iCon chats with the Sylvanas Season 6 Champions, 65,340,285 Boars!
The Sylvanas League Season 6 Champions, 65,340,285 Boars, are a diverse and skilled set of players of all ages and locations, who went from humble beginnings, to one of the most tight-knit, well-oiled teams in Team Hearth League. We sat down with Rebobson, smileykris, KombatWombat, CinderAscendant, and Jaspyr for their thoughts on the season and the team as a whole.
Question: Okay, to start, why don’t you guys tell me a little about how the Boars began? If anyone has any anecdotes, personal stories, or just general insight into the formation of the team, feel free to share out.
Rebobson: So, when I started playing in THL 3 seasons ago, I was originally playing on Sage's Sylv team, Zona Peligrosa. Unfortunately, Zona Peligrosa (through no fault of Sage, love that guy), were just an absolute disaster of a team; and with no idea how to play LHS and no team dynamic, I did pretty disastrously (35% winrate HYPE). After tanking my PR in that first season, I decided I still wanted to continue playing in Sylv for the following season, which raised the obvious question of who the hell to play with, or who would take me. So, I thought screw it, I'll start my own team!
Before looking to recruit anyone from outside, I opened the field to my boys in PCC, because we were a great lil unit; of those, Necrotic and Cinder made the leap with me. JetLaw (who decided he wouldn't play in both leagues due to time constraints) did recommend KombatWombat to me from his time playing with him the previous season, and thus, we had the fourth boar. smileykris was actually recommended highly to me by Cinder from the Coin Concede Discord, after having a little chat with her and playing a few games to gauge her, I immediately thought 'aww yiss, we got a team here'. With 5 players, all we needed was a name, and my god did a lot of time going into picking a name. The consensus was we needed a name that was as obscure and niche as possible, and a lot of ideas were thrown around. 65,340,285 Boars was one that really stood out to me as both being an incredibly obscure reference, as well as having the added bonus of being a huge pain in the ass for any casters to have to say repeatedly. Plus, emoji has a ‘Boar’ emote, which is fucking fantastic when it comes to an obvious team identity.
Our first season was nothing particularly special, missing out on playoffs by a little bit, but what was important was we used it to kind of cement the team dynamic, as everyone on the team has their own specialty that they bring to the table. Cinder is a whiz when it comes to analysing opponents’ lineups and spotting patterns and trends. KombatWombat is a genius when it comes to formulating queue orders and going through every conceivable outcome. Kris is an all-rounder who is fantastic at poking holes in any given lineup or strategy, as well as coming up with interesting left field deck and tech choices from her time as a collection limited player. The deckbuilding itself is more my fortè. The 5 seed is the bedrock which makes this all possible. Of our original roster, only TheChronic decided he would not be returning for our second run. However, Jaspyr had been playing with me on Prep Coin Concede in the concurrent season, and knowing what a fantastic player he is to have on a team, both in terms of ability and personality, I didn’t even have to think twice when it came to slotting him in. With an established team dynamic already in place and a largely unchanged team, it was easy to just carry on where we left off going into this season!
Q: How much experience did you have with the LHS format going into this season, and what are your thoughts on the format as a whole?
Kombat: I came in having played LHS in tourneys for a few years, and 2 seasons with another team. Although it's not a perfect format, in that banning classes instead of matchups takes away some strategic advantages of preparation, it’s far superior to the randomness of Conquest.
Rebobson: My sole experience with lhs was from my season with Zona Peligrosa. It wasn’t until a good chunk through the Boar’s first season that i really started to understand how the format works and how it differs from Conquest. I do enjoy the more in-depth strategic side to it, there’s a lot more you can do when it comes to lineup building.
