Christian “Devou” Solvang
Born on January 12th, the same day as legendary hockey player Espen “Shampoo” Knutsen. The year was 1993, Whitney Houston’s theme song for The Bodyguard I will always love you was the billboards #1 song.
Who are you then?
Who I am? Ain’t that the question of life, trying to find out who you are and such.
I am a very passionate guy, i don’t take anything lightly and always put my soul into everything that I do. This is for both good and bad, sometimes i get to passionate and can become angry or upset, I really f*cking hate losing man! I definitely hate losing more than I love winning, and don’t get me wrong, I love to win.
It’s so frustrating to lose to someone that is playing really bad, sometimes I can’t help myself and I even tell them that they are playing bad, thats Finnish Devou though *Haha*.
Nope, not anymore, she moved out like two months ago. She hated that I was playing so much. I don’t think that I will find a girl while playing HS, nor from being a professional HS player. The pickup line “Hey Girl, I am playing a children’s card game, wanna go out?” does not work!
I started playing before I turned 18 (Don’t tell anyone! *Haha*) when I saw my brother playing, I would sneak onto his computer and account when he was sleeping and played some free rolls and cheap tournaments, I really liked it!
Like many others, I was really bad at the beginning, but just like everyone, I thought that I was great. It takes a lot of time to understand the mentality and how to play your opponents.
I played “Professionally” until 2016 which is also the year I played the most. It’s a tougher field today, the average player is so much better. There are many tools out there to help your gameplay and look into your opponent stats and more.
Pokerstars where I play, the level has increased like crazy, the only time you will find some sub tier players is at night, drunk people throwing their money away.
I played both online and live. Qualified for some EPT events and I really enjoyed traveling to these events. I believe that I am a better live player then online. Also from my experience the level actually goes down when you play live and travel to different events. Maybe the locals that join the events do it because it’s close. Also, probably the stakes that I play at online don’t attract amateurs.
Playing live is also “cooler” because you get the chance to read your opponents in a totally different way than online, and when you find that weakness, you exploit it.
What about your weakness?
Guess my temper is both my ally and foe. When I play, especially online and start to lose a lot of money I tend to play more tables, up the stakes and try to “win back” faster. This is very dangerous when you play poker for a living cause when you up the stakes you usually
I am what you call a tournament player, so my earnings in poker goes up and down over time, you can have a period with no winnings and then bang, a big bag of money comes at once. I still play poker everyday, but it has not been going that well for the past months, have not had any big tournament wins like I used to have, my income is pretty unbalanced at the moment.
Poker is something that will always be with me, and if I had to choose between winning Blizzcon or WSOP, i’d choose that WSOP bracelet!
For how long have you been playing HS?
End of Open beta, so I have played it for a while now. I actually never played card games prior to Hearthstone. I was playing WoW with some friends and the server went down, one of the guys suggested we should try Hearthstone while waiting for the servers to come back up.
I was not planning on trying Hearthstone out, I thought it was pretty silly looking, but of course, I got hooked. Kind of ruined my WoW gameplay *Haha*.
Norway has produced a lot of great players in games like Unreal Tournament and Quake, you also had great CS players like Xeqtr, where is the talent now?
I don’t know, I am not an esport guy to be honest. I don’t follow and watch the scene as close as you would probably expect. Recently though I have started to watch some Counter-Strike. but that’s just about all apart from Hearthstone. I don’t enjoy watching League of Legends, I think it’s a silly game. Same with Overwatch and dota. CounterStrike that I have started to watch is actually a really cool spectator game, it’s easy to follow and understand what’s happening.
I still enjoy watching a football game over esport though.
What about sports and keeping in shape?
I used to play Volleyball and was pretty good at it, played in 1st division in Norway for a few years until it was time to go server in the army. You have 12 months mandatory military service in Norway but I decided to stay in the army for school and attending Officers school in the air force. Unfortunately however, my father got ill at this time and got hit with Cancer. During one leave from the army over New Years we got the news that my dad only had a few months left to live. I was devastated and choose to leave the army and stop playing Volleyball. I dropped out of everything and became really inactive, no exercise or hanging out with friends, I just stayed home in front of the computer playing Hearthstone and Poker.
How important is it to be part of a team when you are playing a 1v1 game
It means the world for me to be part of a team. I have had very good relationships with all my team members, current and past. It means so much for me to be able to bring Diggen along with me to Dreamhack. Now Matpakke has joined Riddle too (Welcome Buddy!) and both of these players have influenced me a lot as a player.
Riddle is doing a great job promoting us, we are in the media and getting noticed. As players, we need that help in promotion to be honest. I was not happy with how former team handled player promotions and I think that our results were greater than they attention we received.
With a team like Riddle we talk about the future, I know what events I will be attending, that is really good, you always have a reason to keep practicing.
I saw that there was this competition where you could win 2 hours coaching from you, can anyone become a great HS player with the right teacher?
Anyone can become at least a good Hearthstone player with enough hours spent in the game, a teacher will help you get there faster. When I have coached previously I point out why you are doing what you are doing and you should be doing instead. It becomes easier to learn from your mistakes when someone points them out to you, otherwise you might do the same mistake several times before you notice it yourself.
Talking about coaching, what are you best tips for people looking to improve in HS.
For new players I would say that you should learn the cards. What cards belong to what class and how much mana do they cost. This is the single most important thing to improve at the start. If you know that Druids have Swipe and that you should watch out for it at turn 4, that can help you out a lot. Playing against a Paladin? Watch our for concentration on turn 4.Most importantly, learn your own cards and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
For more seasoned players it’s time to start thinking ahead. Knowing how to win the game with what you are playing, have your game plan in order and know your outs. Playing with 5% chance to win might be better than trying to survive the next turn. Always aim to win instead of surviving turns.
