“I Never Thought I’d Be Here,” Says Team Freedom’s Lutano
Vincent “Lutano” Alonso made it into the North American HGC with his team Even in Death in Phase 2 of 2017 when another team in the league disbanded. The 24-year-old Maryland local didn’t make it through the Crucible, but was given his shot in the HGC regardless. Although Even in Death were relegated at the end of the season, Lutano made a name for himself—and was promptly recruited to Team Freedom following the conclusion of the HGC Finals. Boot camping now in Poland, Lutano took some time to sit down and answer some of our questions.
How long have you been playing Heroes? How long professionally?
“I’ve been playing Heroes for about a year and a half, and I’ve been playing professionally for about a year. I played League of Legends for about six years before coming to Heroes, so I have quite a bit of MOBA experience.”
As a player who made his debut in the Open Division and worked hard to get into the HGC, what is it like for you to qualify for your first offline event?
“It’s an incredible feeling—qualifying for a LAN in my second phase as a player in the HGC. I never thought I’d be here, and I wouldn’t be if Team Freedom didn’t give me a shot!”
How does your playstyle mesh with the rest of your team’s?
“I’d say I’m one of the more aggressive players on the team; I like to take trades and call engages on team fights, and that meshes well with the players on Team Freedom, because they can reel me in when I get too aggressive. We strike a good balance.”
Where is the boot camp?
“Our boot camp was in the Katowice Gaming House, smack in the middle of the city and a few blocks from the main stadium. It’s a great location for us to put in work before our matches.”
What is your practice schedule like?
“We scrim six hours a day during the regular season, and I personally try to play at least four hours of Hero League after that. During our boot camp, we’ll be scrimming nine hours a day and Hero League for the rest of our hours, outside of eating and sleeping of course.”
What other player do you respect the most from NA? From EU?
“I honestly respect my teammates the most out of any of the players in NA, so it was amazing to get picked up by Freedom. I love the work ethic of my team. In EU, I really respect Snitch for his dedication to the game and just his sick play overall.”
Joshua "Snitch" Bennett, Team Dignitas: “I am most scared of Team Freedom. They have a very skilled roster that is backed by a lot of experience. Four of the players have attended international events before and the fifth, Lutano, has looked impressive since his days on Even in Death. I think he has the drive and mechanical ability to become a standout player for North America in 2018. Team Freedom seem to click very well and are also unpredictable in their strategies, without going ‘too far’ like some of the other North American teams.”
You’re up against Fnatic in the first round. What do you think of Fnatic? What have you done to prepare?
“I think Fnatic is a very strong team. They are still working to find their identity I believe, which is a weakness that I think we can exploit. We will be reviewing all of their drafts and Hero preferences before our match versus them, and will be working that into our practice in scrims.”
Are you worried about nerves playing on stage in front of a crowd? Worried about jet lag?
“I am a little worried about nerves; I always get the shakes before our HGC matches, but a few minutes into the first game I calm down and start playing my best. For jet lag I’m not worried at all, we are boot camping a week and a half in advance so we’ll be totally fine on that front.”
In two sentences, how would you describe the current meta? In what ways does it favor Team Freedom?
“I enjoy this meta because I get to play my favorite Heroes all the time. It favors us because we’re all on things we’re really comfortable with, so we never have to worry about Hero pools or mechanical issues.”
Who do you think will win the matchup between Tempo Storm and Zealots?
“I think that Zealots will not be familiar with the playstyle of Tempo Storm, and since the first round of the tourney is best-of-three they will not have much time to experience Tempo’s unique drafting style. I can definitely see Tempo taking a 2-0 over Zealots, but it will all come down to how fast the players from Zealots can adapt.”
What would it take for your team to win the Western Clash? What would that mean to you?
“We’d need to play far more consistently than we have been. I think we have a solid grasp on the meta and on draft, so it all comes down to whether we can pull together as a team. I honestly don’t know what feeling I’d have if we won the Clash; it would be completely overwhelming, that’s for sure. My goal for my first year in the HGC was simply to attend a LAN, but winning one would be incredible.”
Ever had a pierogi?
“Never heard of it but I’m always down to try new things!”
Watch Lunato play with the rest of Team Freedom when the broadcast for the Western Clash goes live at 2:00 a.m. PST / 11:00 a.m. CET March 2 right here at playheroes.com/esports.