Interview with Hearthstone player Amaz - Part 1 of 3

onGamers had the privilege to do big interview with Amaz . We broke it down into three parts, this one being about his gaming origins, which card he would like to be and more!

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This article was originally published on GameSpot's sister site onGamers.com, which was dedicated to esports coverage.

Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

So Amaz, can you tell us a little bit about your gaming origins?

Oh sure. Well I played a lot of stuff but then I started with Warcraft 3, that's one of my main games. My main game was actually Age of Empires and then I transitioned into Warcraft because everybody was playing it. I was grade 4 or 5, I remember playing it really early on and I remember being really scared of the Necromancers because they could summon skeletons and I didn't play the game for a whole week because I had nightmares. But then I went back to it and that's really how it started. After Warcraft 3, WoW was announced, I was like "oh I guess I'll play it, that seems to be really cool" and then suddenly I played that for seven years. I was guild leader for 2 years, been there done that. And for the final days of WoW Hearthstone was announced and because I did play some card games when I was young like Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokémon. Not Magic(:The Gathering), I was really casual. I was like so casual when even playing Pokémon Yu-Gi-Oh wrong where you just like to see the cards. We would just like to invent our own rules as kids do. So Hearthstone was announced and I thought "This would be a good transition". The WoW thing was a bit over for me. I was looking for a change and it was a pretty good change. I also created my own board/card game that I got funded via a kickstarter, so I'm naturally attracted to card games.

Reddit user by the name of jonahmilo_ asked a question that I myself was going to ask, where did your nic Amaz come from and is it as simple as being the start of amazing?

Yes. Actually I did say this on stream before. When I was thinking of a user name, I was thinking "oh amazing Jason sounds pretty cool" but then it was too long so let's just shorten it. It needs to be one word only so lets just name myself Amazon, then I figured out Amazon meant something else and it was lame and people were like "oh you're so lame" and I was like "ok fine I'll shorten it to amaz". Amaz is pretty cool so that's where it came from.

I heard that you used to be a HoN player, do you have any plans to get back into HoN full time or are you going to stay and continue playing Hearthstone? Or possibly both?

I was a HoN player. I played semi casually, around 1900 in mmr, so I was with the higher percentage of players that were playing the game. But the problem with HoN is it's not as big. The community is not as big or as developed. Not to hate on the company or anything but it seems like their directions are everywhere. They are creating a new one, they aren't focusing on balance ,they aren't focusing on the social aspect of it. I mean, if it was League (of Legends) I'm pretty sure I would have gotten into it, but for now I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with Hearthstone. Two games is really a lot to deal with. Like Artosis is doing two games and it's just wow he's super busy. So I'll probably stick with Hearthstone for now.

Redditor JayBoiiz asks how many hours you trained prior to DreamHack?

I think I played a whole day before DreamHack, a whole day being like five hours-ish, going through decks because that's the thing with tournaments. I believe you cannot really force yourself to train for like you know a week and then you can suddenly do good, it's like building on fundamentals across from when you just started in Hearthstone. You have to keep a clear mind. The thing is inside a tournament you usually autopilot your moves. You usually see a move and end up doing it. You take a long time thinking about other moves but usually the first move that you thought of, you just do it. So you really need to familiarize with what the optimal plays are in just non tournaments. You need to scrim your friends, you need to scrim your teammates. You need to record your plays, look back and see what you should have done because in a tournament it's going to be too late and when a tournament is announced and you suddenly decide to practice, it's too late. Just keep up with the meta, keep up with your deck and just keep your cool in the tournament.

Image courtesy of DreamHack Bucharest stream.
Image courtesy of DreamHack Bucharest stream.

So you're saying that in Hearthstone, it's similar to having muscle memory? By doing something over and over and having the correct moves, being in that situation more than once, does that help?

Yeah it helps but there are no 2 games in Hearthstone that are played exactly the same way. So the more you practice the more you know how to deal with a specific situation, that's what it means to keep your cool. I mean people think that there are only three hundred cards, that every game is the same. No it's like there's a lot of tiny decisions that make or break every game. I really am a firm believer of every game not winning, not because of R.N.G (random number generator) but through good choices, good decisions, you usually end up winning the tournament. I made mistakes in the Bucharest round of four against Gaara, that's why I lost. I knew it, so I'm a little disappointed in a sense but I know I made little mistakes and need to improve. Just keep on practicing.

Reddit user 2xNoodle asks what your ideal number of members is for a Root team?

I don't know. O.k so let's just just say, generally speaking, a team should not have more than six people because the scene right now, it's leaning towards having four people scrim's, four people team matches, etc. So having more than that is just asking for trouble. Obviously you want back up, but the more people you get, the more people will be disappointed that you aren't going to choose them, etc. So right now I think root has five people already. I don't think we are getting a sixth anytime soon. It's just working out I think.

LighteousC asks what kind of breakthrough you would like Hearthstone to have, be it game play wise, meta game wise, mechanics?

I would like Hearthstone to be a bit more fast in terms of updates. Like right now, based on the trend, I am guessing there is going to be another expansion/new adventure mode or whatever every half year. I would actually like it to be a bit faster because you do not need the community to figure out every single meta in the deck until you release newbies cards because the thing is releasing new cards brings excitement to the community and people want to watch more tournaments. People especially want to watch a tournament after a major update, to see what new ideas people come up with and I don't feel like it's in Hearthstone right now. Maybe because it takes a long time to work and balance things out but I don't think they should be too afraid to do more stuff, to do more content in the game. Of course I would like an observer mode or a tournament mode or whatever not.

