Following this weekend’s GwenTogether tournament, MegaMogwai has taken his place as Gwent’s new champion and has proven he is here to compete. GwenTogether, hosted by Lifecoach, brought together a diverse cast of competitive players, casters, and Gwent personalities and pit them against each other in a best-of-five single elimination brawl.
Although GwenTogether was a community event, there is no doubt that all the participating players were in it to win it, and there was certainly no shortage of skilled competitors with proven players like SuperJJ of team Complexity and GameKing, who has ample competitive experience in other CCGs, participating.
Regardless, MegaMogwai was able decimate all three of his opponents, not only showcasing his innovative deckbuilding, but also proving that he is more than just a streaming personality.
Miguel “MegaMogwai” Guerrero, a well-known pillar of the Gwent community thanks to his role as one of Gwent’s official casters and one of the most successful streamers out there, managed to prove over the weekend that he is ready to be considered a competitive threat in the future. The Fade2Karma member will now have to decide how he chooses to balance his two passions, casting and competing.
I’m sure most of our readers are familiar with the emperor, but for those who have been living under a rock, what’s your background?
I’m currently 28 years old, and I was born in Spain but ended up moving to the U.S when I was fairly young due to my father’s job. Then I moved back to Seville and I’ve been living there most of my life, although I recently moved to Malaga, which is on Spain’s mediterranean coast.
I’ve been gaming pretty much all my life, although maybe not super competitively. My first games were JRPGS, then I also moved on to card games, but actual physical card games which is what there was mostly when I was younger. I took a break in my early 20s as I was focusing mainly on sports, but a few years back I got back to gaming and opened a youtube channel as well. I started playing Gwent this year and I think it’s just a fantastic game, it’s very consistent for a card game and it has pretty much all the attributes I was looking for in a CCG, so it’s essentially all I am playing at the moment.
You’ve been appointed as one of Gwent’s official casters, first taking the job at Gwent Challenger in May and now following it up at Gamescom in a week, how did that come to be? Were you surprised when it was announced? What skillset were they looking for?
I was surprised! We got the opportunity to apply for the job after we visited CDPR headquarters at the end of January, it was a trip they organized for a lot of streamers and content creators when they were preparing for the announcement of the Nilfgaard faction. While we were all there they let us know that we could apply for a casting job, and we had to send in an audition video that they would then review. The only problem is I totally forgot when the deadline date was to send it in[laughs], so I ended up sending my audition much later than everyone else, but luckily they let it slide. It ended up working out because they really liked my audition, and they sent Mcbeard and me a second email asking us to do a casting simulation and sending that in as well so that they could review if we synergized well.
Thankfully they really enjoyed our audition and we ended up getting the job and got to cast the Gwent Challenger event alongside Josh Gray, a professional caster that ESL had hired. I think I can speak for Mcbeard as well when I say this casting job pretty much changed our lives. It was simply an incredible experience.
As for the skillset, I know with Mcbeard they found a very articulate player, he’s very analytical and definitely has a way with words. I think he does a great job of explaining technical concepts to new players or just to viewers in general. Now in regards to myself...I’m not exactly sure[laughs]. I know I’m loud, I also get very excited. I do feel like I have good knowledge of the game and I try my best to break down the plays and whenever there's a break in the gameplay I’ll try and explain some of the more complex cards to newer players. For us veterans, whenever we’re watching a game of Gwent we know exactly what’s happening, but new players might get lost so I try and make it as easy for them as possible, as Gwent is still a growing esport and we’re going to have many new players watching the big events.
Let’s start with what’s recent, GwenTogether. When did Lifecoach contact you to be a part of the event?
I think I was actually one of the first players they contacted to be honest. Wifecoach let me know about a month or so ago, I had a lot of contact with Lifecoach and his wife during the Gwent Challenger event so I’m really glad they counted on me for GwenTogether and it turned out to be a great event, so I’m glad I was able to participate.
I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the behind-the-scenes of a big event. What were your thoughts on GwenTogether’s production value? How was the experience as a caster?
It was mind blowing really. When it comes to Gwent Challenger, CDPR has a tremendous budget and they had ESL working for them as well, it looked like a Television set, there were cameras, screens, lights, etc all over the place.
