Saturday, July 30, 2011


Incredible Miracle teamates Nestea and LosirA in the first ever Z v Z finals of a GSL.

Like most GSL Finals this one did not disappoint in terms of being onesided with very little doubt about who was going to win. Nestea dominated LosirA. Nestea showed some great skill and awesome play, but ultimately I had to go through yet another lopsided and 4-5 game GSL Finals where you have to wonder if the GSL is designed to showcase only the skills and strategies of one player and for the other it is like a massive month long Punk'd episode.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FXO Winning

FXOpen is the first foreign/non-Korean team to compete in the GSTL and although people were very excited about their participation, no one expected them to do very well. There was plenty of discussion of them being all killed by B or C team players and making fools of themselves. The expectations were so low, that so long as they didn't look stupid and play horrible games, it could be considered a win for the non-Korean scene.

They didn't do too well in their first few games, taking a few games, but never winning a match.

That was of course until last week, when they were matched up against Incredible Miracle, a team which has two double GSL winners, both of whom are considered to be the best in the world for Protoss and Terran. They had already lost against teams with lesser reputations and accomplishments and so there was not much hope for them winning against the powerhouse of IM.

Four games later, FXOpen was literally living and playing in a different world. qxc had been sent out as their first player and he went on to all-kill IM. Granted the first three players were not the best IM had to offer, but the fourth game was taken off of Mvp.

Here's an interview with qxc after his all-kill from TL.


Hello "Bandana Man," what do you think of your new Korean nickname?
I think it's quite touching. I've also grown rather fond of John Lennon Toto Destroyer as well as the Bandana Terran. Although if I am to continue my reign as Bandana Man I will require a new bandana sometime soon.

Interviewer's note: If someone got Qxc a fitting bandana for Anaheim, Fionn's wish for a pirate Qxc may be in the near future

What was behind the decision to put yourself out first?

With Sheth gone our options were more limited. Sending out a protoss on Bel'Shir was basically out of the question and of the three remaining players (Me/Tgun/Moonan) I felt the most comfortable on the map.

Did you expect the results that you achieved?

I don't know if expect is the right word. I had been hoping for an all kill and I had done some preparation beforehand (researching IM's likely roster and preparing ceremonies of course).

What was did it feel like when IM put out MVP for the final match? Were you nervous at all?

I went into the match aiming for an all kill. I knew that meant eventually I would be playing world class players and whatever nervousness I might have had about that I had already dealt with beforehand. At the time I felt ready to take on anyone IM had.

In all four games, you showed some extremely solid play, what would you contribute your increase in skill to?

Practicing against Koreans has helped tremendously. In order to be competitive here I needed to improve significantly. Additionally my practice regiment has become much more focused (and actually exists) which has helped me systematically iron out my problems and increase my skill.

In our very first interview, I asked how many Korean's have heard of you, and you responded "if all goes as planned, many more than before," do you feel more recognized in Korea now than before?

If the attention I've been getting online is any indication I would say that yes. Many many more Koreans have heard of Bandana Terran.

What future goals do you have for Korea?

I'd like to play in the next Code A. After that I have to return to the USA for one year of university. After that... who knows?

How did you guys celebrate your victory?

We went out and got BBQ. After that I went and worked out. Played some Diablo 2 and just generally relaxed. Our schedule has been pretty grueling and more than anything else I just wanted to take a break. Oh and I also read about 20 issues of Deadpool. That character is hilarious.

You'll be fighting your way through the open bracket of MLG Anaheim, how do you anticipate yourself doing there?

I hope to do well but there's a lot of factors that I don't have a good handle on yet. I'm not sure the best way to deal with jet lag as well as the endurance required to play for hours on end. Unlike the GSTL which I was able to test my progress in almost weekly it's been a while since I've played in a LAN tournament. With a bit of luck and my new found power level I expect I can make it quite far.

Scan the island?

Yes sir!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with TSL Coach on Puma's Departure


Interview with Coach Lee from TSL


Please provide us with some more details regarding your decision to release PuMa from the team and PuMa’s decision to join EG (Evil Geniuses).
Shortly after his arrival from the US, PuMa was not himself and was seen frequently sighing for about three days as if he was stressed out. Naturally, I was concerned to see this coming from someone who had just won the NASL. This attitude continued even after we won our GSTL match a few days later. I had never seen this side of PuMa during the one year we were together. Sensing something strange was going on, I asked him repeatedly what was wrong, but he did not give me an answer. But he finally opened up to me the day after the GSTL match about his dilemma. At that point, I felt that he had already made up his mind to leave the team.

