With the games kicking off later today, starting with the Quarter-Finals at 9:30pm SAST, we caught up with the recently crowned 2016 DGC Hearthstone Champion, Alan “Gas” Gaskon, for his thoughts on the international event as well as his thoughts on Blizzard’s upcoming changes to their competitive scene.
Telkom Gaming (TG): Before we dive into the international tournament, however, I would like to chat a bit about your own winning performance at DGC. What are your thoughts about the level of performance you saw at the event?
Alan “Gas” Gaskon: I think the general performance of the event was very average. A lot of invited players couldn’t attend, and there were quite a few off meta decks as well. Naturally, those decks got punished and those players didn’t make it near top four.
TG: Who was your most difficult opponent?
Gaskon: I’d say Gadi “Zaymok” Friedman. Even though he was lucky in the one game and I misplayed the other, he was the only player to take more than one game from me.I didn’t lose much that weekend so no one else comes close.
TG: Which player do you feel could have done better at the event (be it due to the sudden meta shift, nerves or other reasons)?
Gaskon: I think Adam “sythe” Katz would’ve done better if he went for more on-meta decks. He’s a good player and showed that on the first day. In the end, he got let down by his own deck choices in my opinion. That’s why you see so many similar lineups at international events. It’s fine to bring the most popular decks because as a player you should back yourself to beat your opponent even if he has the exact same lineup as you.
TG: Which player/s do you most look forward to playing again and why?
Gaskon: I haven’t had a chance to play against Danah “blOOdslOth” Spies since last year’s playoffs loss. He did well again this year, and I would like to try to beat him!
TG: Moving onto the international tournament, what are your thoughts on the current decks being used?
Gaskon: The top eight actually has a nice variety, apart from Malygos druid and midrange Shaman. The good thing is, people don’t mind Malygos druid being so popular because it’s an extremely tricky deck to play and quite interesting to watch. The one interesting thing to note is that quite a few people switched to Warlock Zoo but more people also switched to Dragon Warrior. I feel that’s a deliberate move from those players: expecting more zoo thus bringing a deck that destroys zoo(dragon warrior). The fact that hamster is flying the solo priest flag is incredible and, hopefully, he can prevail further in the competition.
TG: The Blizzcon 2016 Special Event, “Choose Your Champion”, is allowing players to choose one of the tournament finalists as their personal champion, rewarding players for wins. Who did you pick and why?
Gaskon: I chose Che0nsu and he’s still going strong. I honestly just went on the fact that he has the exact same lineup I used at DGC which seems to be correct by evidence that he’s still in the tournament!
TG: Looking at the meta that has emerged, what are your thoughts on how it has evolved since the launch of One Night in Karazhan?
Gaskon: The only thing evolving in Hearthstone are curve decks. It’s bringing players results closer together because you see minion and play minion and then win the game because you out-curve your opponents curve.
TG: What are your thoughts on Blizzard’s plans to overhaul their competitive scene, bringing in the Global Season Championships (replacing the seasonal regionals) and syncing the seasons to coincide with the launch of expansions?
Gaskon: It’s good to see Blizzard try and improve their current system as a lot of pro players complained about this year’s system. This will definitely increase viewership and interest in the game. Syncing championship seasons with the launch of expansions is really going to reward the good deck-builders. We want the better players to be rewarded for their efforts in creating the new top tier deck before anyone else.
TG: Do you feel that this will have a positive effect on both player consistency as well perhaps draw back some of the players that have become disenchanted with the way Hearthstone has developed over the years?
Gaskon: I’m not so sure about consistency, yes good deck-builders should be rewarded but the meta could change quite vastly ,during an expansion release, that it doesn’t suit their style at all. There were so many players playing this year, that if there is a drawback, I don’t even think you’ll notice it.
The biggest Hearthstone tournament in the world will conclude at BlizzCon 2016 when eight exceptional players from around the globe will come together to duel not only for the title of World Champion, but also for their share of a $1,000,000 prize pool!