Category Archives: Hearthstone

Interview with Staz

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.
-Jace

Logitech G231 Prodigy

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 17, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.
REASONS TO OWN A GAMING HEADSET FOR HEARTHSTONE
  1. It’s an essential tool for gamers and streamers.
  2. It helps to provide quality streaming either casually or professionally on Facebook and Twitch TV.
  3. It enables clear communication via the new in-game chat function for coaching and strategy discussion.
  4. Enriches your overall gaming experience!
REVIEW ON LOGITECH G231 PRODIGY GAMING HEADSET
At only 255g, the G231 Prodigy is not only light, but it’s also covered in a sports mesh cloth at the areas where it makes contact with the wearer’s head, namely the ear cushions and the underside of the headband. While leatherette is more commonly used, the mesh cloth is more durable and doesn’t flake off when it gets old. The softness of the material and the way it allows air to ventilate through the mesh keeps the head and ears cool and overall provides great comfort to the wearer. This is a particularly desirable feature, given Singapore’s warm and humid climate. The ear cushions are designed to go around the ear rather than on the ear, which also adds to the comfort regardless of ear size or shape.
The G231 Prodigy also features ear cups that have a wide swivel range of up to 90 degrees. This is makes the headset stand out amongst other headsets that have fixed ear cups because it’s able to accommodate the wearer’s small movements. When other headphones slip, they tend to let in surrounding noise, but the G231’s ear cups swivel and continuously supply steady sound without needing to be readjusted.
The headset provides stereo sound, which is rich and crisp, and this gives the user a complete immersive experience. There is a bit of static sometimes, but this is one of the more affordable headsets so it’s actually quite acceptable for its price.
The unidirectional microphone doesn’t have noise cancelling, but still enables clear communication. The mic is fold-able, meaning you can push it away when you’re not using it, but it’s not retractable. Because of this, some of us feel it’s a bit large and we can’t adjust it to the desired length. If multiple people happen to use the same headset, then each person might need to adjust the length of the mic so having a retractable microphone would be preferable. Having volume control and a microphone muting switch on the wire is also quite useful. This means the user doesn’t have to adjust the volume on their computer when they switch between using the headset and speakers.
In conclusion, the G231 Prodigy is well-rounded and affordable and we highly recommend it for gamers looking to get started with a gaming headset. It’s durable and serves as a good starting pair that are definitely worth investing in!

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.

-Jace

Road to Legend Rank 1 in 2 days

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 6, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.

Our very own katsucurry reached Rank 1 Legend just two days into Season 34 and naturally we are all very excited and eager to know what his secret is so that we can just copy/paste and hope to achieve similar results. Because we all want that “gg ez game bois” deck right?

Think it’s that easy? Katsucurry dedicated more than 20 hours of gameplay and played over 150 games, averaging a win rate of 66%. And he did it with just one deck: Reno Mage. He said that the deck definitely felt like a Tier One option as long as there were no Tier One Druids.

reno-mage-legend-rank-1

Please not that this list was used by katsucurry but created by him.

DECKLIST
Kastucurry says he doesn’t consider himself to be a deck builder, he usually just plays the decks that he thinks are the current best out there. If he were to make any changes to the list, it would be to add additional card draw like Novice Engineer or Acolyte of Pain. The Ice Lance has also been hit or miss for him, so it’s next up on the chopping board.

MULLIGAN
Because this is a Reno deck, there’s no perfect way to make a reliable mulligan guide as there are way too many possible permutations of starting hands.

That being said, katsucurry did provide some tips:

  • Reno Jackson is always a keep except against Druid
  • Kazakus is always a keep
  • You want removal spells against aggressive decks
  • Against control, you want draw spells, cycle/value minions, Emperor Thaurissan and Archmage Antonidas

MATCH UPS
To answer the question that’s on everyone’s minds: No, Pirate Warrior isn’t the top dog on ladder. Out of the 150+ games he played, Katsucurry mostly faced Shamans – usually Aggro Shaman variants – but there were a few Midrange Shamans here and there as well. Other reasonably represented decks were Miracle Rogue, Renolock, Reno Mage, Pirate Warrior, Dragon Warrior and Dragon Priest. Other than Dragon Warrior, the rest of the decks shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Katsucurry said that the easiest deck to beat was Midrange Shaman. This version of Reno Mage also has the edge in a mirror match and against Renolock because of it’s additional reach. Rogues and Dragon Priests feel like the harder match ups for this deck.

STRATEGY
Against aggressive decks, you basically try to survive with removal spells and get to the late game where you can resolve a threat and contest their board position.

