The lone Canadian player in Hearthstone's Winter Championship tournament DocPwn completed a 4 - 3 upset victory over defending World Champion Pavel today in a grueling slugfest that set the esports community ablaze. He was immediately swarmed by fans as many tried to get his opinion on the just completed series but eventually got free to sit down to talk to the media about his win.
"I think everyone expected Pavel to win," DocPwn says when asked about the community perception, "I was not shy about playing against him at all. It's just that when everyone expects someone to win you feel [a bit like] an underdog there."
He believes that's actually a good thing as there is more "pressure for him there at that point because he really feels like he needs to win, he needs to defend his title."
"It's tough," DocPwn says in sympathy for Pavel. He doesn't dwell on that thought for long, however, smiling from ear to ear and shifting back to the moment at hand.
"It feels good to beat the World Champion."
We couldn't go long without bringing up the glances the two repeatedly exchanged throughout all seven games.
"I smiled at him a couple of times because we've had a great time here together. He's a nice guy, he's a funny guy," DocPwn says lightly as if the glares really didn't mean much to him. "Most of the time that I smiled at him if I remember right, I was losing those games. It was just kind of, 'Okay, you won that, you got that one Pavel.' But when I started winning back I stopped looking at him."
"My second series that I lost against LvGE was a really bad series for me," DocPwn says looking back. "I made a lot of mistakes and I felt really bad losing and not playing [well]. If you lose 4-0 but your opponent has crazy draws and you're playing well, it's okay. But when you lose because you're playing bad it's definitely not a good feeling.
"I think my first set and that last set were pretty good. I need to look back at the game again and speak to my practice partners to make sure I didn't miss anything there. I probably didn't do the optimal play every turn because this is pretty hard to do, but I felt good about my place in that series."
When asked about how he feels going forward, DocPwn readily acknowledges the increased amount of pressure that comes with the next series.
"I knew waking up this morning that I had to win two best-of-sevens to go to Worlds. Doing the first half of it was pressuring, but as in everything in life, the last half of it is always the hardest part.
"I hope I can keep my calm and play good games again Tarei."
DocPwn certainly has plenty of time to prepare. Yesterday's games didn't finish until close to midnight and today's matches don't really show signs of being any shorter.
"I'll probably have a Skype call with my practice partner and go through my opponent's lineup and see what I will need to mulligan, examine his weaknesses, etc."
While he readily admits that this takes a toll on him, he's quick to credit everyone making the tournament happen.
"Yeah, it's exhausting. These days are really long. It's a long day for everybody there. The production team is doing much more hours than the players and they're working hard for it and doing a great job. Everyone's exhausted at the end of the day."
He stops to actually think about what's going to happen today, "It's probably going to finish around 11PM depending on how the other series go.
"I'll try to rest a bit maybe, try to stay focused, but it's a long day, yeah."
DocPwn plays later today against Tarei to see which advances to the Quarterfinals and keeps their dreams of winning the championship alive. More importantly, the winner secures their position at the upcoming World Championships.