Pre-Finals Interview: Sliceblade from 101st North Umberland Fusiliers

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.

Pre-Finals Interview: Vestige from Firm Handshake

Consistency is key in a 5-week amateur Heroes of the Storm series, especially when every point counts toward qualifying for the Series Finals. Firm Handshake’s consistency can easily be seen by the number of points they earned each week, securing the first place seed for the Finals. We recently reached out to their team captain Vestige to learn more about their team synergy and mentality in games. Thank you to Vestige for taking the time to answer these questions!

Be sure to catch Vestige and the rest of Firm Handshake 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 Vestige? Congratulations on making it into the Finals for Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series 2. You guys are in first place. How’s that feel?

Vestige (V): It feels really good. We’ve worked pretty hard in order to try and do really well so far in Heroes Hype and I’m glad it’s paid off, and I’m glad it’s showing in the rankings.

 

H: One thing that I think is really cool with you team is that like I consider you guys to be the workhorses of Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series, while we haven’t been able to speak with you at the end of the night during season, you’ve shown up almost every week and you’re always in the top three of four and that’s what’s led to you guys being in first place. Just consistently ranking high each week. In that I think you guys are dark horses in a lot of ways. We haven’t had a chance to interview you. So some players or some people that watch each week might not know who you guys are. Would you like to give an introduction to those viewers that may not know who you guys are? How long you’ve been together as a team? What do you feel some of your strengths are?    

V: Yeah for sure. So, we’re team Firm Handshake. It’s not the most creative name in the world but we do love it. We’ve been a team for a couple of months now, though when I say team I mean mostly the core roster. Dsteves, Necro and I have been playing for months. Hayyoo was a more recent addition. He is our Support player. He’s an excellent player and he does a very good job and he fits in really well. We’ve also had a very recent roster change. We wound up picking up Grizz on our roster now since LexUther sadly had leave us. So essentially lots of our strength we believe falls in our team fighting. We tend to fall a little short when it comes to macro playing we’ve kind of discovered. So we’re rather happy to try and take team fights whenever we can. We usually approach games in that sense. We try to play to our strengths and we try to play to get those team fights. And it doesn’t always happen but when it does we usually get positive results. Which is good.

 

H: And from the games I’ve been able to see of you guys I’d definitely agree the team fighting tends to be one of your strongest suits. So you’ve had the core 3 person part of the roster, you said Heyo came on short time after. Grizz is now the latest addition to your team. I think there’s always an interesting period of transition when a new player joins a roster because there’s something of a set chemistry with the existing players and then there’s this new element and you want to try and bring in their ideas and they also want to try in turn to meet you guys halfway and then just become part of the team. How has Grizz fit in so far? And you guys in this short amount of time will be ready for the finals?  

V: So Grizz has fit in really nicely actually and the point you brought up about having that core groups and that kind  of relationship and chemistry already set up has I think helped get Grizz onto a similar page as us but it also really helps that Hayyoo and Grizz are actually, really, rather close. They’ve been playing with each other for a while, they know each other quite well so there is that connection that is there already for them. So it’s kind of right now just make it all blend together and it’s so far going really well. We’ll have to see how it pans out particularly in tournaments because it does add a different level of stress and also like desire in order to perform well and at the level  we want to. So we’ll have to see how well it goes but so far it’s definitely looking really solid.  

 

H: Awesome, Heroes Hype and now HHTS Series has been a long standing tradition in the amateur scene. Heroes Hype has been around since the Alpha days at the very beginning. How would it feel to come away the winners of Series 2 and what do you think that would mean for yourself as far as your Heroes career?   

V: Coming away being the winner of Series 2 would be just so huge I feel for us. I know personally that it would probably be the biggest victory in my amateur career thus far. And Heroes Hype is such an amazing tournament and it does have very good  quality of play. And it always is competitive and it always makes you work for the reward which makes it all the better. Definitely as a team it would give us the confidence boost that we need because right now the Amateur scene is rather condensed with quite a few teams that seem to be neck and neck in terms of ranking. And so if we get that confidence boost it might just be enough to boost us over the top.

