TESL Community – Interview with WayneMcPayne
As a part of the Elder Scrolls Legends community, you want to know more about the people behind the player tags. What made them engage with TESL in the first place? What do they like about the game? What’s their favorite deck? For this purpose, tesl.blog is running a regular interview series to introduce you to members of the TESL community.
Today, it is time for an interview with WayneMcPayne. His real name is Jeremy, and he is a long-time, experienced player and well-established contributor to the TESL community. He has recently joined the Blood Warriors Guild and is now teaming-up to write for tesl.blog, which is so super-, super-exciting! He has been working on his own blog Firstruneprophecy, and all his work has been truly inspiring to so many new and experienced players alike. In case you missed it, please check out his first piece on tesl.blog about The Deckbuilding Process. He also has some great additional pieces in the works, so please check-back frequently!
But now, onto the interview…
Hello Jeremy, thanks for taking the time for this interview. What’s your TESL gamer name and how did you find it?
Well, I have to be honest…it doesn’t really mean anything *laughs*. I had to make a new PSN handle when I lost my old account info and I just thought WayneMcPain sounded amusing and went with that. My name isn’t even Wayne, it’s Jeremy.
What about your real life? What’s keeping you busy when you are not on TESL?
I am an IT Tech for a local independent school district for my full time job. I have a wife and two lovely daughters. And I am also the music pastor at my church, as well, which some people may find surprising *laughs*.
Tell us a little bit about how you started playing The Elder Scrolls Legends?
I’ve been a huge Elder Scrolls fan for years and I remember hearing a bit about the game back when it was first announced. I’ve always been an avid card game player too, playing games like Netrunner LCG, Star Wars: Destiny, Legend of the Five Rings, and even dabbling in Magic. Legends open beta came at just the right time in my life when I started becoming fanatical about card games and I was looking for a digital card game I could play when I couldn’t make time to meet up for “in-real-life” games. So I started playing in the beta, but only truly fell in love with the game after watching Justin Larson’s YouTube channel. I’ve been hooked ever since!
When was the first time you reached Legend rank on the ladder?
Oh boy, I’m glad I’ve actually done this so I can answer this question, haha. I’ve only reached Legend one time right before the Masters Series started and I think I ended the season at rank #800ish? To be honest, it was a lot of work and I was exasperated by the time it finally hit. I had to take a Legends break after that. I think people tend to downplay the amount of hard work it takes to hit Legend in this game. It’s definitely not for everyone. But I’m glad I put in the effort to do it and prove to myself that I am a capable player…when I put my mind to it anyway lol.
Can you look back on any previous card game experience?
Like I mentioned above, I cut my teeth on card games that many people probably haven’t even heard of. Netrunner was my first card game and, honestly, it will probably always be my favorite. It is such a unique game, like nothing else on the market. Unfortunately, the game’s licensing ran out and FFG won’t renew it so the game is going to be officially dead, although fans will probably keep it alive. I’ve also played a bit of Magic, Hearthstone, Eternal, Star Wars: Destiny, Legend of the Five Rings, Arkham Horror LCG and more. I’m actually really excited for Keyforge to release next week, and that will probably be my new in-real-life card game obsession for a long time!
Have you played in any TESL tournaments?
Not yet, but I really want to try and compete soon. Having two jobs, wife, kids and more going on in life means it is hard to find time to compete…but the desire is there for sure. Maybe soon!
Aggro – Midrange – Control? What’s your favorite playing style and why?
Favorite is far and away Midrange. I really enjoy the flexibility of playing aggressive or defensive depending on the matchup. It feels like every game is a challenge in that way, as you need to determine what your opponent’s game plan is and adapt very quickly. I also feel like Midrange decks tend to offer a lot of very complex decision making-points every game. Knowing when to be aggressive and when to play for the board is a very important and a tricky skill to learn. I like playing Aggro occasionally and I dabble in Control, although my Control game is pretty weak. But Midrange is where my heart lies.
What’s currently your favorite deck?
I am currently working on a very tempo-oriented Midrange Monk deck focused around including some of the new FrostSpark cards like Torval Extortionist, Harmony and Wilds Incarnate. It feels very old school – not relying on the Swift Strike / Monk Strike combos like more modern Monk decks, mostly because I found those decks to be far too inconsistent with lots of dead draws and few ways to play from behind. This deck feels much more like a classic Midrange deck from 2017 Legends, and I’ve been having decent success with it so far!
…and what’s your all time favorite?
All time favorite has to be Midrange Sorcerer. I love how many different small variations on Mid Sorc have been popular throughout the last two years, and yet it has almost always been a solid Tier 1.5-2 deck that you can have great win rates with. It is adaptable and fun, with lots of combat tricks and burst potential. You can tweak it to be more defensive in aggro metas and more aggressive in Control metas. It is just a fantastic deck that I love experimenting with.
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?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I think I would probably not be good opening. You’d probably mulligan me every time *laughs*. I think, I probably wouldn’t be great when winning, but at Parity and Losing I would be a fantastic comeback card, the kind of card that can really turn a game around and surprise my opponent. I think that fits me because I always tend to root for the underdog and play off-meta.
What TESL title are you most proud of and which one are you usually bearing?
I’m really proud of “The Earth Bone”, because I truly love this game and this community and I’m proud to have been around since the very beginning. But I’m usually bearing the Hero of the People. I know that sounds really egocentric, but it comes more from my love of playing underdog and off-meta lists and always trying to brew something really strange and make it successful. I guess I kind of see that as me representing all the Johnnys out there. Spikes might be out there winning championships, but it’s the Johnnys out on the “frontier” so to speak, pushing the limits of deck building and trying to come up with the next big thing (however unrefined it may be, before a Spike gets their hands on it) *laughs*.
