Azubu vs. NS HoSeo
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Four Star Ganzi
In steep contrast to the previous day's Prime vs. Startale match which had the first place spot on the line, the battle between Azubu and NS HoSeo guaranteed that the loser would sent down to last place. Both teams had taken harsh 0 - 4 losses in their first matches of the season, and found themselves desperately needing to catch up in both wins and map score.
It took just under two hours for Azubu to win a 4 - 0 rout, with captain and starter Ganzi crushing the NS HoSeo team without assistance. While Azubu were able to celebrate their first official win since the founding of the team, the plight of NSH was more notable still. Just two days after the entire team had been wiped out of the WCS Korea system, a second 0 - 4 loss added insult to injury. Though NS HoSeo were at least a respectable GSTL foe in the past, against Azubu they took another step deeper into the abyss.
WW.SortOf suffers foreigner's fate in Korean debut.
With Scarlett making a spectacular debut last week with a win over Mvp, hopes were high for the debut of the other foreigner in the GSTL, WW.SortOf. While SortOf didn't have the high profile of Scarlett, his 2nd place finish at WCS Sweden and a 4th place finish at NASL S4 gave him some serious credentials. Unfortunately for SortOf, his Korean debut ended up being like that of most foreigners to play in Korea studio: he lost.
His opponent, Azubu captain GanZi, had free reign to do whatever he needed, using hellions to control the map while he took expansions and macroed up behind. While there was a glimmer of hope for SortOf after he held off a succession of drops and assembled a strong looking brood lord – hydralisk – queen army, it was short lived as Ganzi was quickly able to add a large amount of vikings to his army. The deciding engagement of the game ended in a crushing victory for Ganzi, and SortOf GG'd out not long after.
GanZi routs NSH to record the third all-kill of the season
The next challenger for NSH ended up being yet another player from their partner Western Wolves in Sting, perhaps because of the recent WCS qualifiers the NSH players had competed in. However, Sting couldn't provide any reprieve either, as he too, fell victim to GanZi. Sting was caught totally off guard by Ganzi's use of cloaked banshees, losing over 20 SCVs before he was forced to GG out.
Ganzi was on a roll, and NSH decided they quickly needed to stop his momentum. Down 0 – 2, NSH decided that they couldn't wait any longer to use their ace and sent out their most reliable player in jjakji. However, it just wasn't NSH's day, and even their ace player couldn't stop the red hot Ganzi.
After taking a few early game jabs at each other, both Jjakji and Ganzi settled on three bases on Bel'Shir Vestige, readying themselves to play a marine-tank war on a large scale. The game then ended rather quickly once the players neared max population, with the two armies narrowly missing each other as they took the two separate paths on the map. Ganzi managed to arrive at Jjakji's base significantly faster, which initiated a base trade scenario Jjakji just could not win. With more than enough time to camp Jjakji's production AND set up a defensive force back at home, Ganzi easily got the better of the base trade and received his third GG of the match.
Down to just one last player, NS HoSeo went with one of their longest serving veterans in Tassadar. Alas, Tassadar's history of ace appearances for NS HoSeo was not the best, and he could not improve his record upon the night. His Dark Templar opener was scouted by Ganzi and easily thwarted, after which he hastily tried to go into a regular macro game. However, he was unable to survive when Ganzi came crashing through gates with superior numbers of marines, marauders, and medivacs, and conceded another painful defeat for the NSH team.
Player of the Match: Azubu.GanZi
Since no one else won a game, this is an obvious pick. Ganzi had been down on his luck for quite some time, whether it was trying to find a new team, dealing with injuries, or getting his skill level back up to where it was in 2011. While Ganzi might still have some ways to go if he wants to become a Code S regular like he was in the past, he definitely showed he has returned to being a solid competitor, worthy of respect and a special notice in any team's scouting report.
After the match we caught up with WW.SortOf for an interview, and talked about his GSTL match, his experience in Korea, and his impending return to Europe following the WCS announcement. Also check out Khaldor's Interview from the same day.
" Going here for just like a week, a month is not enough. I think you gotta be here for a long period for it to actually show through."
You had your GomTV Korean debut today. How'd your match go?
Could have gone a lot better. I messed up quite a bit, but I'm not going to make too many excuses. I lost, and that's all that matters, pretty much.
Were you very nervous for your match?
Yeah, I was a bit nervous. It was a new booth, and I had never played in the GSL before, so yeah I was quite nervous.
Ganzi seemed to control the map, using reaper-hellion to contain you. Did you think your defense could have been better?
It could have been a lot better. I got kind of thrown off by the pause, but yeah.
So you went for a hydra-queen-brood lord competition, we haven't really seen much of that in the GSL. Do you find it effective in practice?
Generally no, but on those positions [vertical starts Start Station] it's really hard to go into ultra in the late game, so I think you are kind of forced into brood lords in those positions.
Do you think you had a chance to win if you fought better, or was the game already too far gone in Ganzi's favor?
Yeah, I think if I had played my best from the beginning I would have had a good chance at winning, but I lost.
How did you earn the start in this match?
I don't know. I was doing pretty good in practice so I guess they thought that I would be a good pick.
How did you decide to come to Korea the first time? [SortOf was in Korea for about 3 weeks in 2011]
I qualified for the IeSF tournament, and I thought it would be kind of a waste to not try out the Korean teamhouse experience while I was here. And I wanted to go to Korea in the future, so it was a good time to try out how it was. And I really liked it, so that's why I came back here.
What do you like about it?
A: I get really motivated to practice when I'm in Korea. Ladder is a lot better, it's easier to practice. There is a nice team environment, there is good food, nice people, everything is good.
