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
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.