The Road to Becoming a Pro

How I Became a Hearthstone Pro

“I’m not good enough, I’m not experienced enough, I’m not confident enough.” Such thoughts were very common before I started my professional Hearthstone career.

My Story

I watched professional gamers on Twitch and social media and wondered, how can I reach their level? My playstyle, the decision making, even the whole approach, were the main reasons, I was scared to give it a try. However, we should never ignore that they started from zero and they are humans like us.

Even the best Hearthstone players deal with their own fears, doubts, and insecurities just like us. We face these kinds of challenges and comparisons in whatever we do in our lives.

After days and days playing, watching streamers and videos, the more I played the game the more I wanted to go pro. I decided to ask professional players how did they start and what pushed them to go into a professional Hearthstone Career.

All of them started playing because they liked card games and they used to play it for fun.

Finding Help

When I asked some pros questions, I was called a “noob”, just because I was asked for advice. So I looked for professional coaches. I decided to book my first coaching session on Gamer Sensei, not because I wanted to be professional, but because I wanted to improve my playstyle.

Ike and Frosty at Dreamhack Denver 2017 Hearthstone Grand Prix

My first coaching session was amazing! My coach showed me how to play Miracle Rogue and I had really good run on the ladder. To further improve, I decided to continue taking lessons. I changed my coach two times before I found one who perfectly fit my learning style.

I booked monthly sessions and had an amazing time learning from him. He not only showed me how I could improve but encouraged my desire to become a pro. I learned I great deal from him and soon started participating in tournaments and streaming Hearthstone on Twitch.

After four months of intensive practice, I felt different. I was reaching legend within the first five days of every month. I regularly made it to the finals in tournaments and I had a few loyal viewers on my Twitch channel. The time was right to step forward as a professional.

Doing Work

I never forgot that I was once a really bad player and that someone helped me to become better. I decided to do the same and applied to coach at Gamer Sensei. At the same time, I wrote my first article on Reddit about Hearthstone. After 2 months of waiting, Gamer Sensei accepted my application and I had the chance to prove myself as a coach.

Immediately, people booked coaching hours with me and I was doing pretty well. I was really excited about my new role. While I was now playing at a pro level I knew that I still had a lot to learn, so I kept practicing and taking lessons.

Week by week I had more lessons and my work was paying off. Because of my full-time job, I was not able to work as hard on the ladder as I desired, even if I had great performance. I decided to build my professional career, not as a player, not as a streamer, but as a coach and content creator.

I applied to several teams until Fade 2 Karma accepted my application. Fade 2 Karma is a huge Esports Organisation and a unique chance for me to develop and enhance my skills. The whole team supported me from day one. They provided me the best possible environment to do what I really wanted.

Day by day my coaching sessions with Gamer Sensei increased and I created a very good rapport with all my students. I wrote many more articles, some of which can be found on the Gamer Sensei Blog.  

Full-Time Pro

My hard work paid off and I now coach and create content around Hearthstone full time. I never stop practicing, I plan to expand my network of students and provide tools/methods that other coaches can use to improve their teaching skills.

While it was not easy to accomplish and there were many times where I doubted my ability to succeed, I did it; I became a professional Hearthstone player.

Make up your Mind

I am sure that many of the people are reading this article have considered aiming for a professional Hearthstone career.

One of the other biggest causes of burnout is the need to do everything perfectly and when that falls short, wondering if giving up wouldn’t be easier. From my own experience, I can only say to focus on progress, don’t try to be perfect! Instead of beating yourself for not being a perfect Hearthstone player, try to become better day by day, but never give up. Judge yourself on progress made, not the speed of that progress.

Be Motivated

Deep3 During the HCT 2017 Tavern Hero Qualifiers

Motivation and focus, not skill development is the best place to start any professional career. If we go for what really drives us, at a core level we stay on track even when we believe our skills fall short.

When you start to understand your motivational drivers, you develop your own personal strategies for success. It was my passion for Hearthstone which led me to work as a coach and not my skills alone.

If you really want to be pro, start your journey with motivation in mind. Develop your skills and watch success come to you.

Check Your Road Map

I know plenty of Hearthstone Players want to follow a professional career path. Esports is such a new field that there is no one right way to go pro. Going pro requires an investment of time and money. Because of this, it is important to make a roadmap to record progress and plan for future development.

Sintolol at HCT Amsterdam 2018

Be aware of the failure you will face. You must be motivated and brave enough to continue making steps forward in spite of failure. Never stop your education, there will always be some new skill to learn or knowledge to acquire. You will face criticism and you might feel worthless. Build a network of people who encourage you to continue and continue to learn. Be Focused, be motivated  and remember: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill