Flake 1v1 is an interview series where Flake catches up with players and personalities in CCG culture.
After a turbulent Beta, Gwent’s growing pains finally culminated to the release of their full fledged complete game under the guise of an anticipated ‘Homecoming’. The game has felt the pressure and fire that a passionate gaming community can conjure, hoping that they can emerge with nothing short of a gem. Throughout the game’s metamorphosis, many personalities and champions have come and gone. Over the tumultuous lifespan of this polarizing game, one voice has remained prominent, dedicated, and quite often profane.
The Queen of Skellige is a title that may have once been disputed between fiction and reality, but the crown securely rests on the head of Ashlizzle. For quite some time, she has established herself as a premiere talent on Gwent’s streaming roster, commanding an army of devoted followers who appreciate her unique style, and genuine emotion. Ash is Gwent’s version of “I don’t mean to offend you, but…”.
I’ve watched Ash for awhile and followed her career peripherally. I didn’t know much about her, merely noticing the growth associated to her channel. After working with her in Poland for Challenger #4, I realized there are facets to Ash that go vastly unappreciated. We all recognize that she’s a charismatic streamer with an A+ music playlist, but few know of just how brilliant she is as a player.
Ash comes to play with a fearless mentality. She attacks the ladder with deck lists of her own design, shredding opponents on her way to another Grand Master title. What makes Ash such a unique personality is that she is ruthless with her authenticity. She is who she is, and has no time for your garbage. Her fiery persona can manifest in many ways: consecutive games against toxic net-deckers, bad strings of RNG, or just inconsiderate viewers spewing atrocious nonsense in her chat. She’s not having any of it, and she is prepared to let you know.
After spending a few days working closely with Ash, I came to appreciate many aspects of her as a professional. Ash loves Gwent, loves the community, and is way smarter at the game than I’ll ever be. She sees lanes of play that few consider, analyzing the game state and formulating strategies. She’s an intricate tactician, and a true professional. She was who I relied on to keep me on track during our rehearsals, knowing the game plan in and out, and making sure that my wacky ideas didn’t deviate too far from the mission. In short, Ash is the perfect co-host; she was open to my stupid suggestions, but made sure we didn’t get fired.
I reached out to Ash after Gwent’s Homecoming touched down. I wanted to ask her a few questions about her experiences in Poland, her love of birds, and where she viewed her future.
Flake: You’re the undisputed Queen of Skellige. What drew you to this faction over all others?
Ashlizzle: I joined Gwent near the end of the closed beta, at that stage when Axemen with the broken weather was insanely OP. I played that deck a lot and fell in love with Skellige. On top of that was also the fact that Skellige was my favorite part of The Witcher 3, and I love Norse mythology. It was a match made in Valhalla.
Flake: Your musical taste garners a lot of praise from viewers. A fresh mix of many decades. Who are you musical influences?
Ashlizzle: That’s a tough question. I’ve always been inspired by Blondie and her Punk Rock attitude. I also really look up to Joan Jett.
Flake: Do you have a favourite band or artist?
Ashlizzle: My favorite artist would definitely be Lady Gaga, I’ve been a fan since I was 11 years old and never stopped. Her music has helped me get through a lot.
Flake: Profanity isn’t a secret when it comes to your streams. I’m very guilty of dropping four letter words all the time… why the foul mouth?
Ashlizzle: When I stream I always try to stay true to myself. I don’t want to filter myself, I think it’s one of the appealing aspects of my stream. I keep it real and I think people can relate to that. When something sucks I’ll use the right words to express that, because it’s what I’d do in real life. Obviously if i wanted to control my language I could, I just decide not to. A swear word every now and then, I personally also find funny.
Flake: Does it bleed into your every day conversations?
Ashlizzle: It doesn’t bleed into my every day conversations if I don’t want it to, fortunately I can control that. Believe it or not, I can be professional.. sometimes.
Flake: You are a multiple time Grand Master in Gwent. Do these titles and rank achievements mean a lot to you, or is it just another feather in your cap?
