DuelCircle Competitive: Blaine Spellwraith Reflects on Spring 2023
As the anticipation for the DuelCircle 2023 Fall Split builds up, Julianna SparkleFountain had the privilege to catch up with Blaine SpellWraith, the victorious champion of the 2023 DuelCircle Competitive Spring Split.
Blaine shares his reflections, strategies, and perspective of the evolving PvP meta in this exclusive interview below.
How does it feel to be the champion of 2023’s Spring Split? Can you describe your emotions after winning?
Blaine: I don’t let my emotions show when winning, but I can understand the significance of winning the 2023 DuelCircle Spring Split tournament. I am pleased with the outcome and the successful strategies I employed to secure the victory. Winning brings a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, and I am content with the results of the tournament. This will be my third win in the DuelCircle tournament and I hope to keep winning in the future.
What was the most challenging match you faced during the tournament, and how did you overcome it?
Blaine: I believe all matches were fun and equal and sometimes just not pulling the right cards at the right time costed me a few matches. There was not much for me to do but just prepare better gear and deck before the match started.
One of the few things I noticed a shift in gameplay dynamics due to the absence of shadow spells. I noticed that participants appeared to adopt a more aggressive approach, possibly influenced by the expectation from rank matches where spells deal 1/3 of your health.
My strategic advantage in this context stemmed from my long-standing engagement with DuelCircle and many other non-shadow tournaments all the way from my first tournament in 2009. Hence, I was better equipped to navigate the altered combat and exploit the evolving tactics of opponents.
Can you take us through your preparation and training routine leading up to the tournament?
Blaine: I am quite the perfectionist; I aimed for the best gear with a flawless pet, down to the last jewel. It’s fascinating to note that there were individuals who consistently maintained resistances that were 20-30 points below the limit, perhaps unaware of the considerable cost it incurred.
Considering that a damage over time lasted for 3 rounds and the initial hit itself, a mere deficiency of 25 flat resistance could result in 100 less damage from EACH damage over time spell casted. If you do the math, with the amount of spells casted you could have tanked 1 or 2 more hits before losing. I was spending most of my time just collecting the right pieces of gear.
Were there any specific strategies or techniques you employed in the tournament that you believe contributed to your success?
Blaine: I possess a character representing each school within the game. When I engage with an opponent, my typical approach involves adopting the school they are using. I then attempt to emulate their gear choices and spells they would use. This, in turn, helped me think of different gambits that I needed to use and sometimes a completely different pet to counter dual schooling.
My ultimate goal is to leverage my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses to my advantage by crafting a well-informed approach that optimizes my chances of success.
What advice would you give to aspiring PvP players who want to follow in your footsteps?
Blaine: From my viewpoint, Wizard101 is a simplified variation of chess with an added element of luck. Reflecting on my experiences in the tournament, a number of my losses can be attributed to one major factor: not pulling a shield, and consequently, it cost me a few matches. There will always be luck, and no matter how well you play, the RNG just gets to you, and the best way to improve is to just keep playing.
Can you share a particularly memorable moment or highlight from the tournament that stands out to you?
Blaine: Conversely, the highlight of my matches came towards the end when I faced Seth SunHeart. Interestingly, Kingsisle made a last-minute card alteration to the 9 pip balance jinn that unexpectedly played to my advantage. This alteration allowed me to gain the upper hand in the final few matches of the tournament, leading to my domination in those last few rounds.
KI has recently been working on a lot of different changes to the current PvP meta and advanced content meta; what’s your overall take, and how do their changes impact your preparations within the DC Competitive scene?
Blaine: It’s quite refreshing to witness Kingsisle’s active involvement in shaping the current PvP and advanced content meta. The fact that they are consistently introducing changes adds a dynamic element to the gameplay, keeping things exciting and unpredictable. While these alterations certainly influence the strategies of many within the DC Competitive scene, I personally find that my preparations won’t necessarily change drastically.
I believe in a solid foundation of preparation that encompasses adaptable strategies and a deep understanding of the game mechanics. This allows me to remain competitive regardless of the evolving meta. While the changes may introduce new elements to consider, my core approach remains centered around pregame prep and an ability to read the flow of the match.
From all of us at DuelCircle Media, congratulations to Blaine on winning the 2023 DuelCircle Competitive Spring Split. We would like to give a huge thank you to Blaine for taking the time to share his invaluable perspective and experiences.
The 2023 Fall Split begins Saturday, October 14th. Learn more about the tournament and enter to compete, here.
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