Top 16 at Masters Tour Stormwind. Top 8 in Dreamhack. And now, PocketTrain is the champion of Masters Tour 4: Vashj’ir. In the following, I asked Tom Swinton 20 questions, covering many different topics.
This interview is brought to you by Raindet. Enjoy!
Raindet: You just won the Masters Tour 4: Vashj’ir. How do you feel?
Pocket: “Happy, very tired, quite confused honestly. I had always hoped to achieve something like a MT win but certainly didn’t expect it to happen this soon, if at all. I’m not sure if it will ever sink that this is actually real.”
Raindet: But you did it! It’s going to sink in, trust me, but so far, enjoy your well-deserved break! You’ve come a long way, so, was there any big fan of yours who never had doubt in you winning this?
Pocket: “All of my practice group were incredibly supportive but in particular I want to mention DeadDraw, Furyhunter and Pascoa. They’ve all achieved great success in recent times and having them all tell me they believed I could achieve something like this has been incredibly motivating and I’m so happy that I could prove them right. Even before this MT even started Fury was telling me how he hoped and thought I could win one soon.”
Raindet: Having friends that believe in you and got your back are very important, as their support can do wonders, huh? With that being said, are there any goals you want to reach in the near future in the eSports scene?
Pocket: “The next natural goal is to finish top 4 (hopefully 1st) in the Fall Championship and join my friends at the World Championship, it would mean a lot to get there having been a huge fan of Hearthstone Esports since the beginning of the game. It would be even more amazing to win, but I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself.”
Raindet: You have the potential to become 1st wherever you want, and I’m sure, after reading this, it’ll be hard to not root for you in the future. You got this! There must be a secret why you are so good at this game. Why don’t you share it with us?
Pocket: “I think the most important recipe for success is to play decks you enjoy, Hearthstone is a game after all and if you’re not having any fun then there’s no point in playing. All my biggest successes have been from playing well with decks that I enjoy, rather than going overboard with wacky lineups to take a risk on the meta.”
Raindet: It is actually that simple. Thanks! Now it’s my turn to finally become champion! You know, there’s this one question popping up in my head… Tom, do you like trains? Or how did you choose your username?
Pocket: “Contrary to what my username may suggest, I don’t have any particular affection for trains. The name came from a mobile game called “Pocket Trains” that a friend of mine used to play on the bus on the way home from school. One day I got home and had received a Hearthstone beta key email and in my excitement to get straight into the game I set my name as the first thing that came to mind, I never expected to become a competitor and be known so many as PocketTrain! It still feels strange.”
Raindet: We all had that kind of mobile game, in your case it was ‘Pocket Trains’, in mine it was ‘Clash Royale’. In my childhood, I had many many different, weird usernames too, there’s nothing you have to worry about! How did you actually get into streaming? For how long do you stream already?
Pocket: “In all honesty, the main reason I started streaming this year was due to my fairly mediocre results in the first 3 MTs of the year. I had been asked by a lot of people if I’d start but I was always hesitant to divide my time away from focusing on competing. Streaming was also something I was very anxious about starting because public speaking has never been a strong point of mine, but I’m very glad I started since it’s been great fun and I’m incredibly grateful for the amount of support I’ve received in the early days of my stream.”
Raindet: Starting to stream is quite hard in the beginning, but with the time you’re getting used to talking in front of that cam, I’m talking from experience. We’re glad we got such a nice and cool streamer like you, so keep it up! Is streaming more of a job or more of a hobby for you?
Pocket: “I’m still very new to the streaming business so can’t say with any certainty how far it will go, but so far I’m enjoying it so much that I’d like it to be more of a job than a hobby if it can be financially possible.”
Raindet: Good. What/Who keeps you going? How do you stay motivated after achieving such heights and being one of the best players in the world?
Pocket: “I’ve always been very competitive, so my main motivation to compete has been the thought that I have the potential to win tournaments, at times it has been difficult watching people I practice with achieve such great results while I’ve been watching from the sidelines a bit, but that has also helped drive me to succeed since I’ve seen how they’ve achieved success and I always believed I could replicate that. Now that I’ve won a Masters Tour my new main motivation is getting to the World Championship, I never expected to be saying that!”
Raindet: Woah, these were some deep ‘n’ motivational words! Success is the result of hard work, innit? Winning must be exhausting, so how do you distract yourself from the game? What are your other hobbies?
Pocket: “This year I’ve been so focused on Hearthstone that I honestly haven’t had a lot of time for other hobbies, although now that I have a lot more free time due to being qualified to the Fall Championship and the fact that ladder finishes don’t matter for quite some time I’ll probably start doing more stuff outside of HS in my free time. I used to regularly go rock climbing before COVID started and am hoping to get back into that, both because I enjoy it and because I’ve let myself get a tad unfit with all the sitting at my desk playing Hearthstone. I also had to pass up on a trip to Spain with my friends due to it clashing with the MT, so I’m planning on seeing them a lot more often now that I have more time to spare.”
