For the past seven weeks, Miami’s Varsity Hearthstone Team has been competing in the Tespa Hearthstone Collegiate League along with 235 other teams in the North Region. The North Region is one of the largests regions, encompassing the entire midwest, Central U.S. and the majority of Canada. Currently, they are sweeping the competition with a record of 6-0, solidifying a spot in the playoffs.
The Tespa League competition has two teams of three players each come into the match with four unique decks. Each deck consists of 30 cards, which are determined by whatever class is chosen among the nine unique options. After seeing what type of decks their opponents have, each team bans one of their own decks. The winner of the match must win three games, but they cannot reuse a deck once they have won a game with it.
The RedHawks had four 3-1 wins against University of Illinois, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Waterloo and Michigan State. They had two 3-2 wins against Western University and Ohio State.
Reflecting on their past competition, senior captain Adam “Schmigly” Darwiche always loves an exciting match, even when it is his own team’s status on the line.
“I think our most memorable match we had this semester was actually our first match against Western University where we went down in the first two games and then won the next three to reverse sweep them for the win,” Darwiche said. “It was really exciting and it’s always really dramatic to come back from being down like that.”
For team head analyst Brad Frysinger, taking out top tier teams is his favorite memory.
“I think the game where we played Ohio State, because it’s another big-name school,” Frysinger said. “Last year, one of the Ohio State teams won the National Championship, and it was a close 3-2 game so it was exciting. It felt like an exciting, hard fought, well-earned win.”
Right before Tespa competition started, Blizzard Entertainment released their latest expansion to Hearthstone: The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. Whenever a new expansion is released, the meta (current trend of decks, classes, and cards used in competitive play) is completely changed and rewritten. As a result, competition throughout the past weeks has seen some drastic changes as Blizzard nerfs (makes weaker) and buffs (makes stronger) certain cards and classes.
For Miami, however, the current changes have worked in their favor — their ability to adapt and understand the changes as they play is one of the reasons the Hawks’ are undefeated. For the first few weeks, Miami ran anti-aggressive decks, but as card changes have come out, they have completely switched to aggressive decks. Frysinger believes his team’s ability to play any type of deck is a reason the changes have not affected them.
“I think [the changes] have been in our favor, because I think we have read the meta, at least the tournament meta, better than our opponents which has definitely lead us to some wins,” he said.
With an undefeated record, Miami is currently tied for first place in the North Region and will appear on Tespa’s own national broad stream on Tuesday March 14 at 9:00 p.m. The RedHawks’ are no stranger to this livestream, for last semester Miami swept Case Western in a quick 3-0 match.
Instead of being nervous for a massive audience, Darwiche and his team are excited for the opportunity.
“I think we excel, especially when we get to be on the big screen. We love being able to not just play to the twenty to thirty people who watch our Miami stream.To get an audience of more than ten thousand is really exciting for us,” he said. “We really love being able to show off what we can do. It’s always great to know we are representing the varsity program, which is so young still, and representing it well. So, I would say it’s the opposite — we don’t get nervous, we get really excited to be on the big stream.”
The Miami University E-Sports Club will be hosting a fireside gathering on Tuesday March 14 at 8:00 p.m. in King Library Lab 27 where they will be watching the match at 9:00 p.m. The match can also be viewed at Twitch.tv/MiamiUniversityOH.