GH: “When it comes to competition, Mind_Control is fearless”

GH: “When it comes to competition, Mind_Control is fearless”

After lackluster results in the second half of 2018, Team Liquid are ready to reclaim their throne at the Chongqing Major, according to Maroun “GH” Merhej.

Liquid have been struggling ever since August, when they finished 4th in The International 2018. What followed was an underwhelming performance by previously one of the best teams in the world. It was time for a change.

But a roster change wasn’t what they needed. What they needed, was in fact as simple as a bit of rest.

Team Liquid gave up their spot in the Major and took a much-needed vacation and it paid off. Right after their return, Liquid took first place at the MegaFon Winter Clash, defeating Natus Vincere in the Grand Final.

According to Maroun “GH” Merhej, a good rest was long overdue for the team.

Team Liquid decided to take a little vacation after qualifying for a major. Were you about ready for one?

Everything has long gone to the fact that we will go on vacation because after TI7 we had almost no rest. We continued to play tournament after tournament. During the year we began to feel that we were tired, but there was no time for a break, there was TI8 ahead. So we decided not to step on the same rake. Immediately after the end of TI8, there was not so much time before qualifications for a major, so we decided to skip the first tournaments together to take a break and focus on the next goal.

Team Liquid has been playing together in this lineup for two years now, this is an amazing achievement. Don’t you get tired of one another?

Yes. Usually when we take a vacation, we rest both from the game and from each other, because we have to spend 2-3 months with the team. And these are seven people of different nationalities, with different histories and different cultures. There comes a time when you start to move away from each other, already something does not click. And then you may need a little time to reload your feelings and become friends again.

How did you spend your free time?

I didn’t do much, honestly. I just rested with my family, I often met with friends. Spent a lot of time in front of the computer, but did not play. Just watched movies and TV shows. I went to the gym, went in for sports, enjoyed a delicious meal. And here we are again.

While you were resting, Mind_Control played a major with Ninjas in Pyjamas. How did you respond when you heard about his plans?

This is a funny story because on the day when the team discussed this, I could not participate in the conversation. So I just did not know about it. I later read about it somewhere on the Internet. And such: “Oh, MC will play with NiP”. It’s funny, because I was far from the first to find out about this, simply because I wasn’t there during the discussion.

In those matches that I saw, as for me, he played very well. He showed himself on Earthshaker and on other heroes. They entered the top 4, which is by no means a bad result. I was happy for him, the whole tournament was rooting. He deserves to play the major.

He told you how to play against NiP now? Are they good?

In fact, he did not talk much about being in a team. He shared that they have a completely different approach to the game, it is different from ours. They look at the game differently. He said the team is being led by PPD. They are quite masterful guys, but sometimes, when the game is not going according to their plan, they can have problems.

PPD on Twitter wrote “Mind_Control had just left the training room and told us he would destroy us at the qualifiers.” Do you believe he could say that?

MC is a nice guy, I like him. But when it comes to competition, MC is fearless. He is able to say anything, because he strongly believes in himself and his teammates. I think he can confirm with his work any word.

Speaking of the latest tournament results. Kuroky set a record by playing each hero in an official match. Do you think there is a player who can achieve the same?

Perhaps you never know for sure. I think there are other players who have been on the stage for 5-10 years and continue to play. But this is a great achievement — to be the first player who played on all the characters.

Do you remember how it happened? Maybe someone said that there is an opportunity to pick TA for Kuroky?

We did not take part in this decision. It happened spontaneously. We just wanted to have fun and enjoy the game. Kuroky has a draft, so he can do whatever he wants. He simply said: “I want to play on TA” and pressed the button. We just answered this: “Okay. We trust you, play TA. Go!”. Of course, we were shocked for about 10 seconds, but then we looked at him, he looked at us and we decided: “This is Kuro, he can do what he wants.”

How do you manage to keep calm constantly?

In fact, I am not always calm. Sometimes I have to go through difficulties. Sometimes I need time to collect my thoughts. For all the time I realized that it is better to remain calm and deal with problems without emotions and aggression. So you will find a solution much faster than if you get angry and nervous. To solve the problem, you must first cope with anger.

What should a person do when he feels the approach of tilt? How to avoid it?

