Howdy folks! Lateralus here and I am bringing you the third edition to my article series: Lat’s Chats! The goal of this series is to feature different members of the community whether they are a content creator, streamer, or just a player. There are a lot of great people in the TESL community and I want to show what different members have to offer for you all whether you have been a part of this community since the beginning, just recently joined, or someone who will soon and is lost with the content we have to offer. So, without further ado, I bring you Ikarus!
Lateralus: Thank you for joining me today Ikarus! As you know, TurquoiseLink tagged you for an interview. He seemed interested to hear you talk about TESL and I have to say, I am too. Before that though, tell us about yourself!
Ikarus: Hello Lateralus and everyone else! My name is Lars Quilitzsch or Ikarus in game. I’m from Germany and I’m currently a student at my master thesis in physical chemistry in Cologne. After some time off, I plan to do a doctorate there starting beginning of next year.
Our first interview from Europe! Almost done with your Master’s degree? That is impressive, congratulations! Physical Chemistry sounds like a tough major. What kind of career are you going to be looking for in Cologne once you’re finished getting your PhD?
So yeah that’s a tough question, right now I’m sure to do my doctorate and that will take at least another 3 years. so it’s kind of far in the future. but it could be for sure a job in research at some company.
I understand. With how much time I’m sure you have to spend on schooling, how do you find time to compete at such a high level in TESL? Do both come naturally to you? Do you have a lot of TCG/CCG experience before Legends?
So I had a few years were I was unsure what to do and I always played a lot of games. Then I also tried to play a card game called Hearthstone after a friend of mine mentioned it. I also played card games (Magic) in my school days, but this at a very rudimentary level. So, I played Hearthstone and for first months only played arena and with the first expansion in sight I heard about by mere chance about a tournament qualifier. I basically tried to play two tournaments beforehand where I got both 2nd out of a 64 bracket and then played the qualifier and qualified for my first big tournament which was “SeatStory Cup 2”. There, I simply chose the wrong lineup, but made a lot of connections to other people from the Hearthstone tournament scene and ever since I played in a few tournaments and played at a semi-professional level. Nearly two years ago I was too annoyed by Hearthstone and decided to move on from the game and also looked at other games and actually tested a lot of card games.
Wow! A bit of a natural it would seem. There are a lot of quality CCGs out there, Magic, Shadowverse, Hearthstone, Gwent, Eternal, Duelyst, etc. What made you choose TESL over all of those?
So I come from Hearthstone and there were some things that always annoyed me but overall I still like the principle which is really similar to TESL. I actually tried Gwent and also Eternal and some other games. I ended up disliking the mana system in Eternal which is, especially in tournaments, really sad (don’t know how much they improved in the last year) and in Gwent I also tried a bit and finished relatively high a season, but just couldn’t get myself to liking the game because there are, in my opinion, not a lot of decisions to make (once you get the trick it felt to me that all games looked the same and most are lost by not drawing your Golds). I like the lanes in TESL, and also the rune system. It makes the decision making when to attack and give your opponent a card relatively skill testing. Most players today and the meta try to avoid it by just playing aggro or “control”. But, obviously I would be happier with a bigger tournament scene.
The lane and rune system do feel unique from other CCGs. As a competitive player, how do you feel about prophecies? Are there any mechanics that you dislike from a competitive standpoint? How about the Ring of Magicka?
Prophecies are a part of the game and of course you can get unlucky but you always have a correct attack order or the option to not attack at all which is really important and sometimes – often correct.
The Ring of Magicka is a bit complicated, but I also feel like in aggressive or midrange matchups the 2nd player has an edge. But, all the time I see players complaining about the Ring when they could’ve played a lot better.
I played in a tournament that I placed 3rd where I went first ten times and only second once; only to hear from my final opponent that I only won because I got the Ring in this game – the first time of the day.
I definitely agree that generally it is on the player to make better plays. Sometimes, like you said, it can be a combination of things plus bad luck that can possibly blow things out of proportion in regards to prophecies or the Ring. I’ve proposed before that, for tournament play, the challenger is always on the play so the Ring can be controlled. Do you think that would be a good idea to help balance that mechanic rather than someone always potentially getting a slight edge in certain matchups? You mentioned that you would be happier with a bigger tournament scene. What would you like to see improved specifically? There are quite a few tournaments with Warpmeta, ESL and sometimes TESLCS and now the Master Series. Do you mean prize pools?
I’m against the idea of controlling the Ring, you get something like you have in Gwent. You have decks you play as second player and decks you play as first. So, in general, I like more that decks are supposed to handle both to some degree. So we now have the Challenger Series, but right now there is basically no other EU friendly tournament and this is not enough! ESL (Go4) stopped for some reason with the release of the Challenger Series. So of course having the Master Series is an improvement. But right now the thing I’m hoping the most for would be an improvement on the game. I’m not the biggest fan of the latest expansions.
