Written By: Steve Vegvari
We’re drawing closer and closer to the Hearthstone Canadian Challenge finals. On December 15th, the qualifiers will gather in Toronto, Ontario for the national finals and their shot at a stake in a $20’000 prize pool.
For Yehia Shamoun, this will be the first opportunity he has to play in front of a large crowd. Playing Hearthstone for the past four year’s, Yehia has never been focused on the high-stakes competition before. As a full-time student, his strategies have often been made up by creative decisions.
Thinking outside of the box, Yehia has been able to land himself in the position where his love of the game can become something more. We sat down with Yehia to gauge his feelings on the current meta of Hearthstone, and what goes into his competitive strategies.
Steve: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Yehia: My name is Yehia Shamoun. I am a student at Ryerson, a University here downtown [Toronto]. I am studying Business Technology Management. I’ve lived most of my life in Egypt, where I am originally from.
Steve: How long have you been playing Hearthstone?
Yehia: After the beta, so June 2014.
Steve: What got you into Hearthstone?
Yehia: I was a fan of Warcraft 3. I played it in internet cafes often with friends and family.
Steve: What are your thoughts on the current meta of the game?
Yehia: Recently, in the Boomsday expansion, there are a lot of different decks. Because of Witchwood, there are a lot of cool experimental ideas you can come up with. Especially with weird odd and even decks, especially the non-competitive ones. Stuff like Even Rogue.
Currently, the Hearthstone meta is a bit polarized. That is a bit of an issue. It’s what gave me that advantage in the tournament. A few people picked really polarized matchup decks and I tried to counter that by playing generally good decks that could beat most.
Steve: How are feeling about your performance so far in the Canadian Challenge?
Yehia: It’s strange. There were a few games –– three or four games where I got lucky. A few chance events happened in the game where I got a random effect and won the game. Most other games I won because I performed well. I made good plays and it paid off.
Steve: Is there anything you’re looking to improve on as we head towards the finals?
Yehia: I’m looking to improve on my decklists. The issue is because I generally play on my Europe account, and used a secondary account. So I had to Disenchant a bunch of stuff. There are a few cards that could be changed. Maybe a deck or two so it can perform better.
Steve: What does your practise routine look like?
Yehia: I look at the weakest performing cards and decks by feeling rather than stats. Cards I feel that stay in your hand too long, stuff like that. Cards that generally don’t help you the game, I remove them and replace them with better performing cards.
The way I practise is I’ll play a few games –– 10, 20 games and test our a deck and see if it works well or not.
Steve: Any tips or advice for novice players?
Yehia: For me, play well in a few tournaments and you’ll get there. The way my brain works might be different from other people. I pick up on things quick. I don’t know about other people, who take longer to learn certain details in a game. They’ll learn how to play well if they focus on minute details.
Steve: Did you experience any hurdles to learning how to play?
Yehia: Legendary cards are extensive. I don’t usually spend too much money on Hearthstone. Every once and a while I’ll preorder something. The main issue is that I try to be a free-to-play player. I don’t have too much money to spend on the game, so it makes certain deck difficult to use. This allows me to be a bit more creative with some of my lineups.
Steve: Where can people follow you online?
Yehia: I have a very minimal online presence. I don’t generally use anything, I’m a bit invisible online.
For more on Hearthstone and the Canadian Challenge, keep it locked to Inside WorldGaming Network.
Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.