Interview with popular Hearthstone streamer, Reynad
Sun 9th Feb 2014 - 4:05pm
Andrey 'Reynad' Yanyuk is a popular Hearthstone streamer and was legend rank in Test Seasons 1 & 2. He comes from a competitive Magic The Gathering background, having won tournaments and played at profit in drafts. We got the opportunity sit down with him to talk about Hearthstone, his progress to where he is now, and his favorite brew.
Thanks for taking the time for this interview. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do before Hearthstone?
Reynad (R): I used to play MtG professionally, and streamed it almost daily. For a few months I played poker for a living. Despite it being much more profitable than other games ever were, I just grew extremely bored of it. That game is just one huge grind. I mostly play a lot of games in my free time honestly. I've played all the classics as a kid, I've dabbled in League, used to play a lot of DOTA 1, and of course play through major releases like Farcry 3 and Bioshock Infinite to this day. Outside of gaming I study some boring programming/web design stuff and socialize when I can. Life's all about balance.
When you first started playing Hearthstone, did you have any specific goals in mind?
R: Be the best. That's pretty much my goal with anything I devote my time to, and with 8 years of card game experience I would be disappointed in myself if I didn't hit that goal. Being "the best" player in a card game is all relative though. There's never a huge difference in skill level among the top players in games like Hearthstone or MtG. You get small edges where you can in terms of playskill, but anyone can win any tournament at any time, and variance will be the biggest determining factor. It's all about winning slightly more than the other guy in the long term, and I try to do that by playing well and being a step ahead of the metagame with my decks.
The meta changes quickly in Hearthstone, but how would you roughly describe the meta change since you started playing?
R: I spent several months playing druid because it was head and shoulders above every other class (before they had the ranking system of course). I played a lot of rogue as well, because 1 mana Shiv was a really fun card as long as you were the one playing it. There weren't many players actively trying to solve the constructed metagame at the time, and not many tournament results to go on. Suffice it to say that if you weren't playing rogue, druid, or mage you were doing it wrong though.
Blizzard first nerfed the blatantly op stuff- Druid couldn't throw all of its cards at the opponent's face anymore, and Rogue couldn't do degenerate mana addict plays with its 0 mana conceals, automatically stealthed van cleef, or 1 mana shivs. RIP in peace shiv.
Blizzard then proceeded to nerf any and every deck that tried to either go over the top or under midrange decks. Stuff like mage giants went over the top, and stuff like warlock aggro went under. Fast forward several months with that design philosophy, and we're in a metagame of midrange v midrange decks. Cards that give you a lot of stats per mana are great in midrange mirrors. Because of this we currently bow to our Chillwind Yeti overlord. Any deck that could ignore cards like yeti is just too low power-level to compete after the recent patch. You aren't beating swipe playing warlock aggro without blood imp, and you aren't burning the yeti player out from 20 life with pyroblasts. Personally I'm happy with that, although I'll always fondly remember the degeneracy of pre-patch Hearthstone ~7 months ago.
What's your main focus right now regarding Hearthstone?
R: I've loved and followed esports since the days of Brood War, and I just want to get my name out there and be a part of it all. Getting people coming back to the stream and Youtube channel is a big part of that so I can continue to do this for a living as long as I can.
Many people know you for your inexpensive warrior deck, but what would you say is your favorite deck?
R: It honestly changes day to day. Of all time? Either pre-patch druid where my control deck was burning people out from 30, or pre-patch combo rogue where my opponents were just dead on turn 3. I'm not opposed to playing any class, but the hipster side of me is always trying to justify playing what everyone else isn't.
Your stream is quite popular. What would you say sets you apart from other Hearthstone streamers?
R: There's no way to say this without sounding conceited or firing shots, but what sets me apart is that I'm a better player and entertainer than the other streamers. Trump would hand me my ass in Starcraft and Kripp would do the same in Diablo, but when it comes to card games I'm the one with 8 years of competitive experience. Sometimes I'm tryharding ladder with commentary that tries to help players improve. Other times I'm drinking. Either way my viewers and I have a great time.
ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ﾉ Inb4 Reddit Riot ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ﾉ
You drink Angry Orchard beverages on the regular, which one's your favorite and why hasn't Angry Orchard thrown money at you yet?
R: Crisp apple by a mile. I'm hoping Angry Orchard takes notice though! It would be cool to get more companies into esports that aren't electronics manufacturers. That would be a huge step towards growing the scene in the grand scheme of things.
What did you do to make Nat Pagle dislike you so much?
R: The Pagle giveth and the Pagle taketh away. You know that one guy you play against whose Pagle draws 7 turns in a row? I'm the guy on the other side of the world who's 0/7 is balancing out the karmic Pagle energy.
Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers and your fans?
R: The amount of support you've all shown me these past couple of months is awe inspiring. I was delivering sandwiches and streaming to 100 people in my free time just in December. If you told me then that Day9 would be doing a daily on one of my decks in just a few weeks, I wouldn't have believed it. You're all awesome, and I'll try my best to give back to you even a fraction of what you've given me.
That concludes my interview with Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk. Thanks again to him for taking the time for the interview and to you for reading! If you'd like announcements about my upcoming content and projects then consider following me on Twitter. You can follow Reynad on Twitter, on Twitch, and subscribe on YouTube.