ESL: So how do you feel about the changes that were made to the Legendary Series format?
Kolento: I honestly preferred previous format more. I feel the new conquest format allows for more random elements to be involved and lowers the skill needed in deck selection. Ban format gives an option to make your lineup being weak to one class, while conquest gives an option to build your lineup to counter one specific class.
ESL: Let’s talk a bit about the decks you brought. You decided to bring a Priest deck, a class that is underrepresented in the current professional scene. What made you decide to pick Priest as one of your classes?
Kolento: Well I have been doing a lot of testing on ladder with some of the new cards and been trying out a lot of things with different classes. I just brought the decks that had good win rates on ladder. I predicted many of the players would be running the new cards, so the ladder was a good testing ground and the results transferred over well.
ESL: Were your Druid and Warrior decks solid fallbacks, or were they chosen by a similar process?
Kolento: No I chose the decks I brought based on similar criteria. They treated me well on ladder so I thought they’d do well in this changing meta.
ESL: I’m curious to hear your opinion on Oil Rogue. It was a really popular option for many of the professional players a few weeks ago and it seemed like the rebirth of Rogue. But recently it has seen little play and when it does show up, gets beat more often than not. What do you think?
Kolento: Oil Rogue is still a good deck in my opinion. It has many strengths that let it stay competitive at the higher levels. You can’t deny the amount of burst potential that Oil Rogue wields and the Saps are extremely efficient at getting rid of pesky Sludge Belchers. The biggest downfall of Oil Rogue wasn’t the deck itself, but the changes in the meta. Warrior came back in a big way and if there’s one deck that can beat Oil Rogue, it is Control Warrior.
ESL: I know it is really early and most of the cards have yet to be tested, but do you have any early thoughts on Black Rock Mountain? I mean will these cards prove to be meta changing?
Kolento: Yes and no. I can see aggro decks becoming popular, but that usually happens when new cards are released; just hit the face until someone figures out how to make it stop. I think dragon-based control decks could see some play, some of those dragon cards are really good.
ESL: Mechs went through a similar phase. It was popular at first, but now there are few decks that actually base their strategy around them.Now there are just a few power cards sprinkled throughout the meta, like boom.Do you think dragons are strong enough to have them stay viable?
Kolento: It is true Mech isn’t as popular as it was in the beginning of GvG, and while I think dragons will be popular. The biggest problem is cost. Dragons are so expensive mana-wise and more often than not, not worth the cost. Mech were at least cheap so you could fit them in here and there, dragons are another story. Paladins may be the only class that will run dragon decks down the line because of Dragon Consort, but who knows for sure.
ESL: Let’s focus on a specific card from BRM, Emperor Thaurissan. It is a very good card and it’s in nearly every deck now. People are calling it a must have in every deck similar to how Loetheb and Dr. Boom were. Do you agree? And do you make room for it in your decks?
Kolento: I do agree that Thaurissan is good in majority of decks, but that doesn’t mean he is good in all decks.His ability to lower mana costs makes him extremely good in control or combo decks. He can let you reach your power spike earlier than normal and allow you to play more cards a turn. That being said, I don’t like him in priest it does not get much better from him being added in. Priest tends to focus on the mid to late game, but they curve well enough as it is that Thaurissan isn’t needed. He also isn’t good in aggro decks. You can get free minions out, but they are so low cost as it is, that Thaurissan’s ability is moot.
ESL: You said Dragon Consort will be viable and Thaurissan is already around quite a lot, but are there any other specific ones you think will stick around?
Kolento: I think Imp Gang Boss looks solid in Demonlock and Zoo. A minion with solid stats, a good ability and fair pricing. It is not too expensive that it is not worth adding into a deck. Obviously Blackwing Technician and Hungry Dragonwill be all the rage in Dragon decks. I can see Dragon decks coming into prominence thanks to Blackwing Technician, it’s that good.
ESL: What are your thoughts about Hearthstone as an e-sport?Do you think it will continue to grow as it has been? Or has it reached its potential?
Kolento: Unfortunately, I don’t think Hearthstone will grow much bigger than it is now. I think it has become as popular as it can get at this point. With every new expansion and the expansion of the competitive scene, we could see an increase, but it is hard to say how much if at all.
ESL: Do you think a consistent stream of competitive Hearthstone, like the Legendary Series, can give it a boost?
Kolento: It is hard to say. Like I said before, I think Hearthstone has reached a plateau, I don’t know if the Legendary Series is the thing to help it break past that. Only time will tell.
ESL: Thanks so much for your time Kolento, it has been a pleasure talking with you. Are there any shoutouts you want to give?
Kolento: Of course anytime. I want to give a shoutout to my team Cloud9 and all of my sponsors and fans!
By Eubin "asianmagikman" Jin