Early this year, we kicked off our Opening Moves series, where we took a closer look at the early game of competitive Hearthstone. We followed up in July with Midgame Moves. This week, to celebrate the end of the year, we’re bringing you Endgame Moves. Today, we learn how to deal with mental and physical fatigue as your progress through a tournament.
Competing in pro Hearthstone is a rewarding but mentally strenuous activity. Players must harness a great deal of brainpower to succeed, but staying physically sound is just as critical. To get the most out of your cerebral capacity, you have to take care of yourself!
David "Justsaiyan" Shan is a competitor who does just that. One of just two 3-Star Masters players in the world, he’s also earned his spot (via a top-four finish at HCT Fall) among the elite who will duke it out at the HCT World Championship this spring. Of course, he will be packing his habits and rituals for staying frosty on game day, which he was kind enough to detail for us below.
What is tilt?
Tilt, a term that originally comes from poker, describes a suboptimal—and unpleasant—mental and emotional state, that often leads to poor decisions and bad play.
If you’ve ever played any game competitively, you’ll be familiar with this nefarious mental obstacle: tilt. Not only is it unpleasant, it can negatively impact your odds of winning the next round.
And make no mistake, it happens to the best of us: “It's a big challenge not to get tilted after some bad RNG happens,” said Justsaiyan. “I think you need something physical to help you reset. That can be like playing a new album on your phone, flipping to the next page in your workbook, or simply venting to your friends. Just have a ritual going into the next round so you can help yourself reset into a blank-slate kind of mindset. Otherwise, carrying that tilt is probably going to be a bad factor throughout the day.”
Compare and Despair
Another negative influence is comparing your success (or lack thereof) to others, whether within a single tournament or over the course of a season. “My advice overall is just to measure yourself against where you were in the past and try not to be super results-oriented,” said Justsaiyan. “In Europe we saw [fellow 3-Star Master] Hunterrace have such a phenomenal start to the year. He got so far ahead that a lot of European players, although very good in their own right, compared themselves to him in the points system. I see them improving and I see their potential. When you gauge your goals based on someone else’s standard it’s easy to lose perspective on how far you’ve come.”
Proper Care and Feeding
Outside of keeping a positive mental attitude, there are some more obvious (yet no less valuable) optimizations for boosting your performance: don’t forget to eat, and get a good night’s sleep.
“Set a timer so you know when lunchtime is,” said Justsaiyan. “Time flies, and by round three or four of Swiss you might be surprised that it’s already 4 p.m. and you’ve missed lunch. Now it's too late, and you must play your last round running on reserve fuel.”
If you've survived day one of a tournament, stay focused. “If there are other players that have busted out and are looking to have a good time, find some of your friends that are still in,” said Justsaiyan. “Go with the crowd that is still preparing for day two, because you want to stay in the same mindset.”
And if you didn’t make it through to day two? Don’t take it too hard. “Try not to worry about the results until the very end,” said Justsaiyan. “Look at the whole day and just treat it match by match. If you’ve busted out, it can be good to blow off some steam and not carry the weight of a loss with you.”
Thanks Justsaiyan! Hopefully these mental and physical tips and tricks serve him well at the HCT World Championship in the spring, and hopefully they will serve you well, too—maybe in one of Hearthstone Esports qualifier tournaments next year! In the meantime, join us tomorrow for more Endgame Moves.