Interview With Heccu at Mid-Season Brawl
Thu 5th Jul 2018 - 5:00pm
Mid-Season Brawl... A place where we see all the familiar players and casters we love from HGC. But, this year's Mid-Season Brawl brought in a new face to the Heroes eSports scene. Anastasia "Heccu" Tolmacheva, a known Heroes streamer and Youtuber, had been flown out to host the winner's interviews after each series. We caught up with Heccu on the morning of the final day of the Mid-Season Brawl and asked her about her journey from Twitch to the big stage.
You have been killing it with the interviews at the Mid-Season Brawl. How has the experience been for you?
Heccu: It was amazing because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. In the beginning, I was really hyped, so it was something that was pushing me further. Then on the 3rd and the 4th day you get tired because you have like seven interviews, so I was going down a little bit. I felt like my performance was not so ideal, but I managed to perform a lot better on the 5th day. Then we had a break, and now with the crowd and everything, it was just so hyped that it was so easy. Way easier than in the beginning.
You have been doing interviews with many of the players before on your Youtube channel. Do you think that experience with that has made it easier for you to go up here and do it for the HGC stream?
Heccu: For sure, especially when it comes to Western players because you get to know them. You might not know them from before, you write through DMs and then you get a Skype interview, but you don’t start recording right away. You call them, you get to talk to them a little bit, you get to know them, and then you actually start recording. It’s really cool when you get that connection with a player and it’s way easier to make an interview then. That’s why I have no problems making interviews with Western players, even here at the event. It’s way harder with the Eastern players because they’re not really listening to me, they’re listening to the translator, so I don’t have any connection. When it comes to, for example, Snitch or QuackNiix, those are two really cool guys and it’s so easy to communicate with them.
This is the first time you’ve worked with the translator. How has that experience been with you? Can you go a bit further into that?
Heccu: It’s not easy, as I mentioned, because in interviews I kinda need to have a connection, I need to be on the same wave with the player. With the translator, it doesn’t really work. Especially with some Korean players, they were just standing, looking into the camera. Rich was loving the camera, he was not looking at the translator, it was so hard... You need to address the questions to him, but you’re addressing them to the translator, and it’s like a complicated triangle. So, it’s hard, but I kinda got used to it at this point.
How far in advance did you know you’ll be doing interviews for this?
Heccu: I think it was three weeks before the event, before Stockholm. Currently I live in Switzerland but I traveled to my hometown in Latvia because there was a gaming event and I was responsible for organizing the cosplay contest, and I was the cosplay host on the stage. Then I got a private message saying, “Hey, Heccu, can we talk?” I got a call on Discord, and I was sitting, not saying anything. In my mind, I was wondering if this was actually happening, if this was for real. Then you stop the call and you’re just like, “Oh my God, this is actually happening.” This hype actually helped me so much during that event in my home country because whenever something would go wrong, I’d be like, “It doesn’t matter. I’m going to Stockholm! I’m going to Sweden!” So, that was amazing!
Was there any special way you prepared when you were told you’re going to Stockholm, in the weeks before you went to Sweden?
Heccu: Of course! I had to prepare because when it comes to Western players, some of them I know, some of them not so good, but at least I know how to pronounce their nicknames or how they look like, but when it comes to Eastern players, that’s way more complicated. They not only have more complicated nicknames, there’s absolutely no interviews with them that I can check out and get to know their personality. Or there are, but they’re in Korean or in Chinese. So, you have no idea about the people that you’ll be talking about, and then you also prepare the stats for what are their main heroes, what roles do they play. Again, when it comes to Western players, I know that for example Wubby is the best melee assassin/bruiser, but when it comes to Rich, I know he plays a lot of stuff, but I’m not sure what is that stuff. I was googling, looking for all this stuff, trying to collect as much information as possible.
That was the preparation you did beforehand. Do you have any rituals or other preparations you do right before you walk in front of the camera and talk to a player?
Heccu: I smile, haha! In the last half a year I read some self-improvement books, and it was kinda about “If you can fake it, and you can make it!” If you try to make yourself feel in some kind of a way, like, “I feel good, I feel happy,” you can actually force your body to feel that way. And ok, if you’re not feeling that way, you need to put it in your mind and you just start feeling more confident and more happy. It’s way better, because for the interviews, whatever happens you need to stand there, smile, and be happy. That’s what the audience needs.
While the tournament has been going on, you had done more and more interviews. Have you had someone to talk to about feedback, someone in the production crew, have you talked to the casters?
Heccu: Yes, I did. Of course, the best advice that I got was from the producer when it came to Eastern players, because he told me not to give them questions on which they can say yes or no. You probably saw that KyoCha interview when he first says yes in Korean and then he says yes in English, and I’m just standing there wondering what I do now. How do I work with this? So, he told me to ask questions “why, what, where, how,” where it’s not possible for them to say yes or no. With Western players it’s easy. They just keep on going. That was a really good advice. There was a really good support from Gilly (Gillyweed). I was actually shocked by the amount of preparation she does for this event, and considering all the stuff that happened to her, like her flight got delayed, her luggage got lost, there were some problems not so long ago with the microphone cords, and she’s still performing so good and she helps to encourage me because she knows the first time is hard. All of them are experienced, all of them already went to BlizzCon to cast, and I’m here like, “Hey guys, I’m doing this for the first time, what do I do?” Yeah, everyone was really supportive.
Have there been any funny episodes that the public does not know about, behind the cameras?
Heccu: Uh, I don’t really think so. So far, my best interview was with QuackNiix, and it’s funny because he’s a very open guy, he’s very comedic. We stand in front of the camera and we prepare, and he turns to me and goes “But, whyyy?” And both of us are standing in front of the camera and I’m thinking I’m gonna kill somebody, haha. But, yeah, aside from that, not really. I had no trouble, nothing bad happened to me, unlike to some other casters like with the flights and the luggage. I got lucky.
Do you have any favorite teams, favourite players?
Heccu: When it comes to supporting teams, I’m the type of person who supports players, and not the teams. If a player leaves a team, I will support the team that he goes to. When it comes to teams that are present here, I really like Zaelia and QuackNiix. So, I hope Zaelia keeps on playing for Dignitas and I really hope we’ll see them in the finals. And QuackNiix, right now I’m supporting Fnatic, but I guess I’m going to be supporting Zealots because he’s going there. Also, Shad, he’s a really cool guy. But, yeah, I’d say Zaelia because he’s a really cool guy to talk to, he’s so chill, he’s relaxed. He can be a little bit nervous during interviews, but he has a very nice personality. The same goes for QuackNiix, he’s a sellout, haha.
Thank you for sitting down with us. Do you have any shoutouts?
Heccu: My shoutouts would go to HeroesHype because without them I would not be here. They really helped me to show myself and to let Blizzard notice me. Then family, friends, and also my boyfriend. He used to play for Liquid and Fnatic, Lowell, and he was also very supportive in all of this. Doing this event, I was not reading Twitch chat or Reddit at all, because even if you get nine good, positive reviews, that one that is negative will stay in your head. So, I wasn’t reading anything, and he was the one who’d guide me, telling me what to improve. I’m really grateful for his support.