This week I had the opportunity to interview Fan of Tempo Storm. As a veteran player in the HGC, I really appreciate the insight he’s able to offer on the current pro landscape. Let's dive in!
Now that we’ve had a few weeks of HGC play, what is your overall impression? Do you feel the overall level of competition has increased from last year (more specifically what teams do you have your eye on as your biggest competition)?
I think the level of competition has increased from last year for sure. There are still around 3 teams competing for the top spots, but the other 5 teams have gotten significantly more competitive. There is no team that I think is expected to lose to most other teams(like EID or Naventic from last year), so competition in the remaining 5 teams has increased from last year for sure.
Your set with Team Freedom in week 2 came down to the wire. Were you surprised by their play, and what were your takeaways from that set?
I wasn’t surprised by their play, it's been fairly well known in the pro community that Team Freedom is one of the top three teams for sure in their play, and they played like one. I think we did not play or draft at our best for that set, and playing Team Twelve earlier in the same week also hurt a bit as we could not scrim the other two top teams for a week beforehand. We took away a lot of what our weaknesses were as a team from that set, and have been working to fix those.
The assassin meta, from the outside may seem a little stale. What is your opinion on its current state, and what needs to change, if anything?
Genji is a bit too strong, even after the nerf this patch he will still be just as good I think. Hanzo seems to be getting nerfed a lot harder this patch, so expect to see less of him. The main problem is Genji and Hanzo just do so much damage and are so hard to kill they out trade every other assassin in the game. Greymane also does this to a lesser extent, and Greymane is also very tanky and flexible for many things.
Tempo Storm has been dubbed this year’s “Super Team”, with veteran players who have all been in the scene for quite some time. You are all extremely skilled mechanically, but how are you going about turning that mechanical skill into cohesive team play?
Honestly, I think the top 3 teams and even many players outside of that have players who can be considered “skilled mechanically”. I think the biggest advantage of having “Super Team” veteran players is not mechanical skill, but rather having players with very high game knowledge who can constantly find the most efficient course of action and instantly do it without even being told by the shotcaller. I think high game knowledge is a scarce resource, much more so than mechanical ability, especially for pros in NA. I think we will be able to turn everything into cohesive team play with lots of time and practice. This team overall has been the most hard working team I’ve played with in a long time, and I am confident that our efforts in scrims and Hero League will help us reach cohesive team play.
As a followup to the previous question, Tempo Storm is one of a growing number of teams with a coach spot. For those unfamiliar with the role, how does having a coach help you to improve your game?
We do have Kala as our coach. Having a coach helps us because it’s a 6th pair of eyes during scrims to point out mistakes and it is also an unbiased 6th perspective for any arguments or conflict of playstyles. Outside of that, it also helps in making sure the team environment is ok and people can talk to the coach if they have any concerns.
What do you hope to see from Blizzard for this year of HGC? Are they meeting your expectations, or is there anything specific you’d like to see added or improved upon, as well as anything you’re really excited/happy about?
I would like to see more promotional materials, such as posts on the launcher or in game about the HGC. I still think a vast majority of the player base is not aware of the HGC, which is a contrast to most other competitive games where the majority of the player base is aware of the highest competitive league of the game.
A big thanks to Fan for the interview. If you want to follow him, you can find him on twitter @FanHOTS.