When it comes to GwenTogether, you have to keep in mind it was done at Lifecoach’s house. I mean it’s a very nice house, but it’s still a house [laughs], it’s not a studio. To see three people manage to pull off the production value we had during the event is insane. The graphics were absolutely phenomenal, the profile pictures and the coloring were just really nice to look at. Everything went by seamlessly and I think the only minor problem was a single disconnection issue at the beginning but it wasn’t even noticeable. It definitely exceeded my expectations by quite a lot. I felt much more confident this time around than during the Challenger event, mainly because I was a bit less familiar with the ladder during the few weeks leading to the Challenger event, so although I had enough information to be able to cast well, I think I’m much more comfortable with the current meta and I’ve been laddering quite a bit during this past month. Even though I don’t play Dagon I do face it A LOT [laughs].
I think the casting in the event overall was really great. I only ended up casting a single match during the tournament, and that was the quarterfinal match between SuperJJ and Zeibinator, which I ended up casting with ImpetuousPanda, we were the Spanish casting duo [laughs]. I think it was great though, Lifecoach is very fun to see as a caster because he’s always so energetic and gives it his all while re-enacting the sound effects from the game as well. Mcbeard was also a great addition to the casting team, I mean what can I say, I feel he’s simply born to do this. I was very impressed with Panda’s casting though, I think he did a fantastic job considering I don’t really think he really has a casting background unlike Mcbeard who has some experience with public speaking due to his career path or myself, since I’ve already done a lot of stuff in the past with Duelyst for example.
You considered yourself a bit of an underdog going into the event, at what point did you know you had a serious chance to win it all?
I didn’t come to the event mentally defeated or anything like that, although I guess I could have maybe had reasons to. ImpetuousPanda is one of the most respected players in the community, and when I found out I was paired with him I thought “Oh god no, I just wanted a more chill matchup”, why couldn’t I just face Panda in the finals. To have to play against a player like him round one, and have it also be the very first match of the tournament kind of sucked, I’ve never really liked going first in anything in life. It was essentially the worst case scenario for the tournament. I think it’s very easy to just having a losing mentality and play to lose, I’ve seen it a lot in both gaming and sports as well. Even though they weren’t ideal conditions, I went into the tournament knowing I was going to try my best and that I was going to play to win all my games.
I worked very hard on the mill strategy, I knew King Bran was going to be very prevalent so I brought mill to counter that, especially knowing I could ban Dagon. I went into it with a winning mentality but wasn’t truly confident I was going to win, I only started really believing myself after my match with SuperJJ when I was heading into the final. I thought if I beat one very good player it could be a fluke, but if I managed to beat two very good players then I could actually be confident in my ability. When I went up against Gameking in the finals, it was the first moment in the event I was actually the favorite going into the match. I went into it and thought “Now you’re the underdog”, that was definitely a good feeling knowing everyone thought I wasn’t really a favorite when the event first started.
Following your recent success as a competitive player, what path will you take moving forward? You’re already considered by many as a great caster, will you also explore the competitive side of Gwent in the future?
This is a difficult question to answer for sure. I love casting, one of the beautiful things about casting is that you can witness the game and enjoy it as a whole. When you’re competing you’re so focused on making the right plays and not making any mistakes, you’re kind of in “tunnel-vision” mode. I think I savor the entire experience when casting, and it has been a great opportunity that I’m really grateful for and I’m going to work hard to improve the quality of my own narration and casting. Having said that, when I competed in this tournament it had been a very long time, for my standards at least, since I had competed at that kind of level. I’ve played a few online tournaments in the past few months but it really isn’t the same, I’m just sitting at my computer playing it. Being at GwenTogether felt very different, seeing everyone’s face, it felt much more personal. I felt the nerves and the adrenaline that comes with true competition. It brought me back to that level and it reminded me how much I missed it. I’ve competed a lot in my life, but it’s never been easy for me. During the actual event, I’m fine, but the days before any big competition I’m an absolute mess[laughs]. It’s definitely a rollercoaster of emotions for me leading up to an event. My whole point it I want to compete more, although I know I have to also get better at the game. I think I made a lot of mistakes during the tournament, and I’ve been able to look back and see what those mistakes are. Most of them are just lapses of concentration, but I think there were a few plays that I simply wasn’t good enough to make and that’s what I want to fix in the future. Also I think as a competitor I really have to focus on how I work, mentally, to be able to not fall into the trap of tilting or mentally handicapping myself because of a mistake or a loss game. I do want to pursue it and compete in several tournaments every year, but I’ll have to balance it with casting as well so it’s tough to give a clear answer right now.
