So our very own Relentless put us on to Silverfuse as she is a kind of mentor to him. It was recently announced that she was making the pivot in her life to go full time streamer and we just had to catch up with her to talk about her journey and of course Legends of Runeterra.
G.U: So we just wanna thank you again for taking the time to let us pick your brain and talk streaming. We always like to start these with the personal touch. So for those of us who may not know. Can you tell us a little on who you are and what you do?
S.F: My name is BreAnna, but I'm more commonly known as Silverfuse. I had been streaming and working as a teacher for a couple years. After Coronavirus, I was no longer teaching daily, so I ramped up the amount of videos and streams I was doing. Now, that's my main focus and generally what I'm working on each day, every day.
G.U: Okay, wow. A lot to unpack there. Let's start with teaching. What grade?
S.F: I taught K-5 computer lab. I saw each class once a week for one hour
G.U: That's pretty awesome. What lead you down that path to begin with.
S.F: Growing up I did a lot of tutoring and always loved helping other people understand things better. In college, I became an undergraduate teaching assistant while working on my degree in Molecular Biosciences. I also worked at a school the next year as an assistant algebra teaching. I loved working with students and helping them learn. During the last year of my degree, I worked in two different biology labs, and I hated it. I looked to what I loved and started teaching instead. On top of teaching in a classroom, I also found that I really loved teaching people about card games on stream.
G.U: And that you do. So that said. How has the transition been from teaching to streaming?
S.F: During my time as a teacher, I had a principal who was flexible and allowed to do different things with the curriculum. For example, I taught the kids how to use PowerPoint by allowing them to create their own memes. I did many things like this that allowed the kids and myself to be creative which I felt like is lacking in schools at the time. I love to be creative and with streaming I have even more freedom to do so and share it with others. I've missed my students a lot, but I've been so happy being able to focus on streaming. It's made me incredibly happy. Besides missing my students, the transition has been quite easy for me.
G.U: That's truly awesome. Fostering creativity and real world skills is definitely something every school should do. So it's definitely a loss to the teaching community and a gain for the streaming community. So the other part of this is why the name Silverfuse?
S.F: I made the name when I was 16 to play League of Legends. I wanted to make something original. I ended up picking silver because it's a cool, shiny color and it was also the color of a pinewood derby car I made as a kid that won a big tournament. My softball team name was Fusion. SilverFusion was too long, so I shortened it to Silverfuse
G.U: Well that's a back story if I've ever heard one. Haha. So how long have you been a streamer?
S.F: My first stream was August 26, 2017 where I mostly streamed PUBG and Overwatch. It was something fun to do to meet new people while I was a full time student and working full time at a biology lab.
G.U: Understandable. And now you're a professional streamer. Was this always a goal for you. Because you're definitely well educated and versed in other avenues of success.
S.F: When I first started streaming it wasn't even a thought. As time went on, it started to become a dream of mine. However, it was one that seemed unlikely to happen. It wasn't until mid May where I started seeing that it could actually become a reality.
G.U: And what happened Mid May that started to change things for you?
S.F: I hit a lucky break in the YouTube algorithm and got more views and more subs than I could have really imagined. I was a channel with 1500 subscribers and in 6 days I gained 1000 subs and it just kept going for a bit. For a channel my size, it was incredible to see this type of growth.
G.U: Indeed. And what do you think was the crack in the armor that led to this gain? Because those darned YouTube "algos" (algorithms) can only account for so much.
S.F: I made quality and consistent content. I worked on quality as much as I could including hiring an artist to make my thumbnails. I also had a breakout video "Unyielding Kegs" which is a video that really got things going and that I'm really proud of. It was a more unique idea than most decks, so it got a lot of people excited to try it and they shared it with their friends. It was the video that really started it all for me along with YouTube pushing the video.
G.U: So I have to ask. Who came up with Unyielding Kegs first. You or Saucy? As I see you two are good friends.
