this is a transcript and translation of the interview I could do with Tobias "ShowTimE" Sieber.
We talk DH Montreal and WCS, life of a progamer and more!
The transcript was corrected and adjusted for better understanding.
The link above is for the german video.
Copyright not sure: I think its with ESL
B: You are currently residing in a part of Germany called “Schwaben” and you are back from DH Montreal – How are you feeling?
T: So so – On the second day of Montreal I already started to get sick and when I came back it really hit me – now after two weeks getting better.
B: So that also had in impact on your results in DH?
T: No, not really. I don't want to blame it on that!
B: No excuses!
B: Unfortunately you didn't reach your goal of qualifying for BlizzCon this year – What is your Conclusion of DH Montreal?
T: Basically the same like the whole year around – each tournament I somehow ended one or two levels under my actual skill level. I m not completely sure why that is. I generally seem to not play well at Dreamhacks. Somehow different from last year. It just don't seem to go my way – also I had to win DH, so the pressure was really high.
I tried to put Blizzcon out of my mind and to just try my best but then I lost against Kelazhur so that's it.
B: You are stating that with calm – although, I imagine, that 2017 was quite challenging, especially in comparison to 2016 – you played well but the results were not that good – so whats your conclusion of 2017?
T: Well, not easy to say. I see two possible explanations: The first is, that Ladder Practice in EU is not that good anymore, because a lot of the good players are gone (to Korea or other reasons); The second is, that I just don't pull my full weight, don't bring my full level of skill and potential. The fact that some EU-Players qualified tells me, that the second reason is more probable.
So for the next year I will have to focus more on the mental improvements.
Last year I also had tournaments where I dropped out early, sometimes in the first round. Last year Montreal for example I also dropped against HeroMarine in the Ro32. This year it just was worse.
The fact that there we less tournaments in general also made it more difficult to come back. If you lose once you have lesser points and it soon becomes very challenging.
So I will have to take a lot at what went wrong this year and try to improve that next year.
B: What would you say was n Highlight this year for you?
T: I guess in the beginning of the Year WESG – The placement in the Top 4, the price money I got (20 000 Dollar) – its like winning a WCS. So the year was not really good, but also not really bad.
B: So you basically experienced what a lot of professionals experience – besides training a lot you just cant achieve what you set out to do.
You also stated that the WCS-System this year is quite challenging – four Major Tournaments is not a lot, especially if you are a professional. So what would you say at this point in time about the WCS? What are strong points, what are weak points- as a player, what would you maybe change?
T: If you compare 2016 to 2017 – I was traveling every month and sometimes even had two tournaments in one month. This year we had four majors, Katowice and GSL-vs-The World. That are the six tournaments I went to. And then maybe Homestory Cup. So if you failed last year you could just move on – this year if you failed, you had to accept that you will not be up there.
And also really I don't like the DreamHack Setups very much, they dont suit me. The space that you have is small, even on stage. You are not able to really have youor setup like you are used to – the monitors are too close, the tables are high and the chairs low.
ESL suits me better. Everybody as the same conditions but sometimes I feel that it has an influence on me, maybe more than on others.
So I would wish more more tournaments next year and also better divided over the year Valencia en Joekeping were really back to back, also the Challengers and qualifiers. If you under-perform, 50 % of the year are done for you!
B: You are mentioning some factors that have an impact on your performance – the tournaments, but also the conditions at the tournaments – even things like distance of the monitor, placement of the mouse and keyboard. Are you like Flash, do you bring your own lineal to check the distances or how do you approach it?
T: Well at home I have a good setup with my chair and table that I can adjust like I want. But for example at the back stage area of the DreamHacks – you sit on plastic chairs and tables that are not stable and are to high. You can try to work around it, stack two chairs. Some people bring tape to stabilize the tables. But its difficult. DreamHack knows about it obviously, but its probably a simple question of money. You cant give everybody a 400 Euro Chair and table.
B: What is the factor that is the most important to you? The Mouse, the Keyboard, the light, the food?
T: Well I think the table and chair height is important, but on tournaments the sleep is the most important factor and the possibility to focus. DH is very loud because of all the action going on so on.
B: So last year that was this little “Signature Series” at Blizzcon. I liked that very much! We could see some of your hometown, your family and a tiny bit of your routine.
How is your routine at this point in time, how does a typical “ShowTimE”-Day look like?
T: Still very similar – I get up around 9, I get breakfast, do some workout – I don't ladder immediately because at this point in time in the mornings I don't encounter that much good opponents. So I watch replays and VODS, think about builds. After that its basically laddering with breaks for food or other things.
B: What is the part that you don't like that much?
T: The amount of hours I m playing in general. I like SC2 obviously but the constant playing and sitting sometimes get to me. Maybe normally I would play around 3 hours and not 6.
