Equinox Interview Part II: Looking Back

Equinox Spirit Hood

Jon “Equinox” Peterson is a talented Heroes of the the Storm player who has played at the top of the scene for over a year. He’s well known for his incredible prowess on melee assassins such as Kerrigan and Illidan, and often assumes the role of shotcaller on his teams.

I recently sat down with Equinox to talk about his HotS career and some of the things he’s learned from progaming. Part II features Equinox looking back on his HotS career and the people he’s met along the way.

On Murloc Geniuses

MG was obviously the highlight of your career. The Murlocs were together longer than any other team without any huge roster changes (mYi may have overtaken that title as of now). Do you think that the synergy you guys built up was strong and healthy?

The synergy we built up was healthy. We all had a lot of trust in each other for the majority of the time we spent together, just kind of got shaky near the end of our time together. Around the December-January timeline, it wasn’t going over too well; scrims weren’t that productive, and people lost faith in a couple of players on the team. So the trust didn’t stay forever, but we kept it until after Heroes Rising, then the team ended up disbanding and Cauthon/Faye went to COG.

Zeveron? Or do we not speak of that?

Zeveron was a pretty interesting situation. We were doing well going into it initially, and after we lost to Tempo Storm in WCA semis, the trust that initially was had in us from the owner was thrown out the window. Got worse and worse as time went on. He’d constantly shit talk us to managers/coaches of other teams as well as tell us personally that he didn’t believe we were a good team.

Equinox Spirit Hood

 

We ended up going through a slump from the end of June all the way through July and decided as a team we didn’t want to be apart of the org anymore. Also because a Reddit thread of all the shady shit that the dude has done in the past popped up, which further cemented our decision. Not exactly the luckiest with orgs, so I lost a lot of faith in ones going into the future.

Some of the friendships you forged on MG were obviously tested during the team split at the very end. Did you ever reform those bonds?

I believe I’m still friends with everyone on the team—maybe not nearly as close but don’t think there’s any bad blood anywhere. As far as everyone else, idk if everyone’s still friends with each other.

The basic formula of MG drafts was: 1) get Fury a good tank, 2) grab some strong, well-rounded Heroes, and 3) put Equinox on a hyper carry. Do you think this formula was exploited by other teams? Did you ever discuss changing drafting strategies much?

That was our basic draft strat. A lot of our success actually came from some of the different things we tried—stuff like Vikings/Sylv split push, no tank Illidan and no tank Kerrigan w/ Vikings. A lot of crazy strats that we practiced and perfected but never ended up getting a chance to run due to Kerrigan being permabanned.

Murloc Geniuses Interviews

The Murlocs answer questions at the Americas Championship.

I think our biggest issue was just not being able to close out games vs the top 3 teams. We’d always get so close then throw once or twice and lose. Overall, our draft wasn’t exploited too much unless we just fucked it up ourselves.

Why do you think it was so difficult for MG to close out games against the top teams?

The biggest thing was just not realizing the gravity of late game. We’d always take a bad teamfight, get caught, or make a bad core decision. After making a lot of bad core decisions, I ended up just…not making them anymore after messing up so much.

MG was the king of stun train deletion comps. What’s the secret behind the perfect execution of these comps?

Playing together and building up that synergy in Hero League, scrims, and tourney games. Knowing who your tank/melee are most likely to go for and being able to follow that up. Also trusting your teammates. Something a lot of people don’t understand is you need to trust your teammates regardless of whether you think it’s the right or wrong thing to do, because if you aren’t on the same page, then it’s gonna fail anyway.

If you could go back and do anything different with MG, what would you do?

Watch a lot more replays. That’s something we never were strict about, and it messed with us so much. We watched replays at Vegas and improved so quickly in a short amount of time but never did it afterwards, so we didn’t improve as much as we should have.

