One person can make or break a team’s chemistry and I am sure we have all felt the beauty of a random QM, UD, or TL team gelling and somehow pulling off that impossible comeback. Likewise, each of us has experienced that punch to the nether regions caused by a teammate going rogue or spewing toxicity, likely leading to defeat. If you are hoping for a greater chance at the former, then you should consider joining a custom league for a less random experience. Why not play with a team that you can rely on, that you can come to know and work towards a goal with? One of the newer leagues is Bush League— a quaint but growing team league similar in style to Chair League (now on hiatus).
Bush League is now in the fourth week of its inaugural season. HotS podcast organizations GankBush Squad, Trolls.gg, and Nexus Commentaries wanted an alternative league where their respective fans could form competitive games with balanced teams constituting players repping most skill levels (Silver-Master Level— a unique feature represented by the hosts of the GankBush Squad podcast).
When you watch pro players in the HGC, their personal streams, or the streams of community figures like Bambam, MFPallytime, or Mewnfare, a personal connection can form between you and that player. With the recent focus on combating player and game toxicity by companies such as Blizzard and Riot, maybe there is now a spotlight on an important issue which impacts all of us: the human element behind the keyboard can be, at times, lost to us players. In this weekly article series I hope to shed some light on the Bush League and showcase some of the people who have invested themselves in HotS and its community, people who passionately love this game and who have something to offer viewers in the form of both insight and entertainment.
That said, this week I talked with Daz, team captain of one of the four Bush League teams. I hope you enjoy getting to know Daz and that you consider connecting with our community!
Jay “San” Kolo: How long have you been playing HotS? What brought you to the game?
Daz: I’ve been playing HotS since the Beta opened up. I wasn’t anticipating its release, and in fact, I didn’t really know anything about the game before I installed it. I was playing a lot of Hearthstone at the time, and I kept seeing it pop up in the launcher, so I decided to give it a shot. Turns out I got hooked, and here I am today.
JSK: What can share about your Battle.net tag? Does it have significance?
D: I wish I could say the name ‘Daz’ had some significance, but it’s pretty much as random as it gets. The story of the name started when I was playing a game called Tribal Wars, a horribly monotonous life draining game that I encourage no one to ever try. When you start playing that game, the initial placement of your ‘village’ in the world is very important, so I was going through the cycle of creating an account, looking at my village placement, and then shuttering the account and starting over again if it wasn't a favourable placement. The process requires a unique username each time you register, and since I had to do it a couple dozen times, I resorted to a random name generator online. When I finally had the ideal village placement, the random username I had for that account was ‘Dazander’, and since WoW went free to play around the same time, I created my Battle.net account at the same time and just went with Dazander. It ended up being a mouthful, and I couldn’t even pronounce the damn thing, so I switched to ‘Daz’ with the free one-time name change Blizzard gives you.
JSK: What is your current roll with Trolls.gg? Also, how did you come to join the organization?
D: I feel like my role with Trolls.gg is probably less defined than anyone else in the org, probably because of how it started.... Let's talk about that, and I’ll get back to my role with Trolls.gg. I started up my podcast “The Nexus Trolls” with my former Chair League teammate Shiz. We brought on Mystic when we made our first official episode. Shiz had a work conflict that kept him from being able to stay on the show, so LiQiuD took his role on the show. LiQiuD eventually wanted to do a spin-off show focused on HGC, so we formed Trolls.gg as a network with our two shows. LiQiuD has a lot of ambition, so he eventually just took over the reigns, and started expanding the network to produce other content as well. He’s the big cheese, I’m just the guy that hangs out, does my podcast, and helps out where I can. So maybe that makes me the ‘Little Cheese’?
JSK: Bush League's inaugural season is in its infancy. How did the League come about?
D: After last season of Chair League, I had a longing for some organized HotS, so I started talking to LiQiuD and Mystic about doing our own little mini-league with viewers. Around the same time, I was listening to the GankBush Squad podcast, and Fringe was trying to put together a Chair League team with listeners. I reached out to Fringe and we started talking about maybe doing this little mini league, and since they were already doing pick-up games with listeners on Mondays, the pieces just kind of fell into place.
