Transcription and interview conducted by terracubist. The original audio of the interview can be found here: (podcast link coming soon). RTT plays recycle_garbage on Sunday, October 31st at 1700 UTC. For info on the other quarterfinalists see https://dominionstrategy.com/2021/10/28/dominion-online-2021-championship-final-8/. RTT has lots of great youtube content in English and German. https://www.youtube.com/user/freakman007007
terracubist: Hello. I’m terracubist and I’m here to interview RTT for the Dominion Online Championship 2021. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
RTT: I’m from Germany and live in Berlin. I’m 28 years old now. I have a family with two kids. They are pretty young, so it’s challenging. I work in software engineering.
terracubist: But you still find time for Dominion even with two young kids, that’s impressive.
RTT: Yeah, but it’s a lot less now. Ever since this year I stepped down a bit from [the Dominion] League and have kept the volume a bit lower so I can enjoy it even more when it happens.
terracubist: Well, this is making the most of one tournament run. All the way to top 8, again. This is your third time, fourth time?
RTT: Third time in a row. The other times I was eliminated a bit earlier.
terracubist: Talking about some of your favorite cards in Dominion, what would you say is your most favorite, least favorite, and the card you find most challenging?
RTT: My favorite cards haven’t really changed. It’s still Tragic Hero and Capital for the same reasons as last time, and of course Captain for the art. And least favorite is still Possession and Swindler, with Mountebank as a runner-up just because of the messy games that they can produce.
terracubist: No changes from Menagerie?
RTT: I think Menagerie cards are all pretty fine. I don’t particularly hate any. I mean Coven is a bit awkward because sometimes you just get eight Curses at once. But most of the time you have enough time to prepare.
terracubist: Coven’s an interesting one. And the most challenging card, would you say…?
RTT: I think for me it’s maybe Cavalry because I haven’t played that much Menagerie. It’s kinda similar to Villa, but of course different because you have somewhat Duration draw but also it’s terminal and doesn’t give you an Action when you buy it. So it’s really tough because you always want to draw more cards and return to the Action phase but sometimes adding another terminal isn’t what you really want or what’s best for your deck.
terracubist: Yeah, juggling the short-term versus long-term effects is always kinda challenging. So I guess we’ve talked a little bit about how you’ve been in the top 8 three times now. Can you talk about your Dominion career in general? Are there any highlights aside from these top 8 finishes—and I mean, you’ve finished higher than top 8, even. And are there any particular breakthrough moments that you want to share? Something that could inspire newer players or a kind of “look how far I’ve come”.
RTT: “Career” is a pretty big word, it’s still just a hobby. But I started in 2011 when I got it for Christmas, just Intrigue.
terracubist: Happy ten years!
RTT: Oh, right. Well, almost, right. At Christmas it will be. I got Intrigue right away so no Base set. Instantly was hooked, and by January I got Seaside for myself and started playing more and more. Discovered Isotropic online and switched to online from time to time. I also did another break for like two year in-between and then re-discovered Dominion. Then I played in Dominion League and was quite successful in the last year until my break. And went to the German Championship in 2019 which was for the tenth anniversary of Dominion where the winner got to be depicted on a promo card. Which was the highlight of my career I guess. Winning that thing was pretty big. Also it was very nice to have such a big in-person tournament and feel real cards.
terracubist: How many people was that one?
RTT: You had to qualify. It wasn’t that difficult, but you had to do a little bit. I went to one qualifying tournament in my town and then at the finals there were like 50 people. We started with a Swiss round and then a single-elimination bracket for the top 16.
terracubist: I believe you did a write-up on the blog for that. Is that the one where you played Sicomatic in-person?
RTT: Yeah, if you want to read that summary (https://dominionstrategy.com/2019/03/17/german-championship-2019/). Sico was in the Swiss round.
terracubist: I remember reading that when I was new, and laughing at “online Dominion has made us weak”. So I guess that probably covers our next question: “what was the most memorable game you’ve played?”
RTT: Yeah the finals was pretty notable. We’re there playing with real cards, quite a bit on the line and a good opponent. But also a very fun atmosphere, spectators around the table, that was pretty nice.
terracubist: Yeah, being able to see your spectators is quite different from a number in the bottom right of your online client. Do you prefer in-person to online?
RTT: No. It’s just so slow.
terracubist: It was just the people watching you that was fun.
RTT: Yeah, it was the social aspect. But shuffling cards… *laughs*
terracubist: Well, you get good at it after a while. So I think that after this Championship we have the Allies expansion coming out in like two-ish months, sometime around end of the year, start of next year. Do you have any thoughts on that?
RTT: I’m looking forward to it. I think it will spice up Dominion once again. It’s always great. I think Dominion needs new cards to stay attractive even though there are millions of combinations. It still just kinda needs that shakeup every once in a while and it’s great that we get another one.
terracubist: Do you have any effects or things that you want to see out of it, or rampant speculations?
RTT: I mean it’s very vague what we know so far. There’re these piles that you turn around, these split piles. I can imagine that there’s Sauna/Avanto but there are effects on the one card that you get to turn it around and buy from the other pile. Some synergies between that, and you need to work to get to the other side. We’ll see.
terracubist: Are you going to be doing your live reactions like you did for Menagerie preview week, I think it was?
RTT: Yeah, if I find the time surely.
terracubist: I look forward to those. Those were exciting to watch. I was just getting started during that week, so it was exciting to watch. Getting to watch those videos was cool.
RTT: That’s nice to hear.
terracubist: I also watched some of your Dominion Homework series when I starting out, and those were quite useful.
RTT: Yeha, learning those 2-card combos. They don’t happen that often, but if they do you can have a free win if you know them.
terracubist: It’s always fun when someone asks “how does this work?” and we just link to a video, it’s very convenient. So to people listening, I guess go check out RTT’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/freakman007007). You have musical covers, live reactions videos, Dominion combos…
RTT: And tournament play. For any Germans out there, I did a 101 starter course for strategy. That has about eight episodes now where if you’re really new to Dominion strategy you can learn about the power of trashing and how to analyze the Kingdom and stuff.
terracubist: Nice. I always like seeing those beginner-friendly, how-to videos by all the pros.
RTT: I have found out that there are a few people who can’t listen to English content that much and prefer German, so I wanted to help our community there.
terracubist: Definitely a lot of German players, so I can see how that’s useful. Looking forward I guess as we close out our interview, is there anything you’re looking forward to for the rest of the tournament? I think you have a match scheduled for Saturday against… who was it?
RTT: recycle_garbage, and we rescheduled now for Sunday. There’s a big Dominion Sunday. Three championship matches in three hours.
terracubist: Hopefully none of them run into each other, but they inevitably will.
RTT: Get your alts ready. You might have to get two or three accounts to watch them all.
terracubist: We’ll just hop between game 7’s. Have you guys played each other? recycle_garbage was in A recently, and you were as well. I don’t remember if they were the same seasons.
RTT: No, I’ve never met him in League. We did play a bit on ladder, but that was a year ago but he’s improved a lot since then I heard, so it will be close. Will probably be a good match.
terracubist: Alright, good luck. We’ll see you on Sunday hopefully.
RTT: Yeah, thanks.