The 2019 Masters Series for The Elder Scrolls Legends

The Masters Series is the biggest tournament for The Elder Scrolls Legends with a total prize pool of $50,000. The tournament is sponsored and organized by the game’s publisher Bethesda, and attracts all the top players of the game. It consists of a series of qualifier tournaments that are open to any player of the game. The respective winner of each of these qualifier tournaments gets invited to the 2019 Masters Series Finals at QuakeCon. In Grapevine, near Dallas, TX, the top 8 players battle it out against one another and take home prize money. The 2019 Masters Series Finals, a Last Class Standing tournament, is also the biggest eSports event for Legends.

2019 Master Series
The Masters Series Tropy for the 2019 Champion
Image source: TESLegends Twitch stream

This article covers:

  1. 2019 Masters Series Overview
  2. The Masters Series Finals
  3. The Games – Watch the Cast of the Tournament
  4. A First Look at the Meta of the Masters Series Finals
  5. Player Interviews after the Masters Series Finals
  6. Player Interviews after the Masters Series Qualifiers

1. 2019 Masters Series Overview

The prize pool of the 2019 Masters Series is a total of $50,000. The winner takes home $20,000, the runner-up $10,000. The semi-finalists each $6,000 dollars and the remaining top 8 will still get $2,000 dollars.
Image source: TESLegends Twitch stream.

TESL.blog is providing coverage of these events through interviews with the players. We have had the privilege to talk to the players both after the qualifiers as well as right after the finals. MerryWallofStorms, who is an editor on our blog and a long time TESL player, traveled to 2019 QuakeCon to meet and interview the finalists, as well as Bethesda’s community manager Christian van Hoose (CVH). He has also written a great journal about his experience at one of the biggest gaming conventions out there, providing a great look behind the scenes of the event and how great a community has formed around the game.

Three Days at QuakeCon

Three Days at QuakeCon

By MerryWallofStorms Introduction The following journal details the time that I spent at QuakeCon this past weekend. Day 1 I arrived in Dallas Fort Worth around 3:30 after 6 hours worth of plane rides with little idea of what I was going to be doing next, beyond the potential for an interview with CVH (about which I had emailed him...

CVH – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

CVH – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

You are working for Bethesda as the Legends community manager for over a year now? Yeah, I started in March 2018. So I think it’s about 14 or 15 months, or something like that. Going into the job, what did you really expect from it and how has your expectation of what you’re getting out of this position really changed...

2. The 2019 Masters Series Finals

The Finalists…

Frenzy1, Karakondzhul, Thuldir, Wita, Boomslife, Fafal, Flow and Superthx555 made it to the 2019 Masters Series finals. Flow only learned a few days prior to the finals that he would be replacing one of the top Russian players, ksedden, who unfortunately had trouble getting his visa approved. Flow is a strong substitution as he was the most consistent of all players across all the qualifiers, and although he did not manage to win one, he scored good points in each and every event and was the runner-up from the last chance qualifier.

…are a very diverse group of players…

The following picture puts a face to the names. The finalists are a diverse group of people from various countries and backgrounds. Obviously the United States, being the country with the most TESL players, saw great representation. But the players from Poland, the Netherlands and Germany represent a strong local community in their respective countries.

The Masters Series Finalists
Image source: TESLegends Twitch stream

TESL is also very popular in other Eastern European countries, so, we were happy to see top players join from Bulgaria and Croatia. Last, but not least, the Danish also get a seat at the table with a very experienced and strong player. The battles to get to QuakeCon were really, really hard this year as last year’s champion, plzdonhakme, along with other strong players from last year failed to qualify (more about the Qualifiers at the bottom of this article).

…who will influence the meta on the ladder for the next weeks leveraging cards from Moons of Elsweyr

Prior to the finals, a series of balance changes nerfed several of the tier one decks from the Masters Series Qualifiers, namely Slay Ebonheart, Burn Assassin and Empire Abomination. On top of the nerfs, Sparkypants and Bethesda also released the Moons of Elsweyr expansion just a month before the 2019 Masters Series Finals. Together with a really strong Monthly Reward Card from June 2019, Apprentice Necromancer, this opened up a considerable pool of new cards to the players. It was interesting to see if any would bring decks with the new Consume mechanic or the Wax/ Wane mechanic. Unfortunately, they did not, as they lacked the time to refine and playtest these new lists, or simply didn’t think they were good enough.