JSK: Although your team has yet to win a game in Bush League play, what are your thoughts about the experience participating in it so far?
D: Bush League isn’t about winning, it’s about having fun, and we’ve definitely been having that. We had a competitive last game that was pretty tight, which was great. What everyone doesn’t know is that if we had map pick, we were planning on bringing a full out cheese strat to the table to have a little fun. I’m surprised how serious everyone is taking the league, that wasn’t something I anticipated, I was expecting there to be more crazy comps. Zexerous from Nexus Commentaries actually wanted each week to have wacky rule sets like we had for our Creators of the Storm tournament, but I think me and Zex are in the minority with what we were looking to get out of the league.
JSK: What is your role on the team? How were roles decided?
D: I think I’m technically a Flex player, mostly because LiQiuD and Lord ‘Boo’ are primarily tank players. EnderWiggin is a tank player too, but had some experience on support, so he got stuck there. Skyzo and myself play more wacky stuff, and I don’t really have a role that I ‘main’ these days, so I just end up filling whatever need is required. It’s tough because it makes you a jack of all trades, but master of none, and you get stuck on less comfortable heroes. I feel pretty responsible for the losses in the first couple of weeks because Jaina and Sonya are heroes I don’t play much, but at the time we decided those were the picks to take in the draft. This week’s game went well, and probably because we tried to stick to more comfort picks.
JSK: What was thought process and preparation like going into the game versus team FTBRG?
D: Preparation? Lol, we showed up about 15 minutes before the game and spent 14 of those minutes deciding on mount, banner and spray synergy, does that count? We don’t spend a lot of time preparing for games, we talk about our draft plan about 10 minutes prior to the game. We had our cheese strat prepped if we got the map pick, but since we didn’t, we decided to stick to comfort heroes in the draft. Our goal was to not over think the draft, and just come out of it with a good, well-rounded comp. We did know that their best player Rozai likes Maiev and Alarak, so we tried to target ban those heroes to avoid him getting on one of those playmaking assassins.
JSK: Since your team (Team 4) lost this match, if you could have a “do over” on one decision, what would it be and why?
D: I think the one big mistake we made in the game was near the end. The result may have been inevitable, but there was a short window where while waiting for Sonya to respawn during the immortal phase, there was a merc camp pushing towards our keep. I was shot calling in the game, and I remember thinking about making the call to clear the camp, but we missed the short window we had.... Sonya respawned, it was the second half of the immortal phase, and we couldn’t let them win the immortal. We went on defense, they stalled out while the merc camp pushed, and we lost the keep. We wanted to engage hard, but they were smart and didn't give us the opportunity. We ended up losing the keep and the immortal. If we still had the keep, we may have been able to defend the immortal, but the immortal instead went straight to keep, and we lost the game. There’s nothing worse in HotS than indecision, and that lost us the game.
JSK: Imagine you are the president and owner of Bush League. Please make a pitch to players interested in watching or participating in Bush League this season or next.
D: Unlike other organized HotS leagues, Bush League is a real community. Everyone in Bush League has the opportunity to hang out with and play games with players on all teams, not just on League nights, but throughout the week. It really makes HotS more fun because you're not just playing in a 'league' but you're becoming a part of a great group of friends.
JSK: Open mic: Please share a thought about anything you’d like: shout out to your team, cut a “promo” on another team, or speak on anything else that you see fit.
D: Notice to all other Bush League teams.... The cheese is coming.
Please consider tuning into the Bush League games. All teams will have one game a week on Mondays, starting between 9 and 10 p.m. ET.
Check out these Bush League Links:
Jay “San” Kolo was lucky enough to attend the 2014 Blizzcon. There he was able to see Heroes of the Storm demos and test play it from the very beginning. Shortly after, he gained access to the Tech Alpha and began to build a slow relationship with the game, playing casually at first but eventually falling in love with it and desiring to “git gud.” Having never played an RTS or MOBA in his life, there has been a steep learning curve. It is his journey to improve, along with his desire to help shed light on non-intuitive game knowledge, that have inspired him to contribute to the Heroes community by creating articles for Trolls.gg. Beyond this passion, Jay teaches English at a university in the U.S. and enjoys his scheduled off times so he can queue up for some extended HotS sessions.