Only a handful of players in esports are fortunate enough to have the same level of popularity as Adrian “Lifecoach” Koy. And in the German player’s case, it is not down to chance. Like many other high-profile players, Lifecoach spends several hours a day streaming, but what differentiates him from his peers is the relationship he builds with his viewers. A true, honest relationship that is all about sharing information and getting more people to understand and enjoy the depth that Hearthstone has to offer.
But engaging with fans and sharing information was not always possible in his life. Long before Koy became Lifecoach, he was a successful poker player, with considerable winnings to his name. A dream scenario to many, but Koy could not help but feel caged. The problem, he reckons, lies in the game itself, whose environment he describes as “poisonous”.
“In Poker, your only target is to make your opponent lose money. That is a poisonous incentive and it is not positively conotated. You cannot be a good guy there,” he explains. “If you have knowledge you keep it to yourself, because Poker is all about having the edge. If you know something that your opponent does not know, that is very good for you. I got pretty tired of that. In the Hearthstone community, I decided to do the exact opposite and share everything.”
Poker and Hearthstone may vary to a great extent, but Lifecoach believes that his knowledge of the former has proved extremely useful when it comes to approaching the latter: “I have brought some things from Poker into Hearthstone, especially the things which are required to work and function efficiently, and also the whole working process. Basically, it’s all about things that you shouldn’t do. In Hearthstone it is not about who plays best or who has the most genious moves but usually about who makes the least mistakes,” he says.
When Hearthstone was released, Koy found in the game the perfect opportunity to put his analytical skills to the test while engaging in insightful conversations with the community around him on a daily basis, and not just about the game. “I share with them what my life is like, what it is like to try to achieve your goals and be successful. I share knowledge and some life advices. I have quite a different approach to streaming from other players. A lot of them do it to earn money or to get exposure, but these are not my goals. This is also the reason I do not take donations,” he says.
During Lifecoach’s matches, one recurrent talking point among viewers is his expressive reactions. It may seem odd to many to see someone who used to play a poker face for a living let his emotions show, but Koy insists that the important thing is to stay in control all the time. “You should be as emotional as possible, as long as you can control it. There is a big difference between being emotional and not being in control. My goal would be to be as emotional as possible without letting it affect me,” he states.
During the early stages of his Hearthstone career, Lifecoach played for Lucky Draw, a friendly team with modest goals and a soft approach to the game. As things became more serious, he was offered the chance to join Nihilum and form one of the strongest rosters in the world together with Dima “Rdu” Radu, Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk and Jakub “Lothar” Szygulski. Still, Lifecoach can’t help but acknowledge the artificiality of a team in a solo game.
“If there are only individual events, then what is a team?,” he asks, explaining that players do not practice solely against teammates. But as the conversation wonders onto the recent Archon Team League Championship, which his team won, he admits that being on a talented roster can bear fruits. “I think we were one of the few teams who had a really good spirit. We were always discussing strategies and every one of us always knew what the others were exactly playing.”
Lifecoach has a very busy schedule towards the end of the year as he will be attending the two biggest events to come, the BlizzCon World Championship, in the United States, and the World Cyber Arena, in China. These are exciting times for the German, who, laments, however, that only a few cards from Hearthstone’s latest expansion, The Grand Tournament, are only being used in competitive play. After all, theorycrafting is the bread and butter of every professional player. Quizzed on his future in the game, he said: “It depends on the environment and the development. I do not want to say The Grand Tournament was a flop, but it did not add too many cards to the competitive environment. For me, it is still exciting because I have qualified for WCA and for the World Championship. If I hadn’t, I guess it would be quite boring. As long as it stays interesting, why not?”
If the game does get boring, Lifecoach admits there “may be other avenues to be pursed”. Six months into his Hearthstone adventure, he thought about quitting the game, but the support he received from fans made him reconsider. For someone who is driven by passion, contributing to the community and having fun are what matters most. So as he long as still enjoys himself, you will find him streaming and giving advices – be it about Hearthstone or life in general.