Table of Contents
Players, brackets, and schedules on Liquipedia
It might be called the European Finals, but we know whose home ground this is. It's being held in Sweden, and DreamHack.se has been charged with running the show.
To commemorate the occasion (and because it was the most convenient, unoriginal theme that we could think of), we decided to interview the four WCS Nordic champions to get their thoughts on the upcoming tournament.
Nicolaj Jacobsen - Team GamersLeague
GLNoticimus comes into WCS as one of the biggest upset stories of the WCS Nationals. Hailing from Norway, a country only really known for Snute and TargA in Starcraft II, Noticimus was able to beat both of his more illustrious countrymen to hoist the championship trophy.
At the age of sixteen, Nocitimus belongs to a new generation of pro-gamers for whom StarCraft II is their first competitive game. Though he's still juggling studies and progaming at the moment, others before him have shown that it's possible to keep a good balance. He may be a huge underdog at WCS Europe, but he could become a player to keep an eye on in the future.
Click To Read: + Show Spoiler +
Thanks for speaking with us! Please introduce yourself for the many people that might not know you!
Hi, I'm Nicolaj Christian Jacobsen but most people know me as GLNoticimus. I'm 16 years old, studying and playing SC2 in my spare time.
Rumor has it you started in bronze league with no RTS experience....
It's true that I had no RTS experience previously (if you don't consider playing WC3 campaign at an age where I didn't understand what I was supposed to do). I started off in bronze league after I got the game as a Christmas gift and started 6 pooling until I got the 100 wins as Zerg for the hydra portrait after watching Morrow 6 pool in some tournament. I immediately fell in love with competing. Right now I'm #22 EU GM [September 10th].
Will you ever off-race as Zerg? Maybe bring a little Actionjesuz to WCS?
Hahah never XD. I do what I do best; cheese with Protoss.
I'm horrible with the other races. All jokes aside, I don't always cheese. I play macro in most match-ups, I just have a LOT of different cheeses in PvT and PvZ. :3
You’re the only player going to WCS Europe without a liquipedia entry [at the time of interview]. How does it feel to be such an unknown going into a prestigious event like this?
Honestly I think its good that I'm rather unknown, I wouldn't feel too bad for doing terribly. I don't know if i can handle the pressure yet though playing in a booth on a stage is really fun.
You qualified for WCS Europe in quite a surprise, besting your fellow Norwegians Snute and TargA who both have a bigger international reputation. How were you able to pull such an upset?
Well, the games against Snute were going smoothly as I know his playstyle and weaknesses and was able to exploit that, every time we meet we just mindgame each other to death. TargA was much harder for me as i had no idea how he plays. He played on the SEA server before and i like to study my opponent before i play them, so i would say the only reason i won against TargA was just pure luck.
Are you confident against more famous players?
I feel more confident against famous players due to the fact that I can study them easier and there's less pressure to my performance.
What’s your take on the strength of the Norwegian scene in general? Now that TargA is moving back, will that strengthen Norway’s international reputation?
The Norwegian scene is quite strong due to our Zerg duo, we have some up-and-comers as well that definitely could be one of the top European players in the future.
How have you prepared for this tournament? Have your countrymen given you help?
I have practiced some, studied a few replays of my opponents, ate ice-cream and relaxed. I don't have much time to practice due to school.
Do you feel added pressure to not only represent yourself but represent your country as well?
I don't really feel any pressure at all, I'm established as the underdog of the tournament already. I'm just really happy to go back to Stockholm. It was so much fun getting to meet all the professional players and playing on the main stage for the first time.
You stayed for a bit at the Ministry of Win. How was that experience?
My experience was pretty good, I had fun and it really helped to be able to talk about strategy and practice regularly with the other players. The most important thing that helped me a lot in Ministry of Win was practicing with SonG, he gave me some really important pointers and we practiced together in a way that made me realize how to play PvT in a proper way.
Do you think that the MoW is helping to advance European SC2? Several of the WCS competitors will have trained there.
MoW is certainly helping those who need a great training environment, I can't wait to see how they manage it when the best players in Europe go there to practice.
How about the European scene in general? How do you think yourself, or whomever represents Europe will do in Shanghai?
I would say the European scene is really strong, there's no doubt that the top European players can compete with the best of the best Koreans out there. I think the Europeans who qualify for Shanghai will do great.
Lets get to the event itself. How do you expect to do? I don’t think many folks would call you a favorite, but can you pull another surprise?
