Team Bandit Gang

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End of Year Interview 2020 iancm1997: ‘But also to prove myself that I’m worthy of being a manager of a competitive team’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus:  Hey man. You had to wait a while to finally being interviewed, but we are here now. How would you reflect on the year 2020?

iancm1997: A lot of things changed for me in 2020, mostly for the good. Despite Coronavirus absolutely messing up all my original plans, I was able to change the path I went down both academically and with regards to my hobbies. Gwent was something that I played fairly casually up until March, I used my own homebrews and hovered between Ranks 10 and 7. Once quarantine started I decided to play the game more and try to push for pro rank. After getting to Pro Rank, I bumped into Mercernn on ladder and he introduced me to Team Bandit Gang, which I happily joined as a writer. If not for Coronavirus, I would probably still be playing the game casually and not spending as much time on it. I also decided to do a Post Graduate Certificate after getting my Undergraduate degree and I’m having a great time at school right now. If not for Coronavirus, I probably would not have decided to do this certificate.

BJ: Coronavirus had a positive influence in that case. You joined Team Bandit Gang as one of their first article writers for Gwent and are now the Competitive Manager for the team which means you have gotten more responsibilities. How are you experiencing this new role?

I: I enjoy being the Competitive Manager and still having the freedom to write from time to time. The main difference I’ve noticed is that I’m spending more of my day involved with the game, either playing it or helping out the Academy or Pro Team members. When I first became the Competitive Manager, I was a bit intimidated despite coming off a good season. But over time, I feel like I made the right decision to get more involved competitively in the game and with the team.

BJ: From my understanding you have also become more competitive when it comes to grinding mmr, how do you see this yourself?

I: I play more games each month than I used to, albeit not as many as some other players. Personally, I can’t play more than 500 games in a season just due to the fact that I experience burnout a lot faster than other players. This is something that I need to work on as well as learning how to deal with tilt a bit better. This month I’m pushing myself a bit harder, making my goal 10.2k MMR to not only be in a good position for when Masters Season 3 starts, but to also prove to myself that I’m worthy of being a manager of a competitive team.

BJ: I can understand. What do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent with the team?

I: At the very least I would like for one of the Pro Team members to make an Open and for us to have a constant presence in qualifier tournaments. Ideally, I’d love it if we had one of our members make World Masters but as long as we make constant and steady improvement throughout 2021, I’ll be happy. 

BJ: I saw that you did some tests streams on Twitch, is streaming something you are planning to do more in 2021?

I: Yeah, I decided that I’d start streaming on a semi-regular basis in 2021. I got a new desktop set up both for school purposes and for video game purposes so I figured I might as well give it a go. Depending on school and other things, I hope to stream 2-3 times a week. I won’t just be streaming Gwent; I want to play other games as well in order to expand viewership and give some variety.

BJ: That’s awesome. Is there anything else that you would like to do next year?

I: Aside from putting in time streaming and playing Gwent, I’d like to finally enter the workforce and start making some good money. Of course, a lot of other things like getting back into rock climbing and maybe going back to the gym are dependent on what the Coronavirus situation is like next year.

BJ: Lets hope its not. And do you have any new year’s resolutions?

I: Aside from getting a Job and maybe getting back into exercising, I don’t have any immediate resolutions I want to make. I’m pretty happy with how my life is right now.

BJ: That’s great to hear. Is there anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

I: You’ll be seeing a lot more of the BG Pro and Academy Team members finishing higher up on the Ladder and a stronger presence in larger tournaments and events.

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iancm1997's Top 10 Cards of 2020

10. Roche: Merciless – For the art alone.
9. Falibor – For the art alone.
8.  Braathens – For the art alone.
7. Hjalmar – For the art alone.
6. Caranthir – For the art alone.
5.  Gezras of Leyda – For the art alone.
4. Ramon – For the art alone.
3. Vilgefortz – For the art alone.
2. Harald An Craite – For the art alone.
1. Geralt Professional – It’s the only Geralt that requires proper thinking and deckbuilding.

End of Year Interview 2020 Hawgplex: ‘In the coming year I am hoping to buy my first home and finally have my wedding’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus:  I don’t know you that well, could you tell me something about yourself?

Hawgplex: Simplifying my life is tough, but if I had to, I would say hiking with my dog/fiance, playing video games, and reading are my favorite things to look forward to during an average week.

BJ: And how would you reflect on the year 2020?

HP: I think the only word that comes to mind is crazy. Here’s to hoping that as a whole we all learned something from 2020’s mess, and my thanks always goes out to everyone on the front lines fighting covid.

BJ: You joined Team Bandit Gang as an Academy Players this year after 1 month trial. How are you enjoying the team so far? 

HP: So far the team has been helpful and chill. Overall, I would say I joined the best situation for me, and the past few weeks have confirmed this.

BJ: And what was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

HP: Overall, I did not compete much under the banner, but look forward to doing so in the coming season.

BJ: You mention upcoming season. What do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent?

HP: In season 3 of Gwent, I would like to get back to my beta gwent level and start placing in the top 200 at the end of seasons. From there, if it happens, we will see what happens.

BJ: Is there anything that you would like to do outside of Gwent next year?

HP: In the coming year I am hoping to buy my first home and finally have my wedding (its been on pause with covid).

BJ: Oh congrats! Any big plans for the wedding?

HP: We kind of scrapped everything honestly, may just get our parents together and have them with us and just do it, or wait for the vaccines to be all good.

BJ: Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

HP: My new years resolution: learn more about dogs.

BJ: Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

HP: In 2021, please be smart 🙂

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Hawgplex's Top 10 Cards of 2020

*Another top 10 that starts with number 1. They must do it on purpose to troll me.

