Hello everyone! Time for another team spotlight, and this time I sat down with a team you may not know much about—Team Blazin (Team site: teamblazin.com), and their adventure-filled journey to Gold Division.

Before we start, please check out the great video they made, featuring their play in HoN Tour matches!

Hello Ryan "Ryfle." I'm going to start with this: awesome website and awesome video. From what I understand you made both of them yourself. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your passion for HoN and web design?

Thank you, I'm flattered! I've been playing HoN since it was in Beta, and before that I played a lot of DotA and similar games. I remember when I heard about HoN and got the Beta client. The graphics and gameplay blew me away compared to DotA and I knew right away this was going to be a pivotal game in my life, and since then I have been playing like crazy.

I honestly don't understand the appeal of the other MOBA games, specifically LoL. I don't mean to bring it down in any way, I just don't like the graphics and gameplay nearly as much compared to HoN. And the fact that it is so huge compared to HoN kind of blows me away.

But I'm really excited for HoN Tour and I think it will bring a whole different dynamic to not only HoN as a game, but eSports in general. If we can give the lesser-known players and teams more of an opportunity to play and possibly make money, it will only improve the population and overall business of the game. My hope is that one day eSports can rival actual sports with the amount of spectators and money flow.

As far as design, I studied Graphic Design in college and I currently work for a small firm. So that helped with the process of making the website and videos. I plan on making more HoN videos in the future for my team and probably other teams as well. I think highlights are extremely fun to watch and I would actually like to see them implemented better into HoNCast. It would be amazing if during their cast they could show highlights of recent plays (similar to basketball, football, etc.). I don't think that would be too difficult to do, so if you're looking for a highlight maker HoNCast, give me a shout! :)

Let's meet the team. How did you guys come together and decide to form a team?

Naturally, like any player in the HoN community, you get frustrated at one point or another with solo queuing. So eventually I decided to start reaching out to players and friending the people I played with that were good.

The team started with 6 players and I think most of them are gone, besides myself of course. One of the original 6 to note though is a player named drkrose who recently started a new team called Team Please; shoutout to that team as they made Gold as well and I could see them rising even into Diamond eventually. drkrose and all of us at Blazin are still really good friends.

As far as the current team itself, it consists of 6 of us and we recently added a 7th player whom we hope to add to the team prior to the start of the first event. They are:

wrecKd_: wrecKd_ is one of our main mid and carry players and specializes in Pebbles, Moraxus and other great initiating mid/carry heroes.

We met in a random TMM game and the first time I saw him play, I think he had a huge play with Amun-Ra or Pyromancer I believe, and that was enough for me to ask him to be a buddy. And since then we have been really good friends and teammates. wrecKd_ has few weaknesses as a player, but he does have the famous HoN disease "I-never-play-support-itis." And sadly he does like to play a lot of WoW.

gobbo aka ImAnOakMan: gobbo is also one of our main mid and carry players and specializes in heroes such as Magmus, Nomad, Sand Wraith and many others. gobbo and myself played in a TMM game and a few days later he actually saw that I was streaming so he watched and asked if he could join in on some games. I remember us not losing as a duo from 1650 up to 1750 over a few days after we became friends, which at the time was pretty huge for both of us.

gobbo is actually a poker player (Note: More on this later in the interview.) who started a team himself based on a website he frequents for poker called 2p2 (2 plus 2). So at the time I figured he wasn't interested in joining a new team. However, after weeks of playing I asked if he was possibly interested and he obliged and joined the team. Sadly, gobbo also suffers from the HoN disease "I-never-play-support-itis."

Tw1ser: Tw1ser is a little Russian boy who lives in California. I hope he doesn't get mad that I just said that, but it's true and it's quite interesting. He plays mainly support, but when given the chance he will gladly fail mid as Gauntlet. Tw1ser joined the squad via signing up on a forum post I created to try and get more players.

After playing with him for a while, it was nice to have a player who would play support and not complain, and he has a funny little Russian boy accent to boot. Tw1ser hasn't been playing games as long as most of the other players because he is a bit younger than most of us, but he makes up for the slack with his big Glacius ults and Demented Shaman shields.

Folero: Oh boy, where do I start with this guy. Folero is a Finnish little boy (yes, we prefer little boys with weird accents on this team) that has quite an attitude and personality. If you ever have a chance to watch one of our streams (Ryfle's Stream or Gobbo's Stream) and Folero is on, you will have a good time listening to his crude remarks and his Finnish accent.

Folero plays Jungle and Support; specifically he likes playing Ophelia, Keeper of the Forest and Aluna. I met Folero through WreckD_ because they both play a lot of WoW together (which I do not condone) and had known each other for years before.

Folero is also a good all-around player if given the opportunity and loves to be our drafter during matches. He thinks that because he watched a couple pro teams draft, he is the almighty drafter now. And who can argue with a little Finnish boy? I know I can't.