I don't expect to do that good but my goal is at least top 16.
What match-ups are you comfortable in? Which players at the tournament would you like to play?
I'm really confident in PvZ and PvT. My PvP is really lacking as of late, I feel like it' a really unstable match-up. The players i would like to meet would be Stephano and JohnnyRecco.
Who would you rather avoid?
I want to avoid all the Protosses, BabyKnight and Socke would be the scariest players to me.
What are you most looking forward to about the event?
I'm looking forward to be back in Stockholm, play on the main stage, meet the fans/crowd(take pictures and sign autographs) and the professional players as well as the biggest esports personalities, I'm super psyched!
For fans who have never seen you play before, which is probably most of them, what should people look out for?
Look out for the other players :D, I'll try to supply the crowd with great games but I can't promise anything ^^
After this event, what do you see as your SC2 future? How will you balance it with school?
I wish to take a year off school in a couple of years to pursue a career in Starcraft, I love competing and I take great joy in playing this game.
Will you be going to other continental events? Trying to qualify for MLG Fall?
I'll be going to other events if I can qualify, as I stated previously I have to prioritize school so I can't be at every event but I hope I can manage to go to some of the big ones, even if I don't have a chance its always great fun competing.
Well, thanks so much for speaking with us, and the best of luck! Any final words/shoutouts?
Thanks to my team, Gamersleague and Snute for helping me reach my goal of playing at a major event.
Santeri Lahtinen - Fnatic
FnaticRC Naama qualified as the national champion of Finland, fighting through a tough qualifier that included players like Welmu, elfi, Satiini, Fuzer and Protosser. In a nail-biting final that went to the last possible set, Naama was able to stop elfi's run from the losers bracket to earn a spot in the WCS Europe continentals.
For those of you who don't know much about the Finnish champion, we've picked out the perfect primer game for you to watch. Yes, that's 4-starport banshees in TvZ. Unpredictability is Naama's strength, and while knowing may be half the battle, it's only half the battle.
Click To Read: + Show Spoiler +
WCS Europe is in a few days, how are you feeling going into the tournament?
There are a lot of very good players and it's going to be pretty tough event. I feel that I have decent chances to advance to the World Finals if I'm not nervous and get enough sleep before the games.
You recently tweeted about playing too much HOTS and not enough WOL. You think that's the case for a lot of the guys going to Europe?
No. I havent played a single game of Hots yet, though I have been watching the streams a lot. Many of the players coming to WCS are playing HOTS and I think its stupid thing to do.
How's your form lately? A lot of Euro players are known to be a bit on and off in terms of practice - has the entire WCS series motivated you to practice harder?
WCS series has definitely motivated me a lot. The tournament is very well organized and it's a pleasure to play in it and I have been practicing but I still think my form is really unstable. Sometimes I play really well and sometimes I seem to have big choke in tournament games and have big flaws in my game, it depends a lot on my day it seems.
What do you think of the WCS double elim format? Do you think it's good for finding the best players in a country/region? Or do you think there's too much volatility?
Double elimination format is fine. Group stages also have a lot of volatility because the top players seem to have favorite players to play against and players they dislike to play against. That's why I don't think double elimination bracket is any worse from group stage. It all depends on luck.
I think the amount of slots for each country is unfair. For example I think Finland would have deserved at least 2 slots when considering that Italy has 2, UK has 3 and Germany has 4 slots.
It was pretty close in the Finland finals, going down to the last possible map. How was playing that series, compared to DreamHack Winter 2010 where you won the championship?
It felt very similar because it was the first time after Dreamhack Winter when I played in front of a big live crowd. I think playing in front of a big live crowd motivates me to play better. Obviously this time it was organized much more better with the pre-interview on the couch and booths etc.
More or less nervous?
It makes me slightly nervous but for some reason stage nervousness effects me in a positive way. Sometimes on stage I get a magical feeling and suddenly my micro is in the level of Marineking for a few seconds.
Protoss players destroyed WCS Korea, while PatchZergs dominated WCS NA.... What's the situation like in Europe?
I think there's no clear favorite race in WCS Europe as all of the races are represented with at least a few "big names" e.g. Lucifron and Thorzain for T, Nerchio and Stephano for Z and Mana for Protoss. Those players are the favorites imo but obviously upsets can happen.
Do you feel okay against all of those players? Like you could beat anyone on your best day?