 

H: So speaking of that I do think that going into Phase 2 of HGC and Open Division that the NA scene is pretty competitive as far as high quality teams. What are you guys saying to yourselves when you go against these teams to keep yourselves focused and make sure you’re playing your best game possible? 

V: It really does depend on our mentality going into the day. Usually we are very sharp and focused and so there’s not very much that needs to be said. Sometimes when we face a team like “Hold it Down” which is in the Amateur scene but has some very big names on it we take a moment to remind ourselves that hey you know, Khroen and Mcintyre are amazing players but they can make mistakes too. They can make those errors we just need to capitalize against a team of such stature. Lots of times it’s just reinforcing are already solid mental state and going the extra mile saying okay these guys we can beat them. They are beatable. They aren’t indestructible and that can really help  make sure we approach the game with the best mindset possible.

 

H: I gotta say man, I really like that response. And I already respected you guys as a team and for you to have that mindset because a lesser team will say ‘You know, this is “Hold It Down” you know their reputation and name kind of precede them so a lesser team wouldn’t go into feeling like victory was even possible. But for you guys to say like these guys are notable names but they’re still human beings we just need to find the mistakes and capitalize on them. That to me,  says the most about your potential. As a team in anything we’ve seen. That’s really cool man.

V: Thank you.

 

H: Do you have anything you’d want to say to your fans that will be cheering you on at the finals?

V: To the fans out there, first of all, thank you so much  for following us in the first place. We really do appreciate it. We really do try to perform to a certain standard whenever we’re playing in a tournament, whenever we’re being streamed especially in order to try and make sure we don’t disappoint. Definitely just a shout out to the fans, stuff might get possibly rocky with this new roster but I have faith we will continue and strive for a standard I believe we’ve set so far and that will continue to grow high and higher as well as our team.  

  

H: Cool man, those are all the questions I have for you. Like I said, you guys have been the workhorses of the season, showing up putting out a consistent effort throughout. I know Grizz is a very strong player, can only be an asset to the team. So I’m really excited to see this newest lineup from you guys and I’m sure you will show up and really put yourselves out there.  

V: Thank you.

H: Flagg might have some questions for you, I believe.

V: Oh, pleased to meet you.  

 

Flagg: Do you have a favorite memory or game since the Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series 2?

V: Hmmm, ooo, that is a very, very solid question. Give me a second to dig through the good old memory banks here. I will have to say, so. I think particularly when it comes to probably some of the, one of the best memories I have from HH in particular is I believe we were in the finals against Flame Is Lame  and we wound up pulling out this extremely solid set against them actually. Comms were on point and we seemed to make very on point calls together and we wound up playing what I thought was one of our better games and it happened to be in the finals against a team such as Flame Is Lame which is extremely strong, very solid team and we respect them very much and we love facing off against them. And it just felt really nice to walk away with that victory just like that was a very good performance and we seemed to do pretty well there. So I think that would probably be it, my best memory from Heroes Hype.

Flagg: Do you have any advice for players who want to put together an amateur Heroes of the Storm team? 

V: Yeah, I do actually. This has been said a lot, by many people in the scene. I think Dreadnaught said something similar at one point, in like a Twitlonger or something like that. But it is very, very important that if you want to make a team or break into an amateur scene or the competitive scene that you really keep on trying. I’ve been on quite a few teams. I love and respect all of my team members that I’ve had. And I’ve had some pretty heartbreaking goodbyes with them but sometimes it can be hard to take the first step to find a team. Sometimes the best thing you can do is find some people who aren’t necessarily the best, the best at the game or aren’t grandmasters but ones that share a similar drive that you do and work with them and play with them and forge bonds with them and that will eventually work you into the scene. You might not realize it at first but forming a team with people who share your drive to just improve and try to be better than you already are can really help in helping starting those original teams and then moving upward ever so slowly. I haven’t made it all the way to the top just yet but I do definitely love the roster I’m on and i do really feel like that we have a shot at finally breaking into the competitive scene. That’s pretty much the advice I have, to really work at it and find those people who think like you do because you’re certainly not alone in that aspect. There’s so many people that want to show their talent and drive and I think you can definitely find them if you look hard enough.


