Caseyclarke will be bringing you the latest blog series for THL. He will be interviewing high performing teams and players. In the first installment, he talks with The Pod People, Ugly Mucklings and Bloodhunter about their blistering hot starts.
What are your team’s goal for this season?
Everybody is going to say "um our team goal is to win the championship duh", but that's a bad take that sucks because its super boring. Our team goal for this season is to continue not taking Hearthstone too seriously, because we're friends first and foremost, and taking things too seriously is how blame gets passed around and feelings get hurt. Since we actually like each other, and aren't just pretending to like each other like some teams in THL, not taking things too seriously is really important.
Your team pulled of a 16-11 win against :hot_pepper: How did you go about getting that W?
On a week to week basis, we try not to have wild deviations in preparation or mood, so we approached that week the same as we did the last week of the previous season and the same as we did the next week. Mostly, we just play the best Hearthstone we can, fight for every point, and it was good enough against Hot Pepper.
Which player does your team think is the strongest seed?
I think it's fair to say we all think everybody else on the team is the strongest seed. It's a great team environment that way because as soon as somebody starts down that doom spiral, there's 4 other people who are like "um excuse me? You're not the weak link because I am and there can't be two weak links. You're a fucking monster." I see that aspect of team building to be an important function of my own personal role with the team.
Also, everybody feels like their points in a given week are the points that haven't been properly accounted for in that mental calculus every team does where it's like "okay, we're good for 8 points in these two matchups, so we need two from here and one from here" etc, and so we're all of us fighting for every point and trying to surprise people and upset that calculus.
In general does your team favor control or Aggro?
In general, we favor playing decks and archetypes that we're familiar with and don't try to specifically force control or aggro strategies.
Does your team have weekly meetings/how do you prepare for matches?
We have a series of small meetings throughout the week, and by that I mean, people ask for advice about decks and matchups and lineups throughout the week and the rest of us give advice. Our schedules don't really accommodate adding Serious Weekly Team Meetings, and even if they did we still probably wouldn't spend that extra time on Serious Weekly Team Meetings because frankly that sounds miserable.
What do you think is the strongest class in THL right now and why is it Druid?
The best class in THL is the ones you know inside and out and can play into a variety of potential opponent's lineup configurations. Druid happens to have a lot of strong cards for this particular meta and a lot of flexibility in the deck choices, but you could say that about most of the agreed upon "best" classes over at least the last five seasons of THL
I went through the records and you’re 5-1 with a 76% game winrate. What have you done to achieve that level of success?
Every week I brought decks that I was comfortable with and knowing the decks I played with very well got me to this 5-1 record
Great. What is your process to learn a deck and get comfortable with it?
First, I go through what the deck uses and figure out how those tools play different roles in the deck. Once I've gotten that part down I break down how to get to the win condition in the best way possible which would be how to mulligan, which cards are played instead of another in different matchups, and the play style of the deck in general and in specific matchups. Then I go and test it on ladder or against a friend
You brought up a lot of great points there including the mulligan. Do you use critical thinking or statistics from HSReplay or other sites to figure out what cards to keep?
I do use websites like HSReplay and Vicious Syndicate but not to know how to mulligan, I use it as a mere suggestion. In my own opinion websites definitely don't have everything correct so when I figure out what the general keep is of a deck I will just use my intuition and learn along the way which cards are better.
That’s interesting that you don’t necessarily the statistics sites. Do you use those tools to help build a lineup or is that also based on your intuition?
Yes, I do use statistics a little bit from websites when I'm looking at matchup win rates but when I do I take those win rates with a grain of salt because not every player that will play the deck listed are really that experienced in maybe that deck or the game in general. When I'm building a lineup I usually grab statistics from both HSReplay and Vicious Syndicate and combine the win rates and make a whole spreadsheet of the different decks and percentages from both sites and even my own statistics too if I have played quite a bit with a deck to have enough stats on it.
If it’s alright I’m going to change the subject up a little bit and ask more about competitive play. There has been some discussion recently among players that Warlock may be worth removing from lineup. What do you think about this?
My opinion may be a bit biased because I love the Warlock class, but I definitely think it's a viable choice just because Zoo and Even Warlock can easily be targeted. I think that because Even Warlock is a deck I do not think you should keep it out of a lineup because it is very versatile for example you have so many tools for aggro and with the release of Boomsday it has gotten stronger with Demonic Project which can potentially just kill combo decks or other control decks if you know how to use it. Also, really the only polarized matchup against Even Warlock is Tempo Mage and that deck doesn't seem like it will be played as long as druid stays prevalent. Of course Tempo Mage is a viable deck and definitely don't dismiss it when making a Control or Even Warlock.
