Lambyseries and CaelesLuna talk Hearthstone Grandmasters ahead of their season 2 debuts. The duo spoke about the new cards, grinding, and being a Pro. Oh and the “self touchy” meta.
Two underdogs in a sea of veterans, these players represent the dream that every competitive player has. To grind... and have it rewarded with a shining opportunity. There's always so much to learn from professionals like these, so without further ado, let's meet and hear from two of our freshest Grandmasters!
"For those that don’t know: who are you, and what is your relationship to Grandmasters?"
lambyseries: What's up pals I'm Wesley aka lambyseries. Currently serving my second term residency at Hearthstone Grandmasters APAC (also watched too many medical shows recently). I got relegated in Season 1 earlier this year but that was definitely an accident! Now I'm back!
CaelesLuna: My name is Cobee or CaelesLuna (Kay-Lez-Luna). I dropped out of high school and ran away from home at 17 and have spent a great deal of my free time since then trying to qualify for Masters Tours and thereby acquire GM points. Well, I’m here now.
"We just landed on the shores of a completely new metagame. What have your initial thoughts been about the United in Stormwind meta so far and, before we begin to dig deeper, do you like where we are?"
lambyseries: The meta felt kind of “self touchy” at first. There seemed to be little interaction between players during games which is definitely unhealthy. However, the meta has since taken a turn for the better with quite a wide variety of viable top tier decks, so I'm content now.
CaelesLuna: I genuinely think that the Stormwind meta is a lot more skill-intensive than the metas we’ve had over the last couple of years. Obviously, we have some overtuned cards and archetypes-- printing a whole set of Demon Hunter cards that purely buffed Il’gynoth OTK was an interesting decision.
However, even during this first week, before any balance changes have come out, we’ve seen a number of decks rise from the chaos which require significant effort to learn and reward skilled play. Control Quest Warlock and Quest Shaman definitely come to mind.
"The meta felt kind of “self touchy” at first. There seemed to be little interaction between players during games which is definitely unhealthy." Lambyseries on the United in Stormwind meta
"What’s been your weapon of choice to cut through the first official week of Stormwind? Do you think you’ll hold on to it moving forward?"
lambyseries: I actually grind every deck when it's relevant, so I’ve really been playing everything! Gotta make sure I know what's going on so I can be well prepared for GM.
CaelesLuna: Quest Warlock with the Soul Rend / Barrens Scavenger package. It’s an incredibly rewarding deck to learn and features many different angles of play to master. You don’t rely on the questline reward to win, and instead use the questline for the incremental lifesteal it supplies you for damaging yourself to slam down Flesh Giants early in the game before using Battleground Battlemaster to close it out. The deck is fun as hell and it’s definitely a mainstay in my arsenal.
"Which cards earn your medals for Most Surprising Overperformer and Most Disappointing Underperformer? Were your impressions of the set more or less accurate? If you had to pick a % 'off' you were, what would you say?"
lambyseries: I feel like the Mage questline has been a lot better than I initially expected. Daddy Cornelius though, has been horribly underperforming. I’d say I was like 70% sure this set was gonna be insane and game-breaking, except for maybe the Warrior Questline. The Juggernaut has been horribly lackluster in this meta.
CaelesLuna: Ah, my greatest shame-- I did not believe that the Warlock Questline would be very good when the cards were first revealed. I thought dealing 21 damage to your own hero was an absurd requirement, and I mentally whiffed on acknowledging that Stealer of Souls, Backfire, and Darkglare could all be placed in a deck together to create an unbelievably fast activation of the questline and establish one of the fastest combo decks we’ve ever seen. The Demon Seed wins. I was 100% wrong. Battleground Battlemaster is the runner up. You can just slap her in anything. Loatheb 2.0.
Now, I’m not personally surprised by this, but it kind of blows that the current meta is too fast for the Warrior and Paladin questlines. They’re both so valuable and grindy and I look forward in hope of a balance patch that makes room for those archetypes, for my personal enjoyment, of course.