Global: Global is a player from Canada and has a funny Canadian accent. Do I need to say more? He enjoys playing gankers, support and sometimes carry. His typical heroes are Valkrye, Aluna, Magmus and Glacius.

I believe Global was one of the first players to join Blazin and the only player that has left Blazin and come back because he knew he was worthless without us. I believe we met in a typical TMM game and he played a good support or something so I friended him; I highly doubt it was a good carry game for him that day. Global has a great personality and it takes a lot to get him flustered, and he won't cry if he has to play a support.

Your team consists of mostly players around 1750 MMR. Did you guys predict coming this far in HoN Tour?

Yes and no. We figured we would make Silver no matter what and making Gold would be a stretch. Luckily we had an easier road than most teams did throughout the tournament and we made sure that we tried our hardest the entire time. In fact, we managed to defy the old HoN saying "A 1700 EU player is like a 2024 US player" by beating a couple 1800+ EU teams in the tournament.

Now we feel with the addition of possibly one more player we have a chance to stay in Gold and eventually—if we can keep up the momentum—join the ranks of the Diamond teams.

How often do you practice with your team?

Actually during the Tournament we didn't practice nearly as much as we would have liked because of "real life" things. We try to at least get some practice in every day. It is amazing how much HoN Tour has influenced scrimming now in HoN. It is becoming easier for teams to practice and get better as a squad.

It reminds me of back when I played CS and CSS. Joining mIRC and #FindScrim (I believe that was the channel) and instantly finding a decent team to play against. And if for some reason no one is looking for scrims, you can always queue Lock Pick and you should be able to find something.

Now that you have made it to the Gold Division, is that going to change your strategies in terms of practicing more, trying harder?

Of course! We plan on practicing much more and honing in on exactly what each player’s role is. We are forming new strategies and watching the Diamond teams’ replays and taking notes.

The Meta game is constantly changing and that gives teams an opportunity to take notice and move forward before others do. And with the addition of Lock Pick it adds an entirely new strategy in the picking stages that many teams are taking note of. We plan on staying up to date with all the strategies and hopefully creating some new ones that people haven't seen before to get us some much-needed victories.

What are your goals for HoN Tour? Do you think you have what it takes to finish the league first?

Our goal is to eventually make Diamond and hopefully stay within Diamond. This may sound far-fetched but we believe we can do it if we just keep trying and practicing hard as a team.

With that being said, I would say we definitely have a shot at winning the Gold Division. I think the Gold Division will be one of the more interesting Divisions to watch when the events start because they are all really good teams and they all have a chance at making Diamond. It just depends on who shows up to the matches and wants to win. Being relegated to Silver is our biggest fear and we plan on avoiding that at all costs!

Do you remember your first time playing HoN? Were you a good player, or did you think that you would be one day, competing together with the top teams?

The first time I played HoN was actually really fun and I felt like the players back then were much worse. Coming straight from DotA to HoN I felt like I had a slight advantage on other players, until later I realized most of them were from DotA as well. But still, some of the players had never played DotA and that caused myself and many other players to be dominant.

It was also during the PSR days so you could really stack your team if you wanted. I definitely never thought I would be competing in Tournaments and playing with/against the best. I wasn't much of a competitive player during my time with DotA, but I did run a bot that collected stats and had a website—ironically it was called BlazeBot.

And for all of you that are interested in the name, it is because I'm from Portland, Oregon and I love the Portland Trail Blazers. I have to represent a little bit for my hometown NBA team. Everyone else just goes along with it I guess, until we get sponsored and have to change our name :).

Now this is something I am really interested in, since maybe some of you know, I have left HoN because I had to attend some poker tournaments almost half a year ago. Team Blazin has one hell of a poker player as well! Jimmy Fricke aka ImAnOakMan ingame. How do you know him, and what is it like to play with a poker star who made over ~$1.4M?

I met Jimmy randomly online in a game and instantly became really good friends. I didn't find out until months later that he was in fact a poker star (I think he was hiding it so I wouldn't hound him for money).

It was definitely a shock when he first told me and after I watched some videos of him on the big stage. It's really interesting playing with Jimmy because we'll get into a game and he'll suddenly say "Oh, that's <insert famous poker star's name here>" and the whole game kind of changes from normal to high stakes. It's sort of like playing against one of the best HoN players.

Jimmy and I have been trying to arrange a time when I can come down there and he can show me the ropes in Vegas and let me lose some of his money. Maybe we can do the same for you Roland! :)

Huge respects to him! I really admire him, wish I was that successful in poker as well; I've seen him before in a tournament. Thanks for sitting down with me, it has been a pleasure talking with you. I wish the best of luck to you and your team—especially Jimmy :P!

Huge thanks for giving us this opportunity RoLanD, we know this is extremely rare and we are just really excited for what S2 and HoN Tour has to bring the entire community!

Please click here to check out Ryfle’s Twitch Stream.

- RoLanD

Big shoutout to [S2]Kros for being so helpful maintaining my community channel, he helps me without getting bored of it every week on patch days, he is THE best!