Interview w/ Maxime Solemn | BRO 2021 NA Top 8 | Granblue | #BRO2021

Today we have a Cardfighter Spotlight! I’ll be having the opportunity to interview the Granblue player that accomplished Top 8 in the Bushiroad Rumble Online (BRO) 2021 NA for the Premium format! His name is Maxime Solemn and is from Belgium! Let’s get right into the interview!

Interview

Jaime: First off, congratulations to Maxime Solemn (aka Solemn Vanguard) for getting Top 8 in the Bushiroad Rumble Online (BRO) 2021 NA! When I saw the results and you were playing our beloved clan Granblue, I was happy to see Granblue being represented. Today I wanted to do an interview with you about your overall experience. Sounds good amigo?

Solemn: Sounds great! Thank you!

Jaime: Also, welcome back to a 2nd interview! I’ll link your prior interview here so readers can also get a chance to read your prior success and even where you came from. So without further ado, let’s start!

During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.

Solemn: My assumption was that the meta would be largely Overlord, Regalia, Luard, Ezel, OTT, Highlander BT, and Granblue. I was also aware of the other WCC players bringing Nightmare Dolls and/or Eradicators so I wanted to ensure I did not auto-lose those matchups either.

If my deck could reliably beat those most-played decks whilst also having a solid matchup vs those other 2, I considered it a success.

Jaime: That’s a great prediction going into the event while still preparing as much for the WCC matchups! What made you decide on Granblue to play with? Why a more Beatrice focused variant?

Solemn: I knew Nightmare Dolls was the best deck but I trusted myself more to play Granblue optimally for many hours in a row. I also believed Granblue would lose to variance less often, as a random sack from the opponent doesn’t necessarily make you lose. Big hands definitely help there. I chose Beatrice because it’s the control variant and I prefer control playstyles.

Deck Link:
https://decklog-en.bushiroad.com/view/Q09Y

Jaime: Awesome, let’s dive into your deck list. Tommy the Ghostie stood out since you played 3 copies. Did the cards value increased since you’re playing the G3 Heal Guardians? I also see that you’re playing interesting ratios of 2, with cards such as Ellenia, Colombard, and Greed Shade. Especially for cards like Colombard and Greed Shade. Were those ratios key for specific scenarios? How did it work out for you?

Solemn: Tommie’s value absolutely rose tremendously because of heal guardians. If it wasn’t for those, I probably wouldn’t have run them. Heal guardians are the #1 way to survive vs some of these faster decks.

I ran Colombard and Greed Shade at 2 to make room for Agleo and Ellenia. Those were mostly 10k bodies to ride vs certain matchups. From there, it was mostly figuring out which skills sucked the least. Ellenia was definitely MVP. I forgot a lot of my games from the day but just vividly remember thinking “damn, I’m so happy I picked Ellenia over Hendrina” haha.

Jaime: It’s definitely something that really stuck out! I remember seeing your Twitter comment about Outer Orange being a part of the church of 2 Colombard LOL!

I also saw your 1 hour in-depth deck profile and you highlighted some major points about those Stoicheia cards. I also see that you’ve included an interesting ratio of Perfect Guard cards, with cards such as Waterspout Djinn, Rollock, and the 1 Draw PG. What were some key things that made you feel to have these particular cards? In the tournament, can you give an example?

Solemn: Waterspout Djinn’s CC was very important to me. I wanted the ability to CC during my opponent’s turn (especially since without Zarzan, Tear got much worse).

The singular draw PG was because Negronora can’t cheat out G1 Djinn (it only works when placed from hand).

I honestly can’t think of a single good example of the tournament itself because I simply used this CC the whole day. It’s really that good. If I didn’t have it, I would’ve absolutely noticed and probably not even have made top 8. (Just like with the Ellenia, I vividly remember thinking “Damn, I’m glad this isn’t Dolph” haha)

Jaime: Great points and it makes a lot of sense, especially since Tear did get affected by the loss of Zarzan. Plus you appreciate being able to CC during your opponent’s turn without needing to use Negrolily-Beatrice-Grenache. I see you’re playing Nightrose, Nightmist, Agleo, Ghost Ship, Negrobone, Belle, Urjula, Grenache (G Era), OG Obadiah, and Sebreeze. Interesting 1 of’s, can you elaborate why you came to those choices/ratios? Any other card choices you’d like to point out?