I can beat any foreigner in a bo3/bo5 on my best day for sure. Biggest factors on my form in offline tournaments are the amount of sleep I get and how much time I can warmup before the games. At Berlin Open last week I only got 3 hours of sleep and didn't have time for a single warmup game. I went 0-6 in groupstage.
Anyone you think is underrated at WCS Europe? Someone most fans wouldn't know about?
Seiplo most definitely. He has had really good results at Dreamhack and WCS but he doesn't get the visibility he would deserve.
You're most famous for all-ins/SCV train, etc. What do you think of that reputation? Do you enjoy it, or do you think it's annoying that it gets focused on too much?
Its pretty cool, unique trait that separates me from any other European top Terran and also its good for my game too when my opponents have to prepare for everything against me. They never know at 15 min mark if I'm preparing for SCV all in or if I have 5cc double ebay.
On a side note, do you ever watch SuperNoVa's TvPs? He's pretty fond of the two base, little bit of everything rush as well.
Havent seen many games of him tbh. Probably I should check him out to get new ideas. Thx for the tip
Whoever the final players end up being, what kind of chance do you think they'll have at WCS Worlds?
I think they will most likely take the spots below Koreans in the World Finals. All of the other players qualified seem to be pretty bad except for Scarlett and Sen.
No shot at the upset ?
Koreans will dominate at the World finals. Imo only Stephano and Scarlett have chances to challenge them.
TT. On that depressing note, anything you'd like to say freely to close?
I'm glad for all of my fans and also big thanks to Fnatic and our sponsors; Raidcall, MSI, SteelSeries, Eizo and own3d. I will represent Finland and my team at WCS in the best way I can. Wish me luck!
Jon Andersen - FXOpen Europe
FXOBabyKnight enters the tournament with the unique distinction of being an ex-Dota progamer who decided he would make the switch. It didn't take long for BabyKnight to become the best Danish player, qualifying for WCG 2011 as his country's representative, while blowing through the WCS Danish National to make his way to the European final.
We talked to BabyK about his switch, how his style is influenced by his previous career, and his hopes for WCS Europe.
Click To Read: + Show Spoiler +
So, here we are, just a few days from WCS Europe. How are you feeling?
Feeling good, looking forward to the event
You're well known as being the only notable player to switch from Dota, even though we have a lot of ex-War3 guys. What prompted the switch? Also, how tired are you of that question?
Tough question to answer, so many things. Where do I begin? I followed StarCraft for 1 year or so before the beta came out for SC2. There's absolutely no comparison between the StarCraft community, and the DotA community, the DotA community is absolutely terrible and the StarCraft community is so awesome. So many people provide content for everyone, and the comments those people receive from everybody else are almost always positive.
I love the community, I love the game, I'm also more of a 1v1 player, than a team player. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that I'm so happy with the switch, even though I probably would've been a millionaire if I still played DotA. :D
You know, we used to have stupid debates on TL about whether BW or war3 players would be better at SC2. What do you think about 'gaming talent' in that sense? You think it exists in a broad sense, or do you think it's game specific?
Anybody who works hard can become good at StarCraft, it just takes a lot more work than most other games. That said, if you wanna be the very best, you gotta have the right mindset. The mindset of a champion. So things kinda have to come together. BW and WC3 were both hard games, but I just think that if someone has been very good at a game before, he knows what it takes to get good at a different game cause it's usually the same learning process.
If you want to find out who will succeed at WoL or HotS, you shouldn't look at the players background, but rather his exact way of figuring things out, SC2 has a lot more focus on build orders rather than execution if you compare it to Broodwar I feel, so it's not quite the same game. So in conclusion, I think it's about the mentally of the player, not his background or anything like that.
(not too satisfied with my answer but oh well xd)
Personally, do you think aspects of your dota style have carried over?
One of my biggest problems in SC2 has been patience, in DotA I played insanely aggressive. Some of the heroes I was most known for were Storm Spirit, Mirana and Queen of Pain, all heroes with some kind of teleport ability, so I would go in for the kill and get out. And that was it.
In SC2 it's not like that, you gotta make good decisions throughout, and never just go in for the kill unless you're _absolutely_ sure that you'll win. I've gotten a lot better at it and I'm still improving that way, but some times I think I'm more ahead than I am, and I go for the kill when I shouldn't thus resulting in a loss.
Hmmm, teleport, so I guess Protoss was the obv pick?
