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TOPANDA Interview Series

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 :smiley:

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!


Sweet! I love these. It always surprises me when a player I consider one of the Old Gods turns out to have been playing for “only” four or so years. Very cool!

Looking forward to the next Summer Slam! And greatly respects all the work Jengajam puts into the pictures and tournament.

*side note Nice first interview Fivec


When’s the next interview?

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Grab me on Discord this weekend if you want to be interview 2.

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To keep this train rolling, I asked @ClanNatioy for some insight into his gaming history, and life in general.

Bob199: Were you a board/card gamer before you started playing Yomi? If so, what did you play?

Yeah it took me awhile into my gaming “career” to find Yomi. I grew up playing miniature games. Some minis games that I played a fair bit of are 40k, Warhammer, Confrontation, Flames of War, Warmahordes, Mage Knight, LotR, and possibly others that I can’t remember atm. I played some dnd as well.

As far as board and card games go I was kind of the typical BGGer. I bought more games then I played for a long while. The habit is actually pretty difficult to kick, lol. But when I was getting into board games it was mostly FFG and DoW stuff that I was playing. Starcraft the Board game was my first real board game that I bought. Before I found Yomi, my most played board game was probably Memoir 44 (my gf [at the time] liked that one a lot so it got played more).

For awhile now I’ve tried to take the opposite approach to board/card gaming and have been trying to continually shrink my collection to the games that I most enjoy. Instead of trying to have a game for every group and situation that never comes up.

Do you have a favorite? If it’s Yomi, I will accept two answers =b

This is a tough one because yeah my favorite game is Yomi. Sirlin games actually makes my favorite games in several categories. My all time favorite is Yomi, my favorite CCG style game is Codex, my favorite deckbuilder is Puzzle Strike, and my favorite 3+ player game is Pandante.

If I had to pick a non Sirlin Games favorite game it might be EXCEED or Terrene Odyssey. I haven’t played either a ton of times but I greatly enjoy both of them. EXCEED is in the same genre as Yomi and Terrene Odyssey is a customizable card game, the person I played this with most moved away so I’m not sure if I would like it as much as I did but it was a blast at the time and I’d imagine it is still a blast today.

How long have you been playing Yomi?

Some where between 3.5 - 4 years. Dates are some times fuzzy for me so I don’t the exact number but that sounds about right.

What characters did you play when you started, and how did your character selection evolve over time? Who do you think is your best character?

I played mono Midori through out v1. Playing the thing that is considered weak or weakest in any game has always kind of been by thing plus I had no fighting game xp so I didn’t have a fighting style I identified with so as soon as I found out Midori was considered weakest in v1, I stuck with him.

In v2 I started working in other characters to help out when needed. Now I feel like I’ve proven that it’s possible for me to win some tournaments so I just play whoever I feel like playing.

My best character probably switches back and forth between Grave and Midori.

What tournament moments 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?

The biggest moment for me was winning the FSOCL. I had to get through some amazing opponents to win that one and it was the first big event I won so it was very exciting for me. The final combat reveal was a moment of great happiness for me, lol.

Another moment that was fun for me but for a different reason was winning the anime related tournament. In that one you had to pick an anime character to represent for funsies. I ended up winning that one but I knew pretty much nothing about any anime so @Scarbo was cheering against me in every match and some fun banter came about because of it.

I guess the biggest hurt of a loss came in the most recent team tournament. @ratxt1 and I were teamed up and we got wrecked twice by @Fluffiness and @mi-go hunter. I try not to take losses too hard but this one stung more because I was teamed up with some one so felt like I let him down a bit.

What are your top 3 favorite foods?

I’m not really a food guy. In fact I kind of hate eating. Having to figure out what to eat and prepare for 3 meals a day is kind of mind numbing for me. I’ve got my fingers crossed for meals in pill for in the near future.

If I had to pick 3 foods though I’d say they are:
My mom’s enchiladas (never again though)
This pie crust chocolate pudding and whipped cream thing I don’t know the name of
Naked Juice Mighty Mango

Besides gaming, what do you like to do in your freetime?

I mostly use my free time for competitive gaming (both analog and digital) but I also like to read. I read history stuff most often, mainly stuff from the 1900s. But I also like to read fantasy and sci-fi. I want to start getting into political books but haven’t started on that yet. Some books that I think are very good are:
Dune (probably the best sci-fi book I’ve read)
The Children of Hurin (probably my favorite fantasy book)
A Women in Berlin (this is the most haunting book I’ve read. Quite powerful)
And my current favorite book of all time is Gone with the Wind. It’s an amazing story of people who can and can’t survive when their whole world is destroyed and what they chose to do to make that survival possible.

It’s much appreciated that you took the time to offer a glimpse of the dragon, and good luck the rest of the way!


Next up is an honest Lieontes =b

Bob199: Were you a board/card gamer before you started playing Yomi? If so, what did you play?