On Teams After The Murlocs

After the breakup of MG, you were looking for a new team to play with. Did you ever plan on joining a big team like Tempo Storm or Cloud9? Or was the appeal of forming your own team more exciting?

After MG broke up, I thought about if that would be possible but figured it’d be easier finding a team/forming one more than joining an established/high placing team. Resurgence was one of the first teams I tried out for after leaving MG and it ended up being the team I stuck with because I liked the way their comms were and I didn’t have to shotcall on that team.

Did you consider a role switch during this time?

No, not during the Resurgence era. I did later on down the road though.

So Resurgence was your first attempt after MG, and it was…a pretty disastrous failure. I still maintain that the team was great, but the community pressure and the DDoS attacks were probably some of the worst experiences of your career. What lessons did you learn from that?

The DDoS thing was an easy lesson to learn from: get a VPN, have a backup plan ready if anything happens, and try not to make people hate you that much. Regarding the community things with our matches that made us look really bad, it was mostly just miscommunication between teams and admins that got blown up to a something big and annoying. Basically, the lesson learned is just let admins do their thing and play the game like you’re supposed to.

That must have been really devastating considering the way the community treated you and the rest of the team. How did you process and recover from that experience?

It sucked not being able to qualify but after a day or two, I didn’t really care—just worked on moving forward and prepping for the next round of qualifiers. The way the community treated us, I never really cared—never will, because at the end of the day, I’m gonna learn from my mistakes or whatever happens and do my own thing, so no reason to be bothered by what people say.

After Resurgence, you joined Astral Authority (formerly Gust or Bust/King of Blades Alpha). I remember you saying that the best part was that you finally got to do shotcalling again. What made you want to start shotcalling again?

I just enjoy having control of the game and a bigger control of the outcome of the game. On Resurgence, KilicK was our shotcaller, and I did enjoy having someone else shotcall at the time because they were really good at it, so I could just focus on playing. However, being the shotcaller also puts that pressure and responsibility on you that feels really rewarding and also very devastating, which is something I love about the role.

Astral Authority Draft

Equinox captains the draft from his phone.

You also have to be very objective and critical of yourself to become a really good shotcaller. Which also translates into you improving as a player. I was never a very good MOBA player, but I’m very self-critical as a person, so it doesn’t take long for me to figure out what I’m doing wrong and fix it.

That’s great! I have to admit that shotcalling is really hard in Heroes of the Storm, especially while playing carry Heroes. How do you make huge plays while still staying focused on what the team needs to do macro-wise?

Trial and error from scrims mostly, I try to do a lot of crazy things in scrims and end up dying/throwing, but it’s for the reason that, if I do those things, I’ll always know my limits when it’s in a serious game. So since I already know my limits on the Hero I’m playing, I can then focus on the macro decisions going into the game instead of worrying about how I’m going to play.

Were there any odd picks you held in reserve (like a secret Chromie strat or a deep, hidden love for Gazlowe) during your time on AA?

We practiced Chromie a couple times in scrims and had success with it. Also our Butcher pick we played against Tempo once was one of our most successful strats. Never got to pull them out though.

Haha, that was actually a complete troll question.

I love Chromie lol. Made us play her a few times cause she’s really fun to play.

What was the best part about playing with the guys on Astral Authority?

They’re all very genuine in their opinions and don’t hide their feelings about things. It allowed us to improve on things pretty quickly instead of wondering what the issue was. If you know everyone’s true feelings and outlooks on the game, then it’s not that hard to improve. They’re still the team I felt the most comfortable being on to this day—everyone from the players to our manager/coach, was just an enjoyable experience overall.

Why did you end up leaving Astral Authority? Was it just a difference of opinions?

Our scrims were pretty unproductive for awhile and, as a person who really hates losing, it was wearing me down over time. It didn’t feel like we were improving for a few weeks because it’d be like the same thing most nights. However, it was most likely just a slump after the event, something I’ve also been through with old MG. Just didn’t feel like it was the right decision to stay at the time.

