There is an old and impossibly beautiful coastal town in southern Italy by the name of Gallipoli that attracts tourists from far and wide in the summertime. This sleepy beach town is an endearingly well-preserved vestige of times long past. It also happens to be where Jolanda “Yocto94” Murra was born and raised before she moved to Rome to pursue a degree in medicine—and a professional career in esports.
She is getting close to wrapping up her university studies, but the esports success has been slow to roll in. However, the introduction of the Hearthstone Masters program has given Yocto94 a chance to stand out among the rest by qualifying for both Masters Tour Las Vegas and Masters Tour Seoul.
“It's one of my first big results,” she said. “It's so important for me. It means that I'm doing well, that I'm in the right. I'm so excited for these events. Honestly, I can’t believe that I qualified. For me, it was impossible to think that I could.”
Her recent qualification helped her secure a sponsorship with QLASH, one of the biggest gaming clubs in Italy.
As a woman from a relatively remote part of the world looking to break into esports, it’s safe to say Yocto94 has faced some obstacles on her road to securing these qualifications. “Unfortunately, in some parts of Europe we are close-minded about esports in general, more so when we talk about women participating,” she said. “To other women, I would like to say that they don't have to be afraid. There will always be people trying to demotivate you, but we must be strong and keep going on our way.”
Yocto94 started playing Hearthstone with friends one day at a local LAN center after her university classes had let out. In the beginning she played casually, as most of her spare time was devoted to volleyball before an injury sidelined her. Always one to stay busy, she spent countless hours in her recovery climbing the ladder and learning advanced Hearthstone concepts.
Her volleyball background—she was part of a professional team in her town—prepared her for the grind. “I’m a competitive person in general, and when I'm into something I want to do it in the best way I can,” she said.
Yocto94 has ramped up her preparation for Masters Tour Las Vegas, which will mark her first-ever visit to the United States. “I test with my friends every day when I have time,” said Yocto94. “We spectate each other or do co-op in order to find the best strategy with a particular deck and know all the matchups.”
After qualifying for Las Vegas with pre-rotation Deathrattle Hunter, Yocto94 punched her ticket to Seoul with a version of Control Warrior featuring Darius Crowley. “I chose Control Warrior because I thought that it was one of the most solid decks at the time, if not the strongest,” she said. “Clearly now with the nerfs and buffs, everything is changing, so I’ll have to find my deck!”
The tournament in Las Vegas is Yocto94’s biggest priority, but the qualification window for the third Masters Tour taking place in Europe looms on the horizon as well. “Obviously I cannot miss the European Masters Tour,” she said. “I'll try to do my best in order to qualify!”
More information on the Masters Tour Europe location will be revealed soon. You can follow Yocto94 on Twitter, Twitch, and Instagram. Remember, there is still time for you to qualify for Masters Tour Seoul! Sign up and learn more at Battlefy.com/hsesports.