The Conquest of LatAm: Interview with Typhex


Typhex Headshot

Minor regions, in general, tend to get a reputation for being weak or uninteresting, especially when it’s in a language we don’t understand. We’re quick to write off the teams and players without giving them fair trial or recognizing the talent that’s there. In most cases, we don’t even look at them at all until we get to Globals and there are some guys we don’t recognize.

Part of my ongoing quest with these interviews is to bring the players, their motivation, and their talent to the forefront of the scene. Big Gods piqued my interest during the Spring Global Championship, and, as I’ve watched more and more of their games and interacted with the team on Twitter, I’ve grown more appreciative of their deep knowledge and unrivaled skill in the region.

That said, I was extraordinarily happy to sit down with Typhex for an hour via Twitter DM and talk about Big Gods and the Latin American region. Typhex and the core of the team have won every single championship in Latin America all the way back to BlizzCon 2015 qualifiers, unquestionably staking their ground as the best team in LatAm. Like me, Typhex also shares a passion for giving minor regions more exposure and improving the scene, a passion which he is very vocal about over social media.

On Big Gods

First of all, can you give me a brief introduction to Big Gods—who you are, how long you’ve been together, etc.?

I’m Typhex, Captain/shotcaller for Big Gods. My main role is Tank, but I also play as Melee/bruiser.

Most of the players in the team [have been] together for around 15 months, and we have been winning everything in LatAm since we got together.

Haha, you’ve been winning everything, hmm? Do you think you’re the best team because you have that history together or because you’re just the best individual players?

At first, for sure was because we were better individually because, when we got together—Me(Typhex), Vieira and Murizz—we got results instantly, but after a while we got a really good synergy, and now days, I feel like we are better [in] every sense of the game in our region, which isn’t enough sadly.

Who would you say is the playmaker on the team?

Well, that depends what playmaker means to you. The guy [that] initiates stuff? Or the one that does the most “Highlights”?

Yeah, the guy who gets the most “highlights” :p

It’s really hard to say one name like, since everyone does their part most of the time. Probably Muriz, he’s really good mechanically and has a good understanding of the game, and he also plays Greymane, Li-Ming.

Gotcha. How does the team do Hero picks? Do you have one guy who basically decides what to pick or is a group effort?

We try to do it together, but most of the time I’m the one deciding, and they try to give me tips just in case I miss something and they see it.

In general, Big Gods has a very aggressive playstyle. You guys run dive comps and double/triple tank compositions a lot. Is that a stylistic thing that comes from the players or do you think it’s just the best way to play the metagame at the moment?

Well that depends. If you saw us only in the DreamHack Summer [Championship], you’d surely think we are really crazy. I could say we are, for sure, aggressive, but [at] DHS, we kind of overdid it because we made a role swap before going there. Beto was playing in a another team as tank, and he just came in and we didn’t really have enough time to get the synergy going on for an event of that level. And since I’m the shotcaller and I’m used to playing as a Tank, I was always calling out people [out] of position, but sometimes it backfired because he wasn’t as fast and the team wasn’t following him as they used to do with me.

Typhex onstage

Photo Credit: DreamHack

And as a tank, I think you need to be making those decisions yourself. You can’t be getting calls for pick offs, since the delay [that] communication brings is just too much for HotS.

I watched a little bit of Copa America where you ran the triple tank with Tyrael/Sonya/E.T.C., I believe.

Oh, we just did it because it was the best comp we could’ve gotten that game, but I guess it does fit as aggressive :D.

On Latin America

Let’s talk about the region as a whole now. For those who aren’t very familiar with Latin America, what is the structure for qualifiers? It looks like you have a North Region, South Region, and Brazil qualifiers?

Well that is basically it. You have open qualifiers separated into three “sub regions”—North, South and Brazil—and only one team goes through the qualifiers from each region, and each season they bring one additional team from one of the regions: Spring was two South teams, Summer two North Teams, and now in Fall we got two Brazilian teams!

I hope that this format changes for next year, because it’s really killing the scene in Brazil and South America.

Why do you say that?

The prize pool is divided in 3 regions, and it is giving the “North” and “South” teams an easy time to qualify for the regional since they don’t have to face the Brazilian teams, who are better overall.