Haha, yea man, I love Blink! (Except for PvP blinkstalkers vs blinkstalkers, then it just gets silly)
It's interesting that you said the community had something to do with, since TL is getting into Dota2 and trying to make a nicer commuinty.
Yea it makes me sad, I think that was a bad decision, but what do I know
The dota community is beyond redemption?
I think it's just what the game does to people. Most people watching think they can do better than the pros, and love to make fun of them.
Well, we can just ban all of them.
Haha, good luck XD
So, back to WCS Europe. How are you feeling about your personal skill level these days? You like your chances?
With the bracket I've got I think I can make it to at least the quarterfinals, as long as I don't get extremely unlucky or have an exceptionally bad day.
So far you haven't really made a splash at a huge tournament yet, but if you had to be honest, how would you rate yourself among European players?
Online I'd say I'm very high up there, but on LAN's I'm not quite as experienced as some of these other European players, so I wouldn't rate me as highly in a LAN setting. That said, I do think I can beat anyone on a good day.
So you think top 6, or whatever finish you need for a trip to the worlds is a realistic goal for you?
Definitely a realistic goal, given my bracket.
You have any thoughts on the format? Like for WCS Denmark where they picked just one player, it must have bit nerve wracking.
Not really, the prizes were good so even if I didn't qualify I'd still win a good chunk of money. So I just played my best games, weren't too nervous. Denmark doesn't really have any other good players (at least not someone I could see beating me in a bo3 right now), so it wasn't the hardest tournament ever.
I don't like the format of WCS Europe, I think there should be groups instead of just brackets all the way.
I noticed that everyone stopped streaming HotS now. You think maybe the fact that HotS came out like a week before WCS is gonna have any effect on how it goes?
It'll have an effect, but not sure how impactful it will be. I have played quite a bit of HotS, thus missing out on some WoL practice, but at the same time it's almost the same game and I don't think people forget their builds just because they've played some HotS
So you don't think a week or so makes much difference leading up to this kinda tournament? Base-level skill gonna rule the day?
It's tough to say, definitely a bad timing to release HotS, I wish Blizzard would've released it after the event but oh well.
Anyhow, let's say you get to the World Finals. How do you feel about the Koreans?
They're no different than facing the best Europeans for me, there are just more good Koreans. If I thought of them as anything else, it'd be impossible for me to win.
You're actually one of the few rising non-Korean players in 2012 who's NOT a Zerg. You think that says anything about racial balance in the Euro scene?
I think it's pretty even overall, maybe a few more Zergs. I think it's a lot worse on NA, so many 'good' Zergs. Terrans were hiding a bit on EU some months ago, but it's gotten a lot better now I think.
Okay, wrap up time. Vortix can solve a rubik's cube in like 30 seconds, which is obv why he won vs. you in TSL4. Do you have any comparable non-game related talents?
Well before I played a lot of DotA, I had played soccer for like 8 years and I was pretty good at that. Have also played some musical instruments and other sports but nothing that I was all that passionate about.
How about some nice words for your new team, FXO Europe?
FXO.Europe is by far the best team I've ever been on, they take care of everything for me so I can just focus on SC2. Also my teammates are just so nice, and they support me a lot. We just got sponsored by Razer too, so very excited about that, I love their products.
Ok, any final comments, tangents, or whatever?
Antab is sexy. Shoutout to my team FXOpen.Europe, my managers Artem and Vladimiur and also all my teammates. <3
Marcus Eklöf - Evil Geniuses
WCS Sweden was possibly the toughest national tournament outside Korea. In a field that included many of the top European pros, EG.ThorZaIN.RC triumphed in the end, defeating MorroW, Bischu, NaNiwa, Seiplo, and SortOf.
As he returns home to Stockholm for WCS Europe, ThorZaIN seeks to achieve an incredible three-peat of major tournaments in the Swedish capital. Having taken DreamHack Stockholm and WCS Sweden, a win at WCS Europe would make him the undeniable King in the North.
Click To Read: + Show Spoiler +
WCS Europe is very soon. How are you feeling?
I don't really know. My practice goes from playing great to playing super bad on a regular basis and I'm not sure why. If i play on a good day I feel very confident, but if it's a bad day I don't know what will happen.
I looked it up and it says you've streamed like 50 hours of HotS in the last week. You think maybe you played too much? Or does it not really matter?