Ashlizzle: Yes they do. Way more than I’d like to admit. As a female streamer I constantly feel the need to prove myself, that I actually have skill and that people don’t just watch me because I’m a girl. I guess that’s also why I get so insanely passionate about achieving certain ranks. I’d like to think people watch me because they respect me as a player and want to learn from me. Ending every season as a Grand Master and a few top 100 finishes makes me believe that.
Flake: While most people fawn over their dogs or cats, you have a fondness for birds. What is it about birds that you adore so much?
Ashlizzle: When birds choose their partner they choose them for life. Having a bird give so much affection and love is just so much more special to me than a dog or cat loving their owner. I do really love dogs too, though.
Flake: You had the opportunity to host Gwent Challenger #4, your first ever hosting gig. What was it like hearing the news from CDPR?
Ashlizzle: Hearing the news from CDPR was a dream come true. Never in a million years would I have thought they’d take a risk like that and ask someone with no experience to host a Gwent Challenger. The faith they had in me just means everything, more than words could ever express.
Flake: What do you feel your strengths and weaknesses were in the role as host?
Ashlizzle: I’d say my strengths were definitely my passion and knowledge for the game, also my eagerness to learn and get better. Weaknesses definitely my limited vocabulary as I am Dutch and a memer. Fortunately those are things I can work on and will naturally get better over the years if I keep up speaking English every day.
Flake: Who do you look up to in the business?
Ashlizzle: Who do I look up to? Have you heard of this guy called Flake? He’s great.
Flake: Wow, thank you, Ash. I’m getting all emotional now, which is fitting for the next question I wanted to ask. Emotions in gaming can run high, and salt can sometimes take over the mood. When you end a particularly salty stream, how do you get over it? What do you do to relax?
Ashlizzle: After a really salty stream where I just have to stop playing, I get in my car, put on some good music, and drive. It always helps.
Flake: You’re a young, smart woman in the field of eSports. Do you look to pursue this career full time?
Ashlizzle: Yes, definitely. eSports is the future, I’d love to be a part of it. I’m still very young so I feel Ican spend a few years giving streaming and other eSports related opportunities my everything. If that turns out to be a failure, I would still want to work in the gaming industry.
Flake: What are some of the other options you pondered?
Ashlizzle: Before I took the leap to becoming a full-time streamer, I was actually planning on becoming a business lawyer. I also have a degree in accounting to my name. I can always fall back to that but I’d rather do something I’m passionate about.
Flake: Being a woman in gaming comes with certain stigmas and challenges, which you alluded to earlier. What advice would you offer to other women looking to enter a life as a streamer?
Ashlizzle: Don’t take shit from anyone. Stay true to yourself. There will be a lot of men trying to tell you what to do, or even objectify you. Some won’t even respect you just because you are a woman trying to make it in the male dominated gaming industry. Tell those guys to go fuck themselves and don’t ever lose sight of what you want to accomplish. You don’t owe anyone anything. It’s your stream, your rules.
Flake: You’ve played plenty of Overwatch. Who is your main?
Ashlizzle: It’s been a while since I played Overwatch. I used to play a lot and mainly played Zenyatta and D.Va. Zen will always have a special place in my heart for getting me to Masters level.
Flake: Having played a bunch myself, I know there is always a risk when joining a game with randoms. Who is the epitome of toxicity?
Ashlizzle: Definitely those DPS players that tell people to swap to different heroes yet refuse to get off Genji in a capture map on defense… And then blames the healers for sucking, not realizing it’s because Genji and Widow don’t do enough damage to keep the team alive.
Flake: Preach! Okay, on that note, it’s a great time to ask this, given that you’re not shy to voice your opinion. What did Homecoming get right, and what did Homecoming get wrong?
Ashlizzle: I could write an entire essay on this topic but I’ll try to keep it short. What they got right: definitely the coin flip solution, the visuals, and the provision system. Wrong: having most units be relatively close in range so control decks can wipe your board in 2 pings, having artifacts be such a low provision cost without limit, faction identity almost non existent with all the neutrals carrying decks (looking at you, froth), and last but not least the amount of RNG that has made a comeback. I definitely agree with the video on Homecoming FreddyBabes has brought out recently.
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