Ah I see. So out of curiosity, what other players or teams are good in LatAm besides the guys on Big Gods?

Infamous Gaming from the North Region is good, INTZ from Brazil and Kaos Latin Gamers. They are all close to the same level, but I feel like they need more experience/knowledge in the game to get close to us .

Kaos Latin Gamers [is] from South Region.

On Improving the Region

You’ve ranted on Twitter about how much you hate the LatAm servers. Do you think the region would be better in skill/experience if they played more often with NA players?

Surely it would help, both for competitive and ranked players, but since the server US10 (hosted in US East) got removed, we can’t really play in NA, since 180 ping.

Ah I see. Is there anything else that might help the region develop talent better?

Fixing the matchmaking, since most of the time it seems to not work properly, making two different games for players of the same rank, putting them in two unbalanced games.

End the qualifiers division [of] South, North, Brazil and make more tournaments.

What can Blizzard do to help promote or advertise the scene? How can the community help?

For the community, all I ask is to watch Tournaments and pro stream. There is a lot to learn in those and, by doing that, you are really helping the scene. [Also?], talk about it with their in-game friends.

Typhex Interview

Typhex is passionate about growing the LatAm region and drawing more exposure to the talent there. Photo Credit: DreamHack

Now from Blizzard…minor regions need the attention and advertisement that major regions get. I feel like a lot of people in South America don’t watch the tournaments because they don’t even know that its happening, like do posts from the minor regions in the HeroesEsports page, in, and in-game background just like they do for the major regions. It’s the basic stuff that sometimes is just forgotten.

Well said. I’m sure we could talk forever about game, the scene, Blizzard’s plans, etc., but I’m gonna wrap it up in the interest of time. Last question: Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any shoutouts for friends, players, or sponsors? 😀

So I guess that is it. Thanks for the intervew, Chris, means alot for me and our scene overall, and make sure to watch the latam regional at:

Dates are: September 3 and September 4

If any English-speaking casters want to cast the games for English-speaking viewers just DM me on Twitter and I can help with that, I guess. [Typhex and I are working together with community casters to make this a possibility; contact me if you’re interested!]

Finally, shoutouts to my teammates Murizz, Vieira, jschritte and betogg.
Thank you again Chris!

At the end of the interview, Typhex also informed me that the team is leaving the Big Gods organization this season. The future is uncertain for the team, but Typhex hinted that they may spend a season in NA next year if they make it to BlizzCon again.

“[A]s far as I can see, we would probably [be] getting into top 3 in NA [at] our current level,” he commented, clearly confident in the team’s abilities. He also believes the team has plenty of room to grow, adding that “…we would get a lot better with frequent scrims in NA.”

Keep an eye out for the Brazilian boys, and never underestimate the minor regions!


EsportsJohn is passionate about global esports becoming a reality, and you can be too. You can follow him on Twitter or support him on Patreon.

Always on the Rise: aPm Interview

aPm onstage

I recently tried to get in touch with Francis “aPm” Gilbert-Brodeur to get an interview before Denial eSports took to the big stage Burbank. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. But, we’ve caught up to bring you some post-tournament chat.

aPm (formerly known as MATRE) is a talented Support player who has been skirting the edges of top competitive play in Heroes of the Storm for a while. He’s best known for his aggressive playstyle and reliability as a teammate, and has an excellent informative stream.

On Teams and Team History

Many people probably don’t recognize you from Goon Squad Inc, one of the dark horses from the HWC qualifiers last year. Can you tell me a little bit about that roster and your success on the team?

Goon Squad was my first team. I found Hosty and GOAT in HL, and they picked me up for their team. We really started from the bottom and grinded to be able to get top 8 in [the] NA Regional last year. Roster was me/Hosty/GOAT/Goku/BOSSFLOSS. Four of those players still play in high competitive, and I’m really happy to see everyone be at the top—especially Hosty and GOAT, who just performed really well at their first LAN event with Vox Nihili.

After that, Team Higher Consciousness/Team Name Change has obviously been where you’ve spent most of your time recently. Did you expect that team to make it as far as they have in the NA scene?

