As IEM champions you have a pretty big target over your head going into the first tournament of a new season. Are you looking over your shoulder or looking forward to the challenge?
I honestly don't see it like that simply because we're playing a different setup with a different player. I welcome the challenge though and am not really worried about how we'll perform as I feel like I'm playing with two of the best players in the world right now and we play very well together.
You came out of nowhere in Hanover to claim victory and, looking at recent predictions, people still don’t expect much from you. Does that annoy you at all or do you enjoy the underdog tag?
People will always think what they want to think, it doesn't really bother me either way and I've learned to stop paying much attention to it simply because you can't let peoples opinions control you. I've done very well at tournaments I was predicted to do poorly at, and very poorly at tournaments people thought I'd win so it goes both ways. Generally speaking though I'd prefer everyone assume we'll be a non-factor because it means they won't spend their time preparing for you and that is definitely a big advantage.
Picking the “best player” of any class is pretty tough but there can’t be many warlocks ahead of you right now, can there?
As you say it's something which is definitely tough to do, and it's also something which is extremely subjective. I'm not one to really try to compare myself to others and say I'm better than this guy or that guy as I'd much rather let my play speak for me. That being said I would definitely like to think that I'm at least in the conversation and I'm confident competing against anyone else playing my class in the world.
Wizardcleave has been a pretty heavily discussed comp, especially with access to the trinkets from ICC. How strong do you think it is compared to the RLS you ran at IEM and compared to the other teams at this event?
Well the thing is that Wizardcleave encompasses a ton of different setups so to say that Wizardcleave as a collective is stronger than one thing or another wouldn't really be accurate. I think that in general the setups can be very strong, but obviously some are much stronger than others and in my opinion the ones that're shining right now are ones featuring a Druid healer such as what Complexity Red or Arenapwnage will be running. Druids offer so much extra control as well as unparalleled mobility, and immunity to CCs such as Hex and Sheep making them an extremely powerful healer in those setups especially when paired with other Hybrids who can throw them heals when being swapped to. In general though I feel like RLS is probably the best all around setup available right now, and it's probably a lot stronger than it was at IEM with the new gear setup which is a pretty scary thought for those competing against it.
Spectators are probably looking forward to EG vs Fnatic but which opponent do you relish playing most at Columbus?
It's hard for me to say which match up I'm most excited about simply because I feel like most of the ones that I'm most looking forward to other teams will avoid in order to use a counter against us. I really would love to fight a mirror match, or at least one that's on even ground but it's pretty likely that we won't get the opportunity to do that. Barring that I'd probably have the most fun playing against Orangemarmalade's new team simply because they're always fun to compete with and it'll be interesting to see if they're sticking with RMP and what strategies they've come up with to compete in the new gear set.
Obviously you’re aiming for first place, but what would you be satisfied with, come Sunday night?
I'll be satisfied as long as I come out of the event feeling satisfied as long as we perform well in each of our match ups. You're going to have losses in tournaments and you'll never be able to win every one so that's something I can deal with, but the thing that leaves me frustrated is if I feel like we didn't do everything we could've in a series. Losing a match without having used all your cool downs or doing everything in your power to keep the game going is what's frustrating for me, so as long as we can avoid those kind of losses I'll be pleased with however we do.
2009 was a pretty lean year for EG. How much do you feel like this new lineup can push on from the IEM success?
I feel like everyone on our team has the desire to replicate the success we had at IEM, and we'll be working hard to put ourselves in the best position to do so whether or not that means sticking with our current setup, learning new ones, or adding a 4th player I'm not sure. Either way I feel like 2010 will be a good year for Team EG as we'll be doing our absolute best to be an extremely competitive team.
If you had the chance at the end of the year, would you swap that IEM victory for MLG victory?
Nah there's no chance. Winning at IEM is only rivaled by winning at Blizzcon, everything else is small potatoes in comparison as far as I'm concerned. There are only a few teams which have ever won a tournament on the scale of the IEM finals so it's definitely something very cool, and although I loved winning MLG when I did it just isn't the same as winning something like Blizzcon or the IEM Finals.
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Other esports work
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ACON5 2005 UK Qualifier
ESWC 2005 Finals
ESWC 2006 UK Qualifier
ESWC 2006 Finals
CPL WT 2006: UK
IEM Global Finals 2009
IEM Global Finals 2010
Loaded Black wins all-RMP finals in Columbus
SK through to brackets via tie-breaker
fnatic and Frenetic Array survive open bracket
Perfect start for SK in problem-hit MLG
Realz: "making top four is a must"
THE NEW JERSEY