Twenty Years of Memories: 2008 Part 2
While most of the articles have focused on the European and North American communities since that is where the World Championships were held, 2008 held 4 major events that spanned the globe. Today we get to talk to Jeronimo de Ayala Rocha and have a glimpse into the South American L5R scene.
If you are unfamiliar with this series or want to take a look at past interviews you can find them all on the Alderac Forums
Who are you and how would people find you online?
My name is Jerônimo de Ayala Rocha but I had a nickname on my playgroup that was Gotico, it started as a joke, but as soon as I complained, it became a nickname. I used it on forums like Kyuden Mantis, L5R Official and L5R Brazil.
Where are you from, tell us about your playgroup?
When I used to play L5R I lived in a town called Florianópolis in the state of Santa Catarina, at the south of Brazil. Since card games beside Magic don't have a lot of popularity and end up being expensive my playgroup was kinda small. On the golden days we used to have like 10~15 active -play-almost-every-day players plus a few that would go to tournaments and show up sometimes. About my playgroup, we always had a more aggressive playstyle, that I at least rarely saw around all the games I played. It worked out well for us. On most tournaments around Brazil we normally had one of us in the finals.
How did you hear about or get involved in L5R?
I was always a fan of card games, even tough I'm not a fan of Magic. I started playing Spellfire (yup, that one), the went to Warlord due to the D&D similarity and then to L5R. Basically I started since some friends were playing at the time and I liked the idea and my clan (Mantis) so I got some cards by the end of Gold Edition and started.
You mentioned Mantis, do you consider yourself a clan loyalist?
Yes, I do. I played Mantis from the beginning and even though it had a very, very limited amount of good decks I rarely played some other things. Sometimes I used to borrow some cards from friends to play with Ratling that had a mechanic I also liked very much, but most of the time it was Mantis, especially on tournaments.
What did you like about or what drew you to your clan of choice?
I was really interested in Mantis cause of the pirate and economics way to handle everything in the storyline. For the game mechanics I really liked the ranged attack (especially Nobumoto's hit and run) and Naval first action was also awesome.
Do you have a favorite story or quote from the fiction?
To tell the truth nowadays I don't remember most of the story from L5R. Back in the days I used to read a lot, every time I could I used to check the fictions to see what was going on. But it's been so long now. But now, that I'm digging out some memories I remember that Battle when Kumiko died along with Kitao, I remember it was awesome.
Do you have a favorite character?
As I said I always liked the sea merchants and pirate a lot and along with that I liked very much the way Kumiko handled everything. She was my favorite till' her death, afterwards I started going for Etsui but then based on the card itself and afterwards Yoritomo Tadame.
What is the best memory or experience you had playing L5R or because of L5R?
I think to trip to LA was a great thing to remember, I met a lot of people, first time out of Brazil and even though I didn't practice enough I was sure I could play mostly everyone there as equals. Besides that, I made a few friends playing L5R that stick to this day, so that's a good one. And there's were some memorable games also, some back at home and some on the South American championship.
Did you have a favorite deck that you built or played?
I think my favorite deck was the Eastern Hub Port follower deck back in Samurai. It was a deck, so tight that you could basically run against anything, there were almost no bad matches. Even dueling and dishonor were decent matchups at the time. There were some tech cards like Mockery that had a good focus effect AND a good reaction (I think it was a reaction), besides the possibility of destroying 3 provinces with 3 "naked" dudes, not to mention the followers, soooo many possibilities along with the Brother In Arms recycle and many others. Besides that one I also really liked the Orochi Sensei deck before it was nerfed. It felt so good being able to play a deck that was not the the old standard Mantis (since, in my point of view you couldn't get too much creative with Mantis if you wanted to win, even tough I tried many times). Orochi was nice and strong, but also I think it was balanced, so when it was nerfed it bothered me a little, but oh well... c'est la vie.
What was the best arc that you played in?
I think my favorite arc was Samurai Edition cause of the good gameplay you could have with Mantis, but also because it was the last one before I think Mantis was nerfed beyond recovery. I remember I could barely use any cards from new editions cause they just didn't fit into the meta at that time, but even so the deck managed to keep doing well. But also on Lotus I gotta admit that things were pretty sick with all the Enlightened cards, it was more of a "pay to win" game at the time for some clans, but if you managed to get that few top cards you could have a lot of fun with things being shot, destroyed, enlightened, affected by the 4 winds and stuff. I really liked the Black Heart of The Empire, by the way, thought it was a shame when all the winds got switched for a single Imperial Favor.
Tell us about the leadup to South American Championships 08. How did you prepare and how did you decide on what deck to play?
As for the clan I had no doubt, think I never played any tournament out of city with other clan than Mantis. On the deck choice I was really into the Eastern Hub Port with all the followers and stuff, at that time I had find a balance that keep my deck always threatening the board with movement, retribution and bursts of force. For the practice I didn't make anything different than usual, I met my friends played over and over and over and that was it. We liked to play not very much to win or lose, but to practice, so the games were very nice.
Can you recall any details of the final match or any intense moments throughout the tournament?