1. Nivellan
– Best witcher short story, so its my favorite card 😀

2. Haunt – Love the art, favorite faction.

3. Eithne: Wrath of Brokilon – I mean, have you seen this, amazing.

4. Luberkin – best story in w3.

5. Kambi – Its a magic gold chicken, cmon.

6. Bomb Heaver – CATCHHHHH.

7. Toad Prince – Fat frogs are great, and so is this boss in W3 on Death March :O

8. Blue Boy Lugos – I mean, who wouldnt want to eat skelligan plants and see blue whales and women in a cave?

9. Dulla kh’Amanni –  Treasure bros anyone?

10. Sir Skewertooth – An inspiration to pigs everywhere, this is a hawg and a half.

End of Year Interview 2020 Sikamouk: ‘2020 is definitely the one year where I have improved the most’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: Salut Sikamouk. This has been an interesting year. How would you reflect on the year 2020?

Sikamouk: I have been playing Gwent more or less regularly for 2 years now and 2020 is definitely the one where I have improved the most. Now there is no time for a break because I still have a lot to learn.

BJ: You joined Team Bandit Gang as an Academy Player and got promoted to Pro Player after your top 64 qualifier performance. How have you experienced this year in BG?

S: I can say now after a few months in the team that I am satisfied to be a part of it. On the one hand, there is a good atmosphere, I would say, the members are welcoming and keen to help each other, it makes you feel good. Competitively, I am happy to be part of a relatively new team with promising players. We naturally find ourselves in the place of underdog compared to teams that have been established for a longer time and that instills a positive dynamic that makes you want to surpass yourself to find your place in the scene.

BJ: That’s great to hear. And what was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

S: I played most of Season 2 going it alone and finding out what being part of an active team can do competitively was a pleasant surprise.

BJ: Alone is just alone you know. Its nice to be with like-minded people. And what do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent?

S: I don’t have a specific goal, I just want to play at my best and hopefully the results will follow.

BJ: Alessio and Owiiii have left Gwent for LoR, did that had an impact on the French Gwent community? I know you guys are a close community.

S: I didn’t hangout much with Alessio, but I can say that it was mostly a big competitive loss for Gwent. As for owii, it’s true that I had developed affection for him, we talked a lot, he was the best French player when I started Gwent in addition to being super nice as a guy. He taught me a lot, the French community misses him in Gwent, but I can only wish him the best for his career as a Runeterra player in which he already shines to be honest. We love you owii.

BJ: Those are some nice words for owii. Is there anything that you would like to do outside of Gwent next year?

S: I did like to get in better physical shape.

BJ: Any new year’s resolutions?

S: I would love to dive back into reading, I read a lot in the past and have given up on books / newspapers too much lately. And why not stop smoking, it might not hurt.

BJ: Those are some nice new year’s resolutions. At last. Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

S: Try to be a decent human being.

BJ: You heard it here KingDenpai. Thanks for your answers Sika!

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Sikamouk's Top 10 Cards of 2020

10. Siege – I was really enjoying playing this card before the trebuchet nerf, doesn’t feel as impactful at the moment in my opinion.

9. Forest Protector – I am a big fan of spell oriented Scoiatael decks and protector was a great addition to this archetype, really solid card.

8. Eleyas – Nice elf pointslammy card that got even better with natures gift, also reminds me of the great TW2 quest.

7. Milaen – This card is nothing special but it just felt good to play before it got powercrept. Really like the art aswell.

6. Iorveth – Again a nostalgic pick because I really enjoyed playing traps when it was still a thing.

5. Gaetan – One of the new st movement card, really powerful, feels great when you slam it on the board.

4. Morenn – Step on me Morenn.

3. Koschey – This card feels really good to play i love it sadly there’s not many reasons to not go for viy atm for monsters but his time will come I am sure.

2. Schirru – One of my signature cards, played loads of Schirru games, i always enjoyed swingy control cards.

1. Scorch – Same feeling that i have with Schirru, got my first highscore with an elf scorch deck that saber did back in the days.

End of Year Interview 2020 Sonneillon: ‘Never would’ve thought that the beginning of the end of the world would be so boring’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: @Sonneillon @Sonneillon @Sonneillon.

Sonneillon: @babyjosus @babyjosus @babyjosus.

BJ: How would you reflect on the year 2020?

S: Never would’ve thought that the beginning of the end of the world would be so boring.

BJ: Yeah, a zombie apocalypse would be more exciting I would say.  You joined Team Bandit Gang as a Pro Player after doing a trial this year. How have you experienced this year in BG?

S: Sharing the Gwent experience with other players, getting different perspectives trough cooping – you just never wanna go back. Can recommend.

BJ: True that. And what was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

S: I didn’t really compete again. Yet.

BJ: Maybe someday. What do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent?

S: The sweet spot. Enjoyment and a lot of mmr.

BJ: Outside of playing Gwent. You became a coach for the coaching program, what made you decide to become a coach this year and what would you like to achieve next year as a coach?

S: I won’t get jebaited by this one.

BJ: It was worth the shot. I know that you like to watch movies. What was your favorite movie that you watched this year?

S: This was mainly a TV show year for me . For movies the last memorable one was the Trial of the Chicago 7.

BJ: What TV shows did you watched then?

S: American horror story , Luther , The Americans , Orange is the New Black , Ratched, Manhunt unabomber.

BJ: Ratched is a good one. And I used to watch Orange is the New Black, but I lost interest for that one in the end.

S: After watching season 1 you technically didn’t miss much. 

