Duels Encounters - CGB meets Mobius
This first thing I feel like I need to tell you is that Mobius is a hugger. Really.
Our encounter starts in a movie theater, to be more specific it is the AMC IMAX located at the entrance to the Universal City Walk, a variety of tightly packed food and clothing stores located outside the entrance to Universal Studios, Orlando Florida. My wife and I have just finished watching Batman vs Superman after seeking shelter in the theater from some intense Floridian thunderstorms that drowned our plans of park-hopping in Universal (don’t worry, we saw all the good stuff the day prior).
Like many of you, I have never seen a picture of Mobius Chickenstrips, and I have no idea what The Colonel will look like. I can tell you now that whatever image is in your head is probably wrong. I text The Salty One to tell him I am headed out of the theater in five minutes, and I provide a description. I get a description in return of Mobius and his lady, Jenny - Black shirt, grey shorts, Jenny has a blue top and jeans. Mobius is slightly taller. As I exit the theater I am amazed at how useless this description quickly becomes, as the plaza is swarming with couples here for Dawn of Justice opening night. Several guys and gals fit half the description, and I awkwardly introduce myself to multiple folks who have no idea what I am talking about. After a few failed attempts, I call Mobius and here a familiar voice on the other end of the line (I was not recording, this is paraphrasing) - “We are in an Irish Bar having a drink, you didn’t expect me to get up, leave the bar, and meet you by the theater did you?” So it begins…
Like many in the Magic Duels small world, I have had my collisions with the salty side of Mobius. One of my favorites - “all the butt-kissing/worship you've been getting has gone to your head”. Mobius and Jenny do leave the bar, and Gina and I head up the escalator, leading to a wild west-style showdown in a long empty walkway. I extend my hand for the customary guy greeting, but Mobius will have none of it, and he gives me a rather warm bro-hug while addressing me as “scoutmaster” for what will be one of many times (an ode to my PG-rated streaming style I am sure).
Back in the bar, I get the voice recorder rolling, and with the help of some $10 cocktails we are off on a conversation all about Duels…I feel obliged before it begins to mention that the views and opinions of the interviewee do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Haunted Flower LLC, CovertGo Blue or most anyone, because Mobius is certainly a unique character in the Magic Duels universe. Oh, and you might read a few naughty words...you’ve been warned.
CGB: “I’m going to open up with a question that is going to sum up a lot of what is on people’s minds, where has Mobius gone?”
Mobius: “I am going to come back for sure. The Xbox people got Battle For Zendikar late, what was it, two months late? So everyone has already seen everything. The Hakumite, we had that, but once that was done, what could I possibly make that somebody hasn’t already seen? As long as this (Shadows Over Innistrad) launch goes according to plan, and we all get it at the same time, I’ll be back.”
CGB: “So what can the fans and frenemies expect for YouTube content?”
Mobius: “After the sixth (April 6th) at least three times a week and then we plan to launch the Hakumite 2.0 nine days after that. We have two new expansions, a lot of new cards, a lot of new brews, so I will be around for a while until it gets stale again.”
As I am trying to pick an NGA question to start with, Mobius offers a suggestion,
Mobius: “Why am I a hack?”
CGB: “If that is what you want to start with…why, are you, a hack?”
Mobius: “I would love to see evidence as to why you think I’m a hack. If you think I am objectively bad at the game, tell me, explain it. I have well over a hundred videos on there (YouTube), so point them out, point the people to them. I make these videos for fun, to entertain, and I throw some wacky shit out there, so I am not going to bore everyone to death with...what’s that one deck… Gruul Ramp?”
CGB: “Nothing I’d know anything about.” laughs
Mobius: “I talk shit but when I did my 21 to 40 rank slog, which is as entertaining as passing a kidney stone, I did it all with Gruul Ramp, Thopters, and Simic Tempo and it is done I am not touching ladder again until the 6th.”
CGB: “What do you see as the future of recorded content for Duels? How important is recording a tournament matchup vs a game against whoever the brilliant XBOX matchmaking gives us?”
Mobius: “They are both equally important. Most people are inexperienced in the ladder, so I try to make decks that are functional, not necessarily the best deck just to show people what you can do, it may not be the best thing ever but it shows different lines of play and you can go out there (random lobbies) and show what you normally go up against. The tournament stuff itself, I guess it is important too, but most viewers want to see you make a deck and take it out on ladder. This could easily feed right into the sideboarding controversy...”
CGB: “It can if you want it to, have at it.”
Mobius: “Personally I don’t care. I didn’t mind not having a sideboard because it really forced me to commit to something. I can guarantee right now any sideboard in an upcoming tournament, you’ll have Felidar Cub, sweepers, Reclamation Sages, everyone’s sideboard is going to have those. Those cards will push out what may be some of the creative decks someone would have brought. The sideboards will be auto-populated. And any pro player wants to say that sideboarding is so skill intensive, and I mean it is a skill, but they just want to jerk themselves off and Duels players will just add more sweepers and enchantment hate. Can you actually build a transformative sideboard? And you don’t get to decide who is on the play and who is on the draw, and that is a big part of sideboarding too.