Overall, I’d say the meta is going close to how I expected it to. I vastly underestimated Warlock and Mage, though, and being that those are two out of the ten classes, I was 20% wrong.
"Which archetypes or strategies were you most surprised to see flourishing or floundering in the early hours of Stormwind? Do you think there are any decks that are waiting patiently in the shadows that you expect to rise up and become real?"
lambyseries: Shadow priest popped up a few days back and I gotta say, I love the sound of Aggro Priest. I'm surprised the Warlock Quest was as good as it turned out to be, kinda overlooked it a bit.
CaelesLuna: Honestly, I’m quite surprised about how well OTK Demon Hunter is doing. Sure, they gave the deck a lot of tools to supplement its already-immense draw-power and discount potential, but-- actually, nevermind. There was literally no other outcome that could have arisen from giving OTK Demon Hunter more draw-power and discount potential. I’m mad.
Ok, also, I really thought Rush Warrior was going to be insane. They were blessed with a 2-mana 2/2 that draws a pirate, and also Varian, Encumbered Pack Mule, and Cornelius Roame. As it turns out, though, when games end one or two turns after Conditioning gets upgraded for the first time, and when combo decks that run freeze and removal effects are as viable as they are, buffing your hand is not nearly enough.
Shaman and Hunter questline decks, the Tier 2-3 gems that they are, will be coming for your throats after the first wave or two of balance changes. In addition, there’s an extremely oppressive Token Druid deck that nobody has discovered yet, and I promise you it’s absolutely horrifying. Keep your eyes peeled.
Hearthstone Grandmasters kicks off: $500K and 3 World Championship spots on the line
Grandmasters Season 2, Hearthstone’s Tier 1 competitive league, starts on August 12. Three regions, 48 players, almost $500.000 in prizes, 3 World Championship spots, and much more in this 8-week competition.
Manuel "Rane" Delgado
"Card game communities tend to react quite strongly to new cards. Which United in Stormwind card do you think is getting the most unfair criticism, and which one do you think deserves more?"
lambyseries: I don't think any particular card has been criticized very unfairly, there's a huge power creep in this set. I’m actually at a point where I feel this meta is one of the best we’ve had in a while! Thank you Stormwind.
CaelesLuna: I think Ignite is hilariously over-blamed for the current, relatively unhealthy meta. Last expansion, Mage had what many would consider “disgusting” high-roll potential. Uh, myself included. However, it’s not the burn spells or board interactivity that Mage has access to that makes this true-- it’s their ability to forgo having to manage their resources correctly because of cards like Incanter’s Flow and Refreshing Spring Water. These factors, combined with the fact that the questline actually improves your card advantage rather than diminishes it, are what has made Spell Mage so frustrating to play against.
"What kind of Hearthstone Player would you say you are? Do you feel like you align yourself with one school or flavor of gamer more than any other?"
lambyseries: In general I'm a very highly opinionated Hearthstone player. I love to debate and discuss about decks, cards, meta etc. I also love to be right. I mean, who doesn't? But I believe one of my greatest strengths as a player is that I'm very willing to be proven wrong as well. There's so much to learn from other people, perspectives you don't see at first, etc. I’m the kind of Hearthstone player that wants you to show me why I'm wrong so I can be better.
CaelesLuna: I’m a ladder grinder in every game I play. Honing a skill and expressing it to achieve victory is an incredible feeling. Thus, I like to play decks that come with a lot of agency. I play characters that can solo carry in League of Legends. I choose classes in RPGs that prefer to duel and adapt to their enemy’s choices rather than sit back and cast my rotation of spells.
Even though I hate to say it, my archetype is the tryhard Rogue main-- with the exception that I’m very capable of keeping a cool head and evaluating my own gameplay instead of that of my opponents or teammates. I fully recommend learning that skill, by the way.
"Were there experiences prior to Hearthstone that really gave you a competitive advantage over your peers? Was there a super-secret training ground that you had access to that no one else did?"
lambyseries: I have huge card game experience. I used to compete in Yu-Gi-Oh! and was even a national champion at one point. Card game mechanics translate from game to game quite easily and I came into Hearthstone with that as a strong point.
