You want to know more about the person behind the name and the title in the game? Wondering who played you during that ladder game or tournament? Today, TESL.BLOG has the great pleasure of interviewing SmoothOperator, who is a collectible card game fan since his childhood and now a consistent tournament player in the (still young) competitive scene of The Elder Scrolls Legends. SmoothOperator is a key member of the Blood Warriors Guild Elite Team and likes to establish dominance in his games right from the start. So without further ado, let’s get going with the interview…
What’s your TESL in-game-name?
My screen name is SmoothOperator, my real name is Hayden Matchett.Nice to meet you, Hayden. What about you real life? What’s keeping you busy when you are not playing TESL?
When I’m not playing TESL, I am usually either busy with my job as a Knowledgebase Analyst, playing another game, or sleeping. I lead a simple existence.
Tell us a little bit about how you started playing The Elder Scrolls Legends?
I’ve been a huge card game fan my whole life. Around the time when Legends was about 6 months old, I was in the market for a new card game, but had never played a digital CCG before and was somewhat apprehensive of it for some silly reason that I can’t even remember. I caved one day and decided to give it a try. The tutorial sucked me in and it wasn’t long until I was obsessed with the game.
When was the first time you reached Legend rank on the ladder?
Just last month! I had never really tried to reach legend, but I decided that I was going to give it an honest attempt. Hit legend #252 or something like that pretty quickly.
Can you look back on any previous card game experience?
Definitely. I played Yu-Gi-Oh throughout my childhood. Played MTG religiously throughout high-school and college. After that I played Force of Will for a while. I’m currently playing the Dragon Ball Super Card Game in tandem with TESL.
Have you played in any TESL tournaments?
I participate in the ESL Open Community cup each Saturday and I just competed in my first Warpmeta NA last Thursday! I’m also on Team Canada in Bhushan Tri’s ongoing country based tourney. I plan on doing many more.
Aggro – Midrange – Control? What’s your favorite playing style and why?
I dabble in all of it, but lately I’ve been quite comfortable in the aggro side of things. That’s what I’ve been taking to tournaments, anyway. I like to race because face is the place. On the ladder I use everything.
What’s currently your favorite deck?
That’s a tough call, but i’ll say the Aggro Siege Catapult sorcerer list I ripped off from GriffenGasp. I used it once to try it and loved it. Suits my play style real well and it’s a blast to use.
…and what’s your all time favorite?
All time favorite to use is my ‘Ward-Break Atromancer’ battlemage deck which utilizes cards that give special effects when their wards break, like Breton Conjurer, Daggerfall Mage, etc.. then rewards them and breaks them again and again. It’s not super competitive, but it sure is fun.
A question relating to Quadrant Theory – Let’s assume for a minute that you were a TESL card. What quadrant would you have your greatest strengths in? Would it be in Opening/ Developing, in Parity, in Winning or in Losing/ Turnaround?
I guess I’ll say Opening/Developing. I like to establish dominance right from the get go wherever possible. I like cards like Windkeep Spellsword that are sticky and helpful in quickly solidifying your place in whichever lane you’re favoring.
What TESL title are you most proud of and which one are you usually bearing?
My ‘most proud of’ has to be Nerevar Reborn. When Houses of Morrowind came out I made it a mission to collect 100% of the set. It was a grind, but when I pulled it off, I was quite pleased with myself. I can be found with ‘The Founder’ title these days. I have no good reason for this other than it’s shiny and i’m not 100% sure how I even have it since I never participated in the beta or anything like that.
What’s your view on some of the game-breaking mechanics, like Nix-Ox Combo, Unstoppable Rage, or Magicka Ramp?
I think it’s neat that there are players out there who are smart enough to figure things out like Nix-Ox combo. I don’t think it’s an issue at the moment and I have faith in the powers that be that they will address it when and if it becomes a legitimate concern for the game. I wouldn’t say that Unstoppable Rage or Magicka Ramp are game breaking per se, just powerful in the right circumstances.
Do you play some of these decks yourself?
I have a Nix-Ox combo deck and I have Tribunal and Telvanni lists that ramp pretty hard. I play them because they’re fun and can be very effective. I’m not currently running anything with Unstoppable Rage in it.
Of all the combos in the game, what’s your favorite one and why?
For this, I gotta go back to the days of the Gardener of Swords and Master of Arms synergy. Love playing those items decks!
What is your view on the current state of TESL?
I’m very excited about TESL right now. We’ve got the new client coming up soon as well as the Isle of Madness expansion to look forward to. Sparkypants seems committed to producing the best version of the game and Bethesda has made it clear that competitive play is a priority for them as we saw with The Masters Series. And the addition of the tournament mode in the new client.
What is your opinion on how Bethesda is evolving the game and the TESL community?
I would like to see some more promotion and advertisement for the game than we’ve been seeing. But the establishment of an official competitive scene is exactly what I personally was wanting for the game since I started playing. I think they’ve done a great job in that regard, especially knowing that they already know what needs to be improved upon for next year.
If you had one wish for the game, what feature, card or card mechanic would you like to see implemented?
Well, I’m gonna get in trouble for this, but i’d like to see a creature with the special ability of ignoring prophecies when it attacks. So let’s say your opponent is at 26 health, you attack with this theoretical creature, and if the rune you broke was a prophecy, your opponent can’t cast it and it goes to their hand anyway. The card would have to be weak, maybe even a unique legendary, but i’m interested in that effect. Another wish for the game is new avatars – like when can I have a Mudcrab avatar, please? *laughs*
That’s actually a great idea. I like it, too. But let’s also talk a little bit about your role in the TESL community and what’s driving you?
Until recently, I was just the average casual player. Then I was invited to join the Blood Warriors Guild. I learned they were holding trials to put together a competitive team to work together and participate in events. I lept at the opportunity and was lucky enough to make the team. What’s driving me now are my teammates, as well as a desire to improve and represent the guild as best as I can both as a player and a positive voice in the community.
In six months, where do you want to be with this?
In six months I’d like to be a somewhat recognizable figure in this awesome community and hopefully to have a couple more tournament W’s under my belt. Maybe in that time i’ll have also gotten the motivation to start streaming as well.
Which content creators do you follow?
Some of my favorites are CVH, Charm3r, Justin Larson and GriffenGasp.
To close this interview – what message would you like share with the readers of tesl.blog?
First of all, thanks for reading. This is without question the best card game community I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Keep being awesome. Lastly, a shout out to The Blood Warriors for being a welcoming and committed group of friends with whom to play the game.
Thank you for your time, SmoothOperator. It’s appreciated a lot!
This concludes the interview with SmoothOperator. He will be competing in the upcoming WarpMeta TESL NA #35 tournament and more to come. Let’s wish him and all the other players good luck!