Gwent Open #1 Recap with TailBot and Bart

Introduction

Gwent Open#1 of the Gwent Masters 3 cycle was a big success for Team Legacy players. TailBot won the event and Bart933 reached the semifinal in his debut. We are still excited after the tournament and Tailbot and Bart were kind enough to give their Gwent Open recap in a form of extensive interview. We will go deep into details, crucial moments in games and matchup strategies, but there would also be time for more general questions and thoughts, not only related to the tournament. 

The interview will be splitted into 3 main sections:

 

  • General questions related mostly to lineups and Gwent Open preparation. Answers from both players.
  • Tailbot’s Corner questions addressed directly to Tailbot – discussing his path to victory match-by-match
  • Bart’s Corner questions addressed directly to Bart – what happened in his games and is he happy with the 3rd-4th place final result?

 

For the sake of better reference we extracted single Tailbot and Bart matches vods from the official Gwent Open cast on CDProjektRed Twitch channel. Videos with the matches are available on Team Legacy channel on Youtube. There would be also links to discussed games further in the interview.

 

All Gwent Open decks with autodescription are collected in this sheet. Tailbot and Bart lineups are presented below.

Have a good read!

General questions

1) Season of the Elf was quite intense for top players. For example Bart played week-by-week in Top16 Qualis, Top64 Qualis and then Gwent Open. In such a crowded season, when did you start to prepare for the Open? Was it after Top64 Qualis or some ideas/plans came earlier?

 

Bart: The ideas were starting to come up from the start of the season. Although it was hard to find time just for strict open prep alongside with uni, qualis and casual ladder jamming in the meantime. So I’ve put most time into it during the last week before the Open. Also we were getting our final ideas on the lineup during the last weekend before the deadline happening on Monday.

 

TailBot: It would be impossible to start prepping after top64 qualis as decks had to be submitted just 1 day after them. I started prepping for the open about 2 weeks before which was 1 week before qualifier. I tested my lineup in the qualifiers and was satisfied so I was happy to take it to open too after some minor adjustments

 

2) Do you think the schedule is optimal as of now, or would you rather like more time between important tournaments and/or a later deadline for decklists submission (it was set in one day after Top64 Qualis)?

 

B: Yeah, the schedule is definitely not ideal and I feel like it needs an adjustment. The Open month is too crowded with tournaments and there is almost no time to try and find smth spicy after the Qualis, so the decklists are usually very similar to the current meta.

 

T: Right now we have to submit decks 6 days before open which I think could be narrowed down to 3-4 days maybe.

 

3) I know you prepared together this time and ended up with similar lineups, the only real difference being in Monsters decks (TailBot took Arachas Swarm, while Bart took Carapace Kelly). What was the general idea of the lineup and what were reasons for particular MO choices?

 

B: The general idea of the lineup was to target Nilfgaard and also have nice matchups against Syndicate. These factions were the most popular during the Open and we could have seen the strategy working out pretty good for us. The Monsters deck choice was strictly a player’s preference – i’m quite known for loving Kelly deck. It is my favourite deck overall, so i’m feeling very confident with it even though it didn’t fit the lineup strategy very well. Nevertheless, as u could see it was getting banned in every of my matches. MO is just very good in the current tournament setting, both Carapace Keltullis and Arachas Swarm have a lot of good matchups across the board.

 

T: My idea was to ban Skellige and soft target both SY and NG. Arachas Swarm just fits that lineup perfectly.

 

4) Two things catched viewers eyes mostly in your lineups: Whoreson Senior in Syndicate and Imprisonment as the leader choice for Nilfgaard. Could you elaborate a bit on both? Are you satisfied with these choices after the tournament is finished or would you change them?

 

B: Those 2 ideas felt great and even though I haven’t been the most optimistic about this Imprisonment at the first glance, taking it was a very good idea in the end. Redrame’s lineup was heavily targeting Double Cross, but against Imprisonment all of the sudden the matchups were just not so good. I feel like the only worse matchup for Imprisonment compared to Double Cross is Arachas Swarm and the difference isn’t even that big. So for me it’s just the best Nilfgaard leader right now. 

