First off - A huge congratulations to NWA 4 seed Force of Will for being the first to purchase a brand new THL Team Article!
Nagas With Attitude aka N.W.A were formed in Season 3 and made immediate headlines in the THL world by signing at the time one of the biggest one seeds ever in Team Hearth League: HotAsianGirl in his first ever season and also the hottest 4 seed of the time - Craeon.
Captained by the league’s second bearded beauty Nacl/Salt aka Arthur Rhodes (previously a member for Entropy)
N.W.A are one of the most consistent, close knit and hard working teams in THL. To anyone new to the league, never count out N.W.A as they have made the playoffs every single season since they were formed. In season 3 they narrowly missed out on a finals spot, losing by 1 point in a 13-14 thriller with Team Avatar. That set the standard that they have stuck to ever since, even keeping mostly the same line up throughout their history up until the present.
Season 4 and 5 saw the rise of Tony Montana and also current 2 seed PinkSamus, becoming the definition of consistent. Now, no matter who he is up against, it is extremely difficult to bet against him and last Friday was no different, coming up against MVP runner up DLineman and sweeping in a 3-0 victory.
Along side Pinksamus, TonyMontana took down THL favourite Slimsch in a thrilling 3-2 victory, Placing N.W.A at the top of the purple division. Newcomers may be surprised, but for those that have been around for many seasons now, This comes as no surprise as they prove time and time again, they are a force to be reckoned with.
I decided to take a trip to N.W.A headquarters and get some answers from the team’s captain on why N.W.A are so successful.
Captain NACL/Arthur Rhodes was available for a quick interview :)
N.W.A in terms of achievements are a very successful team. Consistently hitting the playoffs every season. What is it that sets you apart from the teams struggling season after season to reach the playoffs?
I have kept as many of my friends on the team as possible every season only cutting when PR did not allow my team to continue as it was. I could have at some point cut most of the team and pushed for a championship since i guess getting first fuels me but it is much more important and satisfying to me to to be able to play with my friends and see them grow over each season. Being real friends with your team also allows for a more fun environment imo.
What advice would you give to newer teams that look to be as successful as N.W.A?
establish a weekly team meeting and have a chat somewhere where ideas and general chat can be used by the entire team. Both promote interaction between the members and makes everyone more comfortable and receptive to criticism.
Force of Will is a new(ish) member of the squad, how has he gelled with the team, Can you give some comments on him and how he will perform in Season 6?
Will is just a good dude. Always up for practice and takes any advice really well. He is my SHL captain so i spend a good portion of my hearthstone time playtesting etc with him. Everyone on the team gets along very well and he has been a good fit. I only ask everyone to try their best and will is very capable of having a great season. So no real comments on his potential performance for the season. He should do alright though i think.
Did you take any good rituals/things about Entropy and adapt them into N.W.A when you were first forming the team?
For sure. Jaxox was a very good captain imo and a lot of how i run the team is because of the model that he used to run entropy. weekly meetings on skype or discord etc help a lot which is probably the thing i liked the most about being on entropy since other teams i played for did not do that.
Last Friday saw both Tony Montana and PinkSamus put in one of the strongest team performances on stream THL has seen. Did you guys celebrate the victories and how much did "hard work" come into play?
We did not celebrate. Do teams do that? In fact we all uninstalled hearthstone until mere minutes before our matches and played the matches on flip phones or sidekicks. KEK
Can you give your comments on the rise of PinkSamus?
John has been one of the many teammates over these seasons who has exceeded everyones expectations for sure. Very good player and for awhile was underrated by most. Even at 2 seed i think he is very good. Wouldn't trade him for any other player
I think it is fair to predict to see N.W.A in the playoffs. Is Season 6 the season where N.W.A goes all the way?
Probably not. But possible. I think we line up well against most teams. Either way it will be another fun season and i hope the majority of the team will be around for yet another season.
As a spectator of Friday Night Fight, how has the show been for you in the first 2 weeks?
Great! I really enjoy any content the league puts on. One day it would be great to have every match streamed. very unlikely but i would love it.
There is no doubt that N.W.A are an experienced team. But not everyone is a veteran. Newcomer Force of Will is only starting his second season with NWA.
I also got an interview in with N.W.A's less experienced 4 seed
Force of Will is a captain in THL sister league, SHL but is still fairly new to the league as a whole.
During his debut season in season 5, Force of Will helped N.W.A to their 3rd consecutive playoff spot and with a win rate of 40%, still has a long way to go. But his captain is a man of loyalty and this season we could see that loyalty pay off in spades as Will helped his team to an incredible 16 - 9 win over green division favourites Valkyrie by beating THLeumer 3-2.
After redeeming his points last Friday, I thought the article could miss an awesome chance to interview N.W.A's newest member.
