Over the next couple of weeks, We will be releasing a number of interviews with the top teams of Heroes of Newerth in preparation for the upcoming tournaments that will take place. We will be asking about their thoughts on Heroes of Newerth as a whole in terms of gameplay, balance, their personal future plans, current team status and opinions of the prestigious tournament NASL (North American Star League) that will begin in October.
This week we will start off with a team that is currently widely regarded as one of the top five teams in the world. We caught up with Robert "Bdiz" Tinnes whose team "We Heart Pigs" was recently known as the former SK-Gaming team. We asked him about his opinion on the upcoming tournaments such as NASL, and Fnatic BEAT IT DreamHack qualifiers as well as future plans and current team status.
Hi Robert, first off we just want to say thank you for having time to join us in our interview, but for the readers over here in Europe and for the rest of the world who surprisingly don’t know you, can you introduce yourself a little bit? Hi dudes, I'm Bdiz. I've played HoN for the past 2 years, spending the last 15 or so months in the competitive scene. I'd say my best hero is Valkyrie although for some reason my team likes to stick me on Glacius a lot. I'm a 22 year old dude that enjoys long walks on the Jersey Shore and fist pumping in the moonlight.
Bdiz's team to take to new horizons?
I had not intended on playing it competitively when I had first started, as there was no competitive scene and I was a big time noobie in the 1600's bracket.”
In what game and when did you begin to start playing in the eSports scene, was Heroes of Newerth ever a part of your plans? I started playing in a competitive environment first with HoN. I had previously played World of Warcraft, Warcraft 3 Ladder, DotA among other various titles all fairly casually in comparison. When I had first heard about HoN in its closed beta stages I got extremely excited to play it, as most of the problems I had with DotA were graphics related and a new game engine would alleviate most of those issues. I had not intended on playing it competitively when I had first started, as there was no competitive scene and I was a big time noobie in the 1600's bracket. My drive and determination to get better eventually found me joining team fiVe during open beta and playing competitively ever since. Do you see Heroes of Newerth becoming anything similar to how Starcraft is in Korea? Starcraft is a game that's extremely easy to watch, even if you've never played it before. I can say this from experience because I had never touched sc1 or sc2 before watching some of the MLG tournaments last year and they really got me interested in the game. HoN along with other similar titles, are not as easy to get into as it's really a niche community with a very steep learning curve. HoN will almost certainly never reach the level of popularity that Starcraft has in Korea, although it is getting to be more popular and the genre itself is becoming more mainstream in the gaming world. Do you perceive Dota2 and League of Legends as a threat towards Heroes of Newerth becoming as big as it could be and if you were a marketing staff part of S2 Games what would you do to ensure that Heroes of Newerth becomes even bigger? DotA 2 is definitely going to slow down HoN, during HoN’s beta it was extremely similar to DotA 1 which is how it got a large player base. A large majority of the current competitive player base as well as casual player base came from DotA 1 and are obviously looking forward to playing DotA 2. I don't personally think there's much that S2 can do about the transfer of players that will occur, simply because the games are too similar and many have high expectations for DotA 2. All that S2 can really do at this point is to continue refining their product and hope that it achieves a higher quality of balance paired with graphics, user interface and things of that nature while also correcting current bugs (most notably the 32 bit Windows crashes that occur frequently to not only myself, but several other competitive players and a lot of casual players as well) in order to retain most of their current players and continue to gain more players with the F2P program. As far as League of Legend goes, I don't think anyone perceives it as a threat simply because the game is not competitive. It's an extremely casual game (and a fun casual game as well) although it's less skill based and way too passive to be considered a competitive game at least in my opinion.
Chu returns to Heroes of Newerth...
You mentioned Heroes of Newerth going free-to-play which coincidently follows a similar model as League of Legends, what are your opinions of Heroes of Newerth as a whole and how do you see the current meta game as well the influx of new heroes being introduced every 2-3 weeks? I firmly believe that introducing new heroes every 2 weeks, as S2 Games has been doing for the past few months, is an awful idea for balance. There's a lot of blatantly overpowered heroes that we've seen get released and go untouched for weeks or even months on end (Myrmidon, Tremble, reworked Keeper and now Rhapsody just to name a few). With the absence of a stable version for tournament play, these heroes at times are able to be played immediately in competitive matches, which hurt the game. However, the new meta-game which is more push and team fight oriented is good for the game. Faster games make HoN way more spectator friendly, which is good for growth in e-Sports and will allow the game to be in more tournaments. In older meta games, it wasn't uncommon for a bo3 series to last well over 3 hours if you include the banning stages and game creation (SK vs EG for the GGWC 3rd place match took over 5 hours for a bo3 series) so having shorter games definitely helps out the game. Playing in this new meta-game is really fun too because more strategies have been opened up and are viable.