 

Whoreson was just mainly to target NG and make them play 1 Joachim instead of 4, which lowers the deck power by a lot. Whoreson is overall a decent card and I think it’s ok in every matchup; even if you need to transform like a full value Muscle it is 5 points tempo play that gives u 2 engines on the board. And of course, if you have better transform targets, like Ferko for instance, the card is just great in the deck.

 

T: I was not very satisfied with Senior’s performance but it might be because he was supposed to be a tech for NG matchup which I didn’t get to play. When it comes to Imprisonment, I just like it more than Double Cross and think it’s stronger in more matchups. Mainly it improves the mirror and Gift matchup.

 

5) Decklists went open for the players after Friday’s draw show. What is your view on decks brought to Open in general? Were you impressed by some lineup/deck? Were you happy with lineups/bracket in terms of winning chances?

 

B: The decks were pretty much what I expected and nothing has really surprised me as I said earlier. Probably the main reason for that is the stacked schedule for competitive players but also quite stale meta in which there was rather not much left to discover. I think our lineup with TailBot was just the best alongside Pajabol’s. Paja was on paper the toughest potential enemy not only because of the fact he is a very great player but also his lineup didn’t consist of NG and it was our main targeting object. Overall I was quite happy with the bracket as my first opponent had a good lineup for my strategy. You need to win against the best in order to take it all, so Paja as the next opponent was smth i was just excited about. Especially since it is a friendly rivalry. In spite of the bracket allowing that, the dream of Legacy final unfortunately didn’t happen.

 

T: All the lineups were pretty predictable. Nothing very impressive. I was satisfied with my lineup and bracket.

 

6) You both joined Team Legacy during offseason break in autumn 2020. Do you see some concrete benefits of co-oping in LGC as players? Maybe you would like to shout-out someone?

 

B: Yeah, the team is just great and i think i couldn’t have made a better choice in terms of choosing one. I think every single one of the players is very helpful and it’s hard to name one particular but i’ve prepared the most with TailBot, Iluxa and Andi overall. Also I always have had a big respect to Xiwer in terms of his lineups and strategy suggestions, so i would like to give the biggest thanks to those players.

 

T: It’s definitely nice to have people around that can help you in scrims. I didn’t have people that I could practice with before so that’s the biggest change and benefit in my opinion.

 

7) What would be your plans for the rest of the season and Masters 3 as a whole? Would you recommend any decks from your lineups for ladder climb?

 

B: The rest of my plans are concentrating around attending as many tourneys as possible – most importantly the Masters – and I will give my best to do so. For ladder climb I would definitely suggest the Imprisonment deck. I feel it’s much better for the ladder than Double Cross. And also Kelly ofc, the deck is just farming on the ladder.

 

T: Right now I’m not really gonna try hard to qualify for next opens. I will focus more on other stuff and prepare for masters when the time comes. I think all of my decks should be decent on ladder but sy might the worst one.

TailBot corner

1) The preceeding season (Season of the Bear) was not as impressive in numbers as usual for you: 45th place on ladder with mediocre efficiency. You were also very close to claiming Open #2 spot, finally losing only to John Sally and Iluxa in Top64 qualifiers. How high did you assess your chances before the Open and do you like ladder or tournament play more at this point?

 

I didn’t play that much before Open and didn’t feel that prepared so I assessed my chances as not that high. Maybe slightly above average. I like ladder play more just because it’s very chill compared to tourneys.

 

2) Your lineup assumed a Skellige ban in every match. Do you rate Skellige Eist Warriors as the top deck in the current meta, or rather just distinguished from the rest by lack of green power/tall units?

 

I think SK is very close in power to SY and NG. Banning SK just made building my lineup kinda straightforward. NG and SY share more matchup similarity with each other than with SK so it was easier to build a lineup that would do well against both. Also I was expecting everyone to bring both SY and NG so I would be guaranteed to get those matchups.

 

3) Let’s go to the first match vs Kams (3:2). Kams brought no SK and your lineup looked pretty favoured on paper. Match didn’t start too well with Skellige losing the long round against Syndicate. Did you expect this line or it came as a surprise? (match)

 

To be honest I didn’t expect it at all. I barely tested how long round vs SY goes as I expected it should be quite easy for SK. That being said, after analyzing this game I think I could have won it but for some missplays in round 3.