As a consequence, the decklists included only the strongest cards of the set (like Prowl Smuggler in Strength, Alfiq Conjurer and Discerning Thief in Intelligence, Wily Kee’va, Shrewd Strategist and Mercenary Captain Willpower, Razum-Dar in Agility, as well as Zumog Phoom in Endurance). The monthly reward card Apprentice Necromancer was a strong inclusion in Aggro Empire and Aggro Redoran lists. Moving forward, I believe that card will do a lot to address the notorious lack of one-drops in top tier lists as it adds so much versatility to certain aggressive decks.

The Most Popular Classes/ Decks at the Finals
Image source: TESLegends Twitch stream

3. The Games – Watch the Twitch Cast!

If you haven’t seen it already, definitely check out the Twitch broadcast of the games. You will be able to see the best players competing with the best decks and you will learn a lot from the amazing commentary of the caster team.

Watch the 2019 Masters Series Finals by TESLegends on www.twitch.tv

4. A First Look at The Masters Series Meta

The Alfiq-effect on Mid-Battlemage, Rage Guildsworn and Mid-Dagoth

Flow’s Midrange Battlemage. Deck code:
SPAGjVfvgRnHuGaAAEjEqhccbKAMdImGoerCdPdVeFcrjHvDdEkA

Since the release of Alfiq Conjurer pushed Midrange Battlemage to top tier on ladder it was no surprise to see plenty of Mid-Battlemage variations.

But Alfiq was also present in Rage Guildsworn, Mid-Dagoth and even Mid-Tribunal lists.

Boomslife Rage Guildsworn. Deck code:
SPAKjVsHejjHqYuxbqfeaAjtAEmJtlbKrrATtifWmGoerCdLdVhnuAoodrflimmalYaFdEnErk
superthx555 Midrange Dominion. Deck code:
SPAKomprjVdyaZgRmxfcwAaAAHdlpTfDirpVnrbKARhPdInMbokVnLoeqhrCdVdZkgrWcMnHdhvD

Thunder Battlemage

Wita’s Thunder Battlemage. Deck code:
SPAEfvgRuGfcAFkYtInLirwTAMdIwfprswlLvBoepDrCdVrWnH

Wita took a very interesting take on Battlemage with his Aggro Battlemage. The list relies on warded creatures to control the board from turn one and has Prowl Smuggler to buff these. With Altmer Flameslinger and Syl, the deck can create a good amount of thunder damage while continuing to fight for the board.

Proactive, Healthier Tribunal Control

Frenzy’s Control Tribunal. Deck code:
SPASaJcxjVovdrqnuxbqeDqouGigfevZaAjttDkCAGfWgyakrqkAeiAPeQoeoMrCblsHhnsmfBfPimmalYiyrP

Tribunal stayed high-up in popularity, although most of the lists are a lot more proactive than they used to be during the Houses of Morrowind-meta. While this seems to be intended by the design team, the class is still popular as it can sweep against almost any line-up if it draws well.

Driven by the popularity of Ebonheart, Frenzy in his testing with plzdonhakme brought down the curve considerably in order to go under Ebonheart if required. His list includes some key cards from recent expansions, like The Gatekeeper, Thadon, Abnur Tharn, Mannimarco and Zumong Phoom for some very spicy interactions. Note that Cast Into Time has been dropped from Tribunal after its nerf, with players opting for Piercing Javelin for its value as an unexpected first rune prophecy.

Similarly, Fafal turned Tribunal into a slower midrange build, with Euraxia Tharn from Moons of Elsweyr as its high end. Fafal’s deck also runs Wilds Incarnate, indicating his plan to contest the board and keep his life total up to generate value from the moose. Large guards, like Hive Defender, Gatekeeper, and Phalanx Exemplar provide serious defense against aggro decks.

