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ReiReiBarker’s Quick Chats #2 – With Lateralus19

[This interview was conducted mostly last week, but due to Rei’s medical issues was delayed. The outro was looked at after both Rei and YouCanCallMeAl won tournaments on the weekend]

ReiReiBarker: So PDMD tagged you as next to interview, what do you think of that? You’re it!

Lateralus: Well, Paulo (PDMD) and I have been friends for about a year now so I guess I’m not too surprised he mentioned my name haha.

That’s great. You met through TESL, I assume?

Yes we did. Specifically CVH’s stream.

Haha I’ve met a few friends there myself, to be honest.

Yeah there are a lot of folks there now. Back then, it was exciting to see him break a couple of hundred viewers.

I like those kind of stories. He’s (PDMD) in Portugal and you’re, where are you from?

I am born and raised in Georgia, USA. Still living there. There is plenty to do and some nice scenery. Traffic around Atlanta I could pass on though.

Yeah traffic blows. You have a family right?

Yes. All of my immediate family is here.  I have a beautiful wife Bethany, and my son Elliot who is almost a year and a half old. If you’ve seen my streams, you may have seen them or at least heard them before.

Both I believe. You work as well. How do you have time to play games at all?

Well, it’s definitely tough sometimes. Juggling a full time job, a baby and spending time with my family takes up the majority of my day. Bethany is pretty awesome though and is supportive of my hobby so I am able to make time for it usually.

Our lives are so different, it’s hard for me to imagine. That support is amazing.  What are your core values, what matters to you?

Well, my family is my number one priority. Everything I do, I try to do with them in mind. I want to be able to provide the best life I can for them. As far as values go, just being a good person. There is a lot of hate in the world we live in today and it can be easy to fall into that. We have to remember that there are a lot of kind people and we should all strive to be the best we can be. Anything I do, I always try to be as best as I can.

It’s so easy to fall into.

I started playing Elder Scrolls: Legends the last week of closed beta, around the end of July 2016…pretty much the exact same time CVH did. He was one of the first streamers that I watched and I just never stopped. Back then it was under 100 viewers, but he grew quickly. He put in a lot of hard work and it has paid off for him. In the Fall he grew to a couple hundred viewers and the Twitch viewership remained small for the longest time…until the infamous !drops at least. I’m really happy a lot of the hard working streamers have been able to turn this into a little bit more than a hobby. They deserve it. Sad to see some starting to leave or question streaming the game now though.

Agreed. What drew you to TESL? Did you play anything before it?

I grew up on Magic: The Gathering. I played that off and on since their Portal set. I started playing competitively though around the original Innistrad…not sure why I waited so long to be honest. I stopped playing MtG though the week my son was born. Traveling to my LGS (Local Game Store) and traveling out of state just hasn’t been possible for me. I played some Infinity Wars and Scrolls when those were more popular, but they never took off from a competitive standpoint. I then looked to Hearthstone, but just couldn’t get into it competitively for multiple reasons. Bethany mentioned Elder Scrolls were making a card game, looked into it the next day and have been playing ever since. And yeah around Innistrad for actually getting competitive.

Long time! I played MTG since Ice Age.

Nice, I bet you have some cool stuff in your collection.

Yeah I do but I’m selling it to get a computer that can actually stream. I can imagine that family would come before MTG, even the PTQ level is travelling so much.

Nooooo don’t ever sell your MtG cards! You never know when you need to buy back into a current meta in a format! But, I am excited to see your streams!

I’ll keep my duals and forces. I don’t have a family but I’m on perma disability, among other reasons for fibromyalgia and my spine so even leaving the house is an ordeal.

Yeah, the year – year and a half prior to Elliot being born Bethany and I travelled out of state for some PTQs and GPs… I usually fell a round short of where I needed to be…One painful tournament in particular was when I finished 9th due to a tie with the 2nd place player before the top 8. Rough day. I was playing off meta decks back then, usually an interesting Mono Black Brew I had.I will always love MTG but it’s not conducive to my lifestyle.

I can identify with that, never quite spiked a PTQ.

That must be rough. I can’t imagine going through that kind of thing physically.

Yeah it sucks, but it’s part of the reason TESL works for me. The internet is my real home.

I’m glad you found something to satisfy that urge.

Yeah 2 months ago PV’s article brought me here. I actually haven’t opened MTGO since and I was playing for 12 hours a day.

PVDDR is one of my favorite MtG players. One of the absolute best of all time too. Hope to meet him someday.

Yeah he’s an awesome guy. I reference a lot of his articles on archetypes when talking to people here. I’m not sure where the combo and aggro-control ones sit though.

PVDDR, Patrick Chapin, Sam Black and LSV were always my personal favorites. It can be tough to identify deck archetypes sometimes, and not everything translates over from MtG. They have some similarities, but more differences.

