new lists to the tourney or have a crack at it again with the same trio, are you having any thoughts in regards to changing up your roster or just keeping it the same?
Swapgo: Horik is eternal
SH: asjkdf very insightful
Swapgo: Banjo might change. As I said, I have to put some thought on how much I want Minstrel, but a lot of the packages in the deck are solid. Iris is actually the closest to the cutting block, but mulligan is always good at taking games. If I can make the situations where I draw the cards in the wrong order less miserable, then we got a deck in our hands.
SH: Aye nice to see a combination of changing up the old lists and also considering fresh material. I’m definitely invested in watching your games now, so fingers crossed you make it to the semis. You’ve definitely given me some inspiration for deck building so I appreciate that, Attachment synergies are definitely on my current Skyweaver to-do list.
Swapgo: Neat. There’s no doubt there are strong players in the league, but my biggest fear is losing to my ISP. Case in point I’ve lost connection in discord several times throughout this.
SH: Lmao Skyweaver’s toughest challenger, internet…
Swapgo: I think anyone that’s watched my screenshared matches would know. In Skychampions 3, It made me choke hard vs Antibens. Not to be bitter and downplay Antibens’ success, but I still wish I played that game better. In that game I had a full blown powersurge, it didn’t make me lose a turn, but it made me unhealthily hurry my pace.
SH: Ouch that’s rough, and it’s always pretty tragic for both players as well because the winner is kind of robbed of that knowledge that they would’ve won in a fair fight. I feel like every player in Skyweaver has experienced it at some point sdfjk. But before I get sidetracked, how do you rate your chances to come out number one and win the whole test league? Granted that you’ve won week 1 and we have 4 more tournaments ahead of us to battle it out.
Swapgo: Higher than anyone else, that’s just math, I have the most points. But hey, I think that now that people have seen each other and the format is taking shape, anything can change. I will keep on doing what I do. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end
SH: Damn, I see you’re a scientist. but who knows, people might be bringing lists specifically to beat you so at this point it could go any way.
Swapgo: No bans means that a lot of the deck picking considerations are going to shift, it’s probably still not perfect, it might change, but its the rules we’re engaging with for week 2. So decks will have to be played accordingly.
SH: Yeah I think regardless, it’s definitely an improvement especially with the new round robin bracket style. But for sure we’ll see the impact of the no ban, 3 deck system. And who knows, chances are we’ll see at least a couple more changes in the tournaments to come as well . Oh uh, there’s just one more thing from Zygote here before we finish… apparently you still owe him 20$ for first place 😳
Swapgo: Bruh that’s like 3 days worth of money for me I ain’t gonna do that
SH: Damn… no one has enough money to spend on cheating in skyweaver asjkd
seriously though thanks a lot for your time.
Swapgo: Ye welcome
SH: I appreciate the depth of the discussion, I’ve learnt a lot about how the twisted machinations of your mind function and I feel like I’ve become a better player for it <3 I’m both more a fan of you and also more motivated to beat you 😉
Swapgo: Neat. I’ll play you as promised in a few minutes as well.
And so, having concluded our interview, Swapgo proceeded to whoop my ass in a couple private matches. Which, to be fair, was not especially surprising. Will Swapgo finally be toppled during week 2’s tournament? Will he keep his word and come out on top, as per the numbers as he says? No clue tbh, but whatever the outcome, I know I’m excited at least to follow our first time winner as he attempts to hold his winning streak in the games to come.