I firmly believe that introducing new heroes every 2 weeks, as S2 Games has been doing for the past few months, is an awful idea for balance.”
Just out of pure interest, where did your alias "Bdiz" come from? I rolled my face across my keyboard and it said "Bdiz" when I looked back at it, so I chose that as my online alias. Would you mind telling the readers the current line-up of your team, how it came to be and their main roles and team style. We don't have a line-up right now; we're trying out a lot of different roles for everyone and playing with around 10 players in scrims and matches, trying to figure out what the best starting roster would be. There's only one confirmed role as of now, and that's YoDa's position as team dumpster.
Angrytestie - controversial playstyle?
How do you feel about winning the 3rd FNATIC BEAT IT DreamHack qualifiers and apart from bagging $1,000 can we expect to see your team at the main event in Sweden? We're excited that we won the 3rd BEATIT Qualifier but disappointed at the same time. We know that we've got to do a lot of work to improve as a team and be the dominant force in the HoN scene that we all used to be on prior teams. MSI's BEAT IT DHW Qualifiers were a great place to practice since teams weren't able to scrim while they were going on, now we have to look for different times to scrim! However, at the same time it’s awesome to have already qualified and not have to worry about participating in the final 2 qualifiers. Major props to StreeTT for running a great tournament! We've wanted to go to Sweden for a DreamHack event ever since DHS 2010 (granted our current roster was mostly split between two teams [5/SK and WHP/x6/LOAD/EG] throughout the time period of the 3 DeamHack events which included HoN). All I can really say is that we want nothing more than to be at DreamHack Winter. First things first though, we need to win a qualifier and that's what we're currently focused on, along with continuing to practice hard and come up with a final line-up.
With the NASL (North American Star League) announcing Heroes of Newerth as a title for season 2 are you excited about the prospects of such a prestigious tournament and what are your expectations of the tournament? I'm excited about HoN being in Season 2 of NASL. NASL did a lot of hard work with SC2 in their first Season regarding production value which is extremely important for a game that wants to
grow. When other organizations and companies look at the production value associated with both HoN (spectator interface, replay system, etc) along with NASL streams and VODs they might become interested in sponsoring HoN teams or tournaments. This amount of exposure only means that more good things are on their way for HoN ;)!
North American Star League Starcraft 2 Final Prize Ceremony
Are there any other tournaments that we are likely to see your team participate in and what are the team’s future plans in terms of tournaments? We're currently competing in Twitch.TV's Tournament, e-Sports Heaven, DreamHack Winter Qualifiers, Lion's HoN Cup and are looking to compete in any tournaments we can as long as they're at acceptable times for US players. Unfortunately, we aren't able to compete in the ESL Extreme Masters IX because the tournament starts at 6 am for some of our players and we aren't able to be awake and playing at our full capacity that early. Many teams nowadays I hear choose to play public team match making rather than scrim as a team, can you shed any light on how your teams going to prepare for these tournaments? We've been working together to find an acceptable time where we can scrim for everyone. For now we'll be scrimming 3 days a week for 4 or so hours per day, which usually equates to 9 scrims a week combined with tournament matches. We do also play TMM games together, although those are really just used for practicing individual skill with certain heroes. Another big form of practice that we do is reviewing replays after matches, learning from our mistakes and continuing to improve. So far in the past few weeks we've noticed huge improvements and are looking forward to reaching our potential skill levels, as we still know that we have a lot of hard work in front of us.
For now we'll be scrimming 3 days a week for 4 or so hours per day, which usually equates to 9 scrims a week combined with tournament matches.”
