An interview with Petrify
Petrify sat down with us and shared his thoughts on his experience in the SeatStory Cup X, grinding through the qualifiers, as well as what it was like when Valve dropped a patch in the middle of the tournament! Faced with a major balance change, players had to adapt quickly and partially predict the future, assuming the meta would develop a specific way.
Petrify was able to build a Red/Black deck at the beginning of the third day, tailoring it specifically for the Mono Blue matchup. During his Bracket stage, he faced three consecutive Mono Blue decks, all the way to the finals, where he lost to Hyped in a tense game five in a best of five series!
What was it like playing through the qualifiers?
Petrify - I had an easy time through the NA qualifiers, I don’t think I dropped a single game. The NA bracket had very few people in it so it was pretty quick and short for a tournament. I had a pretty good run and good draws, so it went well.
How was Krefeld, Germany?
Petrify - I had to take a 27 hour flight from Australia. It was a long flight and I definitely felt it. Thinking about it now, I don’t really think it affected my game play that much. On the webcam during the tournament, there was a shot where I was slapping myself to stay awake. I've been to Germany before, in Berlin, but Krefeld was disgusting, I had the worst time there. The people were fine and the TakeTV Studio was nice, but I don't like Krefeld.
During the Group stage, you had to face Complexity's Mryagut?
Petrify - We practice together and we talk about deck lists. Leading up to the WePlay qualifiers and this qualifiers, we spent some time playtesting together. I wasn’t expecting him to bring Blue/Green Combo, since prior to the TakeTV SeatStory Cup X, we didn’t practice since we were in the same Group. We knew we would have to play one another.
I played with Shaggy as well, he’s a friend of mine. He’s one of my playtesting partners, and had been practicing a lot with Mono Blue, even prior to Patch 1.2. Because of my matches against him, I wasn't that afraid of Mono Blue.
So you played in Day one, prior to the 1.2 patch, how did you feel about your Red/Blue deck?
Petrify - I wouldn’t say I was too confident with Red/Blue, for example I didn’t think I could beat Red/Green. I figured most people would be playing that, maybe 1 or 2 in my group. And hopefully I could dodge them in the group stage and make it through. When the tournament started, I saw only 1 person was playing Red/Green, Gaara, and I did lose to him. I was pretty close to not playing Red/Blue because I think it has some bad matchups, specifically Red/Green.
After the patch hit, what were your first thoughts?
Petrify - So, I got up to go the restroom at around 5 AM. My brother texted me about the patch and I was worried about my Red/Blue deck. In the hotel with freddybabes, I woke him up when I went to the restroom. We both were like, "What the fuck?" and talked about the changes. "Blue didn’t get any nerfs"m we thought. Because of that, our first reaction was Mono Blue was going to be stronger and probably popular at the tournament. After we talked, we went right back to sleep.
While falling asleep, I was thinking about deck lists, what I would play, and how it would perform against Mono Blue. Next morning, I go to the studio and everyone was panicking in group B, trying to figure decks out. I was fortunate to have Day Two, sitting on the sidelines, watching the meta and continue thinking about an Anti-Mono Blue deck list.
The funniest moment was when freddybabes came to the TakeTV studio and he turns to me and says, "Wait, those were actual nerfs? I thought I dreamed that!"
What were your thoughts on Group B?
Petrify - I was surprised that people were still playing , because she is terrible in almost everything after the 1.2 changes. I was also surprised how little people changed their lists overall, I guess they didn’t have enough time to react. Red/Green didn’t change deck lists much at all. One combo player had to change a lot. Mono Blue people didn’t even touch their lists, as far as I knew.
Everyone thought we needed at least 2 in the deck. I think you shouldn't even run 1 anymore, it’s not that good in Red/Black. Mostly because it’s only good when there are a lot of debuffs in the meta, and there's not a whole lot right now.
I think should get changed, either losing Pierce or costing a little more. In the current meta, there isn’t a lot of debuffs for it to be that good. Best case scenario, you get to take off or .
Even against stuff like or , I'd rather play , and get more value than . In Red/Green, however, is great for mirrors, making Jasper Daggers much more relevant in that deck. I think I won a game or two because it Pierced through armor on towers. I really think the card should lose the Pierce key word.
Day Three, you chose a unique Red/Black List, why that?
Petrify - First thought I had was is really good now, he eats Blue Heroes alive. is extremely good versus Blue Heroes, because they don't have armor and low Health value. Since Health is really important versus Blue, I knew how important would be against that matchup. can’t kill everything now. Xixo was running and , but those Heroes gets wrecked by .
I knew I wanted to play a list with high Health Heroes. Either Red/Green or Red/Black. I was extremely close to playing Red/Green Ramp and freddy was like, "Dont do it" because I don't have much experience in the mirror match. Since both Ekop and Gaara were playing Red/Green prior, I doubted I would be able to best them in a mirror.
First round was against EG's Swim, what were your thoughts on that series?
