Graphics by Meko
2012 DreamHack Open/Valencia
This weekend, the Dreamhack universe will re-convene in Valencia, Spain. Last year's event was a spare, eight person show. This time, it's another massive open in the manner of the earlier Stockholm event and the marquee Summer tournament. Appearing for Liquid at the event will be HerO, TaeJa,
Before the event, we caught up with the man himself to check up on how things are going, what he's been doing all this time in Korea, and why he feels this might be the moment where he brings his LAN form back up to speed with his online form!
A Chat with Liquid`TLO
Thanks for speaking with us! How's life?
Liquid`TLO: Hey! No problem, Life is great
You do seem to be in good spirits recently, like exceptionally good spirits. What's the best thing going on right now for you?
TLO: It's hard to explain. I think I made a general breakthrough in attitude when it come to life. It sounds cheesy but I found happiness within. Not saying I'm always happy now but I think it's important to find a balance in life that is not depenend on events or other people. Eventhough there is a lot of people I have to thank for to actually achieving that! My favourite part is that I love working hard and genuinely enjoy it these days.
So this weekend is Dreamhack Valencia, your second DH event of the year after Stockholm. Lets get the big stuff out of the way first; what are your expectations for the event?
TLO: You gotta aim high. I want to make it to the semis. I've been training hard and I know I can do it. Things just have to line up. But this is just another chance to proof myself on a long journey still.
This is a tough field; half of Europe's WCS World qualifiers will be in attendance, as well as Koreans like Sage, forGG, and TheStC, not to mention HerO and TaeJa. Who are you most looking forward to playing?
TLO: I'm looking forward most to play TaeJa/Hero in the Semis. And then TaeJa/HerO in the Finals!
Anyone you'd really rather avoid?
TLO: TaeJa and HerO! :D
How's your physical state coming into the tournament? I know a few days ago you tweeted that you were feeling the best you'd felt in a while.
TLO: I'm feeling good. It takes a lot more for to get tense nowadays and I can take a lot more bad circumstances before I am troubled by any kind of pain or what not. I have more stamina than in years, breathing comes easier hence I am more focused. I still have a lot of work to do. But my goal is to become as athletic as possible, Body and mind is really one.
And your mental state?
TLO: Let's just say I never enjoyed scII more in my life. It never felt more vast and endless, yet it's more intellectually accessible to me than ever before.
What are the steps you've been taking to bolster your mental game?
TLO: Listening to my friends. Believe in me, when others do to. Laugh about haters, do sport and get a lot of fresh air and sunlight It's important to have some things outside of sc2 else your mood will be too volatile. You need some stable things that no one can take away from you.
I understand you'll have some friends coming along to Valencia...
TLO: haha yes there is a lot of people coming. My brother, one of my best friends, 2 of my twitch mods. As well as my personal coach. It'll feel like home turf (thanks guys
How good is your brother? Maybe he can pull a Nazgul, and eliminate some heavy hitters for you?
TLO: Well he is a masters level player with the wackiest builds of all time. You think Naama knows how to cheese? You haven't seen my brother...
What benefit do you think you've gotten from sports psychology? What has it taught you?
TLO: So many things, it makes me realise how new of a sport SCII still is. I am just scratching at the very surface of things right now. And I already improved more than ever in the past 2 months even though I hit some obstacles on the way that in the past would have dragged me down.
Some players seem to have an advantage in every situation because of their immunity to pressure. How important do you think the attitude of a player is, in determining their success?
TLO: I believe with all my heart, that a player who feels pressure and is very emotional has the potential to use it. Immunity to pressure will give you good and save results, but emotion can also help you succeed. You just need to master them. Let them make you player better, not worse. It might be harder, but more rewarding.
What will be the keys for keeping your physical and mental condition good throughout the tournament?
TLO: Eat well, follow the routine I was living by. Go for a run in between games when it feels necessary. It's important that I don't shy away from doing all the things I do at home just cause I am in public and no other progamer does them. Other then that I am trying to create an enviroment that I have conditioned my brain to mean show time. It's the first time I get to really test all that at a competition now, but I'm very excited for it.
This will be something of an international debut for you; it's been a while since we've seen you in international competition. What are your thoughts on re-entering the tournament circut after an extended hermitage?
TLO: It's about fucking time. But I enjoyed the focus on pure practice.
Throughout this time of course, you've been working quite hard and practicing. Tell us a bit about your schedule and methods in Korea.
TLO: That's gonna be a really long story to tell. How about we talk about that in more details at some point after DH! ^_^
How has your training worked overall? Have you seen your skill increase? Who do you regularly meet and beat on ladder?
TLO: It's going splendid. I think it's save to say I've never been a stronger player at any point. I mostly play barcodes in ladder in Korea so don't really know haha
What do you feel are the biggest strengths of your game right now?
TLO: My biggest strength is brutal honesty towards myself. And knowing why I lose games. I never happens to me anymore that I don't understand why I lost. As soon as I type out gg or win the game. I automatically go through a list of 5-10 things that went wrong in the game and that need to be improved upon.
What are you still working on?
TLO: Consistency. My best A game can beat anybody in the world. But there is too much of a difference between my A B and C game still. And I can't tap into my true skill often enough. But I know there is still plenty of potential that I can access if I keep my work up.
Recently, there's been a growing perception that of the best zergs in the world, a significant percentage might actually be from Europe now. As someone who knows both skill levels, do you feel this is the case? Are EU zergs close to parity with their Korean counterparts?
TLO: When it comes to ZvZ I think Koreans are still a bit stronger. At least on average. Europe has a few strong lead figures, but the talent pool in Korea is vast. I can't really speak about the other matchups, but Zergs are definitely the closest in skill to Korea.
In general, while the European zergs are having a field day, it seems very hard for zergs in Korea, despite all the complaining and patch changes, they're still the least represented race in most tournaments. How can this be the case?
TLO: I think Korean Terrans just understand the game much better, but scII is just a game of inches. The korean Terrans protoss hit their timings 10 secs earlier which can mean. 20 supply less for Z to defend.
You've gone to support HerO and TaeJa a lot in their recent GSL games, and now TaeJa just recently made his third straight quarterfinals, while HerO has yet to play in the sweet sixteen. They're both coming with you to
Valencia, how would you rate their form is right now?
TLO: Any Tournament that Hero and Taeja, they enter as potential champions. Nothing more to say.
Overall prognosis for DH Valenia: Optimistic?
TLO: Yes. I can't wait for the tournament to start No matter what'll happen. I'll leave spain a stronger more inspired player. Nothing is more motivating than the thrill of competition.
Awesome, well, we'll let you get back to
TLO: Thanks for everyone who has been putting so much work into helping me improve over the past few months. You're great friends and I am truely lucky to know you. I'll try to make you proud and together we can achieve anything
Don't miss the Dreamhack EIZO Open: Valencia this weekend! It all begins on [unparsable timestamp format]! Aside from TLO, HerO, and TaeJa will also be in attendance.