Hey all, tournament champion Gregbot here. A new patch went live as I was writing this, which has made the release of this post a bit awkward, but I wanted to give a few thoughts on my tournament experience and my approach to the previous patch that ended up leading to victory.
I don’t claim to be the best SBB player out there by any stretch of the imagination, and I very clearly had favorable RNG that was a big contributor to my string of wins, but while playing this patch I think I was able to directly level up my game in a way that has made me a much better player in general rather than just being skilled under a particular set of game conditions, and it’s an experience that I want to share with the community.
I want to demonstrate this by talking about dwarves, the MVPs of the tournament. This should come as no surprise to anyone who watched my games in the top 8, but what you didn’t see is that every single 1st place I earned during the whole tournament was with dwarves, as well as most of the 2nds/3rds. Dwarves were very powerful on this patch, but the ideal play pattern for dwarves was a little different from what we have seen in the past.
Dwarves on the February patch (and I suspect this will continue on the current patch) are very much a late game composition while actually being rather weak in the midgame outside of Tweedle Dee. Veteran players of SBB might have a tough time letting go of the vision of dwarves being the kings of the linear midgame that fall off hard compared to other late game comps, but if you just try to assemble a critical mass of dwarves you are going to fall flat more often than not. The majority of my games actually did not lock into dwarves until level 6, which feels weird to say based on SBB’s history but that’s just the current state of the game. I think Dwarves were the overall optimal build to get into when considering the combination of ease of assembling them and late game power, so I always had them on my mind even if I wasn’t playing them yet.
This is a general outline I had in the back of my head while I was playing:
Spec on Fanny on level 2 if I’m not offered any clearly powerful plays and see if I can pick up some dwarves for early tempo. There is almost nothing at level 2 that can provide as much raw power as Fanny, so even though you don’t hit other dwarves every time I think it’s worth the risk to take them.
Just spend gold efficiently on level 3. Pick up dwarves if I have the Fannies but even if I have a board full of dwarves, don’t tunnel on them, they aren’t very powerful.
Take Tweedle Dee very highly if I see one on level 4, but don’t roll for it specifically, just continue spending gold in the best direction I’m offered. Also try to get into Sporko/Lady of the Lake. Aside from being game changing with Tweedle they are just very powerful options for a wide variety of comps right now.
Continue taking Tweedles on level 5 if I see them. Avoid Angry unless I am solidly in dwarves already with good treasure support.
At level 6 I’m hopefully already in a solid composition, but even if I’m not I should have some Tweedles/Fannies laying around that can enable a quick Lordy if I find one before any other key centerpieces.
It’s impossible to outline a general strategy for Storybook Brawl since there are so many overlapping decisions, so I can’t account for every scenario with a few bullet points, but if you look at the general idea of the outline above the core concept is staying flexible. Tweedle is such a powerful midgame character that he can buy you the time you need to find your way into the best build available to you while leaving a full dwarf comp open as a level 6 transition rather than an early commitment.
I think this is a particularly important concept to keep in mind. I’ve seen several of the top players who have had difficulty climbing on this patch claim that on this patch you need to commit to a comp by early level 4 and hope you high roll, but I’ve actually found this meta to reward flexibility more than anything else. Previous metas have had many of the key 6 drops lead you into a direction to build around since the builds didn't really function without them, but in this meta the highest impact characters slot right into a specific board and immediately push the power level over the top. This means if you have the infrastructure to support either a Jorm or a Lordy, whichever you hit first, even if you aren’t quite as strong as if you hard committed to either build you are going to have a much higher chance of reaching your ideal end game by leaving your options open until you’re able to look for the real powerhouses.
I use this example specifically because there were tournament games where I had a core of Riverwish Mermaid + Lightning Dragon + Tweedle Dee along with a few other supporting pieces going into level 6.
The “Slorves” build may be a meme, but if you think of it as leaving your options open for either slay or dwarves instead of committing to a crazy hybrid, I think it’s actually a powerful strategy. I ended up finding the dwarf pieces in most of my tournament games, but I’m confident that I put myself in a position for multiple outs for high place finishes regardless of whether I found Lordys or not, while if I had committed to one build or the other earlier I would have had a much higher chance of flopping.
I think what this patch and this tournament taught me is that I always need to be ready to fundamentally re-evaluate how I approach Storybook Brawl if I want to stay at the top end of competitive play. I want to give a special thanks to Alex Wice’s 5k MMR tournament series for leading me to this point as well. I felt a lot of negativity about this patch just like many other players at the beginning, buy my mediocre performance in that tournament was what caused me to take a critical look at my gameplay and realize that I was approaching the game with an outdated perspective, and that I needed to adapt if I wanted to keep moving forward. This is a game where high rolls exist, and any individual game can be blamed on luck, but with how punishing the MMR gains are at high rating there’s a reason why a handful of players can consistently rise to the top and there’s always a way to join them yourself if you keep an open mind.