Post Western Clash Interview With Wubby
Sun 2nd Sep 2018 - 3:00pm
After an impressive undefeated run in the most recent HGC Western Clash in Burbank, California, we sat down with Team Dignitas off-laner Jonathan "Wubby" Gunnarsson to talk about their time in the US and what he thought about their opponents.
How was it to be in California?
Wubby: This time was slightly different, being there on our own for the bootcamp was different from when we have the Blizzard guys taking care of us. We were also in a different area of California than we normally are, so we got to see some different stores and take Ubers around instead of Blizzard shuttles. But, when Western Clash started everything was just like it use to be.
How was the Blizzard Arena?
Wubby: We played there for the group stage last BlizzCon, but that was without an audience and the place was still under construction. Last time we were there, we were offered practice rooms on the upper floor, but we ended up using another location. The nice thing at this tournament was that each team had their own practice room, instead of all being in the same room only separated by curtains. The arena is just pretty nice in general - the stage was cool, and at the entrance of the arena there was a Blizzard store. The Blizzard store had some great items and that was also the area where we met with fans.
Compared to Dreamhack, BlizzCon, etc. where you’re almost always moving around backstage, never being out amongst the crowd, this was different. We would hang around at the stage after our games and talk to the fans.
When you’re just in the building it doesn’t feel like you’re at a big event, but as soon as you come up on the stage it’s a whole different feeling.
Was it different going into the tournament as clear favourites?
Wubby: This Western Clash reminded me a lot of last year’s Phase 2 Clash. At that time, there was only really one big favourite just like there was this year, and the Koreans aren’t there. We didn’t expect to go undefeated, but I think there’s a big gap between the top teams right now.
Has anything changed since the first Western Clash this year?
Wubby: Usually when there’s eight teams in a tournament, you see two or three teams doing well. This year, both in the first Western Clash and this one, I think the “bottom teams” of these international teams have stepped up. There has been a meme for a while where NA never beats EU, but now it’s more entertaining to watch the games. Personally, I watch almost every game, and right now there are a lot of upsets and interesting matchups.
In Katowice, we were a pretty new team and in China we were a completely new roster. In Katowice, Zealots had some good warm up games before the Grand Final and did well. It was the same this year; it wasn’t the team we expected to see in the Grand Final. I think we could’ve lost a game to Leftovers as they played pretty well, but from the first Western Clash to now I think we’ve grown a lot.
Do you think that you guys shaped the meta for this event and that the other teams adapted to your style?
Wubby: I think we shaped the meta for sure, actually pretty hard. We played a lot of Maiev, Hammer, a decent amount of Medivh, and when we win every scrim with it the other teams have to adapt. One of the easiest ways to deal with it for other teams is to just copy and contest the picks. The difference we saw in bans from day to day was almost all because of us, I think. When other teams are adapting to your playstyle, you often have the advantage of knowing the meta better, which is one of the reasons I think it went so well for us.
If we’re the better team and we win with whatever we play, then it’s only natural that other teams want to play it as well. If we start playing Nazeebo and win 30 scrims with it, then it will be picked and banned in pro play the next week. It’s not that we always know which heroes are the best, we are just the better team that makes certain heroes look good.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from others though. For this tournament, I personally picked up Cross Fire on Blaze and saw the potential. Everyone in in NA played it, so I found a way to match it into my playstyle.
Why does everyone let you get Yrel?
Wubby: I think it comes down to the situations where we normally don’t scrim the first teams we’re going to play against in a tournament, and since their scrim partners didn’t play Yrel they didn’t fear it.
I remember talking to the Fnatic guys after we beat them in HGC, and they told me that they had prepared specifically for us, but none of the teams they scrimmed against played Yrel and they didn’t like playing her either. So, we start the draft and we first pick Yrel, and that threw them off.
I think this can generally apply to any hero. Teams can start banning Yrel against us and we’ll just first pick another great hero like Genji and win all our games with that. We just make the heroes look good because we are the better team.
Were there any teams that surprised you?
Wubby: I think, for sure, that the two biggest surprises were HeroesHearth and Team Liquid. I thought they would both make it much further in the tournament. I thought they would be our biggest threats, to be honest. Method was a bit of a wild card, both as a team and because they stayed in Europe for their preparations.
It was surprising because HeroesHearth was the team that took most games against us during scrims, they seemed to be the only reasonable NA team, so seeing Team Freedom go as far as they did was a big surprise.
What were your thoughts when you saw the Gazlowe in the Grand Finals? And what were the comms like?
Wubby: Again, it reminds me of the second Western Clash last year. Expert picked Butcher against us, a bit of an off pick. Gazlowe has probably worked for them in scrims, but it’s a bit of a cheese - I think it could work with Mercenary Lord if you’re able to get the double turrets for the objective, and they probably thought they could catch us off-guard.
I think it could’ve been a bit of an annoying game if we didn’t have Hammer, but Hammer was able to just kill all the Gazlowe turrets. We also got the healing item most of the time, so we had a clear advantage in the fights around the point.
We were very serious in the game, we couldn’t just sit back and laugh at the Gazlowe, at least not before the first objective.
What do you think your chances are for winning BlizzCon?
Wubby: My sleeping schedule was a bit messed up after getting home from America, so I stayed up and watched most of the Eastern Clash. Korea has always been our biggest competitor, but I think Ballistix and Tempest looked a bit weaker than usual. When the top of Korea is a bit weaker, we often see Gen.G slack a bit going forward as well. They seem to have a very carefree attitude when they aren’t challenged in their home region. This can come back and bite them, so maybe we can beat them this time.
Thanks for your time! Do you have any shoutouts?
Wubby: Shoutout to Team Dignitas and our sponsors (WD, HyperX, Mountain Dew, Buffalo Wild Wings). It was nice to meet all our fans in California and we hope to see you again at BlizzCon! Thanks for cheering for us!