Monday, April 25, 2011

I haven't been following Code A as much on the GSL this league. Not sure why. I guess, I've already picked my crew of Starcraft 2 heroes and so I don't really need anymore crowded their way into my heart.

One of the things which kept me away from Code A this season is the lack of Kelly from Singapore. I enjoyed her nerdy commentary and was sad to see her go. I still tune in sometimes when she lives streams. The new casters for Code A weren't as interesting at first. DOA was kind of a straight man, but needed a less serious partner to be a foil to the fact that he always looks uptight even when he's gleeful. When Kelly left and they introduced Moletrap, it was really confusing. Artosis and Tasteless work well because both are huge nerds, but one is a straight nerd, the other is a joker. With Moletrap and DOA, it seemed at first as if both were straight nerds. But after a couple of casts, Moletrap has started to grow on me. There is an almost geek earnestness to his discomfort and awkward casting. Hearing him explode when a nuke is queued up is hysterical.

Some interviews with the two Code Caster can be found below courtesy of Sixjax.

From Sixjax:

Sixjaxgaming was recently able to round up the two members of the Code-A casting team for a few words.  Artosis sat down with Moletrap for an on camera chat and I had the privilege to interview Doa via email.
The Code-A casting duo is living what many would consider a dream, and it seems as if they’re well aware of how good they have it.  Both Moletrap and Doa had a lot to say about their experiences abroad, with GOMTV, and their personal histories as casters.  They were nice enough to give us a peek into their lives despite their busy schedules, and for that I’d like to thank them up front.

Without further adieu, the Code-A casting team:
Artosis with Moletrap:


evoli: Doa, I apologize for being so blunt, but it really seems like you came out of fucking nowhere. You went from being a relatively low-key caster who’s bread and butter was youtube to being the community’s Code-A casting savior. Would you mind giving a brief summary of your Starcraft casting career prior to your start with GOMTV for those, like me, who are unfamiliar with the entire story?

Doa: Ha. Well I don’t know if I’d say Code A savior. I’m just glad to get this chance and I’m trying to do my best. I began casting because I had a background in speaking and I wanted to contribute to the community, but I knew I didn’t have time to play at the top level. It started out with some youtube casts and the response was pretty positive, which prompted me to start doing more with it. I ended up working with an organization called the Rush Network and started casting live events for them. I ended up meeting a lot of great players and other casters during that time and was having a ton of fun. I pretty much cast with someone different almost every week, which was great because it really trained me on how to just be able to jump in and cast with anyone and have fun doing it. Probably the biggest event I did pre-GSL was a LAN in St Louis that was put on by Eleven Gaming. I cast it with Catspajamas from the lobby of a Best Western hotel. We had about 30-50 people watching plus the random confused person who was checking in/out of their rooms and had to see what these nerds were yelling about behind their computers. (the players were upstairs. cats and I were casting from a table in front of a big screen that displayed the game) One week after that LAN I flew to Korea.

evoli: Now you’re big time; you’re living in South Korea, which many still consider the Starcraft Mecca, casting Starcraft professionally for the GSL. What’s it feel like to be casting one the most prestigious Starcraft 2 leagues on the planet? Furthermore how did you react when you found out that you were one of the casters that GOM had hired? I can only imagine what it must have been like when you read the email and found out you had been selected.

Doa: Honestly it feels like an alternate reality or something. It still feels too amazing to be true. When I started getting really into casting I’d joke with my friends that I’d be casting the GSL someday and now here I am. There’s a certain amount of pressure involved as well since people have such high expectations (and they should), but it doesn’t really affect me. I can only be myself and cast with my style and hope people like it.
Getting that email from John is actually kind of an embarrassing story. lol. I keep my smartphone by my bed and use it as an alarm clock as well. So picture this: I’ve just been woken up by my alarm. I grab my phone to turn it off and… oh. I’ve got an email. Oh.. It’s from John the Translator and he wants me to come and cast GSL. That’s nice. (At this point I’m still 75% asleep.) Wait… WHAT? THIS CAN’T BE REAL ASKDJLSADJljdaklas!!! I jump out of bed and re-read it on my computer. I’m thinking “No way. I’m nobody. This must be a scam. (still mostly asleep) But it might be real… but I need to be sure! (and here’s where it gets really embarrassing) I kid you not. I actually sent an email to the Handsome Nerd contact email to ask if it was legit or not. About an hour later when I woke up and realized that the likelihood of someone impersonating John the Translator to scam GSL applicants is pretty low. I felt like a moron, but everything worked out ok. Artosis even kindly replied and confirmed it. Just goes to show you shouldn’t check your email until you’re fully awake! You’ll do stupid things otherwise. So yeah. There was a good amount of disbelief when I got the email.

evoli: If I’m not mistaken you have a wife back in the states. I’m sure it must be difficult for both of you to be apart from one another. How does your wife feel about your pursuing such an unconventional career and traveling half way around the world to work?

