Ahoy there Elder Scrolls: Legends fans! I’m DeadBrokeNerd and I’m thrilled to welcome you to my interview series: DBN & Friends! Each week I chat with a different member of the TESL community be they streamer, tournament player, or content creator. I hope the experiences of my guests and their amazing passion for TESL can inspire both new and veteran players alike. This week, I was very fortunate to talk with LordKosta, an incredible tournament caster and producer who shared his Elder Scrolls origin story and commented on what makes Legends so special!
Welcome LordKosta and thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed today! There are quite a few people familiar with your dulcet tones from watching Warpmeta and Team Rankstar tournaments but why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello DBN! I admit it’s quite an honor to be your next guest after CVH! My name is Kosta, I’m 25 years old – am Greek but currently live in southern Germany. I have been an amateur caster for quite a while, with Warpmeta and the Team Rankstar Classics being my most recent gigs.
From the times I’ve chatted and casted with you in the past it is apparent that gaming in general is a big part of your life. Can you tell me a bit about where that passion started?
Oooh buckle up, this is a long one – My family moved to Germany when I was 3 years old. Since we left all our relatives and friends and basically all of my toys behind and went to a place where none of us spoke the language my dad had to figure out a way to keep a toddler happy. He decided that the best course of action was to buy him a PlayStation 1. He had a young teenager look after me while he and my mum were at work. So naturally all we did was play on the console. I still remember my first game being Croc. My parents probably still regret that decision since I’ve been into gaming ever since and am not looking to stop!
I imagine there were plenty of steps between Croc and TESL. I’d love to hear more about your early gaming years. What kind of games did you focus on and how did you end up playing a digital card game?
I think this question is more easily answered if we separate video games from card games for now. When it comes to video games I played what I had access to. At first that meant getting as many PlayStation platformers such as the Crash Bandicoot games, Spyro, some Disney movie games, etc. Once I reached a point where my schoolwork required a computer, I started playing on that. Monkey Island, Gothic and particularly Morrowind come to mind. I was absolutely in love with playing wizards and mages in RPGs. Time passed, I got an actual gaming PC capable of running more graphically intensive games (such as Oblivion – which I modded to 8 times its size) and then I finally moved on to competitive multiplayer games – Super Smash Brothers, League of Legends, Smite and finally Elder Scrolls Legends.
Interesting progression to be sure. RPGs definitely have had such a big impact on nerd culture in general with games like skyrim operating as massive cultural touchstones. It’s cool to hear that Elder Scrolls as a franchise was something you were interested in before TESL. That said, tell me a bit about your history with card games.
I was introduced to card games in the 5th grade. I was 9 years old at the time – funnily enough it was about at the same time I started playing Morrowind. I loved Magic: The Gathering because it felt a lot more mature and the art was a lot – edgier – compared to the very popular Yu-Gi-Oh! at the time. Once my two brothers got to an appropriate age, I went and bought us all MtG starter decks and taught them how to play. We divided the colours between us to avoid arguments as to who gets what card whenever we bought booster packs. I got red and black – yes I was edgy when I was a teenager. Several hundreds of booster packs and some years later, I built a red-black dragon deck and started visiting some local tournaments. I even managed to win two of them. We played in the two-headed-giant format (2vs2 player teams) and apparently no one had teched for artifact or enchantment removal. It was a breeze! I didn’t end up pursuing tournaments further, but card games like that have been in my heart for a long time. I eventually gave Hearthstone a try, but it wasn’t really for me. And then suddenly I got an E-Mail about a certain open beta for a digital card game set in the Elder Scrolls universe…
Oh man! So much of your story about Magic resonates with me. When I played VS System as a kid, my dad and I always split up all the teams like you did with the colors. It’s always incredible to hear just how much gaming shapes people’s relationships with friends and family. When it comes to TESL, what is it about the game that really speaks to you? What gets you excited about playing?
Honestly what hooked me in at first was the mechanics themselves. I loved the take of having runes and two lanes. Two simple changes to a well-working formula that gave the game so much strategic depth…. In addition to that I’ve always been a lore nerd – especially in the Elder Scrolls Series. At the time of playing TESL for the first time I had hundreds of hours in each: Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and even Elder Scrolls Online and a lot of these hours consisted of reading the ingame books. So when I started playing TESL so many of the cards were highly recognizable characters – Divayth Fyr, Queen Barenziah, Lucien Lachance, Miraak,… the list goes on and on and it added so much more excitement to the game for me. When it comes to playing, my favourite deck is a self-brewed scout Dragon deck, that includes a single Betty Netch. I like going big and fancy – as well as surprising my opponent.