You sounded like you were dead set on competing with the reformed Murloc Geniuses. Why did you retire at the last moment?

I really didn’t enjoy playing the game outside of competitive—still don’t unless I’m just in the mood. If I’m not enjoying what I’m doing and it gets to the point where it’s just a constant frustration, it’s not worth it to continue playing. So I retired. Don’t know how long I’ll stay retired from competitive but wouldn’t mind coming back eventually because I do really enjoy competitive. It’s just very unenjoyable outside of it.

The positive, optimistic side of Reddit disagrees with you :p.

About the game?

About the game being fun. Lots of posts about how people love playing this game over LoL or Dota because it’s stress free and super casual.

If you’re a casual player and you’re playing it casually, it’s a really fun game. However, if you’re really competitive or a pro player and you’re playing solo queue, it’s not that fun because the quality of practice is insanely low.

Career Summary and Fun Stuff

Looking back on your career so far, what was the best moment of all time? Best tournament?

I have two favorite moments. First one is qualifying for Vegas back in 2015 with MG. It was my first LAN and I also got to travel to one of the places I’ve always wanted to go within the US.

Murloc Geniuses in Vegas

 

My second favorite moment was getting top 4 at Summer Regionals 2 [in Burbank] with AA—finally was able to reach that goal which avoided me for the longest time. Was a great feeling, especially because we won off of a five man Leap and our crazy Greymane, Abathur, solo heal Tass comp.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve ever played with (or against)?

Probably Nightmare or Cauthon. Nightmare is someone we tried out on MG, and he’s a good player with a strong work ethic, but no one’s really given him a shot yet. Was easily one of our best tryouts. Cauthon is a player that doesn’t usually get a lot of praise or is underrated due to his age or whatever it may be, but he’s easily the most consistently high performing ranged player I’ve played with in HotS. He’ll always do his job and he has solid comms, which makes it easy to play with him right off the bat.

Are there any exceptional people you’ve met along the way that you want to give a shoutout to?

TalkingTrees. Never really had much experience with him until AA, so it was nice to see how good he was at playing carry Heroes like Li-Ming. Faye is still one of the best players to me, regardless of what people think of her Hero pool. She’s a very consistent player who also is able to make plays at the same time.

Zuna because he’s probably the most aggressive player in NA when it comes to shotcalls and just individual play. You can learn a lot from just watching him play. Last, but not least, Mcintyre is someone who I respect a lot. He has a very large Hero pool and a strong passion for the game which makes him one of the best players in NA. He’s someone I learned a lot about melees from watching him play, especially on Heroes I wasn’t very comfortable on.

Awesome. Well, I don’t want this to sound like a funeral for your career. There’s still a huge future ahead of you, so we’ll end things on a lighter note. What are some of your interests outside of gaming? Gardening? Wine tasting? :^)

Outside of gaming, probably traveling and anything to do with astronomy. That’s a big reason I got into gaming in the first place was to travel. I plan on making this my career as long as possible so I get to enjoy traveling and gaming.

I actually did not know that about you. We should talk about astronomy sometime, I’m crazy about stellar masses ^^. Next, an important question. Worst roommate: Chen, Murky, or Nazeebo?

Murky, can never understand what he’s saying and smells like fish.

Marry, boff, kill: Chromie, Li-Ming, Sonya?

What does boff mean rofl. And marry Chromie, kill Sonya, boff Li-Ming. Gotta marry the timelord, can do some crazy stuff with that…and Sonya might kill me if she’s any of the other two so rip.


In the final part of the Q&A with Equinox, we’ll be talking about his future goals and whether or not he plans on continuing in Heroes of the Storm as well as a brief breakdown of his playstyle and advice to new aspiring players. Stick around!


EsportsJohn is unbelievably excited that OGN is re-uploading classic Brood War VoDs to YouTube. You can follow him on Twitter or support him on Patreon.

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