Also, with Odd Warrior getting popular it will push the Tempo Mage out of viability because then there will be 2 major classes that kill it
More generally speaking, which classes and decks do you like in the current competitive environment?
I like more versatile decks because of how flexible they are and with Boomsday this created more decks like this. For example I'm loving the position Odd Warrior and Even Warlock have in the meta right now. Even Warlock can now kill combo decks whereas it used to be if you couldn't kill them before the combo you were done for and Odd Warrior is really good against Zoo which is one of the most popular aggro decks in the meta. I guess you could also say that Malygos Druid is pretty flexible as well since it can do well against aggro and decimates a lot of the control matchups.
You brought up Malfurion, infamous as he is. There are probably four viable Druid decks right now. Which is your favorite and why?
Hands down Malygos is my favorite because once again its versatility and mostly I just love how the deck interacts when I play it. Many people may disagree with me and say the deck is non interactive, but every time I play I always see myself thinking of some crazy line to get Malygos out or maybe I'm just in a unique situation which will force me to adapt and the fact that Malygos Druid can do that makes it my favorite Druid deck of all time.
Why did you choose BloodHunter? The name sounds pretty ferocious.
Well I sat at my desk for about a half hour thinking of what name sounds intimidating but cool at the same time. I was totally clueless so I thought well blood is violent and intimidating, but I was still missing something so then well what would I be hunting from my opponent and I came up with hunter so that was how I made my name.
Let’s start with this question. What are your goals for this season?
JerryDamage - To muck shit up
JerryDamage - I’m joking but for me personally it’s to come in and be as competitive as I can and improve as a player over the course of the season.
ironFIRE - My goal for this season is to have fun, make connections, learn, and teach. Winning comes naturally if you focus on those things, but even if you lose and did those 4 things along the way, you don't feel so bad about losing.
MemyselfandI - Coaching weaker players made me realize a lot about my own games and there have been weeks where I did nothing but focus on my game, and even if I won the hours and hours sunk in didn't feel sustainable. Have fun y'all most importantly. The winning teams are almost always ones that don't burn out after 6 or 7 weeks
caseyclarke - This one is for Starlax: How did you go about building a team for this season?
Starlax - I started building the team by talking to ironFIRE and what his thoughts were about next season. Once I knew he was down to play I had to grab his old captain from the Spicy Boys in Wolfmack. My goal was to have a big 3 and knowing that Starden wanted to come back I had 4 spots down. I browsed the boards and was looking for an active player and just happened to find a fellow accountant in JerryDamage.
caseyclarke - How does your team prepare for matches? Do you have team meetings?
ironFIRE - We have a separate channel for match prep. We usually go over lineups and class selection there.
Starlax - We have a pretty active board talking decks and tech. Jerry and I are on the boards all the time but we have brought in the Faithless Lumis to talk strategies to. We don't hold any real formal meetings but we talk multiple times daily.
caseyclarke - Which three teams are you most scared of in Sylv?
ironFIRE - Honestly, our team got hyped to unrealistic expectations early in the season. I'm scared of all teams, because all of them can beat us and people expect us to dominate. Lower your expectations, people!
caseyclarke - There are two very different Rogue decks that can be brought. Does your team prefer SMorcing with Odd Rogue or countering control with Quest?
JerryDamage - Yes
MemyselfandI - To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Odd Rogue. The correct lines are extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of the deck most of the turns will go over a typical player's head. There's also Valeera's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into her characterization- her personal philosophy draws heavily from WoW lore, for instance. The true Odd Rogue players understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these cards, to realize that they're not just SMOrc - they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Odd Rogue truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humor in Valeera's existential catchphrase "The pleasure is mine," which itself is a cryptic reference to the opposing hero's 'Greetings' emote. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as Odd Rogue's brutal difficulty unfolds itself on their computer screens. What fools.. how I pity them.
ironFIRE - We love deathrattle rogue the most. Counter deathrattle rogue when you face us.
caseyclarke - Is there anything else you would like to say to the adoring fans?
ironFIRE - Muck you!
Go Muck Yourself!
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The THL blog is curated and edited by Donde. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to us on Discord at Donde#4239 or via the THL Help email address: firstname.lastname@example.org