Graphics by disciple
As IPL5 rages around us, as HerO fights on as the last Liquid and second last protoss remaining, one under appreciated member of the Liquid delegation will be focused (at least partly) on something else entirely.
Our team manager, Robin 'Bumblebee' Nymann has been selected to lead the foreigner all-star team into battle against the Koreans. It's a tremendous honor, and very well deserved. Bumblebee manages the schedules of the players on the team, plans strategy for teamleagues, and provides advice and support during LANs. You see the results almost every time Liquid heads to Europe, and especially at Dreamhacks, where he's won five of his last six.It will be an uphill climb, to win this event, there is no doubt, and the manager can only do so much. Still, we believe!
To figure out what goes into his preparations for this match, we caught the man himself for a rare interview before IPL5.
GSL World Championship
Saturday, Dec 01 10:00pm UTC (GMT+00:00)
2012 GSL World Championship
Schedule and Stream
Saturday, Dec 01 10:00pm UTC (GMT+00:00)
2012 GSL World Championship
Schedule and Stream
A chat with Liquid`Bumblebee
Hey Robin, how's it going?
Liquid`Bumblebee: Hey! It's going alright, I'm pretty exhausted after DreamHack and housing Jinro, HerO and TaeJa for the days leading up to IPL5. I'm having a great time though.
How's the US?
Bumblebee: Once we actually got here, everything's been amazing. We're staying at a friend's of Victor and it's really nice not to be staying in a hotel for once when we're at a tournament.
We actually got to do some non-StarCraft stuff today; a couple of us went to play some frisbee golf and I played basketball with HerO as well.
So tell us why you're in Vegas; besides simply being the manager for Team Liquid.
Bumblebee: I'm here because I was chosen by IPL and GSL to be the coach of the foreigners for the GSL World Championship. Pretty exciting.
How were you approached about this opportunity?
Bumblebee: Frank Fields from IPL contacted me via Skype saying he had been talking to GSL about who should coach the foreigners for GSL WC and, ultimately, they had decided they wanted me to do the job.
Why do you think you were selected?
Bumblebee: I'm very familiar with both the IPL and GSL staff, so they know of me in terms of what I do and what I've done in the past. HerO and TaeJa has always been speaking kind words about me in their interviews with GOM. Aside from that we, Team Liquid, has also done pretty well here in 2012 making it to the final of IPLTAC3, won the NASTL and in general having shown great games in the team leagues.
What does coaching the World All Stars team mean to you?
Bumblebee: It came as quite a surprise that they wanted me, so at first I was kind of flustered and didn't know how to feel about it. Now when I've settled down a bit, it's starting to grow on me and I feel quite honored. It's a great opportunity for me to get on stage and show the world what we foreigners are capable of.
Tell us about the team you've been given. How are you feeling about its competitiveness?
Bumblebee: The team consists of Scarlett, Stephano, Nerchio, NaNiwa and LucifroN. It's a very interesting team really. They all have great strengths that they hopefully get to show off this weekend.
The team is capped at five players; if you got to choose a sixth, who would you pick?
Bumblebee: Uhm, that's a very tough question. I would probably have chosen ThorZaIN. He's one of the foreigners I admire the most. He has the dedication, skill and determination to be one of the absolute best. I think it really shows through his practice and that he's very strong in all three matchups.
The Korean team is insanely good. Thoughts on who they've got to play with?
Bumblebee: While the Korean team is very strong, I think we can all agree on that if they had gotten to handpick five players from all of the GSL rankings, the team would look a lot different. There'd potentially be four other players with only Life staying, even though they could choose to keep Squirtle or Seed. They would not have been my choices of Protoss' though.
Few people rate your chances high in these matches; where do you think the foreigners might pull a surprise?
Bumblebee: It's definitely doable, but it will be extremely hard. After seeing our match-ups in the Pro League style match, I changed my mind a little bit. I do think the match-ups are pretty good for us and that we should be able to pull off 3-2 or 4-1 victory if everything goes well.
What's going to be key for foreigner success?
Bumblebee: Key to success? It's the same key as to any other game. They will have to play to the best of their abilities and make the best choices with what they have at hand.
Talk to us about the five matches in the first set. As match-ups go, they look as good as they can get for the world team. Do you feel that way?
