As winners of the Gamespresso Heroes Open #2, we’re happy to continue our coverage of Miasma eSports. After last week’s introduction to the team, it was only fitting to do an interview with Renal, the Team Captain and Shot Caller for Miasma eSports.
Currently, Rory “Renal” Gilhooly is attending Rosalind Franklin University for a post-Bachelor’s program. He plans on attending podiatry school in the following year.
In his spare time Renal is busy practicing Heroes of the Storm, and occasionally can be found streaming for Extralife. So far he has managed to raise ~$1000 for the organization.
Q: How did you end up coming to own Miasma eSports? Was there a particular chain of events that led up to it?
A: Well, not really. I was playing around on Team League and we ran into some opponents that were pretty good. AxxMaxxTa and I were playing with some pretty bad people. We were just playing around and trolling, and we ran into some pretty good opponents and they whispered us saying “Hey, do you wanna play TL and dump those other guys?” So we said yeah, why not. We started playing and turned out one of the ones we were playing with streamed. We just had a lot of fun. And she brought up the idea of Chair League. We were aware of what it was, so we decided to just R in on that. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and that is how it all started. We played chair league and I wanted to be more competitive, AxxMaxxTa wanted to more competitive, so we started competing in Amateur tournaments. And, from there we just kinda made some roster changes because people’s schedules didn’t warrant investing more time into it. That is how it all morphed into the team we are now. Nothing too crazy.
Q: How would you say the team has grown since it was founded?
A: Right. So, that’s a great question. The growth that we have experienced has been huge. Myself as a Shot Caller, as a Captain, the Team Dynamic has also grown so well. We all get along very, very, well.
So, there’s Hero League and Team League. You kind of think that you know what you’re doing, and then you start playing these higher tier amateur teams. And you find out really quickly after that, you indeed have no idea what you’re doing. And all the calls that you’re making are completely wrong, your mechanics aren’t up to par compared to everybody else, and it really lets you know what’s up.
You start scrimming against the other amateur teams, and you kind of learn what is going on from your scrims and by watching replays and seeing what they’re doing better than you are. And sometimes it’s just we made the wrong call at the wrong time, or we should have made a team fight call when we were a talent up, or they were just flat-out better mechanically. They just did a way better job at team fighting. And when that happens, when they are just purely better than you are, then you just have to grind Hero League and get better. It’s pretty crazy to realize that, and it’s hard to look at yourself and say ‘Okay, I’m just completely inferior to these other players, I need to get better.’ And that is kind of where a lot of teams sit, is that these teams are just better mechanically than other people.
Then there is also the growth of decision making, in terms of how we’ve grown, we have grown tremendously. And we are still growing, you’re always going to grow until you’re the best team in the world. But I would say that a lot of people don’t realize that they are mechanically inferior and they need to play Hero League and Team League and just keep playing constantly to make yourself better. A lot of people just want to chalk it up to ‘Oh, we lost at draft.’ Or ‘We were just outdrafted, and that stinks, so we just need to draft better.’ But most of the time, in Amateur League, that is not the case. Outdrafting can happen, but most of the time it’s just you being outplayed mechanically. And we are getting there, and we will continue to get there, so in terms of how we’ve grown… We have grown a vast amount. Miasma eSports just needs to keep getting better, and keep making better calls. We learn constantly from scrims and from researching map strategy.
Q: Would you say pride is a big issue for a lot of new players?
A: For the most part, pride is always an issue with people you meet. It is a problem for some players. They just want to keep saying that there is always an excuse for everybody, y’know? Even in Hero League. You see this the most with lower MMR players. ‘Oh, my team mate was feeding, it’s not me. I don’t know what I’m not doing to carry myself out of this.’ The first person you should look to is yourself. When you’re analyzing why you lost, or why your team lost, look to yourself. Then look to your team. And you can really give a definitive answer as to why you lost.
Miasma eSports has a really great way of recognizing we stunk, and what was our fault. We just need to keep getting better and improve on ourselves. We know why we lost, we just want to continue to become better players, mechanically and strategically.
I would say that pride is a problem for a lot of the amateur teams, and maybe even in the pro leagues. You can look around on various news sources, and you can look at Reddit… A lot of pros agreed after the Spring Worldwide Tournaments that Korea beat a lot of our teams because the pro scene doesn’t play enough Hero League. Not enough people are trying to improve their mechanics, because a lot of people thought it’s just Hero League and you don’t need to play that; it’s just garbage. When in reality, it’s not garbage. You should play Hero League and hone your mechanics and become a better player. Never missing your skill shots, moving better, or anything like that.
Q: Do you think that you guys have made any ground breaking discoveries as far as how heroes are played? We saw a team ‘crack’ Sonya so to speak quite some time ago now, figuring out how to play the character. Do you think this is something Miasma eSports has done with a particular character?
