With Gwent Open 5 AndyWand makes a comeback to the competitive Gwent scene since GwentSlam 2. Armavel44 interviewed AndyWand about the road to Open, his expectations for the tournament and about the person behind the nickname. 

By Armavel44 from RuGwentTournaments team.

 

First, I would like to congratulate you for qualifying to Gwent Open #5. How does it feel to go to LAN after almost half a year break? What are your expectations? 

Thanks! It feels really great. This is a great opportunity for me to declare about myself. At GwentSlam I was very unexperienced — in tournaments and as a Gwent as in general. However, things are different right now. I’ve made a huge journey with Team Aretuza and it was the last time I was the weakest player in the bracket. This time I am ready.

I want to show the best performance I can. That’s all I can achieve, no matter what the result will be in the end. That said, since I am extremely confident in my lineup and I have put in more practice than my competitors, I assume, getting to the final is completely possible. Winning the tournament and the resulting challenger qualification is the overall goal. Damorquis has the second best lineup, so I obviously do not want to meet him. :) But seriously, I respect every player on this tournament and don’t mind playing against any of them.

Speaking of the decks, I don´t anticipate super fancy stuff. I also considered taking a targeting lineup that has unusual lists. I know the options are limited and thus lineup wise I am covering everything I worry about.

 

That is pretty cool to see how confident you are. However, during Pro Ladder things didn't go as well. You and your teammate Damorquis, had a “Gwent Marathon” during the last day of Pro Ladder season. I would like to know more about it. How did you come up with this idea, and who does it belong to originally? 

Yeah, I totally agree the season got a little bit messy. Although I had a very nice 72 percent win rate after my placement matches, I had a horrible midseason and dropped on my peaks. That forced me to go for an absolutely crazy, even close to impossible run. I played for almost 30 hours straight, only consume and had to make up above 100 points until I get to peak in the first place. Furthermore, I even needed to put around 50 points on top after I got to peak. I honestly didn’t believe it was possible. I was thinking that I can’t maintain concentration for this long. I don’t really know how do I actually pulled that miracle off, but over 80 percent win rate over the last 24 hours made the impossible come true.

Some hours after that I was super tired. It took me a while to realize the fact that it has actually happened before I could really enjoy it and celebrate. Damorquis was absolutely sure that I can do it since the beginning, so that’s why he suggested me to do it originally. As far as I am concerned, only me and Damo took part in this madness, though most of the time I was alone during the grind.

 

Were you both using voice or helping each other? Or did you just play for yourselves and were focused on your own gameplay?

Most of the time we’ve played on our own without voice. However, we were chatting through voice a bit during the day. Anyway, there was not enough time to make a team effort out of it :)

 

Now you are preparing for the tournament at Damorquis' place. Why have you decided to do it? How does playing from there differ from playing at your own place?

We thought it would be nice to have some face-to-face discussion after the scrims and just a nice experience overall. Doing traveling and prepping together, such things. It wasn’t only a tactical decision. Besides teammates, we are also good friends and a meetup was meant to happen, sooner or later.

 

I hope, it will really help you at the tournament and will remove most stress from LAN event. Now back to you and your experience. You are not so new to Gwent esports and probably have even more experience than your friend Damorquis. You have participated at Gwent Slam #2, where you faced SuperJJ in the first round. You even had a lead 2-0, but he was experienced enough to make a reverse sweep. What can you say about this tournament compared to your expectations from Open?

Let’s get back to that exact situation after the 2-0 lead against JJ. Now it is obvious, that every game afterwards I made a lot of crucial mistakes, leading to that reverse sweep. I wasn’t really prepared for the tournament. I wasn’t playing pro ladder at that time, I wasn’t putting in a ton of time into Gwent as a whole. I had a nice run on a good day in the Qualifier, that’s pretty much it. I could have won every single game during this series. It was my own inexperience that lost me that match.

How am I going to apply that experience? I am going to throw it in the trash and do it completely different way this time. After all, we do learn from our own mistakes better than from everything else.

