By Kungfoorabbit, May 4, 2021
A day before Open #1 of Gwent Masters season 3, kungfoorabbit got a chance to speak with iluxa288 aka BigKukuRUzina35 during a co-op stream. Iluxa is a member of Team Legacy and a captain to Russia in upcoming Aretuza World Cup. For those interested, iluxa's deck of choice for a co-op was Ursine Ritual with Hym, Olaf and Vildkaarl.
Interview with [LGC] iluxa228
Hi Iluxa, thanks for coming to a co-op stream. Who are you rooting for on Open #1? Legacy teammates TailBot and Bart933 only, or do you have other favorites as well?
Hey! I am rooting for Legacy players and Pajabol. I was preparing to the latest qualifier with toBliat and Bart, good luck to them.
Qualification to Open
Congratulations on qualifying to Gwent Open #2. How did it go?
Day 1 of top-64 qualifier I finished with a 4-1-1 score. Start of day 2 was very sweaty, and I misplayed in multiple games. First two rounds of the upper bracket put extra pressure on you, as you cannot lose - otherwise you're out. I played against Kar5555 and Neverhood, and ended up winning both 3-2. With Akela I couldn't draw necessary cards... and fell into a lower bracket. After beating TailBot (most games there ended within a 5 point gap), my morale was high and I've beaten John/Sally 3-0 to qualify. He had very risky decks where he removed tutors to play an extra gold... this approach in deck building got him to the finals, but also might've cost an Open #2 ticket in the end.
What were you considering during lineup preparation?
I was trying to get favorable matchups against Syndicate and Nilfgaard. Arachas Swarm is good against those two. My SY was running Whoreson Junior, which gives you an advantage in a mirror; it finds a decent engine target vs NG and works somewhat against Arachas Swarm. Skellige is quite nice... you have answers to Cleaver and Tunnel Drill vs SY; it should beat AQ quite reliably with all the damage... and if you find Morkvarg: Heart of Terror and Hjalmar an Craite, your chances vs NG are decent.
You played Crushing Trap in Nature's Gift, how did that work out for you?
I added it to have a better chance against Arachas Swarm deck, and it helped me in a game vs Neverhood. Other than that, it didn't really play for a lot of points. Overall though, Gift only had a bad matchup vs SY.
Any parallels between qualifications to Open last year and this year you'd be able to draw?
Preparation was mostly the same, I just tried to come up with a lineup that was countering or not vulnerable against current meta. I didn't test it much and it all worked out. The only difference is that this year I came up with decks on my own, and last year I based them on wangid's lineup.
After qualifying to Open #2, will you continue tryharding next couple of seasons for Crown Points?
I am trying to make myself do it, but during last week I only played 4 games. But I'll be grinding - I am #7 on the Crown Point rankings at the moment, and qualifying to the Gwent Masters #3 is my goal.
When did you start playing Gwent, and at what point did you feel like you're getting good at it to play professionally?
I started playing during early Homecoming; my first meta was the one with a Sihil card in every faction. I was playing Demavend myself at that time, peaking at rank 7. Then I switched to more competitive decks, improving my results step by step - first keeping a place in pro rank, then finishing top-200, top-100, top-50. I finished in the top-10 a couple of times before Gwent Masters season 2 started and decided that I am rather decent at this game.
Were you playing on your own at that time, or did you have friends to discuss decks/games with? And how did you join team Legacy?
I was playing as a lone wolf for the most part, occasionally hanging out on p_star79 streams. I joined Legacy when EGC tournaments were happening, they had qualifiers running for a LAN event in Italy. I started showing good results by that time. I didn't know much about the Legacy team, but accepted the invitation. It is fun, I got a new circle of friends with whom I can discuss the game, joke around; and overall it helped me to up my game.
You got a gwent record to your name - highest MMR with any faction in a season. It was 2782 fMMR with NR witchers during the offseason - how did that come to be and do you expect it to be improved by yourself or someone else any time soon?
I started climbing with Northern Realms Witcher deck just because I had fun with it, but then I've reached close to the previous record set by Bart. I've beaten it while streaming, and got to 2782 later offstream. It might be beaten, but not earlier than next offseason in gwent, when less people are tryharding.
Are you playing any games besides Gwent?
My favorite game is Fallout: New Vegas. Last game I've beaten is Red Dead Redemption, and now I am replaying Witcher 3 - I haven't played through the Blood and Wine DLC before, so I am pretty hyped about that. From online games, I am playing FIFA.
I was talking to your teammate Andi99 recently, and he mentioned that you're a Chelsea FC supporter. Did it by any chance start with the Mourinho era in the club?
No, I always loved playing football, but never watched it on TV. My brother had Euro 2008 installed on his PC, and I was always playing as Spain - Fernando Torres had a high ranking there. Starting with World Cup 2014, I started watching some games, and Torres was playing at Chelsea at that time - that's how I ended up supporting Blues.
My name is Artyom and I am from Estonia. Gwent is my first CCG; I got into closed beta after playing Witcher 3. I am a Schirru main, with Scoiatael and Monsters as favorite Homecoming factions. While I enjoy playing meta and meme lists all the same, reaching decent pro ladder scores with latter is the best thing about gwent. I am currently finishing my PhD in Materials Science.
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