Maverick is a professional player and streamer playing Hearthstone, produced by Blizzard Entertainment. He is Belgian and represents the ArmaTeam team. He was previously part of Millenium team.
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KYKLOS: How did you start your career in e-sports?
Maverick: I was not a big video game player, but I still played World of Warcraft. At one point, I was almost out of gaming and my brother told me about Hearthstone on BattleNet. So I started with the beta, and of course, as there were not many players, if one of us was better, we wanted to talk to him to get better! That’s how I got my first acquaintance. Then there was the first OpenCup online: a small tournament with maybe €5 to win but it was not the most important. It was the first step in competition and a way to face players who also wanted to compete.
I then had a small team, I trained with and we had the opportunity after 6 months of preparation to participate in a big tournament in Paris and I won and that’s when my career started. So I took a gap year to focus 100% on e-sports and I joined the team of Millenium, and I switched between a status of streamer and professional player. One year later I decided to go back to university, so I reduced my played time but kept participating in tournaments. I realized that I still had the level to stay at the professional level. After much thought, I decided to devote myself fully to e-sports. Currently, I am in ArmaTeam and everything is going very well. I juggle between being a streamer and a pro-player.
K: So how do you split your tasks?
M: I have a contract related to my streaming activity and a professional player contract. It is important to separate the two because I do not have the same commitments and obligations depending on the status!
K: How do you prepare for your tournaments?
M: I play every day and I have a lot of contact with other players to train and find new viable decks for tournaments. I play also partly ranked daily.
For a particular tournament, I will look at who the players are, get information about the different decks they played recently and also study their ways of playing. But it’s not easy when you do several tournaments during the same period because it’s a lot of information to process and it takes a lot of time at the expense of the practice time. The idea is to be able to anticipate what your opponent will play in order to potentially counter it.
K: Still in preparation, what do you think of the role of a coach in a game like Hearthstone?
M: I never had this situation because I never had a real coach for my team. In Arma, we have Vinz, who has a lot of knowledge of the meta (ex: data on each card and which decks are currently the best) and who can try to orientate your strategy. But in a game like this, it’s quite complicated to have a winning deck because every situation is different. And that’s actually what guarantees the competitive spirit!
K: And in ArmaTeam, do you have a captain?
M: In ArmaTeam, we are all at the same level. We all have the same experience of the game and we all have invested a lot of time. But Hearthstone is a “real-time” game: if I play less, I will be worse than another player because I will not have the necessary play time to be better than him.
We had team tournaments recently, and everything went well. We listen to one another for each round and do not hesitate to trust other team members to decide what to do. Each player has a favorite play and with which he is more efficient, it is important not to close yourself to criticism and advice.
K: How do you picture the development of the e-sport scene on Hearthstone?
M: We have a lot of great players in France! With ArmaTeam, we organize ArmaCups, and it’s impressive to see the skills of the applicants.
In 2018, Blizzard changed its grading scale, and that will completely change the accessibility to Hearthstone’s e-sports scene. They will also increase the cash prize of big tournaments like European championships in order to reward more the people who have invested a lot of time and efforts in the game.
K: And as a player today, how are you doing?
M: So, if I were only a player, my financial situation would be rather complicated. But today, it is the streaming that allows me to live more than my status as a pro-player.
Today, on Hearthstone, it’s hard to live solely on professional pay. Certainly, I would be more efficient if I streamed less because I could focus more on the competitive aspect, but from a financial point of view, it is not possible at the moment.
K: And what is your best memory?
M: My victory at the Hearthstone festival. After a year where I did a lot of Top8, 3rd place … a victory was a pleasure. In addition, the tournament was amazing, the scene was beautiful and many international players made the trip which made the reward even more amazing. It’s a wonderful memory.