Interview with Jacob McCarthy, Ascension Immortal Tournament Champion

This past weekend marked the first Ascension Immortal event run at the StarCityGames Open Series featuring the Invitational in Atlanta, GA.  The winner was Jacob McCarthy, who had already tasted Ascension glory with his win at the World Championships this past summer.  We tracked down the champ to ask him some questions about his win.

Q: The Ascension Immortal tournament marks your second major win after the Ascension World Championships at GenCon last summer.  What has been the secret to your success?  


Jacob after winning the 2012 Ascension World Championship

A: This is a pretty easy question to answer. The secret to my success in winning is being well prepared and well trained, and also having a huge love for the game. I have to give a big amount of my success to my cousin James McCarthy. Without him, I’m not sure all this would have went as smoothly as it did. Before GenCon and before the Immortal Tournament in Georgia, all we did was play a ton of heads up matches together and discussed our plays.


Q: We heard that you had quite the trek to get to the Immortal tournament.  Can you tell us about that?  

A: The trek down to Georgia was a long one. It was a 13 hour drive. Thankfully, we stopped in Nashville to meet up with people we knew from iOS Ascension. They let us stay with them Friday and Saturday. They helped us practice for the tournament. They were supposed to ride with us but ended up backing out at the last minute. The morning of the tournament I got about two hours of sleep then had to drive four hours from Nashville to Georgia. I drove for two hours while James slept, and then he drove the last two while I slept. I was pretty tired after the tournament because it lasted from noon until nine, and then I had to drive all the way back home. Luckily we made it safely. It definitely helped that I had a lot of friends talk to me while I drove home to keep me awake. But all in all it was well worth it. There’s nothing like winning another card.



Jacob’s card in an upcoming expansion!

Q: The card from your first win hasn’t been released yet, but can you tell us about how it feels to be immortalized on an Ascension card not once, but twice?

A: Being immortalized is a feeling that is hard to describe. Still to this day I think about winning the World Championship and just smile. And now that I have won another card, it’s absolutely ridiculous. It feels good to see all my hard work and dedication pay off. I couldn’t be any more excited about being a part of Ascension not once, but twice. I love everything about the game and the creators.




Q: What are your thoughts on the new Rise of Vigil expansion?  What were the key strategies and cards you looked for in the tournament? 

A: My thoughts on the new expansion Rise of Vigil are that now I absolutely love it. At first I was very skeptical about how spiky and crazy it was. But after I have played it a ton, I now realized its insanely skillful and has a lot of different strategies. Key strategies in the tournament were to just never panic and be patient. That is what this set is all about. I really wasn’t looking to get too many specific cards, but just to put together a nice synergistic deck. I do think Illiya is the best card in the set. But if I had to pick my MVP of it I would definitely go with Magnet Monk. That guy is insane.


Q: Where do you play Ascension the most? Do you play on iOS?  

A: I play Ascension the most on iOS. I have about 2100 games completed on it. Outside of iOS I play at my cousin’s house. I don’t own any of the cards because he has everything up to date all the time. I just picked up Rise of Vigil, though, and I will definitely buy set six, since it’s the set with my World Championship card.


Q: Do you have any Ascension rivals?  Who has given you the most trouble in your tournament experiences? 

A: It’s tough to say I have Ascension rivals. I’ve only played a few tournaments. But if I had to list a few people that I would definitely like to avoid in tournament play they would be the following.

First would be my cousin James McCarthy. We have the same style of play since all we do is practice together.

Second would probably be Chris Vaccaro, aka NirvanaTool. I think he is one of the most skilled players out there. I met him at GenCon in the final four, and luckily I took him down.

Third might be Kyle Coons aka PTKtempo. He’s another extremely skilled player. All these guys are in my group of Ascension friends as well.

The fourth guy might just have to be the kid I played in Georgia in the final four.  His name was Jeremiah. It was the first time I met him but I could tell he was skilled as hell. Plus he was just a good dude to talk to and play. In game one he crushed me, and in game two I crushed him. Our game three was the most epic game I have ever played with Rise of Vigil. If I had to choose not to play these guys in a tournament I would. But then again I wouldn’t feel like I beat the best. So I want to compete against all of them.


Q: What other games do you play?  Have you tried SolForge yet?  

A: I try to stay away from other games so I don’t lose my focus and skill in Ascension. I got into Summoner Wars for a while.  I really liked it but then I quit playing after I won Ascension Worlds. I wanted to just dedicate all my time to Ascension to solidify myself into being one of the best players. Hopefully I can continue to have great success at it and prove myself. I have tried SolForge. I was a Kickstarter backer.  I have only played it a little bit.  At first I was sort of boycotting it because I felt that it would take the team’s focus off of Ascension and that worried me, but I feel good about it now and I’m sure I’ll play more when it’s up and running.


Q:  Any parting thoughts, or any shout-outs you want to give?

A: Shout outs! Hell yeah I have got some shout outs. I want to give a shout out to my amazing wife Micaela McCarthy for letting me be me and nerd it up, and to travel long distances to compete in this tournaments, especially to Georgia while she is pregnant with our second child. I want to also shout out to my incredible son Miles. He will be two on April 13th.

I want to thank my cousin, James McCarthy, for being as dedicated as I am and helping me become the player I am today. These wins feel like a team win to us

Thanks to Eric Sabee for his amazing art on my card.

Thanks to everyone at Stone Blade  for being so nice and keeping me updated on my card process, including Bryan Hughes, Ryan O’Connor, Brian Kibler, and Justin Gary. You guys are dope.  Thanks for making the greatest game ever.


Want to be immortalized in Ascension?  Play in an upcoming Ascension Immortal Tournament at a StarCityGames Open Series featuring the Invitational!  Find information on the next event here.





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