Agreed. I’ve thought internally that TESL doesn’t really have combos. Just hypersynergy. Not ‘just’ like it won’t kill you, just not right away.

Yeah Legends doesn’t have combo decks in the sense that MtG does.

Probably a good thing imo; or maybe it does and no one has cracked it yet.

The closest thing was Raider OTK, and that is gone due to the Relentless Raider change.

I wasn’t around for that, was it OP?

No, it was a fringe “meme” deck that honestly, probably could’ve been better than it ever was if more time and work was spent on it. Basically, before the change, Raider’s rune breaks couldn’t be interrupted by prophecies. So it was used in combo with Wispmother and with one attack you could literally OTK a player with no chance at it failing. I doubt we’ll ever see something like it again unfortunately.

Sounds fun. You say unfortunately though?

I think having true combo decks is good for a meta. But, it appears DireWolfDigital prefers that two of their core mechanics, runes and prophecies, should not be able to be played around to that degree. Only time will tell though if they ever allow something like that again.

I can get with that. It sounds like it wasn’t exactly quick or simple

No, it was typically a turn 9 OTK. Not exactly game breaking.

It might drive new players away though, :0.

“Feels bad to lose to” seems to be the reason for too many changes. But, to each his own.

Yeah it is their choice ultimately. Though, this metagame isn’t the most thrilling, some would say.

Well, I’ve been open and critical of the latest nerfs. I do not think they were called for. But, I think what bothers me more than the fact they did it, was the timing. The timing made no sense at all.

It definitely left the meta in a worse place. Could you elaborate on the timing factor? Contrary voices are super necessary especially when they’re known. Like I love this game, but damn they do some stupid things.

Well, people have been crying for a Supreme Atromancer nerf for quite sometime. It did at one point, dominate the meta, but they never nerfed it. Atromancer definitely was not dominating the meta and it did help balance things. The nerf came out of nowhere really. Now, that said. I do think that Atromancer needed to be changes/nerfed eventually, but now was not a good time because there is no top end replacement finisher for a lot of midrange decks and it is an important thing to have right now versus certain decks. I was speaking with Romanesque a few nights ago, and he brought up a good point that I agree with. Atromancer blended the identities of certain classes too much. Midrange X/Blue decks didn’t do many things differently. I think there is a lot to be explored now, but I ultimately don’t think they will be successful in the current meta.

And thus far, they haven’t.

Nope

Not that it’s really quantifiable without a tournament. I should rephrase that – Is it even quantifiable at this time? Like you or me or anyone could go to ladder and queue into whatever, what would you bring and what would you expect to see?

The TESL Championship Series has done a great job from a community driven standpoint. Those guys have put in a lot of work, and they have my utmost respect for what they have done and continue to do for the Legends community. Even through all the struggles they’ve had to go through with getting support for it. I do like that ESL is being added to the mix, but again, another small prize pool. I’d like to see Bethesda/Zenimax get fully behind this game and drive a competitive scene. Not unlike what Gwent is doing. I do think that they will do something, but to what extent is really unknown due to a lot of silence. They have not been transparent with their vision of this game. It’s been a lot of “we are working on it” and “coming soon” responses. As for laddering I tend to cycle between a few tier 1 and 2 decks.

I’m two months in and stir crazy, I can’t imagine how OGs like yourself would feel. And if we break that down, I think about it and question my entitlement or whatever but it’s there. The ‘coming soon’ etc, and even if Bethesda didn’t know, Direwolf staff would know personally.

It has been frustrating waiting so long, but I love the game and have invested a lot of time and energy into it so I plan on waiting it out.

Let’s say this announcement comes tomorrow. What would it look like in a perfect world? Your perfect world, and idk about you, but I’m emotionally invested too.

Well, it would have to include an Open Tournament Series as well as some kind of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Series. I also think online tournaments will be extremely important. Hopefully they can use Rumbles in a meaningful way to qualify for those as well. I mentioned Al and Paulo that I’d love to see weekly 1k tournaments,  monthly 5k, quarterly 10k, with some Open 25k tournaments and some kind of big one at least 1-2x a year.

You like the best of one Rumbles?

There has to be money behind the game or it will never attract competitive players. They will go to games like Gwent or Hearthstone. I haven’t liked any of the Rumbles so far. None of them are what I want them to be. I couldn’t care less about gold, gems and pack prizes.

How does it personally affect you? In terms of values, desires, etc or that need to play for stakes.

I have always been a competitive person. Both in in the gaming world and in real life. If this game never arrives at any meaningful competitive scene, it will lose my interest. I am really hopeful though that it will not come to that though despite my impatience and frustration.

Same. Mtg is a good example, even if I didn’t make it just knowing that it’s there. What do you enjoy about playing in or watching tournaments?

