André ‘Cirouss‘ D is already taking great strides within the Hex community. Not only is he a well-known streamer of the game—supporting an already impressive Twitch following—he has been crushing the competition with back-to-back 4-0 victories in VIP tournaments and most recently took the win in Fiveshards’ own Ruby Cup Tournament.
Today he joins me to talk about what it takes to be a high-tiered competitive player in the world of Hex—and how he’s feeling in the lead-up to the Sapphire Cup where he will have to put his title on the line.
First and foremost tell me how you got into Hex, and if you have any experience in any other TCG or CCG games.
Cirouss: Actually it was more like an “accident” that got me into HEX. I had a friend of mine at my place (Who actually hates TCGs) and he pointed out to me: “Hey, this Kickstarter made over 300000$ in a single day!”. After that I read about the game and fell in love with it. I played some TCGs before like Yugioh, Magic, Duel of Champions and so on but all only on a casual level. HEX is the first time I take a TCG as a main game.
At what point did you realize you wanted to start playing at what would be considered a competitive level?
Cirouss: I was already in big fan of organized tournaments from the Alpha times in HEX. At the beginning though I was not very successful. When FiveShards started organizing the [Shard] Cups I decided I wanted to go on a more serious level.
Here is the deck list you played in the Ruby Cup. Could you walk us through some of the choices you made in the deck? And what decisions you came to in deciding to pick this deck to battle with in the tournament?
Cirouss: To be honest, I started playing this deck in the last constructed VIP tournaments. I didn’t have a deck prepared at the time and asked JuzamJedi for a deck list (Credit for the deck entirely goes to JuzamJedi). I asked specifically for an Anti-Gorefeast deck and there we have it. This is the answer to Gore Feast in my opinion and he did a great job building this deck. The choice of this deck for the Ruby Cup was clearly because the meta had been dominated by Gore Feast in the Diamond Cup and it was a pretty good choice I thought. I ended up in winning the Ruby Cup, but in the end from my 11 Rounds (swiss + Top 8) I only faced Gore Feast 2 times. Thankfully I still managed to beat nearly every round I had. Some by luck and some just by pure skill. Just kidding, mostly luck.
What sort of preparation do you before a big event like the Sapphire cup? Do you have a decent sized testing group or are you more of a solo brewer? Do you play in a lot of constructed tournaments beforehand or keep things mainly in-house?
Cirouss: To be honest, for the ruby cup I did absolutely no play testing. After the double 4-0 in the VIP’s I felt very comfortable running the diamond ruby deck. However I have a very very good playtest group with a lot of awesome players. So far all FiveShard cups have been won by our guys (Dashgoor, Kindmime and myself). We normally prepare together for big tournaments, either in constructed tourney with all 8 spots from ourselves or just normal proving ground matches. But mostly in-house.
From the looks of things Hex is rapidly expanding. With the recent inclusion of the arena and set 3 around the corner are you excited for future of the game? Is there anything not released yet that you’re most looking forward to?
Cirouss: Well, I have a lot of insight of course. I am in the military and had a 4 week internship course which I chose to do at Gameforge. I was recently in south California at the Hex HQ and have seen a lot of things. Mostly I would say I look forward to the PvE experiences and the keep defense, as these were the main reasons for me to back the game in the first place. I also really look forward to set 3, I am actually deeper into the PvP aspect of the game more than I expected I would be back during the Kickstarter. So yeah I can say I am very excited for the future and I see big things will happen with Hex. I am glad that I am part of this community and I love everything about it.
Being a twitch streamer is a major part of your life and we can see you streaming nearly every day. What made you make the decision to pick Hex as your main game to stream? Would you look to become a Twitch streamer full-time as your primary job should the opportunity arise?
Cirouss: I was streaming casually before Hex already and once I was able to play the alpha of Hex I began streaming it. It really IS the community that keeps me streaming, it is a lot of fun for me and I can not imagine a better game to stream. For the full time streaming part—you never know what happens. I originally wanted to study Game Development, but some months ago I switched to “Cross media Production & Publishing” which was mainly because this is actually helping me with streaming and has a lot of synergy with it. So yeah I would love to become a full time streamer, but I am not blind and know how life works, so I first want to get at least a Bachelor (might even go for a master degree) and I won’t rely on one thing. Always have a backup-plan—is what I usually say 🙂
What is your favourite Shard combination to play? Least favourite to play against?
Cirouss: My favourite combination is definitely Ruby & Sapphire. First off: No, I hate Gore Feast. But I originally created a deck called “Deathdraw” which was built around Incantation of Ascendence. That deck was all build around card drawing, it had a lot of win conditions and it was a lot of fun to play with. I love card drawing as much as JuzamJedi and it is also the combination I hate to face most. Simply because of 95% running this combination are playing Gore Feast, the most annoying deck in the current format.
Where would you like to see the future of competitive Hex go? More tournaments? More league-style events? More scheduled daily events with prizes? Or do you feel Hex should perhaps look at a different audience and focus on the PvE-related content that was a primary selling point?
Cirouss: In my opinion Hex should have a good balance between PvE and PvP. I am pretty sure they can be able to support both parts of the game enough to target the different audiences. Hex, as a TCG, of course will have a big focus on PvP and there will be very big tournaments with huge prizes. However, in my opinion the main reason the Kickstarter was so successful was due to the PvE aspects the game offered, something you simply don’t see in a card game and is a truly unique aspect of Hex. I would guess that just from the interaction I’ve had with my stream chat alone, that the primary audience is PvE inclined already, even with it not being fully supported in the live version of the game yet.
In the end I think Hex can even combine both elements. Just imagine if there could be some type of special tournaments like “Raid Races”. There could be a time span of 3 hours where teams would have to try and get the fastest run on a specific raid boss. I can see this kind of “competitive PvE” would bring in a lot of attention from both sides, the PvE and the competitive PvP players. That is still far in the future though.
Thank you very much for taking the time with me today Cirouss and good luck in the Sapphire cup. Are there any shout-outs, plugs or final words you’d like to leave us with today?
Cirouss: Thanks for doing the Interview with me, my pleasure. In general I just want to thank EVERYONE in this amazing community. I am a very proud member of this community and I am trying to do my best to support it. Most of the people I have met already are just amazing and I really want everyone to keep it up. I also want to thank my play test group, Hextechs, and everyone who provides content for this amazing community like all the other streamers, fan-sites, Youtubers and so on. (Should be done by now but I will continue anyway) A personal thank you from myself goes to Cryptozoic and Gameforge who are working very hard on the game, I can speak for both companies here as I have visited Cryptozoic and have been invited to Gameforge. Everyone working with the game has a lot of passion for it. Keep it up.