Cinder: I'd attended Dreamhack before, which was LHS, but most of my experience came from helping friends prepare for the same. I was quickly identified as "the lineup guy", so I'd make charts and start coming up with various ways to measure the advantages of lineups, queue orders, scouting opponents, and that kind of thing. Transitioning into Sylvanas league was pretty natural following that, especially since Boars were essentially PCC v.2 and we already had a really good team chemistry established. I prefer LHS to Conquest for sure. Sylvanas league is largely won in the lineup phase so it allows players who might be better thinkers than players find ways to be competitive where they might not be in a double-blind format.
Q: What was something that suprised you this season? Anything from an interesting matchup, lineup, wacky tech, crazy moment, etc…
Cinder: Honestly? My own performance. I consider myself to be a mediocre player at best, but my honest goal was to just break the 50% line. Putting up a 7-3 / 62% season was a bit of a shock to my own expectations.
Kombat: Last season we had average results, and we started slow this season, so going on such a tear late was a bit of a surprise.
Rebobson: Winning the league. Kappa.
Kombat: Also, Kris’s lineup in the finals
Q: Tell me a bit about Kris’s lineup.
Kris: In the Sylv finals I brought Rush Warrior, Healing Zoo, Murloc Mage and Even Shaman, which is pretty non-standard. I mostly played in the 1 seed, so I was often playing against players like Switters that were better players than I was. If we were playing a mirror match then he would probably win 4 out of 5 times. So my way of staying competitive was to use the collective knowledge of our team to try to outplay opponents in the lineup phase. Sometimes my lineups were pretty standard if we thought that was the best option, but I really enjoyed breaking out something a bit different every now and then to keep things fun.
Q: In terms of a Hearthstone team, you guys have a very diverse set of players, ages, and time zones. What was your experience playing with a roster like this?
Cinder: As a team we're big into inclusion so we like to make it known that we have a kickass woman on the team. Considering MTG and its ilk are all well past 25 years running, it shouldn't be a surprise that middle-aged people are still playing card games, even if digitally. Strategy games have always been ageless. I came from chess originally, where age is almost entirely inconsequential.
Kombat: The truth is that all of us are a bit outside the box as far as being gamers. Our average age is well over 35, so we tend to be a bit more experienced and opinionated. Fortunately, we have found ways to make that a strength.
Rebobson: Being in charge of a group of people largely old enough to be my parents is amusing. Esports has a lot to offer to demographics it hasn’t traditionally, there’s a lot more it could offer older players just as it could offer women or POC a lot more. It's only in really fast paced games that age and reflexes are an issue, and as we see across all real life sports, those can be overcome by remarkable individuals anyway. If Federer can still be kicking about in tennis, there’s no reason people of similar ages can’t be playing games competitively.
Jaspyr: Yes, we are old and that comes with some pros & cons. The biggest benefit of our team being long in the tooth is that we skip a lot of of the drama bullshit that sets other teams apart! And that is huge. We do our best, even if it is subconscious, to not let our differences get in the way of prep. In fact, it helps our prep. We accept another person point of view, weigh our options, and ultimately we take their advice or don’t.
Q: What would you say was your biggest challenge this season?
Kombat: The biggest challenge for me was also the thing that was so great: the meta diversity. This season balance changes hit week 3, so everything was in chaos for a bit, and when it settled there were a LOT of viable archetypes to consider in preparation.
Cinder: For me, getting the best of my mental state. Self-confidence is hard to come by, but tilt is always available.
Kris: The biggest challenge for me was finding time for Hearthstone at times when my work got really busy. I always felt like the team supported me though and there was someone to help out with whatever aspect I needed - lineup analysis, deck building, queue strategy, friendship and emotional support. I think time zones could have been a challenge if we'd all tried to get together at the same time, but instead I found the different time zones to be a real benefit. It meant that there was always someone awake to chat in our discord across the whole day.
Rebobson: For me the biggest challenge this season has just been maintaining a high standard every week while playing full seasons in both leagues, shit really gets on top of you by the end. I think I’m definitely not going to do that much for a season again, the burnout is very real.
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