Torben “Viper” Wahl is one of the top Hearthstone players who will be competing in the upcoming HCT 2019 World Championship.
He first got into Hearthstone when a friend gave him a beta key. After entering his first tournament back in the HCT 2016 Summer Playoffs, he decided to stick with the game. His dedication and skills have now led him to Taipei, where the HCT 2019 World Championship will take place.
The event features 16 players who will duke it out for a share of the $1,000,000 USD prize pool and the World Champion title.
As part of our exciting HCT 2019 World Championship coverage here at Daily Esports, we have interviewed Viper about his esports journey and his thoughts on the Hearthstone meta.
Daily Esports: How would you compare your play style and view on the Hearthstone metagame between then and now?
Viper: Back then, I did know that I [was] not one of the very best players, so I was fine bringing the “best decks lineups” with tech cards for mirrors instead of trying fancy things to be one or two steps ahead of everyone. [I] just accepted I [was] most likely not one or two steps ahead of everyone beginning in a game. Now, and especially lately, I always tried to counter the expected “best decks” because I feel confident in my pocket picks.
What is your deck-building process like, in terms of using spreadsheets, sites like HSReplay, or your own creativity, to come up with decks like Peanut Shaman?
I try to figure out what everyone else is thinking. Websites like HSReplay are great for that, because the majority of people use it and don’t adapt very much from what is there. A lot of the times, archetypes that are especially viable in Conquest would be under the radar and end up being my pocket pick. Peanut Shaman and Malygos Rogue used to be like that lately — no one expected that there can be an anti-aggro lineup at Winter Playoffs, which [meant] just putting anti-aggro cards in Shaman (which also won versus Cubelock) ended up beating the expected aggro and the expected anti-control lineups. Cubelock was about 80 percent favored for Shaman — no one expected this, because no one tried things different from HSReplay.
When preparing for a tournament like this year’s HCT World Championship, what is your practice schedule like?
Preparing for Worlds is entirely different, because there is very little time with new cards and a lot of changes. Also, fewer people are going to talk about what they think is best. Basically, every free minute goes into preparation trying to figure out the upcoming metagame.
What are some of your favorite decks and cards to play, and do they ever align with the competitive scene?
I’ve always liked Rogue and Edwin VanCleef, and both usually lined up with the competitive scene. Because Rogue tended to be the class that beats the best decks and loses to the tier-two decks, which means it was almost every time good in tournaments.
What is a card that has stood out to you, and why?
After all the nerfs, the most outstanding card (negatively) was Deathstalker Rexxar. In my opinion, it just made games go on for far too long and never [had] the player and the opponent [feel] good playing versus that or with that card. [It’s] because some Beast combinations just didn’t feel fair, fun, or interactive to play with or against.
What are some words you can share with your fans and fellow competitors who have supported you and encouraged your esports journey?
I cannot thank everyone enough for all the great support I got. All my friends, fans, and everyone I met during this journey encouraged me to keep going one or the other way. I hope I can make everyone proud and become World Champion.
About the Author
Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!