Fafal’s Midrange Tribunal. Deck code:
SPANaJjVgOqnuxbqqouGigfeaAeiwbABrPAUdIbDoeovoMrCfxhnuAhUsmdrfBfPjHmalYvDiykA

Aggro Hlaalu and Aggro Crusader

Karakondzhul’s Red Aggro Crusader. Deck code:
SPAGtIirgRmUvTraAKmGmVprdelGrjcMfveDkjAIlDhylLnepDdLkzmC

Aggro Hlaalu, one of the staples in tournaments between HoM up until now, was brought down in popularity, as the variety of mid-range decks deal with it effectively. Similarly, crusader, which is still a good aggressive ladder deck, was another class that a few players put to good use. Namely Karakondzhul’s Red Aggro Crusader, which runs a single copy of Shrewd Strategist and other tools to buff Nord Firebrands, is a beast of a deck (and is also good for climbing ladder).

Midrange Archer

Karakondzhul’s Mid-Archer. Deck code:
SPAKtIoopVflgRczwAufrPrkALdQnMprbopTqyaZjydEnXbKAGmGkVcvdyspdh

Karakondzhul brought a very unique Midrange Archer list built around the curse removal package. The deck deals with warded creatures from Mid-BM, Mid-Dagoth and Rage Guildsworn very effectively. Unfortunately, the list was banned in every game during the tournament.

Midrange Dominion

superthx555 Midrange Dominion. Deck code:
SPAIjVejmxqnuxajwAaAAFdfgTqhjHmaATsydIsUnMcxkVoepTrCdydVfxfDdrimdheDvDrP

Another very notable decklist is superthx555’s Midrange Dominion. This deck can develop a huge amount of burst damage almost out of nowhere. superthx piloted it very well against Rage Guildsworn, Rage Crusader and Aggro Hlaalu, but lost to Boomslife’s Control Tribunal.

Aggro Empire

Thuldir’s Aggro Empire. Deck code:
SPAKgTovhFdrejqnuxajsIrPABoaAVepkkkKkYnMtsgpkVpTwcxbdyfxhUlZmefBfPsQdheD

And, finally, we have to mention Thuldir’s Aggro Empire deck that went undefeated throughout all five games Thuldir played on it. The deck can be played both defensively and offensively, and demonstrates the amazing deck building skills of the new TESL Masters Series champion, Thuldir.

Thuldir – The Grand Champion of the 2019 Masters Series.
Image source: TESLegends Twitch stream
The Bracket of the 2019 Masters Series Finals at QuakeCon
Image source: TESLegends Twitch stream

5. Merry’s Interviews with the Finalists

As said above, MerryWallOfStorms did a series of interviews with all of the competitors of the Masters Series Finals. The following articles will take you directly to those. We hope you have fun reading those, but please be patient as we keep typing these up, get them reviewed and approved by the interviewees (work in progress).

Flow – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Flow – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

About Flow Flow only learned a few days prior to the Master Series Finals that he would be replacing one of the top Russian players, ksedden, who unfortunately was unable to get his visa. Flow, a consistent top 10 player on the ladder, is a strong substitution. He was the most consistent of all players across all the qualifier tournaments, and although he...

Frenzy – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Frenzy – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

About Frenzy Frenzy started playing in June 2017, regularly earning his spot among the top 100 players in ranked play. Overall, he has earned five top 10 finishes and 8 top 20 finishes. He won the second 2019 Masters Series Qualifier with a very strong set of control decks. This interview was conducted at QuakeCon, on July 27, the day...

Wita – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Wita – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Thank you for sitting down with me. No problem, man. So how was your QuakeCon experience so far? It has been great. Everyone’s been super lovely. Obviously, we’ve got to get back into this later, but my performance was not satisfactory. I had a lot of things where I did not play well enough. I did not mulligan correctly. I...

superthx – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

superthx – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

About superthx superthx is one of the most consistent tournament players in Legends, winning thirteen Warpmeta tournaments. He is also the winner of the first European Warpmeta tournament ever. He finished ranked play as #1 Legend in October and November 2017, and has four finishes in the top 10 and six in the top 20. This interview was conducted on...

