An Interview with Illinois GP Players Del Anderson and Andrew McIntyre!

Hey, Rulers! Steph here, coming at you with two interviews from the United States Grand Prix in Collinsville, Illinois! Both of these players, Del Anderson and Andrew McIntyre, ran a ruler that I felt was undernoticed from the event, which was “Charlotte, Determined Girl // Charlotte, the Mage of Sacred Spirit.”
Charlotte represented only 19/200 (9.5%) of the Rulers maindecked in Collinsville, but she outperformed her attendance by almost a full 100%, with these two players’ builds making up a grand total of six spots in Collinsville’s Top 32 (18.75%).

For the interviews, I chose the highest-placing player from each variant and asked them guiding questions to talk a little bit about their build. Some questions are generic and were asked to both players, but I also asked each player questions specific to their respective builds and tried to give them creative license to discuss whatever they wanted to regarding their decks and/or experience.
Without further ado, let’s start with the first player, Del Anderson!

Del Anderson finished in 9th place with his Water/Darkness Charlotte Stealth/Control variant. His list and interview follow:

1. First off, please introduce yourself.

Hi! My name is Del Anderson, I’m 20 years old, from Minnesota, USA, and I play Force of Will for Team Ogre! I love this game, it’s endless fun.

2. How did you prepare for GP Collinsville?

After the Japan GP lists came out, the Fox hype train died down a lot. Suddenly Lumia/Hook was the way to go. A sort of unspoken rule amongst Ogres is to not play meta decks, but rather tech to crush them. But the problem with this format (L2 NF) was that there were simply too many strong decks to prepare for/tech against. So instead of finding the magic anti-meta deck, I decided to pick a deck I had a lot of experience with and make sure it beat Lumia every time. (To this day I still have not played a match with the deck where I didn’t 2-0 Lumia.)

