StriveWire sits down with
Victor Lopez “Vlps” is a professional competitive Hearthstone player and streamer making his breakthrough on the scene through strong performances in 2015 both via top ladder finishes and strong tournament finishes. Taking down the 2015 China VS NA with teammates dog, firebat, and deathstarv3 and later pushing deep into Blizzcon of 2015. The following year VLPS continued the push with strong ladder finishes, but falling short of reaching Blizzcon. Now a member of Tempo Storm and a regular at major tournaments VLPS has become a staple name in the competitive hearthstone scene. We sat down with him following a impressive win of the first HCT open of the year on StriveWire.
StriveWire: Congrats on winning the first NA HCT tournament of the season VLPS. Let’s get right into it and talk a little bit about your mindset going into the tournament and the unique lineup you brought to it.
VLPS: I expected the majority of the tournament population to bring aggressive decks. I expected aggressive / midrange warriors and aggressive / midrange shamans to be a part of almost every lineup and that came to fruition with all of my opponents bringing warrior and shaman and only the finalist bringing a control variant of warrior, all of the shamans were aggressive with one or two midrange. My lineup shined against these decks and my ban was primarily reno-warlock. If there was no renolock I would ban druid generally, in an anti aggro mirror i would ban priest.
StriveWire: Great to hear you had success with a „counter the meta“ lineup. Did you find the field of players or sheer amount of matches that had to be played all in one day a challenge? And as a follow up in regards to the HCT circuit what do you think about the changes Blizzard has made this year? Such as the 5 point monthly cap and requiring all tournaments to at least be best of 5.
VLPS: You know, it’s great seeing such a big showing to these open cups from pro players to guys that maybe just starting reaching legend and want to get into the competitive scene to maybe even more casual players, everyone is showing up. I think 2017 will be a great year for Hearthstone and at the same time this means competition is fierce and winning open cups will be tougher than it was in 2016. Overall, it was definitely a challenge, it’s not easy playing a 9 hour tournament well past my bedtime, haha! I’ve always been supportive of Blizzard and the direction they take the competitive system, having been around since 2015, i can say that they continually are improving the system each year. This year we have bigger prize pools, a less grindy open cup system, more inclusive top 200 vs. top 100 ladder system, and more consistent swiss setting for the seasonal championships… all pluses in my book. Thank you to Blizzard and more specifically Team 5, most of us really appreciate you and you don’t hear it enough.
StriveWire: I agree it’s good to see that blizzard is making major improvements each year to the tour and competitive scene. As a professional player what improvements do you think tournament organizers can make to open cups and what has your experience been like using StriveWire.
VLPS: I’d like to see a consistent format across all of the opens, not sure if that has been implemented since I have only played 1 open cup this year but I know in 2016 some had no bans, some were best of 5, some best of 3, etc. I haven’t had issues using StriveWire and I like the ease of the interface for deck / ban selection.
StriveWire: Consistency would be great, right now the formats allowed are conquest and last hero standing and all tournaments have to be best of 5 at least for this season. In closing what words of advice do you you have for players who are aiming to reach the top and get recognized this year.
VLPS: Have an action plan, don’t bring decks you’re not comfortable with just because they are considered strong, and don’t simply bring the strongest decks without much thought. Analyze the format, ask yourself what’s prevalent in the meta and then begin building a lineup around that target and your ban. Most importantly, have fun and respect your opponents. Good luck to all, here’s to a another great year of Hearthstone!
StriveWire: Inspiring words from an inspirational player. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us Victor and best of luck this year.