Getting into tilt is normal. Many people suffer from this, including me. In this case, I am trying to figure out what caused me to lose my temper, and deal specifically with this. Sometimes after the games, I feel tilted, so I just go out, take a deep breath and don’t play for 30 minutes or an hour. Just trying to relax. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are playing a game that you love and are just trying to have some fun. You do not enter the game to shout at people.


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Buying victory: The cost of Artifact’s winning decks

Buying victory: The cost of Artifact’s winning decks

Valve’s collectible card game Artifact was released on November 28 and immediately sparked heated discussions among players. A few hours after the release, the Metacritic game scores dropped to 2 points and have not changed since.

Users criticized the economy system behind Artifact and already jokingly named the game the first of its genre — pay-2-pay. But despite the cold reception in the beginning of December Artifact hosted the first tournament. We take a look just how much its top players spent on their cards.

We reviewed the decks of the four semifinalists of WePlay! Artifact Mighty Triad: Strength tournament.

The most economical of the participants in the semifinal was the Dane Frederick “Hoej” Nielsen. At the beginning of the tournament, he knocked out player Olzhas “Naiman” Batyrbekov from the competition and then overcame Sean “MieGod” Yana in the semifinals. In the final match he lost the championship to the American George “Hyped” Maganzini.

For the tournament, Nielsen chose the most popular bunch of red heroes: Axe and the Legion Commander, and added Phantom Assassin to them, Sorlu Khan and the Mechanics from the black category. He became the only semifinalist who practically refused to get late-game cards: the most expensive in his arsenal were the Berserker Cry and the Blow of Mercy — their use costs 6 units of mana. The rest of the players in the decks had spells for 7, 8, and 9 units of mana.

The cost of the deck is $44 dollars.

The most valuable cards in the deck were Axe at $18 and Mechanic at $5 dollars USD.

Stanislav “StanCifka” Cifka, now acting under the nickname LuckBox, has assembled a slightly more expensive deck. Like Hoej, he chose a black and red composition of cards, but failed to reach the final. At the stage of the semifinal, he was beaten by a future champion — Hyped.

LuckBox used the same combination of Axe and the Legion Commander, but added another red card hero to the deck. From the black category, he took the Phantom Assassin and the Headhunter, who in most matches brings a lot of gold. LuckBox did not take a lot of items in the deck, preferring the three “Jump Daggers”. He also completely refused the upgrades, preferring to use spells and creeps.

The cost of the LuckBox deck was $51 dollars, and the most valuable cards were Axe at $18 and “The time of accomplishments” (x2) at $8 each.

Hyped chose other colors for his deck and played with blue-green cards. He eliminated DrHippy from, and then consistently dealt with Lifecoach, LuckBox and Hoej on his way to becoming the champion.

The Hyped deck turned out to be the most balanced — it contained both basic and late-game cards, among which were not only creeps with spells but also improvements in lanes.

Of the heroes, he chose Kann, Zeus, and the Ogre-Mage in the blue category, and the Drow Guard and Enta Protector from the green set.

You can build a similar deck for staggering $72. The most valuable cards in the deck were Guard drow – $ 13; Canna – $ 9; and “Extermination” – $ 7.3.

The most expensive deck belongs to the Chinese player MieGod. He played a red-green deck, with which he managed to reach the semi-finals. Like most of the participants in the tournament, MieGod preferred the duo of Axe and the Legion Commander, and also added the Sea Tyrant to the set. From the green category in his deck were Drow-guard and Ent-protector.

The Chinese player actively used the improvement lanes — eight of his 40 cards in the deck are of this type. He also took two copies of Klaszurum’s Hourglass, which give the wearer health points and also prevent the opponent from playing cards.

The MieGod deck costs about $89. The most valuable cards used by the Chinese player were Axe – $ 18, Guard drow – $ 13 and “The time of accomplishments” (x3) – $ 8 each.

Despite the fact that players criticize Artifact for the pay-2-win system, it wasn’t the owner of the most expensive deck that became the champion of the first tournament. MieGod, who spent almost $100 on the cards could not beat Hoej, although the Danes deck was half the price.

Of course, for ordinary players it hardly matters — the majority cannot yet compete for prizes. However, the developers have already noted that they will soon add to the game a certain system of progress, as well as the opportunity to organize competitions with awards.

