Neirea: Bahams will be a vacation for me

Tell your impressions about WESG where only teams consisting of players from one country could participate. Why did World Electronic Sports Games have so little tier-1 players?
— There were so little pro players because of the country qualifiers and most of the top players do not like to participate in qualifiers. In some countries, for example, in Germany, only two players would move to the following stage, as only two slots were reserved for them no matter how many players participated in qualifiers. So if 10 top players participate in the qualifier, only two of them get a chance to continue competition. This time these players were Xixo and BunnyHoppor. In our case, everything was less complicated. In fact, these are the reasons why WESG 2016 had so little top players. As for the impressions, everything was just like usual. It was ok.

— The second season is announced. Will you participate there?
— I will try, of course. The qualifier will be again conducted for the countries, so to get what I want I need to win more.

— So let’s talk about what’s happening today. On ESL Trinity team tournament, you took the first place. How it feels.
— Everything’s great. There was a feeling that we prepared for this tournament a little bit better than other teams. I think that our strategy to create decks was more proper than the strategies of other teams. It is always pleasant to win when you know that it wasn’t an accident, and you’d prepared better than your opponents.

—Will you prepare in a special way?
— We will if this is a LAN tournament.

—In America or online?
— Most likely we will meet, think over and create some new strategies. After certain nurfs, meta was changed so the strategies should also change. Moreover, this is important for such an event, as here all characters will participate and there is always a possibility to find some new tricks. The meta has been changed significantly, and it is difficult to understand what hero to ban. Earlier we banned Shaman, but now we do not know what’s better.

— Let’s move from the team tournaments to solo championship. Recently, HCT Europe Winter Championship has ended. How it was? The Swiss system was introduced to the tournament, but HearthStone players have got used to that. Was that difficult? How you prepared for that event?
— I picked the same decks like in WESG, expect for Reno Mage deck, as I changed it radically. I did not create something new, just made the decks better to play against meta. Of course, they were not perfect, far worse than perfect, but my opponents had more problems with that.

What do you expect from the tournament on Bahamas? This is perhaps the first event of such type in esports. How do you think will it be a vacation or a hard work for most of the players?
—  It will be a vacation for me, as in current meta I expect nothing from myself. It is only possible to create good decks and use your own strategy and expect for the better. It’s the only thing that depends on me.

— Can you tell that CIS region is now the best in HearthStone?
— Three players from Europe moved to the following stage, but I cannot tell that CIS is top-1 in HearthStone. It was an accident.

— The representative of CIS region won BlizzCon. Was it an accident, how do you think?
— It was an accident indeed. Pavel was lucky in those games. He should have lost the second match in a group, but he was very lucky after the game with 3:0 score. It just happened. As for CIS players in general, they did not demonstrate good results on other championships, not only world championships, but also DreamHack and Major tournaments. I mean open-tournaments.

Do you expect bigger number of tournaments this year? DreamHack or ESL for example.
— ESL decided to held HearthStone tournaments again. They’ve made a break and did not conduct HearthStone tournament for a year. Probably they will continue to held HS tournaments. I think that we may expect more tournaments from them. That’s good. I should also mention global tournaments from Blizzard that will be equal to the national games. At the mid of March or something like that will be a voting from countries. There will be 4 players from every country.

— Who will represent Ukraine?
— I don’t know, but DrHippi will be among players, as he has the biggest number of HCT points. That’s for sure. There will be also Kolento, me, and perhaps, NickChipper. 8 players to the discretion of Blizzard will be chosen, and three of them will be seeded to DrHippi’s team.

—  Who will be the strongest players and the worst opponents except for Ukrainian players?
— Players from Germany. They have more good players. However, if Pwnyhof will join the tournament, most of the players can give up the tournament. They do not want to be associated with a player who has such a reputation.

— What about players from Russia, Pavel and Ko?
— Many countries have good players. Even Sweden can gather a good team. But there are some countries which have bigger number of top players. For example, Germany, France, Russia, Greece and Ukraine. These are the countries which got the biggest number of points during the prelims. The biggest competition will be among these countries in Europe. Perhaps, Sweden will join them, and Danish players.