S.F: Personally, I don't really see it as anyone's idea in itself as I knew lots of people who had played it early on. GrappLr played it on day one, and I saw people on ladder playing it as well. Saucy very well could have arrived at the idea independently as he sure didn't get the idea from me. Personally, I first saw it while watching Hyped stream and his opponent was playing it. I don't think any one person first had the idea. I think a lot of people had the same idea which spread. With a player base as big as Runeterra's, it becomes a lot more unlikely for people to have an idea that no one else had.
G.U: That's fair. And quite the diplomatic answer. Regardless of it being the truth. Haha. But, speaking of Runeterra. Thos is definitely a game that has had an impact on a lot of us. Mogwai was just speaking on how it's helped him hit 200,000 subs on the tube. What was it about LoR that captured your attention and stole your focus?
S.F: I had played a lot of League of Legends in the past and loved card games, so I was eager to try it as soon as it was announced. I really liked how I could play with some of my favorite LoL champions and how interactive each turn was. It is what really grabbed my attention.
G.U: It's definitely not something I had personally ever seen before. And I've played a lot of Card Games. Do you believe this has the staying power of Magic The Gathering. The game CCG players instinctually think of when talking cards.
S.F: Yes, I do. I believe that Riot knows what they are doing. They have the resources to run a successful game and have already done so with League of Legends. They know the drill. They have also created an innovative game with a free to play system that appeals to a wide audience.
G.U: That free to play is what really makes them above the competition. The other part of it is being Digital. However, I feel as though it has its downside. For example, we talk about the "Meta" in the community vs the Creative. A And it definitely goes back to what you said about the game being so popular that one would be hard pressed to come up with something original. But I think there is a huge lack of creativity when it comes to deck builds. Everyone wants the tried and proven winning deck. And my question to you is do you feel as if having such instant access to what works and to how to build it ruins the integrity of the game?
S.F: No, I don't. The thing I love about card games is you can play it how you choose to play. Whether it means you play the best deck in the game or something you made blindfolded - it's about how you enjoy playing the game. The "net decking" war is one that I find silly. Proven decks can teach players so many things from how to pilot a new deck to improving their own deck building skills. As well as, not everyone has time to create a new deck on their own. I know some people see their deck essentially as an extension of their personality, so when other people aren't doing the same it feels like they are breaking the unwritten rules of the game. However, the way I see it I think both ways should be viable. Ideally, the meta should be one that allows for strong decks, but not decks that become oppressive to well built, creative decks. There is space for both of them under the right conditions.
G.U: That is a well stated perspective. I fall under the extension of personality category myself. Haha. And info feel as though it falls on Riot to give incentive to create and discover. One of the examples I always use is VS System. This was a game that there were so many WINNING combinations. Do you think that there is a chance for people to come up with surprising "teir 1" decks that were originally seen as trash or just not to the caliber?
S.F: Sure, there are always chances like that in card games. Someone figures out the secret sauce and all of a sudden a deck becomes tier 1 or even better.
G.U: So as a LoL player. You'll have a better idea than most LoR players. What are 4 Champions you'd like to see in the next expansion?
S.F: Diana, Leona, Taric, and Aurelion Sol
G.U: Man. No one is giving Wukong any love! Haha. Why THOSE four though. For those of us who may not know them. Self including.
S.F: I have always liked Diana and Leona. Leona is related to fire and sun. Diana is related to darkness and the moon. This causes them to have some interesting reactions to each other. I am really hoping for some cool interactions between the two champions in Runeterra! Taric is a champion I used to play a lot when I played League. I have fond memories of a friend of mine playing him as AP Taric before his rework where he would two shot people. Aurelion Sol is just such a cool concept. He is a celestial god who controls stars. The idea of him controlling stars with ease was such an interesting concept to me. Most champions use guns, swords, or some type of sorcery via spells. Aurelion Sol is unique in the fact that he is literally controlling stars.
G.U: You're definitely a LoL professional. Haha. So in regards to your streaming career. What would you say were some of the biggest hurdles you had to over come?
S.F: I think the biggest one was self confidence as well as patience. Content creation has ups and downs. Some days I feel like I was made for this and other days I wonder what I'm doing. There always feels like there are more things I can do. It can be hard to take a break sometimes. Most of the confidence comes with time as well as seeing people who really enjoy my passion and videos.