Bumblebee: As I said further up in the interview, it looks very good for us. It still doesn't mean we're favored, but it was probably best case scenario. I'm sad that Mvp pulled out though so I don't have the chance to see if I could match NaNiwa up in his best matchup -- in my opinion -- PvT.
How'd the line-up get picked?
Bumblebee: The lineup was actually random. We were chosen to give an order of the players (1 through 5) and then after that was given, the maps would randomly be assigned. This was done to prevent the many mirrors PL has been seeing in the recent years of StarCraft 1.
For the all-kill match, how will your approach change?
Bumblebee: While some very simple strategy was put into the PL style match since everything was random, there'll be a lot of strategizing in terms of counters, maps and such. Should be interesting.
THE photo of Bumblebee
How has your experience managing Liquid helped with this assignment?
Bumblebee: It most certainly has. Having done this for a long time now definitely makes me more qualified, but also more confident in the choices that I will have to make. Experience is a big deal. One of the things that might be hard though is that the players might not trust me the same way that our own players do. We will see what's going to happen.
In what ways is managing Liquid similar? In what ways is it different?
Bumblebee: There's really not much to say. Every team is different, so everything will be different. The only things that applies to this team as well is that we are playing the same game and there's a lot of experience with the game and handling players in general that can be brought over.
Liquid has had great success with teamleagues in both formats this year. What is the top thing you've learned about picking line-ups and preparing for these matches?
Bumblebee: The top thing I've learned? I think a very valuable lesson that everyone has to go through at some point in life is when you realize how to ask and how to use the input you can get from your surroundings to make an even stronger case than what you would have been able to do by yourself.
Chance of winning?
Bumblebee: Let's just say that we can win if we do our best.
Let's branch over to IPL5 for a moment; this is maybe the most stacked tournament we've ever seen in Sc2. Thoughts on the overall level of competition?
Bumblebee: I definitely think that IPL4 was way more stacked than this tournament just due to GSTL finals and both the Korean teams in the finals would have like a total of 20 players in the tournament. That being said it is very stacked and is going to be crazy.
You've just come from Dreamhack Winter. You've now won three Dreamhack Winters in a row, and are 4/5 total. What's the secret?
Bumblebee: I'm actually 5/6 total with only not winning DreamHack Summer 2012 where MaNa took the crown with him to Poland. Secret? Pffff.... Why would I tell anyone?
How awesome was the all-Liquid final this time? How was it to see Jinro and HayprO again?
Bumblebee: The finals was great in terms of exposure and it felt nice to have to players succeeding. It wasn't as exciting as last Winter though. You didn't really root for one player, there wasn't the natural tension due to rivalry nor the excitement from ourselves. The fans seemed to love it though, but don't get me wrong, I had a good time and it felt good to win as it always does.
Seeing Hayder and Jonathan was amazing. In fact Jonathan went back to Copenhagen with HerO, TaeJa and I to stay at my place for a couple of days before going to Vegas with us as well, so all in all it's very nice. I hope to see Hayder again soon though.
The team stopped by your place in Copenhagen before traveling to Vegas. Did you teach HerO and TaeJa how to open champagne?
Bumblebee: Haha, no I didn't.
How was the stopover?
Bumblebee: We just enjoyed ourselves and had to do a little bit of work. HerO and TaeJa played their NASL RO16 games from my place and TaeJa played a lot of SC2, War3 and a game or two of LoL to rest a little bit. We did go to a cafe to have a drink.
Aside from your work with Sc2, you've been very involved with Dota2, and helping TL.net's transition to that game. How do you feel the scene is progressing?
Bumblebee: DOTA has been around forever and the community is great. I hope we can do great things on TeamLiquid.net with it and bring people together under our roof as we did with StarCraft 1.
Thoughts on the future of the game and on how TL is currently progressing with Dota2?
Bumblebee: It's really hard for me to say anything as I'm not involved in the numbers of how we are progressing, but I do think that it looks promising and our staff is dedicated and excited.
No plans to secretly sabotage IPL's LoL tournament?
Bumblebee: Haha, maybe.
Alright, well thanks very much! Enjoy the tournaments, don't drink too much or lose too much money! Final words?
Bumblebee: I want to give a big thanks to Mat from TLAF/Get ShinyThings, Razer and all the guys over at Twitch. They're doing an amazing job of supporting us and I hope you will show them your appreciation.