Welcome, one and all, to another new series we aim to be bringing you regularly, THL in the Outside World. In this series, we will be following the experiences of THL players in their competitive exploits outside of THL; their successes, failures, trials and tribulations, and above all, what they have learned in the process. In this special first edition of THLOW, our very own Skritch interviewed JetLaw, 1 Seed of Prep Coin Concede, about his experiences winning the EvoGaming LAN tournament which took place in New York a mere 2 days after the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion launched. What’s more, he encountered fellow THL member Asuna in the final!
S: Have you participated in LAN tournaments before? If so how did you do? Is this your first win?
J: I have participated in several LAN tournaments before; the most well-known of these being Pax East last year. Unfortunately, I did not do too well there after losing my first two matches, and I was very disappointed.
However, I spoke with professional Hearthstone player, TerranceM, who cheered me up when he said that you can never let the result of one Hearthstone tournament bother you.
In his first Dreamhack, for instance, he lost his first two matches and then ended up finishing second in the next Dreamhack he played in.
This advice clearly helped because about a month and a half later, I ended up winning a Tavern Hero tournament and got to participate in the HCT Spring Tavern Hero Championship.
S: Has THL helped you in these LAN tournaments? What skill is most important when playing in these tournaments?
J: I’ve played in one season of the Ragnaros League (THL) and two seasons of the Sylvanas League (SHL) and I do think it helps a lot. Just playing in more and more Conquest/Last Hero Standing tournaments gets you more and more comfortable with the format and the meta.
I think the most important skill in LAN tournaments is dealing with fatigue. Most LANs take the entire day to finish, so playing at your best the entire time is difficult. If you end up making a misplay it’s important to forget about it and to stay focused.
S: I know the new expansion launched right before your tournament, so how were you able to prepare for your local meta? Did you play lots of Ladder before to see if any one deck was extremely popular, or did you go in blind?
J: The meta at LAN tournaments is generally not the same as either on Ladder or at other tournaments. This is usually because you will have a mix of inexperienced and experienced players, so you have to be ready to play against ANYTHING. At the last Fireside I played in, I even played against a C’thun N’zoth Rogue. To prepare for this tournament, I played solely Ladder, and watched a few streamers at high Legend play. When the meta is so new, I think it’s much more important to become competent with the decks you are bringing instead of worrying how to counter a certain deck.
S: What was the most popular deck you faced? Was there lots of variety, or one main deck you saw across the board?
J: The format of the tournament was BO5 Conquest with no ban. The most popular archetypes I faced were Tempo Rogue and Zoo Warlock; however, Priest was the most popular class overall.
S: How did you go about deckbuilding? How did you decide what to bring? Especially on one of the first days of a new expansion, what did you do to ensure you brought the best decks you could?
J: It was clear from watching streams and viewing the stats at HSReplay that Murloc Paladin, Zoo Warlock, and Highlander Dragon Priest were all very strong. Tempo Rogue was the most popular deck from the previous meta, so I wanted to have a lineup that could beat it. I had also played a lot of matches with Spell Hunter and was quite happy with how it was performing. For some reason, at this Fireside in the past I had noticed people that usually play here do not bring Murloc Paladin often, and thus expected Tempo Rogue and Zoo Warlock to be the most popular. With this in mind, I brought the following decks:
This Murloc Paladin deck is very aggressive. With the addition of Call to Arms, the deck can easily go wide, which is one way to beat both Zoo and Tempo Rogue. I felt the Hunter and Dragon decks were both strong, all-around decks, and would be comfortable with them in pretty much any matchup.
S: What tips do you have for fellow THL members when talking about LAN tournaments? Do you have to prepare differently, or is it pretty much the same? Anything that would help someone in their first tournament?
J: In general, I think the way you prepare for a Conquest/Last Hero Standing LAN is the same as any other tournament in the format. However, you want to make sure you are very comfortable with the decks you are bringing because you are more prone to making mistakes by playing in an environment you aren’t used to. If you haven’t played in a Fireside before, I would not prepare a crazy amount prior. I actually noticed thatby preparing less, you end up feeling more relaxed, which helps you a lot in dealing with both the pressure of playing in an unfamiliar environment and the fatigue. Additionally, you also have to learn to deal with the logistics of getting to the tournament, waiting for it to start, and possible long breaks in between matches.
Finally, you should always try to be friendly with everyone at the LAN and treat your opponents with respect, regardless of what happens. This is a fantastic way to meet other people who also have a passion for Hearthstone; if you have yet to attend a LAN/Fireside, you should definitely go!
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