by Francesca "Jaggerous" Jagger
The third GWENT Challenger tournament is now over. The event took place in the "Wieliczka" Salt Mine in Poland, where eight players faced off over a $100,000 prize pool. When the dust had finally settled, it was Damian “TailBot” Kaźmierczak who emerged victorious. The 20 year-old Polish player is a regular on the competitive GWENT scene and he sports quite an antagonistic persona. Known for his smack talk, TailBot can often be seen in Semis or Finals, but had yet to win an event. Until now. With his success in GWENT esports, TailBot was able to commit to playing GWENT full time. Practice makes perfect — this is the dedication which saw him take home the Scoia’tael Challenger ring and the lion's share of the prize pool. Following his victory, we sat down with the Polish powerhouse to chat about competitive GWENT.
Jaggerous: So, first and foremost, congratulations! How are you feeling coming out of Challenger and how does that compare to how you felt during the whole process?
TailBot: Thank you! I feel great and I’m satisfied with my performance at Challenger. I stayed focused and wasn’t very nervous throughout the whole event. To be honest, I came to Challenger with an “I’m going to win” mindset, so I was prepared for that. I was confident enough that I didn’t bother with thinking about my strategy for each match until 10-20 minutes before the actual start of the game. Winning each game felt like getting one step closer to my goal.
J: You went with a Brouver targeting strategy. What made you choose to target Brouver, rather than bring him yourself?
T: That’s right. I expected most people to bring Brouver to this tournament. I don’t like playing it myself because games often come down to what you either highroll or mulligan into. I prefer decks which I have more control over and can plan few turns ahead. Also, I think it’s an overrated deck and I don’t mind playing against it at all.
J: Challenger #3 was probably one of the most diverse tournament metas we have seen. Were there any strategies from other players you were worried about, or that you found interesting?
T: I might have been a little worried about facing some hard target strategy to my Consume. Or maybe Henselt. Most people had rather standard strategies, with the exception of SuperJJ, Cmel and maybe Freddy, but I didn’t find them that interesting.
J: You played against I_aPOROgise, Hanachan, and Freddybabes. Which of your three matches did you find the most challenging?
T: It would probably be the match versus Hanachan. He played well and I didn’t get to ban his Greatswords, which were good against my lineup. Against other opponents, I was fine with every deck getting through ban phase. When battling Hanachan, I was actually on the edge of dropping out of tournament.
J: What was your favourite moment of the whole event?
T: I really enjoyed exploring Wieliczka and meeting people there. But the highlight for me has to be winning the event and grabbing that ring!
J: GWENT Challenger may be over, but the next Open event is just around the corner. How did you prepare for Challenger, and do you have the same prep strategy for Open next month?
T: Actually, I didn’t prepare that much. It took me a few minutes to figure out what I wanted to do with my lineup. The rest was just playing some games and testing my tech choices. The same thing applies to the next Open. My lineup was the first thing that came to my head and I don’t think there is any intensive testing needed.
J: How do you think the tournament meta will change for GWENT Open #5, given the decks we saw at Challenger?
T: I can’t honestly answer that without giving away information about my own strategy.
J: Lastly, you are a GWENT tournaments regular at this point. How has competitive GWENT changed your life?
T: I can definitely say GWENT has consumed large portion of my life these past few months. Some of my others interests took a hit as the majority of my time goes to playing the game. I took a break from studying to have more time to focus on GWENT. Now I’m just happy that committing my time into the game paid off and I spent that time on something I enjoyed.
TailBot is certainly committed to GWENT. On top of winning Challenger #3, he ended the fourth Pro Ladder season in first place. He totalled 5,832 MMR across 1,114 games, thus qualifying himself for the upcoming tournament. To see TailBot compete and find out if he can defend his tournament victory, tune in to the CD PROJEKT RED Twitch channel during GWENT Open #5!
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