Play like the Champion of the West Virginia Courtesan Cup

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Chase du Pont

Friendships were forged and the Realm was contested at the community-run West Virginia Courtesan Cup Qualifier on March 9th at Game Grove in Hurricane, West Virginia. Known for its supportive atmosphere, Game Grove also serves as the home base for the popular YouTube channel KitchenTable TCG and is host to the May the Zoo podcast, a broadcast dedicated to insightful TCG commentary and Hawaiian shirt modeling.

As Sorcerers battled throughout the day at this Courtesan Cup Qualifier, one champion emerged victorious to claim the title of Game Grove Champion. We caught up with event winner Noah M., better known as Azerea on the Sorcery Discord, to discuss his experience and explore the deck he piloted to victory!

Brother Against Brother

Azerea traveled from Orlando, Florida, to the event, embarking on a 13-hour drive with his brother, who also served as his primary Sorcery opponent back home. Logging over 800 miles of travel roundtrip to compete in one of Sorcery: Contested Realm's landmark events. Little did they anticipate what was to unfold. After a grueling day of navigating through intense competition in the 6-round Best of 1 Constructed format, both brothers advanced to the finals, setting the stage for a showdown between siblings for the first and second-place titles.

“Facing my brother in the final match was surreal, and honestly, it brought tears to my eyes afterward,” Azerea shares. “We had joked about reaching the top 2 throughout the entire drive up, so it was truly a dream come true when it actually happened.” Despite being frequent opponents, Azerea emphasizes, “That match was one of the closest and best games of the event, and it was the only time I’ve ever successfully pulled off the Jinn, Ghost Ship, Ultimate Horror combo.”

It was Azerea’s brother who introduced him to Sorcery: Contested Realm and who, with except one Sorcery league game on TTS, had been his sole opponent.

Play like the Champion of Hurricane, West Virginia

When it came to deck brewing, Azerea built around the subtype of Spirits, providing a thematic but effective decklist anchored around the Deathspeaker. He explains his approach below...

You can view Azerea’s' full deck list on Sorcery TCG's official deck-building site here:  1st Place @WVCCQ - Midrange Deathspeaker Spirits

Q: What is the theme behind your deck? What makes it stand out?

The theme is just reanimating powerful spirits through Ghost Ship. I had a lot of people interested in the Deathspeaker Avatar aspect of the deck. I was initially playing the Seer with it, as I wanted a bonus effect in addition to playing a site each turn, but I didn’t find the Seer to be consistent enough, so I added a Land Surveyor and changed my avatar to Deathspeaker and the deck skyrocketed in its successes.

Q: What’s your philosophy when brewing decks?

I always try to make something I find fun and interesting, no matter what TCG I'm playing. So, Spirits stood out to me because they had a lot of cool effects with Ultimate Horror, Lord of the Void, Ghost Ship, and Grim Reaper. So, I decided to build a deck based on it and keep working on it until I felt it was good enough. The deck I used in WV was probably the 8th or so iteration with many trial-and-error attempts. My general philosophy for deck building is "Make something that's fun to play" because ultimately, that's what the game is about. I was just lucky enough to stumble into something that was not only fun but strong in the current meta, which surprised everyone at the event.

Q: Key Card Choices: Tell us about some of the key cards in your deck and why you included them. How do they fit with your deck's strategy?

The key cards are Ghost Ship, Ultimate Horror, Lord of the Void, Evil Presence, and Cloud City. Ghost Ship is the core of the deck, allowing you to consistently bring back your spirits while being a big body itself.

Ultimate Horror is an extremely strong card that can summon all of our main attackers from the cemetery other than Phantasmal Shade, Nimbus Jinn, and Grim Reaper. It's a Spirit as well, so you can summon it back and get multiple Genesis triggers from Ghost Ship and even Deathspeaker if you need to. This card can just completely overwhelm your opponent with bodies all of which have 4 or more power. Even if it hits only 1 minion from the cemetery, it's huge value.

Lord of the Void seems weak at first, but it's a spirit with Voidwalk, so it can be resummoned by both Ghost Ship and Ultimate Horror. You can usually keep it in the void safe from your opponent and you're just getting rid of one of their sites each turn while potentially putting your Ghost Ship back in the void. It's especially strong against the sorcerer matchup as they tend to only have 5 or 6 mana out and would have to spend their starting draw on a site and their avatar action on playing it, going from drawing 2 spells a turn to none. If they don't do that, they eventually just run out of mana and can't do anything.

Evil Presence is an incredibly strong aura that with recent changes affects void spaces allowing it to give your Ghost Ship Charge. You can then replay it to give whatever Ghost Ship summons charge as well. Also, using it with Grim Reaper gives your opponent no chance to deal with Reaper before it can attack. It's a very powerful card that helps maintain pressure against your opponent.

Q: Having piloted it to success, are there any other tweaks you would make to the deck now?

Yes, before the event, I removed a Lightning Bolt for Whirling Blades and, after having played it, I want to add a Lightning Bolt back as I had found myself looking for it quite often during the event. I want to keep the Whirling Blades, so I might take out the Chaos Twisters for two Whirling Blades as they achieve similar goals, but Whirling Blades can do so much better. The only downsides are that they are 1 more mana cost and I need a minion in play to use it on. I wanted to run a Philosopher’s Stone, but I wasn’t able to get one before the event, so I used a Mix Aer instead. There are also a few changes to the sites I made just to make the threshold requirements more consistent. Just a quick note, I’ve made some of these minor tweaks to the list linked above!

A Bright Future

Following the West Virginia Qualifier, Azerea and his brother have started a YouTube channel to cover Sorcery: Contested Realm. Their first video? A comprehensive deck tech for the deck he played during the event. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment!

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