An interview with Hyped

An interview with Hyped
Hyped took a break from his massive Draft tournaments, which he hosts, as well as his Constructed dominance in tournaments, to answer some questions we had about his experience at SeatStory Cup X. In the interview, we talk about the patch dropping in the middle of the night, balance changes, and the meta as a whole.
At the WePlay Might Triad: Strength tournament, Hyped won with Blue/Green Combo. In the group stage of SeatStory Cup X, Hyped went 4-1 with a Mono Blue deck featuring . In the Bracket stage, Hyped tweaked his list toward instead of , eventually winning the tournament.

How was Krefeld?

Hyped - The trip overall was pretty good, the flights weren't too bad. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sleep on the flight, but I did land right at night and immediately fell asleep in my hotel room. As for the TakeTV Studios, I think the studio is really cool, I played at SeatStory Cup III in 2015 and they didn’t have the studio yet, we actually played at someone's house, so it was fairly cramped. The new studio, however, is much larger and really nice. There was even a little theater room, where players could watch the live stream in a comfortable area.

Which deck did you initially bring to the tournament?

Hyped - I actually brought Mono Blue, originally. I was expecting a lot of players to bring a Blue/Green Storm deck, and from my testing I realized Mono Blue had a favorable matchup. When Patch 1.2 came out, I was immediately like, "Oh wait, now that matchup isn't important, but Mono Blue is still really powerful."
There was some debate between bringing Blue/Green Storm or Mono Blue to the tournament, because I've played a lot of Storm. If I brought Storm, it would have been a slightly teched version, to give me a better matchup versus Red/Blue Control. I was thinking there might be a lot of Red/Blue, which has a fairly good matchup against Storm. Mostly because that deck has access to , which is a powerful tool to stop Storm from killing an ancient in one turn. Had I run the teched version of Storm, I would have played something like or , which both protect you from .

What was your first reaction to hearing the news of the patch dropping?

Hyped - There were some rumors that a patch might happen. I checked reddit right before I fell asleep because we had an idea the patch would happen that night. I saw nothing was on reddit and went to bed. In the middle of the night I rolled over and checked my phone.
I saw Mono Blue didn't take a hit from balance changes and immediately went back to sleep, instead of spending a bunch of time looking at the Patch notes and mulling it over. Because the changes happened, only TerrenceM switched his deck, but I stuck with Mono Blue. I thought to myself that if Mono Blue dominated the group stage, I could consider switching to maybe Black/Blue Vesture, which has a really favorable matchup against Mono Blue. However, I don't think the deck is consistent enough, having to rely on early draws of and .

What are your thoughts on the nerf?

Hyped - was probably bad for the game, in general. I think would have been enough to counter , but they really hit her with the nerfs. I kind of just feel really bad for Drow. I’m not a fan of hate tech cards that focus more on countering one card versus others.

How were players reacting to the changes?

Hyped - Some people didn’t know what to do, others were furiously trying to build new decks. Petrify was probably the most successful at thinking about building a whole new Patch 1.2 deck. Some people just subbed out, some kept her in, and others were just jamming into their item decks.
All the Mono Blue guys that brought the deck to the tournament were working together and we were talking about swapping to Black/Blue, but Swim said don’t do it. Not enough really changed in Mono Blue for us to swap decks.
was something we were talking about, because can break through it. Worst case scenario, even if they have , they have to lose initiative to break out. And there is plenty of removal in Mono Blue to kill the Hero, usually, even if that were to happen.

Why have you changed your mind on the 40 card deck count?

Hyped - There was talk about going above 40 at the time. But I didn’t want to get too crazy experimenting, since I practiced so much with a 40 card Mono Blue deck list. For the tournament, I decided to keep it at 40, knowing it was good enough. Thinking about it now, I’m still not fully convinced that having more than 40 cards in Mono Blue is totally optimal. It’s something we’ve gone back and forth on.
Another thing Swim and I disagree on in Mono Blue is having on the Flop or on the Turn. I think having a fairly consistent Hero that can survive the Flop against big Red Heroes is important, whereas Swim favors the option of choosing which lane goes into. Another thing we talk about is having only 1 or 2 in the deck list. These are all interesting things to debate, because there are arguments for both sides, and we still aren't sure which are the best options.

Why did you play in the group stage?

Hyped - The main reason I ran , was I had done a lot of play testing against Blue/Green Storm. We all know Fissure is very good and isn’t that great outside of the Storm matchup. But like I said, I initially brought Mono Blue to the tournament to beat Storm decks. After the patch hit, we knew Storm wasn't going to be played at all, and I thought about cutting . But I went with what I had been practicing with.
One of the biggest things about is that he also can survive , when played. That was my first thought when I considered running . Living through an is actually a huge deal when considering the fifth Blue Hero in Mono Blue.
One of the reasons why actually edges out , at the end of the day, is how he does against Black/Blue Vesture, which helps versus that matchup. By running , the deck has more nukes and more controlled removal. You force your opponent in a position where they can't go wide because of , and they can't focus on just their big Heroes either, because of .

Hyped's Mono Blue Winning List

What did you think about Xixo's Black/Red deck list?