BJ: Outside of Gwent and watching TV shows and movies. Is there anything else you would like to do next year?

S: Survive.

BJ: Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

S: Getting better at being interviewed.

BJ: Good one. Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

S: Wear your mask.

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*Sonneillon's Top 10 Cards of 2020

*Sonneillon has no top 10 cards of 2020.

End of Year Interview 2020 SuperSpock9000: ‘This was very unmotivating and I started to lose interest in the game shortly afterward’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: Hey man. Before you joined the Academy Team this year I already knew you from your Twitch streams and it has been nice to have you on board since then. How would you reflect on the year 2020 in general?

SuperSpock9000: Once the pandemic started, I felt unmotivated to do anything, but staying indoors meant more Gwent so I cannot say there wasn’t a silver lining. I saw the summer as an opportunity to go all out for a top 64 spot on the ladder and get into a qualifier. During the season of the Griffin, I tried my very best but fell short at spot #66 on the ladder. This was very unmotivating and I started to lose interest in the game shortly afterward.

However, that changed when I got a surprising message from SynergyGod on discord asking if I would like to join the team. About a month later, I remember talking to you about some specifics and before I knew it, I was doing a trial. Everyone was nice, and I felt like it was a great place to be with people who were invested into the game as much as me.

I got to participate in my first tournament with the other guys from BG during The Elder Blood series which was a completely new experience for me. While I did not accomplish much, other than getting top 5 in a Gwent trivia game, the tournament experience was great, and it helped familiarize myself with the format. Shortly afterward, The Duel of Dogs tournament came up and I was ready to try my hand at the tournament scene again. Unfortunately, I could not secure the last game I needed to qualify for day 2. This led me to doubt my ability to compete in the game. Along with it came the stress of finals week approaching and a US election that I could not that could not be ignored. With all these mixed emotions I started to return to the unmotivated state of mind I had earlier in the year.

Luckily, about a month before the Duel of Dogs tournament I started running on a regular basis with one of my friends from university. This was single-handedly the best decision I have made for my mental and physical health over the last few years. After working out it often feels like a mental reset button I can always rely on when I feel overwhelmed. After The Way of the Witcher expansion set released I started really enjoying the game again. With all the new cards added there’s new decks and matchups to learn, which is one of my favorite parts about Gwent. Recently, we held the second In House BG tournament and that was a massive success for me. So yeah, it has been one rollercoaster of a year for me. 

BJ: Whao, that doesn’t sound like an easy ride. But winning the second in-house tournament is an amazing achievement. How did it feel to win it and did you prepped for it at all?

SS: It felt great to win the second BG in-house tournament. This was my first Gwent tournament win and even though it does not have the same stakes attached to it as an official CDPR tournament or the community ran tournaments from a few months ago it still hits for me. We have some great players on our team from both the competitive and content side of things, so it was no easy feat to come out as the Bandit Champion. I knew going into the tournament what I was going to bring for my first 3 decks, but for the last one I had to do some digging. Movement for ST, Shieldwall for NR, Imperial Formation for NG, and some kind of SK list as the fourth deck was the lineup I wanted to bring. After a day of testing different decks, I knew Lippy wouldn’t cut it, so I decided on the control SK list that Sawyer made earlier in the week before the tournament. I spent the last 3 or 4 days before the tournament playing nothing but SK to test it out and get a feel for its matchups. Outside of playing an extensive amount of the SK in the days leading to the tournament I did not touch my other lists since I already had a fair amount of experience using them beforehand. 

BJ:  Outside of playing the in-house tournament. What was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

SS: Well, I didn’t join until the very end of the competitive season for Masters 2. In fact, during the first month I became an official academy member, which was also the last month of the competitive season, I was more focused on university since the first weeks usually set the tone for the rest of the semester. However, in the following months when I was playing in the tournaments for Elder Blood and the Duel of Dogs it was fun to prep with other members. It gave me a great idea of what it was like preparing for competitive events and I look forward to doing it again when Masters 3 rolls around in January. 

BJ: Good thing season 3 has arrived. What do you want to achieve in this particular season?

SS: Right now my goal is to make it into a top 64 qualifier, I’ve had that goal since Masters Season 2 started so I would really like to see it through and work from there. Otherwise, I’d like to help out the team however I can in prepping, article writing, or just promoting whatever BG is proud to present.  

BJ: I hope you can achieve your goals. Is there anything that you would like to do outside of Gwent next year?

SS: If things can get closer to normal in 2021, I would really like to socialize more. Because of the pandemic I put a halt on most of my social life in-person so being able to go back out into the world will be on the list of things to do for sure. I will be applying to graduate schools in the coming year as well so getting everything I need for that will be another large undertaking. Other than those I don’t have much planned, to be honest I’m more of a go with the flow type of guy anyway.

BJ: I can relate to that, but its good to make plans. Especially when you want to date girls because girls don’t like guys with no plans 😉 And what about new year’s resolutions. Do you have any?

SS: Nope, no new year’s resolutions for me. Any resolution I make usually gets forgotten after a week or two. However, I liked the idea that Driftbling suggested in his interview of having a theme of the year rather than a resolution. Here’s the video he linked and I’d recommend anyone who’s interested watch it. 

BJ: Haha, fair enough. And with 2020 coming to an end. Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

SS:Keep your eyes on BG for Masters Season 3.

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SuperSpock9000's Top 10 Cards of 2020

10. Moreelse – This used to be my favorite card but I can’t say I’ve used it much in 2020. I mostly love this card because of the artwork, it looks like this guy came straight out of bloodborne and I have a soft spot for all the FromSoft games.

