The intro weeks of HeroesHype Tempo Storm Series 3 have been exciting all-or-nothing brawls filled with both new teams and old. These teams are made of amateur players who put their heart and soul into the game to build a winning team. Each week is filled with scrim matches to practice and then watching replays to see where they can improve their play-style. As a viewer, all that is seen of that dedication comes down to matches that can last only fifteen minutes. We aim to change that with our series of interviews with various players from the Finals teams.
Today we sit down with one of a pair of brothers, none other than EKevin. He and his brother come from our current second place team, Animals. Starting off the Series with a bang, they won the first week Finals against Team Numerics and continued to accrue points through the following weeks. They’ve gone through quite a few changes to their roster during the Series but have still made it into the Finals. Halorin talks to EKevin about that and more:
Halorin: Hello everyone, my name is Halorin and it’s my pleasure to be joined by and sit down and have a few moments with the senior E-bro, EKevin of the Animals. How are you tonight good sir?
EKevin: I’m doing fine, thanks for having me.
H: Yeah man. I’m thankful for you to sit down and talk with us a little bit going into HeroesHype Tempo Storm Series 3. You and I had a chance to speak recently with EToby, your brother, on HeroesHype Live. But for those who haven’t yet seen, do you want to give a short introduction to yourself and also give a little background about Animals as a team?
E: Sure. Hi, I’m EKevin. Me and my brother play Heroes of the Storm. We’ve been around for a little bit. We played for UTA for 2017 Dorms and we won, so yeah.
H: That’s good.
E: (Laughs) For our team the Animals, it’s just a group of friends we put together and we were like “hey, it’s too late to do Open. We should do something.” We just got together and made Animals. We played in the last few Opens, but we didn’t have enough time to accrue points, but we made it for the HeroesHype Finals.
H: Cool man. Like you said, the Animals is largely a team that’s a group of friends, but in spite of that, you guys play at a consistently high level. We’re coming up on the end of the HGC Open Division with the Crucible taking place this weekend. One of your big rivals over the course of this season, Team Numerics, actually placed fourth in the Open Division. Has that affected your drive as a competitive player to see a team you consistently rumble with here at HeroesHype Tempo Storm Series make it to the top four? Does that fuel you to try and show up for the next Open Division and try to put together a more serious team?
E: Kind of. I’m really good friends with Quonzar, one of the players [of Team Numerics]. I met him at Heroes of the Dorm event, the LAN at Las Vegas. We got to meet up, hang, chill. We became really good friends there, so on the side I really support him, I really want him to do well. Whether it’s the Open, HeroesHype, or whether he plays in the next Dorm tournament, I’m there to root and cheer for him, but flip-side, it kind of makes me want to try hard and see if we can better them kind of.
H: No. I definitely get it. It’s cool to hear that you developed this friendship with Quonzar because like you said, you guys ran into each other at the Heroic Four this year, Heroes of the Dorm. I really like the idea that you guys have formed a friendship and that you’re there to support him for next year. I do believe Quonzar is looking to take part in next year’s Heroes of the Dorm, so having the 2017 Champion in your corner is never a bad thing in that situation I’d say. Before the Animals in particular, like you said, you guys clashed with Team Numerics in weeks one and two. Some of the most entertaining amateur action we’ve had so far at HeroesHype Tempo Storm Series. You go through a bit of a roster change and that affects a bit of the overall standings, but you had a really strong showing for week number five. Do you want to show us this newest iteration of the Animals, and how you guys have formed together for the Finals coming up?
E: So, a lot of things happened. I can’t say because of personal issues, but some of us had to depart, but overall we just asked around to see if anyone wanted to fill-in. We got boris and 420blazeit and basically we just asked them, right? We just whispered them “do you want to play with us?” And they said “sure why not, we’re free.” It wasn’t anything too fantastic, but yeah.
H: Well, I mean to come together in such a short time, I think you guys have done really well from what we have been able to see. How has the dynamic changed with these new players coming in? You didn’t have much of a rapport with them before. Bringing in two new faces, new personalities, to a core structure already is always a challenge. How has that been for you guys?
E: I want to say it’s been too difficult. We all came in with the intentions of having fun. Playing together, have fun. We’re not too focused on winning. We still want to win, it’s just we’re trying to be lax about it, you know? We don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings over this. When they came in we were fairly friendly at the start, and we’ve been really nice to each other. The whole team dynamic is kind of weird. We’re just really good friends with each other and I don’t think anything is going to break us apart if that makes sense.
H: No, it definitely makes sense. Like you said, you and Toby in particular are Heroes of the Dorm winners. Didn’t drop a game in that entire tournament. You transitioned into the competitive scene, you were a strong contender in phase one of the Open Division with your roster. You made some waves in phase two, like you said you weren’t able to put together a roster in time. How has the overall amateur scene, in your opinion, developed over the course of HeroesHype Tempo Storm’s inception, the first phase of HGC Open Division, to now? How do you think that’s changed?
E: I’m going to say this in comparison to what we played against in phase one, or the first Open Season Division. I think a lot of people grew as players. I’m trying to think of a good way to say this. I think the overall level of Open Division, even though there hasn’t been drastic increase of skill level, I think there was a noticeable difference in skill level. The player pool got a lot higher, the skill player pool got a lot higher. The meta changed where it’s like you have to actually be smart to play the game now (both laugh). I just think the overall amateur scene is continually evolving and I think that’s a good thing for the scene. It’s nice to see how much change is happening in HeroesHype, Open Division, etc. and so forth.
