At the request of one of our dearest, most beloved Yomi-playing androids, ntillerman, I’m going to be interviewing TOPANDA participants and putting the interviews up here.
First up is last year’s TOPANDA runner-up: Jengajam!
Fivec: Were you a board/card gamer before you started playing Yomi? If so, what did you play
Jengajam: I play a good amount of board games. I was introduced to Yomi at a university club. A lot of the other board/card games I like to play are hidden identity type games like Resistance and One Night Werewolf.
Fivec: Do you have a favorite? If it’s Yomi, I will accept two answers
Jengajam: I go back and forth on it, but right now I’d probably say The Resistance.
Fivec: I, too, love that game, but it seems like the spies always win when I play. How long have you been playing Yomi?
Jengajam: I started playing in mid-2012.
Fivec: What characters did you play when you started, and how did your character selection evolve over time?
Jengajam: I initially planned on focusing on Rook, but whenever there were new free characters, I tried to play enough of them in QM that I would be able to use them in tournament if necessary. Pre-expansion, I probably played more Grave than anyone else. Nowadays, I mostly just try to counterpick other people’s characters in tournaments.
Fivec: Is there a distinction between favorite tournament-caliber characters and favorite casual characters for you? Who do you enjoy playing in tournament the most? Who do you think is your best character?
Jengajam: I would say that there is a distinction. For example, my favorite character to use casually would probably be Gloria, but I don’t use her much in tournaments. However, due to those rare cases when I do use her in tournaments, she is the character that I enjoy playing in tournament the most. My best character would probably just be the best character, so probably Troq.
Fivec: You’ve been playing for a long time and have entered a lot of tournaments. Do you have moments that you stick in your mind as being some of your personal highlights? On the other side of the coin, do you have moments that were particularly painful?
Jengajam: Some of my more memorable moments came from a tournament in 2012 when I beat Choke Artist and friiik, which sort of made it my “breakout” tournament. The final against deluks was one of my more painful moments. It was a best of 7 series that went 8 games. With a 3-2 lead in game 6, I got out to a big lead, but then got hit by completely silent TPoS. That game ended in a double KO, and I don’t think there was a rule listed for what that meant, so I thought I might have won it. Then in game 8, there was an extended next hit wins scenario where deluks avoided lethal with a 2nd joker, then I avoided lethal with a 2nd joker, then I clashed my 2nd 7 throw with his 4th, then I drew another 7 throw and got hit by TPoS.
Fivec: Damn, is that set recorded somewhere? Haha. What character(s) were you playing?
Jengajam: We were both Grave. deluks or Volcanya might still have a recording of it.
Fivec: Final question. Aside from being one of the best players in the community, you’re also known for organizing one of the biggest and best tournaments of the year, Summer Smash. What was the inspiration for creating this tournament and how long does it take you to make those awesome brackets?
Jengajam: The inspiration for it was from a tournament in early 2014 that deluks ran using a similar gimmick, but with anime characters. Someone mentioned in the tournament thread that someone should make a visual bracket depicting everyone’s character choices, which I did. While I was making the image, I kept getting ideas about how to improve it by including more information about things like character choices, so I decided to try applying those ideas in my own tournament. About half of the time I spend making the image is finding and cropping the right picture, but that’s the fun part. The other half is getting the character icons and “</>” signs aligned correctly, which is kind of annoying. During the early rounds it might take around 3 or 4 hours per week to make, but as players get eliminated, it gets less time-consuming.
Fivec: Well, I’m pretty sure I can speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate the effort that goes into that tournament. It’s always a highlight of the Yomi season. Thanks for talking with me, and good luck the rest of the way!