We will be meeting with the player to first escape the so-called “Group of Death”, Stats. We must ask first, can you tell us how you feel after your return?
Stats: After my elimination in Ro32 last season, I was worried about what will happen if I fail like that in Season 2 as well. So, with those thoughts in mind, I practiced harder than ever, to the extent my hands started hurting. I think I was able to advance higher thanks to all the efforts I put in.
Stats, you always had a full schedule every season. After your quick elimination, last season wasn’t it a bit awkward for you?
Stats: Weird enough, I usually watch all the GSL matches and study up on players. But after being eliminated so early, I didn’t really watch the matches. I did want to, but a GSL without me was… a bit weird.
In the Winners Match, you played against a returning player in FanTaSy, where he had a prepared build going up against you. After giving up the first game in Cyber Forest LE, you were able to come back in the last games to close out the series 2-1. What were your prepared plans for your victories today?
Stats: My plans, well I didn’t really practice PvT matchup. I mainly focused on my PvZ, so for my match against FanTaSy, I decided I will just play along, matching what my opponent does. However, I was I was defeated in the first game due to FanTaSy’s strategic plays, which made my mind go blank at the time. Luckily, I was able to get a hold of my self mentally to ultimately take the win.
You said you prepared a lot around the PvZ matchup. It seems you were quite adept at the current popular builds, you had the timing rush with the immortals, and your opponent [Leenock] used Ling drops. Without those Ling drops, if Zerg focused mainly on the main Protoss army, do you think the results would have been different for the third game?
Stats: His army was mainly Zergling, and ideally it would be mixed with some Roaches as well. But since the army composition was leaning too much on Zerglings, I think I would have bypassed his army without too much trouble.
There has been talks Leenock’s late gas expansion influenced his game later on. Your quick Immortal timing has been noted. Protoss as a whole has noted to be quite powerful in these regards. Zerg players have been struggling against this particular thing, so has there been any Zerg players that were able to fare well against it [in pratices]?
Stats: In practices, if I mix it up with bluffs, it usually works out well for me, so I’m not sure. I think we are at a stage where Zerg players have to get used to the Immortal rush. In the past, Protoss players favored StarPort -> Oracle openings, and now they have transitioned to Robotics. You just have to get used to it and know how to counter it. If you do, the Immortal rush tends to get countered without too much hassle. It’s because players are not quite there yet that it looks very strong.
Stats have very clearly prepared for and against all sorts of popular builds. We will once again see him advance to the next round. You will be joining in Ro16 Group selection, with Classic having been confirmed as the top seed. What are you expecting?
Stats: Whenever I went up, I was usually the top seed, but since I’m not anymore it feels a bit awkward. Whatever happens, I would like to be in a comfortable group, but I doubt that will happen.
Do you have any last words for your fans?
Stats: A lot of people came over to cheer for me, and I am grateful for your support. A lot of players helped me with my practices, with Solar, RagnaroK, Impact, INnoVation, Ty, there are more, but I can’t remember them at the moment. I would like to thank all of them.
It seems you always have a lot of people willing to lend a hand.
Stats: I think it’s because of whenever we meet, we would interact with each other in a friendly way. Oh, I forgot to mention Dear, who really helped with preparation, looking at replays and giving me advice. Zest as well, and while it’s a pity that he was eliminated, we had a great time together when we went to Blizzcon last year. I hope both of us do well in Season 3 to have a good time there again.