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Winner of the StarLadder Ultimate Series 2019 and a legend of the game, Alexander “Kolento” Malsh, talks about Hearthstone, his favorite decks, other Collectible Card Games, and his future as a Twitch streamer.

Kolento established himself as a top competitor since before Hearthstone was officially released, after his victories at Viagame House Cup #1 and Prismata Cup #2 early in 2014. Since then the Ukrainian player went up and down the world rankings but constantly remaining in tier 1 globally.

His recent victory at StarLadder Ultimate Series 2019 further proved the talent of the 27-year-old player. There he secured wins against SK Telecom T1’s Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert and a then soon-to-be world champion Casper “Hunterace” Notto.

Which hero do you think is the strongest in the current meta?

Rogue. She has the best cards as well. Until the end of the patch, meta can be changed only if these cards are nerfed, and even then — barely.

Before Hearthstone, have you tried yourself in other games? Why did HS become your profession?

I just liked Hearthstone more than any other game. I didn’t play another CCG before, and I liked the way Hearthstone looks, how it works.

Outside stream, I still play other games. Usually multiplayer, but sometimes alone. The latter is Lara Croft, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Have you tried Artifact?

You could almost say I haven’t tried Artifact — well, I tried it for 30 minutes. I didn’t continue because I like CCG very much, but since I have been playing them professionally for about four years, I sometimes want to start something else. I still have broadcasts, usually, for at least five hours a day I have to stream Hearthstone. After that, I don’t want to include other card games, that’s all.

It sounds sad. So tired of professional gaming?

Well, no. I just do not want to overstrain myself with CCG, considering that I also need to stream them later.

What was your first game?

I do not remember the very first, I was very small, only three years old. And already in the conscious age, I remember, I liked StarCraft. Another one was “Tetris”, even before the computer.

Did your nickname appear at the time of the first StarCraft or later?

My name just came to me by chance. Eight years ago I was playing one MMORPG, and one of the alternative characters had this name. I did not put any special meaning into it — it’s just a word.

What profession would you choose if you weren’t streaming and gaming?

Something light that would allow me to play in my free time: this is my most important hobby. Anything that does not take much time. I worked in tech support before Hearthstone appeared. Especially nothing straining and that it wouldn’t take much time. Salary wise, I think, even this would be enough — I do not need much.

Did not think to invest the earned money in some business?

No. I just put them down for the future. If I’ll ever need it, I’ll spend it, if not — let them be.

In 2014, you said that you would not change anything in HS, even if you had the opportunity: then you considered all the cards to be balanced. Has anything changed since then?

It is difficult to name specific changes. You need too many cards to make all the classes playable. It is easier to simply strengthen other cards that the classes already have and which are not very playable now than to introduce the new ones.

How do you feel about the new Twitch Rules?

I heard something like that, but I myself do not swear in such a way as to directly insult someone. And I don’t think anyone in Hearthstone was banned for it. I know that several Russian-speaking streamers were blocked, but those with whom I often communicate were not affected.

And about the so-called Article 13?

About Article 13 I heard that everything will be bad. I do not know what to do about it. Probably, it will not be difficult for me to simply get permission from Blizzard to stream Hearthstone. Remove all logos and unnecessary references from the frame is also not difficult. I don’t listen to music anyway. And the rest will be bad, on Twitch everything will be bad.

Besides HS, are you interested in other esports disciplines?

I follow StarCraft, most of all I’m rooting for Terran — I played for Terran myself. I support Bly a little, sometimes I communicate with him — he is also from Kiev. I still like Polt, he played very well. Maybe he’ll come back one day. I sometimes watch Fortnite if a channel is accidentally appears in front of me. Maybe even Rocket League.

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