by Sören “Fantasy” Vendsahm
Prior to the start of Dreamhack Winter 2016, we sat down with coL.Hearthstone’s Kevin “Casie” Eberlein to grab his thoughts on the upcoming event, as well as the current state of the game.
Hello Casie, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer a few questions in the middle of your DreamHack preparation. Looking ahead at the event, what are you expecting in Sweden?
Casie: I expect that at least one of our practice group advances to Top 16 and I’m also excited about meeting some of the players I haven’t met yet outside of the internet
In terms of offline competition, this will be your second major event to attend on site, but DreamHack is different a different environment than HCT Regional qualifiers, which is in a studio in LA. Do you think that having people watching over your shoulder and the live audience might affect your play one way or the other?
Casie: I don’t think it will affect my plays in any way, as soon as I start my games I’m in a different zone and can fully focus on making the best plays possible to win me the game.
Another area which is different at DreamHack, compared to the HCT circuit, is the Swiss format. Is there any difference in preparation for a Swiss tournament, as opposed to Double Elim?
Casie: I honestly don’t think there is a big difference between Swiss and Double Elim in terms of preparation. The real difference in the format is Last Hero Standing vs Conquest, both right now are completely different and it was really hard to find even a good lineup that we all liked.
Fair enough. Last DreamHack question before we move on. When it comes to “ranking” tournaments in the Hearthstone scene – for importance, prestige, you name it – where do the DreamHack tournaments rank for you in comparison to ALL other big LAN events?
Casie: I rank all big LAN events on the same level, I prepare as much as I can and I want to get far in all of them. Because I’ve never went to any of the DreamHacks I can’t say much about it outside of how hard I try to have success in any kind of major event.
Good attitude to have. Moving a bit away from DreamHack, a few weeks after the event a new expansion will hit the Hearthstone servers – Mean Streets of Gadgetzan – about half the cards are already released. Can you give us your takes on what the set will do in terms of the meta game?
Casie: For me personally there is only one card so far that I really like which is the Counterfeit Coin (rogue card), but there are plenty of interesting cards. I expect the biggest change being that Priest might be more popular and for that reason we actually should have a meta shift more frequently.
One of the bigger changes coming to Priest, all classes for that matter, are the tri-class cards. What do you think of that concept in general?
Casie: I always liked the Discover mechanic and with adding a tri-class effect it actually becomes really difficult to choose the right card every time. The biggest upside of the tri-class Discover mechanic is that you’re able to obtain heals or even some kind of boardclear in classes that are lacking in that department, for example Rogue is able to get Druid or Shaman cards. Of course we have to try it out first and see if it’s a reliable way to get healing or specific boardclear-spell cards.
Alright, counter-point – I’d like you to address it – RNG in the game has been a detrimental factor every once in a while. Cards like Babbling Book, Spellslinger, or even at the start an Ethereal Conjurer have been opened up for criticism adding cards to your hand that aren’t in your deck. Most of those effects at least oblige the deck building rules and class restrictions, and now you get more variety by being able to add spells from other classes without really being able to play around them. Isn’t that just more RNG that is impossible to play around?
Casie: Yes I agree with you that adding cards outside of your deck from a certain cardpool isn’t the best, but since it’s Discover and you actually have to choose between certain cards or even classes it gives the better player a small advantage over the more inexperienced players. The best example is Nourish and Raven Idol – there are many situations where gaining mana crystals is better than drawing cards, and until the last month half of even the respected players didn’t pick minions when playing against control warrior as they should have. This example shows that adding cards where the player has to decide what they want and to figure out what the best decisions is can be difficult.
I can see that, let’s see how it ultimately plays out. Staying on MSG for just a few more questions, let’s talk 400 Dust. Which of the shown Legendaries so far is the best and which one is the worst?
Casie: I like Kazakus the most right now, but only until Reno gets rotated out. My reason why this card is good for the game and just a good card is, that you need to have knowledge about the game and in what current situation you’re in to pick the right spell for the right time. In my opinion the worst Legendary so far is Shaku, the Collector, because the statline alone is really bad and not even Undercity Huckster sees much play, since it doesn’t go well with the Rogues gameplan (too slow).
Alright, you touched on something I wanted to talk about as well. After Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, the biggest shake up will be the new season of Standard with Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers rotating out. Which class will benefit from those changes the most?
Casie: It all depends on the next expansion before the rotation, but on paper Druid and Rogue always benefit the most from an average lower powerlevel of neutral cards, since they have really strong Classic Class cards. Warlock is also benefiting from it since their Hero Power gets a lot better without having really strong early game cards like Tunnel Trogg, Totem Golem, and Flamewaker in the game.
Alright, let’s close the interview with a Rapid Fire round. Small questions, small answers.
Favorite Card in Hearthstone?
Casie: Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
How fitting. Most hated card in the history of Hearthstone?
Card that needs a buff the most?
Casie: Xaril, Poisoned Mind
Most underrated Legendary?
Casie: Soggoth, The Slitherer.
Favorite deck of all time?
Casie: Old Miracle Rogue
Aggro, Combo or Control?
Ragnaros RNG or Sylvanas RNG?
Team League or Individual competition?
Casie: Team League
Favorite HS expansion/adventure?
Casie: League of Explorers
Perfect, thanks a lot for your time! Any shoutouts or final thoughts you want to share?
Casie: Shoutouts to the compLexity Gaming organization and especially my teammates Crane and Loyan for the Dreamhack preparation and thanks a lot for Interviewing me!
Best of luck at DreamHack!