Tirth Mehta has represented India in several international Hearthstone tournaments in the past, too Image: Facebook
Tirth Mehta will be carrying the hopes and aspirations of India's gaming community at this year's historic Asian Games, to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, from August 18 to September 2. The 23-year-old Hearthstone player from Gujarat recently won the regional qualifiers and earned the right to represent his country at Asia's biggest sporting festival.
Mehta is one of the four gamers who will be looking to keep the Indian flag flying high in Indonesia. For the uninitiated, eSports or gaming will make a debut at this year's Asian Games as a demonstration sport this year.
Mehta made a switch to Hearthstone from Dota back in 2014 and went on to become one of the best in the country. He has also represented India in many international events but the Asian Games qualification is undoubtedly his biggest achievement till date. T2 Online caught up with Mehta for a closer look at his Hearthstone journey so far, and, of course, the road ahead.
How does it feel to be one of the four gamers to represent India at the Asian Games?
It feels really amazing. I believe every competitor dreams of representing their country at an international stage and there is nothing more prestigious than representing India in the Asian Games. I am also extremely happy to see that other players from India have also qualified for different games. A special shout-out to Ankur Diwarker, who will represent India in PES at the Asian Games. I have high hopes that we can make the country proud together.
Tell us about your other achievements.
I have represented India in various offline tournaments hosted by Blizzard, such as Thailand Major 2016, Thailand Major 2017, International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) World Championship 2016, the official Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) Southeast Asia Summer Preliminaries 2016 and HCT 2017 APAC Playoffs.
How much pressure was there on you during the regionals?
I felt really confident with my line-up of decks going into the regional qualifiers. Overall, I was extremely confident and did not face any major challenge along the way.
How many hours do you practise?
One hour per day to 12 hours per day depending on my session. Some tournaments take 12 hours to complete so I have to be ready to play for long hours. I do take breaks between games as it is important to not overdo things.
Do you think Indian organisers often ignore Hearthstone as an eSports title?
Indian organisers have been trying to include Hearthstone in local events, but the entry requirement for Hearthstone is really high. The player base of Indian Hearthstone scene is divided into three different servers, and there is no possibility of cross-play becoming available. Due to this reason, most Hearthstone tournaments in India have a lower number of participants. Hopefully, with the new 'borrow deck' feature, organisers will set up more Hearthstone tournaments again with good success rates.
What are the new card games you are looking forward to?
I know about Valve's new card game — Artifact. As a long-time player and fan of Dota and card games, I am really excited to test how Artifact plays out. TempoStorm's card game, The Bazaar also looks really promising and has already received great reviews from my fellow Hearthstone friends. I am really looking forward to playing it.