Dominion Online Championship 2020: Top 8 Interviews with RTT

This interview is an transcription of the audio interview:

Transcription done by: truffles

“Bad draws test your skill the most, but also your sanity.”

This year we saw 471 players enter to compete in the Dominion 2020 Online Championship. Only 8 players remain. This interview features RTT who will be playing Quarterfinals against nerdbound: Saturday, October 31st @ 18:30UTC.

truffles: Hi everyone, I’m truffles and today I’m here with RTT, who has made it all the way to the Top 8 of the Dominion Online Championship 2020. So congratulations on another successful year into the Quarterfinals.

RTT: Thanks!

truffles: So, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I know we interviewed you last year as well [interview found: Dominion Online Championship 2019: Top 8 Interviews with RTT], so some new fun facts would be awesome.

RTT: Yeah, well this time I was brave enough to do voice.

truffles: Last year I was too scary.

RTT: Something new, I don’t know. I still have two kids – two boys – who are now two and four years old. And I still work in Software Engineering.

truffles: Good. I think the Programmer groups, including myself, will be very happy to get someone else on their side.

RTT: Yeah haha, I heard that. There’s some war between Economists and Programmers.

truffles: Since there’s been the pandemic and all, have you discovered any other fun board games?

RTT: Well, I played Santorini a bit with my wife. That’s kind of fun but a completely different game. Other than that, I played a bit of Scythe.

truffles: Scythe?

RTT: Yeah.

truffles: How do you spell that?

RTT: S-c-y-t-h-e.

truffles: Oh, cool. I’ve never heard of it.

RTT: Haha, it’s like – kind of big.

truffles: I guess I’ve been just kind of living under a rock, haha. So, last year when I interviewed you, Captain and Church had just came out. This year, Menagerie came out so I was wondering what you impressions of it were?

RTT: Of Menagerie or Captain?

truffles: Of Menagerie. I know how you feel about Captain.

RTT: Menagerie is interesting and a lot of the cards just work completely different than what we’re used to. Especially, of course, the Ways. Initially, it was pretty exciting to evaluate them and then see how they play out but sometimes the Ways just do nothing, because every other card on the board just does better than what the Way does. But, yep, some of the Ways are kind of fun.

truffles: Do you have a favorite or least favorite card and way in Menagerie?

RTT: My favorite card is Displace. I like the exile mechanic especially and Displace is fun because you don’t really lose the card that you “trash” or exile to it. You could directly gain it back again if you just buy it, or displace into it later. Of course, victory cards are gone from your deck and you can get another engine piece or a gold, which is kind of fun. And what I don’t like is Mastermind.

truffles: Oh, interesting. Is it because it looks like Adam Horton or do you just not like the card?

RTT: Haha, no. I just don’t like the mechanic of it. I mean, King’s Court is kind of the same. I always thought Mastermind was just too cheap and too unreliable because most decks you can’t decide what your opening hand is. And of course there’s the eternal bug in the online game with it, where you can’t choose which Mastermind you play if you have Masterminded Mastermind out.

truffles: Yeah. I think Mastermind is interesting in a way that because it’s a duration card you kind of get an extra search space because you see 5 cards. Whereas with King’s Court at the start, you only see 4 cards. But in some ways it’s more unreliable. Drawing a hand of 5 treasures is always pretty feels-bad.

RTT: Yeah. It’s also so easy to hit 5 so you could just go for an early Mastermind and yolo.

truffles: Haha, yeah.

RTT: Then you can hit a giant turn really early and just snowball. King’s Court isn’t always that easy to reach. You first have to build a bit to get to 7, usually.

truffles: What is your favorite Way?

RTT: Way of the horse is probably my favorite Way. Because it’s always the question if you want to save your turn or make your current turn a lot better but you lose some good card. That’s pretty interesting.

truffles: Mhm, I think that extra decision point is really interesting. I also really like Ruins now with Ways because I think Ruins are less bad. It makes Marauder even worse of a card.

RTT: Yeah, haha but then you just don’t get it. But of course, Death Cart is pretty insane with Way of the Horse. But I guess Experiment is kind of equal – you get two “horses” for 3 versus getting three “horses” for 4.

truffles: Yeah. Do you have a least favorite way?

RTT: I said a few days before that it’s Way of the Goat. It isn’t really exciting.

truffles: Yeah, it’s pretty unexciting. It can turn all of your cards into worse Trade Routes, which is something you don’t want to open or play with very often.

RTT: Yeah, like 80% of boards have a better trasher anyways.

truffles: Yeah. What is your favorite and least favorite card overall? And I’m going to make a wild guess that your favorite card is Captain.

RTT: No, that’s just the favorite art!

truffles: Ah, fair.

RTT: Haha. I’ve lost some brutal games to an early Captain and it’s not that fun. My favorite two cards are Tragic Hero and Capital. With Tragic Hero, I like that it makes you think how you want to use it – it’s like Way of the Horse in that sense – but it enables some nice mega turns. Capital is probably a bit underrated by a lot of people and that’s why I like it. A lot of people don’t see that 6 coins now is a lot better than 6 debt next turn.

truffles: That makes sense. I do think it’s a tricky card to play with because you don’t know how much debt you should take. Sometimes it’s better to not take so much debt and sometimes it’s better to just spike something early. Some of those decision points aren’t always clear.

RTT: Yeah, and that’s fun!

truffles: Yeah. What’s your least favorite card? I hope you’re not going to say Captain.

RTT: Uh no, it’s Possession.

truffles: You didn’t sign up for Possession Cage tournament?