CGB: “Some people want to know where you stand on the whole Acid-Moss situation, I’ll leave the rest of the question out. Acid-Moss, mic drop, whata you got!”
Mobius: “I didn’t really care to be honest with you. I can see why it’s annoying. There is more stuff to ramp into so Acid-Moss is more effective. I can see it both ways, it doesn’t really bother me. I got Mossed a lot climbing from 21 to 40, but I didn’t really care because I was playing douche bag decks. I think it was really blown out of proportion. If it makes the plebs happy, get rid of it. Explosive Vegetation makes the Ramp decks better, but we can also fight the Ramp decks better because (other decks) still have all their resources.”
CGB: “I want to touch on something that you said in there really quick. You said it didn’t both you very much because you were playing the try-hard decks instead of your own creation. So, is it more frustrating when you are playing your creation and a card like Acid-Moss makes your own strategy less playable even though it is more fun and more creative?”
Mobius: “Any of the rogue decks I brought out wouldn’t be hurt too much by Acid-Moss. I remember the one video during Origins season with the very flawed Blue/White enchantments deck, I think I got Acid-Mossed three turns in a row where I genuinely fucking lost my mind. It’s annoying yes, but adapt, play something that just gets under it.”
CGB: “Ok, this question is obviously meant to see if we can start a fist fight right here in the bar, so, does it make your skin crawl when CGB uses the term “best deck”?”
Mobius: “No, we already went over that, and I am more on his (My, CGB’s) side because there is objectively a best deck in Duels. Maybe not one, but there is probably three. At least Thopters and Ramp.”
CGB: “I want to get into something whether it is in the forum questions or not - Steam ladder, Xbox ladder, it seems like I can’t stream without someone saying I need to get on Steam, Xbox matchmaking is horrible. Steam players obviously develop an opinion when they see us beat one ranks, two ranks, stuff like that, of the general skill overall. What is your take on the Steam/Xbox skill on both platforms?”
Mobius: “All the people who bitch about that, the Steam guys who actually put out videos, I can watch anybody’s Steam video and within thirty seconds point out a misplay. So you guys should just shut the fuck up. You guys aren’t really that good. I am not the greatest either, but me and Covert at least talk through our stuff. We know when we fucked up, and I think that is what separates us from everyone else. We will flat-out say it. A lot of Steam guys don’t know, they are never looking for things they can do better, they blame everything on whatever. I really don’t think the Steam guys are any better than us. They can find games easier, and there is a bigger pool to draw from, is there just more bad people on Xbox? Probably, but it doesn’t mean everyone who plays on Xbox is bad. We can’t help it. We just play what we play.
I’ve watched a lot of Steam videos, so has Covert, Legend is a decent guy but he is not THAT good, and he cherry picks his videos. Nighthawk will be the first to tell you he isn’t the most efficient (player) out there. Kryder, has he ever put a video out that wasn’t Ramp? He doesn’t play that well, and that is all he plays. I am unimpressed by any of the Steam guys who talk shit. Prove that you are better than us because objectively I don’t think you are. At least you don’t get as in depth (on commentary) as we do. Talk about the game, talk about the plays.
People ask me do you consider yourself more of a deck builder or a competitive guy? I don’t know, I like to brew but I am more interested in the games themselves. The lines you take. At least I know why I lose, why I win, and I can identify where a game goes bad. That is why when I get salty, I usually know I am going to lose a few turns in advance, and I learn from that.”
(Still Mobius, he is on a role) “To answer Nighthawk’s question, I have never made a video I have been afraid to upload. It is all off the cuff, no matter how bad it is I will upload it. I don’t edit anything, I don’t have time for that shit, I want to play other games! I just upload it all. There is no director’s cut, hidden gems of when I have really gone nuclear. You guys have seen me at my worst, and just be happy I don’t upload Destiny videos or Star Wars Battlefront. I get really upset..”
CGB: “How does it feel to not only be an inferior player to Hakeem, but also to have less subscribers on your channel than Hakeem?” (Reminder, this and most questions came from No Goblins Allowed members).
Mobius: “It doesn’t bother me at all, because I was one of the guys who taught fuckin’ Hakeem how to play the game. I’ve been ripping into him, but in a constructive way, in a good way. People think I treat him like shit, but whatever, it doesn’t bother me that he wins, it bothers me when people can’t see that I can’t beat THAT draw no matter what the fuck I do. If you guys think that makes him a superior player, you guys are idiots. We both have well over 100 videos, if you want to contrast and compare and give me concrete evidence that he takes better lines, thinks things through better, that is fine. If it is true than it is true, whatever.”
CGB: “I’ll put this out there - If anybody wants to get on the bandwagon of any YouTuber, tell me one video that made you a better player. Link me to a video that improved your game, where they really taught you something. I want to know, I want to publicize it so people can get better. I don’t know about you, but every video I feel like I could have done better, that’s Magic sometimes, and if any of you ever saw a video that made you rethink the game I want to hear about it.”