Raindet: I could imagine you’re so happy that you’re in Spain without the ‘a’… Sorry, it had to be said! Rock climbing is very cool, and also unique. For example, I don’t see myself doing that. Respect. Not a smooth transition, but: If someone came up to you and asked you for a good song, movie and book, which ones would you recommend?
Pocket: “I’m a bit of an oddball when it comes to music, in the sense that I actually don’t listen to any in my spare time, I’ve been told by a lot of people that this is because I haven’t found “the right music” but I just don’t see the appeal in the same way others seem to. In regards to books, I’m afraid I’m also going to have to give another shameful answer. It’s been so many years since I last read a book that I can’t actually remember the last one I enjoyed. In regards to movies, I’m a huge nerd for The Lord of the Rings, those films have been by far my favourites since I was very young and I still rewatch them from time to time.”
Raindet: Actually I did not expect you not to listen to music, but that’s alright! LOTR is something I still have to watch… But I know that the story is being told in a rural landscape, so let’s ask the next question: Would you rather live in a big town or in a little house near the forest?
Pocket: “Long-term I would definitely prefer to live in a city, I’m from London so living somewhere quiet can make me feel far too disconnected from everything. That being said, lately I have been living in the countryside with my parents because at times the noise of the city can get to be a bit too much. I’m fortunate to have the option of living in the city or the countryside at the moment, but if forced to make a permanent choice I’d certainly choose the city.”
Raindet: Your favourite food?
Pocket: “My favourite food without doubt is shellfish, in particular I love Lobster and Oysters. I used to have a favourite restaurant that we’d go to as a family each year on my birthday where I’d order a 4 person sharing platter of seafood and eat it by myself. Sadly they closed down quite recently so I’m on the lookout for a new birthday tradition.”
Raindet: I hope you’ll find a new restaurant anytime soon! Salt or Sugar?
Pocket: “Close call but I’d have to go with sugar.”
Raindet: How does your day begin? Routine, etc.?
Pocket: “Lately most of my days have consisted of excessive Hearthstone playing and not much else, but a normal streaming day would probably start with me waking up around midday, like an absolute degenerate, having a bowl of whatever cereal I can find in the cupboard and watching some Hearthstone Twitch streams. After I’ve procrastinated a bit, I’ll usually have a bowl of pasta with some fish and tomato sauce before turning on my stream for a few hours. After streaming I have dinner with my parents then we often watch an episode or two of a TV show if we’re not up to date, with the go-to shows right now being The Boys and Taskmaster.”
Raindet: What do your friends/family think about Hearthstone?
Pocket: “My parents are incredibly supportive of me playing Hearthstone, which I’m very thankful for. I gave University a shot a couple of years ago and was absolutely miserable so I think they’re glad that I’ve found something that I enjoy and am now having success with too. My friends don’t know a lot about Hearthstone but they think it’s cool that I can earn money doing something that I enjoy. A few of them have watched some of my matches on tournament streams despite having no clue what was going on.”
Raindet: Hearthstone is built around the lore of World of Warcraft. Have you ever played it?
Pocket: “Yes, when I was younger I was absolutely addicted to World of Warcraft to such an extent that my parents stopped letting me play it (and rightly so). I often play the game for a bit whenever they release a new expansion just to try it out but very rarely touch the game these days.”
Raindet: Are we ever getting a selfie with you, Fester and Gomez?
Pocket: “Potentially, I’m never a huge fan of how I come across in photos but maybe with a little bit of exercise and a desperately needed haircut I can bring myself to post something of the sort. In the meantime, I have an abundant supply of photos of the cats that will have to be satisfactory.”
Raindet: What are places where you’d like to travel?
Pocket: “I’ve always wanted to visit Japan, partly because sushi is one of my favourite foods and also the culture seems so different to what I’m used to in the UK and places I’ve visited in Europe. It’s a shame in a lot of ways that Hearthstone tournaments got moved online since I was really looking forward to seeing a lot of the world through competing, hopefully someday there will be more opportunities to travel and compete again.”
Raindet: Hey, that seems like a great destination! Covid messed up many things, but it’s getting normal again. With that being the 20th question of this interview, I want to say thanks to you, Pocket, and I am really looking forward to collaborating in the future again!
If you haven’t yet, feel free to follow Pocket here on Twitch.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for future interviews!
Raindet is a high legend streamer, working his way towards success, whilst being one of the absolute youngest in this business. If you want to support him, feel free to show some love here.