“Skill beats luck“, a quote we are all familiar with, describes the basic idea of competitive Gwent. I guess we would all agree that this might not be the case in every situation…but surely being able to play Gwent at a high level helps on ladder and in tournaments.
In this series, we want to talk with some of Bandit Gang’s Pro and Academy Players about their experience and thoughts of recent events they took part in. For episode one, I had the chance to talk with SuperSpock9000, who not only played in the last top 64 qualifiers in June, but managed to secure himself a spot in the top 16 playoffs in the TLG Invivational II. So let’s have a look at the player, the event, and what he has to say!
Meet the Player: SuperSpock9000
Hobbies: Gwent, Yu-Gi-Oh, Running
Section: Pro Team
Favorite Faction: Scoiat’ael
Favorite Card: Cintrian Envoy
About the Event - The TLG Invitational II
The TLG Invitational is one of the biggest community tournaments in Gwent right now. Organised by Team Leviathan Gaming, the best players and competitive teams face each other to fight for a $1,000 price pool. To take part in the event, you either have to be invited, which means being a pro of one of the known Gwent teams, or have a decent reputation in the community. The other way is to make it to the top 16 in one of the qualifier events, which SuperSpock9000 managed to achieve in qualifier #2 in March.
The first part of the tournament will be a two-day-long swiss phase, which was just played last weekend, July 10th-11th. The second part is the top 16 playoff event, which will take place on July 31st – August 1st. If you want to learn more about this event, check out their homepage.
Sawyer: What motivated you to take part in this event?
SuperSpock9000: Nothing in particular. I think I just wanted to play in a big Gwent event and see what I can do.
How did you prepare for this event compared to, for example, the top 64 qualifiers last month?
This time, I tried a more chillexd approach to prepare, if you can say it like this. I looked at the current meta, looked at what’s good and efficient right now and just went with it. I saw what Pajabol and the other pros were playing, tried out a couple of games on ladder before and this was it. I didn’t feel the need to come up with some spicy teched stuff like I did for the top 64 qualifier.
So you would say it was a different approach and experience to prepare for a community event and not for an “official” event?
Well, the skill level of the participating players in the Invitationals is still very high, of course. But you don’t have to grind as hard for it to qualify. I think playing a huge amount of games can be pretty exhausting, which I experienced when I went for a top 64 spot. And this kind of exhaustion carried over into the next season and also my preparation for the qualifiers. I prepped almost every day, but for the future I definitely will go with a more chilled preparation again.
Playing in events like this, how do you feel? How do you keep your focus?
To be honest, there is a lot of anxiety. You feel the pressure and try to perform at your best. For me, it was the first tournament after the top 64 qualifiers in such a competitive environment, so I was a bit nervous. I tried to listen to some music while I played, but I am not sure if this helped me to focus or not. You just have to gain confidence during your preparation, know your lineup well, and believe in your own abilities.
Can you give us an example? Maybe a certain situation where you can sketch the differences between ladder and tournaments?
On ladder, I sometimes lack the necessary efficiency. Coinflips, matchups, card draws, everything can be against you. But in open decklist tournaments, I spent more time thinking about my plays and proper sequencing. I can reflect on the value of my resources a bit more. In a tournament setting, I try to allocate each card for a certain purpose, while also keeping in mind to be flexible in certain situations.
How was the overall experience for you with the organisation? Do you like the tournament format or do you prefer leagues?
I don’t have much to complain about. TLG and everyone in general do the best they can to make these events work. It is always a cool opportunity to maybe be seen on stream, get into the spotlight, etc.
Sometimes, I wish the match process would go more smoothly. Because of the deck discussions, it can often take a while before the next round starts. A long day can be exhausting.
Personally, I prefer events on the weekends. I also don’t really like a week-by-week thing which you have to adapt your schedule to, but maybe in the future.
You managed to secure a spot in the top 16 and went 6-1: congratulations! So what is your plan until the playoffs in a few weeks?
Thank you! I kinda want to work on my ladder efficency a bit more and increase my winrate. Also the last time the meta changed at the end of the month, so I will analyse what’s going on and keep my eyes and ears open for last minute changes and eventual meta shifts.
Do you have any final advice for our readers who might be interested in taking part in such events themselves?
Just do them. Make the experience yourself. In Gwent, you learn by doing, so you have to overcome your competitive anxiety at some point.
I can also recommend to record your games, to ensure you learn and take something out of it, if you want to improve. Your mistakes shine when you lose but you don’t think about them as much if you win.
Alright, thanks for taking part in the interview. I wish you good luck and also good fortune in the wars to come!
Thanks, I will try my best. Cya!