By competing every week of the second Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series, the amateur team TQ qualified for the Series Finals with an impressive 2nd seed placing. We recently reached out to their team captain Redian to learn more about their origin and goals. The following transcript has been edited for length. Thank you to Redian for taking the time to answer these questions!
Be sure to catch Redian and the rest of TQ compete in the Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series 2 Finals! The Finals are this Wednesday, August 2nd at 6 PM PDT and will be streamed on https://www.twitch.tv/heroeshype.
Could you introduce yourself as well as your team? Basically, who are you and how did you form?
I’m Redian, the captain of TQ, and that’s just the name of our team. People have asked us if it stands for anything but it doesn’t. We got the 5-man roster together maybe, 3 months ago? 4 months ago. It started with me trying to join a couple of amateur teams that were forming because people were really excited about the changes that were coming to the Open Division and everybody wanted to jump in. I tried to join a bunch of teams and it didn’t work out, but through that I met my first teammate who was really on board with the idea: Renray who plays Support. Previously he had played World of Warcraft and was part of a top-level raiding guild. Shortly afterwards his friend Waddle who is really our true flex on the team, he signed up because they were both looking for the same thing that I was. A team that could get together and try to make it into the Open Division and just get some games in on the competitive scene in general.
At that point we just really wanted to play the game with a group of 5, people who liked the game and weren’t super salty. We realized of course we needed two more members, and I kept searching the forums. I searched the Battle.net forums, I searched numerous discords, I sent over 27 messages. Out of those 27 messages I got 6 responses. Out of those 6 responses, 3 people expressed actual interest in showing up. Out of those 3, only 1 did show up, and they shortly departed afterwards.
So we had to readjust our strategy. I went into Hero League and just started grinding games looking for anyone who A) had a baseline mechanical skill level and B) didn’t seem to get tilted. That’s where I met Fatal, our ranged DPS. The conversation was literally, “Hey, you seem like a good player. Want to join our team?” and he was like “Sure!”. Our last player Woven, who’s pretty much our Melee Flex, I messaged him through Battle.net. He posted in one of the amateur looking for team chats so I messaged him and he expressed interest in showing up. We got him in pretty quickly because he was pretty much exactly what we were looking for.
All of that took place over the span of several months. This didn’t happen in a day or a week, it was stretched out over a month. As far as our 5-man roster we’re not that old at all, but that’s the origin story of TQ.
I didn’t realize how long of a process that could be! That actually leads into my next question: do you have any advice for players who want to put together a competitive amateur team?
For other players looking to get into the scene through the Open Division or other tournaments like Heroes Hype, obviously you need 4 other players who can work together. What I quickly learned was that trying to find players based solely on Hotslogs MMR or ranking in Hero League or Team League is completely ineffective. Looking at somebody’s MMR is not the truest indicator of skill, you’ll need to sit down and play with them to understand where they are truly at. Find people who enjoy Heroes of the Storm and get people who are interested in playing as a group. Improving as a group. Then you can slowly inch your way to the competitive level.
I understand that some people are really stuck on the idea of “I need a team with all Grandmasters” and they must have had previous tournament experience and all of these other requirements. But more often than not, those are the teams that don’t last very long. Not because they aren’t good at the game, but because there’s no real synergy. They all like playing the game individually from that standpoint but they don’t really understand what it means to be on a team.
So ignore the MMR side of things, find players that enjoy the game and want to play it competitively. There’s a huge, huge difference between soloing in Hero League, the skill level and skillset required for that, and playing the game competitively as a 5-man, in comms, against another team that’s a 5-man, in comms. So that’s my spiel on that.
Could you describe that synergy for your team?
So we have another member of our team who’s kind of like our coach/analyst type of guy. Manager of sorts, Romedy. I got in contact with him when I had my first competitive HotS experience and we pretty much became friends. We followed each other around. Anyway, he’s our analyst and he did a really fantastic job of setting out how to achieve “cohesion”, is the word he would use. He’s very, very intelligent and that’s a massive understatement.
Before I said “synergy” is like the buzz-word, what you hear the most if you watch SolidJake or JHow, or really anybody. Any caster, any major voice in the scene, they’ll talk about the synergy between the players. They’ll talk about the synergy between the Medivh and the Illidan, or whatever the case is.
