Skill beats Luck Ep. 11 – France enters the scene with Kaneki_Yamori

Introduction

Wait…a new Episode? Of course! Skill beats Luck is back and I will work hard to keep it that way. On a personal note, the last few months have been busy, as I finished and passed my Masters Thesis (Geography), got a new job and now have to heal from a torn ligament in my foot after I got hit by a bike. Nevertheless, I am glad to have the time now and provide you with new interviews within the GWENT Community. 

The last Episode came out after the first competitive season has ended, this one after the last competitive season of the year just finished. And this time I have a guest many Pro’s in the scene might have heard about already, others might have seen him only a few weeks ago when he was able to qualify for GWENT Open No. 3. I am talking about Team Elder Bloods Kaneki_Yamori, who’s actually the first player from France taking part in an official GWENT tournament. So let us not waste any more time and find out more about him, his thoughts on GWENT and how gaming shapes our daily lives! 

For our fellow readers from France we prepared a French Version of the Interview as well, which you can find in the Additional Information!

Meet the Player

Name: Dylan

Age: 19

Hobbies: Sports in general, Boxing, Cinema

Favorite Card: Spotter 

Favorite Faction: Nilfgaard

Section: Pro Team (Team Elder Blood)

Team Elder Blood and ShupeTV

As all of you know, there are many different GWENT Teams out there. Some are regional Teams, like GwentDetta in the CIS Community, ESC in the Italian Community or Team Nova and Viper, for the Spanish and Hispanic Communities. Other Teams, like Bandit Gang or TLG are multi-national. 
Our guest this time is a competitive player from Team Elder Blood, which has grown a lot over the last few months. Not only their yearly Community Events play a big role in GWENT, also their players. Recently Gandalf0271 has won GWENT Open No. 1, while others, like Pawloex or Truzky are know faces as well. With Kaneki_Yamori we now have another uprising competitive player, who put France in the spotlight. 

ShupeTV on the other hand is not directly an Esports Team, but more like a French Community. They cast official events in French, while also being part of cross over events or organising their own league and tournaments.  

Many members from STV are active players in TEB, like Kaneki_Yamori, Captain Flixon or ArtNhr for example. 

If you want more information, check out their Twitter, Discord or different Twitch Channels!
(TEB Homepage, STV Twitch)

Additional Information - Informations Complémentaires

In this Google Document you can find a French Version of the Interview! 

Dans ce Google Document vous trouverez la version française de l’interview !

The Interview

Sawyer: Hello Kaneki, first of all congratulations on your recent success! If I am correct, you might be one of the first players from France who qualified for a GWENT Open.
But before we go into more details, why don’t you tell us something about yourself. Who’s the person behind this nickname and how did you end up in playing GWENT?

Kaneki_Yamori: Hey Sawyer and thanks a lot! Indeed, I’m the first french player who qualified for an open since alessio1996 was from Belgium.   
So, my nickname is Kaneki_Yamori, but my real name is Dylan and I’m 19 years old, living in the south of France, next to the sea and mountains. I am a student in the medical field and devote my freetime to 2 main activities: GWENT and sport

I never played any card game before GWENT, I didn’t know this environment at all. At first I loved gwynt in the Witcher 3, did all the quests to get the complete collection of cards, and was sad when I finished them. It’s by pure chance, while I was browsing the Play Station store, that I saw GWENT for the first time. Then Idecided to try the game, and it’s been more than 5 years now that I’m playing it.

S: Interesting, I kinda took the same way, just on PC.
I already had the chance to play against you in our Charity Event with ShupeTV last year, where I met you the first time. Also I remember some tough battles during the TLG Invitational vs my teammate SuperSpock9000.
Since then you’ve come a long way and improved a lot. What’s your secret, how do you explain your high winrates and recent successes?

K_Y: Well, I don’t think there are any secrets that can explain my progress, it’s just the result of hard and very long work, as I don’t have any experience on other games of this type. I started GWENT with an execrable level, but I got hooked, I started to watch more and more streams of good players, who explained their thinking, and it helped me to progress.

Nowadays I try to play only when I’m fully concentrated. As a rule, I try to start my GWENT session after I finish my workout, that’s when I feel the best and when I’m most able to concentrate.

My routine is the following: at the beginning of the season, I set the goal to achieve, like top 64 or top 16, depending on the time I have, and my desire to play.

Then, I start playing seriously from the 2nd week of the season, because the first week is the one I take to have a break from GWENT. I calculate the number of MMR I need to take each day to reach my goal, trying to reach it, and then I stop there. If I tell myself I need to earn 20 MMR per day, there will be days in which I will do 3 games to reach my goal and other days where I need 20. One of the pitfalls of the brain is that if the goal looks simple, it will not be satisfied once the goal is reached. So it will want to play more, and that’s when you make the mistake of continuing to play. Whatever goal you set, try to stick with it.

If it takes you 30 games to reach your daily goal the next day, your brain will be happier because it will think that the task was harder to achieve, when it wasn’t.

What you need to do is to be satisfied with your goal, even if you have done it in a very simple way. This is the beginning of efficiency.

S: That remembers me of the survey I once did about Pro Players Mentality. Being efficient and reflecting on your playstyle seems key.

While we have a lot of players from Poland, Russia, China or even Germany, the competitive scene in France seems rather small. Not everyone might be aware of the huge community within ShupeTV tho.
What is ShupeTV about for you, what’s your part in it and what are the differences in terms of preparation compared to Team Elder Blood

K_Y: First of all, I would like to say a huge thanks to Team Elder Blood and ShupeTV, these 2 communities have given me a lot.

