Welcome back Mysidians, this week I have an interview to share with a new member of the Cards of Ivalice (COI) team. Please welcome Ynez Nevarez! I gave Ynez a call over the weekend and we talked about her entry to FFTCG and how the competitive year has gone so far. I was surprised to find out that she took the interview call at a shopping mall! Kudos to Ynez talking through what must have been a distracting background. I have written a transcript of the interview below and will be adding the audio of the call if the editing process goes smoothly.
I do want to note that I am very new to interviewing people, and I definitely have a lot to work on (transitions, creating conversation etc). If you have any feedback for the interview, such as questions I could have asked, please by all means comment below. I appreciate the support. Alright let’s get to the interview, enjoy!
Interview Transcipt: Alex Scott interviewing Ynez Nevarez
Alex: Alright Ynez, we will start nice and easy. How did you get into FFTCG?
Ynez: So, I remember it being announced and I was really excited because Shouta Yasooka was working on it, and he is one of my favourite Magic players, but the game was impossible to find. I was living in Chico at the time so I couldn’t really get into it. I moved down here [North County San Diego] during Opus V, but there wasn’t really a scene yet. I moved even further south to San Diego, and the local store, Brute Force Games, was only two blocks away. I started showing up and they invited me to their group, and that’s where it all began.
Alex: Did you play any TCG’s before Final Fantasy?
Ynez: I played Magic for a little under 10 years. I have also played a lot of Pokemon for about a year and a half.
Alex: Ok, so a lot of the concepts in FFTCG were familiar to you already.
Ynez: Yeah, so the phases and using the stack etc., actually in Magic I was working on becoming a Level 1 Judge at one point, so that has helped me a lot with FFTCG.
Alex: When I started as a new TCG player, there was a steeper learning curve for me, especially with things like the stack. People kept telling me “its so simple!”, and eventually I got it.
Ynez: The best way I have found teaching people is to physically lay the cards on top of each other in an actual stack and that kind of gives people the visual they need to interpret it.
Alex: That’s great, I am going to have to borrow that technique. Moving along, what is your favourite element in the game, and why?
Ynez: You know, I don’t really have a favourite element. I guess if I had to pick one it would be Wind, because it has a lot of the control cards, and by that, I mean Diabolos, which is the closest thing to Cryptic Command in Magic.
Alex: Awesome! So how about a favourite deck that you are playing right now?
Ynez: Um, Earth/Wind. Its so grindy, so many decisions to make with it. You don’t start off knowing your role. You have to set up and sometimes you are the aggressor, sometimes you are in control. To be successful at it you have to really see what your role is each game, sometimes you will even change during a game.
Alex: Absolutely, I think that’s one of the coolest parts of the deck. I don’t know if there is a true control deck in FFTCG, but this deck can just play so many roles. I like to play aggressive so when I see a game is there for the taking this deck can pivot and take the win, but it can also deal with faster decks.
Ynez: Yeah, and I think its even better when playing aggro decks because I am more keen onto their lines to get out of a situation. And in cases, although it doesn’t happen too often in Final Fantasy, but it does happen in Magic, sometimes you need to know when you have lost and scoop and go to the next game so you have enough time to win.
Alex: I think you can definitely pull more wins out in FFTCG out of nowhere than you would expect.
Alex: Recently you joined the Cards of Ivalice team. How did that all come about and how has it affected your experience playing the game?
Ynez: Well, I am very competitive. So, when I saw a team was looking for people, being a team-oriented person, I thought I would go for it. I also had some members of the community recommend me and suggest it. When I applied, I thought “I like to compete”, and I like to help those around me compete and be better players. And so far, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot out of it. There are some really good players on the team.
Alex: Yes, there are, and there is a lot of good conversation that goes on in the chat [COI Discord]. Do you feel like you have benefitted competitively from joining the team?
Ynez: Definitely, at the Kansas Crystal Cup, I had my deck list and I was pretty happy with it. My teammate made a recommendation on some cards, and I was skeptical at first because I was adding another colour and I didn’t know how much I wanted to stretch my deck, but I thought about it and the next morning I said “go for it”. It really paid off, it was the right call and had I not been on the team I wouldn’t have made that choice on that card.
Alex: I think we often can get stuck in our own deckbuilding bias and having another player’s perspective can open up ideas that we wouldn’t have thought of.
Alex: So you attended the Kansas Crystal Cup, why don’t you tell us about some of the other events you have been to and what you competitive year has looked like.
Ynez: For me, going to events started with the Arizona Petit Cup, that was kind of really when I got to experience the community, and how wholesome [the community is]. I had this tournament, it was fun, I did well (I made Top 8) and after, almost everybody in the tournament goes out for dinner together and we are immediately friends. That is something I never experienced in Magic. You know you have your confined groups but connecting with groups from other areas was something that never happened.
Alex: So that tournament was the start of your year, what other tournaments did you go to?
Ynez: Lets see, I went to Fan Fair, that wasn’t really competitive, it was more about having fun. I went to the Water Crystal Cup in Portland, where I went 4-3 and in the last round to make the second day I got the Greg Cole treatment.
