For the sake of readers and to avoid the tournament spoilers, the interview is split into two parts. All the tournament spoilers are in the second part of this interview. The link to the second part is at the end of this interview. Having made the interview so long, I also tried to optimize it for readers. However, some things are left unchanged in order to give you the feeling of how energetic and fun Mogwai and Panda are.
Hey! I know you both from the Gwent scene, but it would be great if you could tell a bit about yourself.
I’m Miguel. 29. I guess I’m a professional YouTuber and Streamer since I do live off that. In May 2017, I began my career as a caster for Gwent Masters. I was a part of the first Challenger and from that point onwards, I casted every official Gwent event. I did retire from competition since I wasn’t allowed to compete. Now I’m somewhat retired from Gwent and focusing on Artifact both as a competitor and potentially as a caster.
Could you elaborate a bit on your nickname?
Mogwai is a nickname from my childhood years. I lived in the south of Spain. It is a bit weird. Basically, it is a reference to the Gremlins movie. Mogwais consume water after midnight and, you know, some analogy there to alcohol consumption. As a teenager, you go wild. And yeah that is my nickname there. Years later, I’ve remembered it and used it for my YouTube channel. I thought it was fun. I guess it stuck by.
What about you, Panda?
My name is David. I’m 24. My online name is ImpetuousPanda. When I was 12 or 13, I used to play Call of Duty a lot. It was semi-pro level with some LANs later.
My online name. Well, I wanted to make a cool new name when I was 13. My old name was my name followed by 777. Not very original 🙂 I thought panda is a cool animal. I literally just google-searched cool adjectives. Impetuous Panda. Impetuous seemed like an interesting one. Not many people knew what is it. The meaning is interesting, means impulsive. I just used that nickname. And since then, I always used it.
I started in esports and gaming very young, playing a lot of different games on PS1. Call of Duty was a big game in my teenage years, so I started doing a YouTube channel in 2009, or 2010, or so. When I was about 15-16. I was uploading Call of Duty(COD) gameplays when the craze for Call of Duty on YouTube started. It was the way it was on. I was among the first batch of YouTubers in Spain, so I became big. At the time, I had 20 thousand subscribers. I moved to a job when I was 18. It was an online portal for gaming content not on YouTube. On a production site. A kind of sub-company but oriented on online content. At the time, I worked with some of the biggest YouTubers in Spain, and now in the world. For example, Elrubius is a big Spanish Youtuber. He has like 30 million subscribers now.
I didn’t really enjoy the facet of entertainment. I wanted to compete. So I moved into competing in COD for a while. I started playing Gwent by chance after the Witcher games. “Yeah, I’ll try this out”. I’ve never played card games in my life. Just collected cards in Pokemon not actually played it. But I enjoyed it (Gwent). It was a fun and different game compared to mechanical games. You could chill out, do strategy, not invest your energy too much into gaming. It was interesting. I liked it a lot. I ended up playing on a ladder quite well. I ranked highly and got a good spot on the ladder. Then I was invited to Lifecoach’s invent in Viena. Was a community event. I ended up casting one of the events. Since it is a community event, you could cast it if you wanted to. People liked it. CDPR liked it. They wanted to hire me. I decided it is going to be my way into getting in esports. And here I’m now.
What about you Mogwai? What got you into Gwent?
Unlike Panda, I actually love card games. I started playing MTG when I was very young. I quickly transitioned to Yougio when I was 13-14. It is based on anime, and there were all these cool shows, episodes, and flashy things. Now looking back it, it makes no sense whatsoever, but 13-14 old me loved that idea. So I was into Yougio for quite some time. I competed at a national level and placed in semifinals at nationals 13 years ago. I stopped playing when I was close to turning 18. On my last year of school. I took a bit of hiatus from gaming in general for around 5 years. When I was 23, I got back into it.
Ultimately, I opened a YouTube channel and transitioned to Duelist. This was me getting back into card games. I played WoW TCG, Duel Masters, all these weird trading card games. I played them all and Pokemon as well. This was my first return after a big break. I focused my channel on Duelist until I tried out Gwent. I received an email to try it out. I gave it a shot. I was really into it. And I got invited by CDPR to their headquarters to be a part of the reveal of a new faction of Nilfgard. From that point onwards, I got really invested in Gwent.
Card games have been a part of my life since I can remember myself. I did take that break, but I was always passionate about them. That’s why I ended up in Artifact. I play only card games. I’ve never been a huge gamer.
For Mogwai, the transition to Artifact was natural. What about you David?