Doa: It’s tough, but she knows how important it is to me. We still talk nearly every day over Skype or Bnet, but I still can’t wait to see her again in a few weeks. I’m just really lucky I’m married to someone who’s brave enough to go after an awesome fun life with me instead of a normal, safe, boring life. She’s actually a very talented (award winning even) producer, editor, director so she and I have already begun brainstorming about some pretty awesome content we’ll be working on once I get home. We’ve both got some history in sports broadcasting so we’re hoping to be able to apply that to a career in eSports.

evoli: Besides the separation between you and your wife, what has been hardest part about living in Korea? I know moving is never the easiest thing to do, and you were thrown into a completely different culture on the other side of the planet and you were expected to get down to work right away. Are there any particular things you miss or anything that was remarkably hard to get accustomed to?

Doa: I miss Root Beer, lol. I know there must be some here somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet. The language has been a challenge to learn, but I can get around most places on my own now at least. The hardest part has really been learning the business side of eSports. I’m certainly not much of a businessman so I’m struggling a bit there. All I want to do is keep casting!

evoli: On a more positive note, what have you really enjoyed about Korea?

Doa: Pretty much everything. It’s a great country! The culture is extremely polite and friendly. It actually reminds me a lot of my home in Minnesota. I’ll definitely miss the food quite a bit when I leave, as well. I’m actually trying to learn to cook some myself so I can keep making it back home. I actually love cooking.

evoli: I get conflicting stories all the time about how popular Starcraft 2 is in Korea; sometimes I hear that Starcraft 2 is really picking up traction and other times I hear that Broodwar is still miles ahead in terms of support. Is the Korean Starcraft 2 scene everything that you imagined it would be? To follow up, how do you think the Korean Starcraft 2 scene compares to the American Starcraft 2 scene in terms of fan base?

Doa: SC1 is definitely still huge here and that shouldn’t surprise nor worry anyone. They’ve been watching it for over a decade! I’ve heard there was also some untrue bad press about SC2 that was circulated before its launch that may be holding some people back as well, although I didn’t see it myself so don’t take my word as fact. I do know that a lot of players are seeing that there’s a lot more money to be made playing SC2 now and I’ve seen more fans coming to the studio almost every week. SC2 is the future and everyone, and I mean everyone, knows this. There’s kind of a misconception out there right now that you have to choose between the two. I’m still a BW fan and I also cast GSL. The transition will take a year or two and that’s perfectly fine. On the American side it really seems like right now we’ve got a bigger SC2 fan base than Korea does, which I think is great! I told my family that SC2 was going to explode around the globe this year and I’m glad to say that so far that’s been totally true. As far as the fans themselves go; they’re the same everywhere. A sports fan is a sports fan!

evoli: We’ve compared the fan base between regions, now I’d like to compare players between regions. I know you regularly laddered on the North American server before you left, and I know you’ve been laddering a bit on the Korean server since you showed up in Seoul. What do you think about the skill difference between the average Korean player and the average North American player? Is the Korean ladder any more difficult than the North American ladder?

Doa: The Korean ladder is much more difficult. Gold in Korea is Diamond on NA. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. I honestly don’t know. I suspect that the main reasons are that a lot of these players in Korea grew up watching and playing SC1 and already have a solid background in their mechanics that a lot of players in NA lack because SC2 is their first RTS and don’t regularly watch pro-play. Another factor might be time. In Korean culture most kids live with their parents until they’re married. They don’t need as much income from jobs, etc and that gives them more time to play. All this is just speculation though. It’s a rather entertaining mystery actually. This isn’t a criticism of the NA ladder or anything either. It’s just an observation of differences.

evoli: If I remember correctly, GOMTV said they were cycling through their Code-A casters. What are you currently planning to do when your stint with the GSL is up or put on hold? There have been a ton of leagues launched since you left the states, so I’m sure finding more casting work shouldn’t be too difficult if you were interested in continuing to cast professionally.