Thr first time we qualified for regionals with that team (DreamHack Austin), me and Prismaticism joined the team one day before the event. Me and prisma were playing with PPST before, and Srey decided to leave the team to play with Blaze the night before. I knew Justing and Buds [from] before and asked them if they had room for me and prisma since we had no team anymore. The day we qualified was really special for me because it was my first LAN, and we had no practice together, so there was no expectation. After that day, I realized that this team had a lot of potential, and I’m not surprised to see them getting better placement in the next LAN.

How did you end up playing with k1pro and KingCaffeine on Crescendo?

They offered me a tryout, and I made the team.

Oh. So you didn’t know them much beforehand? Or…do all top NA pros know each other?

I played with them a little bit in SEL and met them at Texas for the first time—it was a really good time to meet every player.

Obviously, you guys have some exceptional players and great synergy. Did the team expect to smash the first qualifier for Burbank so hard?

We did not do that great in the qualifier :P.

I mean, it’s the most stacked one, and you guys came out on top looking strong, so… :p. At the regional event, Denial ended up doing a lot worse than expected. I hope it’s not too soon, but I’m just curious what you think the issue was.

We obviously didn’t play at our top potential at Burbank. Murlocs was the better team and they played better than us. That was a good wakeup call for everyone and I cannot wait to play at PAX.

Would you say that the Murlocs were the most surprising team at the event?

I dont think so. Vox was, for me, the most impressive team by far, not because of their player quality but because it was the first LAN as a team, and they did pretty good. I respect every player on Murlocs.

Denial watching replay

People that just watch the game and [don’t] play with/against the player cannot see what they really give to a team. Just the fact that they have less attention doesn’t mean that they are weaker player.

On Playstyle

You played a lot of Kharazim during the qualifier for Burbank. How would you gauge his overall power among supports right now? Are there any other supports you prefer?

Kharazim is really situational pick for Support. he can play really aggressive and help the front line because of is Q escape mechanic. He is stronger against poke comps and stronger on certain maps too. My favorite Support to play is Rehgar, but I just like to play the best Support possible in the best situation possible.

Gotcha. I’ve seen you play a bit of Brightwing on stream too. Were you practicing that now that she’s slowly creeping back into the meta or just having some fun?

I was probably practicing Emerald Wind since I feel like it’s good now, and it was never picked before, so I had low [amounts of] practice on it.

Have you had a chance to play Auriel yet? Do you think you’ll get to play her in competitive?

I played her, and she felt really strong in low tier games. I haven’t played her yet in scrim, but I feel like she is gonna be a situational pick because she doesn’t have Cleanse. I still think that she is gonna get picked a lot because [her] numbers/cooldowns are too good right now.

Double tank is back in vogue now (kind of). Do you think it’s easier to play with those sort of compositions as a Support player since everyone’s a little beefier?

Not really, it doesn’t affect Support play. You still need to be vocal and clutch on your big cooldown.

That makes sense. Has it been easy to adjust to the recent minion changes? Do you feel comfortable with drafts in the new metagame?

Ya, we adjusted to minion change really quick, but I don’t like the PvE aspect of the game, so I don’t like it. We had miss[ed?] certain draft at Burbank, and I feel that we understand more the draft now and we are gonna be more prepared for next LAN since we have HandleBars, who is gonna help us a lot with analyst stuff.

On Personal Life

Some professional gamers have continued to attend college while simultaneously competing (like MichaelUdall) and some have skipped college altogether to pursue their dreams. Which camp are you in?

I left university a couple month ago because I had a really good job opportunity. I’m almost done a Master’s in Management/Marketing and working for a Bank company [called] Desjardins. Its a lot of sacrifice to do esports and work, but I can do it without sacrificing my focus on the game. I wouldn’t let something affect my gameplay since I want to be the best myself and as a team.

Excellent. That’s a really hard line to balance. Lot of respect for that.

Ya, working 7h + scrimming 6h ;p.

Yeah nope LOL—but seriously, that’s impressive. You also stream occasionally when you’re not scrimming or competing. What do you enjoy most about streaming?

I just enjoy helping people that want to get better and come to my stream and ask me questions about gameplay. That’s really what I like the most, helping someone that can take criticism and wants to get better.