Any comments on the video of your Valkyrie plays? My auto-arrow aimer mod was broken that day. It's now fixed, you should be afraid if you ever see my Valkyrie again! Haha... we’ll keep that in mind! Just to satisfy the readers, but there has been a lot of criticism when it comes to two of your former team players in SK-Gaming notably "Angrytestie" and "Chu", of which the former player’s play-style is too boring, and the latter still picking up his game after his stint in League of Legends, what is your opinion? Haters gonna hate. AngryTestie's an extremely experienced veteran of HoN and a former competitive player in SC:BW. Due to this vast experience, he's an extremely calm and collected player even during the most stressed out moments in a big game or series. He's an extraordinary in-game leader along with his talented ricing capabilities, which he's been overly criticized for. In the former SK-Gaming team, our general strategy every game was to have 4 of us (Fogged, Cardinal, Tralfamadore, myself and Korok, whomever was playing) being really aggressive and ganking around the map while we relied on AngryTestie's farm to give us a late game advantage. This strategy really gave him a bad name, but doesn't show how diverse he can be as a player. I'm hoping that the public actually continues this opinion of him because they'll be amazed when they see the things he can actually do. Regarding Chu, I know firsthand from talking with him and working on helping him improve and shake off some of the League of Legends rust that he's not even close to his former self. He lost a lot of skill in different areas from playing that game and is gradually improving, which will take some time. Regardless, he's obviously still a feared player because we've seen teams "address the chu" by ganking him nonstop to keep him down, only to be caught off guard by stellar performances from the other 4 players on the team. Currently, we're playing like an average team. In due time, however, we'll make top level HoN look 'EZ.' ‘EZ’ mode indeed! With so many different rankings of the top teams of Heroes of Newerth, what is your own personal list of the top 10 teams? 1 - MSI. I don't really think anyone can dispute this, although they haven't played a match recently they've really crushed on all of their competition and have the best strategist in HoN, Fly on their side. 2 - sGty. They've put in a lot of hard work over the past few months and it's only just started to pay off. Although they're full of "personalities" they've definitely achieved a high level of team work and mesh well together. 3 - coL. Really solid North American team, picking up se`busca and PAINTITGOLD solidified their roster and made them a stronger team at the same time. 4 - OK. Although Semijew just left, I still see them as a very strong team with a high level of individual skill (except for Overpow, only thing he's good at is trolling). 5 - Lions. They seemingly came out from nowhere and are a strong team. I don't have much experience playing against them nor do I know their players very well, so I can't say much else. 6 - KD. Scandal's new team picked up a lot of steam with their recent play, along with a sponsor. I think they're a team with a lot of room for improvement although they're still a threat right now. 7 - WHP5. As I said, I think we're an average team right now. We have a lot of work to do, and I think we have the most potential to rise in the ranks over the coming weeks. 8 - Infused. Playing in a LAN environment, which they just did at i43 with their new roster, is something that'll build team chemistry. Toss in a few HoN/DotA veterans (XoYNozNU and Black) and you've got a very promising roster that also has the potential to move up in the ranks as long as they keep practicing. There is one weak point in their team though, and that's Pillows. 9 - DskB. I don't really know where to place them as no one's really seen them play lately on the international client. I don't know how well they've adjusted to the new meta game, so they need to prove themselves again in my opinion. 10 - REA. Reason is a team that you can never count out. They recently finished 2nd at DreamHack Summer'11 but have been very quiet since then. The Swedes have always had good team work; it's just a matter of them getting better drafting and the ability to have a more robust line up of heroes in their arsenal, in my opinion. Who do you see as your biggest threat or threats? Every single team you play against right now is a threat. There's a very large amount of heroes that are currently viable and the meta game, although shifting towards push, is somewhat unstable and teams are all experimenting. You can't count any team out because the moment you do, you'll find yourself losing to them. With rumours of a nations cup being organised, just out of interest if you were team captain for America who would be your line-up of players? I'd probably be the worst choice for captain because I can't make those types of decisions. I feel that what we're doing right now with our line-up, playing with so many different players, is essentially forming what I feel has the potential to become the best team in North America and I'm not the man behind those decisions. All I do is play the game, study the rulebook and whiff Valkyrie arrows. Any America vs Europe vs Asia comments? USA > EU. The end. Thanks for what must be a painful time Robert, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours! Are there any shoutouts or last minute words you would like to say? Shout out to Asway, the former #1. RIP. Also, shout out to all my fans that study the rulebook just as hard as I do. If you're interested in the auto-arrow aimer mod, you can find it for download at lemonparty.org.