by Natalia Ivanova (RuGwent Tournaments) and Kamil “Hesser” Arcimowicz
Zehua “Huyahanachan” Zao is a professional player from China, a GWENT Open regular, and the winner of GWENT Open #4. A strong opponent, known for his brilliant plays. Zehua is always calm and concentrated. He got his reputation for a good reason — his games seem to be perfect. After GWENT Open, the new champion kindly agreed to answer some questions, so that our readers could get to know him a little bit better. Let’s get to it!
Natalia: Please, tell us about yourself. What do you do besides GWENT?
Huyahanachan: Actually, I do play GWENT “full time”.
N: Are you familiar with the Witcher lore by books or games? How popular are they in China? Do you have any like-minded friends?
H: Of course, I know both the books and the games. I’m not sure what the sentiment towards the series is in China, but when I introduce people to the series, many of them are really interested in the universe.
N: How and when have you started to play GWENT? Why this particular game?
H: I’ve been playing GWENT since March 2017. A friend recommended it to me.
N: Did you plan to play professionally from the early beginning?
H: When I started playing GWENT, it was just for fun. Then, gradually, it turned into a professional career.
N: As we know, you don’t stream GWENT on Twitch. Any plans for it?
H: As I speak in Chinese, I stream GWENT on a Chinese platform — Huya.com. I think Twitch is more targeted to English-speaking audience.
N: You’ve participated in all of the GWENT Open tournaments. Can you please tell us how you feel about this journey, and whether your sentiment has changed since the beginning?
H: I definitely think that this time I was much calmer.
N: Have you managed to make friends with other participants? Are you staying in touch with someone out of tourneys?
H: I don’t speak English quite well, so there’s not much communication. The language barrier is also why I can’t keep in touch with players after the tournaments.
N: Tell us, please, about your trip to GWENT Open. Is it problematic to make such journey? I’m sure there are many technicalities involved — visa, travel expenses and so on.
H: Usually everything goes pretty smoothly. CD PROJEKT RED bears the entirety of the expense, my job is only to apply for a visa. This is always a big journey for me but I’m honored to be invited to these events.
N: The Chinese version of GWENT varies a bit from European. Are there any issues involved since you play cards that might look a bit different in between versions, or do you just not pay attention on it?
H: There is some differences between game versions, but it doesn’t really affect the gameplay.
N: We’ve heard you’re a part of a professional esports team. How do you guys practise before important games? Does it take much time?
H: I don’t really spend much time preparing. My method is to discuss strategy with friends, and then play against each other.
N: Why did you choose this particular line-up you’ll be playing?
H: I just picked four decks, which, in my opinion, were the strongest. One of my initial choices was Skellige and their warships, but I felt that it was harder for them to defeat the Monster faction, so ultimately, I decided on another deck.
N: How do you feel about your chances in GWENT Challenger?
H: For now, I’m quite relaxed and confident. I don’t really think about winning — other players are also very strong. We’ll see how it goes!
N: What are your further plans for the conquest of esports peaks? Do you play anything else besides GWENT?
H: I’ve been playing DOTA 2 and PUBG. I also used to play Hearthstone, as well as World of Warcraft.
N: Can you give some practical advice for our followers? How can they manage to play as good as you?
H: The most important thing is to take each and every single one of your games seriously and learn from mistakes — not only yours, but also your opponents’.
N: And now a round of quick questions! Favorite card?
H: Old Speartip from closed beta. The effect after transformation was really cool.
H: Consume monsters.
N: Last, but not least… Triss or Yen?