Mobius: “When I fuck up and people try to call it out in the comments, I don’t try to hide. I usually get pretty verbose in the comments.”
CGB: “We all miss lethal, especially if you don’t think you do.”
Mobius: “And Hakeem having more subscribers than me, I don’t really care cuz that is when I was on my hiatus, (Hakeem) got the big bump from Force, and he (Hakeem) is more likable than me. I do videos for fun, it is almost like artistic expression if you want me to get super...I don’t want to use offensive terms here…”
CGB: “The lighting in the room just turned bright pink…OK, this question wasn’t meant for you but it has a question mark so I am going to play dumb. Why is this Mobius guy held in such high regard?”
Mobius: chuckles (is he blushing or is that the alcohol?)
CGB: “Seriously, why do you think they haven’t forgotten about you? People still talk about you when they mention people making quality content.”
Mobius: “I don’t know, I do get salty, and I am an asshole. But I also like to think I am a gentleman, and I am grateful to everyone who watches, who participates, and who likes to talk about the game. Why do people still talk about me? I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m honest. I play what I play, do what I do, I present decks, I don’t think I’ve ever said “This is the best deck, this is how you should build a deck”. For me, I am more interested in how you play than what you build. What do you bring to the table? You can bring the best deck to the table every single game, but if you aren’t taking the right lines then what does it matter?”
CGB: “From the Reddit thread, we got one comment. What would be a good way apart from tournaments to build up the Duels community? Some friends and I try to build up a Magic Duels wiki to give new players a starting point. That's our approach (http://magicduels.wikia.com). Would love to hear if in his opinion there are other ways, too.”
Mobius: “It (the wiki) is actually very well done. I am not just saying that because he is nice to me, he could be a dick to me and I would still say it is very well done. There are a lot of NGA’ers I do not like. I’ll just say it, Gemini can be a little bitch, but he stepped up and put out content for the Hakumite so respect to him, respect to him (in a Gemini impression voice).....”
CGB: “So are there any other ways to build up the competitive Magic Duels environment besides tournaments and a Duels Wiki?”
Mobius: “Honestly, not really. Reddit is just …. The nature with the downvoting, where you have a dissenting opinion you just get downvoted to oblivion...I have tried to type and be constructive but people just downvote it when they see my name. It makes me want to stop providing insight because what’s the point if nobody is going to read it. To make it better, Reddit can grow-the -fuck up. NGA mods can grow-the-fuck up.”
CGB: “I’ll share my opinion on it. I do think that strategy websites that aren’t about every voice being equal are important. Some people have a better handle on the game, and if they get drowned out by fifty people who don’t like what they are saying then you (the reader) are not getting good advice, you are not getting good strategy, and I think real in-depth strategy websites are an important thing. Big, good tournaments are an important thing. I am a big fan of the Hakumite, and I think after that there is only so much you can do because the ball is in Wizards’ court if they want to make (Duels) a real thing.”
Mobius: “They (Wizards) are watching which is good. Wizards_Chris is donating Gold packs to the Steam tournament as well. The whole reason we (Mobius and Hakeem) did the Hakumite is because it had to be more than me and Matt putting out videos. Not everyone needs to be a superstar and put that level of commitment into it.”
I leave to get another round of drinks, Mobius talks to the phone free-form without me
Mobius: “I don’t know, we just keep doing what we are doing, it is a small community. We try to keep growing it, I know the actual Magic card players look down on us with disdain. I play paper Magic and I take personal pride and amusement in playing paper because I can go to the store, top eight a large prerelease, and people say to me “I haven’t seen you play here before” and I tell them I play Duels of the Planeswalkers and I see the look of salt on their face, like “I got beat by a fuckin’ Duels player?!”, and I think anyone scared about jumping into paper Magic, like playing in a prerelease...you’ll be surprised what Duels has done for your game. You’ve been playing with suboptimal cards, only so many copies of a card, and it will make you a very very serviceable, if not good limited (Limited, aka Sealed and Booster Draft format) player, so I encourage you all to play your prereleases and show the regular Magic people what we’ve got. They are not much better than us, if they are better than us at all.”
I feel like that is a good place to leave it. I hope you all enjoyed this rather off-beat blog post, and thanks to Mobius and Jenny for the great time. Not long after the last question, we polished the night off with a tequila shot because it wouldn’t be a Mobius interview without a little salt!
The End Credits -
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/danno029
Twitter - https://twitter.com/danno029
About Duels Diaries - http://www.hauntedflower.com/blogs/duels-diaries/79645700-what-is-duels-diaries
Awesome Duels resources and recommendations -
Magic Duels Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/magicduels/
No Goblins Allowed - http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewforum.php?f=38
Twitch Magic Duels - http://www.twitch.tv/directory/game/Magic%20Duels
Competitive Results Tracking Spreadsheet - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rrQa5Obct0VQQNbvMqSqUVfqLS2whUGm9gbfXbixL1s/edit?usp=sharing