A Casual Sitdown with the Founders
29 Jun 2020 - 5 min read
After much back and forth and a few fist-fights we were able to score a one-of-a-kind interview with The Hexdrinkers’ very own Chev Eldrid, and Julian Leal. They claim no one else even wanted to interview them…preposterous. Here is our unedited question section from that interview. Enjoy:
Q: Wow, THE Julian Leal and Chev Eldrid? It’s so good to finally meet you! I’ve been following you guys ever since that welcome article and continue to come back two times a week!
JL: …Chev, what’s going on? Aren’t you the one writing this?
CE: What? No, this is a very unbiased reporter who is also a big fan of ours. I’m just happy we could make the time for them. Please, continue.
Q: Thank you Chev. Now we’ve known Hexdrinkers as a brand first, and its people second. Obviously Julian is the one responsible for classics like the “On The Rocks” series and Chev has really taken to the MTGA Brawl format, but aside from the writing we don’t know much about you both.
JL: Yes we’re very private people. That’s why we like to keep our Twitter account as a single follower and keep our site relatively unlisted on Google. It’s what has helped us really cultivate our “elusive” persona.
Q: That can’t possibly be on purpose.
CE: …psh yeah it totally is, shut up.
Q: Anyway, I’ve gathered a set of questions that I hope will shed some more light on who you two are, your favorite experiences with magic, and what makes you two unique in the world of mtg content producers. So with that I’d love to get started?
Question 1: You both joined the game in the Khans block, right? What would you say has been your favorite standard set since joining in 2015?
JL: It has to be what we started with: Dragons of Tarkir. So many interesting and flashy cards, especially the Dragon Lords. That’s how our LGS tempted us into trying Magic out. I’ve always loved 3-color decks since then and the abundance of legendaries helped us transition nicely into Commander. That was like the wild west back then, but it was super fun, figuring out how to actually play and trying out innocent fun brews before we knew anything about ‘tiers’ and ‘metas’. It’s that sort of style that we want to emulate and recreate.
CE: I think I’d have to go with Dominaria. For me, even though the full history of Dominaria didn’t resonate with me as well as more enfranchised players, I still recognized a lot of the characters like Jhoira Weatherlight Captain and Karn, Scion of Urza . Dominaria was also the height of my paper involvement in the game thanks to a really welcoming FNM community when I was studying in New Zealand and the incredible amount of Brawl I played with Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive . 10/10 Would do it again.
Question 2: Starting from one base color, what color combinations do you most resonate with up through the shards/wedges?
JL: Blue for me. Yup, I’m that guy in our playgroup, despite not playing that many counterspells. I’ve always been a Johnny, and being able to play at instant speed, ready to react to any situation as well as creatively set up awesome plays and win-cons is exactly where I want to be. My first decks were prowess decks with big flyers and then transitioned into Simic value in Commander. Secondarily, it’s a toss-up between black and white, but I have to go with white, making me Azorius. White has everything I want in a support color as a control player. Powerful removal, excellent sideboard cards, and a few big flashy fliers to close out the game (I had a notorious angel deck in the early days of our playgroup).
CE: Ask him why it was notorious, the answer may surprise you.
JL: …Lastly, my shard identity would be Esper. My longest standing commander deck is Dakkon Blackblade control and my first “favorite” deck was Esper Dragons from Standard during Khans block and Origins. The combination of being able to deal with any permanent that hits the battlefield and the card advantage of blue and black is right where I want to be. Plus it includes some of my all time favorite cards Vindicate , Utter End (another love from Khans Block), and Anguished Unmaking . That being said, I’ve found homes in all colors and am actively working to move outside my comfort zone in all formats….. But if I had my way, I’d play Esper Control whenever I could.
CE: While I initially leaned green, thanks to an absolutely bonkers Elf duel deck…I’ve definitely shifted more towards black in recent years as a primary color. I really like the idea of success at any cost. Sacrificing your own creatures or using your own life as a resource to get ahead. That philosophy actually inspired the Selenia, Dark Angel Commander deck I’ve had for years and still love piloting: take yourself down to near zero life just to swap with someone else. It’s all about using your own stability to take others down with you. I pick green back up in the two color identity, always having been a big fan of the Golgari utilizing that black theme and adding the warped growth of green when paired with black. This is especially true when looking at my Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons commander deck. Inflicting those -1/-1s upon myself and my armies to slowly wither you down with deathtouch snakes. It’s a riot! Lastly, I would say that Abzan is my three-color. I have the least amount of attachment to this identity but it was my first theme deck purchase with Ivorytusk Fortress back in Khans, and I continue to find myself scheming with Abzan commanders…even if none ever get assembled.
Question 3: Is there any particular card in the game that you have particularly strong memories of? Good or bad.
JL: Mirrorwing Dragon from Eldritch Moon. That card is sweeeeeet. It was the centerpiece of the first Standard deck that I brewed and fully built to play at FNM. The deck consisted of a bunch of good rate creatures and efficient pump spells so you could target the dragon and buff your whole team like crazy and swing out. The deck did reasonably well, was a lot of fun to play, and was a big personal victory for my deck-building infancy.
CE: Oh, easily Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger . One of the first mythic rares I pulled and just the raw power emanating from that card…woof. It quickly became the centerpiece of an EDH deck that lives on today under Kozilek, the Great Distortion but has also fallen under Kruphix, God of Horizons and Animar, Soul of Elements . Eldrazi Tribal deck has always been one of my favorites, and I’m really hoping for some new tech in the fall Zendikar set. But yeah, Ulamog started it all.
Question 4: If you had to forge a life somewhere in the multiverse, what plane would you most want to find yourself on?
JL: Shandalar. It’s a “rogue plane,” it drifts through the Multiverse doing it’s own thing and not much is known about that. I like that sort of vibe and I like the peaceful and serene lifestyle of being off the beaten path, communing with nature, etc. Also, it’s super mana rich and all the artwork from there looks gorgeous, so it’d be great for someone who likes to be outside like myself.
CE: I think…Kaladesh. Post Aether Revolt. Just an absolutely beautiful aesthetic that was brought to life in one of Magic storytellings more successful runs. As a software developer, I love the idea of a plane with technology built into its very core and as a set it introduced so many cool new cards and ideas (including a bunch of bannings but hey, Live Fast Die Young ).
Question 5: What excites you most currently about Magic as a whole?
JL: The breadth of ways to play. In the beginning we just lumped whatever cards we had together and fought it out in our basements. Then we jumped into Commander, later on started drafting, and now I’m playing competitively in Standard on Arena. We dabbled in other formats, but there’s still so many ways to play Magic that I want to experience and become knowledgeable about.
CE: Currently? I’d say the depth. As we’re trying to start this website with our own ideas and views - we’re constantly discovering new strategies or archetypes that we can really sink our teeth into without stepping on too many toes. There’s always more to discover and explore.
Question 6: So, we all know the Player Archetypes of Magic, but which do you think most resonate with you?
JL: I said this earlier, but definitely Johnny.
CE: Johnny, with a side of Vorthos. Julian will be the first to tell you of my propensity to play “bad cards” because I feel they either fall on-theme or I think they have more potential than they really do. Just ask him about Eternal Scourge and Ice Cauldron in my Eldrazi deck…
JL: … I don’t wanna talk about those cards.
Q: Wow! Well, I think that’s all we have time for today. Thank you so much for your time! I have to be off but I hope to see you both again soon!
JL: WAIT! YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME ALONE WITH HIM HE-