Some important changes, big and small will be happening to Liquid in the midst of this epic tournament cycle. One of them is that our
For more on this move, check out the interview below! TLO discusses his time in Korea, the benefits of Korean training, and the trade-off between competition and practice, skill and exposure.
Hey! So we're doing an interview, something must be up! What's the news?
Liquid`TLO: I am returning to Europe; Germany to be more precise!
When is this planned for?
TLO: Right after Dreamhack Winter.
Where will you be living back in Germany?
TLO: I'm gonna move the capital (Berlin), I have a very strong network of people there and it's a good hub within Europe.
What do you hope to gain by moving?
TLO: There are several reasons why I want to move. One of them is that I want to start playing a lot of tournaments again. You really can't do that in Korea unless you want to kill yourself with traveling and ruin your practice. I've never been able to play as well in tournaments as I do in practice, so it's time to change that drastically.
Another reason is that I miss being really independent. Not having the time to learn Korean and so constantly having to rely on Koreans to help me with things is very frustrating to me. On top of that I also hope to be able to help grow the Starcraft scene in Berlin, if I can spare the time.
Your results during your last pass through Europe were solid; especially in the first days of the competition. What do you think you need to pull through and turn those high finishes into championships?
TLO: I just need to keep up my training, I've been pushing myself more than before and was very consistent on working on improving myself. Do that a couple more months (and hopefully to the very end of my career) and results will follow very naturally.
How will moving back to Germany help your practice and overall skill? A lot of fans might be worried that your abilities will go down outside of Korea.
TLO: Okay here is what most people do wrong when returning from Korea. You have to worker HARDER Europe than when you are in Korea. Because you play more challenging opponents in Korea you can be ''lazier'' but still be forced into improvement. When you are in Europe you have to be brutally self critical. Every single training match you have to realize that you are absolutely awful. You won the last 9 games, So what? You missed 129 creep tumor cooldowns, there were several blindspots on the map. You didn't rescout as much as you could? Did you constantly use 4 hotkeys and move your units around the map? NO you suck. Train harder.
Other than that I have a really elaborate training system waiting for me in Europe, a really strong network of people helping me. In the coming months I'll aim to do more sports than ever before, eat healthier, train my brain. Live the life of a real athlete. There are no more excuses to make anymore in my life. Work hard (but be happy), or fail.
What about your mental game? How will the move change things?
TLO: It'll definitely help me be more motivated. I am moving together with my best friend. We've always been an excellent team in the past 12 years. One of my brothers lives in Berlin. TBO lives only 60 minutes from Berlin also. And I already know the perfect places for my off days, that'll help me regenerate body and mind. One of them even has Liquid in the name :D
And there are dozen people that already help me keep pushing, but it'll be nicer when it's not just limited to skype.
What benefits have you gotten during your time in Korea? How have you changed as a player?
TLO: Absolutely. It's save to say that the trip here, for the first time in my life taught me what the term training really means. I got my priorities right. I used to be so afraid of disappointing and failing that, my caring a lot about my career and sc2 crushed me. I am learning more and more to not ignore these feelings, but to see the positive sides. I often saw my emotions as flaws or obstacles. Instead, I realize I have to work with them. And I am happier to be a progamer and love sc2 more than before.
What do you think your prospects of returning are, say in the next six months, and in the next year?
TLO: I'll always be open to go to Korea for a month or two. However, I am looking forward to actually staying in one place for a while. Have a home, as corny as it sounds. Especially when traveling so much you start to appreciate that.
You have gone to Korea several times in your career. What have you learned about the pros and cons of living and training there?
- Best possible training partners. If you slack playing will be so frustrating that you have to take it seriously else you just wanna shoot yourself.
- The mission, you know why you are in Korea. Giving you a lot of focus on the task.
- If you don't know Korean you sometimes feel like a child that can't properly take care of everything
- Lots of lag when being forced to play on NA server.
- Very long travel time to most tournaments, never being able to play tournaments with no jetlag
- Little amount of tournament opportunities.
For a player going to Korea for the first time, what advice would you give them to get the most out of their experience?
TLO: Learn to read the Korean language. It'll help you a lot.
Don't waste your time here, give 100%. If you don't have days in which you start hating yourself and your job. You are doing it wrong. Yet, be balanced have fun and learn to take active breaks. Don't sit in front of your pc all day and for gods sake leave the house, you're more than a gamer. And giving your brain new and different input will help you not get stuck and frustrated in your play.
How long do you think a player needs to be in Korea to see some real benefits?
TLO: I think any amount helps. If you already know how to train hard and smart, then 2 intensive weeks can help you improve and learn a lot.
Should some players not go to Korea at all?
TLO: Yes, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try to change as a person to make it viable.
Are there players out there that you think would especially benefit from a Korean stay?
TLO: I think anyone can benefit. It's a lot about the mindset, the conditions. It's so individual I can't really tell who would benefit the most or least.
Tell us a bit about what you accomplished while in Korea. You saved a cat, for starters...
TLO: Haha, well Jonathan and I shared credit for that. Well It think I am playing better sc2 than I ever did in my life. I've been playing a lot of top30 GM koreans lately and doing well.
Hopefully my stay here is the foundation for a lot of great things to come and I'm super pumped to keep improving and throwing myself into tournaments.
You recently shaved you head. Will you not let your hair grow until you win a major tournament? Are you trying to send HerO subliminal messages?
TLO: Haha no. First of all I wanted to see how it looks like, if my hair ever starts thinning and short hair becomes the best aesthetic option. :D Secondly it's just SO practical you can shower and dry so quickly and get started immediately with your practice!
Awesome. You've got Dreamhack Winter coming up. Feeling good?
TLO: Of course, no reason nor point not to.
Liquid domination again?
TLO: I am confident, that there is only one possible outcome. We'll be victorious.
I'm sad I won't be there.
TLO: I am too. Europe misses you.
Well, thanks very much for talking! The best of luck! Any final words of wisdom/inspiration/sponsor plugs?
TLO: Yea big shoutout to Razer! Really appreciate how closely you guys work together with us. Switched to the Blackwidow TE like a week ago and love it :D
TLO's next showing will be at Dreamhack Winter as part of this ridiculous month of starcraft action. He'll be joined there by HerO, TaeJa and Ret. Don't miss it, it's this weekend!