G.U: That's understandable for sure. And I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, you have an added stress being a female. Do you think that's made things harder or easier for you?
S.F: I think overall it makes things a bit harder. I feel like people tend to be more judgmental about women in gaming. Whether it be her looks, her game play, or her motives for playing the game in the first place. I often get comments on all of these things. I'd say 95% of it is fairly normal and a vast majority of people in the LoR community mean well. It generally feels more like a bad apple feeling rather than an issue as a whole. I have certainly ran into people who had blatantly been sexist against me, and I know there are more of those people hidden in the shadows.
I think the hardest thing about being a woman content creator is earning the respect of people. It also can be harder to get an audience to relate to you at times. Men tend to relate to other men and women tend to relate more to other women. It's a pretty normal thing and isn't sexism, but it can still be tough when more than 90% of the player base is likely to be male. For perspective, 97% of my viewership are men. This doesn't make being a female content creator impossible, but I do see it as an extra hurdle I have.
I think another issue I've had in the past is people questioning, "Is she only successful because she's a woman?" Which is one of the more frustrating things. It discredits everything I do.
I know I also have women content creator friends who have found it harder to land sponsorships than their male counterparts with similar numbers and viewer demographic. I haven't quite ran into those hurdles yet, but I do understand they are likely to be part of my future.
G.U: Wow. That's a lot. And I can't imagine how difficult it makes things for you. If you could say one thing to these kind of Trolls. What would it be?
S.F: Sit down and watch. Maybe you'll learn something
G.U: Well said. Why do you think you have such a high make viewership? Which is to say, where are the female viewers?
S.F: There just aren't many women who play the game would be my guess
G.U: So just like with Sauce, I'm gonna play devils advocate for a second. Streamers call what they're doing work. But can you really call it that? You play games and stream them. Isn't this all just leisure activity you get paid for? How could you give up a tried and true job for this?
S.F: Content creation is an underappreciated skill that people assume you record for a couple games, upload a video, and that's it for the day. In reality it's much more. I typically spend 8-12 hours a day working on content. Stream or recordings 4+ hours, answering Youtube comments 1 hour, editing a video 3 hours, uploading & SEO 30 or so minutes, keeping up with my community on discord and Twitter, responding to emails, coming up with new deck ideas, updating graphics, and much more. There is always something to do. It's no longer a leisure thing I have a choice to do - it's part of my income that I rely on. It's an every day thing with very few breaks. Whenever I do take a break, I make sure to work extra the day(s) before so I have that time. Once you're reliant on your hobby as your income, your perspective does change and it's hard to say it's not work. Sure, it's fun and I love it, but there are always things that aren't fun. I no longer have the option to say - I don't feel like posting a video today. Maybe one day I'll have that luxury, but for now I'm working hard to make it.
G.U: So do you think that reliance is going to change the way you feel about the game over time. I know many artist who loved to draw until they got a job drawing...and now...they don't have the same love for as they once did.
S.F: I don't really feel it right now. This is a dream job and I love it. That doesn't mean that there won't be stresses, but I wouldn't have it any other way
G.U: Awesome. And we definitely hope it remains a dream for you. Because we love the content. Bubble Bear really won us over. Plus the help you've been given the community has been great.
That said, now is the time for the generic questions portion of our little chst...so with that said, who was your biggest inspiration and influence? Both growing up and now.
S.F: Growing up it was my Dad. My Dad worked very hard to give my family the life we had. A lot of times as a young child I didn't get to see him due to all the over time he worked. He always pushed me to work hard, but he also encouraged me to follow my dreams. When my Dad wasn't working, he was making art. He made sculptures out of metal. One of my favorites was a 7 foot Dragonfly out of metal. He also encouraged my streaming and casting and bought me a hard drive so I could store all my videos easily. I still look up to him. As far as content creators go, I look up to Loserfruit. She's an Australian streamer and YouTuber. I followed her channel back when she was at around 20,000 subs - she's now at over 2.5 million. I admire her work ethic and creativity. She always comes up with new ideas and does a lot of community driven events. It was so cool to watch her journey from a small YouTuber to where she is now. I could go on and on about the things I admire about her, but I would go much too long.