A: We definitely have. To throw out some super secret strategies here, one thing that we use – and I’m confident in talking to you about this – that we’re really good with is our Butcher Composition. We play Butcher, I play Butcher, and the rest of the team has such a great way of playing with him that we really made it work. Even before Butcher was buffed we were playing with him and we just made it work.
Apparently an EU team played it where they would use Falstad and Butcher, and when Butcher used Lamb to the Slaughter, Falstad would use Mighty Gust and it would isolate a single player off the bat. Whereas we used it to just blow people up, we would use Uther and Butcher together. It just worked. And the draft works out pretty well for us, too. All around it has just been a beautiful comp for us. I know we have beaten 2ARC with it, Butcher is definitely ‘our’ hero that we use that no one else thinks to play.
Q: Do you think you throw people off with your Butcher picks?
A: I think by the end of it teams will always say ‘Oh, okay, well, they picked Butcher.’ I don’t think when they see it from us they’re… I think it should all click together, because they never know when we are going to pick Butcher. They just see it and with the rest of the comp it makes sense. I mean, if a team ever does say that then I guess it’s on them. But I don’t think anyone should ever really be surprised as to why we pick the Butcher, because it synergizes so well with the other Heroes that we pick.
There is definitely times where Miasma eSports, as a team, will sometimes say ‘That’s … odd, that they picked that.’ For instance, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that double warrior and double support meta has risen. But we[Miasma eSports] were kind of taken aback by it. We didn’t think that it would have much damage, but surprisingly it does. That is something that took us by surprise. Not in terms of a specific hero pick, but in terms of a composition draft. We’re just surprised by double warrior double support.
Q: Do you see regionals in your short term future?
A: Recently we had a team meeting because I’m attending podiatry school, and there aren’t going to be anymore qualifiers until Blizzcon. We were sort of in a predicament where I’m not going to be able to devote as much time as I want to the game, as a player. We had a recent warrior drop out from the team due to school, so he is going to be making a return to the team to take my spot. I’ll be stepping back as the Owner/Manager/Coach, as we already have an analyst. That actually works out very nicely, filling out our support staff. Obviously we aren’t paying anyone yet, that might be something that happens down the road. I have no idea, we have to get the results to show first. Long term, I definitely want to see Miasma eSports grow into a mainstay in Heroes of the Storm.
I really love this community. It is definitely way different from the League of Legends community, I don’t know a lot about the Dota 2 scene so I can’t comment there. I think the higher tier community and Reddit, really everything revolving around Heroes of the Storm, is just so much more ‘at home’ feeling. And I want Miasma eSports to grow into a mainstay of the Heroes of the Storm community. I want us to be a part of the pro community eventually, and I want to see us do as well as we can. And if we go to regionals that would be awesome.
I would love to go to regionals, that is my dream. Flying out to a LAN tournament and being a part of that, participating in it. It all started last year when I was watching Blizzcon and I saw Cloud9, and I thought ‘How crazy would it be to participate in a LAN?’. I’ll probably never be able to participate as a player, but in the role of a Coach, as a Manager/Owner, of an eSports team like that is definitely my dream. For sure. And I can see it from Miasma eSports, as long as we keep putting in the work in the continuing months. I know this sounds so cheesy, everybody will say this… but it’s something that I believe. We will put in the work, and I think we have some really talented players coming in. We are going to grow. We are not at the pro level yet, but it’s one of those stories that we will grow as a team. We will definitely make it.
Q: What is Miasma eSports goal in terms of the eSports community?
A: When I look at these big brand eSports organizations I look at TSM, CLG, and Fnatic. I think one of those three teams that I just mentioned grew in a really responsible way. That’s not to bash on the owners, I just think that Fnatic did a really good job of growing into the eSports sector as a whole. And, to answer your question, I would just love to stay in heroes, and grow the team from there. Obviously I want to finish podiatry school, but this is something that I could take up in my spare time to help the team grow.
I know I’m repeating myself, but I would love to stay in the Heroes of the Storm community and grow from there. But that is so far off in the future that it never really occurred to me until you said it. It’s always good to be thinking ahead. And again, I don’t mean to publicly bash on TSM or CLG… I think that CLG did a pretty good job, but TSM expanded way too fast. And I think Reginald, who is the owner of TSM, went into Counter Strike: Global Offense thinking that it was a really good idea. And it was, he just didn’t find the right support staff for it. So it just sort of fell apart. Those are just my opinions on the team. I think that Fnatic did a really good job, and Fnatic is a organization that I would love to see how they did it.