What’s your view on some of the game-breaking mechanics, like Nix-Ox Combo, Unstoppable Rage, or Magicka Ramp?
Hmm, well I guess my answer is that I don’t really find these elements “game-breaking”. Game swinging, maybe. Meta defining, absolutely. But game breaking? I don’t really think so. In fact, if you look back through my post history on our subreddit, you will find that historically I have actually advocated for both Rage and Nix-Ox Combo decks at the height of their controversy in the community. I was of the opinion that it wasn’t the power level of the cards that was the problem, but impatience in giving the meta time to adapt and for people to learn to play around them. I really think cards like Rage encourage thoughtful play and important decision-making, and I like seeing actual combo decks being a viable thing in this game. I don’t think either archetype is too strong, although it may feel oppressive to players who don’t know how to play around them.
Of all the combos in the game, what’s your favorite one and why?
For me it has to be Curse + Leaflurker. It’s just a classic. Leaflurker is still such an incredibly fun card to use IMO, and I love using Skulk to pull Curses to turn on “free” kills with Leaflurker. Skulk is definitely capable of far more degenerate things at this stage in the game, but for me this combo will always be my favorite. (In fact, I’m running this package in the Monk deck I mentioned above!)
What is your view on the current state of TESL?
Conflicted, yet optimistic. On the one hand, I feel like a lot of the criticism toward Legends right now is unfair in light of the circumstances, and I really do think the doomsayers are very narrowly focused on the here and now. On the other hand, content droughts really do suck and Telvanni is the closest thing this game has ever seen to a truly oppressive and possibly overpowered class (or at the very least, over-represented). But all-in-all, I think the client relaunch has been successful and the game is in a better state than ever (despite missing things like Gauntlets). I love the new client, I love the new cards. I think the meta, although skewed a bit more than usual, is still fun and FrostSpark has opened up the doors for more experimenting to tide us over until Isle. Honestly, the game is still not *that* old, and people tend to forget that. Yes, there is a lot going on in the digital card game industry right now, but I still feel that Legends fills a very particular niche that no other card game quite is able to. The game isn’t going to die. I feel very confident that it still has its best years ahead of it.
What is your opinion on how Bethesda is evolving the game and the TESL community?
I think that Bethesda saw the writing on the wall and had to make some very hard decisions to nip future problems before they became disasters. The developer switch and client relaunch has been very hard on the game, but it could not have been as bad as what *could* have happened if they didn’t get the ball rolling as early as they did. I love, love, LOVE the community interaction we are seeing with CVH from Bethesda and Gavin from SparkyPants. I personally have never seen a dev team and publisher this open and sincere with their community before, and I find it very encouraging. I just hope that the technical aspects get ironed out quickly so we can move on to more content, more tournaments, more features and expanding the player base.
If you had one wish for the game, what feature, card or card mechanic would you like to see implemented?
Deck codes. I know that Bethesda has said that they want this feature implemented as well. I just can’t imagine a single change to the client that would be as much of a quality-of-life-improvement as deck codes would be. Deck building and sharing lists is at the heart and soul of any card game and making it as easy as possible to get people sharing list and playing together would be absolutely huge for the game.
What’s your role in the TESL community and what’s driving you
Well, currently I am running the Daily Card Discussions on Reddit, and I’ve been told that many people greatly appreciate and look forward to those. It’s a service I love to provide and take pride in. I also occasionally write articles focused on helping new players understand card game mechanics and Legends strategy. For me, this is the most fun and most challenging thing to do. My main goal with my online interactions with the community has always been to help people improve at the game. Sometimes, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite with this, since I’m not the best player myself…but I’ve been playing a long time and have a lot of experience with card games and playing competitively in other games. So I feel a responsibility (and joy) in sharing that knowledge, especially in an easy to understand and entertaining way. In my opinion, how you teach people is right under what you teach them in importance, and I try very hard to be articulate, precise, personable and entertaining in my writing.
In 6 months, where do you want to be with this?
I hope that I can continue to write regularly and hone my skills as a player and a writer. More than anything, I want to have a reputation in the community of being somebody who is willing to help, optimistic, and encouraging. I don’t know if I will ever have the time necessary to be a “household name” in the Legends community like Charm3r or Justin Larson, but I do want to be a content creator that the community can trust to provide solid advice and always be available to help.
Which content creators do you follow?
As you can probably tell, I love Justin Larson and I think he represents the best of what this community has to offer. He is very optimistic, creative, and just wants to have fun with his friends, and he is a pretty damn good player as well. I’ve also been loving DragonTamerBlayde’s content lately. His channel has been getting better and better, and I think he is a great player with unique insight. He’s also very dedicated to his pet decks and over time has made some really solid unconventional builds, and I think people underestimate him as a player/deck builder. Although he doesn’t produce as much content as some others, I think Charm3r is a fantastic content creator. He really nails the technical aspects of play, and I think he has an uncanny ability to really see the true potential of cards that other people dismiss. He’s also not afraid to have some controversial opinions and I respect him for that. It certainly helps that a lot of times those controversial opinions have been correct *laughs*. Black Hand Messenger, anyone?
To close this interview – what message would you like share with the readers of tesl.blog?
Our community is only as friendly and welcoming as we choose to make it on a daily basis, with every interaction that we have with each other. Whether it is hashing out disparate opinions on the state of the meta or future of the game, or whether it is our off topic conversations in the various social media outlets like Reddit/ Discord/ Twitter…
We are the community and what we say represents our values to prospective new players. We have a responsibility to each other to be the best we can be every time we begin to type messages online. So let’s keep making this community the best it can be, even when we disagree with each other.
Thank you, WayneMcPayne, for your time, Jeremy, and also thank you for supporting the TESL community in such a great way!