Solemn:

  • Rose is for a stronger bounty turn.
  • Nightmist is for an EVEN STRONGER bounty turn, haha!
  • Agleo makes Big Obadiah/Galleon turns stronger (but was mostly in there for the 10k ride).
  • Ghost ship is the ideal colombard and first stride attacker.
  • Negrobone generates a rear guard on the bounty turn.
  • Belle is to counter Narukami.
  • Urjula is to counter denial griffin-like strategies, as well as heal guardians, as well as Formido (to protect Honoly from Nightmare Dolls’ board wipe), as well as Gredora’s columnn call lock. (It’s a very versatile card hha).
  • Grenache is the best counter charger in the game (RIP Zinc).
  • Original Obadiah is the only first stride that does something without counter blast.
  • Sebreeze is great after an extended grade 2 game (especially against Luard).

Jaime: Awesome thanks for explaining those card choices. With this build, what was your winning image for most of your games? Like did you have a setup, game state, or strategy that you focused on?

Solemn: In an ideal game, I would set up with Big Obadiah and then follow up with a Nightmist-Breakride-By-Nightrose-After-Bad-Bounty turn. It’s essentially the highest impact turn Granblue has access to.

In most matchups we can win without the Nightmist, but if the Granblue mirror slows down too much, or Highlander is given too much time to farm, or Nightmare Dolls was able to farm too much hand due to us having to deny them for too long, they can creep out of kill range without Nightmist.

Jaime: Nightmist does add a lot to the impact. I’m impressed there are decks that can still live if they build a big enough hand. During your games, which decks/clans did you face?

Solemn: I honestly forgot most (I’m so sorry, I recall most of my opponents being super nice :’) ) . I was super ill and had only slept 3 hours the night before. By the end of the NA tournament, I had been awake for 24 hours (despite only sleeping 3 hours before that) and so many rounds are kind of a blur now.

Jaime: Wow, you were awake for 24 hours and had only 3 hours of sleep beforehand?! That’s insane, kudos to you for still being able to focus and think through your games. Was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.

Solemn: In my top 8 match, I had to face my teammate, Mark, playing Nightmare Dolls. That game was streamed and it was honestly amusing how few people were aware of the intricacies of that matchup.

The way Granblue wins that matchup is overguarding early, denying damage, riding up, then staying at 2 damage, then doing an Obadiah for setup, pushing them to higher damage, tanking everything and then Bad Bountying them for game.

Everything looked to be ready for that gameplan until disaster struck; my single Honoly went into my damage zone. This meant that I could never stay at 2 damage on his first stride.

I saw this Honoly go into damage and instantly realized “wow, this changes the entire game and almost no one will ever know”, so on the spot I had to switch the plan from passive denial to aggressive bash.

I did my ride-up with my 2 rears to front and essentially had to bank on a first stride Bad Bounty gamble. I then proceed to overtrigger+crit. A solid chunk of the audience saw “wow, so lucky, nice sack” but were totally unaware that the game had mostly already been decided the second that Honoly went to damage.

Because my rears were in the front and The Honoly being healed out by blessfavor put me at 0 damage, there was actually no way to call out the Honoly on Mark’s turn. He’s a WCC player (who also tests with a great Granblue player, Kelvin) so was simply gonna kill my rears before I could do anything with Negrolily.

This made me push all the crits to Vanguard and thus truly commit to the aggressive gamble. Sadly, his hand was stacked with draw PGs and heals so he was able to survive the Bad Bounty.

This isn’t a story of an epic turnaround or anything, but it’s a really nice way of illustrating how deep Premium can really go. If you didn’t play this matchup a ridiculous amount of times, it’s very easy to not be aware of all these little intricacies.

Jaime: Wow, that was really insightful, thanks for sharing those small moments! I definitely saw that it was a very specific scenario when you damaged the Honoly and also resolve an Over Trigger. During your games, what is something that you appreciated about your deck from the preparation you’ve done? The strategy of it, consistency, power, plays, etc.

Solemn: Honestly? Everything. I’ve never been this proud of a deck. It’s weird to say that since I made “only” top 8 with this deck but have gotten first places at major events with other decks, but I truly feel I have never made a list as optimal as this one before.

