Graphics by shiroiusagi. Photographer is SuperNoVa.
There's been a lot of talk and speculation surrounding the fall of our longtime partner oGs and the living situation of Liquid in Korea. With the extremely packed recent schedule, there hasn't been much time for the players to settle in, much less for TLPro to cover it. This newspost about the new apartment had been deferred a bit, but the interest has only grown in that time, and so we're excited to get the full story out about the new digs in Korea; christened by TLO as "The House of Awesome".*
We spoke to Nazgul and Jinro about the disbandment of oGs, the search for a new apartment, and the benefits of the HoA. See below for their interviews!
*Should really be a showmatch with the Ministry of Win, right??
In the past week, a sad moment in the history of Sc2 occurred as oGs disbanded after two years as one of the best teams in the world. How did you feel personally about seeing oGs go?
Liquid`Nazgul: Although we knew before the general audience [about oGs' difficulties] it all went really fast for oGs and ourselves. We never really got the time to get used to the idea, and then it already happened. There are so many the individuals that put their heart and soul into this. From the team owner to coach to players. Now my main hope is that everyone is still able to find their place in esports. I think for a few guys at the top of oGs they will be able to find a new place to call home. Vines is one of the better players and more popular streamers and he has found himself a team in Empire already.
There's other guys there such as Supernova, ForGG, TheStC that are popular and skilled. For all that they have put into this I hope they find a team deserving of their skills. My biggest grievance is towards TheWind because I know how much he cares. An amazing coach and inspiration for myself to do better. I hope he finds something else.
Obviously, Team Liquid and oGs spent a long time affiliated, the longest and most durable partnership in the game. Tell us how oGs and TL first started working together.
Liquid`Nazgul: For the full story I have to go all the way back to 2002 when I was a progamer in Korea myself. At that point I met Spunky, who is/was the owner of oGs, through Elky. Spunky lived a big part of his life abroad and is fluent in both English and Korean. From that period on to now we kept in touch. When GOMTV announced the GSL we started talking about being in Korea together with a mixture of both teams.
At the time oGs was living in a small apartment that it was outgrowing quickly. With our contribution we were able to move to a much larger place together, it all made sense and felt like a lot of hard work came together in that period. Soon after I traveled to Korea with Jinro and TLO to leave them with oGs in our team house for a permanent stay.
Over the seasons, both teams had a lot of success, what was the greatest benefit TL got from working with oGs. What was a benefit of the partnership that isn’t widely known?
Liquid`Nazgul: When you live abroad it is important to feel comfortable. People always talk about the practice environment and how it means you have to be in Korea. Many foreigners have been there for shorter periods, but for one reason or another did not like to stay there permanently. Korea is not an easy life and the friendship our players received from oGs has always been an important factor in making the stay worth it. TheWind/Gon would take care of our players as if they were their own. Drive them to the GSL and be there for them, win or lose. It is hard to quantify this sort of stuff, it is invaluable when you are in a foreign country.
oGs disbanding obviously left the Liquid players in Korea without a home. How did TL navigate this problem?
Liquid`Nazgul: Man, it wasn't easy. We found out relatively late and had to scramble for a solution. Just in case things went wrong I had already arranged an emergency stay at the GOM house with Mr. Chae. Fortunately we found an amazing apartment and got everything done right in time, so that the players always remained in optimal living conditions.
Before the disbanding of oGs, TLO and Jinro were already planning to move out together and live in Korea outside of a team house. Jinro had already been looking at apartments online on and off. The whole thing sped up this process tremendously, but luckily the idea of renting something themselves was not foreign to the players.
Who exactly will be moving into the apartment?
Liquid`Nazgul: Because the majority our players preferred to set up something private over staying in a team house, it doesn't include only Liquid players. It's Jinro, TLO, HerO, but also SuperNoVa and HuK.
TaeJa and Zenio are comfortable where they are now playing from home. Because everything had to be rushed this was not really the period to look into changing that.
Some people have already begun to call this the “TL House” is that accurate?
