Interview with Fafal
Last weekend, Fafal earned his ticket to the 2019 Master Series Finals at QuakeCon from July 25-28 by winning the last chance qualifier.
Fafal is a semi-competitive player of many card games and a fan of RPGs and the Warcraft universe. He also streams Legends via his Twitch channel twitch.tv/xfafal.
It will be exciting to see him join some of the other top Legends players in the 2019 Master Series Finals at QuakeCon. We are very grateful for him giving us this interview and sharing more details about his views and experiences with Legends, as well as his lineup.
Hello Fafal. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. Huge congratulations on qualifying for the 2019 Master Series tournament. Before we go into the details of the Master Series, let‘s talk a little bit about yourself and how you came to card games and TESL in particular.
So what does Fafal do in real life? What’s keeping you busy when you are not playing TESL?
Hello! I work between 4-6 days a week in a game store with board, card and war games. In my free time I play a lot of online games with my friends, mostly the recently popular “chess” games. I also play RPG games, card games, read fantasy, watch movies, TV shows, anime or I spend time with my girlfriend. I’m no longer addicted to World of Warcraft, thanks to Blizzard, so everything is fine.
Tell us a little bit about how you started playing The Elder Scrolls Legends.
After the death of Duels of Champions, I had a lot of hope for Hearthstone: unfortunately my expectations weren’t met, and I started to look for something new. That’s when I found TESL.
Can you look back on any previous card game experience?
My first card game was Magic: the Gathering, some 11 years ago. I still remember my third game like it was yesterday. Someone took “vintage” goblins and killed my “Orzhov” deck on turn three. A lot of people stop playing card games after such a moment, but for me it was “whoa, nice!”
I started playing a lot, but casually. A few months later, some people showed me Elder Dragon Highlander, later renamed and now known as Commander. I fell in love with it fast, especially for its deck building potential. Fun fact: I organized a “Commander” league in TESL in February. It was only for Polish players, but it was huge success for me, as we had 32 participants!
Later, when the “Modern” format hit officially, I became more competitive. As a result, a year later, I won the first PTQ in the modern format in Poland, and I did pretty well on the Pro Tour as well. I’ve also been on a few Grands Prix and met a lot of people. It was truly one of the best experiences in my life, and all because of a card game.
Shortly after the Pro Tour, due to real life issues, I stopped playing, and focused only on online games. First, I found Duels of Champions. Later I found Hearthstone, and finally Legends. Through all those years, more or less, I played many other titles with some success and sometimes only casually. For example: Pokemon Yu-Gi-Oh, Duel Masters, WoW, Veto, Munchkin, AoS:Champions, and a lot more LCG and deckbuilder games. I also can’t forget about all the cool online games: Eternal, Duelyst, Shadowverse, Gwent, Artifact, MTGA, Spellweaver, and Mythgard. I have probably missed some, but I guess it’s too much anyway to list them all.
Wow, that’s pretty extensive. So across all the games, what’s your favorite style of play and why? Aggro, combo, control, or mid-range?
Definitely control decks. I hate combo decks. My favorite casual archetype is a control token deck, but it does not exist in card games other than Magic: The Gathering. Why control? I think I am just the type of person who likes to have things under control.
What’s currently your favorite deck?
…and what’s your all-time favorite?
Control Tribunal, but pre Mantikora nerf. Honorable mention goes to Spellsword Tokens with Divine Fervor when it still cost 4 mana. Beautiful times.
About the 2019 Master Series Qualifiers and the LCQ
Let’s talk about the Master Series Qualifiers 2019. Those were some very intense and fun to watch matches. What was personally your favorite match in that tournament?
From all of my games, I can name one match, and one game. The match against Wita in MSQ #1 was amazing. Wita won 3:2, advancing to top 8. Each game was extremely close. Some situations and prophecies in those games gave me nightmares for the following few days.
If I needed to choose a single game, I think I need to mention my fifth game against Flow in the last chance qualifiers: Ebonheart vs Battlemage. It was a very skill-intensive game, as both of us had a lot of luck at times. And because of that the game was very emotional for me until the end.Fafal vs. Flow – Match: Seminfinal – Game 5 – 2019 Masters Series – Last Chance Qualifier by TESLegends
How did you prepare for the tournament? Did you put in long hours of refining your decks? How did you practice?