Sounds like TESL is something of a perfect storm for you! I remember the Warpmeta where we revealed Syl and you knew all about the lore. I imagine that can make the game even more special. Speaking of Warpmeta and casting, how did you first get involved in casting and production? What is it that interests you about it?
I used to be a very passionate League of Legends player. For a few years I played almost every day, reached platinum in ranked, watched LCS every week etc. At some point I started streaming video games on hitbox.tv and after accumulating a small following I was approached by a streamer network who asked me to join them. That same year I visited Gamescom in Cologne and met up with them in person. They ended up asking me how much I know about League of Legends – and whether I’d be interested in commentating a tournament live. This was a really tough decision for me, since I would have to travel to Berlin by train – 14 hours of travel in total – to get there and possibly cast on the same night. Thankfully I was offered a place to spend the night close to Berlin the night before, so I didn’t have to make the entire trip in one day. That entire weekend I was in one of the biggest LANs in the country, with over 300 PCs set up and several tournaments running at the same time. I casted and streamed the League of Legends tournament. It went on for the entire weekend and due to some delays and technical difficulties the finals ended at 5 am Sunday morning. It was an amazing experience. I continued with casting online tournaments and live events. Namely the League of Legends tournament in Germany’s very first Dreamhack in Leipzig as well as the Luxembourg Gaming Experience twice. For a while I had more experience with live tournaments than with online tournaments.
After a few years I started expanding to other Games such as Smite. I ended up being a regular streamer and caster for the German community channel and even casted the Smite Super-regionals and World Championship in December 2016 – for the German audience. I took a break focusing on my studies at some point, and when I returned to streaming I started casting self-organized competitive Pokémon tournaments of all things! After that phase, that I enjoyed a lot, I decided to come back to Elder Scrolls Legends. After seeing the Master series I was interested in casting for the game and I approached Warpmeta. – As it turned out – they happened to need someone who would be able to take care of production and casting at the same time on a regular basis… and here we are!
I didn’t know casting and production were part of your life even before diving into TESL! It certainly is an exhilarating experience and I know the TESL community is glad to have you involved. How do you approach casting in terms of style and preparation?
My personal approach to casting is: the more preparation you have done, the better your cast is going to be. At live events I go from team to team and player to player hours before the matches start and have small off-the-record interviews with as many as possible. I ask them about where they are from and how they ended up playing in the tournament but also about their playstyle and what matchups they look forward to the most. The goal is to have something ready that can help you build a narrative during the cast and to gather some opinions on the current meta from the players themselves. Another thing that is incredibly important is practice. If you and your co-caster know each others tendencies, mannerisms and humour you are not going to talk over each other and the flow of the cast is going to be completely smooth.
I love how you focus on building a narrative for the viewers. That’s definitely an element that can take viewer investment to the next level. My favorite DotA 2 match I ever watched was because of some spicy drama between two former teammates. I had to know how it ended up! Back to the game for a moment, what is your favorite way to play or watch TESL? Do you mainly focus on the competitive scene or do you prefer wacky deck experimentation?
I would honestly say that I enjoy and appreciate both. I’ve had a ton of fun watching the best players in the world coming up with intricate decklists that perfectly fit their respective style and the meta. It’s especially exciting seeing them adapt, depending on what the perceived strongest lists are. On the other hand I adore big combos and seeing weird cards getting included and working out. I keep citing Emikaela’s Ring of Namira – Chanter of Akatosh deck as one of my favourites within the competitive scene.
I can certainly appreciate that sentiment and Namira OTK decks are always hilarious to see. With Isle of Madness meta still stabilizing, what do you find the most interesting about this new set? Do you have a favorite card?
I think the double cards are an interesting new spin. Sometimes splitting up the value can be really good – just look at marked man, one of the best one-drops in the game! Right now, my favourite of the set is unstable madman – I always loved self-scaling cards and I’ll probably end up putting him in as many of my aggressive decks as he can fit in. Though I haven’t experimented with the new cards nearly as much as I would like to, so who knows, maybe I’ll have a different favourite if you ask me in a week.
I’ve had quite a blast with Unstable Madman myself. There are so many new design angles in IoM that it can be tough to even know where to start! Thank you so much for taking your time to share a bit about your journeys in Elder Scrolls: Legends. Is there anything we didn’t cover that you’d like to share with the readers or any advice you have for new content creators?
Thanks for having me! I just want to say a big thank you to the folks who keep participating in the weekly Warpmeta tournaments. I am really glad that the competitive scene of this game persevered even through the content drought and I am really looking forward for more things to come! When it comes to content creators: if you want to get on board for the TESL Hypetrain – now’s a really good time!