Today is a special day, since I’m not joined by a World Champion, but by a two-times World Champion! I’m not sure the man needs an introduction at this point, but I’ll let MrCool say something we might not know about Alex Hancox!

Hello Ned’! Thanks for having me. I guess something people may not know is I’ve been playing card games since I was… 5? Starting with Yu-Gi-Oh after seeing it on TV. My mum told me I’d grow out of them one day, and on some occasions I’ve tried to but I think it’s in my blood at this point.

You just won the title with Mono Wind and 7CP WoL deck. Wind has always been your colour, but how did you survive and make it work in such an aggressive environment?

The Wind is a funny one, as to be honest I was getting through each game by the skin of my teeth. Thankfully, while I didn’t expect to face quite so much aggro, I’ve had enough practice to know what options I have available to survive the early turns and get the Luso 7 online as soon as possible. I think too many people see Wind as a late game deck when it is capable of doing crazy things off of just two Backups with the right hand and draws.

The topic is often brought up, but how do you feel about Wind and its strengths? It can face aggro deck with two Backups, but at the same time, you’re probably never gonna lose a control battle against a non-Wind deck, usually because Zidane is just too strong there.

Whether deliberate or accidental I’m not sure, but I feel like the meta warps itself around Wind’s potential. If it has access to something like Zidane that gives you an infinite hand and win by deck out, the only choice really is to be aggressive. We saw this as early as Opus 4 Locke being played out turn 1 against Wind/Water back in the day. Cid Haze did a lot to curb early aggro for Ice/Wind , so I think people are often at a loss of how to handle it, but also very few people actually play Liao variants of Wind. This tournament was the first time I felt like people were more prepared, with mindless cards like Griever and General Rug.

With this opus centralized on aggressive decks, and given how some midrange decks performed at Worlds (looking at you, Joshua), what are your thoughts on the current meta?

Well, of course Worlds being the first event sort of defines the meta, and even in two deck format I was the only person playing a non aggro deck in the Top 4 with my Mono Wind. It certainly seems like those decks run even smoother than usual, but I think they’re also just a lot more comfortable to play when, even at the World Championship, people are still trying to figure out a lot in a short space of time. Some players were already prepared with high EX count decks to deal with the new Skyserpent General. 6CP leviathan was on a lot of people’s minds, I just think it didn’t pan out in favour of the midrange/control players. I think it’s fine though. The tools to answer every matchup exist, and there is still plenty of experimenting to be done. Aggro-centric metagames just tend to narrow the field of viable decks. Some people won’t like that, but it’s easier for competitive players to get a good view of the field and prepare accordingly.

In the post tournament interview, you said you did not spend that much time prepping for the tournament, even finishing your deck list at the last moment. How did you manage to say “ok, those are my 100 cards to bring the title home”?

I respect Masayuki Yamada a lot as a player, and he has the same mentality of me of just playing what works and is strong, regardless of how exciting it is. I was very sure he would play the Warrior of Light deck after we both witnessed it in action a couple of weeks before.

As he kept bringing it to testing sessions, and I knew when the full set revealed that Warrior of Light had the best chance of winning the event if someone could solve a strong list. We both really owe our success with this deck to the Japanese player, Hara, who built the original list and played with it at that first session.

As for the Wind deck, I’m not really sure what happened. I just didn’t fancy Ice/Wind this time and I wanted one of my decks to play Shinryu as it is one of the best punishes for aggression. I like it in Mono Wind because you don’t actually need to Tidal Wave either, a lot of the time it just finds the missing piece for Luso combo which is usually more CP efficient. A deck with two board clears and a strong control matchup because of Zidane seemed like a no brainer, but I didn’t expect as many double aggro matchups in the top cut. It still worked out fine though 😅

If you had some advices for people that want to be the next world champion, what would they be?

Much like in the Final Fantasy video games, I’m successful because of the people I surround myself with. I have people I test and discuss with in the UK, Europe, North America, and even in Japan. I can’t take that much credit outside some of the card choices and just being the pilot behind the hive mind during the tournament. If you want to win, you have to have a solid group of people to work with. The game is too difficult to think of everything by yourself. While many people find success piloting decks after they’ve already won an event, the key to the World Championship has always been finding that initial success yourself.

The concept of “team” working together is not often brought up by in TCG communities as far as I know, but in every sport, there’s always guys in the shadows of the best competitors. That’s a really good advice. Do you prepare for specific situations, or is just everyone testing things right and left and sharing their thoughts?

For me it’s very much people test their own thing then discuss their results together. Most FFTCG players are adults with time-consuming lives and jobs who can’t dedicate all their free time to testing. A lot of my friends are always keen to test OCTGN and Untap the moment cards start getting spoiled, so by the time I sit down to build decks I already have a lot of info to work with alongside my own opinions

What are your plans now that the competitive season is finally over?

Well, the UK has a Winter Cup event soon which I will be attending. While it’s always got a good prize pool, people are always pretty chill and focused on having a good time as the priority. I’ll see out the year with that and look forward to returning to ‘spoons testing in 2024, but also make more time for other important things in my life like my long-suffering wife who has put up with me for 10 years now and could probably do with me having a small break from card games! 🥹

Thanks for your detailed answers! For everyone wanting to get more knowledge from Alex, you can follow his Facebook (there : ), and why not start by the latest article about the 7CP WOL : . I’ll give you our final words of today for any shoutout you want to give!

Thanks for having me and all the interesting questions. Always a pleasure to talk about the game in this level of depth. Hope people have a great Christmas and are looking forward to another exciting season for FFTCG next year!