We kind of threw synergy to the wayside because it didn’t communicate enough of what we wanted. So we settled on this idea of cohesion. Without trying to tell his story, Romedy is a Psych major and he’s working on his Doctorate if I’m not mistaken. He’s particularly interested in team psychology so the perspective he was able to provide was pretty invaluable. So we set forth, we came up with a number of elements that we wanted to keep within the team. I’ll just read verbatim what we have in our Discord:
“Couple of opening thoughts: psych and group therapy suggest that all groups of five to fifteen members requires the same four foundational elements: consistency, support, trust, and cohesion.”
Consistency is pretty much what it sounds like. If you have a schedule, adhering to that schedule. Showing up at the same time however many days that you decide to show up for and just continuing with that process and that pattern.
Support is if somebody asks for help within the team environment make sure they can get that help and that you are not ridiculing them. That’s where the non-tilting, non-salty requirement that we had for the team came into play. Because if you are going to lose your cool, lose your temper, and you end up insulting or criticizing way more than edifying your teammates then that becomes an issue.
The third part, trust comes when are playing the game together. So for example, I play Warrior. I guess I didn’t say that before, I’m the main Warrior the main Tank for my team, I’m the main combat shotcaller for sure. I can’t be omniscient, I don’t think anybody can. When you are playing the front-line, let’s say I’m on E.T.C. and I call a Li-Ming who happened to teleport forward and attempt to get a reset and now she’s out of position. When I Powerslide in as E.T.C. that’s it, that’s your lifeline. So once you are in as E.T.C. you are in. Trust is being able to call that target, Powerslide in and trust that your team is going to do everything they can within their role to facilitate pulling off a victory in that situation.
The last part, cohesion is a little more technical, but it’s the intragroup dynamics. The challenge with that is trying to make sure that all 6 members are able to communicate and mesh in a way that we can build on our strengths and minimize our weaknesses and moving forward as a group.
Being comfortable with each other is a big thing that perhaps isn’t talked about. Realize that if you have a goal, whether it’s for Heroes Hype or the Open Division you are going to be playing with that roster, that team for a very long amount of time. I think I spend the same amount of time with my team as I spend with members of my family. There’s a significant investment of time and resources as well as emotional energy that comes into that. Building up that cohesion and making sure there is some sort of baseline comfort around each other and we can communicate in a way that isn’t going to have people walking on eggshells or feel awkward.
That’s how we decided to construct the team, and we’ve been working on it. This wasn’t an overnight thing. Like I said it’s been months in the works. Every now and then we have to go back and re-evaluate. So that’s why I say it goes beyond the blanket term, the ambiguous term “synergy”. To keep a team together you’ve got to go a little bit deeper than that.
One of those pillars is something I’d like to talk about next. You are a team that has competed in every tournament for the Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series 2. With that kind of consistency, what would a victory here in the Finals mean to you and your team?
We have never really measured success in terms of how far we made it in the bracket. We acknowledge any progress that’s made because we did improve over time. The first two tournaments we didn’t make it very far. We showed up and then we got bodied. We look at every game and try to assess what we did right and what we did wrong. The end goal is not to win the scrims or win the tournament, it’s to be a better team than we were before.
So a victory for us would more than likely constitute going up against a challenging team, and I think anybody in that bracket, by virtue of making it to the Finals is going to be a challenging team for us to face. Our team’s thought process is to always view ourselves as a challenger and we are never going to underestimate our opponents ever. A victory for us would simply be to play well. Even if we get 2-0’d by an opponent. If we played well and we can learn something from assessing that replay, then that’s a victory for us.
Don’t get me wrong, winning Heroes Hype would be phenomenal! I would be very, very excited and my team would be super excited. But we have to temper that excitement with knowing that this is just a milestone toward the ultimate goal of continuing on to the Open Division and making it to the Playoffs. Get into the top 2 and contend for the Crucible. That is the dream. The goal. The victory. Everything else along the way are just instances we can use to help get us there.
I have one last question, do you have anything that you may want to say to your fans?
Oh man, I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of your existence! If we do have fans that would be incredibly humbling. Perhaps to the few that do exist and may exist in the future, thank you for your support. Even if it’s just you are lurking and silently pulling for us to win in a tournament, we appreciate that. Even somebody saying “Man, TQ played well” in the chat, those sort of things go a long way because we are not used to hearing that at all.
To the fans, we are definitely going to keep working super, super, super hard. If there’s one thing I can pride our team in, it’s that we work hard. So your trust in us may not be rewarded immediately, but stick with us down the line. We will become a force to be reckoned with.
Be on the lookout for additional interviews this week from SLICEBLADE of the 101st North Umberland Fusiliers as well as Vestige from Firm Handshake!