I was playing against friends and we discussed stuff together. It’s the best way. Sometimes it was longer, sometimes a bit shorter. In the end, all of us have jobs, and we can’t spend an unlimited amount of time on the game.
Let‘s discuss your deck lineup for the last chance qualifiers a little bit. Which decks did you bring?
I brought a modified version of Thuldir‘s Burn Assassin, a classic Aggro Hlaalu with Ashkans to be more greedy, a Rage-Slay Ebonheart, and a Rage Guildsworn to be well prepared for aggro decks.
Can you please explain your thought-process behind your lineup?
The first part was to collect as much information about my opponents as possible: what decks do they use, what do they like to use, what do they show on stream, etc. Secondly, I was betting on who I might have to play. I mostly wanted to avoid playing against TurqoiseLink, because he can literally bring anything and everything. But life gave me exactly that scenario.
The third part was to prepare the decks for my potential opponents. When I saw the bracket, I thought I might be up against Link and SirProok. Unfortunately, Prook got disqualified, but it was too late to change decks. That’s why my lineup was so unfavored against Flow.
As a bonus, I played a lot of matches against my friends and we discussed everything.
Your first deck in the LCQ was Burn Assassin. We have seen this deck with reasonable success, although it often gets banned. You got to play it against TurqoiseLink and Flow. Were you happy to have brought it and how did those games go for you?
No, I wasn’t happy, because I hate combo decks. When I tried to predict my opponents lineup, it was one of the best choices, and I couldn’t ignore it. That’s all.
Your second deck was Aggro Hlaalu, an absolute beast of a deck. Unfortunately, you didn’t score as many points with the deck during the top 8 matches. Retrospectively, would you have made any changes to your build?
In both top 8s, that Hlaalu made 6-6, so it was not a dream deck. But across all the qualification matches, it won me over 20 games, being my best deck. I think the build from the LCQ was even better, even when I lost some games with that. Those were extremely close games. Changes? Maybe something in the 4 magicka slot. The other things were okay, or close to okay, in my opinion.
The third deck in your lineup was Rage-Slay Ebonheart. It’s your favorite deck and has been nerfed. What was special about your build?
I don’t think it was special or original in any way. It was built to destroy other control decks and win mirrors.
Your final deck was Rage Guildsworn. You didn’t get to play it during the LCQ. Do you think your opponents banned the right deck?
I think Link made a bad decision with the ban. He should have banned my burn Assassin, but who knows: I’m not the best, maybe I’m wrong here. On the other hand, Flow’s ban was perfect, since that Guildsworn was savage against his lineup.
Two of your decks got nerfed with the 2.11 balance patch. What do you think of the nine nerfs by Sparkypants?
Where is the nerf to Sorcerer’s Negation? Jokes aside, I am not complaining because I am very happy seeing those nerfs, and I believe all of those cards deserved it. I only hope to see balance changes more often and maybe with some buffs, not only nerfs.
What is the first deck you played on Moons of Elsweyr day 1?
A 100% pilfer deck.
How will you prepare for the Master Series Finals?
By playing too much.
Fafal about Legends (in General)
Now onto some more general TESL topics, if you don‘t mind. What is your view on the current state of TESL?
I think it’s not bad at all! Sometimes I have little complaints about the number of ring charges players have, and maybe I would like to see balance patches a little more often, but it’s okay overall. What the game needs right now? In my opinion a good promotion and a rotation as soon as possible. The game looks very unfriendly for new players right now, and a rotation will bring a lot of fresh wind into the game. I think TESL needs that.
What is your opinion on how Bethesda is evolving the game and the TESL community?
I think exchanging DireWolf with Sparkypants was a game saver and their best decision in the long run.
If you had one wish for the game, what feature, card, or card mechanic would you like to see implemented?
Only one wish? I need to exchange genies or gold fishs then, because this one isn’t cutting it. There are really a lot of things I want to see in the game. Competitive series like ESL or Warpmeta, a tournament client, replays, 2vs2 games, and playable anti-graveyard cards, as well as more graveyard mechanics. I have many, many, many more wishes… but maybe one day we will see some of them implemented…oh, wait, I have one more wish: they shouldn’t print any more cards for mill decks. That would be amazing.
Thank you very much, Fafal, for your time and this interview. We wish you all the best of luck for the Master Series Finals and hope to see many more of your victories.