I think Gwent can recover. I want to see how the patch turns out. The base game is less in-depth compared to Artifact because of how both games have been designed. You can’t change it altogether.
You can play more than one card game! There’s nothing stopping you. For me, it is more of a business decision. I want to focus all my attention on it (Artifact). I’m not saying the same applies to Panda. He is still going to focus on both.
Yeah, If I’ll end up enjoying the Gwent in the state it will be. Even if it is less complex or less skill-based then Artifact, I may still enjoy the game. I don’t stream daily at the moment. Although, I may in the future. Right now, I don’t have that. My brand isn’t a streaming or content creation brand. Whereas Miguel and other streamers’ are, like Swim. In a few months, I could decide to do one Artifact tournament this week. Then, a Gwent tournament next week If CDPR wants to hire me, and I prepare well enough to cast the game. Especially in my analyst role, I have to be prepared and play at the top. Maybe the same level as players even to get into their minds.
If I can check out all those boxes for Artifact and Gwent, I don’t see a problem with participating in both games. I would love to be involved in weekly casting and multiple leagues. Right now, I have a tournament one month and then maybe a hiatus period when I’m writing, or making YouTube videos, or streaming. But I would love to do events all the time. Maybe it will get tiring and after a while, I’ll regret that, but it will be interesting to see.
So there’s a high chance to see you in both Gwent and Artifact?
Yeah, if CDPR and maybe Valve in the future don’t see a problem in that, I don’t see either. I don’t how what is going to happen, but I’m opened to the possibility of it going forward.
And for the record, we work with CDPR. We know they don’t have any issue with us covering other games. This happens in all esports. You have a genre, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to one game when it comes to casting.
My situation is a bit different. I’m a full-time streamer and YouTuber. I have to focus on one game. It is also because of how I am. I don’t like diverting my game pool. I need to but I don’t have the most natural talent. So, I have to invest because I want to do well from a competitive standpoint as well. As a result, I’ve chosen to fully dedicate myself to Artifact.
You guys are so energetic. I regret I didn’t have a chance to talk to you earlier! (I was recording this interview during the last two days of the event).
I know how it is being the one doing interviews. If it is too much info, you can just cut it out and it is fine!
No, it is great. I mean it is the end of the day. You’ve casted the whole day and still, you are very emotional and invested. That’s superb. That’s the ideal person to interview. And I have two of you! That’s so amazing!
Double the excitement!
Yes, yes! Double the excitement!
Let’s move on to the event. I’m not sure where to start. I have two options for you. One is our weather, and another one is your shooting day. Which one would you like to talk first?
I say we start with the shooting day. That was interesting.
The guys at WePlay! really wanted to do something outstanding. They came up with this idea that you are guards in the storage, guarding a lot of artifacts. The alarm goes off, so you pack all artifacts and relocate to the WePlay! studio.
Yeah, we were certainly surprised.
Once we got explained the concept of it, I didn’t know what to think. The Gwent events had a lot of cosplay but didn’t involve us(casters). We were very professional and serious at those events.
Yeah, it was definitely interesting.
Did you like it?
I liked it. However, there’s a story, but there’s no finale. The viewers on Twitch didn’t get the video, and I understand why. The idea is not explained. You have to read in between the lines. You can understand it, but it is hard to see it at the same time.
Okay, it is strange. Watch it and you don’t really understand what’s happening. But all I can say is the experience of shooting it was hilarious. I loved it. We were there for the entire day, and it was just a pure meme day. I had insane fun. It was just a good time.
Whether people understood the video or not, that’s a different story. From my perspective, it was something new that we’ve been to. I enjoyed it. I liked doing it.
Yeah, it was great. It would be great to have a punch line, the finale to seal it. From a standpoint of someone who’s actually was doing it, it was fun. Also, I think it helped in getting to know each other more. I knew Swim from Gwent but didn’t interact with him much.
SUNSfan and CHARM3R – we didn’t know them.
Yeah, I had no idea who they are. We laughed a lot that day, bonded, and had a better synergy going into the actual event. It was also a great idea.
I think you could both agree that it is memorable. The producer told me it was the initial goal.
Yeah, they definitely succeeded at that. I’m definitely going to remember that day!
I was told the story may be continued in the future tournaments under the Mighty Triad banner.
Okay, that’s interesting. It makes more sense now. I didn’t know that.
That makes more sense. Right now, you have this story with a box, and no one has answers. What’s the box going to do? Why is it in the studio?
It is like a punch line of the joke that’s missing.