H: I’m really glad you mentioned HeroesHype because I have this working theory that phase one Open Division, it’s a wakeup call in a lot of ways I feel to the amateur players. To have a direct on-ramp to the pro level. Last year we had these Regionals. If you don’t win the Spring one, you can show up in a few months for the Summer, but there’s a more direct structure. On top of the HGC Open Division, I really like what the folks behind HeroesHype Tempo Storm Series in particular have really been able to bring to the amateur scene because it brings that sense of tournament level competition. It’s a far more serious endeavour than just scrimming. Would you agree that things like HeroesHype have helped to be part of that overall equation to grow that amateur scene?
E: It’s kind of hard because I haven’t been playing in amateur tournaments for the last x-amount of months. I just recently started going back into HeroesHype. I would say from my experience up until right now for the short amount of time that I’ve been in HeroesHype, I’d say yes. It’s a good way to experience tournament formatting. It’s a good way to experience this game matters, we can’t just screw around or throw this game off because we don’t feel like it. I think overall HeroesHype makes it a good experience for the players if they want to try and go into Open Division. The way I see it, if you’re a group of people that think you’re good at the game, I think HeroesHype is a good metric to use for yourself to see if you’re actually ready to play in a competitive setting. You have the right mentality to play in that competitive setting.
H: I agree. I definitely agree. It’s really cool to hear your insight on that. Going into this Series of HeroesHype Tempo Storm Series 3, we have eight very strong teams going into this. You’re in the top three, a deserved spot for sure. Are there any teams in particular going into the Finals that you’ve been looking out for, that you’ve done research on, that you’re preparing for? Do any team stick out for you?
E: The only team that really puts a thorn in our sides is probably Team Numerics just because they have fasdfasd. (Sighs) If you watched Open Division, even HeroesHearth had to ban Cho’gall against him, and that just shows you how annoying their Cho’gall players are. It’s like, if you’re forced to have to ban Cho’gall because their Cho’gall is that good, it’s just like “what do you do?” But I feel like they are the only team that we both historically and right now feel like is the only trouble that we might face.
H: That’s fair. That’s definitely fair. I feel like for the Animals your biggest strengths are the core structure you have with your brother and Droplets. We’ve seen you guys act as a strong trio for a while here with the Animals roster, and you have two new folks coming on. What would you say is your personal, or your team’s biggest strength going into the Finals?
E: I think our biggest strength right now, a lot of people don’t recognize, is having a dependable solo-laner, which is Droplets. A lot of the meta right now revolves around having a double front-linee or double supportee kind of thing, but I feel it’s really necessary and really vital to have a dependable off-laner/solo-laner. In my point of view, he pretty much sets the pace of how the game should go. If you have a Malthael on top lane that straight up loses, your team has to make up so much for that. With a person like Droplets who doesn’t fail to deliver what he’s good at, it’s very refreshing and reassuring to have on the team.
H: I got to agree and that’s definitely a stand-out feature you guys have. I feel like in general the role of solo-laner can be something of an unsung hero. I agree with you, it opens up a lot of opportunities if they can even get a take-down and force out a rotation from the enemy team. That, if even passively, has a huge impact on the array of options a team has on how they can rotate things. I’m really glad that you see that as a strength as well. To anyone who doesn’t have a team that they’re backing, that they’re rooting for going into the Finals, I wanted to see if you had a few words on why someone should become an Animal’s fan going into the Finals?
E: I don’t know (both laugh). I don’t know how to self-promote myself, but I hope to the people who have been rooting for me and Toby for the past year, I hope they keep supporting for us and rooting for us even though we split ways with Evandrinde. Since we’re on Animals now, I hope they can continue to support us and support Animals. Even though this team was made for fun and just to play around with, I still believe that we are decent enough to be taken seriously. Just because I said we’re not try-harding doesn’t mean we don’t want to win. I hope people realize that and I hope people; like I’m no huge fan of Droplets. He’s been my friend for a while and I hope people see how good of a player he is. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a fantastic friend and I hope more and more people realize how good he is and I hope more people support him. But yeah.
H: I agree man. A big shoutout to Droplets. I’m going to self-promote for you for a little bit here EKevin.
E: (Laughs) Okay.
H: You’re one of the most humble, even-keeled people we have in the scene. I had a chance to speak to you at HeroesHype Live and you really went into detail on how alive your competitive endeavours is to help see to your brother’s success, Toby. I thought that was a really cool aspect, that part of your drive is to help see your brother succeed. So for you to also give a shoutout to Droplets and say I hope people support him and I want to hoist him up in some ways as well, I think is really cool. It’s a very selfless gesture and I think that’s very respectful. Something to be commended and something to root for. So I think you’re going to have a lot of fans in the audience come the Finals. People shouting “Los Animales” and everything else in the chat, so I’m looking forward to it man. I know you say you guys formed together for fun, but you’re a competitor. You have that want to win, so even if it’s your definition of for fun (both laugh), is a lot more serious than hearing that on the surface level. I know you guys are going to show up and put your best foot forward and definitely come out on top. I’m looking forward to it man, good luck.
E: Alright. Thanks dude, I appreciate it.