Interview with Boomslife
Boomslife aka Really_Beau earned his ticket to the 2019 Master Series Finals at QuakeCon from July 25-28 through the last chance qualifiers. Boomslife, who has been playing across multiple accounts, has more than 10,000 wins on ladder and has finished in top 10 and in top 100 numerous times.
It will be exciting to see him join 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 Boomslife. 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.
What are you doing in real life? What’s keeping you busy when you are not playing TESL?
About 2 years ago, I decided to go back to school to study law. I just finished my second year. I think it’s fair to say that most of my time is dedicated to my studies and extracurricular activities, e.g. mooting.
Tell us a little bit about how you started playing The Elder Scrolls Legends.
I have been a fan of card games ever since the beginning of Yu-Gi-Oh! About 9 years ago, I decided to leave Yu-Gi-Oh! behind me. At this point, I was already playing very casually. I took a break from card games, in general, but a couple of years later Hearthstone blew up. I gave it a shot and played it for a while, but I was never really that much into it. After I was done with Hearthstone, I decided to look into what else there was on the market for digital card games. I didn’t have the luxury to go to my local game store all the time anymore. I must have come across a sign-up for the Legends beta somewhere because I remember receiving the email and not remembering what it was for. But I decided to give it a shot, and I was hooked: this was about 3 years ago now.
Have you played other card games, too, and what was your favorite?
Yeah definitely: I would say, even though I don’t play it anymore, that Yu-Gi-Oh! was my main card game. That was my introduction to the genre itself, but I have played a lot of card games. I think it’s a common theme in card game communities to at least try out different games until you find that one game for you, and then if they mess up you just move on to another one. People are generally a fan of the genre itself more so than any specific game, or at least that is my experience.
Aggro – Midrange – Combo – Control? What’s your favorite style of play and why?
While this definitely changes based on which card game I’m playing, generally I’m a huge fan of Combo decks. In Legends however, not so much. It definitely also depends on the mood: sometimes you just want to smorc a bit, but overall I’m not a huge fan of aggro. I think in TESL I have to give it to midrange.
What’s currently your favorite deck?
I definitely am a person that gets attached to certain decks, but currently I don’t have that feeling towards any specific deck. So the truth is I do not have a favourite deck at the moment. But to give you at least an answer of some sort, I like winning and rage Guildsworn is doing that for me.
…and what’s your all-time favorite?
It wouldn’t feel right to answer anything different than pilfer monk here. It’s the deck that I could just play non-stop and not get bored off. I’ve played so many different versions of pilfer monk that it’s hard to give an exact favorite, but it just has to include Master of Thieves and Thieves’ Den. A very interesting list that wouldn’t hold up in today’s game at all was the ramp/pilfer monk. Somehow, that was a thing I used to play.
Boomslife about the Master Series Qualifiers 2019
Let’s talk about the Master Series Qualifiers 2019. You had some very intense and fun-to-watch matches. What was personally your favorite game or match in that tournament?
For my favorite game, I have to give it to the semifinal of the first MSQ against Elemayo. I was down 0-2 in the match, with just my Doomcrag Redoran left. I had given up all hope as I had to beat Rage Ebonheart with my list and I considered that match up very unfavored for myself. Through some miracle, I won the match and ended up with the reverse sweep 3-2. The thing that also made this game my favorite out of all was because Elemayo was such a good sport before the games, between the games, and even after the games.
How did you prepare for the tournament? Did you put in long hours of refining your decks? How did you practice?
The timing for the MSQ is less than ideal for me, but this year, the announcement of the qualifiers went out a bit earlier, and this provided me with a window to practice. A lot of top players like to form playtest teams. However, I am not one of those players. What I did instead, as I didn’t want people to know what decks I was testing, was make a new account and just practiced on the ladder itself: this is where the account Really_Beau comes into play. Other than that, I do have to give a shout out to Wita as he has been my main discussion partner when I needed insight in certain preparations, and he added great value in preparation for the last chance qualifier.
Let’s talk about the first qualifier a little. You made it to top 8 and beat iLiKePaStA in your quarter-final and Elemayo in the semi-final. Both were very close matches. How did you experience them?
In the set against iLiKePaStA, I made a huge misplay in the first game which resulted in me losing that game. This mistake tilted me so much that I had a hard time focusing on the next few games. I remember finally regaining my focus in the fourth match when I was down 1-2 with only my Doomcrag Redoran left. At that point, nothing else mattered except for playing the best I could: the score and the tournament pressure were all gone in that moment, and I managed to come back and win 3-2. The match against Elemayo is a match I will never forget. It started out bad for me: I was 0-2 down with only my Doomcrag Redoran left, and it had to win 3 games in a row. Honestly at that point I had given up completely: I thought it was the end of my tournament. The raw emotion I felt after that reverse sweep is something I can’t describe.
Your lineup included a Control Chanter Tribunal. What was your gameplan for this build, and how did it perform for you?
Ok, so my game plan for the Chanter Tribunal was the following: with Gray Viper Brigand release in the latest set (i.e. Alliance War), I had this amazing idea to get them into play more often by playing Chanter with 3-cost spells, as the deck runs plenty of those. Let me tell you something: this was one of those ideas that you have at the very last minute, and you just say “Sure, that will work”. It did not work at all! I think I won one game with it all through the tournament. The one game it did win was an important one against iLiKePaStA, so technically worth bringing, but definitely was not in the discussion for a spot in the future MSQs.
