VortiX: "If I play my very best, I can beat anyone."

March 04 2016

From Heroes to StarCraft

With his move back to SC2, VortiX became the first player to transition from a Heroes pro to SC2. We talk about his experience in Heroes and his current condition in Legacy of the Void.

You recently switched back to SC2 from Heroes of the Storm—how are you feeling, how is your form?

Right now I feel I'm in very good form. It took me a while to get used to LotV and feel completely comfortable with my gameplay but right now I'm at that point where I feel if I play my very best I can beat anyone.

By anyone, do you mean anyone outside of Korea or do you mean ANYONE anyone?

Anyone that I could meet in the regular tournaments. So basically foreigners and the "allowed" Koreans.

Looking back on your career in Heroes of the Storm, you were on one of the best teams. What do you think your legacy will be in that game, i.e. how do you think you will be remembered as a Heroes of the Storm player?

I think I popularized some champions that were considered bad back in the day like Lost Vikings. I think most people will just remember me as the "best lost vikings player". Not that I think I was necessarily the best, but most people seem to think that because I was the first one to play it in tournaments. It was "easier" for me to play them due to my Warcraft 3 / StarCraft 2 background.

Has it been difficult switching back from a team game to a solo game?

Not really. Surprisingly, I don't think my mechanics got worse during the whole year. After 3-4 days playing StarCraft, it almost felt as if I had never quit, except for the strategical part of course, and maybe my multi-task was a bit weaker than it used to but overall I didn't find it too hard.

During your time as a Heroes player, were you watching SC2 or following it?

I followed WCS a bit, but only the playoffs and if there was any interesting Zerg match. I followed BlizzCon as well, and that's it I think.

Did your time in Heroes of the Storm change the way you approach SC2 in terms of practice/mentality?

Yeah, I think right now I'm more organised with my practice sessions. Like I tend to play every day at the same hours and I think it forces me to play a certain amount of games whereas before playing Heroes I just played whenever I felt like and most days I ended up slacking quite a lot. In Heroes you had to have a timetable due to having to play together with 4 other people, and I kinda just kept the timetable for StarCraft. Other than that, I don't think there's much else from Heroes that can translate into StarCraft.

So, are there any players you met in Heroes of the Storm that you would have liked to see play SC2? Any SC2 players you’d have liked to see play Heroes?

I think most Heroes players wouldn't transition naturally into StarCraft II since there are a lot of things in StarCraft like macro, mechanics, etc. that are not part of MOBAs, but I always thought that if Happy had played any MOBA he would've been crazy good. He was already incredibly good with his heroes in Warcraft 3, and in StarCraft II it is crazy how well he can use his units individually.

Before you switched to Heroes of the Storm, you were a very consistent player who played at a high level for a long period of time. Do you think this will be the case in Legacy of the Void?

I think so; I don't know if it's going to be for a long period since at some point I'll probably go full-time student (I don't know when yet). But I think after the break I took last year, it kinda gave me fresh air and I can definitely be on a very high level again. I actually expect to do better than before the Heroes switch.

You seem very confident that you'll do better on your comeback, and you mentioned that you can beat anyone in WCS. So, should we expect to see you take one of the 8 WCS spots for BlizzCon?

Well, there are surely more than 8 players that probably think the same way I do about themselves. When you play at this level anything can happen: I could go and win the next big tournament or lose in the first round. That's how it goes. I definitely think I can take one of those 8 spots but there are so many different factors that will impact that... it's impossible to know. I will try, of course, and I have high hopes, but you never know.

Legacy of the Void

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After taking a year off from StarCraft 2 due to a disinterest in Heart of the Swarm, we asked VortiX's opinion on the new expansion and why he thinks it's a superior game

When you retired from HotS SC2, you said it was because the game got boring for you and you lost passion for it. But now you’re back for the last expansion. What has changed for you in the game in general?

HotS kinda forced me to play styles I didn't like (swarmhost camp against P, swarmhost camp against mech T, etc). I think in LotV all the styles are viable: if you're an aggressive player you will find a way to win as any race by playing aggressive, and if you want to turtle you can do that as well. Also, there is much more action, which makes the games more exciting even if they are shorter.

After coming back to the game, were there things about LotV that genuinely surprised you or caught you off guard?

I played one game against the range-liberator build in dusk towers and I didn't even know liberators had an upgrade for range. I thought it was some hack or bug or something LOL, had to go to the hotkeys section to check there was actually an upgrade.

Let's talk about the specific ZvX matchups. What do you think about the current ZvT meta? Do you think it's more fun to play than HotS?

I think the matchup is very well balanced right now. In the beginning of LotV, most people were just playing ravager into ultra and it kinda felt the match was always the same, but right now people are realizing you can play a more HotS-like opening and mid-game and it's kinda cool to have different macro options in the match as opposed to only 1, like in HotS. It's much more fun too since most games are not just tier 2 units vs tier 2 as the matchup tends to reach the lategame with ghosts, liberators, ultras, broodlords etc, which is much nicer than muta ling bane vs MMM for 30 minutes.

How about ZvP? What do you think about it in terms of design and balance compared to the past?

