This interview is an transcription of the Japanese audio interview: https://youtu.be/lnZLeRCzU2g
Interview and transcription done by: SSLY
This year we saw 471 players enter to compete in the Dominion 2020 Online Championship. Only 8 players remain. This interview features pop180 who will be playing Quarterfinals against markus: Saturday, October 31st @ 7:00UTC.
Note from truffles:
Thanks so much to SSLY for conducting this interview!
SSLY: Hello everyone, I’m seesaw (SSLY) and in this video I would like to interview pop180, one of the quarter-finalists in the Dominion Online Championship 2020. Congratulation, pop!
pop180: Thank you.
SSLY: I’m really proud of you for getting this far.
pop180: Thanks, happy to be here.
SSLY: First of all, can you introduce yourself to the world, to the players all over the world?
pop180: lol I’ve never talked about myself to the world, though. I’m pop180, I’ve been playing Dominion for about 2 and a half years. I was knocked out at very early rounds in the last two Championships, so I’m now happy to be interviewed. You might know I was a substitute for the Japanese national team in the World Cup 2020.
SSLY: You played some matches in the tournament and performed a great role as a member of the team!
pop180: sillypotter kindly gave me a chance to play with a captain of our rival team. Such a nice experience probably had something to do with the fact that I made it to the top 8 this time.
SSLY: Can you tell me how you came to play Dominion?
pop180: I played Magic: The Gathering and when I was getting interested in board games, the most famous ones in Japan were Catan, and Dominion. I googled and found illustrations in Dominion so attractive that I searched for where I could try it. Fortunately I found Caravan Base, a board game cafe in Kichijoji, Tokyo, held a Dominion night every Friday. As It said beginners were welcome, I did jump in.
SSLY: So, how long ago was that?
pop180: Indeed 2 and a half years ago, I got introduced to Dominion. I met cha-shu there, the current national champion. He calls himself the “Supply Sommelier” — I wonder if anyone else does — that is, he loves making all kinds of interesting boards for us. I remember I asked him !good Storyteller, “could you tell me how to use it?” and he made a board in which it was… maybe good, or bad. I learned Dominion there.
SSLY: How did you go from there to Dominion Online?
pop180: Someone at the shop informed me of the client, and in the spring before the Japan Championship 2018, of which Day 1 featured Base + Empires, cha-shu also talked in his blog on a Discord Dominion group for practicing 4-players games online for the national tournament. Of course I joined it, and started playing a lot of rated games too. After the Championship I also joined To-Domi, Tokyo Dominion Circle.
pop180: The Scary, To-Domi. I should say “sooooooooo friendly”, otherwise the presiding player would get a bit angry with me describing it as too scary, hehe. One of its members is, you know, Mercury.
SSLY: Yeah, Mercury444F. One of the top players at the online 2p leaderboard.
pop180: Every member there was indeed better than me but even all of them told me “Mercury444F is the best”. His marvelous engines have been a source of my motivation to practice 2-players format.
SSLY: Which format do you like, 2p or 4p? I think you’ve mainly played 4p irl, so is 4p your favorite?
pop180: I’m already loving the 2p format now.
pop180: There are a lot of reasons which were hard to clearly articulate, but if you ask straightforwardly I will answer 2p.
SSLY: Can you tell me what your favorite card is?
pop180: I’ve been asked several times, so I can. Monument and Herald.
SSLY: OK, let’s start with Monument. Why?
pop180: It has very simple text, doesn’t it? Just “+$2, +1 VP” even in 1 inch square but it hides potential behind it. It offers you a way to score besides Victory cards, so it affords you time to build bigger engines, and why don’t you get excited at winning by the points it brings to you? I love it.
SSLY: Cool. I imagine it would be less reliable if you were bad at building engines. I want to be as good as you.
SSLY: What about Herald? It shines in engines too, but what do you feel?
pop180: Herald is super fun. You play it and BOOOM BOOOM BOOOM you have a big hand like when you set Tactician last turn, or more cards! That’s how I feel. You don’t know what will happen until you reveal the top of your deck. I also like Wishing Well and its friends… Why not reveal it?