You also brought a Praetorian Conscription Redoran deck. Next to Praetorian Commander, Conscription and Doomcrag, you also included Xivkyn Banelord. Can you elaborate on your gameplan and why you switched the deck between MSQ #2 and MSQ #3?
The reason I brought this deck had everything to do with the format, Last Hero Standing, because it allows you to bring some unorthodox decks. I knew beforehand I wanted to bring a deck that people don’t have a lot of experience playing against, as it throws some people off on how to play optimally. This was that deck for me. As for the reason why I switched it out between MSQ#2 and MSQ#3, even though it did amazing for me in MSQ#1, was definitely the surge of combo decks. I expected Burn Assassin and Empire Abomination to be run a lot more, and at that point, the deck just didn’t fit in the line-up anymore.
Boomslife About the Last Chance Qualifier
Let‘s discuss your deck lineup for the Last Chance Qualifier a little bit. Which decks did you bring?
I ended up bringing Tribunal Control, Rage Guildsworn, Rage Crusader and Rage Ebonheart.
Can you please explain your thought-process behind your line-up?
The entire thought-process behind my line-up was to beat Immortalaugust. Immortalaugust is a very good and respected player that beat me in MSQ#3 in a very close 5-game match. Had I beaten Immortalaugust in MSQ#3 I would have qualified based on points, instead of having to go through the Last Chance Qualifier. I was very confident I knew about the lineup he would run in the LCQ, so I decided that I wanted a lineup that would be favored and to play the best I could.
Honestly, I could write a whole essay on why I brought these exact decks, but let me give you one example. I knew I wanted Tribunal to get past the bans as it felt convertible in that match-up. But I knew that if I teched the Tribunal against his aggro line up, it would automatically receive a ban. Instead, I opted for a list Thuldir played in the first MSQ, which was definitely not optimized for the specific match-up, but was still favored in my opinion. To make sure Ebonheart would receive the ban and not Tribunal I opted to bring the list—which I had barely practiced—of TurquoiseLink, who beat Immortalaugust 3/0 with that list. This is not the whole thought process behind my lineup, but I hope to have given you some idea as to why I brought these specific decks.
Yes, thank you very much. That’s very interesting. How was your strategy influenced by earlier lineups of the other LCQ players in your bracket?
Yeah definitely. Again, my focus was only towards Immortalaugust. This is not out of disrespect towards Elemayo or Empire Oathman, but more out of respect towards Immortalaugust, as it was definitely not guaranteed I would make it past that match. I used every bit of information out there on my opponent, and I was very confident in my knowing of what lists he would bring. I actually wasn’t 100% correct, but the fact that he brought Crusader and Hlaalu with me not wanting to ban one of those was good enough.
Three of your decks ran Unstoppable Rage, probably the strongest action in the game. Why is it so critical to include it in decks at the highest competitive level? My naïve self might think that on this competitive level, players should be totally aware of how to play around it.
Unstoppable Rage…I honestly switch on my valuation of this card a lot. Sometimes I think it’s the most broken card there is, and sometimes it’s just good. I believe that the card is just so flexible in the right deck: it is good from behind and it brings a lot of pressure on your opponent to play around it. While yes, competitive players can play around Unstoppable Rage, it’s usually at the cost of something: small incremental decisions can have a real impact on the outcome of the game. If Rage forces your opponent not to play a certain card, or to play in a less than optimal way, sometimes the rage deck can make use of that opportunity. Not always, but sometimes.
How will you prepare for the Master Series Finals?
Honestly, I have no idea yet. I have no idea what route I’m going to take in my preparation. Whatever route I decide on for my preparation, I will make sure that I am more than prepared for the tournament, and people should expect some great matches.
Boomslife About The Current State of Legends
Now onto some more general TESL topics, if you don‘t mind. What is your view on the current state of TESL?
For me, the current state of TESL is not great. Let me explain: for me as long as certain modes like gauntlets and chaos arena are not implemented, the game will always feel somewhat less than what it was when Direwolf was the developer. While I do think Sparkypants has done a lot of great things for the game, as long as the old game modes are out of the game, it just feels like a long transition period instead of actually moving forward. The future, however, is something I very much look forward to in TESL.
And what about the current meta?
Meta’s come and go. I’m usually not that frustrated by it as I just play whatever I want.
Have you experimented with the Moons of Elsweyr expansion yet? Any first thoughts?
So far, I have only tried out Pilfer Monk, but I haven’t found a list I like yet. However, I believe Pilfer Monk is tier 1; Pilfer Monk is always tier 1!
What about Wax/ Wane and the Consume mechanic? Do you think we will see them in the finals at QuakeCon?
I am sure we will see cards that have these mechanics on them at QuakeCon. Do I believe we will see full decks build around the mechanic? I highly doubt it. But, I haven’t played enough of the new expansion to say that for sure.
What is your opinion on how Bethesda is evolving the game and the TESL community?
I think Bethesda is doing a great job at evolving the game. Did you see that E3 trailer? That was some good stuff. Concerning evolving the TESL community, I always take the stance that Bethesda doesn’t have to do anything. So the fact that they do a few things is already nice. Do I believe they could do a lot more? Sure. But overall, the help they give to community members in terms of pack codes, twitch drops, card reveals, etc.: it’s just a great way to get the community involved with each other.
If you had one wish for the game, what feature, card or card mechanic would you like to see implemented?
What I really would like to see included in this game from a card design perspective are actions based on tribal synergy. Think of an action that reads if you control a khajiit, do so and so. So actions that are contingent based on tribal creatures you have in play.
That’s a great idea! Thank you very much, Boomslife, 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.