Trail Stories: Thundershot

The Eternal card game community is a place of Legends, a bit of celebrity, and of course a tenuous balance of order and chaos. Our guest this week helps keep that balance in check on one of the most lawless platforms of the community… Reddit. Thundershot comes in hot to give us his viewpoint on some interesting topics. How can we get started without first setting a primer with the Quick Fire questions? We can’t! So here goes…

Age: 18 nearing 19

Birthplace: New Jersey, USA

Team Affiliation: Owls and Dragons

Most notable Eternal Achievement: First Team League Winner

Highest Chapter Ladder Rank: “A while ago in closed beta I got up to top ten for a time before falling to 104.”

Playing Since: August 21st, 2016

Favorite Deck Archetype: Massive combo fan, preferably infinite and immediately game winning.

Favorite Card: I think I am contractually obligated to say Tranquil Scholar as someone who has written an article all about it in the past. The card is incredibly skill testing as you need strong knowledge of every battle skill and know how to get the most out of whatever you get.

Most Disliked or Damaging Card in the Game: So many choices, as much as I want to say the merchants, Tavrod, or rod I think I have to go with Agile Deathjaw. Why do I hate this unplayable card? It’s because it is a combination of two parasitic mechanics (mechanics that limit deck building).

One Eternal Wish: More wishes…oh wait I am being told that won’t work. As much as I want Eternal to get out of early access or to implement sideboards, I think friendly BO3 is more important. The dream is that it would even include play draw choice.

Personal Mantra: I have always been a big fan of Patrick Chapin’s quote “If you’re not at least 25% brews you’ve got no heart. If you’re not at least 25% net deck you’ve got no brain.”

If you could have one custom Eternal Card, what would it be:

He originally called it Feln Cauldron MKII, but I could not resist the name change.

MantidMan: Thundershot, oh great and mighty Reddit mod and contractual friend to the ENTIRE community. Thank you for coming on with me. I hope you realize that it is really difficult to have someone on who actually has the power to take me OUT of a whole section of the community. How does it feel to wield so much power?

Thundershot: Terrifying yet rewarding. I have a large burden that any misunderstanding or wrong judgement will lead to people getting angry very quickly along with further problems. The position does bear fruit though, my position as a Reddit mod has given me a very unique way to help the community. I along with the other Reddit mods can remove the people who only want to bring harm. We also can get information spread at a faster rate than content creators which has been extremely helpful.

MantidMan: What you do is very “behind the veil” kind of work, but I know it is appreciated. All of that being said… What does a guy gotta do to make sure his Trail Stories make it to the top of Reddit every Friday? Asking for a friend…

Thundershot: As much as I would like to say there is a formula there really isn’t. I do see that unique content rises quickly, and people enjoy articles more than videos, but it’s not guaranteed to always work. Not everyone can watch a deck tech video at work or school.

MantidMan: You are a younger player, I would venture a guess that Eternal is the first game that you have really dumped yourself into. Whether or not I am actually right, tell us a bit about yourself, your history and how you got into the game. Maybe, since you are just jumping into life, what do you have planned for your own future?

Thundershot: I have been playing card games for a very long time. When I was seven I played Yugioh, when I was eight I played Pokemon. In 7th grade a friend of mine showed me Magic The Gathering. I loved the game and only played it during lunch (which was good for me as this was the time of Caw Blade). I poured a lot of time into it until my friend quit because I beat him so often. This lead to me quitting from Magic and picking up Hearthstone shortly after which I poured a lot of myself into. A couple years later I got back into Magic and hit the ground running finally playing at FNM and drafting. I watched so many draft videos which brought me to Limited Resources. LSV very quickly became my favorite Magic player and I would watch his streams and videos constantly. Of course, to lead cleanly to Eternal as he is one of the main developers. He was talking about it on stream, so I sent in the stuff to get into the closed beta. Luckily, I got in and have been playing since. As for my personal life, I am currently a sophomore in college learning engineering science with the plan to move onto environmental engineering.

MantidMan: See that is what I get for assuming! Quite a storied history of card games. Which leads me to the questions about your thought process. We can send people to your Tranquil Scholar article but I want to hear about this radical claim that Agile Deathjaw is a problem in design and practice.

Fast bitey buffy boi

Thundershot: I think I have gone to sleep listening to Mark Rosewater’s podcasts far to many times because Deathjaw annoys me to no end. To start we need to define what a parasitic mechanic is, that being a mechanic that heavily limits deck building and/or only synergizes with cards in the same set. It should be noted that parasitic does not mean bad, parasitic mechanics done right can be really nice like old versions of armory or rod (ignoring power issues). Deathjaw cares about night without any way to cause it itself meaning that it limits your deck building to include nightfall cards or have a large part of the card be useless. While I am not a fan of any night matters at least every other card buffed by it causes it. For the MTG people reading night matters reminds me a lot of energy where it’s okay on its own but snowballs with more of a very small selections of cards. The other part of Deathjaw is the dinosaur tribal matters, yes creature tribal is parasitic but it is a better form of it because the creatures are not useless without other members of the tribe. Add onto that bad stats and a terrible cost and the card finds itself as my enemy.