Alex: A little bit of Scions, yeah.
Ynez: Yeah, so I lost to Greg. Scions is also probably the worst matchup for my deck. [I am] unfortunate to play against Greg at a lot of events [this year], but because I have got to play against him a lot, I feel that I have actually gotten a lot better against the deck.
Alex: Greg is the nicest guy in the world too, so he will sit down and play with you anytime.
Ynez: Yeah and he’ll jam games against you until you are done.
Alex: That reminds me I actually still owe Greg a beer from Fan Fair. So, I was at Fan Fair and the Water Crystal Cup but I don’t think we have actually met yet. We will have to fix that.
Alex: Now onto the Kansas Crystal Cup, how did that go?
Ynez: I went 4-3. Didn’t do as well as I had hoped. All the decks you would consider meta I actually won against, with the exception of one match against Brian Burckley. That felt good, but I lost to two decks I wasn’t expecting. That was kind of a bummer but also kind of funny at the same time.
Alex: Yeah, that is kind of what happened to me at the Water Crystal Cup, started with a loss to Brian Burckley, and then Mono Fire and Lightning/Ice Aggro. Both decks I wasn’t expecting to see and that’s kind of the B01 struggle, sometimes these decks can catch you by surprise and beat you, and it can be the difference between making top cut or not.
Ynez: I definitely wasn’t expecting Mono Water built around Legend Garnet and Oops All Forwards.
Alex: Wow that’s a pretty old deck [Legend Garnet], with Belias and Hecatoncheir etc.
Ynez: Yeah, he got me on two Chaos Walkers.
Alex: Yeah that will do it.
Alex: Moving on again, how to you practice for these events/tournaments?
Ynez: White Mage is my main testing partner; most people know who he is. We will meet up throughout the week and play games. I usually have about 3-4 meta decks on me that I will grind through. Our San Diego group meets every Tuesday and Thursday, and it’s just kind of a long practice session.
Alex: Awesome, and to clarify, by White Mage you mean David Nunez?
Alex: I played against him back in Portland, and he is a very good player. That is a pretty impressive training partner.
Ynez: Yes. I was definitely very excited for him making Day 2 and doing overall pretty well at the Kansas Crystal Cup.
Alex: I think I have seen him play all sorts of decks; he isn’t always necessarily playing a meta deck correct?
Ynez: Yeah, he likes Ice decks. He has been on Ice/Wind for quite awhile. Usually he will get you with something Ice.
Alex: Did you have any goals at the beginning of the competitive year? And how does it look going forward?
Ynez: I always want to win. Right now, really trying to get a Nats Invite. Going to every LQ I can. I have one more Crystal Cup to go to in Arizona. Really hoping I can’t play in the LCQ (Dark Crystal Cup) because I will already be qualified. But I will be going to that if I need to.
Alex: Sounds like you are right on the bubble. I have no doubt you can do it. For the Arizona Crystal Cup, how do you feel about your draft game? Is that a skill you need to practice?
Ynez: I felt really good about drafting in Opus VIII. Every time some material came up, I read it. I did some drafts with my San Diego group. Talked to a lot of people to get their philosophy about Opus VIII draft. Had I made Day 2 [at Kansas] I felt I would be really comfortable with it. I liked the XV package in Opus VIII, I felt that it was an under-valued package that you could sneak into. I am really excited for drafting and Opus IX, hopefully I will get to draft at Arizona.
Alex: That’s great that you get to practice with your group in San Diego, I have a harder time getting draft together in Vancouver. Any other thoughts?
Ynez: I think that something a lot of people miss when drafting is they ignore the second or third best deck in draft. You get too many people focussed on building the best archetype, for Opus VIII it was Ice/Fire. Sometimes you will 3-4 people building ok Ice/Fire decks and you could have a really good Mono Earth or Mono Fire deck. I think you need to be able to identify when those are open and when to settle.
Alex: Ok, I want to try something next that I call the Lightning Round. I am going to ask you some short questions and you just say the first thing that comes to mind. Let’s give it a whirl.
What is your favourite card in the game?
Which card has the best art in the game?
Who is the toughest player you have ever competed against?
Brian Burckley has my number.
Foil or non-foil?
Will Fire ever be good?
Describe the Discard mechanic in one word.
Best Final Fantasy?
Tifa: Monk or Martial Artist?
Alex: Alright that’s it, you passed! That is the end of the prepared questions. Do you have anything else you would like to say or talk about?
Ynez: Nah, I mean, I am just really happy to be playing this game and being part of the community. Looking forward to going to and playing in a lot more events!
Thank you so much to Ynez for doing that interview! She is an awesome player, and an even cooler person. You can look forward to more Cards of Ivalice team member interviews in the future. Until then, keep on playing and may your EX-Bursts always be Famfrits.
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Alex is a FFTCG player from Vancouver, Canada. His favourite Final Fantasy is IV and his favourite Elements are Earth and Ice, although he has a soft spot for fire.