Karakondzhul – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Karakondzhul – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

By MerryWallofStorms About Karakondzhul Karakondzhul has been playing The Elder Scrolls Legends since open beta and has almost 11,000 wins in ranked play. He is among the most consistent top players in the game, finishing in top 10 ten times and taking 5 podiums. Karakondzhul finished at #1 Legend in August 2017. He is also a very strong tournament player....

Thuldir – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Thuldir – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

So. First off. Thanks for taking time to speak with me. No problem.  How has your QuakeCon experience been so far? I’ve been here last year already and I have to say the organization from PGL was way better than last year from ESL. When you asked them questions, they answered, while last year we didn’t get any information at...

Boomslife – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Boomslife – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Boomslife is a veteran Legends player who knows the game since the very early days. He 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. Last year, he took a bit of a break from the game only to return strong for the 2019...

Fafal – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Fafal – The QuakeCon 2019 Interview

Fafal is a semi-competitive player of many card games and a fan of RPGs and the Warcraft universe. Fafal made it to top 100 numerous times on the ladder and placed well in several tournaments, like the ESL Final or the Warpmeta EU tournaments. He also streams Legends via his Twitch channel twitch.tv/xfafal. MerryWallofStorms met Fafal at the 2019 Master Series Finals...

6. 2019 Masters Series Qualifiers Interviews

The Masters Series Finalists after the Qualifiers.
Image source: Team Rankstar

Until then, maybe you are interested in the interviews we already did after the 2019 Masters Series Qualifier tournaments. We are very grateful that each winner as well as the players with the most points and the ones who qualified through the Last Chance Qualifier have spent their time to talk to us.

Interview with Thuldir

Interview with Thuldir

This past weekend, Thuldir won the first 2019 Master Series Qualifier tournament and is the first player to have earned a ticket to the Master Series Finals at QuakeCon from July 25-28. Thuldir has been playing The Elder Scrolls Legends since open beta and has more than 10,000 wins in ranked play. He is among the most consistent top players...

Interview with Frenzy1

Interview with Frenzy1

This past weekend, Frenzy1 won the second 2019 Master Series Qualifier tournament in what was among the strongest and tightest top 8 bracket ever seen in any Legends tournament. Frenzy started playing in June 2017, regularly earning his spot among the top 100 players in ranked play. Overall, he has earned five top 10 finishes and 8 top 20 finishes....

Interview with superthx555

Interview with superthx555

This past weekend, superthx555 won the third 2019 Master Series Qualifier tournament. After last week’s control mirror “TESL-thons”, this third tournament felt like Aggro-week and superthx navigated this extremely well. He is one of the most consistent tournament players, winning thirteen Warpmeta tournaments. He is also the winner of the first European Warpmeta tournament ever. He finished ranked play as...

Interview with ksedden

Interview with ksedden

This past weekend, ksedden aka MaG0meD_36cm won the fourth 2019 Master Series Qualifier tournament. He is the fourth player to directly qualify for the Master Series Finals at QuakeCon (from July 25 – 28) and a very strong player with close to 20 top 100 finishes and multiple finishes in the top 20 and top 50. He is also streaming...

Interview with Wita

Interview with Wita

This past weekend, Wita qualified for the Master Series Finals at QuakeCon (from July 25 – 28). He scored a total of 14 master points across all four qualifier tournaments, a huge achievement. A veteran player to both The Elder Scrolls Legends and Hearthstone, Wita also devotes a lot of his time to his Twitch stream and organizing League of...

Interview with Karakondzhul

Interview with Karakondzhul

During the first weekend in June, Karakondzhul earned his ticket to the 2019 Master Series Finals at QuakeCon from July 25-28 by earning 15 points in the qualifier series. Kara has been playing The Elder Scrolls Legends since open Beta and has more than 10,800 wins in ranked play. He is among the most consistent top players in the game,...

Interview with Fafal

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...

Interview with Boomslife

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...

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