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Best Artifact decks: Blue-Green

Best Artifact decks: Blue-Green

With Valve’s card game now fully released, it’s time to find out what is the best deck in Artifact. Taking a closer look at the best Blue Green cards in the game.

From November 29 to December 4, there was a real holiday for fans of Artifact — the WePlay tournament! Artifact Mighty Triad: Strength. The viewers turned up for a great opportunity to learn strategies and the right game of Artifact from such masters of the TCG genre as Lifecoach, SuperJJ, Xixo, Hoej, Hyped, Naiman and others.

The most popular deck in the tournament was the Red-Black deck. Nevertheless, experienced card players explored better meta and picked up decks that go beyond our usual assemblies. The Blue-Green deck was one of them, with a staggering 80% win rate in the group stage.

The deck is built around Kanna, Zeus, Ogre Magi, Treant Protector, and Drow Ranger.

It is noteworthy that all the players who took this deck (fr0zen, HotMEOWTH, Lumi, Hyped and StrifeCro) overcame the group stage — and they are all from the USA.

The basis of the blue-green deck are two blue heroes (Kanna and Ogre Magi) and two green heroes (Treant Protector and Drow Ranger). The third blue hero is traditionally Zeus. Only Team Liquid player Hyped added Luna to his deck. We will analyze the deck we like to call the StrifeCro version.

Heroes . Kanna is a classic agro hero. Firstly, one of the creeps will always go to the line with it, and secondly, it has a Prey on the Weak signature card calling a creature of 2/1 for each shot unit, and the opponent’s units are also taken into account.

Although Ogre Magi doesn’t have very strong stats 3/7, his Multicast ability allows you to put a copy of the blue spell in your hand with a 25% chance. This is perfectly combined with the addition of two cards in the form of Foresight, especially when the Incarnation of Selemene is on the table, allowing you to play spells endlessly.

Hero Zeus is added primarily because of his 7 mana Thundergod’s Wrath signature card. The spell is similar to the Flamestrike Mage in Hearthstone, it also deals 4 damage to each hero on all lines. With this card, it is easy to seize the initiative not only on your lane but also on the whole playing field. But this is not what makes this the best deck in Artifact.

Treant Protector has strong stats 4/10, and he gives 2 armor to nearby creatures. Trent also has a good signature Roseleaf Druid, which gives an extra mana per line. To be the first to play a powerful card in this deck is very important.

Drow Ranger is among the strongest green heroes in the game. Her stats are 4/7, she gives all other units +1 to attack, and the worst thing is Gust’s signature for 4 mana, which imposes silence on all heroes. This means that the opponent can not play cards at all. Very imposing indeed.

Cards.  There is a lot of finishing in this deck.

  • Improved Uneathed Secrets: you can get a card if your tower has taken damage;
  • the addition of two cards for 4 mana Foresight;
  • Diabolic Revelation, which deals 2 damage to its creatures, but you draw two cards;
  • Arcane Assault, which allows you to inflict 2 points of damage to the enemy tower and take a card;
  • Compel, which allows you to redirect the attack and take the card and Cunning Plan, which swaps the allies and fires the map.

This deck plays well with mana. Stars Align for 1 mana gives 3 mana this turn, improving Aghanim’s Sanctum allows you to restore all mana on the line. But the strongest card – Incarnation of Selemene – completely restores mana after playing any card. It is with her that the Emissary of the Quorum looks so strong. Because of the possibility of an almost infinite buff, this deck often breaks the Tron, seizing the initiative on the same lane.

A lot of sweeps are played in the deck. In addition to the Zeus signature, there is Annihilation, to completely pick up the table, and At Any Cost, which deals 6 points of damage to all units.

From the items added Traveler’s Cloack (+4 health), Leather Armor (+1 armor) and Blink Dagger, which you can use to swap characters between lanes.

Overall. The Blue-Green is currently one of the best decks in Artifact.  This variation by Cong “StrifeCro” Shu wields some of the best cards in Artifact, and the 80% winrate in the first big, official tournament speaks volumes.

For anyone looking to get into Valve’s new card game, this is a great starter deck, offering amazing firepower and win potential for a very affordable deck.

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