Marcin 'Gnimsh' Filipowicz and Jack Etienne on Cloud9.Hearthstone
We caught up with the CEO of Cloud9 Jack Etienne as well as his new Captain of the Cloud 9 Hearthstone team after last nights announcement to ask them a bit about how everything came together and what the future looks like.
This article was originally published on GameSpot's sister site onGamers.com, which was dedicated to esports coverage.
Marcin 'Gnimsh' Filipowicz
What was it about Cloud9 that finally convinced the Doges to give up their independence?
"We felt that we really share the same goal and vision with regards to Hearthstone and it's future. I was talking to Jack a lot before we came with the final team structure and I always felt that we are really getting along. Communication and trust are important in building a long-term relationship. Cloud9 was able to show us that they are strong in those qualities."
What will change internally for the Doges? You've been known to share prizemoney among the group, will this practice still continue?
"We won't split the prizemoney anymore. Now that we are backed by Cloud9 we will be able to sustain ourselves better and focus on both team and personal growth. Even though Doge House still remains in our hearts; Cloud9 is a new entity on the Hearthstone scene. We've played with StrifeCro in the past, but Kolento and Hafu are basically new to the team. My goal is to build a strong relationship between our members and bring that friendship/family-like atmosphere where we can improve together."
Dan 'Artosis' Stemkoski has gradually been phasing out of the team, and is not included in this signing. Was this just a result of his busy schedule?
"Artosis is an extremely busy man and I'm sad that he is not with us right now. Dan is not going anywhere, though. He is a strong personality in Hearthstone and will remain as one. I can definitely see him playing in some future events as a strong contender as well as doing an amzing job by casting them. We are still friends and will play together I'm sure."
What strengths do the two new signings, Alexander 'Kolento' Malsh and Rumay 'Hafu' Wang, bring to the team?
"Kolento is an amazing ladder player. He does stuff that other people deem impossible. He get's to rank 1 legend every season with ease. Then he takes a new deck, redefines the metagame, falls a bit and gets back again. He is an extraordinary deckbuilder and analyst. One of the people out there with the biggest passion for the game. He is also very good at explaining his choices and every card's role in the setups that he creates.
Hafu is mostly known for her arena skills, but what some people might not now is that she has a very rich competitive history in World of Warcraft and Bloodline Champions. In the past months she also showed her skills in the constructed part of Hearthstone reaching high legend spots without any problems and no stream delay. She is very dedicated to the game and has a great understanding of it's mechanics. She was looking for an opportunity to be more competitive and Cloud9 is exactly that.
I'm hyped about working with both of them and seeing them perform in the upcoming tournaments!"
How do you feel about officially becoming the captain of this new team?
"I feel great, I would not be able to find a better group of people. I'm friends with ek0p and StrifeCro and I'm already talking to both Kolento and Hafu. I feel like we will soon develop the chemistry needed for the team to succeed and I will use my management experience to help us with it. I feel like the team is well balanced and I'm sure we will work well together. It gives me even more reason to be happy and proud about my role."
What kind of leader do you hope to be, and what do you believe are the hallmarks of a great Hearthstone team captain?
"It's definitely important to have your team's trust. I'm there for them, so if they need anything or have any concerns they can approach me and talk to me in private. Thanks to that we can always figure out solutions to possible problems. As mentioned above my main objective is to make the team work together and improve together. Work on our individual weaknesses and higlight our individual strenghts. I want to be that person to notice those things and help everyone to develop into even a better player. Thanks to that I will also be able to get better myself.
Other than that I will be the face of the team talking to press and taking care of some mundane stuff that other players just ingore or don't want to be a part off. I believe that the hallmarks of the great Hearthstone captain are as for any other team, or sport. Trust, communication and being dependable. I hope that I can maintain them and become one."
Do you think working with two North American members and a North American management will put any extra strain on you as a captain?
"Not at all. I might be European, but my sleeping schedule is totally American. We are gamers after all, we draft our own work schedules ;)"
What got you interested in Hearthstone as an eSport?
"The first night I downloaded Hearthstone I ended up playing until dawn. I knew Blizzard had something special on their hands and was just looking for my opportunity to get involved."
How did you prepare for picking up a team?
"I started my search by discussing what I was looking for with Meteos and Aui_2000 who are well connected with several highly skilled players. Through their introductions I was able to meet several people that immediately impressed me with their professionalism and desire to compete."
What attracted you to Doge House?
"Doge House is a complete package of top skilled players with experience and visibility."
What motivated the pick-up of a primarily arena streamer such as Hafu?
"Hafu has a long history of top performance I eSports. She is arguably one of the top arena players and is driven to be become a top constructed player. The only thing she has lacked is a proper team, now that she has one I expect she will be crushing it."
How hands-on were you in expanding the roster?
"Gnimsh and I spent a substantial amount if time discussing potential candidates for the team. I played a large role in expanding the team but left the final decision on acceptance to Gnimsh."
Were you concerned about ek0p's public persona when deciding to pick up the team?
"I love ek0p's excitement for the game and competitive nature."
How involved do you look to be in running the team?
"Part of why I'm involved in ESports is my passion for working with and developing the players on my teams. I plan to be just as involved in this new team as the others."
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