9. The Great Oak – This card was a staple in all ST decks for a long time and still has a lot of power. One of my favorite things about this card is that it specifically works with all cards on the row and not just units. 

8. Vernossiel – I like cards that have an effect for each row and Vernossiel has two strong row effects. Her ranged row effect plays for easy proactive points that can lead to swarm setup and her melee row ability can often surprise opponents with a barrage of damage. 

7. Prince Anseis – This card often makes or breaks your game plan as NR but even if you miss it when you need it you can always tell yourself to be more talented at drawing in the next game. This card coupled with Shieldwall can be devastating and makes playing Viraxas even more satisfying. 

6. Amphibious Assault – This card makes playing bronze cards feel good and can even fish for a gold that is 9 provisions or less. It has synergy with the Inspiration mechanic, and it is one of the few high end NR golds that can be searched if you are playing John Natalis. This is easily my favorite echo card. 

5. Hefty Helge – I love playing this card in Imperial Formation since you can give it extra layers of protection with your leader ability. If your opponent cannot answer this card it can be devastating and set up cards like Amnesty or give you more removal reach to deal with any threats your opponent might want to stick on the board. 

4. Harald Gord – I really like cards that incentivize or reward certain styles of decks. Not only does this card require you to stack your deck full of specials to get the proper payoff but it gives a fair finisher to more control-oriented strategies, which I love playing. It is also really satisfying to see him come down as a 15 point or higher unit as the last play of the game to solidify a victory. 

3. Impera Enforcers – If there’s any card that reminds me of beta it’s these guys. They are one of the few cards that kept an ability similar to what they did in beta, although they’ve come a long way since the release of homecoming. They did not see much play until the release of the Master Mirror expansion which brought a lot of payoff for spy synergies and the recent addition of Zeal on these cards makes them feel even better. While they are far from the machine gun like tools, they were in beta I look forward to any future spy support, so I have even more of a reason to play this card.  

2. Yennefer’s Invocation – One thing I love across all card games are simple removal effects. While something like Korathi Heatwave might resemble a rawer version of this concept the additional setup Invocation provides by putting the removed unit to the top of your deck puts it a step above Heatwave in my opinion. This card synergizes well with Joachim or Roderick and if used in rounds 1 or 2 can punish your opponent for using a powerful unit that you can top deck into during the following round. Overall, this card has a lot of versatility and represents one of my favorite designs across all card games. 

1. Roderick of Dun Tynne – This is a card I have had an absolute blast playing recently. After the buff to Coup De Grace, Roderick has felt like an absolute must in Nilfgaard. He can find the golds left in your deck, he has the all-important Aristocrat tag to trigger Masquerade Ball, and he can be played twice thanks to Coup De Grace. This card can grab whatever you stole from Invocation and provide charges to Enforcers or boost Dames. Above all else his ability is also a callback to Emissary’s old effect in beta except you can search for gold cards instead of bronzes. Overall, I try to fit this card in every single NG deck I play and he is another reason I love to see more spy support.

End of Year Interview 2020 HippoShaman: ‘It surprised me initially’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: Sup man. How would you reflect on the year 2020?

HippoShaman: I think it will take me a bit more time to realize what was and still is going on in the world. It has been different than I have expected for sure. I had got into Gwent just before this whole madness has begun and it has provided me entertainment during these times and introduced me to the Gwent community. Most likely I would not be answering these questions if it was a bit more normal year. Luckily, coronavirus has not affected me as much as some other people and I also managed to finish my bachelor’s degree so I might even think about this year as a good one once everything gets back to normal.

BJ: You joined Team Bandit Gang as an Academy Players this year. How are you enjoying the team so far?

HS: I joined about two months ago (right after the Duel of Dogs tournament organised by Bandit Gang) where I managed to progress into the main tournament through qualifiers and was asked if I would like to join the Academy team. It surprised me initially because I have never thought much about being part of a team before, but I must say I am happy I decided to join. It gave me a lot of motivation to try to improve at the game and I don’t think I had single negative experience while being part of the team. It has been overwhelmingly positive, and I hope it will continue so.

BJ: And what was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

HS: I have joined right after the competitive season ended but during the off-season I managed to set my new personal records for the total MMR and being on the team definitely helped me in this sense. I still don’t want to think about myself as a “pro player” simply because there are still many people better than me and I initially had no intention of trying to compete with them. What I am taking from the season 2 of Gwent Masters is that I am better Gwent player than I have thought and only thanks to Bandit Gang I have started realizing it. Now I hope that I can compete with the best and time will tell if it really is so.

BJ: What do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent?

HS: I have simple goals – I would like to improve my win rates on ladder and set some new personal records MMR wise. I hope this approach of steady improvement will be good enough to eventually hit top 64 of Pro rank. It might take few tries, but I believe I can get there sooner or later. I consider tournaments much harder than ladder and it is something I need to take part in more often. But important is to have fun as well so I hope I will be able to build some fun decks to play, just like I have done with Gedyneith this year.

BJ: Speaking of Gedyneith. How come you call yourself the Gedy Ambassador?

HS: I have been called that few times and I have become notorious for advising putting Gedyneith into every deck (not necessarily just Skellige ones). Once I have seen my opponent play it against me, I knew this is something I want to play. And when I found out that I can use Lippy Gudmund to play it more than once I could not resist and played hundreds of games trying to find the best double or triple Gedyneith decklist and I would like to believe I got there in the end. It is one of the few decks I have built myself, learnt how to play it by trial and error and I think there are not many people who could play that archetype as well as I could. I will still try to build good or at least fun decks around the card and hopefully I can make it work once again even if it is doomed.

