Beyond the Cards ~ Interview with Aaron and Kiran Lucas and Victor Harris
Greetings Rulers! DM073 here bringing you the the next entry of my new monthly article series titled “Behind the Cards.” Often times in card games it becomes very easy to only associate players with their competitive successes or identities, but this can be a little dangerous. If we only see players as opponents or things that stand in our way, the atmosphere of tournaments and our experience of the game can shift and possibly even become toxic. It is my hope to use this article series to take a peek at the lives and personalities of the players playing the game, from big name competitive players all the way down to people who are just trying the game out. By doing so I believe that we can all gain a better perspective and realization that when we sit down to play a match in a tournament, the person on the other side of the table has a name, face, and a story that should be respected, rather than just a faceless mass we have to beat in order to make ourselves feel better.
Today I am going to be interviewing a few players who you may or may not have heard of. They have both had success on the competitive circuit, but still tend to fly a little under the radar, or in one of their cases, way way over it (looking at you Kiran “Wukong” Lucas). Either way, these two are great members of the community and have some excellent insight to share. So kick back and enjoy this interview with Victor Harris and Barcadia Gaming member Kiran Lucas!
Thanks for being willing to sit down and have this conversation gentlemen. Lets start things off by having you introduce yourself and how old you are.
Kiran: My name is Kiran Lucas, and I'm 24 years old.
Victor: My name is Victor Harris, I am 31 years old.
Outside of Force of Will what professions do you hold? Do you have a professional degree?
Kiran: I currently work at Macy’s and have an associates degree in Liberal Arts.
Victor: I am the manager of an auto repair chain, and I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology.
What are some of your professional aspirations career wise outside of card games?
Kiran: Currently I am aiming to be a nurse so that I can be someone who tends to the old and young with a smile on my face.
Victor: I have a few ideas for starting my own business and eventually would like to do that. Currently though, I am happy professionally.
Well best wishes to you both on reaching those goals. Before we move on to some of the more in depth card game related questions, I have a couple of obvious and almost silly questions. First off, what would you say is your favorite Force of Will card of all time.
Kiran: My favorite card is a tie between enraged knight and Son Wukong, the ruler and man who will bring justice to all!
Victor: My favorite force of will card of all time would have to be Alice's World. I don't think it is the strongest or even close to the strongest but it was always just so fun to play and take an extra turn.
Interesting choices boys. What about favorite force of will deck?
Kiran: Pricia aggro because it resonated with my soul and allowed me to turn cards sideways with maximum efficiency.
Victor: My favorite deck right now is Alhama’at Control, just because I am a control player at heart and he just has so much versatility for that play style.
With those fluff questions out of the way, lets dig into the topics that people may not have thought about. First up, what exactly brought you into the world of playing card games?
Kiran: Growing up I would watch the trading card game shows/animes and be would always say “these cards are pretty swell and i like throwing them down and attacking.” Card games were always just fun and a great way to pass the time.
Victor: I started playing card games when i was really young, and I loved it even though i had no idea what i was doing. I stopped playing though in my mid teens and then a few years ago decided to pick it up again. A friend introduced me to Force of Will and I enjoyed it way more than any other game that was out at the time.
Ok then, so what attracted you to Force of Will specifically?
Kiran: I really liked the card art, and it was much more affordable than the other games that seemed to cost an arm and a leg, not to mention one of the games that I loved had been cancelled so this game was a fresh start. It also was easy to pick up and jump into since it was just coming into the United States when I heard about it.
Victor: I wanted to start playing my old card games again when I came back to the seen, but some of the people in my local store were talking about Force of Will and how it was just coming out. I decided that rather than trying to get caught up on everything I had missed on my old card games that I would just give the newer game a chance. I still play the other games occasionally, but Force of Will has easily become my favorite.
Moving on to Grand Prix’s, How do you each approach the game from a competitive standpoint? I’m talking more about your thought process for testing, building decks, and playing the known competitive decks or decks to counter the competitive decks?
Kiran: I play a lot of solitaire with myself because I want to see how cards will interact with each other before i start testing them against board states and actually opponents. I also have a preference to test out any Aggro variant of a deck to see if it can work. All in all I just read over the cards because reading is fundamental and sometimes you just miss things or think a card worded differently which could have a big impact on your play and your deck building.
Victor: Force of Will as a community has so much room for someone that is competitive to really show what they can do. I am sure there are decks and card combinations that no one has thought of yet, and someone creative and good at deckbuilding still has plenty of room to create something new. I personally like to start either with a pre-existing deck or with a ruler I would like to play and I search the Force of Will card database for cards that might be powerful in those decks. I really like finding cards that no one plays and putting them into existing decks and testing the deck with the added cards. Most of the time the cards I add make the deck worse. Sometimes though you find out a really cool interaction or something turns out to be quite good. I test and play on the free program LackeyCCG and play a deck until it feels like there is nothing I would want to change.
Outside of competitive accomplishments or playing the game itself, what is the most enjoyable part of playing Force of Will or being part of the Community to you?
Kiran: We get to go to Japan! Seriously though it’s all about meeting the cool people at events, and just seeing all the people that all come together to play a card game . It’s magical in its own right.
Victor: Force of Will has definitely had some controversies. The community is awesome though. A lot of the more well known players in the game are super friendly and though they do not get much credit, the judges and staff of most Force of Will events are great people. The number of new friends I have made from this game and the cool places I have seen while traveling to go to tournaments would make the game worth it even if the cards didn’t exist.
My last question is a two-parter. Part one: What would you say to a new player who is just getting into the game?
Kiran: Don't give up! Sometimes people jump into a stale competitive environment and want to give up because their “Bunny Ex turbo Crocoshark 2.4” deck won't work, but the game is fun and has the room to improve. Give it a chance and ask the community for advice, because people here are surprising friendly so they are always here to give a helping hand!
Victor: If I was a newer player just getting into the game I would suggest creating a deck based on a recent tournaments results and trying to learn that deck and why it did well at the tournament. I would also suggest getting LackeyCCG and trying to find a friend locally that you can play and learn the game with.
Part two: What would you say to that same player, if they made the decision to try and become more competitive?
Kiran: The competitive decks can be boring or not fit your play style, but if you are playing to win now you have to understand that some decks just aren't made for the competitive world. If you have tested a strategy against the competitive decks and you find it a profound success don't give up on it though! Don’t let your dreams be dreams! The sky is the limit all competitive environments can be broken and you can be the one to do it so don't short change yourself.
Victor: I would tell them that competitive Force of Will is an excellent decision. I think the deck size of 40 cards and having 4 copies of each card makes deckbuilding so important in this game. If a casual player wanted to be more competitive, I would suggest that they try to get better at optimizing their deck and card choices. Once they feel comfortable with their deck, just playing the game a lot and playing against people that are better than you will help more than anything.
Well thanks for the awesome answers, and best of luck to you the rest of this competitive season!
Kiran: Thanks for the interview!
Victor: Thanks for the opportunity!
So there you have it everyone! What do you think? Any massive realizations or thoughts? Have you guys played against either of them or talked with them in a tournament before? What is YOUR favorite flavor of Kool-Aid? Is Wukong really the hero we all need or deserve? Let me know your thoughts and be sure to come back next month for another peek at the players BEHIND THE CARDS!!
Until next time Rulers!
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