I’ve also spent a fair amount of time competing in physical sports like soccer and tennis so the ability to focus and keep nerves at bay during tough moments is something I guess you could say came naturally with me into competitive Hearthstone as well. Most importantly, I came into Hearthstone knowing you shouldn't Draw Last hehe =)
CaelesLuna: Funny that you mention that. I am in a practice group with a few other GMs with very consistent, rigorous training sessions that aim to simulate Masters Tours. Lamby is in it too, actually-- it’s called the Pony Dojo. Other than that, I played in an in-house organization called Team Hearth Legends for about two years, and playing there was, for a while, the only reason I would go out of my way to learn more than one or two decks at a time. It also familiarized me with the conquest format.
Prior to Hearthstone, though, I’d never actually played an online CCG other than a couple of the Duels of the Planeswalkers games. I’ve been playing consistently for the seven years since just before the Naxxramas expansion was released-- I was 13.
"Both of you have undeniably reached some of the loftiest peaks in the world of Hearthstone. If you could dispel one mystery that you think you’ve learned the Secret Answer to while on these journeys, what would you offer to The People?"
lambyseries: This one goes out to all the ladder grinders out there, and it's kinda the truth, because I was there for years and I'm still grinding cos I love this game.
Stop swapping decks when you lose. It's not a hard and fast rule. But if you are swapping decks here and there just cos you hit a bad streak that's not logical. You were probably also on a good streak when you were winning prior. Did the meta change in one hour? Probably not. You probably got tired and played worse. Stop swapping decks thinking you’d miraculously go on a 12 game win-streak again for no good reason. Know when to tell yourself you gotta be done for the day. Then your rank wont go from Legend 100 to 1000 in 2hours (I've been there, its ugly).
CaelesLuna: I think people hold a lot of nonsensical pride about what constitutes personal integrity in Hearthstone, and video games in general. “Meta-slaving,” for example, isn’t why people that reach Legend every month do so, nor is (for the most part) “paying to win.” The meta may be fairly restrictive on the top of the ladder, but you can really win with any class.
You win a game of Hearthstone by destroying the enemy hero. You do that by adapting to each game and each turn, and by knowing what your opponent is capable of doing on their turns, and developing instincts toward certain matchups, and balancing caution and proactive play-- and for God’s sake, not conceding because Tickatus burned a Legendary minion and it felt bad.
Basically, there are a lot of steps you can take toward being a great player, but the most important one is to remember the basics of the game-- you win by destroying the enemy hero.
"Is there anything you would strongly recommend to those aspiring to play at the highest level? Is there a Best Path to follow the footsteps of Grandmasters?"
lambyseries: This links back to my previous point a little. Even though I'm currently a GM I still feel like this isn't the top of the hill yet. In fact even when I do end up being World Champion I would probably still feel the same. It's super cliché, but the moment you start thinking you’re better than everyone and there's nothing more for you to learn is when the downward spiral starts. Long story short, it doesn't matter whatever level of play you are at, accept you can be wrong, accept that there is always someone who knows something you don't, and go learn it.
You can follow lambyseries on Twitch
CaelesLuna: Lamby actually told me this when I was playing in Top 200 Legend but failing to finish the month in Top 16 to qualify for various Masters Tours. Don’t get frustrated and switch decks all the time if you’re struggling. This isn’t always true, but most of the time, mental fortitude is the best win condition. If you can win over 50% of the time, then you’re already climbing. You’re going to lose a lot of Hearthstone games if you’re planning on playing a lot of Hearthstone games. You just have to be okay with it. If you’re struggling to stop yourself from tilting, my advice would be to take a break from the ladder and mentally regroup, as opposed to thinking that your deck is the problem.
You can follow CaelesLuna on Twitch
That's all, folks! Thank you again to Wes and Cobee for taking the time to answer these questions. If y'all love hearing from your Grandmasters, continue to check back here at Esports.gg! And if you want to watch lambyseries in APAC or CaelesLuna in the Americas, you can on the Hearthstone Esports YouTube channel.
Good luck out there!