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The Hotseat #4 – Allura

Allura LongIn ‘The Hotseat’, we will interview regional Hearthstone players about them or anything Hearthstone.

Moving on from last week’s interview with Xinhuan, we will be asking Allura what he thinks about Hearthstone and himself in our fourth edition!

Hi Allura; nice to have you on ‘The Hotseat’ today! Will you like to do a little self-introduction to our readers?

Hi, my name is James, and I am 26 this year. I play Hearthstone for Team ManaSurge, and recently earned myself the nickname of ‘Alluraman’ or ‘The Black Knight’ during eGTV’s Road to Northrend Tournament.

Haha; will you like to talk more about your ‘Alluraman’ tag?

Ah. It sorta happened during my series against Persona, a Filipino player who was using  an extremely unorthodox Mage deck with seemingly random cards.

I used The Black Knight on one of his Mirror Images based on my prior experiences against typical Mage decks that do not run other taunt creatures; the casting crew went berserk at that point as they could see that he had several other taunt creatures in his hand.

He played a Sen’jin Shielmasta and Booty Bay Bodyguard shortly after to my utter disbelief.  I eventually lost that match, and the moment stuck out for both the audience and the casting crew, and the nickname sort of stuck after that.

I see; how do you feel being publicised as one of the region’s more well-known players?

I do probably have to credit Babael of eGTV for that; I suspect that he had a hand in it when there was an article write-up about the lineup for our newly formed team (ManaSurge).

As I didn’t have any note-worthy tournament wins under my belt at the time, I really do not feel that I am one of the more popular players here; just touted so.

Speaking of tournaments; how do you rate your performance in them so far?

To be perfectly honest, I have not been showing results at tournaments, either getting knocked out early or making semi-deep runs, but hardly a podium finish. To date, I have only achieved a podium finish at Hearthstone Alley’s February Pauper tournament, and top 5 for Cycle Playoffs for eGTV’s Road to Northrend tournament.

Performance-wise, I do believe that I can play much better, and am certainly not performing as well as I should be. However having said this, I do have to add (with some salt) that Murloc decks are the bane of my Hearthstone existence thus far, having roadblocked my progress in a few tournaments. These situations can be frustrating to be in, as I consider this particular deck to be rather “all-in”, an unstoppable force when a “Godlike” hand is drawn, and you not being able to counter-attack, or vice versa. It results in a situation, where the skill of your opponent does not really matter.

What are your thoughts towards the Hearthstone community?

The local hearthstone community has been a joy to meet and play with thus far. Although the scene is still young, I believe it has the potential to grow into a much larger and vibrant community, aided by the numerous events and tournaments being held by Hearthstone Alley and eGTV thus far.

Despite this seemingly small local player pool, I have been quite pleasantly surprised to meet many other strong players as well; many who are now friends and teammates in ManaSurge. I would not have had the opportunity to meet them had I not participated in these tournaments.

What are your plans towards Hearthstone in the future?

I hope to be able to better myself as a competitive player, and improve my performance in future tournaments and events.

I do not intend to ‘go pro’, however, and make this a full-time endeavour, as I have other plans in mind after finishing my degree in the middle of this year.

Allura Long

What do you think of Hearthstone’s standing in the future?

I believe it has a bright future ahead, evidenced by the growing communities both locally and worldwide.

Recent eSports news announced that big MNCs are starting to enter the scene with large prize pools and sponsorships while pro players have also shown affirmation with regards to this growing trend.

What do you feel about the current meta?

I feel that the current meta is rather static at present, with a large majority of people playing very similar decks; flavor of the month decks do make an appearance when famous streamers release new decklists on streams or programmes.

For example, almost every Druid deck is called a “Strifecro Druid” or a variation thereof as a large quantity of the cards that form the core of the deck is essentially the same  (Ancient Watchers, Force of Nature + Savage Roar Combo) and the cards that fall out of this category sort of ‘flavour’ the decks, albeit with very limited variation.

Shaman decks as well seem to be the same way, as the first half of the deck list usually runs the same cards with only one or two card difference.

Any suggestions on how to keep the meta fresh?

Other than expanding the card pool (something which we have no control over, as we eagerly anticipate Blizzard’s decision), I believe that the meta (outside of the typical rock, paper, scissors shifts,) or more accurately deck variety, can be increased by having more people experimenting with different cards and combinations, like what the Hearthstone teams and streamers are doing.

If the general community does this, and not resort to ‘Net Decking’, a larger variety of deck types will enter and keep things different and interesting. Based on friends’ and personal experience, deck variety is usually only seen in the lower rank tiers of ladder, and at Legends tier, with those in between comprising of mostly ‘Net Decking’ players.

I feel that Hearthstone could use a segment similar to what popular YouTube and Twitch streamer Day[9] does for his Starcraft 2 channel, Funday Monday. To the unacquainted, Funday Monday is a segment of Day[9] where he sets a new theme, idea or restriction every week and players in the community will play and submit replays relevant to that, be it their own or other people’s games. I think that if something similar was implemented which the general community can participate in, I feel that there will be very interesting results.

On that note, I believe that ESGN has produced a segment somewhat similar to this, except it involves Frodan as they craft and try out new or unorthodox decks or ideas. I feel that its a good direction to be heading towards, but if an opportunity was presented to the general Hearthstone community to participate in, the results could possibly be a lot more favorable.

Sounds exciting; do you have any favourites in Hearthstone?

Mostly famous Youtube and Twitch celebrities, like Kripparian, Trump, Artosis, Strifecro, and Reynad.

I believe the Druid is your favourite class? You have been seen playing extensively on it.

Yes; Druid happens to be my go-to class for quite awhile now, both in and out of tournaments. The playstyle is one that I really enjoy, as it rewards good decision-making, but can be very unforgiving and punishing when misplays are made.

This makes the class quite challenging to play competently, and is an attractive point for me. It also provides alot of stability and versatility, with multiple cards that give options in their abilities (heal, draw, damage, silence) and allows the player to make a large variety of plays against many different types of decks. Although there are other classes and decks that are potentially similar in some aspects, Druid is the class that I’ve played with the most, and also the class the I am most comfortable with.

Thanks for the interview James; will you like to give any shout-outs?

I’d like to give a shoutout to Team ManaSurge for recently winning eGTV’s Hearthstone Standoff, particularly Sushiboy who carried hard with 4 wins, and both Hearthstone Alley and eGTV for all your time and dedication in growing the community.

What do you think of Alluraman? Let us know who you will like us to highlight next!

Stay tuned to Hearthstone Alley, or our Facebook and Twitter for the latest Hearthstone and community news!

– Silfer

Image Credits: Silfer

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2014 by in The Hotseat.

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