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Written by: EsportsJohn
Passion is enough. Back-to-back regional champions Murloc Geniuses proved this with their zero-to-hero story during the Fall season in North America. Reforming with the “rejects” of other teams, Murloc Geniuses was just a group of guys who were passionate about playing Heroes of the Storm no matter what. Headlined by former Murlocs CauthonLuck and Fury, the team assembled a group of underdogs with a lot of potential and worked as hard as possible for their first championship together. When they beat GFE during the first regional in Burbank to win the championship crown, everyone thought it was a fluke. But then it happened again at PAX. And then again during the North American Nexus Games.
After such huge success, the unsponsored team found themselves booming at a high market value for potential orgs. After some deliberation, Astral Authority ended up snagging the Murlocs after dropping their underperforming roster. Now under the moniker of AA, the boys find themselves not only heading to BlizzCon this week but also invited to the Chinese Gold Club World Championship tournament. The GCWC is a global tournament aimed at pitting the best teams from other major regions against China’s best in a Beijing showdown. Though the tournament is more than a month away, NetEase decided to sit down and get the team’s initial thoughts about being invited to GCWC and some their goals moving forward.
Welcome to GCWC! Can you describe your team for Chinese HotS fans? As the strongest team in NA pro scene, are there any particular pressures for you guys?
Jun: Thank you! It is pleasure to be invited to GCWC and compete with the Chinese and other international teams. Also awesome to have a chance to visit Beijing.
We are Astral Authority, a professional Heroes of the Storm team representing North America. Our teammates are:
- cattlepillar – Melee/Ranged Flex & Shotcaller
- Fury – Tank
- psalm – Melee Flex
- CauthonLuck – Ranged Flex
- Jun – Support
It is true that we are currently considered the best NA team, but there are still a lot of people who question our ability to compete at a very high level which puts the pressure on our shoulders a bit. During the past two regional qualifiers, we have learned that the best thing to do is not to think about it too much and just play our game.
How does the team work together? How do you train daily? How do you prepare for tournaments?
Jun: Our team works as a ‘team’. Everyone participates in giving their ideas and opinions in order to achieve the best result in whatever we do—although sometimes people get distracted. Everyone is willing to listen to each other, and we trust that all of our individual players are doing the best they can to bring the team to the next level.
We scrim about six hours per day every week and have one off day. Outside of team practices, we’re free to do whatever we want, but usually we just play more games to improve our own individual mechanics.
The day before tournaments, we make a game plan by going through every map and every possible draft situation that might happen. Also, we go through the general mindset and gameplay we should have for each according opponent.
What was the original intention behind forming the team? What’s your biggest advantage?
Jun: I think you could say that most of our team was formed by players that were either ‘kicked’ or ‘not wanted’ from other present teams. One story that lot of people know is about Fury, our tank player: we qualified for the BlizzCon by beating Gale Force Esports—the team who kicked Fury. As for me, I wasn’t a known player before I joined Murloc Geniuses (now Astral Authority). After going through a week of tryouts as a support, they trusted my abilities enough to compete professionally with me even though I was inexperienced. I actually attempted to try out for other teams, but I was not able to, probably because I was not a known player.
I think the biggest strengths/advantages are the team’s environment and work ethic rather than the gameplay itself. The reason I say that is that I’ve learned that having a positive environment and being around players who are willing to improve is just as important as individual gaming skills. If a team has those characteristics, regardless if they are doing good or especially bad, they will always work as team to improve. Everyone makes a mistake—there’s no such thing as a perfect player. A great team wins as a team and loses as a team.
What’s the secret to keeping the top rank on the HotS pro stage?
Fury: Continue to practice as much as possible and during your practice time try hard to make sure whatever composition you’re trying will actually work in a tournament. Make sure to also explore different Heroes on specific maps while keeping up on what you think is meta.
How do you feel about taking part in GCWC in China?
Fury: This feels amazing to represent North America in a different region and, personally for me, I love traveling around the world playing video games professionally. I always enjoy the different cultures and how other regions live day to day compared to how my life is.
Any special or interesting things to share with us about your team or players?
Fury: Within two to three months, our team became the first North American team to win two regionals in a row. Jun, our support player, had never played at a LAN event before until our first championship in Burbank.
What’s your opinion toward Asian HotS teams? What’s the difference between NA and EU?
Fury: Asian teams for sure play a much more aggressive, coordinated playstyle where they hide somewhere for a long period of time just to get one kill. The difference between NA and EU is that NA is better haha.
Are there any particular teams you want to defeat or any goals you want to achieve at GCWC?
Fury: I want to stomp the EU teams just because of the long rivalry between the two regions. I want to show that NA is the stronger of those two regions. Playing versus any Asian team will be fun and a challenge, so I cannot wait until our team finally has a chance to face one in GCWC.
What do you think of the current metagame?
CauthonLuck: Tanks and bruisers are getting stronger and stronger in the meta with every patch. While triple ranged used to be standard [in compositions], soon it will be only one.
Which team would you consider your rival?
CauthonLuck: Not a real enemy, but GFE is the most different from our team. GFE was able to buy the most well-known and skilled players to try and create a “super team” for BlizzCon. Our team had to recruit players who were not well known but that we judged to have undervalued talent. Before every tournament, nobody gave us any chance compared to GFE; we always felt like David to GFE’s Goliath.
Cauthon, you’re a 32 year-old pro player. Can you share some interesting stories about yourself?
CauthonLuck: My age has made a career in Heroes of the Storm very difficult to establish. Though I had played three other esports games at a pro level and played in every pro Heroes tournament while working at a full-time job, no major team or org in North America was willing to give me a tryout due to my age when I was a free agent four months ago.
I had to start a new team in order to stay in the pro scene. With the help of people who had played with me before, we were able to recruit new talent and create the first team in North America to win back-to-back Regional Championships.
Any further thoughts to share with Chinese HOTS fans?
All: Thanks for inviting the team to represent NA in another opportunity to play on the global stage!
This is an interview conducted and translated by NetEase. It is primarily intended for Chinese viewers to get a better sense of Western teams, but NetEase has given the publisher the right to publish for Western audiences as well. The publisher assumes no responsibility for inaccurate information or misrepresentation.