Be on the lookout for another interview this week from SLICEBLADE of the 101st North Umberland Fusiliers!

  

 

Pre-Finals Interview: Redian from TQ

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!

Pre-Finals Interview: Shot from Flame is Lame

There are only five weeks in each Heroes Hype Series before Finals to determine the Series winner. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error or bad decisions in-game as missing a week of the series can end a team’s bid for the finals before they even begin. None of this stopped the team Flame is Lame though. After missing the first week, they made a huge debut by winning every game of the Week 2. They also came out in force Week 3 by once again making it to the finals, but fell to Firm Handshake, the current leading team in standings.

As we near the Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series 2 Finals, we reached out their Warrior player Shot to learn more about their team origin and growth. The following is a transcription of Shot’s interview, hosted by our Lead Caster, Halorin, our Production Manager, Argy, and our Lead Writer, Flagg.  

Be sure to catch Shot and the rest of Flame is Lame 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 Shot? Congratulations on making it 3rd place, and securing your spot in the finals for Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series 2. How’s it feel making it to the finals?

Shot (S): It feels good, I wish we were 1st seed, but our last week’s tournament we kind of dropped the ball in the very first round, so we didn’t get as many points as we wanted to. It was a pretty off day, to say the least.

H: No problem, no problem, you still made it to the big dance. For those who may not have heard our interview earlier in the season, do you want to tell us about Flame is Lame, how long you guys have been together, what some of your aspirations are?

S: Alright, so Flame is Lame is a coalition of players that I just personally really, really like as personality-wise. We created the team after Darkchimaera and my last team Vox and the Busted Bullets disbanded, so we called it “Vox and the Disbanded Bullets” cause we’re really funny like that. So, after that, Dark was like “if you have anything just let me know,” and so I took a long time to find this roster, and I really the people that are on my roster. They all have great personalities. Flame is Lame roster right now is: Me, Darkchimaera on support, Legend on hard carry, TR4PQU33N on flex, and Deadly on melee-assassin, and I’m on tank. We’ve had a rough road since I switched to tank from being a ranged-assassin player. Moving to tank has been one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever had to do in competitive Heroes, because tanking in my opinion is legit the hardest role in the entire game to do properly and correctly. But that’s a little tidbit about us. We’re just a bunch of jokesters and we don’t like flame, even though we still flame each other.

H: (Laughs) I was about to say, knowing your personality in particular there is some contradiction in it.

S: I mean, (laughs) we flame people and we flame each other, but after we go “Flame is Lame.” It’s not 100% countered out, but it’s like half countered out? I don’t know, we’ll just move on, I’m just digging myself a hole.

H: Well one thing I think is really cool about how your team formed is that, you said that it’s based off liking the personality, something that I think is a problem, or that has been a problem in North America. People are just trying to put what they perceive to be the strongest talent together, and they don’t even worry about if there will be that kind of cohesion and synergy. Do you think prioritizing, you know, just the overall team synergy and coordination from a personality standpoint has benefited your team?

