Counterplay Games Interview: Dragall

by Counterplay Games  /  May 23, 2017

Dragall’s 71% win rate in Duelyst tournaments speaks for itself. I sat down with the runner-up of the Duelyst World Championship to celebrate his success, while also attempting to gain some insight as to how he has established himself as one of the most feared Duelyst Professionals out there. In response to his overall performance in the DWC, Dragall expressed a sense of satisfaction partnered with a hunger for more.

“I’m feeling pretty good. My showing at the DWC was quite bittersweet due to my series with Ferocca going all the way to the last possible game. The more I played the more I essentially invested. When he showed lethal in that last game, it hit pretty hard. But either way, I’m still happy with second.”

Despite his continued tournament success, accumulating enough DWC points to be the runner-up for Player of the Year behind champion Briguy77, Dragall was not voted as the favorite to win by any of the casters. In fact, Meziljie was favorited by nearly every caster to take the title after winning two seasons of the Duelyst Pro League. When Meziljie was shockingly knocked out during the Group Stage, the title was seemingly up for grabs. When asked to discuss the many opponents he faced over the course of the weekend, Dragall expressed some reservations about a particular Grandmaster that many considered to be an underdog.

“Of the people I faced, the person I was most frightened of was TM87. I played against quite a few big names, Demmiremmi, Alphacentury, and Yukarin. Luckily, I typically have fairly good matchups against all of them. Each grandmaster has a specific play style, and mine has always done very well versus Alphacentury and Yukarin in tournaments, although they often do better against people who I’ve historically had trouble against. Demmiremmi is also quite fearsome, but I knew his lineup very well and was confident against it. TM87, on the other hand, has quite a good win/loss versus me and always brings 1 or 2 wild card decks that have, in the past, taken me off guard. I was extremely relieved to beat him.”

The type of confidence Dragall was feeling going into the DWC comes from an extraordinary amount of preparation. As a player, he has always been known as someone who constructs his own decks with little outside influence, if any at all. He offered some insight in regards to deck construction.

“I’m a huge fan of pet decks. I have only a handful of decks and have been playing them for months, if not a year. That Cassyva deck, with a couple of techs, is a deck I’ve played for ages. My Reva list has been around since last May, adding a card or so every patch/expansion. My Vaath deck has been around since November where I played it almost exclusively. I only changed a few cards to make room for Lavaslasher and Tectonic Spikes. My Starhorn list is my most recent creation and has quickly made its way into my arsenal. The only list that wasn’t entirely made by me was the Faie deck which was loosely based on Meziljie’s list with some tech advice from Humans. My big point here, my “insight” as you called it, is to play decks you are comfortable with. None of my lists are necessarily optimized for this meta, but I can play them very well because I built them and, consequently, understand the purpose of each individual card. I didn’t want to play in the biggest tournament of the year and lose due to misplays and poor deck manipulation, so I brought my decks. I have a huge amount of respect for deck innovators and think it’s the best way to push your way into the competitive scene.”

While these decks clearly served the Grandmaster well during his journey to the top two, they ultimately fell a tad short of Dragall’s ultimate goal. With this in mind, I asked Dragall if there were any strategic alterations he wishes he could have made.

“I wouldn’t have changed much. My matches vs Yukarin were fairly tight and Alphacentury isn’t someone who will let a set of weak draws go unpunished. I could have tailored my decks to do better versus mech and hoped to face it, but I may have easily had a rough time in my other matches as a result. I made a few suboptimal plays in the tournament and might’ve been able to turn things around if I had played slightly better in a couple of the games. So no, I would not have changed anything and just hope to play even better in the future.”

To have the drive Dragall has to compete at his absolute best day in and day out, you have to pull inspiration from those you choose to surround yourself with. Dragall offered some insight as to where he finds his inspiration.

“I can’t think of one Duelyst player who stands out as an inspiration to me. It is more the community that brought out the competitiveness in me. Duelyst has a very strong community with lots of diehard CCG fans who really want to make it a big esport. I simply rode that wave and was fed by the competitiveness. I have made quite a few good friends in the community, and their focus and innovation have always been something I’ve tried to bring to my own gameplay.”

Dragall’s desire to see Duelyst grow as an esport really made me grateful to serve the community as the Head of Organized Play. Duelyst has come so far in this past year and has a promising future ahead of it. Dragall briefly commented on his hopes for Season 2 of the DWC.

“I have a few hopes for Duelyst and the next season. The first is that it gets bigger and more competitive. The second is that it becomes more of an esport, as a few other community members have put it. The less random this game is, the more I’ll enjoy it and the more many of my friends and fellow competitors will help build it. I want Season 2 to have more money, more hype, more live events and just more of everything. I hope that one day we can have Duelyst tournaments with 1k+ competitors.”

As a closing note, Dragall wanted the community to know that his favorite card is Bonereaper, his hero is Nick Cage, and that he appreciates the community at large.

Richard “JuveyD” Heyne, Head of Organized Play