This year, over 200 players entered to compete in the Dominion 2019 Online Championship. Only 8 players remain. This interview features ospond, who will be playing Quarter Finals against drsteelhammer on Thursday, October 24 at 2:00PM UTC.
Congratulations again on making it this far in the Championship!
xtruffles: Can you tell me a bit about yourself? (Ie. Where you’re from? What you do?)
ospond: Yeah thanks! I’m from West United States, in Utah. I’m 25 years old and a Computer Science PhD student. Currently, I’m about halfway through my program.
xtruffles: Oh wow, I feel like there are a lot of computer science majors in the discord community, myself included. You’ve had an impressive run this championship, making it all the way to the top eight. The interesting thing is that you beat many players that were higher seeded than you. What has helped you the most this championship?
ospond: I actually think I have only beaten one player who was higher seeded than me. I think in my last round, heron was much higher seeded but I just kind of got lucky. The biggest factor was markus getting defeated early on so I didn’t have to face him.
xtruffles: Right, markus had gone 3-4 against ramue, who was lower seeded than him. And you then beat ramue.
ospond: And there was another match between ramue and heron – I played markusin
xtruffles: Oh right, haha. You didn’t get to face markus, but you got to face markusin. That’s pretty funny.
ospond: I feel like I mostly got lucky from the seeding and who I was facing up against. I may also play a little bit better in tournament than ladder, but I don’t know by how much mu increase.
xtruffles: Well, you’ve gotten this far so there’s definitely some skill involved. So speaking more about playing Dominion, how long have you been playing dominion and how did you discover the board game?
ospond: Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure that out. I think it was around when I was a kid, I used to play board games. I didn’t play it seriously and kind of rediscovered it a few different times. I only started playing it after rediscovering the online version (the most recent Shuffle iT client). I think that was around two years ago that I started picking it up again.
xtruffles: Yeah, I wasn’t here for any of the Goko or Isotropic years either.
ospond: Actually I did play Isotopic a bit, so that gives you a bit of a timeline, but wasn’t very good. I did go through phases of being interested.
xtruffles: Right. I’ve seen videos of Isotropic and Goko and I much prefer this client. Some of layouts in the old clients had weird green glowing backgrounds and was just not as nice.
ospond: It’s a lot better!
xtruffles: So what’s your favorite and least favorite card in Dominion?
ospond: My favorite card is scholar. I like simple cards that are really unique. I don’t like cards like the peasant line or squire that have several different effects stacked on. So, I like scholar because it’s a really simple card that sometimes enables really cool draw-to-X decks.
xtruffles: How do you like scholar compared to library?
ospond: I don’t like library as much. Probably because it has a ton of text for what could have been such a simple effect. Compared to scholar, you understand the card immediately and then you can use it to enable new strategies.
xtruffles: So you like scholar for its simplicity – what is your least favorite card? Something complex?
ospond: I think something like page. Another card I don’t like is fool’s gold because it has this silly reaction that you’re always ignoring.
xtruffles: Haha, yeah. It’s rare in the end game, when your opponent is provincing, that you actually want to topdeck a gold. What do you find to be the most challenging cards to play with in Dominion and why?
ospond: One of the hard ones is Shepherd. I find Shepherd really difficult. I think it’s just the way you are building that is super different if Shepherd is your main draw.
xtruffles: Yeah I can see that. I’ve definitely seen instances where you trash away your estates in the beginning but then you regain them to play Shepard in your end game. With the weird balance, I can definitely see that being a very challenging card. Speaking of more cards, what are your impressions of the new promos – Church and Captain?
ospond: Captain is bonkers on many boards. It’s like wharf but sometimes even a little better, such as when silk merchant is on the board. Often you use it with a good cantrip, so it’s really strong. For church, I’m still not sure of the exact power but I think it’s also very strong because of how you are able to setup turns. You can round out your turns the way that save does, which makes it really really nice.
xtruffles: In terms of games that you’ve played, what has been the most memorable Dominion game you’ve played so far? It doesn’t necessarily have to be from the championship.
ospond: Well, before the championship, the games all blend together. The most memorable game from the championship was in my match with heron. It’s memorable because of the game that I threw on turn 3 since it was an urchin game. We both opened double urchin and there was save on the board, so you basically have to save your urchin on turn 3 to line them up. I played my urchin on turn 3 instead and that was pretty much game.
xtruffles: I think for this question I’m gonna be expecting a variety of either really silly mistakes players have made or really cool wins you find. It’ll be interesting to hear the different stories. Speaking more about the championship, other than yourself who do you think will win the championship and why? (Players left are: RTT, Freaky, Mercury444F, drsteelhammer, amoffett11, elementmario222 and JNails)
ospond: I don’t know a lot about all the players, but I would favorite RTT or Freaky.
xtruffles: Yeah, they’re also very involved in the community as well, so it’d be nice to see them in the Finals. They’re two very strong German Players.
ospond: They are also the only ones from the Top Eight seeds who have made it.
xtruffles: Yeah, that’s also the interesting part. Everyone else has been beaten by a lower seed person so far in the tournament. It’ll be interesting to see if they can hold on to that seed. So shifting a bit away from Dominion, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time outside of Dominion?
ospond: When I have free time I like to play puzzle games on Steam.
xtruffles: Baba is You?
ospond: This is one I haven’t and I need to find the time to play it, but I’m always behind – there are always several games that I want to play.
xtruffles: I think it makes sense that if you like Dominion, you’ll probably like puzzle games. Baba is You is a really fun puzzle game. Quite a few people in the community play it as well, like Stef and ceviri. A lot of the game focuses on logic, very much like Computer Science where you have statements. Pretty cool game.
ospond: I’ll add your recommendation then. I hope I’ll get around to playing it eventually.
xtruffles: Haha, maybe after the championship. The last question that I have for you is: What advice do you have for Dominion players looking to improve at the game?
ospond: Two things.
One thing when I was starting out and not very good, I discovered the Qvist Rankings. I just trusted whatever the rankings said and I think that’s a really valuable way to start out. Any card that was highly rated, I figured “Oh I should be buying this card”. If I didn’t understand why it was good, I should figure out why it’s good.
The second thing is watching content on YouTube or listening to the top players commentating and learning how they think is a good way.
xtruffles: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for doing this interview and taking your time to do so. Good luck in the championship challenge! I believe you’re facing drsteelhammer next.
ospond: Yep. And thanks!