 

Can you compare the state of Gwent eSports scene back then and now? 

I think it was tough to figure out how you actually play this game for everyone back then. I believe that during the whole history of competitive Gwent with every event it became more and more advanced. We can still see a lot of misplays at LAN events, but during those dark days we made more and in many cases we weren’t even aware that we have made something wrong.

 

I would really like to know more about you. Tell us a bit about your background. How did you start playing Gwent? Is it your first game you play competitively or did you have experience in other games?

I am a young fella, only 20 years old. I am studying Sociology and Politics, but I took a break from my studies a few months ago in order to maximize my odds of achieving good results in Gwent eSports. I have started to play Gwent after I’ve lost my mind playing Hearthstone. I was a pretty consistent high legend player in Hearthstone, but I’ve never really took it off. I didn’t really try either though. In general, I would say I am new to eSports.

I have started to play computer games pretty early and I’ve played them during most of my childhood. However, I haven’t played many different games already for a few years now, so I can’t consider myself as a big gamer.

 

Are you going to finish your studies later or you haven’t thought about it for yet?

Probably. I mean, my journey through Gwent may change what I am interested in, so it’s possible that I even reconsider the field I will be studying

 

Let's talk about such a wonderful thing as Team Aretuza. Please tell us, when and how did you end up here? What possibilities does it give to you as a Gwent professional?

I don’t want to sound like a fan boy for my own team and hype it up too much, but I can’t help myself :) I am its member since GwentSlam #2. We provide practice, discuss decklists, exchange our ideas, gather feedback and keep company for each other. Since I am a rather social person and love to talk to different people, it is really important for me that I am not alone in front of the computer the whole day. It’s a really nice bonus to have friends, who can gift you a lot of enjoyable and memorable events on top of learning together

 

Now for more recent events. You took part in April Challenger Qualifiers. Since you couldn't qualify for the main event, I still hope it was a useful experience for you. How did you like it in general? What do you think about recent changes by CDPR (top 100 compete for 2 slots for Gwent Open #6, top 50 participate at Challenger Qualifiers)?

Reducing the amount of participants down to 50 was one of our suggestions to the organizers. I think this system is pretty fair. Though it´s a bit of a shame that now even fewer Pro Ladder players will get there through their efforts on the ladder.

 

And for the last part of our interview. Patch and leaks! We already know, that there will be a patch after Gwent Open #5, where we will see probably the last changes to the balance before Homecoming. Recently, Burza has also leaked, that Brouver, in particular, will see some changes: he won’t be able to pull disloyal units anymore. That was already mentioned before, that wardancer will see changes too. How do you like these changes? How do you think will it change the meta, since one or two top tier archetypes will be much weaker?

Right now It is hard to predict how will all of this affect the game. In general, I think spy tutoring is super strong with Rainfarn or Brouver and should be completely removed from the game or at least be made possible for all factions. I wonder what was the point of making all spies be the same strength if Rainfarn and Brouver break that mechanic again. Oh, and wardancer too. I personally like whatever they do to wardancer, this card is draw RNG in a nutshell. Hopefully, if they make it only "swap" they will even buff it a bit so it will combo with officer properly.

However, the meta could be a whole lot of different things. I don’t have a good predictions and I doubt there is anyone who can give one. 2 rows that matter are better than 3 rows that don’t. That’s all I can say here.

 

Probably, we will see no more patches before October. So next two Opens and Challenger will be held on this patch. From your opinion. is it good or bad for Gwent eSports?

Gwent is a game where the meta depends not only on patches. I feel it’s pretty much guaranteed that we will have some variety through the seasons and LAN events. Not gonna lie, of course it’s super cool and exciting to get new content. Gwent eSports would be even more interesting with changes every time.

That doesn’t mean that the upcoming events won’t be exciting though. Just look at the one we are going to have! I just hope that after Homecoming they´ll be even better

 

And I hope that you will be able to qualify for most of these upcoming events! Thank you for the interview and for your time. Wish you best of luck at Gwent Open #5!

Thank you!