Team Elder Blood is a community of excellent players, which has grown tremendously in the last few years. The different players are all there for each other, give their lists which they perform with, give their advice for each matchup, etc.

ShupeTV is more like a family. I did my first tournament with them and that’s what made me want to keep improving. It’s a wonderful community, that gave me so much energy. Without them, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to get to this point.   

S: I can only agree with that one. I consider a lot of people from ShupeTV my friends, while I also loved to take part in the community events of Team Elder Blood.

We talked about your journey in GWENT and now how it is within two Teams or Communities. How important would you say are all these Teams and events for GWENT? Would you wish for more “official” events, like leagues or cups as well, from your perspective as a competitive player?

K_Y: These different communities play a crucial role in my opinion, in GWENT’s life. They make players, beginners or not, want to improve, and thus, to stay on the game.

The same goes for big events, official or not. It’s an opportunity to bring the community together and to bring your game together. Of course, it would be nice if there were a few more community events.

S: When we think about the recent evolution of the competitive scene in GWENT, some people were disappointed to only have three Opens this year. Also global events lead to the ban of Russian players, like Akela, iluxa or Ch.ase. What are your thoughts on the current situation of competitive GWETNT in general? 

K_Y: It is of course sad that the Russians can no longer be part of the competitive scene of GWENT. Apart from that, there has recently been the return of former very good GWENT players, like Tailbot, Shaggy, Adzikov or Kolemoen, and it’s really nice to see! I don’t know if they’re going to keep playing, but either way, I’m not too worried about the competition in GWENT.

S: True, also Redrame is showing a comeback lately! 

Over the last months a lot of other card games came up. Besides GWENT, many people went into Marvel Snap, Legends of Runeterra or especially Storybook Brawl. Did you try out some of those games or do you play other games when you are not grinding ladder?

K_Y: I’ve tried to play a little bit of Hearstone and Legend of Runeterra, but I don’t like them. I think what made me like GWENT is the fabulous artwork, the cards and the atmosphere are beautiful. The game is much more free-to-play than most of the other card games I’ve tried.

I don’t play other games besides GWENT, as it takes a lot of time. The time I have left I spent to do activities in my real life.

S: I can relate to that. 
Earlier I mentioned our Charity Event from last year. We already threw the glove to challenge you guys once again, where I would love a rematch. It still grieves me losing despite hitting a 12p Gascon twice in a row…
Anyway, as this example shows, charity events in GWENT but also in Esports on Twitch became a huge thing lately, while there are still some stigmata towards gaming and gamers in general. For you, what does it mean to be a “gamer” and how did gaming maybe influenced your life?

K_Y: I always considered myself a gamer. I started playing Guild Wars with my father around the age of 5, and since then I have never stopped. For me, being a gamer means experiencing adventures, experiencing sensations that we would never have experienced otherwise. I think we can compare video games to reading. When we read a book, we are told a story. When you play a video game, you live that story.

Even games without a story, like GWENT, have brought me a lot. In fact, this past month has been a real roller coaster for me, between the fierce struggle to reach the top 16, the fatigue of preparing the lineup, and then the qualification to the open.

GWENT especially brought me determination in my everyday life.

S: For sure. Gaming gives you the opportunity to enter and explore worlds, while connecting with people from all over the world, which might shape you in person as well. 
What I always loved are meetings with people you only knew from gaming together before. Already had a few of them and if my foot heals fast enough, will travel with a mate to Prague, whom I got to know while playing Chivalry. Did you already meet with people from STV or TEB or other gamers in real life?

K_Y: Unfortunately there are no French people living in my area, so I could not meet any. However, I had the pleasure to see Gregory_Black, a player of the Elder Blood team, and it was very nice, I hope to meet other GWENT players in the future.

S: As we talked about yourself as a player, gamer and community member now, what kind of advice could you give our readers to maybe improve themselves in GWENT and to achieve what you achieved?

K_Y: Probably the best way to improve is to watch streams of very good players. Don’t hesitate to watch the games of streamers who speak another language. Even if you don’t understand why a particular card is played, it makes you wonder, and you’ll find out for yourself. I’m thinking of Nik_R, who streams almost all his games, and watching them has helped me a lot.

Another point, probably the most important, is that if you want to progress, you have to stop lying to yourself. How many times do I hear you say: “I lost because I didn’t draw X card” or “I have bad luck”? It is of course reassuring to say to ourselves that it is not our fault if we lose, but it is very often false. Of course, you will lose games because of the RNG, but you have to look at the game from another angle, “what could I have done better? “. In order to progress, you have to accept that you are not at the top.               

Finally, to be able to progress, you must of course like the game. Who would be the fool who would keep playing a game, hurting himself, raging, and this in a loop? It’s perfectly normal to tilt from time to time. GWENT is a game that requires a lot of mental resources, and if you try to progress, there will be many times, periods of sadness, the most important thing is to get up from that, and keep going. When you see your progress as you go along, you are going to feel a tremendous personal satisfaction that is the fruit of mental labor and it is well worth it.

S: These are some very good points! Learning from others while reflecting on your own plays also helps you to grow as a player and person. 

Thank you for being part of this series! I hope to meet you soon in another STV event and until then, as always, I wish you good fortune in your wars to come!

K_Y: Thanks Sawyer for this interview, I have no doubt that we will have other opportunities to meet again!

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