I love the feeling of pressure. Playing for something brings that. It is always interesting to see how players react to pressure. Do they choke? Do they thrive? It’s seeing the game at its highest level by the best players in the world that keeps my interest.

That’s a great way of putting it. I love it too even though I am a choker.

I’ve done a little of both in my time haha.

I’ve done it so much that I am one with the choke.

Does that make you Darth Vader?

Lol. I do meditate and try to hyperfocus on the task at hand. Tbh it’s one of the reasons I play as many TESL tournaments as possible. To conquer it. Shoutout to Aquaman because he always casts every match I play, and people talking about you in Russian tests your choke.

Likewise. I will be increasing the amount of tournaments I play in starting this weekend.

Awesome. Will you be streaming them?

I will not be streaming the Championship Series. I doubt I will stream the ESL tournaments, but that may be a possibility. With a delay obviously. It’d definately be only gameplay+music. Not sure how much of an interest there would be for that. Or if there are even rules against it. I haven’t looked into that closely. I’ll have to check.

I guess people watch the coverage right?

To be honest, I am not entirely sure what the ESL tournaments offer in that sense. This will be my first time competing in one and I have never watched them before if that was available. Not sure if I’m blind, or if that just hasn’t been promoted well.

It feels like ages since you’ve streamed. I like dropping by.

Yeah, I was on a vacation the past week and a half. Honestly, the amount of streaming I do will likely decrease dramatically, at least this month. I have to shift focus a bit and it’ll take some adjusting

Yeah. I’m interested in tournaments with prizes. Even if it is a small pool. It’s holding me over for now…kinda. How are you preparing for it? Sorry to hear you’ll be streaming less too. I’ll drop by when you do.

I’ll be preparing with my teammates. We will finalize what we think are optimal lineups on Friday night and play Saturday in the ESL tournaments. We will likely discuss if we think any changes need to be made to our lineup and go over that afterwards and take that into Sunday’s Community Cup.

I suppose details this close isn’t happening, but what are you expecting to see?

Streaming much less will likely be a temporary thing, but I will likely not be able to do the strict schedule I was doing with everything else I want to accomplish in this game. There just is not enough time in a day for me to. We haven’t gone over what lineups we want to bring yet. But I expect we will see plenty of Tokens, Goblins, Rage Archer, Ramp Scout and Control Mage

The team is the same with a man down?

The team name is Meta Shift Gaming. Unfortunately, the  person who brought us all together, OGFlex, had to step away from the game at a competitive level very recently. But Myself, Al and Paulo wanted to continue with the idea and we have been working hard to get things in place the past couple weeks.

Yeah that is a shame, but life does go on. Still, there’s some life in those names. How does it function? What is the process like?

We are still in the early stages of Meta Shift Gaming. We had a lengthy call on some important topics earlier today actually. We will likely be making an announcement so to speak in the form of an introduction article on who we are and what we hope to accomplish and contribute to the community either later this week, or early next week.

Great. Looking forward to it

We have gotten some of the social media that will be needed established and getting ready to make use of those soon as well.

Just joined/created one myself actually. Like a team can just be a name, or it can be a brand or people sharing a goal coming together to build something and improve as a unit.

We will be practicing together. We are developing a good relationship with each other pretty quickly. We have a lot of respect for what each other brings to the table and value opinions and thought processes. To give you a sneak peek at what we plan to announce soon though our goal will be to essentially be recognized as very strong tournament players. We not only hope to, but expect that we can do very well in the ESL and Championship Series tournaments. We do plan on creating some content and have some great ideas in place that I think will be very beneficial to the community, both new and old players alike that has not really been done yet. We definitely want Meta Shift Gaming (MSG) to be more than a team name. We talked in depth about branding today. We will strive to have a positive brand and make an impact on the community.

I’m definitely looking forward to it, and I reckon we’ll be hearing a lot more about it. Now that we have a chance to look back a week later, do you have anything to add?

It was unfortunate to see a lot of the controversy take place this week around drops and vodcasts. I hope that Bethesda and Twitch get involved to rectify the situation soon. It is a problem for multiple reasons. I won’t go into detail on my personal feelings about it here, but I will say it’s extremely unhealthy for the promotion of the game. On the bright side we as MSG had a great week. Paulo placed top 8 in ESL (congrats to you sir for winning it all in ESL) and we both placed top 8 in the Community Cup while Al won the whole tournament. We hope to build off that and I hope people respond positively to the content we are working on for the community. Thanks for having  me!

A pleasure. Thanks to you as well. 🙂

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About ReiReiBarker (3 Articles)
I am ReiRei Barker. I write, Play T:ESL as well as I can, and twitch drops actually worked on me. All about the love and kindness, though I paradoxically lean towards aggro decks. I provide coaching services for $10 an hour, negotiable for students, the sick and the poor. I really need the cash too.

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