Tournament as in the way it was in Warcraft 3?

Oh no just like an in-game client you can choose your decks and it's a best of 3 or whatever. Or even a tournament where 16 people just join a room and then they have a tournament. Even those are like good but I know those would take time. And the thing is I feel that content is what is really pushing the game so I would like maybe every four months to release new content, that is reasonable to me. And maybe they can release it and then not enable the tournament mode until a week after a balance patch. This game really needs to be fresh and it still is, but I would like it to be just a little bit more.

Would you say that Blizzard should explore the avenue of having in-game tickets, so people could actually watch Hearthstone tournaments in-game and have their own chat channel? Or do you think it is fine to have just Twitch.tv?

I think that's a bit redundant because they said the observer mode is coming so it is obviously going to get streamed. And if they watch themselves it's just awkward because you don't have a choice of commentary, you don't know what games to watch. It's got to be hard on the U.I (user interface) especially, how do you rate games that are important or not? So I think Twitch is fine.

Image courtesy of DreamHack Bucharest stream.
Image courtesy of DreamHack Bucharest stream.

Mylkal asks why you never stream arena?

I do stream arena sometimes. I just finished doing arena with the free to play priest because I need packs. But the thing is, I think a lot of people stream arenas already like Trump, Kripp, MaSsan and Hafu. They only stream arena and I mean if you want to watch arena I guess you could watch those people. The main idea of me streaming first is that if I stream I should be doing something different. So Priest is perfect. No one plays Priest, easy. But then if I do start to do arena it's because I hope people want to watch me instead of watching the ranked Priest. I can squeeze in a few arenas here or there but the main content of the channel is ranked Priest play. So I'm going to stick with that for a while until maybe something else that's cooler pops out or some other cool deck.

I have to ask, how did you know that that particular Animal Companion would come onto the board? I mean, I know turn two coin into Companion is one thing, but to know exactly which one is amazing.

The thing is, it's like a self fulfilling prophecy to a degree. If people re-watch the video, I really wanted him to do that exact play because it is the best thing that can happen to me and it's really probable. I mean Hunter turn two, that's the coin, you expect that kind of thing. And the thing is you kind of talk to yourself during a game, you kind of remind yourself what to expect your opponent to play so it's actually helpful in tournaments etc. It helps you as a player. So I usually go like hes going to do this and he ends up doing something different and I'm like "oh interesting". When people watch my stream they usually can tell that whenever I say something, it happens, even when I always top deck something. But when you keep saying stuff like that, it also helps remind yourself what you have left in your deck and what you wanna draw to have the most optimal play. I think it just helps.

Expl0ud asks what you think blizzard should do to make the game better? If you were a card, which card would you be and why? What's your favorite Pokémon? And what are your future plans? I think you already covered what you would like Blizzard to do with the game so let's cover the other questions.

Of course I want to be Ragnaros, because that would be baller right? Sniping everything and I wouldn't care who played me, I'd just do whatever I want. I am always a big fan of Chansey because she's like adorable and stupid at the same time and there was this Pokémon Stadium game where the Chansey was like catching eggs, I don't know if people know that on the N64. I grew up playing that and was a big fan of that Pokémon. As far as future plans, not much. I'll just continue streaming and see where it leads me. Continue joining tournaments, being active. I'm still teaching saxophone and I'm still working on my game. Life is good right now. Enjoy yourself right? I used to work in an office job and even though it was relatively "ok" pay,I never really liked it because I think it's a bit redundant to sacrifice time to get money so that you can have fun. Why not have fun at the same time? Some people can do that but I think for me there is a better solution to life. I did get really lucky to get picked up and have people watch me so I'm really grateful for that.

Quick question from me, what was your favorite starting Pokémon in the original Pokémon? Was it Charmander, Bulbasaur or Squirtle?

I guess it was Charmander because Charizard and dragons right? Venusaur looks like flowers and Blastoise looks like a turtle.

Andaho asks if you think there are any gaps in a Priest's cards, other than the whole four attack thing going on that could moderately be patched up?

I think the Shadow Words are a hole. Okay, the thing about the Shadow Words that the easiest thing to patch the gap is making Shadow Word: Death four attack or more, because if you used it on Yeti, then you can't use it on something else later on, so I think that would be a good change. But then the other obvious gap is the two drop department where usually a Priest, when you get turn two, you normally click the end turn button. This is because your opponent didn't attack you and you can't use your hero power and you can't play any minions, which is really sad. So a two drop for a priest would be awesome I think. The rest seems to be O.K. The game play of Priest is just really the longer you can play the game, the higher the chance to win. So I think it's O.K that Priests can't just swarm the board. But we have a lot of class cards that we can't use like Divine Spirit, Inner Fire, Mind Blast, Mind Vision, Mind Games, Shadow Form it's just too many right? You can't name four Druid cards that nobody plays. I can only name Savagery and that's about it. So I mean our class cards need to be better and I'm really looking forward to the Naxx class card and I hope it's either the four attack thing or the two cost minion thing. That would be nice.

Part 2 of the interview will be coming up tomorrow so stay tuned!

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