For info on the other quarterfinalists see https://dominionstrategy.com/2021/10/28/dominion-online-2021-championship-final-8/ The podcast of this interview is available at https://dlw.podigee.io/28-do2021-nasmith99. Nasmith99 plays hakha3 on Friday, October 29th at 1930 UTC
strumphf: Hello everyone, I am strumphf and today I’ll be interviewing nasmith99 who has once again made it to the top 8 of the championship and is also the defending champion. Congratulations and hi!
nasmith99: Thank you, and hi.
strumphf: We already had a wonderful interview with you last year where you told us a little bit about yourself. Is there anything you’d like to add now, a year later? Is everything still the same or has anything changed that you might wanna share?
nasmith99: No, I mean things are mostly the same. I’m gonna graduate in the spring so that’ll be exciting. I’ve done obviously more Dominion stuff although I think I’m probably not as fixated on it now as I was a year ago.
strumphf: Why is that if I may ask? Is it because you already claimed so many wins?
nasmith99: Yeah some of it is that, I guess some of it is just not feeling maybe quite as interested in the game as I used to although I do still feel like it’s a really fun game at times.
strumphf: What other hobbies do you have besides Dominion?
nasmith99: I was getting a little bit into chess. Although that can be a bit frustrating because I feel like it’s something that I can sink a bunch of time into and not really get very good at. Other than that I just like doing classwork and reading.
strumphf: I’d be curious to know if during the past 12 months you’ve come to love Tournament a lot? Is it still your least favourite card? And what’s your favourite card?
nasmith99: Well, Tournament – I guess it’s kind of hard for your opinion of a card to really improve when you don’t play with it. I think I actually did play maybe one or two Tournament games in, I think it was draft mix where we didn’t have banlists for that tournament. But yeah I would still say that’s my least favourite card. Favourite card is probably Cavalry. I think last year I was kind of waffling but I think Cavalry gives you so many decisions and there’s really a lot of room for optimization there. I mean really the only kinds of boards where Cavalry makes the kingdom less enjoyable would be ones with procession on them for the most part. But yeah I would say that that’s probably my favourite card.
strumphf: No change. What do you find to be the most challenging card to play with in Dominion?
nasmith99: That’s a good question. I think a lot of gainers are actually pretty challenging because you have to make choices of how heavily you want to invest in them versus in other cards, like how much you wanna invest in economy versus those gainers and that can be pretty tricky. I think Cavalry, for some of the same reasons I layed out is also pretty tricky. I mean also with a lot of boards you have to decide how much you wanna focus on economy versus trashing, that’s obviously something that comes up in a lot of kingdoms and that can be difficult. Dominion overall has a lot of nuance and difficult decisions.
strumphf: Yeah, I always find it hard, all this thinking and counting. I really love the game but it’s just so hard sometimes. I don’t know if you’ve talked about this before but how did you get into Dominion?
nasmith99: So, I think it was maybe Freshman year of college – we had played maybe just a few games with the base set and somebody had mentioned that they had played on the online client. Then I made an account and got really into the game from there. I think the number of irl Dominion games I’ve played is probably less than five total.
nasmith99: *laughs* Yeah, I just really got into the online version and went from there. I don’t fully remember how I went about learning all of the cards. I think I spent a certain amount of time just reading wiki pages. You know now there’s the wiki improvement project but back then the wiki pages had so much bad strategy advice so fortunately reading that kind of stuff didn’t permanently damage me. At least I hope it didn’t.
strumphf: It doesn’t seem so! What would you say in your opinion, what have been the highlights in your “Dominion career”?
nasmith99: Definitely winning the championship last year was a big win, I felt really good about that. Also just the League. I do really like League just because you have kind of a constant stream of matches that you can play that are always gonna be at least fairly competitive. That’s definitely a good way to practice. I’ve done quite well there and that’s something else I’ve felt some accomplishment about.
strumphf: For those of our listeners who don’t know, just a reminder, you are the defending League champion as well and have been winning two League seasons in a row now. So congrats on that as well! So successful! Do you have any – I have a sneaking suspicion about this – what have been memorable games you’ve played?
nasmith99: The last game of last year’s championship was definitely very memorable although probably more for the significance, you know, because it went down to a game seven rather than anything about the game itself. I know – so this was the WELP tournament where you always play with one way, one event, one landmark and one project – the finals for that against Mic Qsenoch – and I think a lot of people have taken note of this but this one endgame – I think the board had Sleigh, City Quarter, Way of the Pig, a bunch of stuff. I think if people see the board they would remember it. There was this really difficult endgame and I spent a lot of time thinking but I eventually found a way to thread the needle there. There was kind of exactly one way to win from my position and I was able to find it. So that ended up being a really cool game. I did end up losing that match but I was still really happy with being able to find that.
strumphf: Yeah that was the one I was thinking about just because both of you have mentioned it in the past as being one of the most memorable games where you both were of the opinion that you were playing at your best. Do you have any rampant speculations about the new expansion, the next one: Allies?
nasmith99: I’m actually one of the playtesters for Allies, so…
strumphf: Ok *laughs* Let me retract this question! I did not know.
nasmith99: Anything I say would not be speculative so I’ll refrain from saying anything.
strumphf: Ok, you’re not allowed to.
strumphf: Ha, on that note – are you a masqued player?
nasmith99: Am I a what player?
strumphf: Are you a masqued player? Are you playing in the masqued player tournament?
nasmith99: Oh! Ok.
strumphf: We are talking now about things you’re not allowed to talk about.
nasmith99: That’s true. Well, I guess there’s a masqued player match going on in a little while so maybe you’ll know by how quickly I hop off here…
strumphf: Haha, “I have to leave now!” No, I’m trying to trick people into telling me if they are playing or not. It hasn’t been successful so far.
nasmith99: I have a little bit of speculation about who some of the players are.
strumphf: I have no idea but I love it!
nasmith99: I think I have a vague guess about who JNails and xyrix are but I’m not gonna reveal that.
strumphf: I’m taking notes. Going back to the championship, in your experience, are there notable differences between this year’s tournament and last year’s?
nasmith99: I don’t think so. I think the only real format change was the partially randomized seeding this year. Although I don’t think that really qualitatively changed the tournament much. Overall I would say it’s been very similar. I mean of course since it’s single elimination there’s a lot of randomness and once you get into those higher rounds anybody really could beat anybody so you never really know who’s gonna make it towards the end.
strumphf: There’s another thing that I always wonder about – I don’t know if that’s a weird question at all – in your bracket, if a strong player is eliminated do you feel relief or regret that you’re not gonna meet them potentially?
nasmith99: Maybe a little bit of relief although a lot of times it’s gonna be like you’re playing one difficult opponent versus another. Those later rounds, you’re really not gonna get any particularly easy opponents.
strumphf: That makes sense. Well, I won’t keep you any longer. You will meet either hakha3 or rsilverstein12 in the next round, and I think that’s gonna be determined now-ish or tonight at least.
nasmith99: I think it started fifteen minutes ago.
strumphf: Good luck…
nasmith99: Thank you.
strumphf: … and thank you!
nasmith99: Yeah, you’re welcome.