Interesting take. How do you prepare for a tournament? What is your thought process when trying to decide on your lineups? Obviously, the format matters, but would you share your process you go through before each tournament?
There are various things you can take into consideration. So first of all the format matters and you can do something in some formats which are not obvious. Like with blind decks and just calling your classes you can get to recognize what decks your opponent is playing by just having a quick chat with him before the match and look at his reaction. So for “Conquest”, your lineup targets a specific deck (which you expect a lot players to bring) and all your decks should have a good matchup vs this deck while not being targeted too heavy itself. For “Last Hero Standing”, its more that you are spreading your decks to have a counter to everything which could been thrown at you and still having a reasonable matchup vs other things. So its always different how much I prepare. I prepare more by just watching (a) player stream the game than by playing myself. But what I do in general is when I lose a game (and sometimes when I win a close game) go back and analyze every turn and his hand and my options.
It is always interesting to hear how different players prepare and what their general strategies are. I’m shocked that you watch gameplay more than you actually play yourself. I would think that is not the norm. Do you have a group or team that you test with? Either way, it doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted your results. Would you care to share your tournament results you are most proud of? I felt like I saw you in every ESL Go4 Monthly Top 8!
For most tournaments, I am preparing alone. Right now I test a little with Dust for the Master series.
1st place finishes:
Go4 ESL Cup #12, 33 and 35
TCG Esport #12, 13 and 14
2nd place finishes:
Go4 ESL Cup #8, 30, 32
Go4 ESL Finals October
TESL Champion Series August
I am the top point earner overall in Go4 Cups. I also have a couple of top 3 Gauntlet finises as well!
You mentioned that you aren’t the biggest fan of the latest expansions. What is the thing you dislike most and what direction would like the next expansion to take under the new developers, Sparkypants?
So, this is going to be about nerfs I would like to see. Namira’s Shrine, Ulfrics’s Uprising, Tullius’ Conscription are three cards that are printed neutral and I don’t like giving neutral too much power so they should be in the general colours. Ulfirc’s Uprising is an especially bad card because it limits design space. You can see it right now with just the release of two strong summoning effects in Nix Ox and Odirniran Necromancer it just becomes too strong. In general I’m not completely against resurrection decks, but I thought with Soul Tear it would be such a good nerf to give resurrected creatures a “Doom” tag, so that they get destroyed after their second death and can’t be resurrected all over. I think this would also improve the fun playing against necromancer decks. When they only play one Sanctuary Pet and resurrect it like four times it is just not fun, so they would need to draw into more than one answer. All in all I really dislike 3 colour decks, they are more inconsistent than two colour decks but can have a more insane draw. I would like to remove them again – this is something I will not get (or at least have in tournaments a colour limitation). Ash Berserker with 4/3 stats seems too strong -> 3/3. Mudcrab Merchant is too strong and really random, but needs to be played, in my opinion, in every aggressive red deck. Then there is a card called Drain Vitality… Hlaalu Oathman should only give back two mana and should still be good but not so unreasonable. Cards like Ash Berserker and Corner Club Gambler, which need to be answered immediately, make it so hard to play reasonable midrange at the moment.
That’s a lot! I think that a lot of the community has voiced some of the same frustrations about certain cards. What is your favorite archetype to play and why?
Midrange Mage or Archer before the lethal shenanigans. Both decks do a lot with board positioning and can be played really aggressive or defensive depending on your draw / your opponent’s draw and are some of the most demanding decks. Right now both are not in a good position.
I love those decks as well and used to play them often when they were in a better position as well! Many may not know, but you stream on occasion right? When is the best time for the community to catch you live to see some high level gameplay?
So right now, I don’t have a streaming schedule. I stream sometimes on Sunday around 4-5 pm CET and I might make room for a weekly Wednesday stream around 7-8pm CET for some number of hours.
Awesome! I do want to ask, is your name, Ikarus, based on the mythological character Icarus or something entirely different?
Yeah, it’s based on the Greek mythology Íkaros and is spelled in German as Ikarus. I chose the nick when I played CS and stayed with it for about 15 years now.
Awesome! He happens to be one of my favorite characters and a little misunderstood I feel. I do want to thank you again for taking the time out of your day to share a little about yourself and give your perspective on the game for the community. I’m going to give you the same opportunity as Link had, is there anyone you’d like to tag for the next interview? Anything else you’d like to say to the community that we didn’t cover?
I’d like to tag the now well-known streamer for the Dutch Larson t-shirt MattOblivium with his smooth voice. He is currently one of the few person who got a streaming-team with F2K(Fade to Karma), so his “boss” is also one of the persons I know from my Hearthstone experiences very well.
Awesome! I will reach out to him to see if we can set this up! Again, thanks for joining me. It was a pleasure talking to you about TESL!
Thanks for having me!
You can find Ikarus here: