The first Top16 Open Qualifier in the Season 2 of Gwent Masters was a very interesting Esport event, the first official tournament competition between top ladder players since a very long time. We want to congratulate Kolemoen and Santtu2x from Team Aretuza on winning their spots. We are also very happy with our team mate Iluxa228 performance. Beating Kams134, Adzikov, Tailbot, Redrame and Gravesh, Ilya lost only to Santtu – once 0:3 in the second round and finally 2:3 in the match decisive for qualification. Full tournament bracket could be found under link. Decklists could be found here.
On this occasion, we present to you a short interview with Iluxa228, the highest rated Team Legacy player.
1. Hi, Ilya! Great performance, but in the end you go home with empty hands. Could you introduce yourself to the readers? How do you feel after qualifiers?
Hi, Lerio. I am a competitive Gwent player, who never played CCGs before. And actually I don’t like them at all, but I love Gwent, because it is very different from typical CCG. Also, I like The Witcher universe. After qualifiers I felt a bit disappointed and couldn’t sleep for a long time. I played for 13 hours and my brain was totally dead. But now I feel great and optimistic about the next week qualifiers.
2. Double elimination Top16 was very tedious, especially for losers bracket. When did you finish the last game, and what impact such a long competition had on your gameplay?
I finished my last game at 3 am CET. In Russia it is 5 am. Of course in my last games I wasn’t fully concentrated and felt not really healthy. And I suspect that the other players had the same feeling because they were making some misplays.
3. Your first game was against Kams134. You had known your opponent since the very moment Season 1 ended. Did it influence your line-up somehow? Did Kams surprise you with something?
I knew that Kams will bring SK to the tournament. That’s why firstly I was trying to soft target SK. But it turned out to be almost impossible. In the end I just decided to bring 4 good decks. Kams didn’t surprise me with his lineup, it was pretty standard.
4. Second match and already Santtu2x – one of the favorites. I know that he is your tournament menace. Could you expand the topic a bit? Is his playstyle especially hard to handle for you?
I think that Santtu2x’s playstyle is hard for every player. He almost always tries to abuse the coin. He spends his golds like he doesn’t care. And often such plays lead to situations comfortable for him. Also, unluckily I lost my first game to his weakest deck because of disconnection. After this my chances were very small.
5. Playing in losers bracket is never fun. First opponent – Gwent veteran and World Masters Finalist Adzikov. Tell us about this game.
Our series should have ended with 3-1 score for me but I made 2 misplays in our 4th game. The last game was NR mirror. And luckily Adzikov didn’t draw his Siege.
6. The next opponent: Tailbot, one of the most successful and efficient players in Gwent history. Your 3:0 win was quite surprising for most of the community. Was it really as an easy match as the score suggests? What do you think of Tailbot’s decision to not bring Skellige?
The main reason for this score is queuing the right matchups. I won with SK vs Elves, with NR vs Elves and with Harmony vs NG.
Actually, I don’t really understand why he decided to ignore SK. Also I don’t understand why he didn’t ban it. He had 2 “unit spam” decks, and my SK and NR could easily beat it.
7. Perhaps the most exciting match for the community was your clash with Redrame, who streamed everything on Twitch. Playing against Redrame original and greedy decks is always a challenge. The match was quite close (3:2), and the final R3 was invisible to the audience due to the stream collapse. Tell us more about the match and what happened in the final act, where you seemed to be unfavored.
The last match turned out to be quite funny. I am sad that nobody saw it fully. Luckily for me Redrame didn’t find Gremist in R3 and my defender was alive for the whole round. This way, he didn’t manage to kill my engines. And I won.
8. Gravesh was your last opponent before the losers final. He decided to play Foltest after nerfs to Northern Realms. How did you overcome this deck?
I understand his decision, I was testing Foltest too. But this deck is extra weak against SK. I won R1 even after he played Roche. Match Foltest vs SY was pretty easy too. I went card down and still won because of Luiza+Savolla combo. Actually it could be 3-0 but I didn’t find Radeyah in our 3rd match. The last game was NR vs SK. Gravesh was tired and forgot to play around Shupe:Mage. I’ve stolen his An Craite Longship buffed to 10 and won on even. Then pushed a bit with my bronze hand. And in short R3 he had no chances even considering the fact that I didn’t draw Bloody Baron.
9. Final match and Santtu2x again. What conclusions did you derive after the first match, and what decided that you finally did not manage to win in a tough struggle?
I made a conclusion that I need to push his Ardal with SY. And I won pretty easily. I didn’t manage to win with my NR vs Ardal and vs ST. Now I think that my only chance to win vs Ardal as NR was to play siege in R1, win on even and win short round with Radeyah Anseis. Against ST unluckily I didn’t roll Shupe Hunter 3×3 damage. And lost the final round by 1 point.
10. We talked about each match, so maybe a few more general questions. How did you prepare for the tourney?
Luckily I have some great deckbuilders in my team, we were discussing my possible lineup and possible lineups of other players. Actually I am not really good at tournament preparations. I always used to bring one bad deck that stopped me from claiming top spot. That’s why I finish 3rd or 2nd very often in community tournaments. I think that it was the first time when my decks were fine. Huge thanks to Xiwer, Lerio2 and the rest of the team for this.
11. Flaminica in Skellige, Matrons and Malenka in Scoia’tael are probably the most interesting choices in your line-up. Could you explain each of these a bit more?
Flaminica is very good vs random damage and in SK mirrors. Also it synergizes with my Dimun Light Longships. Matrons we added instead of poison package because in the current meta having even 3 poisons makes no sense due to purifiers. Also they help to trigger your Dryad harmony tag in R1. It is 5 for 5 engine and it is really underrated. Malenka is a great card, and now it is one of my favourite cards in Gwent. She ruins the whole SK bronze package, can move some siege engines, Imke, Ewald, and has intrinsic synergy with the Treant Boar. Flaminica and Matrons were discovered by Xiwer and Malenka was Lerio’s propaganda.
12. Let me ask you now some questions unrelated to the tourney. How should we pronounce your nickname? I know that the way most non-Russian streamers do it is very funny for Russian Gwent community.
I don’t know why, but Russian players care about my nickname more than I do. In Russian it sounds like Ilyukha. But English speaking guys can’t read it right. I am fine with it and personally even prefer Iluxa pronunciation.
13. There is GwentDetta team for CIS community and your skill probably would have opened you doors to Team Leviathan or Team Aretuza as well. Why did you join Legacy?
When I joined Legacy I was nothing. And the main reason for me being a good player now is being Legacy player. The team helped me a lot in many aspects. I’ve found a lot of friends there. I hope I will never leave it.
14. What are your plans for the future in Gwent?
My plan is to win world Masters as soon as possible. I think that the bigger your goals, the bigger your results.
15. Thanks a lot for the interview Ilya! Good luck on the trail!
Thank you, Lerio, and good luck.
Questions and Intro by lerio2