With only five weeks in a season, teams must quickly adapt and prove their worth for the finals. 101st North Umberland Fusiliers, last seasons champions, have already proven before that they belong here. We recently spoke to one of their players, Sliceblade, to learn about the mentality and poise a team must pertain in order to succeed. Thank you to Sliceblade for taking the time to answer these questions!
Be sure to catch Sliceblade and the rest of 101st North Umberland Fusiliers 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.
Halorin (H): How’s it going taliant, or should I say Sliceblade now.
Sliceblade (S): I think we’re going pretty permanently with the Sliceblade. I think it’s time. It started as a joke, it’s just been too much fun to give it up.
H: New name, same level of skill. To those who have not been introduced to you, do you want to say hello and tell us a little bit about your team?
S: Sure! I mean, anytime anyone talks about us, it always starts with 2ARC into NICE and now what is the most common or newest iteration, Donkeys R Us / 101st North Umberland Fusiliers. Which is only still the name because I had decided I had to click too many times to make a new team on Battlefy. So we were like whatever just let it ride. But we have a really, really good crew. Everyone is super dedicated both to being successful and to the team and everyone has a really good work ethic. So it’s a great group of guys to play with. Very amenable, rarely do people butt heads and if that happens we just say take it to the replay so we can figure out how to get on the same page and it’s just been a good process moving forward as a team so far.
H:Nice man, I think it’s really important to point out that you guys have been together for a long time. I’m sure there are people that are spectators and fans of the amateur scene and they see the names like 101st North Umberland Fusiliers or Donkeys R Us and they don’t really get the connection to NICE or 2ARC. So there’s definitely been something of a history or evolution for you guys. Last season for Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series you guys were the winners. At the time your name was 4 Guys and a Legend. Legend moved on to Flame is Lame. But you’ve picked up Pichante. We talked about this a little earlier in the season and you said he made a great addition. Since then, going into the finals now, how has he fit into the rest of the roster?
S: So, Legend and him had a very similar hero pool, and whenever you’re trying to plug and play someone like that it always helps, a lot. And then Pichante aka Drake brings such a high level of mechanical skill so that was great too. But I think why he’s been a better fit for our team and why i’m excited moving forward is he came in a little bit more of a blank slate. Like a lump of clay. We were more able to say we view this fight, in replay or whatever, this way. This is how we think we should handle this situation and next time it happens this is how we want to handle it next time so we don’t screw it up again. And I can remember often times Legend and I or Legend and Lz would not see eye to eye or have a common ground with things. But with Drake, he’s like, “Hey that sounds great”. We’ll do the dive and leave Gul’dan hanging in the winds in the back. So I think we’ve been able to become more synergistic as a team as a result of having him. Legend, a player of that skill level, is always missed but I think we’re doing just fine.
H: I’d have to agree with that. It’s something really cool that hasn’t been around for a long,like Drake, but has a vast amount of potential. And I think it’s kind of reinvigorated you guys and has opened you up to new strategies by having a newer perspective. I think it’s definitely something that’s helped you guys out. Would you agree with that?
S: Oh absolutely. His story was kind of funny. He was literally just sitting around. Legend told us he was leaving the team. We made a list and he was on the top of our list and no one had tried to pick him up. It was also a timing thing. It was a feeding frenzy with the next season of the open division just about to start and we got there a couple days earlier. He said people had been messaging him for days after we had just picked him up. So now I feel kind of lucky that we got there first. And it has been such a good fit so he hasn’t been disgruntled or anything like that.
H: Definitely man. So for you specifically, to have the roster change and to go under a new name, how would it feel to win series 2 of Heroes Hype Tempo Storm.
S: Oh of course anytime you can put weeks and weeks of effort into something like these seasonal leagues and come out on top it’s such a great feeling. It’s the payoff of all the hard work you know, the blood, the sweat, and the tears and the sacrifices you make every night where you’re grinding out those tournaments late into the AM. You’ve got work in four hours and you don’t have the best day the next day. But then to come in and be able to convert on what you’re trying to do obviously is a really good feeling. I’m really excited Imported Support is playing in this tournament as well because they didn’t play in the last one. I think that’ll up the level a fair amount for the overall tournament too.
H: Absolutely, I mean the North American amateur scene has definitely escalated a good degree in the overall level of play. Specifically in Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series there are some higher profile teams like yourself and Imported Support. I think the finals are going to be a stronger challenge than last go around but at the same time you guys specifically have made a name for yourself. One of the two amateur teams to make it into Bloodlust, you guys are top contenders in the open division. Do you guys think you are on the track to make it through the crucible and into the HGC?
S: I think, this is my feeling and I think it’s largely reflected by the team that we’re close but we’re not quite there yet. We’re performing at a decent enough level for the Open cups and Heroes Hype. Obviously we didn’t have a very good showing in Bloodlust. But I could make some pretty strong excuses there, like for the first series we found out five minutes beforehand that we were playing on west. I think i’ve played 14990 games of HotS on central and maybe 10 on west. That was a big blindside and that was the sixth day of tournaments in a row so everyone was grouchy. So I think the only thing we need to get to the level where I think I can give you an emphatic yes is we need everybody to play well at the same time. I think we often times, because of real life schedules, people come in and they’re dragging or whatever reason and we haven’t assumed our final form yet and watch out when we do.