BJ: Since you mentioned Lippy Gudmund I rather change topics. Is there anything that you would like to do outside of Gwent next year?

HS: Given current unpredictable times I have not planned too far ahead. I would like to learn some new things, maybe improve my English and German and also stay in touch with people that are important to me. I have put a lot of my time into Gwent this year and I hope I can find the right balance again if the world returns to what it was like year ago.

BJ: And what about new year’s resolutions. Do you have any?

HS: I have never really liked the idea of new year’s resolutions. So, no I don’t have any.

BJ: At last. Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

HS: Don’t take things too seriously and try to have fun. Also, not everything can be fun and some things you should take seriously. Have a good year. And my top10… will leave it to you and readers to judge if the order makes sense :slight_smile:

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HippoShaman's Top 10 Cards of 2020

10. Gezras of Leyda – Probably my favourite witcher from the recent expansion.

9. Endrega Larva – How many Monsters decks without it have you seen?

8. Decoy – While being more of a meme card, I had some incredible fun with this card, I only wish it could not pull the card you have just Decoyed.

7. Yennefer: Conjurer – When I got back into Gwent this year, I thought this is one of the best cards in the game. Well, if not answered it’s great.

6. Novigradian Justice – I think this and Harald Gord are the only dual faction cards which see often play in both factions… The thinning is always nice.

5. Ermion – Perfect card to play with Gedyneith, it used to be amazing to bring him back with Second Wind.

4. Imlerith – Probably the most flexible card in the game. You never know in which Monsters deck it will fit next month.

3. Trained Hawk – I really like the art and this is probably my favorite card for a Harmony deck.

2. Harald Gord – I enjoyed playing him with Crimes especially but he works in Scoia’tael as well.

1. Gedyneith – If only you could still play it every round… There always is something incredibly satisfactory about seeing the druids work together for me, cannot explain it but love it.

End of Year Interview 2020 Enz0Plays: ‘2020 has been quite the roller coaster ride for me’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: This year you joined Bandit Gang, left Bandit Gang and rejoined Bandit Gang. How would you reflect on the year 2020?

Enz0Plays: I think 2020 has been quite the roller coaster ride for me. On the first half of the year I had all the momentum in the world with making Gwent content as well as streaming a bit more consistently, even after the pandemic happened I was still optimistic with where I was going as a content creator, but then once the summer came around the momentum completely shifted and I started to lose motivation and energy to play, a slump that I am still trying to climb out of. I think this was a combination of stale metas that have happened throughout the year as well as some personal struggles, so I decided to take breaks, which started to accumulate as I started to notice the slump I was in was getting harder and harder to get out of, so that was when I decided to leave Team Bandit Gang, and they were really understanding with my struggles and were willing to take me back with open arms should I choose to. Then in the month I spent “in the mountains” as you would say, I started to get ideas for content that I want to create for the game, so that was when I decided to rejoin. Right now, I am just studying, chilling and doing my own thing while I am not currently working, and I plan to make sure 2021 I can regain the momentum I have lost.

BJ: Whenever someone goes ”into the mountains” I hold my heart. And you originally joined Team Bandit Gang as a streamer & Youtuber for Gwent and are now delving into other projects. What made you decide to change things around?

EP: During my time off, I was watching a lot of game shows, specifically trivia shows, with my dad, and it gave me a lot of ideas on games I could present to the Gwent community and perhaps get them to participate in them. I have also been watching a lot of podcasts and news segments, which I am also starting to create episodes for and will be releasing at some point in the near future, but some time before the next year, I want to go back to doing streaming and Youtube videos again, but my main goal on my comeback is to expand on the types of content I want to create for Gwent and any other passion projects that might come up in the future.

BJ: That sounds pretty promising. Any insights you want to give away about those projects to the reader?

EP: I just want to say I sometimes spill some goodies and spoilers on these projects on my discord and twitch streams (which don’t occur often, still working on it) and some occasional co-op streams, so tune in to when any of those happen so you don’t miss out on some tidbits and leeks. 

BJ: Outside of all the content creation. I know that you like to play basketball in your spare time. What is it about basketball that you love so much and where did it start?

EP: I have played basketball since I was in elementary school. While I have never played for any school teams, I always liked that basketball was a sport I could train and practice and work out by myself, since I actually don’t consider myself a “team player” in person (but online its not a problem since I don’t need to be near people so my social anxiety levels remain low 😊) but I like to use it as a way to cool myself down and let my emotion out if I’m having a bad day or something goes wrong. Basketball is also where I started to discover a competitive side to myself, a side that I have been trying to suppress since I cannot control it yet, but if I choose to let it out then I could try to go pro in Gwent hehe.

BJ: Enz0Pro. Doesn’t sound that bad. Is there anything that you would like to do next year? This can be regarding anything.

EP: Next year, on a content creation aspect, I want to start slowly launching some of the projects I am currently planning for. I would also like to revive some of the software related projects I have also drawn out on paper and would like to transition to a computer. On a personal note, I would also like to revive my fitness and work on my body again. I realize that since the pandemic, I have gained a considerable amount of weight due to gyms being closed and roads being in bad condition so I can’t go jogging. 

BJ: Not bad, not bad at all. Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

EP: I want to learn to be more productive and learn the balance between taking breaks and working on projects and such. I also want to establish solid schedules when it comes to releasing content and streaming, but most importantly, I want to establish a solid sleeping schedule. If all of that goes well, I might shift my attention to improving my social interactivity since I don’t possess a lot of social skills at the moment. 