Leontes: I’d always liked board games as a kid, and oftentimes my art projects in elementary school were literally just board games with simple roll to move and card draw mechanics (since things like Monopoly, Clue and Candyland were my only true inspirations). I never really had anybody to play board games with in my youth, so I spent a lot of time playing these shoddy creations with myself

In the middle school days I played CCGs, particularly Pokemon. I won an invitation to some kind of Nationals event in Los Angeles at the height of my career, but in a case of hilarious pay2win irony, my parents couldn’t afford to send me there to compete. I pretty much quit playing physical on the spot, and turned to Apprentice (shoutouts if you guys remember this!) and played in a Pokemon/Magic tournaments over TCP/IP. Ahh, the even-playfield mentality runs strong in my soul.

I started playing fighting/Blizzard games after that, and never really went back to board gaming until I discovered Yomi. I’d read Sirlin’s Playing to Win, so I was really intrigued that there was a non-pay2win card game and that the creator really cared about making those kinds of games. I ordered the Deluxe Set of Yomi v1 within hours of being aware that the game existed.

Bob199: Do you have a favorite? If it’s Yomi, I’ll take a second one =b

Leontes: For board/card games, yes, the answer is Yomi. I think it’s just the best-designed game I’ve ever played. After that, I thank @LK4O4 for alerting me to the magic that is Skull and Roses (or just Skull). It’s like playing a multiplayer version of Yomi that is simply magic.

I also really like co-op games despite their glaring issues (lol) and social deduction stuff like The Resistance.

Bob199: How would you describe your style of play?

Leontes: Right now, I can best describe it as way too impatient! Back when I was good at this game I would do a thing called “Blocking” where I would be very safe and suddenly I’m a dragon with lots of face cards, putting me in a position to win even when counter-picked.

I’m a reads-and-tendencies sort of player, so I sometimes tend to underestimate other players’ tendency to play safe options, leading me to do insane things like 5-Attack a Geiger into Cycloid Revolution and die. In a sense, I’m a very risky player, but you can’t ALWAYS do the risky play in Yomi, otherwise you become very exploitable (and in recent months, all of you very good players have been exploiting me with impunity :D)

Bob199: What characters did you play when you started with Yomi, and how did your character selection evolve over time? Who do you think is your best character?

Leontes: My first Yomi character was Valerie. I loved her art, her design, her “bend the rules” playstyle, and the simplicity of her Aces. After a time, I started to realize how powerful the Dodge option was, and I started to get jealous of other characters’ ability to severely punish opponents for using reversals by Dodging into big supers (a thing that Valerie somewhat lacks outside of J++). From there I moved on to Jaina, as A+++ and 10-Throw gave me the Dodge followup I was craving, and a constant source of reversals and pressure damage (this was v1 Jaina)

In v2 I started to play Midori because I always kind of liked his concept, but I never saw anyone really succeed with the character outside of @ClanNatioy. But after watching him play and seeing just how strong he could be especially with the v2 buffs, it made me want to try to really explore his matchups.

I somehow learned to play patiently during those months of my great successes, but as you can see from my initial character interests, it’s a wonder I don’t play mono-Setsuki or Zane.

Bob199: What tournament moments 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?

Leontes: I won a few big tournaments in a small span of time, and I’m very proud of how hard I worked during those times to get my Midori to a level that could compete with all of you killers. It’s the players in the Yomi community that forced me to practice every single day to keep up, and I never could have done it without all of you.

Within that span though, there are 3 precise moments I remember fondly in my Yomi career:

The wakeup full Final Dragon Buster against Raziek’s Zane that led me to a 4-0 victory over him in IYL2 playoffs.
Getting a perfect in Game 2 against enomus’ Lum in IYL2 Grand Finals.
The FSX Grand Finals moment where Thelo’s BBB set range against me and I scooted back in my chair. I entered Dragon Form, Blocked (into his Block), and then immediately scooted back up to the table.

Bob199: What are your top 3 favorite foods?

The garbanzo bean, in any form, is my favorite food of all time. Whether falafel, roasted snack, ground into flour, mixed into hummus, or thrown into my favorite dish of all-time (channa masala), I could eat these guys for every single meal of every single day. They’re also super healthy.

Onions would have to be number two for their sheer versatility, and I’ll just say “noodles” for number 3, whatever that means.

Bob199: Besides gaming, what do you like to do in your freetime?

Leontes: If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have said music. My girlfriend and I used to play in a band with some friends pretty regularly and it was fun for a while, but it started to get really time-consuming (all of you musicians out there feel me). I always think about picking the bass up again, but I just never find the willpower to do it… Hrm…

I honestly spend a LOT of time gaming. It’s definitely the number 1 thing I do, but aside from that I’m perfectly happy just hanging out and having deep conversations with close friends, though usually those conversations end up being about games or game design ;D


Bob just DOING it! :smiley:


Bob gets results.
Vote #1 Bob.