Anything else (general, playstyle, metagame, future plans, w/e) you want to add?

I’m sorry for our fans for our performance at Burbank. Everyone in the team is super motivated, and we will do everything we can to be the best at PAX….we will be the best at PAX.

Any particular shoutouts?

Shoutout to Denial eSports, who its really great to work with them and make sure everything is ok for us and help us to only focus on the game. Shoutout to my girlfriend Laurie who understands my sacrifice since I’m really busy lately :).

EsportsJohn is like a wild west gunslinger…only much lamer because he uses words and interviews instead of guns. You can follow him on Twitter or support him on Patreon.

Equinox Interview Part III: Playstyle and Future Plans

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 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.


Art Credit: Blizzard

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.

Equinox Interview

Photo Credit: ESL

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.

EsportsJohn is operation cwal. You can follow him on Twitter or support him on Patreon.

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.

Equinox Interview Part I: Career Beginnings

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 I consists of his beginnings in gaming and the MOBA genre and how he ended up as a progamer.

Special note: Too often Equinox has been given a bad name in the Heroes community due to drama or circumstances out of his control. His outspoken criticism certainly doesn’t help his case. But to me, he has always been a kind and fair friend as well as hands down one of the best players in North America. I hope that, by sharing the story of his career, others can see what a fantastic player he truly is.

On Getting Into Gaming

How did you get into gaming? Can you share one of your earliest gaming experiences?

I got into gaming mostly from consoles (N64, PS1, PS2). One of my earliest gaming experiences that I really enjoyed was playing a game called vigilante, was just a really destructive game and I liked it. One of my memorable gaming experiences was playing God of War 1&2 on PS2.

What was the definitive point where you decided to start playing competitively? At what point did you think, “Hey, I could do this for a living”?

When Heroes of the Storm was announced at BlizzCon, me and my friend decided right then and there we would try to go pro in that game no matter what. He ended up pursuing other opportunities while I stayed in HotS and made a career out of it. I just set my goal and went for it.

On School and Career Decisions

Did you go to college at all before beginning your esports career? Did you have any particular career path you were debating about heading down?

I didn’t go to college at all, but I do have a career in mind after I get done with esports, that being working in computer engineering.

Many players constantly weigh in the dangers of going to school versus pursuing a career in professional gaming. You were probably faced with this decision at some point. Was that choice easy for you?

For me it was an easy choice. I have plenty of time to pursue a regular career so why not just go after my dreams first while I still have so much time to make them work.

So will you stay in esports indefinitely if you can? Or would you eventually move on and get a “real” job?

If I can find jobs inside the esports industry within management, coaching, or whatever it may be, I’d take that over pursuing a normal career if it still allowed me to live life comfortably.

On Previous League of Legends Experience

You used to play quite a bit of LoL, right? Why were you drawn to the MOBA genre over others?

My friend who got me into League was also the same person I went into Heroes with. I played it from the end of S3 through S4 (started right after S3 Worlds ended). I got to like gold something and wasn’t very good at the game but knew a lot of stuff from watching pro-play like good habits, good decision making, stuff like that.

Once I started playing League I got hooked pretty quickly on the genre. It feels really rewarding when you play well but also makes it really obvious where you need to improve, and I like games that have those aspects.

Which friend was this?

He’s a friend I met on WoW when I was heroic raiding in Cataclysm. His IGN is Zycosis, used to play with me a lot in the really early alpha days on Justus.

Did you ever consider playing Dota 2 much?

When alpha went down for a couple weeks I tried Dota 2. I…really don’t like that game. It feels so slow.

What are some of your favorite LoL champs and why?

Favorite League champs are Orianna, Zed, and Shyvana. Orianna because her ult is one of the most satisfying abilities to land—you just watch their team’s hp bar evaporate. Zed because he’s a super mobile assassin that looks really flashy, it just feels good playing him. Shyvana because I just like dragons and her skins look good (darkflame and super galaxy are my favorite).

Super Galaxy Shyvana

Super Galaxy Shyvana from League of Legends

Idk how people couldn’t like those. They’re so fun.

What are some of the biggest things that you learned from LoL that helped you in your pro career in HotS?