I am sure you were very displeased at that point.
Definitely. When FruitDealer and Tester decided to leave TSL, we agreed that we would do our best to keep the remaining team intact, play together, and perform our best … all the while not putting heavy pressure on tournament results. But after hearing this news from PuMa, I did not know what to think or how to react.

I am sure you tried to keep him from leaving. What kind of conversation have you two had during this whole process?
That he shouldn’t leave like this and that this was not an agreement made through the right channels, nor an official trade between two teams. I even told him that there will be a lot of negative feedback surrounding this, but he was adamant that he would be able to live through this negativity. He felt bad about his decision and told us that he knew a lot about the team (EG) already. Since we are bound to run into each other again in the future, we decided to part ways amicably.

You have announced that the team is currently in “rebuilding” mode. I would presume that this event caused some turmoil internally as well.
Having been blindsided by the news, we did not know how to react. SangHo and Clide were worried and it came to light that they were also approached similarly in the past.

Are you saying that some other TSL members were approached as well?
Yes, I found out through this whole ordeal. When SangHo and Clide were approached by other teams, they told me that they declined the offers due to their respect for TSL and the importance of continuing with the team that they originally started with. They thought it was best not to tell me since they thought it would cause unnecessary distractions and concerns.

Why do you think this happened?
I think foreign teams approach them due to their fan base. Clide has a lot of foreign fans … about 2 to 3 thousand Twitter followers that consists mostly of foreigners. SangHo does as well. It’s a lot of fans considering they haven’t won a major tournament yet. As for PuMa, I believe the offers came in due to his victory at NASL, but am just disappointed that he made such a big decision in such a short time.

Why do you think he made the decision to join EG?
I guess the environment has a lot to do with it, and by that I mean the state of the Korean pro-gaming scene for Starcraft 2. If PuMa was placed in Code S, I believe he would not have taken the deal. From the Korean player’s perspective, getting into Code S is hard, and winning the GSL is even harder, thus the door of opportunity is very narrow. Experiencing the foreign Starcraft 2 scene, and seeing first-hand the impact it has on a global level probably made him think that his accomplishment in Korea is small compared to what he is capable of doing in the foreign scene.

I sense that you are not satisfied with the Korean SC2 pro-gaming scene.
If I said I was satisfied I would be lying. The difficulty in getting placed in the GSL and the fact that we have no other leagues are some of my concerns.

So why didn’t you sign PuMa to a contract beforehand?At first, we wanted him on a contract, and so did the other teammates. But we did not feel it was necessary at the time since everyone showed so much passion and commitment. I trusted him, but now I am regretting my decision [to put off the contract] a little bit.

It seems like a lot of members have left TSL recently. Anything you would like to say about this?
Rain’s dad lives in New York and his dream has always been to go abroad. It was only after he left the team that he signed with Fnatic, so what happened with Rain is different from Puma’s situation. Part of the reason why Rain left originated from some of the issues that arised once our team entered into a “rebuilding” mode

What other issues did the team go through during this “rebuilding” phase?
TSL has not had a very good showing in tournaments so far this year, which lead to a decrease in number of members as well as sponsors. We initially cultivated a low pressure practice environment within our team, but we did not have good results in the tournaments. We had many members placed in Code S but none of them advanced far enough, which is why we decided to go into “rebuilding” mode. During this transitional process, FruitDealer and Tester preferred the low pressure environment, whereas the other team members felt it was best to incorporate a more rigid practice regimen. Due to poor showings in tournaments, the sponsorship funds decreased which naturally lead to pay cuts across the board. This whole incident lead to the eventual departure of FruitDealer and Tester, and Rain had trouble meshing with the other members due to the age difference (Rain being the youngest) on top of his desire to go abroad. If only we had accelerated our rebuilding phase, I believe Rain would have stayed with the team.