B: Interesting is for me that in other interviews your colleagues also mentioned that you are one of the players they perceive as hard working and putting in the hours.
So whats your favorite part of training?
T: That would be seeing the results of it – getting better – maybe from one day to another, sometimes from one month to another. Constantly growing.
B: Did you ever consider getting a sports psychologist or coach?
T: A Coach not yet but I m reading some books on sports psychology and thats also one of my focuses for next year to grow on in that regard, mentally. But to get a coach, not yet.
B: Where do you get really excited and passionate in SC2?
T: When games get crazy! Not your standard game, for example when it comes to a basetrade or something like that.
B: Do you have a certain game in mind when you say it like that?
T: Not sure. Maybe one that is a bit older – it was against Lilbow in WCS Challenger. I was leading the Series and I knew that in that time Lilbow just didn't scout his base. So I build two Proxy-Gates in his Main. Somehow it came to a Basetrade, he sent all his probes over to my base. Later I think I had one Stalker left and he had the Mothership Core and at the end it came down to the last building, where he had and Assimilator and I had a Gate or something. I destroyed his building with only 50 HP difference, so it was really really close. That type of game really is still lots of fun!
B: Starcraft 2 – State of the Game – Balance – Anything that bothers your as a player, are you satisfied?
T: I'm quite happy. Obviously this year PvZ was not good, Hydra Bain was a pain and got really frustrating because of all the Zergs in EU. But now it got a bit better and we got Mass Oracle now!
I know its a stupid strategy and it will and should probably be changed, but Zerg cant complain because they had Hydra Bain for so long!
B: What do you think about the new Patch that is coming? Are you looking forward to it?
T: It general yes, although I think it will be hard for Protoss because of the removal of the Mothership Core. I mean a lot of P Strategies is build around it, you can tech quite hard in the beginning because of the MSC. Now we get the Shield Battery. But I didn't test it yet so I cant say how it will work. I dont think its pretty good.
But in general I m looking forward. For every progamer I think after a year on the same patch you get kind of bored, so you get excited for the change of the metagame and the new units and such.
B: If you could look into the future of SC2 – how do you see the future of the game, the industry, the community?
T: Yeah its really difficult to say – I wouldn't be surprised if in one year – if Blizzard suddenly decides to drop the game – the esports-side of it is done. But I think the community will go on as long as no other RTS comes along that can compete.
B: How do you see SC:R?
Didn't play it myself, but I saw Nerchio and Serral play in a PC Bang in Korea. I also watched some pro-games. But I will not really try it out because it would take a lot of time to get into it and learn it properly. The mechanics are really hard.
B: But you don't think it will be more than hype and safe Starcraft in general?
T: I think in Korea it is certainly bigger than SC2 but globally speaking I don't think people want a game anymore that is 1v1 and hard to learn. My impression is that people want to have fun.
Not everybody is motivated to work on mechanics and strategy to improve every day.
Sure Co-Op and such is helping in SC2.
Maybe in Korea SC:R is helping, even maybe to get big sponsors back like SKT, but many people already came back to SC2 and it feels like the hype is already over in the Western World.
B: So we talked a bit about the global situation of SC2, touched on Korea – How do you see the situation of the SC2-Scene in Germany?
To be honest – I think the German Scene is a bit pitiful. I mean if you look at the beginning of SC2 – we had HasuObs, Socke, we had the EPS. Now we have me, Lambo, TLO and HeroMarine. The most of them stopped playing.
I think that EPS is not running anymore is really bad. It helped our scene immensely. You could see some of the “middle tier” players, they could participate in the cups. Thats how we lost a lot of the good players over the years now, they had now reason to play anymore. Its really sad.
B: Yeah I agree about the ESL not doing EPS anymore, I think it really made a difference. Are there any players that you feel should be mentioned, that we don't know at the moment? FeaR is still around right?
There were some – the Cup where 16 players but they are all gone. When I think back 2013/2014 I only continued because of EPS, where you could make some good money. One year I won two in a row and made some 10 000 Euros. Not bad.
B: Do you think we can still safe something of the scene?
T: Difficult to say. If ESL would bring back EPS, maybe it could motivate some players to come back or start with SC2. But other countries also don't have an EPS. Poland had one but the level was not that great.
We still have TakeTV and Homestory Cup – the lower level players will not necessarily be able to participate, but at least watch. TakeTV is doing a lot for our scene and I think that we have (in Germany) a good viewer base and active community.
B: You are playing under the Banner of Arma Team – French Team that is connected to the old Millenium SC2 – Team. How is the situation right now, who still on the roster, are you training together, how do they support you?
T: Besides me is Daishy on the team but at this point in time I dont really know what he is doing. I don't think he is actively trying to keep up with high level play.
The focus of Arma Team is on Hearthstone, they have for example one of the biggest streams on Twitch because of Hearthstone.
llewellys has his roots in Starcraft and likes it a lot, thats why me and Daishy are on the team as SC2 Players. The support is as good as with Millenium, so no complains there.
