After the amazing Final Four and the Grand Final in the Playoffs, it is now clear that [tree]willowkeeper are going to Thailand alongside [SynC]Sync eSports. This is no real surprise, the team has been working hard all Season and earned their place besides Sync eSports. To gain an insight into the team, how they developed and their views on the past events, here is an interview with their Captain, [tree]Fusen:
BlahC: Hello Fusen. First of all, congrats to qualifying for Thailand! Your team has become quite popular since we last talked, but for those who still don't know you, could you quickly introduce your team again?
Hello, its nice to see my favourite writer at Honcast again ;). I am Fusen, playing for team willowkeeper with [tree]Boxi, [tree]RootOf_z, [tree]Kracke and [tree]baltazar`. We became quite popular as you said and I believe its mainly because our flashy players or unique playstyle.
BlahC: Lets go back to the start of the season, did you expect things to go so well right away?
The start of the season was unique because (the old) BMG was still playing so it was hard to tell. I saw potential in us for sure as a Top 3 team and the big question to me was if we can maintain our good performance through the whole season, and how many teams can go to Thailand
BlahC: In the middle of the season you had a little bit of a down time, what happened there?
Right in the middle we had a cycle when we were forced to play without baltazar`. We had Handsken as a ringer which was amazing and super fun but a main roster is always gonna be stronger. I think it was really refreshing seeing Handsken on a carry and performing pretty well with the mass amount of farm we put on him. After baltazar` came back we needed some time to get back on the track and in general I noticed we usually played really poorly every time we had a longer break (which has happened multiple times later on in the season).
BlahC: Throughout the second half of the season, Reason Gaming seemed to be your kind of arch rival, with them getting the better of you in the last 2 cycles. Be honest, did you let them win a little there as part of a strategy?
Lets just say that we never wanted them to win, but we did not play and draft in an optimal way which obviously could have changed the outcome. They still played really well in these games and they deserved the victories they earned.
BlahC: In the Playoffs, you had a rough ride at first, how surprising was that loss to Fresh?
Although we were the overall second best team in this season which we have proven multiple times, I have never doubted other teams and I was not surprised at all when we lost. It was not something I saw coming but it was not unbelievable either. They played pretty well there and we underperformed so they totally deserved that win.
BlahC: To get Reason Gaming as opponent in the semifinals in the Final Four right away rather than in the Grand Finals must have been unexpected. Did that throw you off a little?
After we lost to [Mint]Fresh we knew there was a really high possibility we were gonna face Reason so it was not really surprising at all. We still secretly hoped for [Null]Nullstone Gaming simply because they were the team we were the most prepared against, and we had some fun strats against them as well which I really wanted to run on a big stage.
BlahC: The Grand Finals were a tree lesson in dominance, is that the true face of willowkeeper and will we see you like that more often in the future?
I think the Grand Finals were combination of three things: first of all we had really good drafts which fit us and we could all play our own game; secondly we all played good which is quite rare with such inconsistent players; and finally everyone was super excited and hyped to play for a trip to Thailand which made us way more focused than we usually are.
BlahC: Speaking of the future, how excited are you to go to Thailand? How are you going to prepare for it? Do you even know much about those other teams you will be facing?
I think the closer it gets the more excited I get. Meeting people who I have played with for a really long time has always been something I wanted to do and I cant wait to prank Boxi. I have never been anywhere outside of EU so I am excited to visit Thailand, and of course competing there for money on a big stage is also nice. About the other teams... I have not started my research yet but I still have quite some time and I believe I will do my best.
BlahC: Going beyond Season 3, Dreamhack and Season 4 are on the horizon. Will you go to Dreamhack and are we going to see you again in Season 4?
It would be silly to make predictions this early but I am pretty sure we will play in DHS (assuming we qualify) and I would also like to play in Season 4. As I said I do not know what the situation is for other people, 2015 is going to be a much busier year for me personally, but this does not mean I will stop playing HoN. As for my team goes, all I can promise is that we will not disband or make any roster changes unless someone leaves on his own. It has always been like that in every team I have played for, and will stay like this. We would have said the same even if we did not make it to Thailand.
BlahC: Any shoutouts?
Shoutout to #treecamp2015. Huge shoutout to platychris for helping us out. Shoutout to the HoN community - stay strong and be a HoN believer!
Thanks to Fusen for the interview. It may be interesting to also read the earlier interview with Fusen from July 2014, right before the start of HoN Tour Season 3, which can be read here. And if you can't get enough of the team or Heroes of Newerth in general, The Onslaught tournament is in the Groups Stage, featuring all the big teams from the Playoffs as well as Sync eSports!
BlahC is a senior Hontour.com writer focusing on the NA/EU Diamond and Gold Divisions. After making a name for himself in the Dawn of War 1 scene, he began his career in journalism at DawnOfWar.de. As one of the first HoN Tour writers, BlahC has focused on the less known teams, bringing their name to the forefront. When he isn’t writing about HoN, BlahC enjoys playing RPGs, writing fiction, and listening to Metal, Avantgarde, and Neofolk music.