NOTE: As the original interviews are already available in English I will stop at these 3. Apologies to s.163.com as it was never my intention to misrepresent the original sources of these interviews!
GIGABYTE StarsWar 7 is the seventh StarsWar tournament running by Chinese eSports organization XMA. The qualifiers will all be held online, with the 4 qualified players will be flown to Shanghai for the main LAN event.
The 4 players who have qualified are Grubby (NA + EU), MMA (KR), Sen and MacSed (CN).
Credits: Picture from sc2p.com
Q: Hi Sen, firstly congratulations on beating MacSed in the finals. What do you think about the finals, and was the decision to 6 pool a moment of improvised brilliance?
A: I feel that we're all great players, but I was luckier. That and the strategies I used were all to great effect, (T/N: If any chinese players could clarify what "BH" stands for in chinese SC terminology that would be great) I decided to 6 pool because I was leading in map score and because the the choke of the map suited it.
Q: In previous tournaments, you've beaten Chinese pros like Loner, Jim, MacSed etc. What do you think about the Chinese pro scene?
A: I feel that the Chinese scene is very close to Korea's, with many teams, many progamers to train and discuss with one another... (laughs) Unfortunately, it seems to be lacking a bit in tournaments, it takes a long time for a big tournament to come by.
Q: At the SW7 LAN finals, you will be facing MacSed, MMA and the winner of the Western Qualifier, what do you feel about this?
A: Nothing in particular, everybody's very strong, I'll just give my best. However, I'm very looking forward towards the event, as this is the first time I will be competing in Shanghai. Previously, I had only been there during transit.
Q: When you were in Korea for Code S, you decided to forfeit your spot in the Up and Downs and come back to Taiwan, why did you choose to do so? Are you planning on going back to Korea?
A: The GSL players, for me, are too strong. I normally practice primarily on ladder, but the Korean pros don't just do that. They collectively strategize and refine new playstyles, for me to go up against all that is too disadvantageous and tedious. I also need to keep flying from Korea to Taiwan which is very tiring. Therefore, chances of me returning to the GSL don't seem huge.
Q: In the last year, you've won 3rd place at 2 NASLs and Blizzcon, with winnings near 50 000 USD. How do you plan on spending all that? Do you have goals in terms of prizes for this year?
A: Haven't thought about it yet, I'll save it all up and wait till I get an idea of what to do with it.
Q: About the tournaments in the 2nd half of 2012, where will your focus be?
A: Last season of TESL, our team lost the chance to advance to the Grand Finals because of me losing the key match. I feel bad about that. This season my focus will be on the TESL, to help my team win. I will still participate in foreign tournaments, but only on the condition that it doesn't affect my performance in the league.
Q: Since the new patch buffed the queen, the consensus on the ladder is that TvZ has become difficult, what are your thoughts?
A: Terrans have had it good for so long it's about time Zerg did hehe, I feel that in ZvT, the queen is enough to deflect hellions, reapers, marines, it is quite imba, but that's only in the early phase. It's quite useless as the game progresses. But because the cost of defence early game has reduced, Zergs are now capable of transitioning into the midgame with a much better economy. Overall I feel that ZvT is comfortable but not imba, haha...
Q: HotS will be available for play at MLG Anaheim, what are your hopes for the expansion?
A: I'm looking forward to it, HotS will make matches more interesting. Currently the way every match plays out is about the same. There's no new fresh strats emerging, it's quite boring. I like trying new things, so hopefully HotS will come out soon.
Q: You've faced DRG at a Taiwan BarCraft before, what do you think of him? Who do you feel make the top 5 Zergs in the world at the moment?
A: This shouldn't require my validation, we all know how good DRG is. As for top 5, Stephano, DRG, XiGua, can't think of a 4th at the moment.
Q: Lastly we wish you good luck in your future matches. Any last words to round this up?
A: I'd like to thank my team Gamania and our sponsors Razer. I would also like to thank the organizers of SW7 for giving me this opportunity to show my skills. Lastly thanks to my coach Zhang Yu and manager Zhang Bei for all their contributions for our team, must have been tough for them.
Q: Congratulations on defeating MarineKing and qualifying for SW7, what do you think about the game with MKP?
A: I’m very happy that I’m able to defeat MKP since he’s been doing so well recently, especially with a 3:2 score, coming back from such a bad situation in the final game, makes me even more intense about the match. Very happy to play such an interesting set.
Note: He won the final game with 3 nukes.
Q: Have you ever been to China? What impressions do you have about the place?
A: It will be my first time in China, but I’ve heard about how famous Stars War is. All I know about China is it has the most people. I’m excited to be able to go to China.
Q: Previously, players like Mvp, MC, TaiLs have participated in Chinese tourneys, compared to Korean tournaments, what do you think about Chinese tournaments?
A: Well, as I’ve never been to China, I’m not too sure. However, I feel that there will be a huge crowd.
Q: Players like XiGua and Loner have competed at an international level, what do you think about Chinese players?
A: I feel that they have a lot of potential. I believe that they will be able to perform well internationally in a short period of time.
Q: Recent results in majors like GSL and MLG have been showing a downward trend for Terrans, what do you think is the biggest difficulty the race is currently facing?
A: Hmmm. I feel that at the same time of buffing other races Blizzard should not be nerfing Terran. Every patch buffs the other races will nerfing Terran, this will eventually cause Terran to not be able to post results.
