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 III is all about his thoughts on the recent NA Regional in Burbank and the direction of the game as well as his future plans as a progamer.
On the NA Regional in Burbank
First of all, let’s talk about the NA Regional last weekend. Your former team Murloc Geniuses won their first tournament ever. How do you feel about that?
Overall happy for them. Nice to see people who have been working hard succeed. Doesn’t really affect me much that I left and they ended up winning, is what it is.
Mostly happy for Jun since it’s his first LAN and he had that level of success.
Yeah, a lot of people are really complimenting him for his outstanding play. After watching the tournament, do you think he’s one of the absolute best Supports in NA too?
I think he is. However, it mostly depends how consistent he ends up being in tourney play and how the rosters do after they settle down.
There were a lot of impressive showings overall by “lesser” teams at Burbank (Vox Nihili and Murloc Geniuses, in particular), but the “bigger” teams struggled. Why do you think that happened? Was there a weird shift in the metagame from qualifiers?
Naventic overall looked very strong up until they went against GFE, who beat them with Tracer. Honestly, if Naventic didn’t lose that series, they would have most likely won the entire tournament just because they wouldn’t have to deal with stuff they aren’t used to. I feel like GFE just tries to be different too hard instead of drafting what’s best and fits to their strengths the most. They have good players who can play standard, so I feel like if they just stick to what they’re good at and use the off-meta picks at the right time, then they’ll be a much better team.
What about Denial eSports? A team with k1pro, KingCaffeine, and Glaurung seems pretty intimidating on paper, but they had a lukewarm performance at best.
You saw in all three of their series that people did the same strat against them: ban/pick away three Heroes that people know Glaurung plays and just abuse that weak point. Also Prismat had a really weird performance—was really good or just really bad. Like, that Tomb game, he was just ripping silences on nothing before the fight even really started, so idk what’s up with that. They need to be comfortable on LAN and also expand their Hero pools because, just judging off draft, people figured them out pretty quickly.
I see. Do you think the overall quality of games in NA is better, worse, or the same as last season? How about last year’s?
Quality of games? Definitely worse. I think that has a lot to do with how new most of the rosters are, to be honest. You aren’t gonna have really good games when a majority of the rosters are brand new—a lot of bad decisions and throws were very common. That will get fixed with time though, as long as people stay together.
Compared to last year’s regional, I think the game is just on another level from that point. The teams were a lot closer than last year, and the top 3 teams don’t have a solidified spot like last year.
So Rosterpocalypse™ is for sure a bad thing.
I think it’s a good thing IF people stay together. The teams seem to have more potential with the new rosters but less immediate results. I think it’ll be a really bad thing if people continue to change rosters.
On Playstyle and the Metagame
For a long time, many argued that you had a “one-trick pony” style of play (AKA Kerrigan or bust :p). How would you describe your playstyle?
I just like playing aggressive Heroes. Tracer, Kerrigan, Sonya, Illidan, Thrall, any of the fight oriented tanks—stuff like that. However, I can also play passive Heroes well if we build our comp around stuff like split-pushing and poke because that’s how you shotcall those comps.
I wouldn’t want to say calculated aggression is what I do, just mostly whatever I think the right decision is in the current circumstances. Like, if I see a pick on Tracer, I’m gonna go for it even in the middle of 5 people cause I know I can pull it off.
Interesting. I know I tend to be a very safe player, so pairing me with hyper-aggressive players somehow tends to balance things out. What sort of players do you synergize best with?
Ranged who have good comms, know when to make plays, and are strong laners. A front line that’s vocal (tank + support) who know when to listen but also know what they’re doing on their own (AKA good game sense).
When a new Hero or map comes out, how do you approach learning it? Do you just play it a bunch or do you think carefully about it outside of the game?
Both. Whenever a new Hero comes out, even one that I won’t be playing, I spam it when I can. Auriel, for example, I’ve played a lot of her so I know how to play against her when the time comes. A lot of the game is about knowing how to play against certain Heroes and what those Heroes’ win conditions are. Maps are a bit tricky. You have to just play them a lot and think about it to become really good at those maps. What rotations work optimally, what Hero abuses the map mechanics the best, and what Heroes benefit from the landscape of the map.
The Scaling Changes were obviously the biggest change in the history of Heroes. Do you think they’ve impacted the game positively?
They did for sure. They lowered the gap between scaling of early and late game Heroes so you aren’t like forced between late game draft and early game draft. Every comp has their power spikes, but they can do fine in early game if played correctly, which was a huge problem before the scaling changes.
The recent minion changes are arguably the second most important change to the game. What do you think about those?
Good and bad. It punishes low map awareness and not clearing your lanes but also makes keeps that more valuable and push Heroes that [much] more valuable. I think it increases the diversity of the Heroes that are good in the current meta, so overall it’s a good change.
On Future Plans
Excellent. Moving on, let’s talk about your future plans. I know this is the most anticipated part of the interview for both myself and the community. You quit competitive Heroes (again) but…did you really? You’ve been dropping some hints lately that you want back in.
No I didn’t quit completely yet. I plan on competing at PAX and hopefully BlizzCon. We’ll see what happens after PAX though.
I’d like to continue competing because that’s the part of the game I really enjoy doing. I still hate Hero League though. However, I have an idea to make it more enjoyable for the time being.
Oh yeah, what idea is that?
Stream, play on smurfs more and do like X Hero to Grandmaster streams so I’m getting practice on Heroes I want and also having fun at the same time.
I see. So it sounds like you’ll be doing quite a bit of streaming. Have you thought about coaching or casting or anything like that?
I did coach for a little bit before the regionals that just passed. I thought about doing it and I’d still like to do it if I end up not playing again.
Are you planning on joining back up with the Murlocs or just looking for a team wherever?
Have a team in mind already. Not Murlocs though, don’t think they’ll be needing anyone for quite awhile.
Random question, but did you ever consider going into Overwatch at all during your “retirement”?
I did, but I’ve been out of FPS games for so long, it’d take quite awhile to get back into them.
What would you say is the most important factor to being a really good player?
Learning from your mistakes and being objective about your play. There’s always something you can learn from even if you win everything. Always strive to improve and never get complacent.
To some degree, that “hard work” is difficult to see in professional gaming. What are some of the ways you think we (as fans) can fix the stereotype that gamers are lazy and/or don’t work hard?
I mean, just the fans realizing what hard work in gaming actually is. It’s just an ignorance about what that term means. People who do actually work hard at being a pro gamer scrim/practice 10-12 [hours] or more a day.
Also, putting in the extra time to study macro play and draft is something that shows someone really works hard.
What’s the best thing that fans can do to support a player or team they love?
Cheer for them regardless of results. Support through thick and thin is a massive motivation.
Any other shoutouts you’d like to make? Anything else you’d like to add?
Shoutouts, hmm. Guess I’ll start with people who have supported me through all the shit that’s gone on and the whole contract thing. Even 1-2 people supporting you does mean a lot. Personal shoutouts probably start with Cauthon/Fury as players—they both made me a better player over the time I had playing with them and definitely wouldn’t be the same without them. Coach wise, Vaalia was probably the biggest impact on me as a player. A different perspective on things made me improve a lot more, not just in personal play, but macro decisions and drafting as well.
Other thing I’d like to add is Blizzard please make a new Kerrigan skin. It’s been well over a year since Kerrigan’s last skin.