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MaDFroG: "I really missed the competitive gaming"

By Samuel 'DarthBotto' Horton
Oct 25, 2010 09:42

ImageIn an exclusive interview, we talk with SK Gaming's one and only StarCraft II player, Fredrik 'MaDFroG' Johansson, to learn the fine details about his impressions of his game and what his home life is like.

Fresh from his appearance at DSRACK #3, SK Gaming's SE Fredrik 'MaDFroG' Johansson obliged to give a full interview, in order to gain more familiarity with the website's community. With questions ranging from his general external work life to his professional input about player patterns, we learn the details from one of the world's top players for his unspoken wisdom.


It is understood that while you are competing in StarCraft II, that you often will clear your schedule of work obligations. Could you explain, just briefly, who you are when you are not the SK Gaming superstar MaDFroG and what exactly you do elsewhere?

Yeah, well sometimes I have weekends of playing half the time. I actually had to take time off from work for some upcoming tournaments this winter. When I'm not playing, I have a full-time job as a prison guard, or what you may call the place you go to when you are just a suspect of a crime; it's a job I really like, mostly because of all the good friends I have there.
"I really missed the competitive gaming, and when StarCraft II came out, I was ready for it."

Approximately how much time do you usually practice per day?

Anywhere from zero to a maximum of ten hours, somewhere in that range, depending on my schedule.

So, are you saying it is somewhat comparable to a South Korean player’s regiment?

No, not at all... I get so frustrated, like when I have every sixth day of the week off, because I just worked six days in a row... The last of those seven days I feel so good and everything about my game feels great. But, then it's back to work, making a weekend's twelve-hour work day... so the other twelve hours of that day I have to sleep, so after that weekend, all the things I built up are kind of lost...

While playing for SK Gaming as a Warcraft III player some time ago, you were an adept undead star that has always remained a fan favorite beyond your retirement. Now that you are playing as zerg in StarCraft II, you have been building a formidable reputation as one who can manipulate the race’s supposed disadvantages in your favor. Can you explain how the undead and zerg compare and how said comparison attracted you?

Well, I have always played zerg since the first StarCraft and I just have a good feel for fast units and being able to make fast counters... I don't think you can compare Warcraft III and StarCraft II, since they are so different. There was never any macro in Warcraft III, all you needed was a good game plan and a good micro, which isn't enough in StarCraft II, but at least I know what I have to work on.

In May of 2007, hypothesized that you would be the first professional StarCraft II player, due to the fact that you stated, soon after the debut announcement at the World Wide Invitational, that the world would see a professional in you once again. From the minimal media provided at the time, what attracted you the most to this game?

Well, to be honest, I really missed the competitive gaming, and when StarCraft II came out, I was ready for it.... I just wish I had some more time to play.

Unlike Warcraft III, StarCraft II has been dredging up an enormous portion of the pre-existing Blizzard Entertainment real-time strategy population, being from StarCraft: Brood War and Warcraft III. Why do you think StarCraft II has had this sort of effect that Warcraft III did not have?

Well, as I said before, StarCraft and Warcraft are different games... I think one of the reasons is the options that you have in your game; there are so many things you can improve in StarCraft II. In Warcraft III, you could kind of reach the top and stay there for as long as you played. StarCraft II is also so much more fun to watch, simply because you never know before the game starts what the players are going to do. Like, say they practiced for one month with one very unique build that has never been seen before. In Warcraft III, you knew what was going to happen pretty much the entire game. Also, I think the reason why Warcraft III players change is because they are sick of Warcraft III, but also they know that the game that will be played from now on at all big tournaments will be StarCraft II.
"StarCraft II is also so much more fun to watch, simply because you never know before the game starts what the players are going to do."

Would you consider StarCraft II a sequel to not only StarCraft: Brood War, but Warcraft III, as well?

Not really, since I think of Warcraft III and StarCraft II as being so different.

On a personal note, I recall my good friend Dan ‘Artosis’ Stemkoski once described a comparison of StarCraft: Brood War and Warcraft III players early on. After he defeated Jae Ho 'Moon' Jang in a thirty-minute match, he said that he noticed Warcraft III players tend to not seek natural expansions so much. As a former Warcraft III player, what are your thoughts on this observation?

Well, I think it's kind of true for now. But it will soon change... since macro wasn't a major part of Warcraft III and its players have to adapt into that kind of style. However, Warcraft III players do have an overall better micro than StarCraft: Brood War players, in my opinion.
"Warcraft III players do have an overall better micro than StarCraft: Brood War players, in my opinion."

During your time as a zerg player for SK Gaming, you have faced many challenges. What would you say your biggest improvement has been since your induction? Are there any particular aspects of your play style that you believe you need to improve on?

I have become better but there is still so much to learn, my biggest improvement is my APM, which has gone up from 80 to 120-150, so that's one thing, which I still want to make it higher. I can see what I want to be able to do and it is so awesome, I just can't do it which is really frustrating. Just give me more time and I will get there.

If we were to expand the SK.SC2 roster, what sorts of players would you prefer to have on your team, to compete with and against?

I think the perfect team would be two terran, two protoss and two zerg players, so that you can play against all races and have different styles... Also a thing I learned from the past is that you have to get along with your team as well. I have some names in my head that I would love to be in the same team with, it's just unfortunate everyone is already taken...

For aspiring zerg players, what advice would you like to give?

The only thing you can really do is to play more, get into a group with some friends playing different races than you. If you lose a game, show the game to your terran friends and tell them to play like this against zerg, they might win some games, but pretty soon they are going to send you a replay back where they got their asses kicked and then you can just take that style and play until you lose and send the replay back... I don't think you should look too much at the pros with 300 APM, trying to do what they do, since you won't be able to do it in the same way. You can always get some ideas from other players, but in the end, it all comes down to you... just play more than your opponents and you should be alright.
"I don't think you should look too much at the pros with 300 APM, trying to do what they do, since you won't be able to do it in the same way."

One more thing... don't over-analyze the game... if you lose, simply play another game, don't get stuck on one game that will just make you lose a lot more. If you get beaten by the seven pool strategy, one game it doesn't mean that you should always go for the eleven or twelve gate. You can't be safe with everything, however, if you know your opponent from before, you will know what the chances are that he will do a certain thing. But you can't think like that in a random ladder game, when you don't know who you are facing... So don't make the counter to what you lost to in the last game.

Recently, you fell to against All authority’s French terran player, Pierre ‘Sarens’ Guivarch in a two-to-one defeat. What factors do you feel influenced the game enough to give him the advantage?

Well, first of all, he is a great player. When I think back at all the games I've lost, I know what I have done wrong... It just takes me a bit longer to correct it. You have to remember that I have been away for four years from all games. He's a guy with 300 APM, and I have 120, so he is all over the place while I have a hard time dealing with it... my macro is just too weak and that's why I lost.

It has been a pleasure having you, our highly-talented zerg player, divulging exclusive details about who you are and what you do. Are there any final words you would like to send out to our outspoken community before we close?

I hope that there are some fans out there that still believe in me and I will do all that I can to get back on the top of my game! I won't let you down!

Thank you for your time, Fredrik. Until next time.



Be sure to remain current on with our content during these up and coming weeks, as we provide more exclusive coverage and features with tournaments such as EPS Nordic III and DreamHack Winter approaching.



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