Interview: Pajabol

Today read our second interview from our new interview series this time with Pajabol, a professional Gwent player and a streamer, from Team Leviathan Gaming. The series will consist of 10 interviews, one each week. So check in every Sunday for some Gwent reading!

After the meta is established do you think there is still a chance for the appearance of some metabreaker or a totally new OP deck?

Definitely, often it takes some time for people to discover new decks which is often related with people experimenting different stuff before Gwent Open qualifiers. A good example could be my NR Swarm deck that I built a few seasons ago and it was a tier 1 deck in Hidden Cache meta, since it had a really good matchup against Hidden Cache itself.

What do you think about changes in Journey (revealed on Monday)?

I think the changes are cool, a lot of players reach level 100 quite easily (like me) and then have nothing else to gather from the Journey system, so getting the reward points after that is pretty cool. At the same time I usually don’t really care too much about cosmetics, so that change doesn’t affect me too much in the end.

What is the strongest card in the game?

Right now I would say it might be a tie between Harald The Cripple and Masquerade Ball, but since the latter can be countered by Bomb Heaver, Harald has to take first place. His point potential is insane and because of Second Wind leader ability you often can’t remove him from the board which makes him play for over 20 points in round 3.

If you could change a card, what would the card be and what changes would you make?

I would change Bomb Heaver and Frenzied Dao to not be able to destroy artifacts and follow it up with nerfing scenarios 😉

What is your favorite card for its artwork?

Kerack City Guard of course!

Do you think the best way to balance the meta is to nerf strong cards, or would it be better to make weaker cards stronger?

I think the best solution is something in-between, the overpowered cards have to be nerfed, it’s not possible to bring all the cards in the game to their level, but at the same time it’s always nice to see the weaker and unused cards get some love, so they can finally see some play.

Do you like the solution for no – units deck in a game (limit on number of no unit cards in deckbuilder) ?

I think it didn’t change the problem too much, people can now cosplay normal decks in round 1 by playing all their units first round and then go full no-unit in round 3. The problem got kinda solved naturally at this point though, since most of the no-unit cards got powercrept and initiative keyword on Scorch makes board wipes much harder.

If you could transfer one card from any faction to any other to make your deck even stronger. What card would it be and to what deck?

I would transfer Ramon to Northern Realms, that card would have great synergy in NR combined with soldiers like Temerian Drummers or even Radovid Royal Guards.

which mechanic from beta or Thronebreaker would you love to see in Gwent?

I would like more efficient tutors like the ones from beta to make the game more consistent and less draw dependent.

Northern realms theme is supposed to be engines, but only valuable decks are control. What is this faction missing to have a stable working engine deck? Is it too much control in the game to make engine deck work?

After the expansion Northern Realms got some cool cards to make the engine decks more viable and we saw the rise of Devotion Viraxas decks recently, so I think we might have finally got a solution to that problem😉 Cards like Amphibious Assault and Kerack Marines help with putting engines outside of removal range which was usually the biggest problem of these decks earlier.

Referring to previous question. Skellige’s most popular deck consists of 18 damaging cards out of 25 in total. Is it the key to faction’s success, just having the biggest damage/removal card pool in a game?

I think the key to Skellige’s success is that the faction has all the tools it needs, a lot of good removal cards like Skjordal, tall removal like Morkvarg, very good proactive plays like Svalblod Totem and Harald the Cripple and row punish cards like Hemdall and Wild Boar. All of this combined with some cards being obviously overpowered makes that faction so threatening.

Artefacts were nerfed to the ground instead of a rework. Do you agree with this solution? Were they so bad of a concept that they were not possible to be repaired?

I think artifacts like Tainted Ale, Thunderbolt and Mastercrafted Spear shouldn’t exist in the game, uninteractivity is often a huge problem for a large amount of decks and I am glad they got nerfed to the ground. At the same time there a lot of other artifacts that are very well designed like Svalblod Totem, Portal or Sacred Flame.

If you could add to the game a new strategem. What it would be?

I am not gonna be super creative here. Buff by 4 and give Veil strategem would fit the game well after the expansion.

Do you think season 2 final will take place before season’s 1 final 🙂 ?

I wouldn’t mind assuming I get there 😉

After a few months what do you think about the change with hiding opponent’s nickname on pro ladder’s matches and faction MMRs on the leaderboard? Did it provide more positive results than negative?

I still dislike that change, it makes surprise value decks much more relevant on ladder and it takes away from the experience of knowing that you’re up against a player you know. Also it makes ladder climbing harder, since I can’t check whether my opponents are a lot of mmr under their peak scores or not, so I always have to be scared of them overtaking my score even when it might not be possible for them.

How do you feel about the current MMR system?

I like the current system in general, although it has one fundamental flaw which is hard to fix, a lot of climbing is done in the last week since then you gain more mmr for winning your games than in earlier three weeks and that often makes the beginning of the season completely irrelevant while the last week of the season is a grind and people often play over 10 hours a day during that time.

How big of an influence does your team have on your results?

My team helps me a lot with practicing and preparing lineups for the tournaments and discussing the meta on a daily basis also makes the climbing process much easier. We often share the decks with each other and everyone can provide some valuable insights on the matchups. I often feel like I know the matchups in tournaments very well and that helps with making the right decisions.

What do you think about current format when it comes to qualifying to Gwent Opens?

I really dislike that format since qualifiers are often very dependent on luck and they take a lot of time. I often spent over 15 hours on the weekend just to get knocked out and earn absolutely nothing in return, which is very frustrating since I consistently get high positions on ladder. I think a good solution would be having 2 month-long seasons with 4 best people from ladder getting spots in the open and rest fighting for it in top 16 and top 64 qualifiers.

Where would you suggest to go for the next expansion from a lore standpoint?

I would be interested to see an expansion focused around Vodyanoi and get Dagon back in the game.

While we’re talking about lore, what’s your favorite card lorewise?

Roach. 😉

There have been a lot of ideas circulating about on who the focus of the next journey will be. Which characters would you like to see as the focus of a journey and why?

I would like to see Ciri and Yennefer, since they are the next main characters from the Witcher 3 world and also obviously Keira at some point too 😉

Is streaming lowering your results on proladder? If yes, how big of a difference does it make?

Yes, it does, I usually get a much better winrate off-stream, since talking with chat takes away some focus from the game itself. That’s why I usually don’t stream during last days of the season, when it’s important to be efficient with your climbing.

If you would be invited to cast a Gwent event which 4 other streamers would you like to join you?

Spyro, Jaggerous, Bushr and Shaggy

How many hours and cups of coffee would you need to teach a totally new player Gwent and make him reach the top 100?

Since the level of pro ladder became insanely low recently, it would probably take only a few hours 😉

Thank you for your time, and good luck on the ladder!

You can follow Pajabol on Twitch and Twitter.

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