August is proving to be a very exciting month for Gwent. With GwenTogether proving to be a huge success, Gamescom beginning to accrue hype from all sorts of Gwent players, and a suspected patch looming in the distance, how surprised are you with the game’s growth?
The game’s growth has had it’s ups and downs, it’s been stale at some points and then it’s had many huge boosts due to certain factors like a big event or open beta release. Gwent has had a lot of growth and I can’t really say I’m surprised, the fact that CDPR is behind Gwent is very positive for the game, they interact a lot with the community which I think is very important and they have a lot of work ethic, they really put in the extra hours. I’ve worked with many different developers in other games and I really haven’t seen a team like CDPR’s. The fact that they really push for consistency in their game really gives Gwent an edge I believe, it matters a lot, especially for competitive players and the esports scene. I think the game’s growth has gone down slightly the past month but I think that’s normal, we’re currently in a bit of a stale meta so it makes sense. Also we have to take into account that the game is still in beta phase as well and we’re going to have a much bigger card pool with full release. I honestly don’t even know how big this game will finally be, not with it’s growth but with the amount of content it will have once it fully releases. They’ve hinted that single player is going to be huge, almost like a mini game within Gwent, I even think people will play the singleplayer campaign and not touch the multiplayer aspect of Gwent at all.
You’ve been a part of Fade2Karma for a while now, and they have acquired a sizeable amount of Gwent talent in a very short amount of time, including huge personalities like AshCosplay, Crokeyz, Ayashuffles, Mithranor, and many more. How has that experience been for you so far?
Honestly I have no prior experience joining an esports team, so at first I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I got very good vibes from the guys in charge and we talked for a while and it seemed like a really great idea for both parties. I joined as a streamer more than anything, so I just have to represent the organization and just be a part of the F2K family. They don’t really sign players to compete, they focus more on signing streamers and they really take care of us, the care alot about everyone that joins the team. The first person I met on the team was JJPasak, and he’s obviously a well respected ladder player, and then a ton of other great players and streamers like Cipher, Crokeyz, Mithranor, AyaShuffles, Ash, etc. It’s a really nice group of people, we share a passion for the same game and I think that’s very important. We have very cool stuff planned for the future of Gwent and the community, so I’m really excited about the upcoming months.
You’ve managed to balance content creation between both Twitch and Youtube, how has that worked out for you? There aren’t many Gwent streamers that do both, could you shed some light on why you think this is?
I mean, it’s tough, it’s really tough [laughs]. I’ve just recently taken a massive break from Youtube, it’s been almost a month, although there are several reasons for this. It being summer, my big move to Malaga, and also just needing a bit of a break. It’s very difficult to combine a regular stream schedule with uploading daily videos, even if they are just highlights from the stream. It takes time to render, edit and upload them and get the thumbnails done for the videos as well. A lot of times it takes up most of my day and now that I’m doing sports again it’s tough to balance both worlds easily. Even though I’ve been doing this for a while, I’m transitioning more into Twitch being the main thing I have to do and Youtube being the extra. It’s really all about being responsible and distributing your time properly, it’s still very tough though. People think of streamers and say “Oh, that must be a dream job”, and it’s definitely a lot of fun but it’s also a grind, you really have to work for it. Streaming is not just playing a videogame, you have to interact with chat and be entertaining as well. I think content creators should always focus on prioritizing one of the two, or else they’re going to go crazy.
I’m sure you have a great relationship with CDPR, how has working with them been? Gwent’s growth is reliant for the most part on CDPR decisions, how confident are you in them as a developer?
I’m very confident, more confident than I’ve been with any other game developer. I’ve worked with many others game developers over the past few years as a content creator and CDPR are just a step above the rest. They’re very upfront about a lot of things and they’ve connected with me on a personal level, they’re very down to earth. They’re very grateful for content creators in general, they know the work youtubers and streamers put into the game and how important those are in a community and as a content creator I obviously really value that. The main reason why I really believe in them is their work ethic, they’re upfront about the issues with their game and they work so hard to improve it and add more things to the game while also keeping the balance in check. The fact they invested into so many artists and made a premium for every single card for example is insane, I think their ambition is really going to push Gwent into the spotlight very soon.
Asking you what your favorite faction is would probably seem like a sign of disrespect, so let’s cut straight to it. Why do you have so much love for Nilfgaard?
