If there's a darkhorse Hearthstone team for 2016, it might just be Vicious Syndicate. The organization's founder, Brandon "BeastMode" Youngblood, recently appeared on The Golden Wisp podcast, where he set his goal at nothing less than Blizzcon for a squad that has shown the ability to compete at high levels both in tournaments and on ladder. We're talking multiple tournament wins, top 100 legend finishes, even finishing as high as 3 on ladder.
However, before Blizzcon, they've got to get through THL. This Saturday's Archon Team League format show match will feature Raymond "rayc591" Cipoletti, Jaron "Demigod" Nolasco, and Cora "cgsongbird" Georgiou from vS. It's clear that this is a team with high expectations for the coming year and the talent to make those dreams happen.
Be sure to check out the vS site to sign up for one of the world-famous Tuesday Night Hype tourneys or for more information on an organization that is rapidly becoming a more and more important pillar to the wider Hearthstone community.
Let's meet these tryhards from vS.
THL: What is your personal all-time favorite moment in Hearthstone?
cgsongbird: Blizzcon 2014. I was still relatively new to the game and didn't know much about the players, but seeing so many people gathered to play a game that I was steadily getting more and more absorbed into made me want to be where they were. A bit more selfishly, reaching rank 3 legend in September 2015 was also something I'll never forget.
Demigod:The announcement of Tunnel Trogg in LOE. [Demigod's most recent stream is titled "Top 20 NA going for rank 1 with Aggro Shaman" —ed.]
Rayc591: Attending Blizzcon this past year and watching Ostkaka win worlds live.
THL: What goal or milestone are you currently working toward with Hearthstone?
cgsongbird: As a college student studying broadcast communications and working in the radio industry, I would love to explore the casting side of Hearthstone. I feel that it would be the perfect blend between the things I love to do. Again, more selfishly, I would really love to hit rank 1 legend.
Demigod: I want to build up a successful stream with Hearthstone and possibly win Blizzcon.
Rayc591: Winning the Word Championships.
THL: For those not familiar with Vicious Syndicate, how would you describe your team's approach to the game and the culture of vS?
cgsongbird: Vicious Syndicate is a group of passionate gamers striving to make the esports scene more accessible to everyone. Our roster is competitive and motivated, but what most people don't know is everything that goes on behind the scenes. We have at least half a dozen Line chats full of both competitive and casual players and podcasters who just love Hearthstone and want to communicate and work with other people who feel the same way. Without a big behind-the-scenes organization, weekly events such as the Tuesday Night Hype wouldn't be possible!
Demigod: When it's time to tryhard, nothing will stop us from getting that win. We are very chill, but serious about the game.
Rayc591: Consistent improvement as a player and involvement in the esports scene is the main appeal of being a part of vS for me personally. If our roster is improving and making connections we will succeed. The culture of vS is laid back and serious at the same time. We all want to do well.
THL: Team Hearth League just finished its first official season, and attracts a mix of casual players and those with a competitive TCG/CCG background. For people who are just starting competitive play, what is your advice on how to prepare for a match or tournament.
cgsongbird: Talk to others! I'm lucky to have a brother who loves video games as much as I do and knows a great deal about Hearthstone. When it comes to competitive preparation, you will rarely know everything about everything, so two heads are literally better than one.
Demigod: Bring your comfort decks, get some sleep, and clear your mind.
Rayc591: I just wrote an article that answers this question, "The Quest for Regionals: A Survival Guide to Open Tournaments." You can find it here.
THL: Have you played in a ATLC format match before? What do you think of it?
cgsongbird: I've played in an ATLC style match once before with my team and fortunately we won! I watched ATLC diligently on Twitch while the tournament was happening and I think it's a really great way to collaborate with your teammates and pool skills. Plus, nowadays anything that isn't straight conquest is a welcome relief.
Demigod: Yes, I find the ATLC format enjoyable because I like to work as a team.
Rayc591: Yes. It was fun, the game becomes a lot easier when you have your team to back you up.
"When it's time to tryhard, nothing will stop us from getting that win." —Demigod
THL: How does preparation differ from normal tournaments formats?
cgsongbird: ATLC style prep differs from other types because you really need to get all team members who are playing together to work out strengths and weaknesses to find the best possible lineup. Everybody has to play different classes, which is great because everybody has different play styles and experiences. If you work everything out correctly, it allows all players to really shine.
Demigod: Not much difference, except practicing communication among each other.
THL: One thing many players in THL have discovered is how much you improve when you play with a team. Vicious Syndicate plays at such a high level, in what ways do you keep pushing each other?
cgsongbird: I've been playing this game for over two years and there's still so much that I don't know. Similarly, my teammates have areas that they excel at and others that need some work. By sharing our knowledge of the game, we all become more well-rounded players and competitors. Anybody can play the game, but a team is there to provide those extra people to bounce ideas off of and to really learn from.
Demigod: What drives me to be better is to see my teammates doing well. I have to one-up them to let them know who is boss :)
Rayc591: I am internally motivated to be the best I can be. Seeing my teammates do well motivates me even more to want to win everything I can.
THL: Our THL team is really looking forward to this match, any parting shots before Salty Showdown?
cgsongbird: Nobody likes losing to a girl. You'll figure that out soon enough :P
Demigod: Happy Feast of Winterveil Champion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rayc591: I never wish my opponents luck before a match. I don't want you to be lucky, I want to win.
THL: Finally, when and where can members of THL look for your Hearthstone streams or any of your additional Hearthstone content?
cgsongbird: You can always find me on twitter @vS_cgsongbird or on twitch at twitch.tv/sagecora! If you're interested in learning more about Hearthstone news, I do a weekly podcast called Coin Concede. We're on iTunes and Stitcher, as well as twitter @CoinConcede and you can learn more at coinconcede.com.
Demigod: You can find me at twitch.tv/demigodhs, thank you !
Rayc591: Twitch.tv/rayc591 and Twitter: @vS_rayc591
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