H: I think that’s a really interesting point to make. Everyone has an off day in all things in life so finding that rhythm where everyone is firing on all cylinders. I definitely think that’s something to consider. One thing that I’m interested to see, and it’s something that we’ve seen a few times. You guys have played against Flame is Lame and it’s been some of the most inspiring, exciting games of Heroes that I can recall in recent memory. Is that a team you try to specifically show up for given that Legend is on the team or are there other teams where you’re like, “alright guys this is it. We got to make sure we’re doing well”?
S: So you know, Flame is Lame right? I want to be clear that in now way am I being disrespectful to anyone here but I think in the past month we’ve only lost one competitive game to Flame is Lame and our scrim track record is pretty similar to that. So we have pretty much set our sights up the ladder a little bit more. We have great camaraderie with the team, love all the players, great scrim partners, but I guess the answer is no we don’t get that hyped up to play them anymore. Like I said, we’ve set our sights to the next level. We’re still looking to take a big chunk out of Hold it Down sooner or later and again once we assume our final form we’ll be able to do that.
H: That’s amazing man. I think it really speaks to the growth you guys have had as a team. In the early parts of this series you guys were definitely neck and neck. So now to have the track record to objectively say that I think it really speaks to your overall growth as a team. So would you say Imported Support is the biggest threat you’re looking out for in the finals?
S: Yes, I’d say they’re the favorite. Objectively I’d edge them out a little bit over us. Certainly within striking distance but going in they are the favorite right now.
H: So feeling that way, that they on paper are the favorite. Right before the finals goes on it comes down to you and them. What do you say to your team to rally the proverbial troops to say, “We can still win this”?
S: Everyone is so dedicated and motivated. It’s not motivation. It’s let’s go over the list of stupid stuff we’ve done to lose games we should win again and just check those off. There was a game, I can’t remember what tournament it was, but it was against Imported Support. They’re opening drat was Auriel, Anub’arak, and Greymane. And this was Imported Support. And herp derp we don’t second ban Cho’gall? Not only did we lose that game in embarrassing fashion. We know better and we deserve to lose that game in embarrassing fashion for making a draft mistake like that. So we’ve got the list of shame and we’re going to make sure we’re going to be in a position to come out and play and not beat ourselves by doing something dumb like that.
H: I think that’s a very cool insight to have because I was looking at the question thinking they are at a certain level and we should go above that. Where as with you guys it’s more lets minimize our mistakes as we’re already confident in our level of play. It comes down to the team that makes fewer mistakes. I think that’s a subtle but important distinction. Do you think minimizing mistakes has been your focus the last few weeks?
S: There’s a word I like to use in practice, and that’s poise. That is always what I’m trying to instill. I think the player that epitomizes that more than anyone in the scene is LzGaMeR. Who has been through the gambit of esports already. The guy has already had a full esports career if he wanted to just hang up the gloves. Nothing phases him. Sometimes we suffer a bad loss and he references this StarCraft 2 game from six years ago he lost so badly they dunked gatorade on him. And we are thinking okay that was rough but it wasn’t so bad. That is the level of poise we are trying to achieve. You look at the top end of mechanical skill I think it does come down to limiting mistakes more than the dramatic play. Usually the most dramatic plays are born of desperation when you’re kind of screwed already. Our goal is to not be desperate. Play our game and limit mistakes. If you’re going to fall behind, fall behind small and if you fall behind huge just throw it all to the wind and see what happens.
H: Poise, I like that word a lot. I think in a lot of ways it encapsulates your team because you have operated under pressure. I remember talking to you after the finals of the last series I asked about the Jaina pick because there were so many cutting edge moments where you were one health away from dying and you pull out the ring of frost on Battlefield of Eternity and turn the whole fight. Hearing that poise is something you emphasize I’m not surprised. Those were all the questions I had. To the fans that will be rooting on 101st North Umberland Fusiliers, what would you say to them to get them rallied and hyped for you guys in the finals.
S: Like I said we haven’t assumed our final form yet. Just wait we’re going to. Get you sticks and marshmallows out and be ready for a show. We’re going to make people shiver they’ll say, “Ooh that was so good”.
H: I like it man, confidence and rising potential, that’s definitely you guys. Best of luck to you in the finals, I can’t wait to see you guys in action.
S: Alright, thank you very much Halorin.
Argy: Do you have a favorite memory from this season of Heroes Hype Tempo Storm series?
S: There was a game on Infernal Shrines, I believe it was the week 1 finals. In the late game fighting over a shrine we had Jin on Diablo and LzGaMeR on D.Va. I mispositioned on the shrine and died early in the fight but then Jin and Lz hit a Massive apoc D.Va bomb wombo to wipe out the other team and win the game. It was super exciting
Argy: Do you have any advice for players looking to create and amateur team?
S: The most important thing is to get a group together and just play. Play things like Heroes Hype. The free agent stuff that Heroes Hype does is phenomenal. There will be a natural weeding out process. You find the one or two people that were with you and a few others. You work your way through until you can find a team you are excited to play with. You got to be ready to put the work in to become a contender. The game is so different in competitive that you have to have a good sense of that. Start playing, find some people. Don’t take things personally. Make changes where needed and always work to improve.