BJ: That’s great. I have actually noticed you are interacting more with some of the team members like Sawyer and Ziggy. And is there anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

EP: I just say thanks to those who read this who know who I am through the videos I have made and the limited amount of streams I have done. I know I was more known in the Gwent community last year compared to this year since I haven’t made as much Gwent content recently, but regardless Id like to thank you guys for the support you’ve given me on my deck guide videos and hope to continue the support as I plan to release more diverse Gwent content in 2021 so stay tuned. 

BJ: And stay tuned we will be.

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*Enz0Plays's Top 10 Cards of 2020

*What is it with people starting their top 10 with their number 1 these days…

1. Korathi Heatwave
 – The answer to everything and the reason why I don’t play as many devotion decks. I just really like the korathis heatwave to remove whatever I want. Very solid way to deal with the ever so pesky scenarios.

2. Gaunter O’Dimm – As part of my services to the G.O.D. I must put him in my top 3 list.

3. Alpha Werewolf – Always found it a good addition to all my Fruits Decks.

4. Ihuarraquax aka the card I cannot pronounce no matter how hard I try – I enjoyed disrupting potential big combos with this card, unless it pulled out Damien on an NG matchup.

5. The Apiarian Phantom – Gave MO the long round boost it needed.

6. Squirrel – I enjoy feeding echo cards and potential ozzy targets to it.

7. Savolla – Before SY was decimated, I enjoyed the short round point slam Savolla provided. As an MO player I respect that.

8. Noonwraith –  Sentimental value as the first Witcher 3 contract available plus solid MO card.

9. Professor –  Inspiration for my latest set of videos that I have been working on plus a solid card when bounty was more playable.

10. Geralt: Igni – While it is a card I rarely use nowadays, the nostalgia I had from using this card during the beta days still hold dear to me, and I cannot find 10 other cards I like over this card for that reason so it is in the 10th spot.

End of Year Interview 2020 JSN991: ‘Being in the team has still helped me improve as a player a lot’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: So, how would you reflect on the year 2020 young man?

JSN991: Like everyone else, 2020 hasn’t been the best year for me, but it hasn’t been without some good moments. For example, I joined BG this year and I’ve loved being in the team.

BJ: I believe you are the youngest member of the team, how does that feel? 

J: True, and by a good few years too I think, but I don’t really feel like it changes much. I guess there’s always going to be some slight differences when talking to people older than you compared to your own age, but I feel like whatever age I was it wouldn’t change much about my role within the team.

BJ: You joined Team Bandit Gang as an Academy Player this year, and got promoted to the Pro Team later on. What was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

J: Technically I joined BG after season 2 was finished, but being in the team has still helped me improve as a player a lot. Just after I joined, I helped energiix prep for the last qualifiers of season 2. It was the first time I’d done anything like that, and it definitely helped me understand how me and my team can help each other improve. Even just having people to talk to in voice chat can make jamming ladder more enjoyable, leading to higher placements on the leaderboards. But that’s probably no surprise, as I think for most people if they have a good group of people around them they rather do something together than on their own.

BJ: And what do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent?

J: I hope to improve as much as I can and play in whatever tournaments I can. Ultimately the goal is to make it to an open, but will take a lot of hard work.

BJ: No pressure at all, but you are our Gwent prodigy so we have a lot of expectations from you 😉 Is there anything that you would like to do outside of competing in Gwent next year?

J: Outside of Gwent my plans are fairly simple; I want to do well in school and enjoy life however I can. My main hope (like everyone else) is that there’s no more lockdowns so that I can do more stuff with friends in the following year. Not sure how likely that is though.

BJ: Yeah, I just hope people don’t lose patience. Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

J: Not really, I’m not a big fan of new years resolutions because I don’t see why you should wait till the new year to try and improve, just do it straight away.

BJ: Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

J: Not really except that I think this year will be a big one for the BG pro/academy team. Hopefully you’ll be seeing me as well as some of the other BG guys in an open this year, that’s the goal.

BJ: I know this must have felt like homework to you, but I appreciate you taking your time to answer the questions.

J: It wasn’t too bad, hopefully I gave ok answers.

BJ: If you listened to your heart while answering them, then know that they are ok answers.

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JSN991's Top 10 Cards of 2020

10. Spores – Not as high as it will be on energiix’s list, but a good cheap tech card nonetheless.
9. Endrega Larva – I don’t think anyone needs convincing this card is good.

8. Jaques – Very solid card that is used in the 2 best sy decks, the spender buff it got was super nice too.

7. Scytheman – One of the few good nr cards that requires setup and was at the core of one of the most enjoyable meta decks this year in my opinion (swarm nr).
 
6. Isengrim’s Council – Very flexible card that can protect engines as well as give symbiosis value.
5. Saul de Naverrate – Possibly the best engine in the game at just 7 provisions.
4. Frightener – An immune 12 for 9 with an easy condition in a deathwish deck, one the most underated cards this year for sure.

3. Cerys – Very good pointslam in any ursine ritual deck, and we all know what it does with lippy.
2. Greatsword – The rework was probably the best change I’ve seen. It removed the huge point ceiling whilst still playing for good value
1. Vanilla Geralt – Despite being seen as the trash starter card for a long time, it was actually seen quite a lot in one month in particular, and I used it in 3 of my 4 decks. This also happened to be the month that I got my personal best ladder finish at #10

End of Year Interview 2020 SynergyGod3773: ‘2021 will be a life changing year’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: The God himself sits with me today. This year was a year that you did a lot of things for Bandit Gang. But how would you reflect on the year 2020 in your private life?

SynergyGod3773: 2020 was a rough year for the most part. Most of the time I was secluded from friends and family due to COVID. So in an essence, a lot of previous and current members of BG became my family. I spent more time with you all playing Gwent and other games then I did seeing them.