Liquid`Nazgul: Although we have supported the initiative as good as we can, it is the players who decided to rent this apartment. This is their home, just like our other players who live in other places in the world rent their own living space.
How did you think the new living set-up has affected the team as it prepared for the GSTL?
Liquid`Nazgul: Our practice regimens didn't really change from it. The only thing it does is for each individual to be happier with his own living space. It's hard to predict whether someone is better off under a more strict but tightly packed team house versus a more comfortable living situation, because these type of things are different for each individual. Overall I think the effects on their skill level will be pretty negligible. It's impossible to say anyway as there are hundreds of factors that influence success.
Will the apartment make it easier to bring other TL players to Korea?
Liquid`Nazgul: Not necessarily. With oGs we had an arrangement that we could bring X amount of players to Korea. This gave us a lot of freedom in planning our trips.
With the new apartment these guys have their own living space, and if another Liquid member would like to move in there it is something we will have to discuss with all parties involved to come up with a good solution. There's also SuperNoVa/HuK there who will be involved with decisions like that.
So how’s the new apartment?
Liquid`Jinro: Very nice, but still waiting for my new chair to arrive, will be 10x nicer when it does! =P
How did the idea to get a new place come about?
Liquid`Jinro: I wanted to get my own/shared place for a long time now, we had started planning a little before we found out oGs was disbanding.
When TL learned about oGs’s potential disbanding, did that make your search more urgent?
Liquid`Jinro: For a while we were just wasting time because I was waiting for people to decide what they wanted to do, eventually Victor said 'just start looking or it will be too late', so I basically spent a week looking at houses etc. every day. Gotta give thanks to Waxangel, MC and his girlfriend, as well as Cezanne for helping me look all over Seoul/Incheon.
Did it also change the nature of the search?
Liquid`Jinro: Supernova's addition was pretty late, basically he mentioned he might be interested in joining us, and joined me in looking at places... After that he was in basically.
Tell us about the new place. What are the amenities?
Liquid`Jinro: The place has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a huge living room, big kitchen, a tiny little smoking room in the lobby (:D) and a little corridor/veranda area. Overall very nice place.
What are the living arrangements that you all have set-up?
Liquid`Jinro: Supernova/Hero share (the people sharing room pay less rent obv) the biggest room, and everyone else gets their own room (I took the smallest room because Dario and Chris are both primadonnas who require huge space :D).
How about some intimate roommate questions... ^^ Who’s the messiest?
Liquid`Jinro: Messiest, hm... Dario's room is the messiest but he confines messiness to his personal space. Everyone has been pretty good about things so far I think.
Who snores the loudest?
Liquid`Jinro: Well I don't sleep together with anyone so I can't answer that, but I know SuperNoVa snores from the oGs house—I never really noticed but it's been reported... ^^ Snoring doesn't affect me unless I'm having trouble sleeping already and looking for an excuse.
Who stays up the latest?
Liquid`Jinro: The person who stays up latest is almost definitely HerO... Although I'm not sure what falling asleep in your chair counts as... :D
Well that'll be it for now! Glad to see things are working out. Shoutouts?
Liquid`Jinro: Gotta give huge thanks to the following people:
- Hero's parents, without them this place would never have worked out.
- MightyAtom and his wife - getting the contract sorted without him would have been.... I don't want to say impossible but very, very close to it.
- Supernova's parents for all the help with making the place habitable
- Waxangel, for helping me looking for places in Itaewon all day!
- MC and his girlfriend, for helping me look at places in Dangsang and Sinchon, and just being overall awesome!
- Cezanne for helping me look here in Incheon, where we eventually found this place!
Thanks everyone for pulling together and getting this to work~
Thanks so much for speaking with us!
For better or worse, it's the beginning for a new era for Liquid in Korea. In so many ways, Liquid was the first in expanding connections between foreign teams and Koreans, and now more uncharted waters as Liquid and friends are going it alone for the time being. With lessons learned and memories kept from our time with oGs, the House of Awesome will keep the flame burning strong!