Well I was staying up for 2 nights last week, and I ended up streaming HotS for 25-30 hours. However, I've played WoL too. I streamed HotS because I was too tired to play good enough to win in WoL, while HotS is more about being smart I guess.
Looking at your bracket, how do you feel about your chances of getting top 6?
Nightend is a good friend of mine and a strong Protoss player. I do feel somewhat favored though, but he's definitely a tough first round opponent. Then, would I win that, I play against a Zerg in either JRecco or LoWeLy. I haven't played against JRecco but he's been doing very well lately. I don't know what to expect. Then there's Stephano... : <. There's always a losers bracket tho! J/k I CAN beat Stephano but it would be very very hard.
How do you feel about all this patchzerg business? When you were in Korea, Korean Terrans seemed to be pushing it back towards even by playing well in super late games.
I feel comfortable in the super late game as well. It's the Late game before that that can be tricky at times. And Zergs often manage to reach that stage of the game. I do think that Zerg is a bit favored against Terran at the moment but it's nothing that cannot be overcome.
You've already had success at this style of tournament by winning WCS sweden, you think the maps/format etc are good for you?
Yeah the maps are actually pretty good for TvZ. The format doesn't really matter a lot imo.
You've done an interesting tour away from home. SlayerS house, then EG house. How were those experiences?
EG house, Slayers House, Sweden, EG house and now back in Sweden. It was nice because I got to stay for a while at each place and didn't have to travel too much. Jet lag always sucks but I enjoyed both Korea and USA, meeting old and new friends and getting a lot of practice done!
So you think there's a noticeable practice benefit playing in those kinds of environments?
It's easier to play a lot of games. For some reason I am not as motivated when I am at home in Sweden as I am when I'm in a more practice focused environment. And it's always nice having people I like around me all the time, as long as it doesn't distract me too much from playing.
The Korean practice environment, you hear a lot of different things about it. Some ppl claim it's the only way you can become a top class player, while others say it's really not all that others hype it up to be. What do you think?
You can definitely become a top class player without it. Look at Stephano for example. It does help, having all your games in the ladder being against really good opponents instead of just 50% of your games. Also just having everything taken care of so that you can focus more on the game helps. My "Konglish" is pretty good so I can communicate decently with most Koreans, so I don't really feel lonely when in Korea as some players do.
Well now that we've brought Stephano up, how do you feel about him joining the team?
Adding another European never hurts! Hopefully he'll be able to get along well with all the players in the team. He's definitely going to help us get rid of the curse that have haunted our team for a long time now
On that note, what do you have to say for yourself and that awful acting performance?
I'm still learning.
So you've won two Dreamhack-organized tournaments in Stockholm now, and this will be the third one you play in. Is that something that's on your mind?
Yes, of course. However this time I won't be staying at home, but rather at the Hotel with all the other players. Maybe that will be my downfall.
You get a sense that there might be something like homefield advantage for you?
Maybe. There are definitely more people cheering for me than I guess any other player at the Stockholm events. That probably helps. Also I can feel more comfortable here since I live here and knows my way around etc.
What does people cheering do for your psychology anyway?
It just motivates me to do well even more. It's such a great feeling to have won a game when almost everyone are cheering for you, and you exit the booth and people are giving you standing ovations.
Are you sick of that song yet?
So you can have a shitty day, and it comes on the radio. You're like "oh yeah I'm awesome" and feel better?
I don't think I heard it on the radio. But when I hear it i most of the time get happy yeah.
Anyway, back to the tournament. Whoever goes to the world finals, do you think you guys (Europeans) have a chance?
I would say that overall the European top 6 should do pretty well, except against Koreans.
So, after WCS, what's up for you? Korea again? MLG Dallas? Have you received your inevitable invitation to GomTV world champs at IPL5 yet?
I most likely won't be going to Dreamhack Valencia or Bucharest. I'll stay in Sweden until MLG Dallas and then most likely go to Korea again.
!! Back to Korea !! But Slayers-EG.... What's happening ?
I don't really know. I'm not sure how Korea will look for me in November, that's why I am not 100% sure if I will be going back.
Okay, any final comments? Shout outs?
Shout outs to all my fans, I hope to see many of you at WCS this weekend! Thanks to EG and our awesome sponsors that make everything possible: RaidCall, Intel, Steelseries, Monster, Kingston HYPERX, Beyond Gaming and Sapphire!
Is that the correct order?
I am pretty sure it is, yes x)