Hello Heroes of Newerth fans! This time, I have had the chance to talk with the almighty Brized, formerly of ICE, DWi, TteS, and vtL fame, and now the current captain of Domain of Pain, aka The Returners.

Hello Cyrus, thanks for sitting down with me. Tell us a bit yourself.

Hails. Cyrus here. Before HoN, I played and had success in a number of other shooters and fighting games competitively, but DotA was always the game I went hardest with, since I felt like it combined my favorite elements of all genres. My personal favorite game of my old school competitive past is definitely "Infantry Online," for anyone who might remember it. Rest in peace.

In HoN, I've been in and out of the scene in short bursts, always getting called away by real life obligations. People might remember me from DoP, ICE, DWi, Tt eSports, and more recently vtL, but the current squad is definitely the most professional team I have ever been a part of in years.

Outside of the game I like working out, hiking, game design, startup projects, traveling, and puppies/kittens.

You use both “The Emperor” and “Brized.” Can you tell us more about how you came up with these names and the story behind them?

First things first: I've always been Emperor since back before the DotA days. I became known in HoN under Brized by accident, when I received a lot of popularity for my playstyle while gaming under a smurf.

Emperor: A name assigns what you are to become in this world! A powerful name makes for a powerful warlord.

Brized: In honor of my best friend/mentor, and it sounds sick when you say "BIG-BAD-BRIZED." Try it.

And the big hype: The Returners/Domain of Pain. Can you explain how you guys came up with this clan idea, especially with AngryTestie who was away from the competitive scene for quite some time?

Fittske and I wanted a team for DreamHack / HoN Tour / World Domination. We've respected each other on the scene for a long time, but never had the opportunity to play together until recently. Then we faced the problem of forging a team.

Ensoe was some brawler we found on the streets, and Jeppins came from a mystical land of Kinesis and other whimsical S2 heroes that no one else knows how to play. When a little birdy told me Lord Testie (aka RexxcarVroom on Domain of Pain) might be interested in playing competitively again, I made sure to lure him in—but nothing seemed to work until I went on a rant about how gratifying it would be to see the blood of his adversaries spilt once more. Get ready to feel the PAIN.

You do a lot of theorycrafting, work hard for your success, and have faith in your team. Why do you guys have the chance to be there with the very top teams of the scene?

Everyone is a veteran who has no problem tearing apart their own game to realize mistakes and improve upon their game. Everyone is a perfectionist. Everyone likes theorycrafting potential new strategies.

We all talk outside of the game to stay friendly with each other and develop friendships, so it's not just a purely "professional" arrangement. This includes playing other games outside of HoN together here and there to keep things fresh, and extra long walks on the beach.

Lately there has been some discussion around the forums about your team’s activity in the competitive scene, and whether you guys will continue playing or not. What do you have to say about this?

No comment. Let 'em talk.

Probably most of the community remember you as the “War Beast” or the “Cthulhuphant,” because you can get heroes that are relatively uncommon in the competitive scene and make them viable somehow. Can you talk about your process both mentally and practically before you decide to use them in a real game?

I go through hero phases where I'll literally pick the same hero like 100 games in a row, then go on to the next flavor. I've probably done it for most of the hero cast by now since my DotA days—specialization is the key to advancement.

That being said, I don't like using a hero if I feel it is weak just for the sake of being unique. If I am using a hero, it is because I believe it gives us a tactical advantage in some way, even if people don't realize its true potential.

TMMs are the testing grounds, not scrims. You can learn a lot if you know what to take out of a pub game. A little over a year ago I told people to let me play Cthulhuphant in almost any serious game when I filled in for random teams. No one listened, but then a few months later we saw him as a first pick/ban. I won an It's Gosu Tournament back in December against teams like Orange eSports, TteS, Bacon Warriors, etc. with Jah and Friends by mass picking War Beast, and then I got to play him at a local LAN event in California and crushed with him.

Same thing happened with Electrician, The Dark Lady, Fayde(PK), and many, many other instances since the beginning of time. Be a wolf, not a sheep.

Can you give us some hints on other heroes which are not used in the current scene but can be as effective? Can we expect some surprises from you in HoN Tour?


Back to your team. You are the captain. What can you say about leading a team, especially when you are competing for the top spot?

Self-confidence is a must—it's important to be playing with people you see as equals or greaters in their roles, but they also must respect your role as captain at the same time. Five different minds are great when it comes to brainstorming ideas, but for a draft or in the heat of a game, it is important to have a voice that organizes everyone together. Self-analysis is also a must and a critical asset to any competitor—you cannot be too proud to admit/reflect upon mistakes, or else you will never grow.

Alright, as we come close to the end of this interview, here comes my classic inevitable question: do you have any teams you fear to face in Hon Tour and why?

If you're playing with fear, you've already lost. The key to victory is a heart of stone—play every match like it is life or death.

What are your expectations from HoN Tour and how well do you practice for it?

We want the title belt. As HoN Tour picks up, we plan to increase our training significantly.

Okay Cyrus! Its been great chatting with you; I wish the best of luck to you and your team in the coming events! Do you have any last words or shoutouts to make?


There is no fate but what you make.

- RoLanD

And here is a 1on1 video interview with Emperor by Raawrr:

Domain of Pain’s Current HoNTour Results

Season 1 Qualifiers

Round 1
Domain of Pain: 2
Big Ass Mountain Men: 0

Round 2
Domain of Pain: 2
Bye Team: 0

Round 4
Domain of Pain: 2
How to Play: 0