S: It has benefited our team in a few ways and it’s been a detriment in different ways. It’s benefited us in the sense that whenever we’re in a slump or struggling, we don’t really go at each other’s throats often like a lot of teams for example: the original roster of Naventic was pretty aggressive towards each other to say the least. So whenever we mess up or anything, we’re really supportive of each other, however it can get to a point; I picked these players just because I like their personalities so the detriment part can be like that we like each other so much that we treat each other as friends and we sometimes don’t pay attention or we, not in like a tournament, but I meant like in scrimmages we’re not paying as much attention as we should or we’re not as focused much as we should. Or we’re making little jokes at each other. It can get bad in that sense because we don’t the optimal amount of practice that we should be getting, but in most cases I would say for a team that’s going to last longer however, would benefit from liking each other, more so than a short-term team. So, obviously, my team is more of a short-term team for right now. I don’t know what will happen if we don’t make it in HGC with the open division and all that, but regardless of that, I think that if a team is willing to stick together through the long-haul and lose together, and still like each other, everyone can get better. But if you just throw a team full of all-stars, you might have conflicted interests, you might have head-butting, and then once there becomes turmoil and relationships within your team, nothing will get done. Absolutely nothing. I always thought that personality was more important than raw skill. That’s why I joined a lot of the teams that I’ve been on, like Vox and the Busted Bullets where all my buddies before that resurgence, I was really good friends will all of them. I don’t know, I just don’t think that grabbing the best players from every role and sticking them together works every time. It just doesn’t. Sometimes you just have teams that just flop or disband in a week because somebody got into an argument with somebody else, or someone insulted another person’s girlfriend, or something. I don’t know. I prefer that I’m friends with my teammates, but at the same time it needs to get to a point that you still need to understand that it’s still a job, and we need to take this seriously and this isn’t like playtime.

H: Absolutely man. I personally think that you guys are one of those teams that have long-term potential, and I do hope you guys stick together. One thing that I think is particularly interesting about your team in particular is that, for me as an outsider, you know, watching you guys in action show up for week to week in Heroes Hype and things like the Open Division, it seems like it’s very much a personal journey for you specifically. You’re leading this team, you’re bringing your friends together, you’re over switching to a role that is very foreign from what you’re used to in a competitive scene. And I think that we’ve seen in a lot of ways the ups and downs of it.

S: Yeah.

H: I think you guys are coming out as a better team for it, but for you individually as a player, do you think this experience being on Flame is Lame has benefited you as both a player and a person?

S: As a person, I would say yes. As a player, I would also say yes. It’s just a matter of, this is just extremely hard for me. This has been the most stressful split of my entire career, and that includes all of the professional teams I’ve been on, like, those weren’t nearly as stressful (laughs). I, I don’t know. I used to shot-call for different teams, and that, I could not deal with. I would get so stressed out that I would beg somebody else to shot-call because it would stress me out to no end and then I wouldn’t perform properly. But tanking is like a whole other thing. And I was tanking and shot-calling when the team first formed, so I had to basically dust off the rust, which is a really bad way of saying not be rusty (laughs). Get rid of the rust on shot-calling as well as learn a brand new role, and it’s been such a struggle for me. Every single day my team is like, “you did this wrong, you did this wrong,” and I’m like “yeah, I know that now.” Now I have to go into my replays and I spend at least 2 hours of replays every night trying just to look at my own individual skill. And my team is so supportive of me, I love it so much. Legend even sent me one of game he thought Breeze from Fanatic played extremely well. He just said “put your camera on locked and then watch what Breeze does and just think about what he’s thinking the entire time” because Breezed is a fantastic tank player. And so, I just aspire to be one of those better tanks. And for what you said it’s a personal journey, I would also say just because of the tanking and the shot-calling and the leading this team, and blah-blah-blah; Yeah that’s a journey, but it’s also kind of a kind of last hurrah type of thing for me. I love competing, but I do know that my career has a time limit right now. I don’t know 100% when I’ll be done, but I really want to succeed and go out with a bang, so hopefully I will be able to do that.

H: Wow, so that means there’s a lot riding on the future and success of this team for you individually. I think that makes it all the more compelling story. For all those that will be cheering for you in the finals for Heroes Hype Tempo Storm Series, what would you say to them?

S: Flame is Lame.