Doa: I’d love to keep casting professionally after my stay here is over! Esports is my life now. Someone could look at what I’ve done here in Korea and say it was a nice break from “the real world”, but I see it as the first step in what I’ll be doing full time now. Even if I do end up needing a job to make ends meet, my focus will still be on casting. I’ve been looking for casting opportunities in NA already and I’ll continue to do so once I get back.

evoli: Speaking of all the tournaments popping up, what is your current spectating schedule like? We’ve been extremely lucky with all the boom in content lately, but it’s gotten to the point where most people, unfortunately, can no longer watch each and every event as they occur. Are there any tournaments or weekly shows that you do your best to watch in addition to the GSL games?

Doa: I always watch the TSL and I keep up to date on the NASL and IPL as well. Luckily, I’ve got enough time to watch everything at the moment. I haven’t watched as much Day9 as I used to though, which has been a bummer. I feel like the Day[9] Daily was the milk that sustained me in my esports infancy.
evoli: Alright Doa, we’re going to wrap this up with a little a bit of real talk. These are going to be shorter questions, but I still want you to pour your heart out. Alright, real talk: What’s your favorite Korean pro team?

Doa: Ha. Torch would be mad if I didn’t say Startale and I do like a lot of those guys, but right now I’m watching SlayerS. They’ve got a ton of new talent and I’m curious to see where their guys will end up.
evoli: Real talk: What’s the best game you’ve ever cast?

Doa: Boxer vs Avenge game 3. Moletrap. Nukes. End of story. There was a Bo3 at the St. Louis LAN between two payers named Hunger and Kencorp that were a ton of fun as well. Anyone who’s seen those knows what I’m talking about.

evoli: Real talk: What’s your favorite match up to cast?

Doa: TvP right now. Both races have a ton of different legit strats they can do.

evoli: You’ve been known to tell a silly joke or two during games. Real talk: Of all your cheesy jokes you’ve told while casting GSL, which one was your favorite?

Doa: lol. Oh man… I don’t even remember most of those jokes after I make them. I like referencing old cartoons and games I loved as a kid since it makes me feel all warm and happy inside. I heard the Facebook status one about the Stalker dying was popular? Honestly I just say whatever comes to mind.

evoli: Realest talk: Do you prefer Kelly or Moletrap more as a co-caster?

Doa: That’s like making me pick between Dinosaurs and Ninjas. Which is cooler? How can anyone make that choice?

evoli: And I always like to finish things up with a real gentleman’s question. Real talk: What is your favorite alcohol beverage?

Doa: Ah. I enjoy a nice Whiskey on the Rocks. Blackberry Brandy if I’m feeling saucy.

evoli: Alright, well that will do it. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us here at, Doa. We appreciate it tons. Any last words or shout outs before I let you go?

Doa: Huge thanks to my lovely wife of course! Thank you as well to everyone that I cast with before now. It was a ton of fun. Thanks to Dan and Nick for being incredibly helpful and to everyone at GOMtv for the huge opportunity!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Rise of Streams

I often myself awake in the middle of night not playing, but watching people play through their point of views. This concept started off in the late Brood War days and when the SC2 beta came out, the trend continued. To see the players gracefully execute their actions and see their thought process on what they see and how to react accordingly is so educational. My 2 favorite streams happen to be from my 2 favorite players, Sen and White-Ra. White-Ra commentates in games in English (Alternating with Russian as he is from Ukraine) and tells his viewers about his "special tactics." He is so well mannered and hilarous to boot, priceless entertainment. Sen on the other hand is just a beast and tonight I watched him rip through the North America ladder like it is nothing. His infestor play is just awe dropping, and to quote him in the chat, "Infested Terrans are the Z FFs." ^_^

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Genius Terran

When I first started following Starcraft 2 last year, I would regularly vent about the gap between the legendary status of some players and the level of play that they would sometimes exhibit. For example, although Julyzerg is now my favorite player, the first games I saw him play didn't impress me. The same went for Fruitdealer who was a god in the first season of the GSL, but has since struggled.

One such player who did not impress when I first heard of his legend was oGsNada, the Genius Terran from Starcraft 1. Known as the most consistent progamer, a golden mouse winner and an all around nice guy. The legend didn't seem to manifest at first. This does not mean I didn't think he was a good player, but rather I found myself trying to discern what of him was real and what was hype.