G.U: Firstly so few people answer this question with family. So that's pretty cool your father played such a massive role in your life. Secondly, we'll have to check out this Loserfruit. Haha
So regarding LoR. What are some of the best decks you've created?
S.F: My favorite deck I've made is my Vlad and Swain Noxus and Freljord list. The champions have great synergy between each other and Freljord offers great buffs to the Crimson units as well as the champions in the deck. I think the deck was extremely underplayed. I also like my spell only deck. I haven't seen anyone else do it, so it is just special to me that I was able to make a spell only deck (although it's terrible) and beat several meta decks with it.
G.U: So if you could work with any other content creator. In LoR or other. Who would it be and why? Although, I think we have an idea.
S.F: That's a really tough question. There are a lot of people who come to mind. It would probably be Alliestrasza. She is a Hearthstone streamer who I've watched for a couple years now. I feel like I could learn a lot from her about streaming and the industry - especially for CCG streamers. I would have a lot of questions, and I feel like she could teach me a lot. There are plenty other content creators who I'd love to work with more on a content level as well. I think at the time I'd be most interested on learning how to grow a brand and navigate the CCG/streaming industry.
G.U: Keeping us on our toes I see. You're definitely in a perpetual state of wanting to learn. And that can only help you be the best streamer you can be.
With Geek Unhinged, we want to cover it all. Tech, Art, Food, Fashion, Music. All of it. We wanna go beyond what The Verge or Nerdist has done. That said, let's ask you some rapid fire questions that we ask all of our interviewees. If you could have any one super power, what would it be and why?
S.F: Teleportation. I love to travel to new places, but I don't like taking a day or more to travel somewhere. It'd be nice just to teleport somewhere, spend the day, and then teleport back to my home. If I ever needed anything or wanted to bring something home, then I could just teleport to where I need to go with no issues.
G.U: Did you ever see Jumper? Starring Hayden Christiansen?
S.F: No, I haven't
G.U: I recommend it. He has the power of Teleportation. He travels. Gets into a bit of trouble. It co stars Samuel L Jackson. You'll love it. Haha.
Our other question. What phone do you rock in your day to day life?
S.F: Samsung Galaxy S9
G.U: The first non Apple user I think we've ever gotten. #TeamAndroid
What's some of your favorite tunes to jam when you're creating decks?
S.F: I listen to a variety of things, but I've been really enjoying Samaris recently
It's an Icelandic group. Some songs are in Icelandic and others are in English. They made songs out of Icelandic poetry. It's different and I enjoy it a lot.
G.U: Nice. Putting our reader on to a ton of new stuff.
So as we come to a close. What's some of the best advice that you have been given?
S.F: That you are an average of the people you hang around. The importance of surrounding yourself around people who you want to be like.
G.U: I could use some of that in my own life haha. Do for any up and coming streamers looking to put it all on the line and do it full time. What advice would you personally offer?
S.F: Make sure to have savings where you aren't stressing financially and that you're seeing the numbers where it makes sense. I don't really consider putting it all on the line. I am lucky enough to have savings and insurance. If it doesn't work out, then I can easily go back to teaching. I think making sure you are safe and secure is important first.
It isn't reasonable to think that you'll stream for a month and all of a sudden you're good to go. It took me three years to get to this point with consistent work and learning from a multitude of experiences. I also did seek advice from many successful content creators before making this decision as well as advice about the industry. I think it's important to be informed and know what the reality of daily content creation looks like and that it isn't all fun and games.
Looking at this, it sounds a bit negative, but I think people who know it's a lot of work and a long road will find this advice helpful.
G.U: But I think it's the reality check a lot of up and coming streamers need. We wanna thank you so much for your time and your wisdom. We truly appreciate it. You wanna tell our readers all the "wheres" they can find you?
S.F: I post videos daily on Silverfuse on YouTube, I stream a few times a week at http://Twitch.tv/silverfuse. I typically stream in afternoons CDT time zone. I am also very active on Twitter with @silverfuseplays.
G.U: Awesome. Well thanks again and good luck on your journey!