Against control decks, you usually go for the burn plan which is really similar to how Freeze Mage wins and sometimes you can go for the value game plan. The burn plan is to crank out a bunch of Fireballs from Archmage Antonidas with the help of Emperor or double 1-cost Kazakus spells and then burn out your opponent to the ground with a little help from Pyroblast or Alexstrasza.

GAME PLAY TIPS
When playing against aggressive decks, the aim is just to survive the early game, so plan your turns in such a way that you take the least amount of damage possible. Don’t be afraid to use cards like Ice Lance just to prevent a few points of damage and keep stalling until you find Reno Jackson or stabilize the board.

Against control, your game plan should be to draw and cycle as much as possible to get to Emperor Thaurissan or Archmage Antonidas. You almost always want to wait for the Brann + Kazakus combo. However, if the situation calls for an emergency Kazakus board clear or if you feel the need to get immediate value in the form of drawing cards and/or developing a board, go for it.

INTERESTING PLAYS
The deck has a few interesting combos that are good to be aware of. Besides the Brann + Kazakus combo, there are:

  • Inkmaster Solia + Pyroblast + Roaring Torch or discounted Fireball can OTK after Alexstrasza or against an active Jaraxxus
  • Inkmaster Solia + 10 mana Kazakus potion on turn 7
  • With 10 mana crystals, Brann + Kabal Courier can potentially find and play Kazakus in the same turn
  • Brann + Kazakus for double 1-cost potions to play with Antonidas

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.

-Jace

Feature Article – Mikkel Goh

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s blog on Aug 2, 2016. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.

Mikkel Goh is an outgoing 17 year old student at BMC International College and is a competitive player in Hearthstone for Team GameForge. He started playing in 2015 through an introduction from Yee Shean, who is a friend and now fellow teammate. Mikkel realized he had potential when he achieved the Legend rank within his second month of picking up the game. He subsequently joined regular tournaments, both official and unofficial, often finishing within the top 32 out of 256 players, and has won at least two of them. With a competitive nature and a background in other card games such as Duel Masters and Vanguard, it isn’t hard to see why Mikkel has done so well.

Mikkel has expressed his desire to be a professional gamer and play Hearthstone competitively full time, which is why he joined the GameForge team just a few months after he picked up the game. He says that enjoys the prospect of attention, fame and respect it will bring him, and that that is his main motivation for training hard. As a student, he has a lot of free time, so he dedicates most of it to Hearthstone. One of the most important lessons he’s learnt is to calm down and manage his emotions well because he cannot think when he’s too stressed. For example, during the Campus Game Fest at ITE College Central in a match against heisnotaxel, he didn’t realise that he had lethal in his hand until the rope started. Thankfully, he saw it eventually and finished his opponent off just before the rope ended his turn.

When asked what he thought of the GameForge team, Mikkel commented that they were still small and that they had much to improve upon. He felt that the team should train together more often, not only to improve their skills but also to strengthen bonds and friendships. Mikkel appreciates the Global Friendly Series and has played in all of them except against MiTH, a team from Thailand. He would like to play against Team Abyssus in the future.

One question Mikkel was asked was what changes he would make or would like to see in Hearthstone, to which he immediately answered: “Reduce RNG”. RNG refers to luck based cards and effects, and stands for Random Number Generator, a function used by digital games to determine random outcomes. By reducing RNG, the overall skill level of players would have to increase, making the game more competitive. He would also like to see some form of active interaction on your opponent’s turn, similar to how instants and abilities work in Magic: The Gathering. Mikkel also disagrees with the having formats such as Standard and Wild as he supports buffing or nerfing existing cards, but since Blizzard has already implemented rotation, he’d like to see some expansion cards be shifted into Classic, so that they can become evergreen.

Random fun facts about Mikkel:
His favourite class is Druid.
He enjoys playing tempo and midrange decks.
He finds the Singapore Shit Post giant very amusing.

And here are some of Mikkel’s tips for new players and players trying to get to Legend:

1. Find a coach
Having someone guide you is very important as he or she can see things from a different perspective. Often when you’re playing the game, your vision becomes one dimensional and you may end up misplaying because you didn’t see a certain angle.

2. Think through your turns
Similar to finding a coach, this allows you to consider all possible plays, even if you’re playing a mindless cancer/smorc deck.

3. Ingrain good fundamental habits
Good habits like thinking through your turns are hard to form, but once you ingrain them, you can save a lot of time in higher level plays because you will instinctively know what to do next.

-Jace