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Interview with QuackNiix
Hi QuackNiix, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us. Let’s start with an easy question. How long have you been playing for Fnatic?

I have been playing for team Fnatic since Dreamhack Winter at the end of November, so that would be around 5 months now.

Did you expect the game to get this big and turn into a popular esport when you started playing?

When I first started playing HotS I quit really early because I didn’t think it would grow that big and at that point there was no money to be made with the game. When I came back after 1-2 months some big organizations had started picking up teams and at that point, I started tryharding. I’m really happy that there is an esports scene now and with the amount of prize money involved. The game isn’t even that big yet, so the future's looking bright.

What’s it been like having to balance competitive gaming with other important aspects of your life like school and a girlfriend?

Since it’s my job to play Heroes it hasn’t really been a problem. My girlfriend understands and supports me and thinks it’s super cool that I’m a professional gamer. One small issue would be the fact that my social life and free time suffer a bit because of our practice schedule. We usually practice from 2pm till 7-10pm, which means that when my friends are working or in school I have my time off and when they are done I start practicing.

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HotS esports has definitely been lifted to a new level in 2016 with the announcement of the Global Circuit. What’s it been like competing in the circuit with Fnatic compared to last year when there was a less structured scene?

Since the announcement of the circuit, everything is more structured and you know all the majors that will be played throughout the year in advance. This means we have to keep practicing super hard and stay motivated to make sure we’re the very best we can be in order to compete at the top and make it to the global majors. Compared to last year it’s a lot different because now you have everything in front of you, which means you can easily set goals, plan what to do and stay super motivated throughout the entire year!

Are there any changes you’d like to see made to the current format?

I would like the bigger tournaments to be double elimination, as well as have a map veto so that when you’re playing a best of three you ban down to 3 maps instead of the current way where you ban 1 map each and then you get to pick a map.

You’ve had a good run so far with the current system, ending 3rd/4th in the first Katowice Qualifier before grabbing a hold of an invite to the main event at the second qualifier. What’s it like having to fight your way through so many teams on multiple occasions? How do you stay focused?

Our result at Katowice was okay but the goal,of course, was to qualify for the Spring Global Championship in Korea, which we didn’t. We were a bit disappointed because our performance throughout the entire tournament was sloppy but we weren’t angry or anything after being taken out by dignitas because they showed up amazing at Katowice. I really like the fact that you have to qualify for every event like this because it gives a lot of new teams a chance to get in, although the best teams in EU are usually still able to secure their spot no matter what. It can be a bit frightening when you get a bad seed every qualifier but things remain the same. You just need to have your goals and you will stay focused and motivated.

In the end, it was definitely worth it though since you got to play on stage in front of the amazing crowd at Katowice. How did you and the team experience this extra dimension that comes with a LAN? I’m sure it can be quite nerve wrecking to play in front of that many people when you are used to mostly playing online tournaments.

The first game and especially the first minutes of a game are ALWAYS nerve wrecking. The first game has a big impact on the entire tournament, which makes you put a lot of pressure on yourself because you don’t want to lose it, for yourself and for your team. After the first game, you are super confident and hyped/motivated because all the practice and grinding at home has paid off and you’re actually at the event. Once you overcome the early nervosity of being on the stage it’s a straight up motivation boost.

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You missed out on the Spring Championship but you moved on quickly and the team qualified for the first Summer Regional in the UK in two weeks. What would it mean to you to win the event and secure a ticket to the Summer Championship?

It would mean the world to me. This is what we are fighting for and this is what I’m thinking of every single time we practice. This is the goal that keeps the motivation and hype going for everybody on the team. The fact that this global will be played in Sweden, makes me even more hyped. Just the idea of competing on home court vs MVP Black, TNL, C9,.. as well as the big pot of gold at the end, makes me so happy and motivated.

Due to the nature of the Championship Circuit, you’ll get a chance to play against other regions once you make it to the championship. How do you think Fnatic will match up against North American and Asian teams?

I think we would stand a good chance against the other regions despite what happened in Korea. I don't think people should judge EU right now for being the “worst” region. Not after one Global Championship. It will all come down to performance once you're actually on the stage. Gameplay wise I know we are around the same level if we bring our A game.

You’ve recently picked up a new coach to help you improve in- and outside of the game. How do you think Jan will be able to help the team moving forward?

Jan helps a lot, he makes sure we keep a good atmosphere going and he makes sure people think about their small tasks as well as keeping up the communication, no matter what. He also does all the things we are too lazy to do ourselves. Saving drafts, keeping track of winrates/map rates/pick rates etc. Just by keeping up what he’s doing he is helping the team to take giant steps forward.

Blizzard has been working on improving the game and fixing balance issues. What are some of the things you’d like to see changed to improve the quality of competitive play?

I would like to see changes to a lot of heroes that aren’t currently picked or played. There are reasons why they are not as good as other heroes and therefore, they don't get picked at all and forgotten. I want heroes like Nazeboo to get buffs so that even if their kit doesn't scream first pick, you can still pick them up because they are still good. Right now there are top tier damage dealers and tanks that are super highly prioritized and you just build your composition up around that core, unless you have a special strategy. Because of this, there isn’t too much variation.

What about Tracer who’ll be added to the game quite soon? Are you excited about her highly mobile kit and the possibilities she can bring?

I am really hyped for Tracer. I want heroes with playmaking kits so I think that Tracer will be amazing and a lot of fun.

Thank you Quackniix and best of luck to you and the team at the Summer Regionals!

If you have any more question for Quackniix you can follow him on Twitter.

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