Before the North American Storm
This weekend’s tournament had some of the most exciting matches I have ever had the privellege of watching but before we entered the bay doors at the Las Vegas convention center I was awarded the opportunity to speak with some of the teams. I wanted to get an in depth look of what the players were thinking and feeling before the tournament began. In this column the focus will be going over some of the players thoughts not only on the matches that were coming up but some if the insights they had for the game and some of the things they would like to see implemented and can give you an insight to the thoughts going through these top teams minds.
Right off the get go, Complexity had their eyes on Cloud9 (one of the heavy hitters in the tournament) saying that they were focusing on shutting down the drafts for Cloud9. Following up with a quick statement saying that they were confident facing Rexxar or using him, and they were not concerned about the reverse ban of Rexxar and that it didn’t shake or change their game plan going into the tournament.
When it came to commenting on changes before Blizzcon and the growth needed going forward they wanted to see more Blizzard-funded tournaments and more fan-funded tournaments. Most of the gameplay is currently being held by a third-party. They feel this would be a positive way to see growth within the community.
Cognitive stated that they felt pressure against Complexity to move forward, though they Felt strong going into the semi-finals. Curious about how they felt going up against Cloud9, Donald Duobbin said: “Idream came out of the womb tilted,” which got a few chuckles out of the crowd. The jovial nature in which he said this in no way made it feeling like he was attempting to put the player down. The team had a strong air of confidence and Michael Fisk made his voice heard stating: “[We will be] pulling out some wonky strats to force some bans”.
Cognitive was asked about how they get themselves hyped before a tournament with a bit of a chuckle they responded: “Before going into the matches, we do popcorn sentences.” Essentially saying they do three sentences of where someone starts and the rest of the team finishes. We asked the team what they planned do with the money if they won and the responce filled my own heart with pride for eSports: “We don’t care about the money we just want to win.”
The room was shaking with anticipation as Cloud9 took their seats and one of the first questions out of anyone’s mouth was how they felt about Rexxar. They stated that they had little experience with or against him and Derek Arabian went on to say that [they were] “frustrated on the reverse ban of Rexxar”. The team agrees that we can all expect unexpected drafts and maps in this upcoming series.
In regards to helping the game grow before Blizzcon, the team stated that “we would like to see more in-depth leaderboards, grand-master leaderboard to assist growth in the game.”
All eyes have been on this team for the whole series. It was not something that they were unaware of, and they were “Feeling the pressure of the first seed.” However that was not due to any jitters of being on the main stage saying: “Feeling prepared for the stage in Vegas, having the best presence on stage at any event.”
Trying to get an insight on how they planned on playing for the tournament they addressed the question by stating: “Take up the early game, race to ten and don’t give up resources.” That they were in it to win it. As long as it is not against the rules, it’s in the aresenal. Showing us the spirit and determination of players that have competed at this high level.
When it came to commenting on the changes they wanted to see with heroes: “The map spread crippled the competition and makes it not viable for the stage of Blizzcon.” Essentially pointing out the amount of maps could be a hindrance moving forward toward worlds.
The teams had a clear view of what they wanted out of this tournament and what they were willing to do to get it. All of these interviews were held separately, but they all seemed to have a sense of cohesion on what they wanted changed about the game coming up before Blizzcon, they expected to see from other teams, and how they thought this event was going to be like for themselves. It only goes to show you that the old adage proves true: “Great minds think alike.”