Yesterday while I was watching the VODs for the North American Starleague which began this past week, I saw some of the greatness of Nada. He was playing against SixJaxDde, another Terran, and the series was split 1 - 1 heading into the final game. The final was on Metaloposis and while the game seemed close with similar builds (marines, siege tanks, one or two banshess and finally vikings and medivacs), dde pulled into a serious lead when Nada threw away the bulk of his forces while attempting to break the marines and siege line of dde. Dde, smelling his lead quickly struck back at Nada's third base, inflicting some serious damage and preventing him from mining. Nada, barely held on to hold the line, while dde expanded. When dde withdrew from Nada's third, the floating command center of Nada was landed in his high yield, and he moved his tanks over to attempt to defend it, cramming them into the high ground and the xel'naga towers. Dde with his tank and supply lead slowly pushed into Nada's high yield base. Nada, far behind on bases, money and production facilities, made a brilliant decision which eventually won him the game. While keeping his meager tank force around his high yield, he took almost his entire marine force and dropped them into the main of dde, where all of his production facilities were. The stimmed marines started destroying everything in sight: barracks, the starport, factories and eventually supply depots. Dde, decided to return to his base to deal with the massive drop, leaving the map to Nada, who quickly moved his siege line ahead, and stabilized his side of the map. Dde, tried to rebuild his production facilities in the grass in front of his natural.

It was almost as if a huge crack had appeared in the world. In just a few moments, everything was different. Nada had been losing quietly, sadly and slowly and suddenly he was on top and his victory was almost certain.

The incredible thing about watching Nada play was his macromanagement, something which is the mark of the greatest players. Dde had a much better economy than Nada and always had more money, and so some might see that has Dde playing a better game. But Nada's low money meant that he was managing his economy far better, never letting his money pile up, but always spending it constantly. That puts him in danger if he takes a huge hit to his economy or his army, since he doesn't have alot of money to bounce back right away. But it means that even when he is down, in the long run he can outlast his opponent. He is using his production facilities to their maximum advantage, not overbuilding anything, but only exactly what he needs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Dreamhack Invitational

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching the most well run and highest quality tournament on a stream, the Dreamhack Invitational. The games (Invited players include MC, Jinro, White-Ra, Huk, Idra, TLO, Sjow and Morrow), commentators (Demuslim and D'Apollo, forever now know as the English Archon ^^), and production values were all top notch. Watch the VODs here at their Justin.TV site. Thanks you you nerds in Sweden, for showing everyone how to put on an E-sports event.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The NASL is coming...

Later today, the 1st set of the matches from the NASL will be broadcasted, and we will finally see if this is the start North American E-sports Revolution, or quickly die out like the Championship Gaming Series (CGS). With a star studded lineup (Well the whole tournament is stacked) expect good games. The 1st match of the tournament is no other than Grubby vs Moon, who of course their popularity is insane and their past history in Warcraft III make it a brilliant move by the heads at NASL to have them start off the set. I am sad to see that Dimaga, Kas, and Adelscott are not in the tournament, as their results in the past 4 months are amazing and in my opinion are the best representations of their race in the European Scene.

*Check out Grubby's Interview on the NASL site, you can't help but like the guy, so well mannered and nice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

MKP Manggaganna'!

I like watching MarineKingPrime.We or as he is sometimes known Fake Boxer or Foxer play. First, because he is a great player, his micro makes my eyeballs scream sometimes. I cannot believe what I'm seeing, especially against zerg, where he defies physics, mechanics and logic against banelings.

Second, because he is the king of making ill-advised moves. My SC2 fandom is based primarily on what I see in players that I feel or that I identify with and so I like players like Nada or July because they are bihu kalang Guahu. I liked SanZenith when he first started in the GSL because his dream was to survive for 10 mins in a game and that used to be my goal too! (Mampos maolekna pa'go Si San. Kalang ha traiduit yu' yan i hinasso-ku put Guiya)

In his early rise in SC2, when MKP knew that his opponent was going Banelings, he wouldn't stutter, but still move out with pure Marines, or pure Marines and 1 Marauder. It was insane, completely ill-advised and if it were most other players, you would shriek that kaduku gui'! Baste ennao! Siempre pon matomba! The issue with ill-advised moves is that they tend not to work, because the game dynamics make them ridiculous. But MKP is such a great player because he can make obscene strategies work most of the time, when fate would rule that they end in misery and noob-stank.

His style was sorely tested last night in the Round of 4 of the GSL World Championship league, which is now solely filled with Koreans. On one side of the bracket MVP faced San and sent him packing. On the other MKP would face off against oGsMC. You could call them rivals, although everyone nowadays is MC's rival because he's at the top of the game, which is where everyone else wants to be.