Trading objectives. A big thing in League is learning when you can trade objectives and get something of higher or equal value without contesting. Trading dragon for inner turret or inhibitor for baron are trades that you’ll sometimes see. You do this to avoid a fight you can’t win due to not having your power spikes yet or just because that’s your option based on the circumstances.

In HotS you trade bosses for keeps, forts for tributes/altars, kills for Immortal, stuff like that. It’s all about making sure you get SOMETHING out of it, otherwise you’re just playing a reactionary game that you never win.

On Heroes of the Storm Alpha/Beta

How early did you get into alpha?

Around March in 2014.

So that’s basically the very beginning (3/13 was when Technical Alpha began). What was the most broken strategy that you liked to play during alpha/beta?

The most broken strat in alpha early on was probably double Odin Bloodlust back when Abathur had ult on his clone. Another memorable one was Abathur/Azmodan—the splitpush that was so hard to beat.

Who was your favorite Hero in the early days? Still Kerrigan?

Tychus and Abathur were my favorite Heroes back in alpha. I didn’t start playing Kerrigan till around beta. I used to have well over 800 games on Abathur because of how much fun he used to be. I liked him the most when he was invincible while symbioting.

You’ve pretty much only played carries in your competitive career. Did you consider other roles like Tank or Support during alpha/beta? Did these roles really even exist?

I tried out playing tank for awhile and I liked it most while being a shotcaller because of being able to lead the fights, but I loved playing carries a lot more than I did playing tanks so I just moved into the melee role.

Many people don’t remember the alpha days (summer/fall 2014) or weren’t around. How would you describe those early times? Do you miss the game or community at that time?

The community was pretty close and tight knit, but it was harder to break into the competitive scene unless you impressed some of the players or just made your own team. The matchmaking was accurate, the only way teams could scrim was by queuing Quick Match into each other, and you had to have similar MMR so some teams just couldn’t scrim or had a hard time doing it (tournies were also ran this way).

Gameplay was a mess, all kinds of crazy splitpush and cheese strats were popular for a very long time. VP/Grav-O-Bomb, double Robo-Goblin backdoor, double Odin, was just a much crazier era in the game due to all of it being new and no one knowing how to play vs it.

On Blizzard’s Approach to the Game

Fast forward to the future, Blizzard has taken a very hands-on approach to Heroes in 2016 by constantly tweaking Heroes and making big changes. Contrasted with the fairly infrequent patches of 2014/2015, do you think this a better approach?

It’s a much better approach. I think the timing of their patches need to be communicated with their esports division a tiny bit more, but other than that the frequency is needed to keep the game healthy.

Would you say that Hero design (Auriel Gul’Dan, Medivh, Chromie, Tracer being the last five) is heading in the right direction? Or do you think the design team should use other ideas?

I actually liked the direction they were heading with Medivh, Tracer, Li-Ming, and Chromie. Heroes that can make plays by themselves (minus medivh) and are pretty game changing when played correctly. Gul’dan feels weird to me. They should have stuck with a DoT theme or a sustained damage theme but they kind of just did both, and it has no synergy together.

Going into Auriel, her kit is fun but requires good positioning aggressively and defensively. However, my favorite part about her is the talents she has. They work so well with her kit as the game goes on, and she just feels smooth to play.

I think they need to keep making playmaker Heroes though, more Li-Mings and Tracer are healthy for the game.

What do you think about Striker Li-Ming? Kappa
x-x I like that skin.

Striker Li-Ming


They made her abilities look really nice.

Okay, one more question. I’m sorry it’s only one question because there’s a million different things to say about it, but: How is the state of Hero League and matchmaking?

The matchmaking itself is fine, however the player base is not. People complain and complain that the matchmaker isn’t doing it’s job, but if people are around the same MMR and games are stomps, is that really the matchmakers fault? It’s more of a massive skill gap issue. You’ll notice it even in high MMR or even pro games, there’s a drop off in skill that people don’t take into account. The only fix I can see to this for now is just to be super strict with matchmaking—have only Grandmasters be able to queue into Grandmasters/Masters and go down the list like that.

EsportsJohn unabashedly loves the Resident Evil movies and Mila Jovavich. You can follow him on Twitter or support him on Patreon.