How is the NSH environment? It's not a team we know a lot about.
It's really nice, the guys are all good friends and they joke a lot and we have fun. Still a lot of practice.
Other pros who have been to Korea say the environment there is so much better in Korea than anywhere else, do you agree?
Yeah, I think so. But I also think you need to commit a lot of time. Going here for just like a week, a month is not enough. I think you gotta be here for a long period for it to actually show through.
"I think I improved a lot. But I think that's mainly because it's a new game, and you improve faster in the beginning of a new game I think..."You were here for five weeks or so. You think you've improved a lot in that period?
I think I improved a lot. But I think that's mainly because it's a new game, and you improve faster in the beginning of a new game I think. I would say I've improved quite a bit.
Only Jjakji and maybe Tassadar are known abroad. Are there any other players you think that are really good but not well known?
Most of the guys are really really good, so it's hard to point someone out.
And today, things just didn't really go well?
No, not really. Mostly for my match, I feel quite bad because I didn't perform as well as I could have. I don't want to speak for the other players, but I know we're capable of better.
Who would you say you're friendly with in the house?
Pretty much everyone. But I talk more with some players than others. Madbull is really fun.
How is everyday life in general, with them not knowing English and all.
It's a little bit hard, with the language barrier of course, but you get by it. You still get by fine, I think.
The atmosphere must have been pretty down after the wipe-out in the WCS qualifiers.
A: Yeah... I was originally planning to play in the Code A qualifiers, too, but then because of the WCS announcement everything kinda got shut down. [SortOf received an EU Premier spot and selected the EU region]
Originally Western Wolves said you were going to be here for three months or so, but now...?
I'm going back to tomorrow actually [April 14th].
So you're not going to be playing the EU region from Korea online. Would you say the lag is unplayable?
Yeah, I'd say so.
You didn't consider maybe staying in Korea, briefly going to Europe to play, and coming back?
I thought about that, but the seasons are like so long so I don't think that would work, but I plan to come back in the off seasons for practice.
What do you think about the WCS system in general?
I think there are some flaws, especially how late they announced everything, and especially with how many Koreans we're seeing in NA, it's kinda WCS Korea number two.
I think it's really good for StarCraft 2 esports outside of Korea, but it's kind of bad for the players who have committed to go to Korea and practice, because now there's no... like we have to either go back to Europe or stay in Korea, like commit a full year to Korea, which is a lot.
What do you think about the European player list that was announced?
It's quite good, it's the best players in Europe and some really good Koreans, so I think the league is going to be really good.
You're one of the players who really came up through last year's WCS, coming through WCS Sweden and placing second. Now that opportunity has kinda gone away for other players. How do you feel about that?
Yeah, it's sad that there's no WCS Sweden. That event was really awesome, being an all-Swedish event. We don't have too many of those, just a few, which are nice. We have WCS Europe now, it's kind of replaced it, I guess.
"I'm not sure. I think getting into Challenger League is still going to be fairly viable for up and coming players."But for up and coming players, it's become harder to break out, no?
I'm not sure. I think getting into Challenger League is still going to be fairly viable for up and coming players. And I think once you get into Challenger League you are going to get some eyes on you. And if you get through Challenger League, you're in great shape.
Did you figure out that DreamHack: Stockholm thing eventually? You still don't have a spot?
No, I couldn't get a spot. It's really unfortunate because I'm going to be in Sweden for that time.
Moving on to more in game stuff, how are you liking HotS so far?
I really like it except for ZvZ, of course.
Because you're worse at it, or because it's not as fun?
First of all it's a lot more random, there are very few ways you can get edges over your opponent. Like there is very little micro in the actual muta wars – there is micro in the ling-baneling wars in the early game – but once you actually get to muta there is very little micro you can actually do. So it's basically who has the most mutas is going to win the game, so that's kinda bad I think.
Any balance complaints for other matchups?
No, of course some match-ups are really hard at some points, but I think there's nothing you can't get over.
A lot of people are complaining about ZvP late game, any thoughts on that?
Yeah, Protoss is really strong in late game of course, but so was Zerg in WoL. So I think it's kind of like the reverse role now, Zerg has to be the one that's active in the mid-game and punish Protoss, and get an advantage in the mid-game. If you sit back and let the Protoss do whatever he wants it's going to be really hard.
In terms of ZvT, most people are moving into ling-muta-bane, which is very different from what you did today. You think that's pretty much the standard now, or you think there's still room for the match-up to grow?
I think they have their use on certain maps, but ling-muta-bane it comes to a point where Terran has so many mines that even if you micro really good against them, it's still going to be really hard to take cost effective fights. So I think with hydras you can easily snipe off the widow mines without taking any damage from them. And you also have the counter to medivac as well, which is quite nice.
How's your adjustment in general? You think HotS fits your style more, compared to say the late WoL BL-infestor mass?
Yeah, I like that it's a lot more fun to watch and play. I just really enjoy it, it's a lot more multi-tasking, you don't have to use brood lord-infestor, you can use ultras and be a lot more mobile on the map. Just a lot more fun, I think.
Pretty much any Zerg who was doing well in 2012 who wasn't Life was getting called a patchzerg, and you were one of those players. What do you think of that reputation? You think it was undeserved?
Yeah, I don't know. I don't want to pay too much attention to that. People can say what they want, I'm still going to practice and do my best to show good results.
Going forward, what are your plans for the year now, now that your plans have been suddenly changed?
I'm just going to play as many tournaments as I can, practice as much as I can, and do as well as I can.
Any shoutouts, last comments?
Shoutout to my team Western Wolves, and to our sponsors Mad Catz, Triton, Sapphire, and AMD. And a shoutout to all my fans.