MantidMan: So, I want to make sure I understand, You do not actually have a problem with Deathjaw. You have a problem on principal of the way it was built and what it could lead to other cards saying on them?

Thundershot: Yes, I have always had an issue with most parasitic mechanics as they limit player choice.

MantidMan: I can dig it. And i do agree with the hatred of limiting players build opportunities for sure. So I would say that I very much agree with your feelings on that. Lets change direction here and talk about something fun. What are your current combos you love, or that you are working to try and build?

Thundershot: Just keeping it to Eternal I have an infamous history with a couple combo decks. Such as Vodarise/Vodablast two obscure decks I helped work on with VSarius that tries to add fire to traditional Vodacombo to either increase consistency or closing the game respectively. There is also Shimmering Combrei a deck from a long time ago me and Toth (the first invitational champion) that was basically TJP mid with Scouting Party and Shimmerpack. There is also Screaming Cauldron which I would consider less a combo deck and more a high synergy deck that uses Feln Cauldron to avoid having your scream targets get silenced. On top of all of that there are my dark horse combo decks in some of the earliest forms of Diving Rod decks for the weirder battle skills. Deadly Rod, Revenge Rod, Quickdraw Rod, Aegis Rod (this one actually has potential), Warcry Rod, Killer Rod, and Lifesteal Rod. There is also Overwhelm Rod which was good enough to actually be on the RNGEternal tier list one month. It is basically Elysian Midrange with rod and a couple different units because Elysian Mid already has such great overwhelm units as Cirso, Behemoth, and False Prince.

I’m sorry but I love combos to much to choose a favorite.

MantidMan: Well now I have to tighten the screws… if you HAD to choose a combo deck to play in a combo deck tournament, what would it be?

Thundershot: Vodarise has always felt so close and merchants only make it even more consistent.

MantidMan: Woah woah woah now. You said merchants might be a problem for you. But now they are an enabler for your favorite combo deck? WHICH IS IT MAN?!

Thundershot: I can both hate the design and negative community impact of a card while still playing it. I just make sure to never make premium versions.

Also I never said Vodarise is my favorite deck, just that I would not be panicking if I had to play it in a tournament.

MantidMan: I know, I know. So, I have had a lot of people hint that they think Merchants and Markets are a problem. Discounting the fact that they are not going anywhere, tell me your feelings a little bit more on them.

This guy can sell you stolen Valkyrie Wings if you want…

Thundershot: My feelings are similar to Ilya’s so I will not give a wall of text. I believe they make decks far to consistent and the merchants themselves not being equal across factions only leads to an unbalance between them. Along with this the community impact of sideboard removal has been very infuriating as I strongly believe sideboards take a lot of skill and reward good players with great meta knowledge. Merchants also do not help as much with the dead card problem that sideboards fixed.

MantidMan: Not to beat a horse too much and have a conversation that has been had many times. But, plenty of games have used sideboards and conquest rules to have competitive scenes. Is it not in a new game’s interest to come up with a new mechanic to step out of the comparisons to other games and rise above? Can the argument be made that it takes a high skill set to streamline decks even further so there are little to no dead cards regardless of match ups and utilize the markets more?

Thundershot: In my opinion being unique is not always a good thing as we have been seeing with Magic the Gathering Arena and it refusing to have a dusting system. As for the skill set of markets I think it’s a safe bet to say in most decks markets involve else skill as sideboards. Sideboards involve knowing your weaknesses and the weaknesses of the other deck ahead of time. Markets just make you choose one of five cards for the situation. Sometimes it’s just a tutor that removes even more of the skill in my opinion.

MantidMan: Well, Thundershot, I did not know exactly what I would be getting into with bringing you on, but I can safely say I learned a bunch from a differing perspective. I will be interested to see your thoughts on future iterations of the game and what reveals itself moving forward. Before we go it is customary for me to open the floor up for you, unbridled and unguided. The floor is yours if you want it.

Thundershot: Thank you for having me on, the only thing I would like to briefly talk about is aimed at those who would like to be Reddit moderators. We are currently looking for more moderators and anyone is welcome to apply. As I said earlier it’s a very rewarding job and I have learned a lot from my time as one.

MantidMan: I think the community has many people to offer into that role. As the game is ready to explode with the full release, this position is exceptionally important. This team, and Thundershot as well as the whole community need some stellar candidates to step up.

As always, if there is someone you would like to see interviewed, or think you would make a great guest, find me on Twitter, Discord, or even in the game and let me know what you think of the series and that you could bring more to the table!

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