When I first visited CDPR at the end of January we were still in the beloved ST Meta. I had taken a slight break from Gwent at that time, and I had looked at the four current factions and none of them really pulled me in. When I saw Nilfgaard for the first time at CDPR headquarters I kind of freaked out, the way it worked was just amazing. Design-wise I think it has great mechanics, being able to reveal your opponent’s cards and play around them in some way, the way the faction works so well with the top cards in your deck. I love the emphasis on disloyal units as well, you’re building up units on your opponent’s board and at first it doesn’t seem like much but as it builds up they can become a huge swing. Menno is also one of my favorite cards in the game, I just love his ability to burn spies away. The rot tosser is by far my favorite bronze card in the game, it’s so great design wise, the fact it drops a mini-cow on the opponent’s board and it has an epidemic effect on a single row is so brilliant. We need more cards like that, it’s kind of a ball you pass on to your opponent, and he has to interact with it in a small window of time. It’s very dynamic. I also think they have the best themes, the best artwork, I honestly just like everything about them. I honestly wasn’t even familiar with Nilfgaard before the faction game out, lore-wise, but I still love the way they dress and how they look. I mean, I could talk about Nilfgaard for hours![laughs]. As for my favorite voiceline, I’m sure everyone knows what it is...
You’ve talked a lot about playing inferior decks when laddering and streaming. It seems you don’t really enjoy playing the strongest decks like other streamers and prefer changing it up, what’s the reasoning behind this?
I’ve never really liked Monsters too much, I just don’t like the faction as much. The main reason why I have this approach on ladder is because I really dislike mirror matches. I don’t want my ladder experience to be mirror matches all the time, so if I play a less popular deck the chance I’ll face it on ladder is pretty slim. I’m not really part of a competitive team or anything that would require top tier laddering, and I wouldn’t belong there either, so I’m not too worried about playing less popular decks. I’m also not much of a grinder, I enjoy playing a match or two and then taking a break, I can’t play a game for hours on end grinding away, it’s not something I’ve ever enjoyed. I love playing a game or two and giving it my all and then taking a bit of a break. For me to take a very high ranked list and then spam it on the ladder and run into many other players running the same exact deck, it’s just not something I’ve enjoyed. Sometimes really cool decks end up being the best, for example I think consume Monsters is the coolest version of Monsters there is. It’s not always that the top tier decks are cancerous, some are great decks but they’re played so much that players start despising those decks. There was also a meta when Open beta launched where Calveit was a tier 1 deck, and I had a bit of an identity crisis and essentially switched to Morvran or Emyhr for a while. I think that playing decks that are not as powerful and succeeding with them also improves you a lot as a player, if you limit yourself to one very strong deck you’ll be handicapped for future tournaments or game modes where you’re forced out of your comfort zone. I enjoy venturing into all the factions, except monsters[laughs], and try to play the really weird decks. I always have that hope that I’ll find a super interesting deck that could shift the meta and become very strong although on paper it might seem very weak.
It looks like you’re putting in a lot of work into Gwent in general, you’re creating content on Youtube, streaming on Twitch, and you’re also getting into casting officially for CDPR. What are your plans for the future?
I made the decision to focus on Gwent full-time a few months ago actually. This is the game I plan on focusing on for the immediate future, I might do a few side projects and maybe play another game or two but Gwent will have most of my attention. I really do hope I can continue with everything, I want to progress with my casting while still maintaining my streaming on Twitch and keeping up with my channel on Youtube. It took me a long time to get where I am on Youtube and I’m very excited to continue growing there as well. I want to see Gwent grow and reach that point where I can fully dedicate myself to the game and not have worries in regards to my immediate future, and I think Gwent will achieve that. It’s slowly raking in some serious numbers on Twitch, and I can definitely say I’ve had more concurrent viewers on Twitch with Gwent than with any other game I’ve streamed in the past. I’m excited for the future and it’s definitely going to be my focus, at least for the upcoming years, although you never really know what life may send your way. All I can say is I’m definitely excited and big things will be coming up soon!
I’m sure many of our readers would love to follow the Emperor of Nilfgaard closely, for those who weren’t familiar with you, where can they follow you?
I stream regularly at Twitch.TV/megam0gwai and also upload content very regularly on my YouTube channel. I update on Twitter with anything that’s going on with my life and my content creation, so if I want to stay tuned definitely make sure to follow me at @MegaMogwai!