Audio interview available at https://dlw.podigee.io/31-do2021-hakha3
For info on the other quarterfinalists see https://dominionstrategy.com/2021/10/28/dominion-online-2021-championship-final-8/
Friday, October 29th at 1930 UTC: nasmith99 v. hakha3
strumphf: Hello everyone! I am strumphf and today I’ll be interviewing hakha3 who has made it to the Top 8 of the Championship. Congratulations, and hi!
hakha3: Hi, thanks.
strumphf: So my first question. How do I pronounce your name correctly? Is hakh-ah 3 the correct pronunciation?
hakha3: I’ve heard my name many times being said as hakh-ah, so I’m used to hearing it as hakh-ah. But in Polish, it’s pronounced hakh-ha, with pronounced H. Because in general, I put an H, so it’s pronounced.
strumphf: I’ll take note of that. Can you tell me a bit about yourself? Whatever you’re comfortable sharing.
hakha3: I’m 22 years old. I’m from Poland. I’m studying physics. In my free time, I like to play different online board games.
strumphf: What else do you play besides Dominion?
hakha3: Right now I’m playing a lot of games on Board Game Arena, like Railroad Ink or Welcome To. I also played a lot of Hanabi.
strumphf: And how did you get into Dominion? How did that start for you?
hakha3: The first time I played Dominion with my parents as a kid. We had the first edition box. Normal first edition and Intrigue. That was a long time ago. I thought I was pretty good, but then suddenly we stopped playing. Several years later I was playing Avalon, and someone on the site said at some point “I’m going to play Dominion online,” and then I realized “Oh, there’s an option to play Dominion online, a game which I played in my childhood.” I played against him. He was around a level 55 player, so I lost most of the games. But it was fun and he showed me how to build decks, so I had a pretty good introduction on how to build engines well. I started playing ladder and found the message on the client about League and that’s how I found the whole community. I was surprised how many people are playing and active. And that’s how it started.
strumphf: What would you say have been the highlights of your “Dominion career” so far?
hakha3: It would be the times when I won my tournaments. The first one was blind mode. That was my very first tournament in blind mode, which is a very fun mode. Everyone should try, give it a go at least once. It’s pretty exhausting, I’m going to say. Not seeing anything, but just black everywhere, almost.
strumphf: It sounds so stressful.
hakha3: Well, maybe, but it’s quite fun when you play cards and are expecting to play Overlord, but it’s (Royal) Blacksmith, and it discards all of your coppers. That was my first tournament. It was nice to win something.
hakha3: And then my second highlight would be when I won the Order and Chaos tournament. I had won Blind Mode, but it is a variation of Dominion, I would say. And I wanted to win a normal Dominion tournament. That was it. It was four landscapes, so that’s pretty skillful. It was nice to win something like that.
strumphf: Yeah, I imagine. Do you have a favorite and a least favorite card overall?
hakha3: My favorite card probably would be Artificer. I like that it converts draw to payload and often you can make nice draw-to-X decks with it, which I really enjoy playing. It creates a lot of interesting decisions, in that it puts cards on top, so you can leave it for the next turn or you can save your current turn. And there are also considerations with triggering shuffles and I like all kinds of stuff like that. My least favorite, if you count card-shaped things, it would be Keep. I don’t like how treasures get so many points. At first you build nice engines, but then you realize treasures are worth five points, so you start buying treasures instead of victory cards. But then suddenly your deck is full of treasures and I don’t like playing these kinds of games. Then you also need to track how many treasures each person has and that stuff.
strumphf: Yeah, I always lose track with Keep and I’m always convinced I need to buy more Coppers or more Silvers, and then in the end when you have the end screen, you realize I already had 4 more Silvers than my opponent and that’s really annoying.
hakha3: I’m happy I don’t have to keep track of this any more.
strumphf: What do you find to be the most challenging card to play with in Dominion?
hakha3: I think it would be Develop because it’s a pretty mediocre card and I never know if I should get it in the first place. At first, it changes Estates to 3-cost cards, which is OK-ish. But then later in the game, I can change my card into others, but I never know if it’s worth it because you need a lot of draw and actions to do much with it. I never know if it’s worth doing it in the first place. Develop also has loops, which I don’t know. So yeah, I think it would be Develop.
strumphf: Interesting. I just had the interview with (fellow quarterfinalist) JNails earlier, and he also named Develop as one of the cards that he finds most challenging to play with. Do you have any speculations about the new expansion, Allies?
hakha3: Not really. I never really speculate on what can happen. I only hope that it won’t decrease the number of turns per game because games are already pretty fast. I would like it if they were a bit slower.
strumphf: I imagine. Going back to the Championship. You played last year as well. In your experience, are there any notable differences between this year’s Championship and the last one you played in?
hakha3: Well in this one, I didn’t get eliminated yet.
strumphf (laughing): So it’s already a success.
hakha3: Yeah. Besides that, it’s hard to tell, to be honest, any notable differences. Both times, it’s been a great experience.
strumphf: You will be playing your quarterfinal against nasmith99. I don’t know if you have a date for that match yet.
hakha3: I have. We will play on Friday at 7:30 pm.
strumphf: OK, great. We’ll all be looking forward to seeing you in this match. Thank you so much, and good luck!
hakha3: Thank you for having me.