Liquid perfect in WCS Premier Ro32

February 24 2015

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The new season of [image loading] 2015 WCS Season One Premier is in full swing, but already it's been a great advertisement for Liquid`Sc2. All four of our heroes who made Premier League advanced from their groups (and had Ret not drawn a teamkill, we think it would've been five) into the Ro16. As the non-Korean scene combines into one this season, it's Liquid leading the pack.

After the great play from the team in the first three groups, we caught up to each of the guys and asked them the same questions about the basics of their success. How did they prepare? How did they view their performance? What do they think the future may hold? In their answers, we can see similar threads, but also differences which highlight each player's unique approach to the game. One of the reasons why Liquid has been so successful is that the team members each have different perspectives and styles. That helps keep everyone sharp and helps keep Liquid players at the forefront of practice and innovation.

Read below for the latest answers from the team:

Congrats on making it through! How did you feel about how your group went?
Liquid`Snute: It went a bit easier than I expected, especially the match vs XiGua. I didn't expect him to be that aggressive, but he chose a very all-in type of playstyle and I just defended.
Liquid`TLO: A bit unexpected. I spent a lot of time preparing vs Jim and Polt and tailored my builds towards countering their most common strategies. It worked out well in the end because my preperation vs Jim was spot on and I was able to avoid Polt. But I won't make the mistake to underestimate Kelazhur again.
Liquid`MaNa: I think it went easier than expected. I did prepare builds vs my opponents and they worked as planned. I wasn't thinking of 4-0'ing my group but I am happy about the final result.
Liquid`Bunny: I’m pretty satisfied overall, I predicted I would have a tough time against major, and the matches were very close. The only player I was confident against was violet, because when I played him on ladder things seemed to go my way. Mana had some good builds prepared, they caught me off guard, in general my performance vs protoss is shaky.

How did you practice for the competition?
Snute: uThermal is one of my regular practice partners so we know each other quite well. I practiced some with other Terrans and prepared some builds. I thought about the map vetos some. Against XiGua I didn't have a whole lot of information to work of, but I trusted in my ZvZ style. There are a lot of dangerous ZvZ players on EU ladder still and I encountered a lot of Zerg in online tournaments so I got my practice from there too.
TLO: My good friend Rob (twitter: @es_performance) made a Google document for me with all VODs and replays he could find of my opponents. I watched all of them and then practiced the builds orders that I thought will give me the highest chance of winning.
MaNa: Basically ladder. It's hard to find practice partners because there's plenty of people I could meet in the future stages of the tournament so I want to limit information about my play as much as I possibly can.
Bunny: I played a little bit of ladder and some customs, getting used to all the new maps was the most important.

How are you approaching each successive stage?
Snute: About the same, I think, but the next parts will require some additional preparation.
TLO: The main focus will be on preparing for the groupstage in the Ro16, I'll consider making it to the Ro8 a success. If I make it further, my general training and build preparation for the groups will be what helped me go even further. But I won't get ahead of myself. Step by step.
MaNa: Just one step after another. The closer to the finals the more pumped I am. I want to come back to the big stage and be consistent about it. I miss playing in front of a big crowd and feeling the energy after winning a premier event.
Bunny: I’m just doing my best to prepare for the maps and players, of course it gets tougher from here, but my Ro32 group was already very hard so I’m confident.

Thoughts on the new format so far?
Snute: It's cool, it's very nice to play against players from other regions.
TLO: I don't care really... I just wish the schedule etc would be available in advance. Other then that I just play the game, focus on winning. I don't think about everything that surrounds me as a player too much.
MaNa: Not much has changed for me I think. I enjoyed tough competition but now with players from other regions in the tournament we can prove that EU has the toughest players outside Korea.
Bunny: I ended up really liking the new format, it’s very exciting to be able to compete against people you know, and watching WCS has also gotten very enjoyable for me, since I know about all the players and their playstyles. I’ve definitely started playing more because of the region-lock, and I think overall the effect is very positive.

All four Liquid players in the Ro32 advanced from their groups. Why do you think the team has been successful?
Snute: I think the team's average skill level has increased some, so we all went into the groups as favorites.
TLO: I think it's really important for the long term success of a player to be relaxed and not have to worry about living from contract to contract. Liquid never pressures its player in a negative way, you never get the feeling that if you don't do well for a while you'll get the boot. That's not necessarily a common philosophy in esports. I believe that helps tremendously to improve and good results are always just a matter of time.
MaNa: I think we are just good friends and we share our knowledge very well. All of us want to become the best and we're trying to overcome each other. While trying to do so we improve a lot faster.
Bunny: I think everyone on the team has a very proffesional mind set, and everyone is very experienced in offline competition. We’re also practicing a bit together, but overall I think the experience matters the most.

Of your teammates, who impressed you the most?
Snute: MaNa, he played very well.
TLO: Well Snute and bunny we all expected to make it through. They've been playing incredibly for a very long time now. So I was most impressed with MaNa making it look so easy. He's been struggling a bit for a while now, so I'm really happy to see him back in top shape.
MaNa: No one just yet, I don't think we had groups tough enough to impress ourselves.
Bunny: Probably MaNa by going 4-0 in our group. Snute did look very dominant in his matches as well, but I think everyone has come to expect great things from him. MaNa surprised me a bit, but I think everyone has a decent shot at winning the championship.

Will a Liquid player win?
Snute: Yes :D
TLO: The odds are pretty solid, as long as we don't have to eliminate each other early... Maybe we get lucky for once! :D
MaNa: I think we have a good shot. If it's not going to be a Korean player then I think Liquid has a very good chance to have a player carrying the trophy in the air.
Bunny: I would say the chances are above 50% Hydra should be the favorite to win, ForGG is strong but I think he is not as good in a format where you can prepare for him.

Thanks so much for speaking with us! Good luck to all of you!

The Ro32 concludes this weekend with the final two groups. Stay tuned for the Ro16 group draw, and make sure to support the team in the next round! Can Liquid leave no man behind and take up half of the Ro8? We'll see!

Writer: tree.hugger
Graphics & Format: shiroiusagi
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