— Now let’s move from the tournaments to the game itself. Blizzard has recently announced a new update. We’ll start with two nerfs: Spirit Claws and Small-Time Buccaneer. Will it be an advantage of disadvantage for HS?
— All changes are for good, not matter what changes, if they are not very bad. I think that’s good as everyone has got tired of Shaman, and they did not become closer to tier-1 class. Only mid-range shaman is left, as it is impossible to play him without weapon and pirate cards. With the changes, the variability appeared. Now, we can play the decks which have been useful previously just like Tempo Mage and Zoolock. There are more possibilities, but at the same time, there are the same problems with Kazakus, Reno Jackson, etc.

— New update Hearthstone with Journey with Un`Goro. The number of cards, adapt. Quests.
— The number of cards is set by default. Adapt is something common to Discover but with 10 stable options. It’s even more like Chose one. Quest for Priest kind of impossible to play. It depends on the cards for the quests, so I can tell that now as half of the existing cards are excluded from standard, three sets disappear, and I just wait when all old sets of cards go away and new meta appears.

— Let’s talk about you. If you haven’t played HearthStone, what other esports game would you choose?
— The main thing is to be good in game (laughing). I’ve played many games (thinking). I think I’d choose Overwatch. I don’t have enough skill for CS:GO.

— Are you telling the skill is not important for Overwatch?
— If you play for support or something like that you don’t need that (laughing)

— Let’s imagine that you have a chance to gather a team from any three players. Who would you choose?
— Dog. But it depends on how to evaluate him. There are players who have a good mechanical play, and there are players who collect good teams. Still, I would choose Dog. And Sjow. But I need to watch on players. There should be synergy you know. I would choose Dog because he has a good approach to the game. He can notice some interesting things. It’s not good, but sometimes he notices moments that I do not notice. That’s because when you play with two more players, it is difficult to remain concentrated, as you play more, just like on ladder or when you stream. So I would choose Dog, Sjow and Ostkaka.

Why did you choose a Swedish player but not CIS players?
— Because I know Dog, Sjow and Ostkata better. It is important to have synergy in the team. I could choose Kolento instead of Sjow or Ostkaka. I’ve chosen a Swedish player because he has a good technical skill, so there would be no miss players. I’ve chosen Dog for his creative approach. Sjow shows a very stable good game.

— When you do not participate in the events do you follow streams? What streamers do you watch?
— I watch English-speaking streamers mainly. Usually I watch Sjow. Also, I watch Tyler and other games. If this is a tournament stream, I still choose English-speaking streams. I don’t like Russian streams. English-speaking commentators are closer to pro-arena even on the game level, and our commentators aren’t.

— How do you think, what may help Russian-speaking commentators? If they are presented on LAN-tournaments, would there be more viewers?
— I don’t think so. People watch Russian streams only because of the language barrier. I just like to watch Frodan, TJ, as it is more interesting to watch their stream as it is more professional. If someone like Kolento commented games in Russian, it would also be interesting for me to watch those streams like it was on DreamHack Bucharest where we were among the commentators.

­— Where did you study?
— I graduated Poltava Technical University, the department of Computer science 2 years ago. I’ve chosen that by myself, as I just liked that. I was capable in mathematics, even not mathematics itself but logic sciences. That’s why I’ve chosen this department.

— Now you are totally dedicated to the game, right?
— Yes! I think that you must spend time as you want till you can so that!

— When your professional career in HearthStone may end? If there some certain age till which you will play?
— No, everything depends on whether the game will be interesting to me and whether I get certain benefits, etc.

— If you get bored with the game, don’t you want to try yourself in commenting or analytics?
— Maybe. I don’t know. I do not have plans yet. I’m just playing.

— Do you have some hobby?
— If watching football is a hobby, I do have it.

— Do you play it?
— Now I don’t play it, but I’ve been playing football previously. If someone asks me to play when I have time, I will go, especially if the company is good.

— Do you want to tell something to the fans or haters? Maybe say thanks to sponsors?
—  Thanks to all our sponsors. Good luck to haters and thanks to the fans!