Interview with Emikaela, TESL Champion Series Grand Finalist!
The competitive TESL Champion Series Elite Circuit is about midway through its first season, and Legends’ best players have been duking it out for a spot in the four-person Grand Final. Dust was the first player to qualify, and with the second Championship concluded, we’re proud to present another: Emikaela! After plowing her way through the Championship and locking a spot in the Grand Final, she was gracious enough to take some time to answer some questions about her strategy and experience in Legends thus far.
Real name: Mikaela
Day Job/Schooling: Not at the moment
Favorite card: Chanter of Akatosh is one of my pet cards that I return to with every new release, hoping that it will finally do something worthwhile. So far, it never does. :(
Congratulations on winning the second Elite Circuit Championship! Looking back at the beginning of your journey, how did you come to start playing Legends?
Thank you! I've played a bunch of different CCGs, starting with Doom Trooper in the mid nineties, and had a moderately successful Magic career. My main game in recent years was Solforge until that sadly fizzled out. After that I drifted around a bit, and kept hearing good things about Legends from different sources. I took the plunge just before the release of the Dark Brotherhood, so I believe about a year ago now?
When did you start playing Legends a bit more seriously and entering tournaments?
The tournament that I qualified in was actually my first except for the in-game stuff like rumbles. (In Legends, that is, I've played other games competitively for a long time.) I didn't expect much from it but had a good run,and decided to take this opportunity to get serious about the game and put as much work in as I could to maximize my chances in the championship.
How did you come up with the lineup of decks you chose for the event?
I knew that Nix-Ox combo was the perceived best deck (and probably also the actual best deck) and that most players would either bring it, try to counter it, or most likely both. So with that in mind I tried to find the anti-ox deck with the best chances against other expected anti-ox decks, and settled on token crusader for that. Control scout is a deck that I have played a lot and also felt like I had some cool innovations for, and it has a reasonable chance against everything, so it's a good opener unless the opposing lineup gives me a reason to lead with anything else.
Finally, after much agonizing, I decided to go with Nix-Ox assassin as my third deck. It had a reputation of being difficult and I wasn't sure if I had enough experience with it to play it to its full potential. However, I figured that I preferred to give myself the opportunity to play what I thought to be the best deck and just trust in my ability to figure it out, rather than looking back at a lost tournament and regretting not bringing it. I intended to queue it last, and only had to do so once.
All my decks were from traditional two-color classes because I wanted to maximize the chance to draw certain specific cards (mostly Withered Hand Cultist and Hallowed Deathpriest for the Nix-Ox matchup). In a format where that's less necessary the houses show a lot of promise, but I think it was right for this tournament.
Of your three decks, which performed the best? Looking back, would you have changed anything about your lineup?
The crusader deck carried me to the final with a ridiculous 8-1 record. Scout swept the last match but was 0-2 prior to that, and I only played the ox assassin in one game (which I did win, so 100% win rate there!). I was happy with the lineup, could see changing a card or two in scout or assassin but nothing radically different.
You’re the second person to qualify for the Grand Final - Dust being the first after his Championship victory two weeks prior. How do you think you’ll prepare for that event?
Well, I suppose it's time to start asking myself that question. :) Right now I just try to play a lot and explore various different ideas that seem to have potential, since it's hard to say too much about the future metagame at this point. (Who knows, there could even be some card changes before then...)
Anything you’d like to add? Shout-outs to make?
The competitive community in general has been great, level 3 shout-outs to all of you!
I didn't team up with anyone to prepare for the championship, and while I didn't get punished for it this time I do believe that was a misplay, I just never got around to reaching out. So I guess this is a good spot to do that: if anyone wants to help me prepare for the final, do let me know! :D
Congratulations again, and good luck in the Grand Final!