Today I get to finally unveil something that’s been in the works for a few weeks now. In collaboration with Roll20, I’ll be doing a series of interviews with each member of the Roll20 Esports HOTS team. Each article in this series was paid for and approved by Roll20. Go check them out if you want to play tabletop games online. With that disclaimer out of the way, content!!
Heroes of the Storm, like all esports, has a unique equalizing effect. Pro players have access to the exact same characters and in-game tools as anyone. To the untrained eye, a Varian, Chromie, or Medivh looks exactly the same in a quick match as they do on the Blizzcon stage. That said, what makes the HGC truly special is the group of hard-working, passionate gamers fighting for the right to keep pursuing their dreams. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at the men on the other side of the screen. It’s time for you to really get to know the Roll20 Esports Heroes of the Storm team.
Today, we begin our series with the team’s most flexible member, Kyle “Prismaticism” Belaiche. Whether blowing away enemies on Chromie, chasing down kills with Genji, or hiding in a bush soaking waves as Abathur, Prismat has been a critical piece of the team’s success. In our conversation, he shared his journey to the R2E roster, his mom’s thoughts on his career choice, and explained his fight against performance anxiety.
The Path to Pro
Heroes of the Storm has been Prismat’s first experience with high level competitive gaming, but he carries the drive of an old school veteran. Had the HGC not worked out, he said he would likely still be chasing the goal of being a pro gamer in another game. Fortunately for this squad, the road for Prismat lead to the HGC and Roll20, though it was a bumpy road along the way.
His notable competitive career began with current teammates Buds and Justing on Team Name Change. From there, he was recruited during the 2016 season by former world champions K1pro and KingCaffeine to join Denial Esports. This would also be the roster to introduce Prismat to his future captain, Glaurung. During the season, Denial made a roster change replacing Prismat with K1 and Caff’s former teammate, iDream. From there, he was picked up by the team that would become Superstars. This was a promising team expected to qualify for the newly-minted Heroes Global Championship, but the team struggled a bit early on, failing to qualify in the first wave. Looking to make a change, the team chose to remove Prismaticism from the roster.
This was understandably a disappointment for Prismat. “I got a bit depressed and stopped playing HOTS entirely, instead playing Overwatch, hitting top 500 as a Mercy one-trick,” he said. However, Prismat’s career as an Overwatch pro was not to be as his old teammates would soon need his help again. In the final HGC qualifier, a team lead by popular streamer Chu8 managed to earn one of the final spots. The roster was filled with promising talent, but its leader had other goals in mind.
On an episode of Town Hall Heroes, chu8 made it clear that he wasn’t interested in working hard to compete in the HGC, preferring to focus on his streaming career. His teammates, however, had aspirations of competing at the highest level. Chu8 would ultimately step down from the team just before the season began, leaving the newly coined Team 8 in need of a flex player. “They messaged me if I wanted to try out,” Prismaticism explained, “and I ended up joining the team.”
The World Warrior
Having worked with most of the roster in the past, Prismaticism immediately fit in with Team 8, and the roster found instant success. He noted that there was a different atmosphere to this roster than his previous teams. “They are much stronger mechanically and more dedicated to competing in HGC as a full time job.” To Prismat, this spot on the Team 8 roster meant an opportunity to prove himself as a top level player after a comparatively disappointing 2016.
The team’s success allowed Prismat the chance to do what he describes as one of the coolest parts of the pro gaming career–travel. “I got to travel to other countries and meet other pro players and casters, and got to see people from other games such as Reynad, Eloise, and ThatsAdmirable.” He explained that his international experience also helped his family understand the world of esports a bit better. “They weren’t confident in it at first,” he said, “but once I started travelling to events they understood and became very proud of it.” His mother added that “it was a learning curve to understand such an uncommon career and learn about esports.”
A Gamer at Heart
For Prismaticism, it seems pro gaming was his destiny. When asked about his hobbies outside of HOTS, he listed watching other esports tournaments, and playing other games such as Gwent and Runescape. When asked about alternate career options, he simply mentioned other games he’d be pursuing as a pro player such as Overwatch and Gwent.
However, the journey to realize his dream has not been without its share of personal struggles. During most of his competitive career, Prismat has been battling against severe anxiety. “When I played on Pool Plato Some Tangoes I would actually throw up at the start of every scrim block.” He notedthat he was able to battle through his practice nerves, but when TNC qualified for LAN events, the anxiety returned in full force. “When I started going to events with [Team Name Change] I would throw up at least once per LAN.”
Fortunately, Roll20’s flex player has continued fighting hard against these anxiety attacks, and has made great strides. “When I joined Team 8, with the help of therapy and medication I was able to go through the entire Western Clash without throwing up or anxiety affecting my performance.”
Today, Prismat has proven himself as a crucial member of the Roll20 roster. He explained that he assists Justing with the team’s draft preparation, and operates as a secondary shotcaller as needed. Both in gameplanning and playmaking, Prismaticism is a bright young star in the HOTS scene, and we expect him to keep shining even brighter.
Thank you so much to Prismaticism for taking the time for this interview, and to Roll20 for the opportunity to chat with these awesome players. Be sure to follow him on Twitter, and keep an eye on Roll20 Esports (and, you know, me) for upcoming interviews with the rest of the team. When you drop by Prismat’s Twitter, he’d love it if you sent him any pictures of your pets. He especially loves cats.
Want to show your support for Roll20? Head to the R2E shop and pickup an official Roll20 Esports jersey!