MKP was booted out of a previous GSL by MC in convincing fashion and so MKP was naturally thirsty for revenge. In a best of five, MKP lost the first two games in a fashion which made me feel like I had just undergone an out of body experience and played two high level matches in the GSL. It was so bad that Tasteless on the Gom cast, could hardly speak after the second loss because it wasn't even interesting, it was just sad. It was like MKP was falling apart, and instead of it being gory and cool to watch, it just made you want to give up on life. Sometimes the tragedy of life can make you cherish living and moving ahead, but sometimes the tragedy is so naked and brutally raw that it just makes you want to crawl into a corner and drink the saltiness of your tears until you slowly waste away.

Those two first games were like that. MKP pulled a gold-base switch on Metalopolis, and gained an early league since he was not scouted by MC. But he later lost in an almost pathetic way when MC calmly countered by sneaking a pylon on the high ground on the left side of the gold, warping in zealots to take out his workers while MKP tried a soft contain. In game two, MKP tried a proxied Thor rush, which could have worked, except that MKP cut too many corners and while he was walling off and building a bunker, a zealot and a stalker broke through his defenses and the game becoming an after-school special for noobs on proper walling in defense techniques. Both of these games would make great inclusions into a highlight reel of "when cheese goes bad!"

MKP was two down, MC only had to win one more. Siempre ti sina ha ganna' este hun. It certainly did not look like it. He had cheesed his way into a massive hole playing against the best Protoss and currently best player in the world.

But in the next three games, MKP was able to actually come back and win the series. Inasa yu' ni' este. Ya esta ki pa'go ti hongge'on na manggana' gui'.

MC proxy Stargated outside of MKP's main on Crevasse. He also went 4gate, in hopes of creating a massive early game push to take out MKP who had fast expanded. The first Void Ray allowed MC to warp in on the high ground near the expansion, and zealots and the VR started to take out SCVs. A squad of Marines moved up to engage and MKP showed his incredible stutter step micro, even using his mule effectively to block the attacking zealots. It looked for certain that MC was going to crush MKP with this rush, but the micro held them at bay. MKP had to lift off his extra command center and lost it as two charged VRs took it out. But that attack allowed him to take out the ground army and also snipe the two VR. MKP quickly countered and won

In Game 4 MKP tried to rush with banshees to harass, but MC had an insanely early robo and so it was quickly stopped after two stalkers hit the sneaky banshee. But MKP had scraped together an interesting version of the "Tasteless build" where he started pushing with three siege tanks, about a dozen marines and switched the banshees from harass mode to death from above mode. A skirmsh took place outside of MC's expansion with MKP taking the day once he got siege mode.

Game 5 on Terminus Re was up in the air at the start, since we could not be sure who was going to push first, who was going to take the first risk. MKP expanded early, MC went for a three gate rush. MC's early rush failed, when he accidentally tipped off his opponent that he was breaking down the side rocks with a stalker running by the bunker to hit them from the other side. MKP built more bunkers and fought off MC. MC retreated to go Robo and colossus. MKP built several more barracks for a quick timing attack. When it came, MC had no colossus, and MKP just waltzed into his base. MC showed his skill by delaying MKP for as long as possible, leading him around his expansion, buying time so that the colossus could come out. Although it was a tactical win for MC, he lost alot of units and mining time.

A few minutes later they met again, MKP had more units with vikings and MC's army was destroyed.

Tasteless: MC is gonna be crushed!

Artosis: So is the world of reality that you live in!

MC, warps in a few zealots as his last line of defense but quickly GGs seeing it as pointless.

MKP, will now go back to the finals of the GSL. This will be his 3rd try, he has lost two before first to NesTea and later to MVP. He will be meeting MVP again this Friday in the finals, and he'll be hoping to avenge another crippling loss, when he was 4-0 by MVP in January.

Naniwa's Amazing Run

Naniwa won MLG dallas this past weekend, coming through the open bracket and going undefeated until the finals. This was 12 Best-of-3s, and did not even drop a single game. Naniwa's ability to read opponents is his greatest strength according to himself after winning a TSL open. In his stage interview, when asked about his flawless record, his attitude was something to be seen.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's 4 Gate

If you frequent the Internet than you would have bound to hear Rebecca's Black song "Friday," here we here an appropriately version of the song aimed for Sc2 fans. The song is so well done.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Protoss TT

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Sen and Morrow putting on their ZvP "face" while watching Dimaga play San in the GSL. The smiling fellow on the left is none other than Code A caster DoA. It was sad day for foreign fans to see Dimaga lose, but if you asked him, he said that ZvP is impossible and the match up he would like to avoid at all costs. Sen and Morrow Echo his thoughts as well.