 

4) In the next game: Arachas Queen Swarm vs Gift you went for a counterintuitive line commiting the strongest card – Geralt:Yrden in Round 1 in order to get card advantage in a long R3. Could you explain what was the reasoning behind?

 

It seemed like Kams wants to pass next turn. I wanted to prevent that and Yrden was the only card that would get me ahead. It was a very risky play as Yrden can be a huge win condition in this matchup later on. I ended up getting card advantage and Figgis out thanks to it so it might have been worth it.

 

5) In the decisive NG mirror Kams was pretty unlucky in terms of draws and Joachim rng and decided to push R2 after Braathens + Artorius commitments in R1. You ended up in a very comfortable position, letting you play 9p Usurper to secure R2 rather than fighting for hand quality. Do you think luck/matchup were decisive in this game or maybe Double Cross had other lines?

 

NG mirrors can be quite confusing. It definitely didn’t go well for Kams. He ended up over committing in round 1 and then he just couldn’t threaten me in round 2 bleed. Matchup was slightly favored for me thanks to my leader ability. When it comes to luck, I don’t think that I got much luckier than my opponent.

 

6) Your next opponent was ForeverYOLO (3:2). We were quite surprised to see your NG banned taking into account the matchups table. What do you think about this match? (match)

 

I expected the NG ban after looking at his lineup. He also banned NG in his previous match. Overall I’m just sad about my Monsters vs NG match. I took the line I wasn’t sure about. I passed in r1 when Yolo had to commit leader to not lose card advantage. It would have been fine if I didn’t misplay twice in r3. I didn’t mulligan movement card away which allowed yolo to copy it and setup yrden and then I decided to kill the wrong unit with Geralt.

 

7) Final opponent: Pajabol. You played against each other in Gwent Masters 2 Finals and Paja had the upper hand back then. In terms of matchups the situation looked pretty even because Paja omitted targeted NG Double Cross in his lineup. Would you agree and what was your strategy for this match? (match)

 

I didn’t have very complicated strategy. I expected him to queue ST or maybe AQ on blue coin first game. I planned to queue SK which would have a good matchup against both and then figure out on the fly what I queue next depending on if I win or lose.

 

8) First game: Blaze of Glory vs Devotion Gift. Your R1 play again might have looked suspicious for some viewers. You let Pajabol get big carryover from unanswered Dunca by going deep into the round and finally gave up at 3 cards while still having the reach from Bear Witcher and Morkvarg. Could you explain the logic behind this approach? What do you think of Paja decision to push R2 and about the game in general?

Would Skellige let the Devotion Gift go with thick Figgis and no apparent commitment?

That’s just the way you have to play this matchup as SK. You want to prolong round 1 as much as possible so the round 2 bleed from gift player is much less threatening. And that even applies to the situation when your opponent has Dunca and is getting a lot of carryover. Gift also has to bleed me in r2 as my version of SK should beat Gift in a long round 3. I feel good about this game. I had a good matchup, played well, drew well so it was not surprising I ended up winning this one.

 

9) Second game: Imprisonment vs Arachas Swarm. Very hard matchup for Nilfgaard; moreover the leader ability is worse than Double Cross here. Somehow you managed to win this game though. One of your resorts was yolo Cantarella in R2, which could have been game losing if hit for example Curse of Corruption. You hit Dol Dhu Lokke though, which played for 6p carryover and weakened the opponent hand for R3. What do you think of this game?

Cantarella is played with no preparation. High risk, but what else to commit to not lose R3 on spot?

I didn’t like this game. Round 2 ended up with me playing ball quite early and my opponent just passing which didn’t feel good.I definitely think I got a lucky this game. That cantarella pull ended up being really good and paja missed a lot of his swarm payoff in r3.

 

10) Next game you lost a hard Syndicate vs Arachas Queen matchup. Then it came to Syndicate mirror where blue coin was your disadvantage, but deck seemed to have decent chances anyway. Paja finished in a superior position after R2 bleed. Do you think you could have done sth better while defending the bleed?

 

Yeah I think so. This bleed was really bad for me. There wasn’t a single turn in which I had a play that I would feel good about. Everything was quite awkward. In the end I think the misplay was going for Heatwave from Oneiromancy instead of playing Dip in the Pontar to get the Redanian out and then going for Jackal from Oneiromancy.