B: So you are happy, you have a contract and will continue with them?
T: Hopefully yes, I would like to. The results werent that good but at the end of the year we will talk and hopefully come to a good agreement.
B: How do you deal with the fact that over the years in the SC2-Industry scams and such are happening? Like for example teams appearing and disappearing, or this guy from the Philippines / Indonesia trying to rip people of with this tournament of his? Do you think we need a Union or something like that? What would you wish for as a player to feel more safe and protected?
T: Last year for example I participated in this WCA – Event where there was a lot of money involved and over a year I didnt receive the money. So it is supposed to be payed this month but lets see.
But in general most of the events pay their money, also because of the back up of Blizzard.
I would say you just need to be careful as a player. Some weird teams approached me over the years and promised me a lot of things. But then you just have to use your common sense and say no.
Like, Nerchio, me and Drogo are still owed money but Nerchio actually got his money so there is still hope!
But in general there are no complains!
B: Are you doing something outside of Starcraft? We could see some things in the WCS-Video last year?
T: Well I do some weight lifting Monday to Friday, go to walks around here because I live in a very calm area with nice forest. I play a lot of other videos if I feel like it, I read books in the evenings, play darts. Most of it its SC2.
B: What games do you play besides SC2 at the moment?
T: Quake at the moment, I like the 1v1 aspect of it although is quite hectic! I feel its like SC2 – 1v1 and hard to learn, thats why I like it!
B: Any games you follow the Scene besides SC2?
T: Quake and CS:GO. Especially CS:GO a lot, but at this point in time I only watch the really big tournaments. And maybe some SC:R.
B: You started pretty much after High School with Pro Gaming. Nearly 5 years later, whats your conclusion? Any regrets?
T: I dont regret making that decision and following this path, I would probably do it again. And every year I learn something new. This year I learned how not to do it!
Maybe if I had somebody to teach me some things quicker, than I could have been earlier on the top.
So a conclusion? Its not easy to say. I learned a lot, I grew a lot as a person and player. I got to know a lot of people around the world, made friends. I improved on my English because its so present every day. So no regrets!
B: You said that you learned “how not to do it” - What does that mean for you?
T: I guess I would say to take sports psychology more seriously and implement it more in my routine. Like simple things – meditate for 10 to 15 minutes a day – work on your mindset!
I tried to follow that early in my career but after last year I thought – oh its going well, so I stopped.
But somehow I discovered that you have to continue doing it! So next year I will do that again and get to my old level.
B: 2018 your goal will probably be BlizzCon – But what lies behind 2018 for you? Any ideas?
T: I try not to look to far into the future. More like year to year. I m happy being a pro-gamer, at least for another year. If Blizzard says that they only will support maybe half of the tournaments of this year, than maybe it would be time to consider studying or something like that. But is not easy to say.
B: So what would you study if you would study?
T: Difficult to say. One of the reasons I became a progamer was because I had no clue what else I wanted to do after school! And that didn't change a lot until now!
B: What would you say are skills and abilities that you gained through pro-gaming that are transferable to other areas of life?
T: For me personally I would say the language skills in English, because you really communicate a lot in it, more than other “normal” Germans maybe. You talk it at every event and nearly daily.
Also, as a pro-gamer, because there is no frame of reference or rules how to be a pro-gamer, you need a lot of discipline to structure your day to day.
B: So coming to the end of our interview, I would like to find out what Protoss Unit would you like to be?
T: The Zealot, because then I can come back as a Stalker – that sounds pretty good for me!
B: Nice! The basic but important unit! Do you happen to have a good off-race besides Protoss?
T: In the middle of the year I played a lot of Zerg because I was so frustrated and I think I reached Top 50 in EU, not to chabby. But also if I put in some time for Terran I can get quite ok.
B: Do you have an opponent that you really like to beat?
T: For some time I would have said Nerchio because we met so much, but at this point in time I consider him a friend so that's not that strong any more. Probably at this point in time Neeb, because he keeps beating me at offline tournaments! I keep beating him online but not offline.
So if I could beat him offline, that would be really cool, although we are friends!
B: What are you predictions – Who will win BlizzCon?
T: Hmm. Probably I should say Innovation, but I think he will not do it, because the pressure is so high on him. It very much depends on the groups and brackets.
So if I must choose, probably Innovation, but maybe even Stats, that is Number One in Korea at the moment.
In general all of the Koreans can do it, but even Neeb and Serral could go far.
B: What would be the absolute upset in your opinion?
T: soO would be awesome – it would be a cool story, finally overcoming is second places. SoO vs Innovation would be nice.
B: Thank you so much! Any last shout outs?
T: Thank you for the support of Arma Team, thank you to all the fans and thank you for that interview!
B: All the best for 2018 and catch you soon!