BJ: Bandit Gang is basically a second family for every member. And you joined Team Bandit Gang after Team Rankstar got disbanded as one of the first Pro Players this year and are now considered one of the veterans of the team. How have you experienced this year in BG?

SG: Being called a veteran is cute. But I am honored that BG decided to take me in after Team Rankstar (TRS) faded into time. This year has been a great year in general for Gwent and for the team. We participated in multitudes of community tournaments, many people of qualifiers, and made new friends.

BJ: That’s true. What was it like to compete in season 2 of Gwent Masters under the BG banner?

SG: Season 2 of Gwent Masters had its high and lows. Obviously not making it to a Gwent Open was disappointing, but I did make a few top 64 qualifiers which was very nice. It was good to compete against some of the best minds in Gwent. Overall, competing this year in 2020 was a lot of time committed, you kind of had to with so many people having extra time to play due to COVID.

BJ: With season 2 having come to an end. What do you want to achieve in season 3 of Gwent?

SG: The achievement goal has always been to make a Gwent Open, that will not change. Ultimately, it will be also utilizing good time management skills in order to be efficient with my play times. To maintain a good social/work/family life I will need to make every game count.

BJ: You also became a coach for the coaching program, what made you decide to become a coach this year and what would you like to achieve next year as a coach? 

SG: Knowledge transfer and learning have always been kind of a soft spot for me. I currently work in the IT industry and teaching people new things specifically about technology has been internalized in me. This has also been the case for me with Gwent, as I love teaching people the tricks of the trade for Gwent. Now can I coach up people and prepare them for any given scenario? no, you cant, but you can give them an awareness of plays that might not otherwise existed. Ultimately, I want to share the love of this game with other people and give them a sense that anyone can compete in Gwent.

BJ: Aside of that you had a big role in organizing the very first Duel of Dogs tournament, how do you look back at that?

SG: The Duel of Dogs tournament was a big deal for Team Bandit Gang. While it didn’t have a lucrative prize pool like some of the most recent community tournaments, it allowed us to establish a footprint in the community tournament landscape. Overall the experience was very positive, but at times can be stressful especially when you use the CDPR tournament client. I have no doubt that additional tournaments will happen in 2021.

BJ: Is there anything that you would like to do outside of Gwent next year?

SG: Yes, I need to get back to the gym. I have been saying this on my streams for so long. COVID has obviously put gym participation on the back burner this year. Additionally, I will be moving to Houston this year to finally live closer to my girlfriend. 2021 will be a life changing year.

BJ: That all sounds great and I hope that you can make it all come true. In addition to that, do you have any new year’s resolutions?

SG: I don’t have any new resolutions this year, I am still working on some previous resolutions. No need to add more, haha.

BJ: Haha, shocker. Anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

SG: Never stop making goals for yourself, whether its in life or in Gwent. Always setting a new bar for yourself gives you something to strive for and makes life more interesting. Good luck out there on the path everyone!

BJ: Thanks for your time!

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*SynergyGod3773's Top 10 Cards of 2020

*Synergy decided to kick off his top 10 with his number 1 card of 2020.

1. Orianna – I piloted the small vampire cult earlier in the year and it was all thanks to this broad. She is Bae!

2. Braathens – While I am not a fan of NG much. The art on this card is just too good to ignore.

3. Triss Telekinesis – While Orianna is my vampire bae. Triss is my Witcher 1/2/3 bae. I will never betray her.

4. Passiflora – While syndicate is currently not in a great spot. This card was great for spawning all the lovely novigradian ladies. Not to mention the thicc elf in the background.

5. Kiki Queen – While the days of Kiki Queen reigning supreme are over. She was a very pesky bug that shaped the meta for many months.

6. Letho Kingslayer – This greedy card caused nightmares for people, whether they were copying an elder bear, a defender, or now even Kolgrim. The card deserves respect.

7. Angouleme – This card is pretty memey. But I it found its way into a challenger with Freddy babes and almost ran the gambit with it. Now its found a new home with NG Assimilate with all the new locations.

8. Bribery – This card was such a divisive card for a LONG time. Paired with hefty helge and elder bear Stefan, this card could potentially spell doom for opponents. #saynotobribery

9. Vissegard – This card no longer has inspiration. But this dual wield sworded knight was a force to be reckoned with when paired with a boosted board and draug.

10. Saul De Navarette – This was by far my favorite SY card. The tempo pass at 7 cards with potentially 2 other engines ticking was great. Especially when you see opponents dont have an answer to it in round one.

End of Year Interview 2020 GhostArya: ‘Honestly, I think I never felt happier than after streaming’

At Bandit Gang, the end of the year means the end of year interviews. All members are put to the test one by one about the events of the past year that shaped them. Private as well as business. In these interviews in which no mince of words will be stated, no taboos exist, sometimes harsh words are used and where you get a nice insight into the soul life of the interviewee.

Babyjosus: Heyo Arya, happy holidays to you. I see you are dressed to the occasion. As you might have noticed I start the interview with a simple question that is not always easy for people to answer. So lets begin. How would you reflect on the year 2020?

GhostArya: Honestly, I can’t believe that 2020 is coming to an end. This seems like one of the fastest years ever. My family suffered a great loss at the beginning of the year so the first lockdown to feel very lonely. However, I also got to work on some amazing projects and started streaming and developing our hamster game.

To balance the good stuff happening I unfortunately missed my master’s final exams due to surgery with broken elbow and I decided to quit one of my jobs.  All in all, it was a year of huge changes and self-reflection for me. And joining the Gwent community and Bandits were the highlights of the year looking back at it.