 

11) Final game was Lined Pockets vs Devo Gift, highly favored for you if only not missing the crucial cards. You delivered it convincingly. Congratulations once again! How does it feel to win the first Open and get the slot for Masters Finals?

 

It’s true that this matchup was really good for me. Thank you. It just felt great.
Firstly because of the World Masters spot obviously and also because I kept my expectations low for this Open, so the win felt better thanks to that 😀

 

You can also watch TailBot analysing own games on his Twitch channel here

Bart corner

1) As the ‘King of Offseason’ you seem to do pretty well in the competitive as well so far: 6th, 6th and 5th place ladder finishes, while you had no Top16 positions in the competitive in Masters 2. What do you think could be the reason? Do you enjoy the ladder meta at the moment and how would you compare it to tournament play?

 

The biggest reason I think is that since i started winning the non-competitive seasons – especially the first one when i also broke the all time record of the highest faction peak (2755 on SK Warriors, later broken by 2782 Iluxa’s NR Witchers ) and got an interview in Gwent Champions series – I just told to myself: maybe i should really put bigger focus into the game and try hard in the next season to achieve the highest level. I’ve definitely seen the potential and also it gave me a huge confidence boost as I was never before taking this game as something I could get money from and reach the highest level. Throughout the whole past Gwent history I as a player just jammed the game casually and also didn’t even bother with any tournaments. The only exception was participating in the top 64 qualis of season 2, but yeah my ambitions have changed and also i proved myself that i’m capable of making them real.     

 

2) While TailBot had rather a clear SK ban target, inclusion of Kelly rather than AQ in your lineup made the strategy less obvious. You ended up banning AQ in both matches. Was it planned before the tournament or rather based on faced lineups?

 

I mean, our lineup with TailBot was weak to both MO and SK. I think the MO choice didn’t change much in the end as it was at least in my example getting banned everytime (as expected). Looking at our lineups I feel that both bans against SK and MO made a lot of sense and it was flexible between those 2. I think in the end it came down to which deck we prefer to play against.

 

3) Your first match was against Redrame who definitely has more experience when it comes to tournament play and withstanding pressure. How did you feel before your first match on Gwent Open? (match)

 

I was feeling quite nervous, but since I’ve joined the first match I tried to reduce my nerves by just focusing strongly on the game. I think it worked out in the end. I’ve had a lot to prove to both the community and especially myself and I think I did my job. Redrame definitely wasn’t an easy opponent but my lineup was just favourite against his and I managed to ensure it into a win.

 

4) Redrame’s lineup seemed to target NG Double Cross, but you brought Imprisonment. Do you think such leader choice improved your chances against targeting?

 

(This question was answered in 4) of general questions, so we skipped)

 

5) One of the funny moments in the series was when you played Leader+Coated Weapons on Saul to worsen Redrame topdecks and he responded with Oneiro putting Saul back on the board, but also getting rid of any guarantees for R3. What do you think of this game, did Redrame commit too much in R1 to win on even, or was it simply necessary?

Full value Saul just entered on the board. Redrame could possibly purify lock/poison with Kurt (Bart doesn't know opponent's hand). What to do?

Yeah, i think this Coated Weapons on Saul was the most interesting play in the series and a lot of  people called it a misplay. Meanwhile my line of thought was I have a very huge tempo play incoming: Menno into Coup on Joachim into guaranteed Usurper and I was certain that I would get forced to play it anyway. Therefore I wasn’t worried about the tempo he can commit at all since he played most of his stuff in R1 as you said. So at least I wanted to get some good trades and force him to commit 2nd oneiro or be left with Saul as a bad topdeck in short r3 that also plays into my poison. That’s what I did in the end. I think it was correct as all i needed to win was him missing one of his big golds r3. I think that playing most of his good cards he just played to his outs (even though it was annoying a bit during the game, all I needed in R1 was Invocation in hand to punish the giant Sea Jackal). This matchup was very bad for him and the only wincon was probably doing everything to win on even.

 

6) The decisive game was Nilfgaard mirror, where you had to defend the bleed. Yet it seemed like you’ve run into trouble right at the start, roping out and using two leader charges on Slave Hunter. Could you explain what happened here and also why Sergeant was your choice rather than Hunting Pack? Do you think missing the Ball in R2 hand might actually be a blessing, not giving any winning line to Redrame?