Hyped - I knew that this is something that Hoej had been testing, and initially I was pretty scared of the deck, because I never really thought about a whole lot. If the deck's Mana Curve is really low, the player will have a much easier time getting down . On the first turn or two, they'll have an easy time playing a few 2 or 3 Mana cards. Then on the next few turns, the player will have Mana for , without any other 4 Mana cards in hand to compete for the play. If the deck has a high Mana Curve, loses a lot of value, because there are likely better cards to play on Mana 4 or Mana 5. In one of the games, Xixo did use 's abilityto hit one of my , and Nether Blast came off cooldown a bit faster than I expected.
Xixo's deck list also didn't run any , and I didn’t know what to think of it. It was likely a deliberate choice, surely they tested it. Since I hadn't seen that before, I was afraid of it. It kind of reminded me of a situation when I first started playing Draft in the closed beta, I just didn’t understand the game at all. I was playing a Mono Red draft deck and I could never close a game out, the deck just didn't have a way to finish the game and win. I started putting a bunch of weapons in my item deck, I thought maybe the deck needs a little more offensive power, and to my surprise, the deck started winning. I thought maybe this was the type of situation for Xixo, that they realized by going overly aggressive and skipping cheap Health items in general, that they figured something out. So, I was afraid of it.
After the series versus Xixo, I thought about a little more. It’s an aggro deck, it’s probably only going to draw 20 or so cards over the course of a game. Most of the time, the deck will only have 1 up. In that case, does it really do a lot versus Mono Blue? I'm just not sure how impactful it can really be.

What did you think of Ekop's Red/Green list with 1 Enough Magic?

Hyped - I definitely think is the way to go in Red/Green. Overall, I’m not too afraid of the Red/Green matchup when running Mono Blue. They kind of need to high roll and string multiple and to really beat Mono Blue. And because of the nerf, they just eat and it’s not too scary for the Mono Blue player.

Petrify tore through the bracket stage against all Mono Blue decks, what were you thinking prior to the finals?

Hyped - My first thought was that I’m unfavored, but I could still close it out. My strategy is pretty simple against his deck, swarm and be aggressive, try to go as wide as possible against him. I basically have to get and early, going wide and pushing tower damage. His deck isn’t that aggressive, it is a bit slower to start setting up, and he doesn’t have any AOE tools to push down a wide lane.
I also noticed that a few of the games he won, he picked up from the Secret Shop. I thought that if he doesn’t draw that against me, I can do probably do okay against his deck.

Down 2-1 against Petrify, what were you thinking to yourself?

Hyped - I was really in the zone. I distinctly remember being down 2-1, but I still felt confident. In the first game I lost, I made a mistake and I knew if I could play better, that it wouldn't happen again. In the other game he won, he had a lot of and pretty early and put pressure on me. Since there's a fairly low chance of him drawing all of his removal that early, I felt pretty confident.
Also, after three games versus him, I knew how both of our decks worked, I knew what I needed to do and I knew what he was trying to do, so I told myself I can close this series out and I was still motivated.

Both Xixo and Petrify said 's Multi-Cast was a big part in you beating them, what do you say to that?

Hyped - It’s just a fallacy. Playing against Multi-Cast, you don’t really see what your opponent also has in their hand. Multiple times in the tournament, I had Multi-Casted a card that I already had an extra of in my hand, but my opponent's didn’t know that. In that instance, of course I would rather play the Multi-Casted copy, instead of the unrevealed card in my hand.
Mono Blue is extremely strong. Sure, you might say they only beat you because of that one thing they had, while in reality, Mono Blue has many different tools and options to close a game out. Multi-Cast really just makes the Mono Blue player's job easier or can speed a game up. Sometimes I'll get a Multi-Cast and I think, Okay, I can win this game one turn faster.
Against Petrify, there was one game where I Multi-Casted twice. It freed up a lot of options I had and I didn’t need to draw my second . By that time in the match, I was running pretty low on my removal cards and I either needed to get lucky and draw my second or get lucky and Multi-Cast.

What are your thoughts on the Patch 1.2 Skill ratings and Account leveling?

Hyped - It’s better than nothing. Right now, it’s just an experience based system, favoring grinding. I’m hoping Matchmaking Rating is being worked on, even if only behind the scenes. I think it's possible that the MMR system is happening, just not front-facing, allowing the players to find a true MMR, and when the system comes out, we are all placed in our own brackets. The system we have now isn't really a real system, but it’s better than nothing.

Do you think Mono Blue needs a nerf?

Hyped - I think Mono Blue's biggest issues are the board clears, and . These two cards are really shutting aggro down, giving them few options. And yes, used to keep in check. Now, the only counter to is , which isn’t that great or reliable, because you need Gold to get it first.
Maybe Valve could increase 's Mana Cost by 1, which would give you more time to get gold for a . However, I wouldn’t mind seeing them hit first. There is also the possibility we might see Valve have cards in the next expansion, which could give us ways to circumvent .

Thank you for your time, any shoutouts? And where can people follow you?

Hyped - Big shout out to the Mono Blue team, Swim, Shaggy, and Senflgas, who kind of invented the Mono Blue deck in the first place.
Big shout out to Team Liquid for flying me out. Very thankful for that.
You can follow me on Twitter @Hyped_AF and Twitch.
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