BJ: You mentioned masters. What do you study and do you have another shot to make the exam?

GA: I studied addiction science and yes, I still have three more tries because medical reasons don’t count as a failed attempt – luckily! It is actually the first time I have to repeat an exam on uni – kinda stressful.

BJ: I am glad to hear that. And like you said yourself you joined Team Bandit Gang as a streamer for Gwent. This was after you decided to leave Sensual Team. What was your reason to leave Sensual Team and join Team Bandit Gang?

GA: I joined Team Sensual incredibly early on – probably like a month after I started streaming. While the team felt supportive and I met some awesome people there, there was also a noticeable language barrier and after some changes in the team both me and Branca decided to leave.

I would say that members of the Sensual Team are great people who are passionate about gaming, but the aims and direction of the team weren’t a fit for me. Team Bandit felt like home from the start because I already knew many people in the team, which also played major role in deciding what to do after leaving the previous team.  

BJ: Its actually not that long ago since you started streaming on Twitch and you have already been on two teams and surpassed 1000 followers during all that. How have you enjoyed it so far and was there a moment in that short period of time that you won’t forget about?

GA: Yes, I have been enjoying streaming so much. Honestly, I think I never felt happier than after streaming. I definitely still remember one of my first streams when I got raided by Moriarty and through him I kind of discovered the Gwent streaming world – I am not gonna lie, I went into streaming quite blindly thinking: “Oh, Gwent is fun and I want to get better at it.” So, when my stream started gaining followers, I was still pretty new to the whole scene, so I am super happy Gwent community is as supportive as it is. And making some real friends – like Branca and Zubeedo for example is something that is also extremely important to me.

BJ: And did you get any better at Gwent?

GA: I hope I did! Reached pro twice which is exactly 2x more than ever before! However, there is a room for improvement for sure.

BJ: I also know that Benny is a big part of your streaming, how did that all started?

GA: Well, we were already working on a hamster game with Jerry when I started streaming. And since I basically push hamsters everywhere and all the time it felt natural to make Benny a part of my stream. Having such a small pet with this big heart helps me when I feel lonely or anxious and the pure and unconditional love these animals can give is something I wish everyone could experience even just for a second when Benny blesses us by showing up on a stream.

BJ: I believe you know a lot of hamster facts and tell them on stream too for channel points. Could you share one of your favorite hamster facts for the people with no channel points?

GA: Hamster teeth never stop growing – that’s why they have to nibble on stuff all the time.

BJ: It all makes sense now. And by the way, when I watched your stream for the first time I noticed your tattoos relatively quick. So just out of curiosity I was wondering if you could tell me something about your tattoos. And if you have any plans to get a new tattoo next year.

GA: Sure! Well, I currently have around 11 tattoos and I unfortunately have an unfinished sleeve on my left arm (covid and surgery make it difficult). So, my plans for now is to finish my whole left arm in 2021 hopefully. The whole theme for the left sleeve is fairy tales – you can see a wolf and Maleficent there already, but I also have a small reference to Beaty and the Beast or my favorite games there. Oh, btw – did you know my other forearm is a Witcher tattoo? 🙂

I am planning on a big back/neck cyber theme tattoo next, but these ideas just must come and feel right. One thing I know is that I won’t be getting another chest tattoo anytime soon – the pain was nearly unbearable, pff. But if you have any more questions about tattoos, I am always happy to answer!

BJ: I had no idea about the Witcher tattoo, what is it?

GA: It is a book version of Triss with the protective barrier spell she uses in Witcher 2 game! You can check it here.

BJ: That looks amazing. I am sure all Triss fans out there are falling in love with it. And is there anything else that you would like to do next year?

GA: I hope to visit Japan next year because we had to reschedule that from this summer and my biggest wish Is to work less and be less stressed. I would love to dedicate more time to Gwent and YouTube and hopefully participate in more tournaments or do more casting.

BJ: Oh Japan, that is a country I would love to visit as well. Have you watched Lost in Translation? Its a movie filmed in Tokyo.

GA: No, I haven’t seen it! Do you recommend it? I might watch it then.

BJ: Yeah definitely, I watched it twice already. Its one of my favorite movies with Scarlett Johansson. Aside of things you want to do next year. Its almost New Year. So do you have any new year’s resolutions?

GA: I usually have several – something small and achievable. For next year I think I will just focus more on things I love.

BJ: That’s a great one! To wrap up the interview. Is there anything you want to say to the reader in anticipation of 2021?

GA: I hope that no matter how your 2020 went, that you can find something that you can learn from and will help you cope with things in 2021 – and also be nice to yourself and others – don’t spam poor Gwent partners with “hurry up” emotes. We know we’re slow.

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*GhostArya's Top 10 Cards of 2020

*Arya decided to kick off her top 10 with her number 1 card of 2020.

1.  Gezras of Leyda
– The ginger boi, although a new addition, has quickly become my favorite card with potential outside ST movement decks.

2. Dracoturtle – It is a chonky card – need I say more?

3. Syanna – A fragile card with ultimate meme potential.

4. Sly Seductress – A great engine that can survive thanks to the shield.

5. Philippa Eilhart – Because stealing is fun.

6. Squirrel – The closest thing Gwent has to a hamster and basically a must-have in all my decks.

7. Hawker Smuggler – For chonky units.

8. Alzur – He is a bit forgotten now, but I had a lot of fun with this card.

9. Freixenet – One of the best card arts for me personally, so he deserved a spot.

10.   Cantarella – Bittersweet surprise card, also unpopular one perhaps, but still fun for me to play.