Turn just ends and second Imprisonment charge is automatically played on already locked Slave Hunter.

 

NG mirror has just the NG mirror things happening all around. To be fair, I hate playing this matchup, but was forced to after being down 1:2 😅.  Yeah, the rope was quite painful i was a bit annoyed by lowrolling Artorius Vigo. I wanted either of the spies and got none of them, so that’s why I roped out. I really don’t understand why Gwent does work like that: if you rope out while using leader charge it automatically uses another one randomly (the sensible thing would be at least for me if it just passed for you). But anyway, I’ve had a decent enough hand to defend this bleed well and I managed to get my focus back quite quickly. The Nauzicaa Sergeant choice was just the best one I’ve got there. Playing the Hunting Pack first is usually very bad in the mirror as you just give your opponent a great copy target to get an extra one for more points as well as 1 more thinning. This Nauzicaa played at the start of the round represented a lot of points in the end. I think overall my overroping worked quite well for me in the end. I even heard theories that it was a purposeful rope to distract my opponent and make him too confident. Later on we both started slamming the cards and Redrame taking Invo on Braathens from leader played into my Cantarella for a huge tempo, to as mentioned earlier copy Hunting Pack. At this point I just had a guaranteed going card up in R3, that’s why i also played for carryover with Alchemists instead of going for the 2nd Canta after another Invo. I knew I didn’t need to worry about his Canta anymore. 

I think even if I would have drawn the Ball there in R2 i would have definitely mulliganed it out. Not only because it’s a great short R3 wincon, but also the chance of him getting leader into it was just too high in R2 bleed – around 50% to lose the game on the spot – i couldn’t have risked it.

 

7) In the semifinals you were matched with Gwent Masters 2 winner Pajabol. The match ended up in a pretty sad 0:3 result. In the Syndicate vs Skellige game you had a win position but lost to a nasty misclick. What are your impressions from this match and what you could have done better? (match)

Drill comes into the melee row, where it becomes 1dmg for 2 coins spender. Ranged row Drill wins because Gord is a Crownsplitter.

I think Paja as usual played the game really well, so in the first match there was not much I could have done I think. In the 2nd game losing to this misclick was the biggest pain of this tournament for me so that was very sad and I still haven’t recovered from this situation 😩. The 3rd game just showed that you can even lose to Devotion Gift in one of the most favourable matchups if you can’t draw Oneiromancy, Cleaver and Drill for the whole game. Also not getting the Justice R1 to ensure winning the round was quite bad. I think i played that well and i’m not blaming myself, such things sometimes are happening and it’s always the best thing to just forget it.

 

8) Advancing to semis is a pretty good score for a debut in official tournaments. Congrats! Are you happy with your performance after all? 

 

Of course I’m happy, it was a nice debut and I hope i can get even further next time I make it to an official tournament. It felt even better as we finally broke the curse of Legacy losing in quarters and in quite a decent style i would say.

 

9) You used to be mostly a ladder player, but during the offseason you have also practiced tournament play more, starting from community tournaments. Could you give a few tips for ladder players who want to try his luck in Gwent tournaments for the first time?

 

The most important tip I could give is to invest an even amount of time into playing various factions on the ladder – not only your favourite ones, as in tournaments you need to play well with 3 or 4 of them in order to win. The other tip would be to put a good amount of time into analyzing the meta, finding the weak spots of it and try to aim for those weak spots. Even though I like taking just the strongest decks to tournaments like Qualis, where there are a lot of players and losing to targeting strategy is less of a risk. Other than that just stay calm, collected and most importantly have fun.

Epilogue

After the win in Gwent Open#1 TailBot may start early Gwent holidays up to Gwent Masters Finals … or maybe there would be a plot twist soon?

 

Bart may use the prize money to buy a new mouse to his laptop, which will make him a 10% more dangerous opponent. Also advancing to Gwent Masters Finals via Crown Points becomes more and more real…

 

We are also very happy to see our teammate Iluxa already qualified for Gwent Open#2 – maybe someone from Legacy will join him after next month Qualifiers?

 

Big thanks to TailBot and Bart for committing their time and answering all the detailed questions! 

 

Written by:

lerio2

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