Fighting on home soil – Interview with Cydonia

DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix approaches its sixth stop for the year, and with nearly two weeks left to the epic card clash at DreamHack Montreal, Canadian cardslinger Julien “Cydonia” Perrault is getting ready to conquer his home town. We sat down with him to have a talk about the upcoming tournament.

Looking at the results from the previous tournaments this year, the statistics would suggest that the winner of DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix Montreal will be a Canadian. All champions of the 2017 have so far been from the region in which the event has been held. Julien “Cydonia” Perrault is no stranger to DreamHack events, and between September 8-10th, he’ll be at Place Bonaventure, Montreal, fighting for the number one spot, playing the all new expansion Knights of the Frozen Throne.

For those who doesn’t know you, can you give us a short presentation of yourself?
I am Cydonia, Hearthstone player from Montreal, Canada and I play for Team Solo Mid. I am mostly known for a top 8 finish at Worlds in 2016 and also for sweeping the Chinese team in CN vs NA in 2017.

How did you pick your nickname?
It’s from the Muse song Knights of Cydonia.

How has your year been compared to 2016 in terms of goals?
The goal is always to reach the World Championships: that is why I got into competitive Hearthstone in the first place. I was fortunate to get there on my first try last year. The competition is really tough this year and I got an unlucky 9th place on tiebreakers in Spring Playoffs but I am practicing a lot to qualify for Summer Champs.

Looking forward, what’s your current goals and hopes for the rest of the year?
I hope to win every tournament I attend and qualify for the World Championships again if everything goes well. I am also streaming almost every day on Twitch and having a lot of fun interacting with the community there and want to keep growing my stream also.

How do you keep motivation and inspiration up when you play the game as much as you do as a professional player?
I am always motivated to discover the best decks and find the best strategies and lines of plays. With a game that changes as frequently as Hearthstone, this keeps me focused most of the time. Also there are a lot of opportunities to compete this year and preparing for tournaments is always the best part for me. It is also very inspiring to get so much support from the community.

Once again we’ll have a DreamHack at home soil in Montreal. What does that mean for you?
I am really looking forward to welcome my Hearthstone friends from around the world to my hometown! It will also be fun to interact with the local community and hopefully meet cool new people. We have often seen local players win DreamHack recently so I hope I can continue the trend and win DreamHack Montreal!

“I hope in 2018 we get an improved less grindy HCT system and that Hearthstone keeps growing as a game and as a community so that we can keep competing in big tournaments.”

What kind of preparations do you make before a big tournament and what does your practice routine look like?
I usually spend a lot of time playing different decks just to get a feel, then look at lineups from recent tournaments and other data and try to figure out what the best lineup is for the tournament. Then, I will spend some time refining the decklists I want to play and also play those decks a lot and talk with other players who play them to master them before the tournament.

With Knights of the Frozen Throne released it also means a lot of extra study. What do you think of the new expansion so far?
The new expansion has some interesting cards like the Death Knight Hero cards that turned out more powerful than people expected and led to a lot of experimentation. The overall power level doesn’t seem that high though and the meta hasn’t changed that much so far but it is still too early to tell.

How do you experience the meta?
Right now I am mostly trying to figure out what the most powerful decks are and try different cards in them to find out what the optimal lists would be.

The tribes mechanic is currently being somewhat overlooked with only a few playable compositions. Do you think this is something worth exploring further?
It seems to me that many powerful, if not oppressive decks use tribes. Pirate warrior, murloc paladin, jade druid (if you consider that a tribe), all have very snowbally mechanics that are difficult to interact with. I know Blizzard likes this type of linear design (taunt warrior, dragon priest, discard warlock are other examples) but personally I also like it when there are choices in deckbuilding other than sticking to a particular mechanic.

How do you choose your deck lineup? Do you prefer to pick strong meta-decks or do you stick to decks you know you’re good with?
I try to play the optimal lineup for a tournament, so if I think an approach is stronger than others I will learn those decks. If I think there are many viable approaches then naturally I will play the decks I have the most practice with and try to get an edge there instead.

What is your view on constructing decks in the beginning of a season compared to the end of a season, for example when a new expansion is released?
At the beginning of a season there is not a lot of data out so I can rely a lot more on intuition and talking to other players to figure out what is powerful. Towards the end of a season, if the meta has stabilized for a while, either it will be rock paper scissors and I will need to make a meta call to beat the cycle or there will be clear best decks that I have to play. Usually it is a lot more feasible to rely on data to identify the best decks and card choices as well.


Like with every player we talk to, we always do a lightning round. Cydonia, you’re no exception!
Favorite card?
Lord Jaraxxus
Favorite class?
Warrior
Favorite opponent?
RayC
Best Hearthstone memory?
Beating Rosty in Game 7 Hunter mirror for Spring Champion title.
Jade Druid or Xodia Mage?
Jade Druid
Pirates or Murlocs?
Murlocs Mrglglgl!
Offline or online tournaments?
Offline
Ben Brode rap or music trailer?
I’ll Fandral that and hopefully we get both next expansion.

What are your biggest hopes for 2018?
I hope in 2018 we get an improved less grindy HCT system and that Hearthstone keeps growing as a game and as a community so that we can keep competing in big tournaments. Also looking to take it to the next level in play skill, performance in tournaments and presence in the community (streaming and attending events)

Big thanks for your time Cydonia! Any shoutouts before we stop these lines of text?
Shoutout to Team Solo Mid who make it possible for me to attend these events and are always supporting me!

See Cydonia in Action!

If you want to support Cydonia and see him win DreamHack Montreal, make sure to watch his stream at twitch.tv/tsm_cydonia, or follow him on @cydoniahs.

You’ll also be able to see him live in person at DreamHack Montreal, and we all know the best way to watch an event is from the venue! You can find all available tickets and pricing here, don’t delay and pick up your ticket today!

DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix will be broadcasted at twitch.tv/dreamhackhs and facebook.com/DreamHackHS.

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