Well obviously it's better for the spectator now that the swarmhost is gone (they might as well delete the unit if they are gonna leave it this way). In terms of balance, my personal opinion is that there are some maps where it's zerg-favoured but in others it's quite protoss-favoured. Overall I think protoss has advantage in late game, but I like the match though, it's very reactive and it's weird to see similar games all the time.

Has ZvZ changed any with the new economy/units/maps?

It's quite similar to be honest: ling-bane into roach-ravager most of the time with the option to go mutas first. Not much has changed, except now you can't just a-click, you also have to dodge bile.

What is your opinion on the current map pool? Do you like that Blizzard is trying to get more unique maps than standard maps? Do you think there should be more of a balance or should it skew to more standard maps as the game is still new?

I like to have 1-2 unique maps in the pool—if you dislike them you just ban them. But right now it feels way too excessive with Ulrena, Prion, Protocol, even Lerilak in some matchups. I would like more standard or macro-oriented maps.

How do you feel about Blizzard's pace of patching? Do you prefer that they leave the game alone to be figured out, or do you think that they should patch things as soon as something arguably becomes OP?

Coming from Heroes, I can tell you it's terrible to have constant big patches. There was one point when they would make huge impacts in the meta like 2-3 days before big tournaments. Honestly I would just leave the game as it is for a long time unless a really unfair situation happens like the one with the swarmhost, the hellbat drops early in HotS, etc.

Who are the best players in EU right now? In KR right now? Name 1-2 for each race. More if you think it’s warranted.

Zerg: there are too many in a very similar level... Snute, Nerchio, TLO, FireCake, SortOf, Bly, Serral and even more I'm forgetting, can't pick one over the others
Protoss: ShoWTimE, PtitDrogo, Lilbow, MaNa
Terran: Bunny, Happy, MarineLord

Zerg: Solar, soO
Protoss: Zest, sOs
Terran: ByuN, TY

An Analysis Of: TLO vs Snute G5 from DH Leipzig

One of the best games in Legacy of the Void so far was the teamkill between TLO and Snute from DreamHack Leipzig. We peruse VortiX's thoughts on his teammates' match to try to understand the mind of a professional zerg.

What do you think about Snute’s opening of triple hatch before pool compared to TLO’s more standard opening? What do you think about ZvZ openers in LotV now compared to HotS? Is it more or less coin-flippy?

Well they know each other so well so I think Snute knew very well that TLO would never go for an early pool, especially with a 2-2 score. I think the openers are a bit more coin-flippy now due to the map pool—Ulrena and 4 position maps just favour coin-flips too much.

So what do you think about TLO’s fast +1 melee upgrade? I think it’s dangerous, since TLO doesn’t know Snute went for fast 3 hatch. What are your thoughts?

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I feel it's kinda risky to delay banelings for that, but on the other hand, if it goes unscouted it's so strong, since your opponent will probably not be aggressive if he hasn't seen that you don't have baneling nest.

Differentiating tech paths in ZvZ: TLO goes ling into muta while Snute goes for ling into roach into muta. What does each accomplish in general and in the context of this game? What do you prefer?

Going straight for muta without roaches is normally very risky. You can die to roach bane timings, to nydus, etc. But if you can skip the roach warren of course it's kinda nice for your economy so if you manage to deny your opponent's scout like I think TLO did in that game it's very nice for him.

So TLO's calculated risk was aided by Snute's triple hatch and because TLO was able to deny scouting?

Yes, quite a lot.

Snute gets a +1 missile attack for his roaches, but ZvZ end game is about transition into ultras. In that sense is it a mistake to get the +1 missile attack for roaches?

I think he started the +1 before seeing the mutas, so it makes sense if you are gonna go for roaches yourself, but I guess he could've canceled it after he saw the mutas, or maybe he kept it for the queen damage, not sure. Queens are normally an important part of muta vs muta so maybe he just thought it'd be useful.

In the midpoint of the game, Snute goes for all mutas after seeing TLO’s mutas (at this point, TLO already has 2/1 melee/carapace upgrades up or on the way). What do you think of this response? It looks like a calculated gamble since he knows he can’t get the roach/ravager comp to kill TLO, and if he goes ultras, they are up slower and are weaker than TLO’s ultras. So is mass mutas the correct response in this instance?

Yes, I think it was quite obvious he wouldn't catch up on ultra upgrades so maybe massing mutas and waiting for a mistake from TLO was the best he could do. I think it was impossible for Snute to try to go for ultras in a reasonable way, and his best bet was to just mass mutas, split them, and wait for his opponent to attack into an open area and try to surround with everything.

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What about a transition into broodlords after he won air dominance? Were there any outs for Snute, like a hidden base or hidden tech? TLO was not scouting after all.

I think it requires too much time and resources to go for broodlords. In the situation Snute was in, it could've meant just dying outright to an attack. I guess he could've expanded in the left corner but overall I think once you are trapped with so many mutas with your oponent on tier 3, all you can hope for is just a big mistake from him.

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Thanks for giving us your thoughts on such a great ZvZ. Before we go, do you have any shoutouts or callouts?

Thank you to all our sponsors. Big thanks to all our fans and I hope that some of my Heroes of the Storm fans will continue cheering for me in SC2.

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Interviewer // stuchiu
Graphics // shiroiusagi
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