SO THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I DID
Here is an exclusive interview with N.W.A 4 seed and Team Black Lotus captain: Force of Will
As someone who is one of the newer members to N.W.A, What is the team atmosphere like?
The team atmosphere is great. We are always in contact with each other and bouncing ideas off of each while we are planning out the week. We meet once weekly to discuss the opponents and who were are going to play. Team members are always happy to play test with you. Moving from my first team, Old Gods Squad in SHL Season 1, where 1 of our 3 team members never bothered to submit classes let alone have meetings, the NWA atmosphere was completely amazing. Everybody on NWA is committed to the league and making the team as great as possible. I believe we had no DQs on NWA last season and I fully expect this season to be the same.
Who has been the most welcoming member for you as a player?
The entire team has been very welcoming, but I definitely have to choose Arthur. Arthur, the team captain, has been excellent. He has been encouraging the team and pushing us to improve. After my first rough season in SHL, I did not expect anybody to pick me up for season 5 of THL. Arthur took a chance on me and brought me on to NWA. He definitely helps us keep focused. Even if we lose a match, he helps us keep perspective and remember that at the end of the season, every point counts towards our goal of making the playoffs.
Season 5 could be considered a successful season for N.W.A and your first time reaching the THL playoffs, how was that experience for you?
It was amazing to make the playoffs in my first season on NWA. I had been working hard at improving in Hearthstone. I had an excellent first half of the season and struggled in the second half of the season. it was great to be able to work with the team and help everybody get to the playoffs last season. Going into the first round, we knew we lost to HSA by a single point during the regular season and we had high hopes that we would be able to take the victory the second time. Although we lost in that first round, I believe everybody played well and it was a great starting point for this season.
Last week on Friday Night Fight we saw your fellow teammates Tony Montana and PinkSamus step up on stream and crush Valkyrie. Were the team celebrating such a powerful performance afterwards or was it more of a we still have work to do approach?
After having the two victories on Friday Night Fight, we knew we stood in a great place for starting the week. However, we did keep in mind that we still needed to finish out the week strong. I was able to win against Leumer in one of the closest matches of my THL career and Arthur was able to bring it home for the team with a win against JRJuggernaut. I think it is one of the most important things to remember in THL that you can win two games and still lose the match. Also, winning a match is only half the equation. While the goal is definitely to get first in our division, we also need to make sure we have enough points to insure a space in the playoffs. This is how NWA was the 3rd place team in Yellow division last season and still made the playoffs because we made sure to get the points we needed week in and week out.
How has Arthur Rhodes been as a captain so far, are there any really cool rituals or weekly events that you have enjoyed as part of the team?
Arthur has been great as a captain. We usually meet on Wednesday nights to discuss the week and make sure everybody has a plan for the week going into the matches. Arthur has been in THL for quite some time as well. When you have been in the league as long as he has been, you start to notice patterns that not even a single season can necessarily tell. He is great with knowing what the opponents tendencies were and what types of decks they like to play. We also have a lot of communication over Hangouts where we are posting decklists or ideas for what classes to bring for the week. Also, if a couple of us are on Hearthstone at the same time, we usually find some time to play test new decks or even match ups. Arthur has been really encouraging in all these activities and always offers to be online if needed.
N.W.A has been a top 8 team in THL since it was formed, Is this the season where you guys go all the way?
I believe this is the year we can go all the way. There are a lot of great teams with a lot of great players, but I believe that our team dynamic and having worked together for THL Season 5 (as well as many of the members being on my SHL team "Team Black Lotus") gives us a major advantage throughout the season.
You guys came into Season 6 with the same team as last season, what makes this season different for you in terms of the results you will get?
Last season in THL, I started the season at 4-1 before losing the last 4 matches of the season. With continued practice and working with NWA, I believe I can improve my personal record. If I can improve my personal record this season, I believe we can be the number 1 team in our division which puts us in a better position going into the playoffs and I believe it will pave the way to get past the quarterfinals. Making the playoffs is great, but I cannot think we will be satisfied this year just making the playoffs. I believe that with the work NWA has been putting in that we can take the championship at the end of season 6.
It is clear that N.W.A have a culture in place that is serving them well. Already top of the purple division and making strides towards securing their playoff spot. Force of Will thinks N.W.A have what it takes to reach the finals. Their captain on the other hand, knows that there is a long way to go and not to take things for granted. Only time will tell but for now, you can keep all the latest THL news and updates on the website, Facebook page and Discord page.
You can also watch the latest gossip every Thursday on Tavern Talk as well as watch the best live streamed matches on both Friday night and Saturday night.
Author - Detrucci
This article was written and created by Detrucci - Captain of Aeon, Season 2 champion, Producer of Friday Night Fight, SHL Board member and Graphic Designer
The THL blog is curated and edited by Donde. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to us on Discord at Donde#4239 or via the THL Help email address: firstname.lastname@example.org