SSLY: What is your least favorite card?
pop180: Vampires. Definitely.
SSLY: What’s wrong with it?
pop180: That might imply insane 5-2, but even when both players get 3-4 and reach Vampire after the first shuffle, I see you often lose a chance to play it because it is unluckily trashed or discarded from your deck. I think it makes an unfair one-side advantage.
SSLY: Dominion: Menagerie came out this year. I’ll ask a simple question to you again, do you love it or hate it?
pop180: I can say I love it. Honestly I don’t dislike any expansion, I like even Alchemy, so… yeah I love Menagerie.
SSLY: Which card do you like in the set?
pop180: In Menagerie? Well…
SSLY: You can pick any card or any feature in the set.
pop180: Well, Falconer. I initially thought it was weak.
SSLY: I see what you mean.
pop180: I tried it, and I’m amazed at how it works. Dominion has so many cards of more than one type these days that its Reaction ability is truly powerful.
SSLY: I agree, it being on the board makes the game much crazy.
pop180: Yeah, Falconer surprisingly overrides its first impression to me and now feels a symbol of Reiwa Dominion, I mean, as Japanese players called a new age Menagerie has opened.
SSLY: I’d like to ask you about the current tournament. you reached the top 8, do you think you easily did it?
pop180: No at all. Though some of my matches fortunately started by 3-0 for me, they went into the 7th games anyway, and I barely won them. Playing the 7th game brought huge pressure on me as accumulating long games made me exhausted. Well, the pressure makes me more concentrated, though.
SSLY: I was very impressed that you brilliantly ended the last game of Round of 16 by Mastermind-ing Mastermind-ing Inventors. Did you have an image of the finish from the start of the game?
pop180: My first plan was putting each Mastermind separately, but I imagined that the player who first made the one-shot would win. Though Titandrake went ahead and I felt pushed into a corner, I was happy to grab the last chance to do it.
SSLY: Which game do you think is the most impressive to you?
pop180: A game with Sir Lucason.
SSLY: Round of 32?
pop180: Game 3 in the round. I noticed at a glance that the board had Library and Villa, the Combo, and Haggler. The board reminded me of a similar one I saw via Twitter a while ago as a quiz and practiced solving, so I was ready for the trick in the match. It was the most exciting 3 piles out ever.
SSLY: As a strong player who made it to the top 8, what advice would you give other players who want to be better at Dominion?
pop180: I want advice, too (laugh). Well, what I always keep in mind is, in seeing a board, imagining and predicting what’s going to happen in the game. What do you think leads to a messy Attack game, or quickly piling Province out? A set of prediction, play, and feedback after the game is one of good ways to practice. Spectating also teaches you a lot of lessons. I love spectating, and many good players have interesting matches in the Japanese Dominion League these days.
SSLY: Yeah, and you are indeed the champion of season 1, can I watch your match?
pop180: Okay, welcome. I’m happy that the league has been getting more spectators than ever. If you are just starting Dominion, then of course you might be puzzled at what happens in the match, but don’t worry, you will be able to do it.
SSLY: Lastly, you’re going to play with markus in the quarterfinals. Are you ready?
pop180: Yes. He is an excellent top player with many proven records, but that will make me more concentrated at all. I’ll do my best.
SSLY: Thank you for answering, and good luck!
pop180: Thank you!
Caravan Base: http://caravansbase.com/
Dominion Japan Championship is the 2 Days 4p irl national tournament, held annually by Hobby Japan. Day 1 is a qualification tournament featuring some expansions. cha-shu won DJC2019. DJC2020 has not been held.
The Discord is named Dominion: Playing Server, where Dominion Japan Grand Prix, an unofficial substitute for DJC, was held last July.
To-Domi, Tokyo Dominion Circle, started as Tokyo University Dominion Circle a long ago, and is now one of the groups in which many top Japanese players in Tokyo gather every weekend (at least before the pandemic).
Japanese Dominon League is held in the style of the Dominion League, in Dominion in Japan Discord. About the JDL, see https://seesaawiki.jp/japanese_dominion_league/