Q: What do you think about the future of the amateur eSports scene? I’ve heard that ESL has an agreement with Blizzard that prevents Blizzard from discussing tournaments outside of ESL, but we could see that expiring soon. Do you think that will change the scene at all?
A: I really like ESL support, but I think ESL is holding Blizzard back from really making Heroes of the Storm great. It can definitely be more constructed in the way that it holds eSport events. I love the three times a year world championships, I think that’s awesome. They definitely took a step in the right direction. I just think that this year was kind of funky, with how all the schedules laid. In terms of how Heroes of the Dorm went, and the Spring Qualifiers and Regionals, and then the summer Qualifiers ran right over the Heroes of the Dorm championship. Everything was just really weirdly scheduled. I feel that if Blizzard can make some type of pro-tier league that plays every week, like in League of Legends, it would be so much better.
And I think finding avenues for amateur teams to get in there would be great too. I love how the tournaments are run for amateur teams, that there are these random, and sometimes consistent, tournaments that they can partake in and really get their chops wet for competition. I think there needs to be a bigger goal then just qualifying for regionals. Most of the teams that have been to regionals have a stranglehold on who goes to the worlds and who does not. Which is fine, but I think there should be some type of consistent tournament for pros to partake in. And that’ll raise the viewership. I think ESL is hindering that, or maybe they can evolve and set something up for Blizzard in terms of that. But for now I think that Blizzard, for as big of a company as it is, could manage something akin to how RIOT games run League of Legends. But I could be completely wrong.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about being part of an eSport team? Jesse Cox recently dropped Stellar Lotus, with one of his reasons being that he didn’t realize how hard it would be to organize a team of 5 young hormonal men.
A: Right. I think… I think that it’s not that hard, really, in my opinion. Well, I think it has been hard but not for the whole reason that they are ‘young players’ and that there hormones are running a muck, I guess. Most of the players in Miasma eSports team are in there 20s, so it hasn’t been much of a problem. I could see it being a problem when they are 18 and they don’t know any better, they are fresh out of High School. They just don’t know how to deal with people. But, for my experience and how I’ve dealt with Miasma eSports… We are all pretty mature, I would say. It hasn’t been that hard to deal with. But everybody has their own life problems, and I think that people being able to deal with their life problems and being open with the team in that regard makes it really easy to work in a team.
Everybody having open communication and being able to talk about their life problems is the best way to go about it. When you do bad, it feels bad. When you lose against teams, I’m not going to sit here and say ‘Oh, I’m fantastic! Everything’s great! We just lost when we shouldn’t have. Everything is peachy, we will get them next time, guys!’ Sometimes you just have to sit back and say ‘Well, that really sucked. We tilted. Whatever.’ You have to take a breather, listen to some music, maybe take a break for the night. Just get back at it again the next day.
And I think Miasma eSports has done really well with that factor, and just accepting our defeat and coming back the next day with a fresh mind. And talking about any problems that we have, because when you hold in those problems the resentment spreads like cancer, you know? One player just thinks the other is completely garbage, and he can’t stand being on the team with him. However, he doesn’t want to switch teams. And when that happens the team environment is absolute crap. And it only takes one loss to blow that all up, it’s a ticking time bomb. So, I think that being open and communicative with your teammates is essential for a team to function.
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into the scene?
A: Yeah, it’s surprisingly really easy. I would say I have to give a big shout out to Chair League. I think that Chair League is the biggest catalyst for anyone looking to get into the competitive scene for Heroes of the Storm. You just join up and play against others in a fairly competitive setting. It gets you adjusted to custom games and setting up drafts, which kind of seems weird at first; but now it’s second nature to someone like me. It isn’t even hard, it just seems a little scary at first.
You just join up with Chair League, get a couple of your friends, or even players you met in Hero League. Ones you think are really good. Join up together and do Chair League. Go on to Battlefy and look at the tournaments, get on the competitive Heroes of the Storm discord channel. I think the resources for Heroes of the Storm, to join the competitive scene, are so vast and so accessible. It isn’t really a problem if you want to join up, you just have to reach your hand out to another Rank 1 player and then there you are! You’re just in, just like that. And you just have to stick with it. And I think that is what Heroes of the Storm does so well, it’s just a level that League of Legends doesn’t have. I didn’t see a lot of resources to ever join the competitive scene in League of Legends at all, the only thing I knew about was to go get Challenger and a team is going to pick you up. Or you go into the Challenger Series. And that seems so out of reach for so many people. So I think Heroes of the Storm does a really good job for getting people into the amateur scene.
Congratulations again to Miasma eSports for winning the Gamespresso Heroes Open #2! You can follow the team on Twitter. Stay tuned to Gamespresso for details on our third Heroes of the Storm tournament, taking place on May 21st. You can currently sign up for the tournament on Battlefy.