This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 27, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.
Last week, Euneil “Staz” Javiñas won the entire World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) Hearthstone World Finals in Changzhou, China, and has become the first SEA player to have a major win. Bagging a cool USD150,000, a whopping 25kg trophy and bragging rights is nothing short of amazing and it’s probably more meaningful to him as it’s his biggest monetary victory yet.
The PH Alliance player is no stranger to hardship as his professional Hearthstone career has been riddled with potholes. He was repeatedly denied visas to the US which cost him several opportunities to compete. Nevertheless, he persevered and the Filipino finally earned the well deserved title of Champion of a premier Hearthstone tournament.
We managed to ask Staz a few questions and he graciously replied, giving us just a glimpse into his world. Most people would want to know how a full time eSports gamer prepares for such events and Staz’s secret is that he has no secret, just pure hard work. He predicted that most people would bring Reno and Patches decks, which was no surprise to anyone.
Staz himself brought Reno Mage and Pirate Warrior, as well as Miracle Rogue, Renolock and Jade Aggro Shaman. Staz felt that these decks had consistency and he preferred to focus on practicing with the decks than to come up with tournament strategy to counter a specific deck or type of deck. Staz didn’t favour any of his decks in particular, he just practiced with all of them them until he reached a fairly equal level of confidence with wielding each one effectively.
Since he expected meta decks, he practiced with meta decks, which not only let him understand the nuances and weaknesses of each deck, but also translated all that practice into muscle memory. Practice gains experience and enough experience turns into reflex actions and instinct. This meant that playing in the tournament didn’t tax his brainpower as much, which in turn allowed him to use his time each turn more effectively to figure out better plays, lessened the likelihood of misplays, and also extended his mental stamina by that much more.
Staz has a lot of respect and hope for our SEA players and says that he can name “at least 15 players who are equally good or even better than [him] here in SEA”. It’s just that we do not have as much exposure or as many major tournaments as the NA or EU regions. So what can SEA players do to elevate themselves to become world class players? Staz brings it back to hard work and perseverance. Just do your best and grind as many tournaments as you can. Keep practicing and, well, git gud, scrub. Everyone has different points of view and personally for him, he likes to understand all the mechanics and the current state of the meta.
He does feel that playing eSports, Hearthstone especially, is a viable full-time career as there are an increasing number of companies investing in eSports and more major tournaments coming up. There are also teams and sponsors that pay enough to satisfy your basic needs, if you can find them, but that really depends on the cost of living in your country. For example, here in Singapore, the cost of living is really quite expensive compared to that of our neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Just take it from Staz; when asked what the most fun or interesting thing he did (besides winning) while in Changzhou, he said he made a lot of friends and generally had a great time. Imagine living there, where the cost of living is about 50% cheaper compared to that of Singapore, playing Hearthstone everyday and hanging out with great people! You don’t really have that kind of freedom here when the pressures of being an adult have you working at least a part time job to pay the bills.
Our final question we had for Staz was where he saw himself in Hearthstone about two years from now. He replied that, due to Hearthstone’s unpredictability, no one can really look that far into the future. However he did say it could take him anywhere and, when he’s winning this kind of money, he can definitely go wherever he pleases!
Congratulations Staz, you’ve done your country and the SEA region proud. Euneil-ed it!
Written by Jace
Jace is a casual Hearthstone player. Like most players, he has dreams of hitting Legend, but like most players, he’s too lazy to put in the effort. So he writes articles like this one to learn from the true masters. Check out more of his writing attempts at punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com.