Q: TvZ has not been looking good for Terran recently, what kind of opener do you currently favour? And how do you deal with creep tumours nowadays?
A: Zerg is now very very strong! Not too long ago I was complaining to a very strong ZvT player, and he told be that ZvT now is very easy. Giving the queens equal range as Hellions have made it very difficult to limit creep T_T
Q: You’ve won the Iron Squid this year, but you haven’t been doing well in the GSL recently, what’s the goal in the near future?
A: Top priority is to get back into Code S and get good results. Next would be winning the Stars War championship. :D
Q: Your rival DRG has won a GSL championship, how to you feel you would do against him in the future?
A: I’m very happy to have him as a rival. As a progamer it’s always good to have a good competitor, as you will incentivize and drive each other to do better.
Q: The GSTL is about to start, with EG teaming up with SlayerS what are your hopes for the new season? (T/N: This interview is kinda dated, sorry because I had exams at the time)
A: Definitely hope to win it all. EG has a lot of famous players. I also believe in my teammates. I believe that we will all perform very well!
Q: SPL has officially begun including SC2. Compared to GSL players, what do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of KeSPA players? How long do you feel they need before catching up with the standards of current SC2 pros?
A: Competing in 2 games simultaneously is very difficult for a progamer in terms of practice. However, I feel that once they drop BW and completely focus on SC2, they will be able to catch up very quickly.
Q: Lastly, what are your hopes for the Grand Finals of SW7 and do you have anything to say to the Chinese scene?
A: My goal is to be the champion, but what’s most important is playing interesting and entertaining matches. This will be my 1st time competing in a Chinese major, I hope to leave a good impression on the Chinese audience. I also hope everyone would come to the finals and cheer me on!
Q: Hi Grubby, congratulations on beating DIMAGA and qualifying for SW7. First of all, your thoughts on the bo5 with DIMAGA?
A: Hello to the readers in China! DIMAGA is a very unique strategist and a strong player. To beat him, I have to find and understand his strengths and weaknesses. However, because I had not enough time to prepare, I had to use some of my new strategies. Due to it being the very first time I used them in an official match, obviously DIMAGA was also not prepared for the build. Him not being able to prepare for me through VODs was my biggest advantage.
Of course, my victory had some luck involved as well as I was able to predict DIMAGA’s strategy. Finally, I’m very happy to be able to win and come to China again.
Q: You’ve been making appearances as a caster at events like MLG, how do you balance that with being a player?
A: I am of course a player, but I only spend about 3% of my time on casting. I feel this makes it very enjoyable for myself and my fans, I have also gotten a lot of enthusiastic feedback.
I hope that I will be able to obtain a much higher understanding and appreciation for the game, and give back more to the game’s community.
Q: Against players like MacSed, Sen and MMA, how will you prepare for the offline finals?
A: With all I’ve got! China’s a second home to me, I am very excited about winning in front of my home fans!
Q: Currently on the ladder, Terrans and Zergs have expressed that Protoss lategame is very imbalanced, what do you think about this theory?
A: I do not think that is the case. Protoss has to finish of the Zerg player as soon as possible or they do not stand a chance at all. Unless the Zerg player makes vital mistakes, Protoss stands no chance to win lategame.
As for PvT, I feel that in all stages of the game, both races have chances to win. I like lategame PvT, it may be hard for Terrans, but it’s not unwinnable. As of now, Terrans are beginning to start producing more Vikings and Ghosts lategame, and complement that composition with nukes, Terrans are getting better at the match-up.
Q: Who are the best European players from each race in your eyes?
A: Protoss: Socke and MaNa have the best offline results. Zerg: Stephano. Terran: ThorZaiN
Q: You have a lot of fans in China, and you’ve taken your wedding photos in China, how do you see your relationship with the country?
A: As the Chinese fans adore me, so do I. I remember how I was embraced when I first came here.
My experiences in China are unforgettable, I do not want all of this to be just a memory. Therefore I am very happy to be able to come back in June. The last time I was in China was in January 2011, it’s been a whole 17 months already …
Q: You’re already 26 years old, how many more years do you see yourself having left in your career as a player? What are your future plans?
A: Haha, I hope to be around for a long time. No further plans at the moment.
Q: A lot of people feel the transition of WC3 players to SC2 have not been successful. But this opinion has been debunked with the recent performances of Naniwa, ThorZaiN, violet etc. They’ve all won tournaments. Instead, the past kings of WC3 such as you and Moon have not posted results as impressive, what do you think about this?
A: I feel I have taken a long time to adapt to SC2. I started a year later than most pros, which was why I needed more time. To reference an allegory, I am like the tortoise in the race, constantly improving slowly but never stopping. Amirite? Haha
Q: Before you were sponsored by Steelseries, now would you consider joining a SC2 team?
A: I am now an independent player sponsored by TwitchTV. With their help I will be streaming my ladder sessions. I hope that my Chinese fans would join in, please check out http://twitch.tv/followgrubby
Due to the support of my sponsors and fans, I was able to persevere without a team. Perhaps this situation suits me better as it gives me a lot more freedom.
Q: Thanks for the interview. Any last words?
A: Xie Xie Da Jia! (Thanks everyone) I am excited to meeting you guys in Shanghai at SW7!!!