It’s even better than my Top 4 Springfest Online Beatrice Control list was. Every card has a deeply-tested purpose and every ratio can be explained (despite many people questioning how weird it looks haha). All of it just flows incredibly naturally. It’s truly a joy to play.

Jaime: That’s very important to feel proud about the work and effort you’ve done to solidify a deck and hone your skills with it too. How many rounds were in the tournament? How was your record throughout? Was there a Top 8?

Solemn: There were 8 rounds of swiss. I went 7-1. I actually lost the second round of the day so I had to win 6 games in a row after that powering through illness and exhaustion haha.

Jaime: Again kudos to you for pushing through even when you didn’t feel 100%. How was your last game?

Solemn: That was the Nightmare Dolls games vs Mark.

Jaime: After the tournament, did you take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experience?

Solemn: In terms of reflection, I honestly only think of that top 8 match. I have replayed it a few times in my head with different game plans, but my conclusion remains that the damaged Honoly decided the outcome.

Any other “out” or “win-con” depended on ridiculous amounts of defensive trigger sack on my end that I shouldn’t assume could’ve reliably happened.

I think as far as lessons go, it’s the same answer as last time. Certain hard lessons I learned in 2019 (not trying to over-tech, not trying to over-predict the room, not trying to be too big brain with certain choices that simply decrease the consistency of the deck) still ring true and not allowing myself to fall into those “bad habits” again gives me more consistent results.

It’s ironic to say this, given that most people looking at my list would argue it’s ridiculously over-teched, but if you saw what the original 12 iterations looked like, you’d understand this is FAR more down to earth haha.

Jaime: I would also agree that overthinking a metagame or card choices is usually bad. I also remind myself to keep it simple. Would you like to do any shout-outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journey?

Solemn: For sure! Noman from team WCC was my primary testing partner. I also tested a lot with the rest of WCC but that was mostly for the general meta and not this deck in particular.

The last few days before the event, I also tested with Bram (Radiant Vanguard) so I also big love for him. Obviously also shoutouts to everyone who supported me, the awesome players I faced and the organizers of the event.

Jaime: That’s great stuff! I’m sure your amigos are happy and excited about your accomplishment! Just one more question and we’ll be done amigo. While preparing with Granblue, did you use/see any social media to help you solidify your build? Such as blogs, YouTube videos/channels, Facebook, Reddit, etc.

Solemn: As always, I watched every Premium deck profile that was uploaded since the ban list and I read the blog just in case I missed any spice (though a bit unlikely since I read the entire Granblue/Cray Elemental/Stoicheia cardpool at least once a month haha).

Jaime: Wow, the entire cardpool haha! Now that’s dedication! Thanks again for joining me in this interview!

Solemn: Thank you for the interview invitation. It was a pleasure to do this!

Jaime: I wish you the best and hope to see more from you in the metagame! Till next time amigos!

Takeaways

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview! I just wanted to highlight some takeaways that can help players out!

When Disaster Strikes

Solemn mentioned, “Everything looked to be ready for that gameplan until disaster struck; my single Honoly went into my damage zone. This meant that I could never stay at 2 damage on his first stride.

Sometimes our plans don’t always go the way we like them to go. It’s tough too. Solemn did his best to adapt to the situation and hope for the best.

When we have those moments, it’s still important to keep cool and play to your best. Even if it doesn’t work out the way we expected.

It happened to me last Springfest in the Finals! I played Fenrir, and I had to misride into a Vanargandr against the Nue Daio Murakumo match-up!

Remember The Lessons You’ve Learned

Solemn also mentioned, “I think as far as lessons go, it’s the same answer as last time. Certain hard lessons I learned in 2019 (not trying to over-tech, not trying to over-predict the room, not trying to be too big brain with certain choices that simply decrease the consistency of the deck) still ring true and not allowing myself to fall into those “bad habits” again gives me more consistent results.

It’s still important to remember the lessons you’ve learned already. It does suck when we do the same mistake more than once. But sometimes we need to go through it and really learn from it.

But overall, it’s great to remember those key moments to assure us for future success. It served Solemn well.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again for reading this Cardfighter Spotlight article! It’s great to see an awesome Cardfighter like Solemn achieving Top 8! Thanks again to Solemn for joining us today as well! Till next time amigos!

Feel free to watch his 1 hour long in-depth deck profile! A master piece!

Solemn’s Social Media:

Commander Jaime’s Social Media:

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