RTT: Instant muting of the channel. Haha, no way I would. But I guess that’s a bit unfun because a lot of people hate Possession. Swindler is the other one.

truffles: Yeah, I think I saw a comment from the Possession Cage tournament, where they said “Possession makes games worse because if you’re playing against someone slow, they you have to watch them slowly play your turn too.” So it makes games extra slow, haha. But I think I’ve enjoyed spectating Possession games – it makes for some interesting games.

RTT: Yeah, it’s fun when you can just close the game and leave the client without losing rating as a spectator, haha.

truffles: You reached the Top 8 in the Championship last year, and you came second. Do you have any lessons that you’ve learned that you’ll take with your this year?

RTT: From the loss against Freaky, or?

truffles: Haha, or in general.

RTT: Haha, I’m playing more chill now because I’m basically where I wanted to be already. Last game, Top 16, is where I really wanted to get. From now on, it’s all an extra. So, I have to keep a calm attitude and don’t stress myself out. Then, I can probably play as well as I can, so it’s all good whatever happens.

truffles: It’s definitely a lot more enjoyable [that way] and I think you end up playing better when you’re in calmer and less stressed state. I remember the first time – when I just joined the Dominion Discord – I signed up for my first tournament. I think it was Cage Renaissance or something like that. I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so nervous.

RTT: Haha.

truffles: It was so scary for me. Now I enjoy games a lot more that in tournaments I play in and I don’t feel as nervous. But in the beginning I was really scared.

RTT: I think everyone that takes it a bit serious and wants to improve or want to prove themselves as a good player is a bit nervous in tournament games. I was very nervous in my first league and tournaments as well.

truffles: But I think you get used to it.

RTT: For sure. But every now and then – like against drsteelhammer, this championship, where I was somehow super nervous and I don’t know why.

truffles: I think it’s definitely nervewracking because there’s like people spectating and such. I think for me, I’m pretty harsh of myself and whenever I play poorly I get really sad at myself for being silly or making a silly mistake. So sometimes it’s tough when you’re so hard on yourself.

RTT: Yep.

truffles: So, what’s been your favorite moment in the championship so far?

RTT: I mean, I have kind of liked all of it. I’ve kind of liked the ups and downs I had. I was almost eliminated – I went to a game 7 very early against elia. And it was like, this would be somehow embarrassing to lose already. Then, I still pulled through. Against Limetime I was down 3-1 and then a Captain board appeared and that gave me the strength to win the next 3 games somehow. Yeah, there have been a lot of times where I thought “This is the last match for me, now it’s over” but somehow I’m still in it. Let’s see how far we can get.

truffles: Comebacks are always really exciting. Especially, when people post on Discord, “Game 7 Alert”, it’s really exciting, but I can imagine it being really nerve-wracking for the players because then it becomes “win-it-all”, for all the marbles.

RTT: Yeah, and then you get second player in that game and it’s like “ugh”, haha.

truffles: And then you roll a board with Swindler and you’re even sadder.

RTT: No no, that can’t happen to me.

truffles: Haha. So, if you had to pick someone you think is most likely to win – and you can’t pick yourself – who would it be?

RTT: Nerdbound. Yeah, because he would have won one against me so he can just win it all.

truffles: That’s fair. I think I’m excited to watch that match. I think it’s happening this Saturday [October 31st] at 18:30 UTC. On Halloween. Very spooky. Good luck! Aside from the championship, have you had a favorite overall Dominion moment this year?

RTT: Well, there have been some nice boards. But, it’s not really something that stands out.

truffles: How did you feel around Menagerie preview week? I remember you made a few impression videos and that was really exciting.

RTT: Yeah, that’s always cool. I get to make some cool videos, but at the same time there was a pandemic going on and it was really like just developing and we were all a bit uncertain how it all will change. So Dominion wasn’t really the top priority for me there. Also, we were on vacation at the same time, haha.

truffles: I think you also released a new album – a new single this year. A new Dominion song! Which is crazy because I think this year has kind of flown by.

RTT: I mean, “released” – it was just like I worked on it for one day, or over two days, together with my wife.

truffles: When I wrote my Dominion song, it took me like a week or so. So two days is really impressive!

RTT: Yeah, but it hasn’t even gotten that many views so I don’t see a reason to make more.

truffles: I will insert the link [] here so people can throw you some thumb’s up, haha. I have two more questions for you – one of them being: what advice do you have for Dominion players looking to improve?

RTT: Yeah, fortress is a good target. Or do you mean something else?

truffles: I meant more like getting better at the game.

RTT: I figured, haha. I don’t really have an answer other than like: play awake.

truffles: Play awake?

RTT: Yeah, really look at what you’re doing and what your opponent is doing and why he might be doing it. Especially if he’s better than you or appears to be better than you. Also, just watch league. Play in the league. That’s probably the best way to improve.

truffles: I agree, playing in league I think, especially when you’re playing against people close to your skill level, so you aren’t dominating or getting destroyed, you get to focus more on building your deck. So, definitely check out if you haven’t already. My last question for you: if you had a Dominion catchphrase what would it be?

RTT: Yeah, it’s good that I was listening. to the other interviews before. Because, I would have never come up with something that spontaneously. But I worked something out. So, what was it? “Bad draws test your skill the most, but also your sanity.”

truffles: Ah! “Bad draws test your skill the most, but also your sanity.” That’s a good one. That’s a lot more elegant, or prepared, of a catchphrase than the other ones, haha. It’s longer!

RTT: Yeah, you should’ve given them some heads up.

truffles: I actually did! I did give them some heads up. But that’s a good catchphrase, definitely the longest one I’ve seen so far.

RTT: It’s a complement to my name.

truffles: Thanks so much for letting me interview you. and good luck in your match against nerdbound this Saturday.

RTT: Thanks!

truffles: Have a good day! Bye!

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