What are you thoughts on competitive Hearthstone at the moment?
Well, competitive Hearthstone is Blizzcon, it’s the absolute pinnacle. The tournaments however are in a crazy spot. You have to grind and grind to be able to qualify to the preliminaries, it takes so much effort compared to previous years. To put things into perspective, we are only two norwegians that have qualified. Before it was 128 spots for the preliminaries, today its 64, and previously the cap was much lower in terms of points that you gather during the year. The competition is much tougher, more players are grinding and the skill level has increased a lot. Grinding, playing open cups and ranking up in the ladder, I don’t like this at all. It takes away so much time where you could work on actually preparing for tournaments and improving your gameplay, the mindless farming is very dangerous and does not improve you as a player. I know many players that get burnt out and don’t wanna play the game anymore. It’s not unusual that players have spent tons of hours preparing and qualifying that when they actually come to the event, they have no love for the game. It does reward the best players, but it mostly rewards the crazy people that have all the time in the world.
When they make a underdog movie about esports, like football, who would you like to play yourself?
An actor to play me? I don’t like this question *Haha* But, if we have a final match like in the movies, my opponent would definitely be Thijs. We have had so many good matches and a rivalry, it would be awesome.
Oh you know what? Jack Nicholson should play me!
You will be talking lots of photos, videos and giving us daily reports when you are at Dreamhack, what can we expect from that tournament and from you?
That remains to be seen. Hearthstone has a lot of different factors to it, it will depend on my opponent’s lineup, how the going frequency is and the all around mood of the event. I am not one of the biggest names but I do think that I have a big shot. I am waiting for my big breakthrough, I have not won anything big internationally yet. I am the guy in Norway with 2 top 16 results internationally, I want Dreamhack to be my big break.
I mean, I want to go all the way, nobody remembers the second place finisher, when you compete at an event like dreamhack, it’s all about going for first.
In perspective afterwards however, I would probably be happy with something like fourth place.
Who is the best HS player out there?
Another tough question. I have so much admiration for diffrent players for so many different reasons. If i had to choose only one however it would be ShtanUdachi, the russian player. His gameplay is usually flawless and he is just so good.
I used to watch a lot of replays and streams when I was grinding for legend the first time, trying to get some new ideas and see what decks are working and not.
Now, when you put as many hours into the game as I do, it’s not really required to watch replays anymore, sure, I will scout the players that I might face in tournaments and see what decks they have been running.
Instead, I watch Speedruns, my favorite is game to watch is Super Mario 64.
What other card games have you tried? Seems every franchise is producing a card-game.
I have tried Duelist and Faeria, even participated in a few tournaments in Faeria when it was released. I did OK, was close to qualifying to the biggest tournament, went 4-0 in the swiss and then dropped. I stopped playing Faeria after I did not qualify, don’t even know if there is a scene left now.
What do you think is the next big card game?
Everyone is hyping up Gwent as the challenger to Hearthstone, but I don’t have faith in that. It seems way too difficult for the casual scene to follow.
Do you listen to music when you play? if so, can you share one of your Spotify playlists with us?
Depends on what mood I am in, sometimes during tournaments I listen to music to shut things out. When grinding the ladder it’s pretty nice to listen to music too. Most of the time though I am on Skype talking s*it with my teammates.
Here is one of my playlists, hope you enjoy it.
Got some embarrassing stories to share with us? Tried googling, but did not find any dirt.
Haha, I am glad that you did not find anything!
Guess we could talk about how I dropped out of top 8 in Telenorligan last season.
I was so tilted at that tournament, I remember playing my match and just fooling around with my mouse, running it all over the screen and accidently mulliganed away the quest as a quest Rogue. This was on top 8 Upper Bracket at Telenorligaen… You can’t win as a Quest Rogue without the Quest, and I did it against explosives. Of course, I lost the series because of this.
It’s a maturity thing I guess, I do have a temper and I let it get the best of me. There actually is a meme between the people who know me. The meme is that sometimes I become Finnish Devou instead of Norwegian Devou. Finnish Devou is a bastard! Someone that ruins for himself and others. I started with me playing on another account that was registered on a Finnish person. Fun story! I qualified to the Blizzcon preliminaries with that account, but I was denied competition because it wasn’t mine. When this years HGG nominations came out, I was nominated for both Finland and Norway *Haha*. Watch out for Finnish Devou guys!
Editor’s Note: My Google Document suggests that “ Finnish Devou” should be replaced with Devil…..
What’s your proudest moment in life?
Oh, that is a tough one! I don’t really know to be honest, I have not had that many huge moments. I am not a father nor have I won Blizzcon yet.
When I have my big break internationally, that’s when we can come back and talk about proud moments in my life.
You did win 12K for winning Telenorligaen, what did you do with the cash? Bought groceries *Haha*.
How are you preparing for Dreamhack Valencia?
We are going to Stavanger to attend and compete at Digitally X. Benjamin Tengs the Hearthstone manager at Riddle is from Stavanger.
The Hearthstone competition at Digitally X is being played with the same format as Dreamhack so thats a great practice for us to test out the lineups.
Playing tournaments is always good, you can try out different strategies and you get to work with other awesome players.
To all the up and coming norwegian players.
Believe in yourself and keep playing the game that you play and love. It’s all about trying, and the best way to try is to keep playing and put in all those hours. Eventually things will come around for you, in Hearthstone the best quality a player can have is tons of spare time.
And when you get the results, you will be noticed and good things will start to happen. However, don’t be too eager to find yourself a team or become a “big” name, let the teams come to you and let things figure itself out.
More about Devou
Dreaming of Blizzcon
Written by: Peter Nordström