H: (Laughs)

S: But mostly I mean, I’m just, I’m so impressed that, actually, we even have fans to be fair. We’re kind of just a bunch of goobers and there’s some controversial figures on our team, mostly me and TR4PQU33N. Me because I have all that one online class thing, which is, not getting into that. I have a bunch of things that people dislike for me. TR4PQU33N was a dirty bug-abuser cause he’s really good at finding bugs, then he tries to perfect them in quick-match and he shows people. But he tries not to use it in Hero League and stuff, he won’t do it in ranked cause it’s messed up, and I also yelled at him. But also, there’s some controversial figures on our team, right? So, I’m really surprised that people are willing to back us and be like “We really like these guys and this is fun,” I also like your cat in the background Albert.

H: Rowboat in.

S: But I’m just so glad that people are supporting us, and I really hope that we don’t let you down. And I hope that I personally don’t let you guys down as well as the team itself, because I know a lot of it’s riding on my confidence per day, or my mechanics per day, my game knowledge per day. It fluctuates because I’m not comfortable in my role yet, so I really hope that I don’t let you guys down.

H: No man, I don’t think it’s possible for you to let anyone down, no matter how it turns out. I think yours is one of the most interesting and personal stories of all the Heroes of the Storm scene, from pro-level down. So, I always enjoyed seeing your evolution as a player. So, I can’t wait to see you out there and Flame is Lame, man.

S: Flame is Lame. Also, to the fans. Please don’t go into Hero League and flame people. Flame is Lame. It’s bad. If I see you, I’ll call you out.

H: You guys heard it here first. Alright, those are all the questions and innate points that I wanted to ask you. I think, I think you guys are ready, so just show up and play your game.

S: We just gotta show up and play our game. It’s all about consistency at this point. We know that we can be good, we just need to make sure that we’re good on game day.

H: There you go.

Flagg (F): Do you have a most memorable play?

S: Right, okay, so, the play that was probably the most memorable for me was the probably the one that is in the Heroes Hype trailer. I was on Stitches, which I really love to play even though I’m not fantastic at him yet, but I hope to get there. I was walking through mid lane on Sky Temple, and I over-extended at level 1, and I found the enemy team. I think I said in comms, “guys I think I found the enemy team.” So, I was basically booking it back to my gate. I honestly got to 1 HP on my character, I was about to die. I got behind the gate, the enemy team gave up and started walking away. I turned around and threw a hook through the gate to hit, I think it was Jin from Donkeys R Us, he was on Chen. I pulled him back to the gate and I think Dark came and cleaned up the kill. And I just really liked it because I was an idiot, and it worked out. So, and it looked really cool on stream.

H: Calculated.

S: I went back and watched it and was like “Ooh, that was really ooh. That was really good.” Except not, because the whole lead-up to it. The execution of the play was good, the lead-up to the play was bad. It’s probably my most memorable moment on this team so far.

F: Do you have any advice for others aspiring to form a competitive team?

S: If you’re aspiring to form a competitive team, it depends on whether or not you have the players or not already. If you have a group of five guys that want to create a team, my advice would be, it’s gonna suck for a little bit. You are going to lose, you’re not going to be top-dogs day one. You have to play together, you have to lose together, you have to grow together, that’s the only way to improve. If you win every single game against lesser opponents, you don’t learn anything. So, try to stay within your skill range. Try to find those teams that are near your skill-level, but a bit above you so you can start practicing against them. Once you beat them consistently, move on to slightly harder teams, and slightly harder teams, and slightly harder teams. That’s the only way to improve. And once you hit a point where you’re getting destroyed every single game, well it’s time to buckle down and think about why you’re losing. Why are you losing these games? Watch your replays. Replays are the most important thing in this game probably, and everyone hates doing them. Just because pros go “Oh, I gotta watch replays,” does not mean they enjoy it. They hate it. I’ll let you know right now that they hate watching replays, but it is mandatory in order to be successful at the game. Also, one other thing: you need to be able to take self-criticism, as well as criticism from others, because if you aren’t able to do that, then you will not perform well on any team.


Be on the lookout for additional interviews this week from SLICEBLADE of the 101st North Umberland Fusiliers as well as Vestige from Firm Handshake!