The Underdog from Down Under
When it was announced that Dylan "FroStee" O’Mallon was on the Asia-Pacific roster for Hearthstone Grandmasters, his phone exploded with love from the ANZ gaming community. “I had to turn off my notifications, my phone was buzzing every two seconds!” he said. “It's kind of crazy, to be honest. I had to keep this hidden for a month. I was so happy when the initial Masters announcement happened that I just wanted to tell everybody!”
When he was five years old, FroStee began taking lessons in taekwondo, a Korean martial art that would grow to become much more than just a hobby. “I just never stopped,” said FroStee. “I've been doing taekwondo for about 20 years at this point. About seven years down the track, I got offered to start instructing and took it up because I enjoy it that much.”
FroStee spent most of his youth practicing taekwondo and bouncing around Australia, from Victoria to Adelaide to Perth and back again. He grew up with console gaming before making the switch to PC via his father, who introduced him to several taste-making RTS and MMORPG games.
His foray into competitive Hearthstone is similar in many ways to his involvement with taekwondo, in that what started as a hobby quickly became a pillar of his lifestyle. “The reason why I started competing [in Hearthstone] is because I was seeing all the people doing well and the immediate thought was ‘I could do this, I could do exactly what they're doing.’” FroStee said. “I'm just as good as them.”
Got quite lucky against @Surrender_hs tonight, won the unfavourable, lost the favourable this week to end up 1-1. Feel like my play was much better in the second match. Only gonna keep getting better from here!— FroStee (@FroSteeHS) May 19, 2019
Now, FroStee is friends with many of "them"—the rest of the Grandmasters roster—most of whom he met in person at tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region. “My favorite Hearthstone event was in Korea,” he said. “I have really good memories of that entire trip. I hung out with justsaiyan, Muzzy, PNC, and Navi00T, and all the gang there. That was the first time I got to meet everyone I had been chatting with online for years at that point [and it] was a really big deal for me. It opened my eyes and it made me enjoy the whole experience of competing a lot more.”
By comparison, FroStee’s accomplishments may seem less significant than those of other Grandmasters. His greatest achievements include placing 11th at the Asia-Pacific HCT Spring Championship Playoffs in 2017, and ninth at Summer Playoffs a year later. Regardless, FroStee is proud of these results, as he should be. It was his determination to make something of his time spent in Hearthstone that led to a slow and consistent accumulation of Competitive Points, earning him a spot among the rest of the Hearthstone elite today.
I've got another opportunity now to try and pursue this and I really don't want to let it go to waste.
“The only thing that I'll say is just watch me,” FroStee said. “I'll prove that I'm worth it. I want people to realize that their goals are achievable. That's what I've always strived for and finally I have a chance to make that dream come true. I want other people to realize that that they can achieve their goals if they really put in the work.”
The biggest obstacle FroStee has faced along his way to Grandmasters is that the “big win” always evaded him, preventing him from advancing further in the HCT. “Falling short wouldn't be a huge setback during HCT because I'd just be used to it,” FroStee said with a laugh. “I just had to keep pushing forward trying to achieve that goal that I had. I've got another opportunity now to try and pursue this and I really don't want to let it go to waste. I want to find that victory. I want to be the best, I want to try to make it out of my group and get to this new World Championship. I want to find that win.”
FroStee began Grandmasters with a hard-fought 1-2 loss to Flurry, but he bounced back to convincingly defeat 2017 World Championship semifinalist Kim "Surrender" Jung-soo 2-0 the next day. With his eye on the end-of-season playoffs and Masters Tour Las Vegas, it’s entirely possible FroStee’s first big win is right around the corner.
You can cheer on FroStee this Saturday, May 25, at 4am PT / 12pm CET when he takes on Euneil "Staz" Javiñas for Week 2 of Hearthstone Grandmasters. Be sure to catch the broadcast when the games go live at Twitch.tv/PlayHearthstone.