3. Can you give a little information on your matchup spread?

What I hoped to see in Swiss was 8 Lumia/Hooks. Sadly the dream did not come true, and due to a disgustingly healthy meta, I played against many different decks.
The main deck was made to crush the most popular deck, Lumia/Hook. Soulhunt and hand hate are the strongest ways to do it, so that’s what I did!
The Dark Alice matchup was more touch and go. The main issue is her ability to out-value you by yanking [Remnant] cards and Deathscythes from the graveyard, and then once they’re confident Dark Alice can survive, it’s just an easy flip and win. I needed an answer to this, and although it is cheesy, siding in my Valentina 2.0 (TTW) made the grind game swing HEAVILY in my favor. This goes for really any Stealth or control matchup. Val 2.0 is a ruler with basically infinite front side value, and she is a huge, hard-to-deal-with threat when flipped. Game 2 in a grindy matchup, Valentina comes in, and I’m basically in control from the very first turn.
Valentina 2.0 main decks, on the other hand, really have no good answer in a pure Water/Darkness deck. This matchup always came down to either luck for me (drawing Black Moonbeams, of which I main 2, side 2), or an inexperienced opponent who overextended too soon. I played against 3 Val 2.0s and beat 2, but in the last round of Swiss, Jackson Madden made me almost flip a table (kidding) when he opened both of his Wind-Secluded Refuges. But variance happens sometimes, and he beat me (savagely, by the way) fair and square. To be honest, the hope was just to run into as few Val 2.0 matchups as possible. It’s a very hard, but winnable matchup.
Fox actually had no effect on my preparation. I built the deck without Fox in mind, and then I tested against it a few times and the deck answered it naturally. If I opened Prison in the Lunar Lake, I was pretty much guaranteed to win if I played perfectly. Sadly I didn’t run into any Foxes at the GP; it’s a fun matchup for both sides. Very skill-intensive.
The Charlotte mirror isn’t something I felt I needed to prepare for (I never ended up playing vs. it anyway). I’m confident in my own skill to beat a straight up mirror match, and I feel I have a solid 50/50 matchup against red rush Charlotte. The main thing against red is just emptying their hand and keeping it that way. I did test this a bit with my bud Andrew McIntyre, and both of us concluded it’s a matchup we can win, but would like to dodge.
The last deck I thought about prepping for was Turbo Fiethsing. My sideboard used to have Endless Nights and Valentina 3.0 (LEL), but it took too large of a chunk of sideboard. And because the meta is so wide and it’s impossible to prep for EVERY deck, I just hoped no one would play it, since Fox exists. Sadly I ran into it in round 3 and lost. Never lucky. It’s a winnable matchup overall I would say, but not favored at all.
4. Outside “Charlotte’s Protector,” the general Stealth/Control shell of your deck can typically be played with a variety of Rulers. Why did you choose Charlotte over other Rulers such as Dark Alice or Valentina LEL?
First of all, Charlotte is best girl. Second of all, Charlotte’s Protector is best boy, but I’ll get into that later.
I find Charlotte to be the strongest (main deck) Stealth ruler hands-down for 3 reasons. Reason 1 is that soft board control with her front-side ability allows for huge advantage in many scenarios. Example: If I open Soulhunt and I’m going second against Fire decks, they will play a Guinevere and I can Energize to rest it. Then, going into my turn, I can Soulhunt it. That is insane advantage. It’s little combat tricks like that.
Reason 2 would be she is the only ruler who can comfortably run pure Water/Darkness (in my opinion). Mikage needs Fire for Demonflame, I would argue that Dark Alice is much stronger when she plays Wind for Wind-Secluded Refuge. Val 3.0 can run pure Water/Darkness, but she can run out of gas fast, which is bad for a control ruler. Which brings me to point 3: sweet, sweet card advantage.
“Oh no! I have used all my cards and I’m ahead for the moment, but soon my opponent will begin to out-value me depending on our respective top decks!”
Don’t worry, Charlotte is here to flip and draw 5 cards for you. You have made it to the promised land; you are stabilized.
5. How often did you side into Valentina TTW during the tournament? Did you find that your transformational sideboard helped improve certain matchups enough to justify the shrunken sideboard space?
I sided into Val 2.0 quite a lot. As stated before, she essentially autowins those grindy control matchups. I would’ve went to time and maybe lost against a Dark Alice had I not had her in my sideboard to power through games 2 and 3. I would also side into Val 2.0 against Val 2.0, so that I could search Deathscythes and Marybells to slow them down and hopefully, through card advantage, get into one of my four Black Moonbeams.
6. “Aloof Researcher’s Memoria” is an interesting deck choice, especially considering the 4 maindecked Soulhunt. How much did the card filter help throughout the tournament?
Aloof was a risk vs. reward card. I look at it this way. If I go first, it doesn’t matter what my magic stone is. I’m always doing nothing going first. If it produces blue, that’s good, since I need that to rest will dorks/Guineveres for those Soulhunt plays. The main concern was missing a Turn 2 Lapis’ Dark Storm. I only missed 1, but it was a matchup where I needed my Will to be Space-Time Anomaly-compatible anyway. Basically the Aloof was very, very, very rarely bad. The positives it gave me, though, were pretty extreme. With a Deathscythe, it essentially becomes draw an extra card each turn, and, with Charlotte’s Protector, it becomes pay 3 will to draw two cards. I would highly recommend running this as a 1-of. It’s an incredibly strong card in any matchup that goes past turn 4. I can’t put an exact value on how much it helped me, I just know it helped A LOT.
7. What card or cards was/were the stars of your deck during the tournament?
This is the part where I get to rant about Charlotte’s Protector. This is my favorite card from CFC; I consider it STAPLE in control Charlotte. Soulhunt’s only downside is losing a card? Well, I actually get to draw one instead if I have this in hand. Oh you played Lapis’ Dark Storm on me? Oh wow, you hit a Deathscythe and a Charlotte’s Protector? Guess I’ll take this raw card advantage for 0 will. Why this card is not incredibly hyped is beyond me. Charlotte’s Protector is what makes this deck run. Sleeper OP for sure. The second star would be Aloof Researcher’s Memoria, which I explained previously.
And I guess I should mention Riza, First of the Dead, since she’s an insanely efficient win condition and Prison in the Lunar Lake fetcher. Couldn’t do it without Riza!
8. Are there any changes you would have made to your list, were you to be given the opportunity to replay out the tournament?
Given how rough my Val 2.0 matchups ended up, I would side a Blazer Gill Rabus. I’m not sure if it would’ve won me the games, but having that innate pressure on Val 2.0 is very helpful. I would also dedicate a few more answers to Turbo Fiethsing, but again, with only four Fiethsing players in the tournament, I would say running into one was just unlucky for me.
9. All in all, how did you like GP Collinsville?
GP Collinsville was a blast! It sucks I bubbled out to 9th, but I got to meet great new people and hang out with my awesome Ogres. Rob and Steph ran a stellar event and I plan on going to a number of other GPs in coming months! I’d like to also give a shoutout to Games N’ Geek from Northfield, Minnesota. They’re one of the best Force of Will stores, and they did a great job vending. And, lastly, a BIG shoutout to my friends and teammates Saito Marine and Gabriel Espinosa for making and testing the deck with me!