Petrify - In Game One, we didn't have noise cancelling headphones in and I could hear everything the casters were saying. The casters were always talking about my hand and never talking about Swim's. So I was thinking to myself, Swim probably knows what’s in my hand because of the Casters. Because of this, I purposefully played sub-optimal cards, which weren't what the casters were talking about during Game 1 to try and out maneuver Swim and do things the Casters weren't talking about. After I lost Game 1, I went to Tournament Organizers on tilt, asking them to fix the situation.
In Game Two, I didn’t get any good flop kills. Thinking about it now, pretty much in all my games versus Swim and Hyped I didn't get good flops, which is actually pretty low odds of happening. Flop really matters versus Mono Blue, so you can get your early enough to get value against them.
I wasn’t worried too much versus Swim, because once we got the noise cancelling headphones, I wasn’t freaking out about my hand. didn’t help all that much, I picked one up in a game that I was already winning. In another game in this series, it did help me close the game out.
I've also been focusing on playing faster, which puts all the burden of time on my opponent. People will overthink really small decisions, even in the early game. Cloak this Hero or this Hero? is usually a bigger decision, but spending so much time thinking about small plays in the early game might only change the odds of winning by 1% or 2%. But then players are running low on time by the end of the game, when decisions can 100% win or lose you a game, and they have to rush through those decisions. So, I've been practicing players faster through my matches, for this reason.
How was your match versus Tomas in Top 4?
Petrify - Flop was good versus Tomas, and I think he was inexperienced with the Mono Blue deck, in comparison to Swim. In one game, he even timed out and later said he didn't have too much experience with tournament timer, since he also didn't play in the closed Beta Phase. I had a really big edge that series, great flops and great draws.
I was also really happy playing Tomas in Top 4, because it kind of disproves what a lot of people had been saying up to that point, that only people in the Closed Beta were going to dominate the pro scene. Tomas played through the Qualifiers and made it all the way to Top 4 at SeatStory Cup X, so I was happy for him.
In your grueling best-of-5 series against Hyped, how did you feel it was going for you?
Petrify - When I was up 2-1, I didn’t feel like I had it. In the third game in the series, I think it was one of the best games of Artifact ever streamed. I was dead for two turns straight and I had a very small chance to get back into it. Hyped was really outplaying me, but I was able to get a good to get me back in the game.
I knew it was going to be hard to win a third game. In the last few games of the series, I had a feeling I was going to win one of them, surely I would get a good flop or a strong opening hand, but I never did. After each game, I would just focus on the next one, and even though I was up 2-1, I didn't get distracted thinking about winning the tournament. I just tried to stay as focused as I could.
Do you think 's Multi-Cast had a big impact on this series?
Petrify - In terms of Multi-Cast, it's not a huge problem, but it feels so bad. I think it should absolutely be changed. In the fourth game, Hyped Multi-Casted twice. And I have nothing in my deck to deal with it, so it’s the best card versus me in his deck.
One suggestion I’ve heard, which I think might be the best solution for Multi-Cast, is drawing the copied spell from the deck, instead of creating a new copy. That way, instead of getting 5 , Hyped would have just drawn one from his deck. In that scenario, all those Mono Blue players running a single copy of , won't get another free copy. I would really like to see Valve implements that change.
But overall, Mono Blue has more balance problem than Multi-Cast. is a big one for me. A lot of people talk about , but honestly I think it is fine. however, has the best stats in the game for Blue Heroes. Yeah, her total stats aren't very high, but comparing her to every other Blue Hero, just out tiers them all, by a very wide margin. She also has one of the best signature cards in Blue and likely the best Passive ability. I’ve even suggested she has only 1 attack, but that wouldn't really change much. The problem is her 12 Health, obviously.
Were there any moments that you thought you might have misplayed?
I think the last game versus Hyped was very winnable, he actually won by Runner-runner-runner, by drawing the cards he needed all in a row, He got , , , . He got them all off the top of the deck and had he missed any of one of those draw steps, I think I would have ended up winning the game. Which is pretty annoying, but hey, that's card games.
Looking back, I could have kept pressuring the third tower, but I had to my out. He did have an there, but had I left , maybe I could have maybe forced an there. Superjj pointed this out to me, and I didn't think about it during the match, but I do appreciate getting the perspective after.
Overall, so many tiny, small decisions will end up all adding up to the conclusion of the game, like using here or there, this or that, I don't think there is anything I can point to specifically and say, I should have done this instead. And that's why I really hope we get Replays from Valve, allowing us to go back and analyze a game closer, reflecting on each decision.
What are your thoughts on the Patch 1.2 Skill ratings and Account leveling?
Petrify - I’m like level 11 or something, just streaming when I’m off work. I really like the Profile portraits, but I do think we need to get more experience per win. In general, I feel like Valve kind of rushed this out, so I’m not expecting it to be perfect right away.
As for the 1 to 75 ranking system, there isn’t really a way to tell your exact MMR. The DotA MMR system would be fine in Artifact, in my opinion. I think the current system is kind of set up to favor a more grinding approach, instead of a true test of skill. After enough time, I think the average rank will probably be like 40 or something.
Editor's Note: At the time of posting this article, Petrify is now rank 72 in Constructed, which I believe is the highest in the world.
Thank you for your time, any shoutouts? And where can people follow you?
Petrify - Thanks to Complexity for sending me to the tournament and supporting me.