But yeah, it is an interesting idea. I had experience doing videos like this when I was working in the company I mentioned before. We did game-related sketches. Basically, the same thing. Not terrible acting, but we aren’t actually actors, so it was a bit memee and interesting for sure.
Okay, so I guess the weather is not enjoyable for you. I know you are from Spain.
It is a bit cold. I mean in Spain it gets cold as well. People have this misconception that it is all tropical. But never this cold.
The weather in Kiev gets too windy sometimes, but it has grown on me. Maybe I’m getting delirious or something.
It has grown on you because for the past 4 days we go from the hotel to studio by shuttle. And you’re not even cold. We’ve got the tour of the city on the hottest day. Now it is like -8, and it was -3 on the tour day. But I was frozen. Not very enjoyable.
Okay, now that the temperature topic is solved, what about the tour? Did you like it?
It was fun. It was the first day, and we had to adjust to temperature change. It became a bit of a grind. We had to endure, but it was very interesting. We walked a lot and saw a lot of Kiev, and it was pretty cool. But at a certain point, we were really tired. But it is cool that WePlay! did it for us. They didn’t have to. Right? I appreciated it.
So if you were to change something, it would probably be the day of the tour?
Or the temperature if we could.
Exactly. But I really like snow. Snow is nice to look at. If only it didn’t come with such a low temperature.
Well, we don’t have the weather adjusting technology in Kiev yet 🙂 Other casters have told me that they liked the Kiev cake a lot. Did you try it?
I don’t think I did since it has gluten.
I liked it. It was nice, even though I don’t like cakes in general. Don’t like it when the food is too sweet. Ice cream is a perfect blend of sweet and not too sweet, but cakes are too sweet for me.
What were your expectations of WePlay! studio?
You can tell that the building seems to be new, but there’s not much going on from the outside. But when we saw the studio, I was blown away. The production value of this event as a whole has been very crazy.
Other events I’ve done have been backed up by CDPR.
The WePlay! studio is definitely impressive. I did see some photos prior, so I was expecting something. But it was still shocking when I saw everything from the inside.
Yeah, for me as well. I was first contacted to come here as a caster. I didn’t know WePlay! as a company from before. They’ve done Dota tournaments and other stuff, but I haven’t been in those Esports scenes. I didn’t really know the company. When you don’t know the company, you aren’t sure how it is going to be. Are you going to be paid? What are you going to do? Is going to be serious or not? I thought “I’ll accept the job”.
Then, I saw the photos of the studio. Okay, it looks good. Sure. But when I actually got here. Wow! Like Mogwai said before, the tour of the city, restaurant with different rations, Georgian and Ukrainian cuisine, the shooting the next day. When you come in here, you see how many people are in this team. This is a huge investment.
I don’t know how so much is being invested in this company. Artifact has a really high potential. It is going to be a huge thing, but I saw a lot of investment. A ton of people working on this, so I was really surprised. And, obviously, for the better.
The production is amazing. We worked with ESL for CDPR, and this was a better-run production. Some things could be changed, but those are small things.
I agree completely. Not to bash on ESL, but this was smoother with fewer people. Fewer people working on it, but everything was so smooth. There were so few errors. Just small mistakes. From experience, I know how hard it is to actually pull it off like that because I’ve seen a lot of mistakes in other productions that I’ve been a part of. Yeah, that impressed me a lot.
To see an event that so long, so long to broadcast. We’re used to two-day events for 7 hours each maybe. And still, it was a lot of stuff that sometimes goes wrong. Gwent is probably a different beast since it features cosplay and challenger.
Still, for the 3rd party organization, I was very surprised and impressed. Big props to WePlay! for running everything. Some minor things can be improved, but overall, it was just really impressive production.
Also, the run of the show. We didn’t have a paper. I mean we did but we didn’t use it all. CHARM3R handled everything. And with Gwent, for example, we had to learn every single step, how to run the show and everything. So it impressive for sure.
This is the end of the first part. In the part, my main focus was to show how Panda and Mogwai became who they are, how they spend the time in Kiev prior to the tournament, and their experience with the WePlay! studio.
The second part is all about the tournament. It highlights the casting experience and memorable plays of the tournament. Of course, I couldn’t avoid talking about predictions for the tournament, esports future of Artifact, and things the guys are eager to try in the game.
The second part of this interview is already waiting for you. SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen the tournament yet! You can do so at WePlay!’s YouTube or Twitch channels.
Also, be sure to check KeenGamer this/next week for more interviews from the event. I’ve also interviewed CHARM3R, Swim, and SUNSfan as well as key people behind WePlay!. Check out my interview with the co-founder of WePlay!.