Our second interviewee, Andrew McIntyre, finished 18th with his Water/Fire/Wind aggro Charlotte build. His list and interview follow:

1. First off, please introduce yourself.
I’m a Minnesotan local, been playing Force of Will since The Moonlit Savior. My first deck was a terrible mono-Fire Alisaris budget list, but the interaction between all the cards made me fall in love with the game pretty fast. Since then, I’ve been playing variations of Stealth, Alisaris, and Aggro lists.
2. How did you prepare for GP Collinsville?
Just tried to get a few games in against most of the meta decks. Was pretty certain that Lumia/Hook, Stealth, and Valentina 2.0 would be the most popular decks, so I made sure that I knew how those decks worked.
3. Can you give a little information on your matchup spread?
The deck has an extremely good Stealth and control matchup. Typically, the speed at which the resonators deal damage and the number of burn spells can overrun them before they can get enough Stealth resonators online. Riza can be a really weak card, as it is extremely dangerous to lose 1000 life against any aggressive deck.
Valentina 3.0 (LEL) can be a problem as Space-Time Anomaly + Val triggers kill both Lancelots and 700/700 Cheshire Cats, which is extremely difficult to deal with.
Lumia/Hook is a pretty even matchup, although you have to play a very careful game in how you disrupt their game plan. Essentially it’s a race to who can establish their board the fastest.
Valentina 2.0 (TTW) is also pretty favored. The strength of Val 2.0 is being able to out-grind control decks with a hard to deal with, extremely powerful win condition. However, the aggro deck can pump out early Cheshire Cats and Lancelots that outrace their wincon by a considerable margin.
I think the worst matchup is likely Fox, as they can land huge resonators pretty early that can easily block powerhouses of the deck.
4. Let’s start with the obvious question. Only two aggro decks made it into the top 32 at GP Collinsville. As one of those two, what choices did you make that you feel allowed your deck to remain competitive in a way that other aggro decks could not?
Charlotte and Cheshire Cat. Cheshire Cat is the most powerful resonator in the deck as it can get swiftness off of 13 different resonators in the deck. Getting flying off Flame Sprite and getting Precision and First Strike off Pricia is extremely strong. Never underestimate this card.
Charlotte, on the other hand, is a little less obvious. One of the major issues with Lunya and Sylvia in the past is the lack of pressure once the hand is empty and the J-ruler has landed. Charlotte’s enter trigger is the most powerful effect in the entire deck, and on average it draws 3.5-4 cards. The problem with Charlotte in an aggressive deck like this is her 400 ATK, but Laevateinn can get around this pretty easily. I have often swung for 1600, 1800 points of damage with Charlotte by just banishing my resonators for lethal damage.
5. “Slayer of the Overlord, Pricia // Possessor Princess of Love, Valentina” is very unique for an aggro build. Which side did you use it for, if not both, and how helpful was it for you during the tournament?
Both sides of this card can be pretty important, but the Valentina side of this card can win games that I have no business winning. Stealing Fox’s Chimeras and Arthur can swing the game heavily in your favor, and with 4 Guinevere and 4 Laevateinn, it is extremely easy to get the trigger to activate. Pricia usually has a lower impact on the game, but killing Sacred Elf or chump blockers like Tama, Perceval, and Monkey Trapped in Life can get some extra early damage in.
6. With six 3-drop Fire resonators (4 “Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame” and 2 “Athena, Titan of Revenge”), what considerations led you to decide not to run “Flame King’s Shout” in your deck?
Mainly because almost every fire resonator in the deck already has swiftness. The power of Flame King’s Shout is in giving swiftness to resonators like Urthr and Flame Dragon of Altea. It might be possible to add something like 1 Urthr, 2 Flame Dragon of Altea and 3 Flame King’s Shout, but I believe it slows the deck down too much to warrant their inclusion.
7. What card or cards was/were the stars of your deck during the tournament?
Laevateinn. It probably goes without saying, but this is the most powerful regalia in the game. It can add 1200, 1400 damage to your J-Ruler for zero will, and extra copies can produce will. I have won many games in testing by flipping Charlotte, drawing an additional copy of Laev, and discarding it to produce will for a lethal Lightning Strike or Blood Boil.
Also, Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo. Giving Charlotte Flying won me 2 or 3 games all on its own. Would seriously consider playing 2 in the future.
8. Are there any changes you would have made to your list, were you to be given the opportunity to replay out the tournament?
Like I mentioned, would likely move up to 2 copies of Apollo, likely cutting a copy of Athena or a maindeck Blood Boil. Other than that, the deck performed as it did in testing, and it is extremely fast and quite consistent.
9. All in all, how did you like GP Collinsville?
Tournament was great. Quick rounds, no issues, great venue, well-organized. Had a ton of fun making the road trip out there and will easily go back if they decide to host another Force of Will GP in Collinsville next year.

That’s it for today, rulers! If you would like to see more GP player interviews in the future, please let me know! Until then, keep testing and I hope to see you at the next American GP!
~ Stephanie Shaw