Interview with Zac Smithson
Hello Force of Will Players, this is Roger here and I got a chance to sit down with Zac Smithson after placing first seed going into Top 8 at Grand Prix Richardson.
Roger: First things first, congratulations on your top 8! When you got there in the morning, did you think you would get to top 8?
Zac: I thought I had a good chance if I could fight all pricia decks and I got 6 out of 8 in swiss so that was nice.
Roger: So the plan was to hopefully get through fiethsing. What made you chose to play fiethsing over pricia?
Zac: im really familiar with the deck and felt good about any match up. also i felt like it was the only deck to give pricia a run for her money. also i didnt wanna flip a coin all day with pricia mirrors.
Roger: Playing something that you know is always important. What made you feel good about the pricia match up? What cards turn this match up in your favor?
Zac: just straight up gwibers and other big flying threats. it becomes really hard to otk with them on the board. gale force is also really strong because of them having to give thier guys flying. sided in 2 every game agaisnt her with my 1 main board.
Roger: You were one of the only players opting to not run Alice's Scout. Did having the divine bird of attoractia help turn this match in your favor compared to the scout? Why did you choose to go this route?
Zac: going in i though the flying would help up the percentage of not dying on turn two or being able to have a bocker with a gaint on the field. all in all it worked fine but having to adombrali 2 greens always felt bad. id probably go back to scout.
Roger: Makes sense. In testing for the tournament, what all did you test against and how did you go about preparing?
Zac: i tested against pricia a lot of course and also gill which i never saw. i tried many things like secluded elvish village for pricia and magic sweets for control but they always felt dead in hand. i was back and forth over maining blazer or not but i ended up siding him.
Roger: Those are some interesting tech choices. You mentioned earlier that had no bad match ups, why do you say this? What in your testing proved this to you?
Zac: fiethsing has a bad match up against val 3 and fox yes.. but i knew val 3 wouldnt be very heavily played because of Gill. and fox is a very hard fight until blazer and trident came out. those cards are amazing agaisnt fox. the main has a good match up against any not control deck because of how fast it is. as far as control siding in blazer and seal of wind and lights and hook just overwhelm them.
Roger: That is some awesome insight. Did this evidence hold true though out the event?
Zac: yes i only saw one val 3 somewhere in the low tables (thankfully lol) and i didnt see any lilias either. i never fought a control player so i cant tell you if my testing was accurate or not on that saddly.
Roger: What was your favorite match of the day?
Zac: round 8 for sure! it was pricia like I've never seen pricia before. Victor Harris also top 8 and a sweet deck with a single hook and kaguyas new stone in it. he is an amzing player and did things i never seen any other player do with the deck. he also main boarded destructive assault, gust, and the mary bell regalia. i ended up winning in time with a single point of damage from a token lol
Roger: Sounds like an awesome match. What was your toughest match up of the day?
Zac: not including top 8? umm again this goes to Victor round 8. i tested a lot but i had to think on the fly against him.
Roger: Including top 8 is fine. What made that match up rough? Was it simply just the tech choices he went with in the mainboard? Did you feel like those turned the match in his favor?
Zac: umm no disrespect to any other player but he just played the deck really well. yes his tech choices definitely gave him an edge. well if top 8 is fine then my match against avatar dragon was my hardest match since its the only one i lost. i didnt know what to do against the deck had no idea what i could do until the night before and didn't get to test at all agaisnt it.
Roger: I can understand that line of thought. You were the 1st seed coming out of swiss. What made the avatar match up hard? Was it the simple fact that you didnt know what he was doing or was it the deck having a natural advantage over feithsing?
Zac: it was definitely the unknown and of course he was a good player. like i know what i would do now looking back but we all do after the fact right?
Roger: Yep. I have been there myself and now will not make the same mistakes. Is this your first grand prix?
Zac: first top 8 finish. ive been to like 4 or 5 others. always finish around top 32 (not including collinville this year gross)
Roger: well you finally broke that top 32 curse. I am stuck in the top 16 curse myself. What would you say gave you the edge in this tournament compared to others? Was it your testing your did before? Did you change your methods of preparation?
Zac: i did test a lot more bit really it was the decision to take fiethsing instead of the "best" deck like i have in the past. and im not going to lie the top players not being there helped everyones chances lol
Roger: The more practice the better right. Why do you think not taking the "best" deck was the correct decision? Do you think it gave you an advantage in your games?
Zac: it seems like everytime a GP is concluded the next one is always just a bunch of the winning decks from that one which is fine if you can get use to the deck and its matchups. but i knew id see a lot of pricia because of ita tops so i wanted to play something that could beat it rather than mirror matching all day and flipping a coin to see who win ( what it feels like i could be wrong) . like i mention collinville this year where last minute i choose to play fox instead of turbo and i did the worst I've ever done there.
Roger: Seems like a good strategy. Would you advise players try to do something like this for the coming events? What is your advice for someone going into a grand prix?
Zac: yes! besure to test a lot against the latest top 8 even if an idea seems stupid you never know what you can come up with... someone has to break the new meta right? why not you lol. and be sure to sleep and eat the night before because you may not get a chance to all day like me.
Roger: Solid advice. Will we be seeing you at the coming events? I assume your are still thirsty for that paid invite.
Zac: im going to try my hardest to go to ohio! and im definitely going to las vagas for the masters event. i really wanna top again hopefully 1st this time and maybe get a chance to playtest with some of the big teams! all for glory right?
Roger: Thank you for very much for this interview and your time today! Best of luck to you and I hope to see you at future events!
Zac: Thanks ill need it!