If I can recall correctly I lost only one match during the tournament to another Mantis, he had a weird deck, some different tech cards that wouldn't even matter that much, but he also had Naval on his dude, and that aligned with a good start for him it was game. It was a nice match, he played it very well. Besides that I faced if I recall correctly 3 of my friends from my playgroup and there was a guy from the Philippines that was playing Dishonor Scorpion. His deck was so nice (and he drew godly start) but he could barely speak portuguese, during the games with him (at swiss and semifinal) I prefer to think he made some mistakes but a few times he "made wrong calculations" or "accidentally" drew one more card and stuff, but besides that it was a great match.
You chose Etsui to hear the final words of the Dying Moon. Did you choose him because he was aligned with the Kolat or did you simply like his character?
I really liked Etsui back then, and still do, actually (don't even know if he's alive! hahaha) and back at the time I remember he being Kolat was one the reasons I discussed with my friends, but again, can't really remember the details.
This was the first (and only) Year that AEG did large tournaments in 4 areas with the winners advancing to the Samurai Championships, what did you think of this idea?
I think the idea of promoting that kind of event was really great, I think more so in Brazil then in some other places cause we struggle a lot to have access to things that are not mainstream (as L5R was here to us) and that kind of magnitude tournaments really brings up a new air to the game.
You attended the Samurai Championships in California, what was that experience like?
The experience was awesome, actually. I didn't get see many people the morning of the tournament cause I had some problems with the hotel so I had to figure it out my way. But the tournament was awesome, there were great players all around, the guys who created the game were there. I remember my favorite fiction writer attended. Not to mention some guys of the creative panel back in the time (at least I think they were! hahaha) that was something that I always wanted to be a part of, the guys who create and test what's to come. For the tournament, it was very very long and by the last game I made a mistake that cost me the top 8, I regret that till' this day. There was even some Scorpion tricks during the tournament, I remember I asked at the reception that alarm call, so that when it was an hour and a half before the tournament starts someone would call me in my room so that I wake up. That said I went to bed and on the other day I woke up like 20 minutes before the first match and went down to play in my sleep pants. When I went to the reception later to ask what happened the lady there told me someone asked to cancel my alarm call for I wouldn't need it. Scorpion, right?
AEG did something pretty unique this year too, taking some profits from all the Kotei to help players travel to this event. Did the Samurai Fund provided by AEG help in your decision to attend? What did you think of the idea that they would help winners attend a large tournament like this by providing some funding?
The fund provided indeed helped my decision to attend. I was considering all the same but couldn't do it cause of the high cost (Brazil is a expensive place to travel) even with the funds. But by the time I won all the stars aligned and I found a "cheap" ticket and a few more things that allowed me to travel, on a budget, but even so. Perhaps if that's done again there could be some earlier information on the place and on the amount of the fund before the players are booking a ticket so that the player can get a better chance at attending, but they probably know that better than I do.
What was your best memory from the Samurai Championships?
I think that one of the better parts of the event was meeting everyone the day before the tournament, It felt very nice knowing the heads behind the game, how they think and everything. Also the games were awesome, everybody likes winning, but what really excites me is the challenge, if the match is great It already makes feel very good about it.
Anything else you would like to tell players about L5R at that time, or any stories to bring back some fond memories for old school players or inspire new ones?
I think L5R was the best card game I ever played till this day, and there was a few of them. I stopped playing cause I had some really tough times acquiring cards and when I managed to get them, it was so expensive so it wasn't good enough for me and my playgroup. We even made a league with some paper cards, but it wasn't the same thing. If for my PhD I move to Europe, US or something like that I'll try and get back in the game. It was an awesome way to spend the time. Not only that, but L5R makes you think over and over your resources, actions and stuff, it's very nice. Besides, you always make some friends while playing it. Hope the game goes on forever!
Thanks Jeronimo, I hope the game lives on forever as well.
Casual conversations about anything you want!
- Kyuden Doji
- General Discussion
- Shiro Daidoji
- L5R Card Previews
- Core Set
- Crane Clan
- Crab Clan
- Dragon Clan
- Lion Clan
- Phoenix Clan
- Scorpion Clan
- Unicorn Clan
- Neutral Cards
- Clan Packs
- Disciples of the Void
- Underhand of the Emperor
- Warriors of the Wind
- Masters of the Court
- The Emperor's Legion
- Seekers of Wisdom
- Defenders of Rokugan
- Children of the Empire
- Clan War
- Imperial Cycle
- Tears of Amaterasu
- For Honor and Glory
- Into The Forbidden City
- The Chrysanthemum Throne
- Fate Has No Secrets
- Meditations on the Ephemeral
- Elemental Cycle
- Breath of the Kami
- Tainted Lands
- The Fires Within
- The Ebb and Flow
- All And Nothing
- Elements Unbound
- Inheritance Cycle
- For The Empire
- Bonds of Blood
- Justice For Satsume
- The Children of Heaven
- A Champion's Foresight
- Shoju's Duty
- Dominion Cycle
- Rokugan At War
- Spreading Shadows
- In Pursuit of Truth
- Campaigns of Conquest
- As Honor Demands
- Decks and Strategies
- LCG Rules Questions
- Daidoji Markets
- Coils of Madness
- Gates of Chaos
- Ivory Cards
- The Coming Storm
- Siege: Heart of Darkness
- A Line in the Sand
- The New Order
- Twenty Festivals
- Thunderous Acclaim
- Evil Portents
- Siege: Clan War
- Fall 2015 Kotei