There are some rumors that there were salary issues with the players. What are your thoughts on this?
While I can’t give you the exact amounts, FruitDealer, Tester and Clide received a monthly salary from the team. Besides those three, the other members were on a stipend basis. After the rebuilding phase, Clide and SangHo returned the salaries / stipends that they received to provide some additional financial support for the whole team. We were very thankful for their gesture. Now that I think about it, our team was fairly quick in providing salaries compared to the others. Starcraft 2 was slow to catch on in Korea. On top of that, back then the economy was in a poor state and the sponsorship endowment was quite low. We were even in danger to losing our main team sponsor.

It seems like you should be taking appropriate measures to prevent this from happening again.
We are going to put everyone on a contract. Every team member has agreed to sign and no other player has a desire to leave the team.

What are the contract details?
First and foremost, we will be putting our 6 main players on a contract right away. The new recruits will eventually get onboard in the near future. We will be paying for all living expenses and focus on creating a favorable practice environment. As for the contract expirations, we are thinking about 1 year, but ultimately it will be tailored towards the players’ needs and wants.

I understand that there are very few sponsorship opportunities in the Korean market.
It has definitely become harder today than in the past due to poor tournament showings. I would like to take this time to thank our current sponsors for sticking with us through thick and thin. Some have even contacted us to tell us how much they appreciate our passion to do better and to wish us the best.

Anything you would like to say to the other teams?
I hope that the other teams don’t end up in a similar situation to us; furthermore, I would also like the players to understand some of these implications. It may not be easy to implement, but I hope to see standard agreements to become the norm when it comes to recruiting and having the rights to a player.

Some are putting the blame on your lack of coaching ability.
I agree to an extent, but this was really out of my control. Part of the blame lies on the systematic risks in terms of the bad economy and the small Korean SC2 fan base compared to SC1. Very few professional Korean SC2 players currently “enjoy” playing Starcraft 2 due to the small fan base. This needs to be solved in order for Starcraft 2 to flourish as an e-sport.

And how do you propose we solve this?
Our team’s mission has always been to promote the growth and popularity of Starcraft 2. We have published video tutorials and training videos for beginners, and so far, our first video received about 20,000 hits. We even purchased HD equipments to provide the viewers with quality content.

Any final words?
First of all, I would like to apologize to FruitDealer and Tester for not fulfilling what I’ve promised to do. Despite our differences, I really hope that they do well in their respective teams. I’d also like to thank my current players for believing in me and the team. Lastly, I would like to thank the foreign fans for their continued support.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Naniwa vs. Thorzain

TSL3 had a lot of memorable moments. Huge upsets, great strategies, but by far my favorite moment is captured in the video below.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 9 on Z v Z

Z v Z is insanity in the early game. Gi i tinituhon ti hongge'on este na inafana'. Puru ha' kinaduku.

In July v. Moon this morning in the Round of 8 of the NASL Finals, Day9 stated very well what effect Z v Z has on poor, daffe' nerds such as myself. While July teched to Roaches and Moon rushed to Banelings, July wandered around the map scouting with a squad of zerlings and narrowly dodged Moon's banelings several times. After doing this several times and narrowly avoiding defeat in the form of the green oozing corpses of his zergling army, Day9 yelped for July to stop this, he eats fatty foods and his heart can't handle this!

In Just a Few Minutes...

Round of 8, NASL, Day 2. July v. Moon. Z v Z.

Puede ha' u fanggana' i gayu-hu!

July > Morrow

NASL Finals Day 1 showed the dominance of South Korean Starcraft 2 players with the exceptions of aTnDarkforce and Fnatic who were able to overcome TSL_Alive and oGsZenio. Especially dominant was i mas ya-hu na gayu ST_July, who crushed very Mouz_Morrow so badly that his grandchildren will most likely be born kitan. Morrow played Terran at the start of SC2, but later switched to Zerg and now sometimes switches back to Terran when playing his most hated matchup Z v Z. In the first match on Xel'Naga Caverns, an early omen foreshadowed Morrow's demise, when he accidentally opened with a 12 - Engineering Bay instead of barracks. He quickly cancelled it and started the barracks instead but it was still a sign that it wasn't going to be his day.

Here's some of the #NASL tweets from July and Morrow's match earlier today:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Here's the bracket.

If you've been reading this blog for the past few months you know who I'm rooting for.

July Mumumumu!

He crushed plenty of nerds at MLG Columbus and came in 4th at Dreamhack. I hope that this is finally his chance to take a major title in Starcraft 2.

Tumblr Starcraft 2

From Semi Lemy: