The Place for Your Hearthstone Needs!
We went to interview AzriTan, who recently won the GameForge Talent Cup, which GameForge organised to recruit new talent. The transcript is as follows:
Q: Hi Azri, congratulations on your win at the GameForge Talent Cup! How are you feeling right now?
A: Hi Silfer, thanks for the interview. I’m feeling absolutely elated. Prior to this, I set myself the goal of winning the Cup and it feels great to prove to myself that I could do it, despite the many doubts I had. The fact that this is my first real experience with the competitive Hearthstone scene makes it all the more meaningful.
Winning the cup also feels special on a personal level because it came at the end of a very trying week. I was very tired and did not have much time to practice during the week of the tournament, as I had to take 7 papers for the Singapore Bar Examinations from Monday to Friday. Winning vindicates my decision to set aside at least two hours a day to practice, despite sacrificing sleep.
On a side note, I think I took the tournament too seriously! My Mum was very concerned when I told her before my exams this was the most important thing I had coming up!*
Q: As it is more of a search for talented players, what do you think of the tournament and the quality of the playing field?
A: I expected the quality of players to be good, and I was not wrong. Although I won 3-0 thrice in the Swiss rounds, I didn’t have any easy matches due to the format matching players with similar win rates. I was just fortunate to bring Freeze Mage, my best deck, which no one banned in the Swiss stages! I also ended up being reverse swept by MikkelGoh and losing quite decisively to Yeeshean (another semi-finalist). In fact, I only qualified for the knock out rounds by the skin of my teeth because I had the lowest win/loss ratio of those who qualified!
I think the tournament is an excellent way to discover talent and forge friendships in the Hearthstone community. It builds on the great work done by Hearthstone Alley and the Hearthstone Singapore team. There are many good Hearthstone players in Singapore, and the region, even if they are unknown. It helps that they are young too, because they have huge potential to develop. On top of that, I met a lot of nice people and made some new friends J
Q: Considering that Blizzard Entertainment has been creating more adventures and expansions at quite a rapid rate, what do you think of the League of Explorers and the current meta?
A: It is true that Blizzard has been releasing more content at quite a rapid rate and I feel that it is in part due to the demand and popularity of Hearthstone. At the same time, I worry for the new player pool because they might not be able to keep up and the new content has not always been good e.g. the underwhelming nature of The Grand Tournament (“TGT”). I enjoyed the League of Explorers (“LOE”) adventure personally and the cards are a great improvement over TGT.
I’m very happy with the current meta because ladder right now is really brutal – everyone is trying different decks, and many of them are viable. It adds a complexity to ladder that we haven’t seen in a long time. It makes it harder to just net deck and climb, knowing that you will be facing up against roughly the same few archetypes, with little variance. You really don’t know what to expect – even the unprecedented popularity of Aggro Shaman lasted for a whole two days!
I’m also glad that LOE has brought back certain classes from the dead, like Shaman and Priest. It is also interesting to see Miracle Rogue back (in a way), although I don’t play the class!
Q: What would you like to see in future adventures or expansions?
A: I hope that future adventures would have roughly the same number of cards as LOE, and of similar quality. For expansions, I wouldn’t be too happy if they release a large number of cards but the cards end up being junk tier, like many of the TGT cards. I love experimenting with cards!
This is a personal thing but I hope they put more effort into interactions, such as emotes and the quotes from the bosses. I also love reading the flavour text of cards, even though often the flavour text is just a lame joke xD
AzriTan’s decklists for the GameForge Talent Cup
Q: What do you think of the Singapore and regional Hearthstone community?
A: I’m very grateful for the work put in by those behind the scenes to develop the Hearthstone community because it is a vibrant place and without the community, I would probably not be playing today. Having other good local players to interact with keeps you on your toes and makes you want to compete. It is also a great source of information for new players because often, they can just ask for help or questions.
I also mentioned earlier that I do believe there are many good players in Singapore. Given the top 100 Legend finishes of many of our players, I’m sure we can definitely be on par with the pros in the U.S. or Europe. The only reason our top players are not being talked about in the same breath as Amaz and Reynad is because we lack the exposure, funding and esports support to take things to the next level.
I don’t know much about the regional community but I would believe the situation is the same. I’ve watched some regional streamers and their play is good.
The reality though, is that right now, you can’t make a living out of playing Hearthstone. And I’m sure that weighs on the mind of many people when they consider spending time on Hearthstone because there are other more practical alternatives, like studying to do well in school or to focus on career. I’ll admit that during my university days, I played a lot less Hearthstone than I hoped because I was focused on doing well.
I hope more girls join the Hearthstone Singapore community EleGiggle
Q: Let us talk about yourself! What is your favourite class and card in Hearthstone, and why?
A: Haha! I don’t think I have a ‘favourite’ class and card. I do like Golden Heroes and Golden cards though xD Although I’m ashamed to admit this, I play whatever decks I feel are the strongest at the moment, although I have a soft spot for Freeze Mage. It feels amazing to come back from near death, fighting against the odds to keep yourself alive, and win with a one-turn knockout.
I’m particularly keen on seeing how Entomb performs. In testing, I’ve found it to be a very solid card that gains acts as removal and silence, loses your opponent tempo as well as giving you a big threat later in the game. I feel now is a good time to add priest to my line-up.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: As I’m currently working, the honest answer will be that first priority will be given to my job, which itself requires a high level of commitment.
However, I always aspire to be the best in whatever I do, and Hearthstone is no exception. Generally, I’m hoping to become a more consistent and level-headed player. On ladder, I tend to react badly to losing and tilt. My level of play is also very mood dependent. So this is something I need to work on.
Specifically, I am happy to announce that I will be joining Team GameForge. I will also be taking part in more tournaments, both online and offline, to improve myself and learn from the best. I’m not the kind of person who learns by watching others or streams, so I’m also hoping to get in touch with good players to either train with them or be guided by them.
Team GameForge for organising a great event and being all around awesome friends – Blank, Turtlepower, MikkelGoh, Amaze, tomatonoob, Avery, Theseanbei and Ryan. Also, kudos to the owner of the GameForge store for allowing us to play there!
ThePandorica for teaching me Freeze Mage and xNVx for his advice as well as tweaks to my Midrange Hunter, both from Abyssus. Luzak from Black Ravens for his advice on lineups.
Lastly, my Mum for always believing in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
*Azri was joking by the way.
Silfer is a passionate Hearthstone player, who wishes to grow gaming communities and the eSports scene. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; do drop a ‘Hi!’ or give feedback!
Edited by Silfer