First off, how were your holidays? Do anything special or fun? Play a lot of StarCraft or did you take some time off?
Holidays were great, thank you for asking. Went snowboarding but didn’t really get to snowboard too much, was fun regardless got to hang out with one of my best friends, Steven (Destiny) who I haven’t seen in a while, as well as my mod dalguno and Mia Rose, awesome people. I took those 7 days off, as I’ve been a bit over saturated with SC2. I can’t say I’m getting bored or demotivated at all, but quite the opposite. I’ve been playing more than ever in the last few months and improving a lot, so I find short breaks help a lot to clear my head.
Speaking of the holidays, it’s now a new year. What does 2012 have in store for CatZ and compLexity? Are there any goals you hope to achieve in 2012? What about outside of eSports and competitive gaming? Are there any personal or “more conventional” goals or resolutions for you?
I have been working hard towards improving my play. Good offline results are what I aim for in 2012, as I need to be more consistent and still have to grow more as a player. Everyone does, no exceptions.
Taking a moment to reflect on the previous year. What were some of your highlights from 2011? What were some moments that were disappointing?
MLGs in general were disappointing. Every time I lost I felt horrible, as I had really bad runs as far as drawing the people I didn’t want to draw. For example, I got nestea and MKP early on last MLG. Or, the matchups where I was weak at the time would be all I got. I was disappointed but felt stronger going into each MLG. I am hoping this year I can place really high at offline events and will work hard towards that. Last year, the Justin.tv invitational was one of my most satisfying tournament wins, despite the $400 prize-pool. Some, if not all, of the best players in NA and EU at the time played and it felt really good to get the win. Getting 3rd at the Latin American Invitational was actually rather disappointing, despite winning $3000. The biggest highlight for me is, and will always be, meeting new people and seeing some of my friends at events. The SC2 community is really nice in general, as everyone seems to like each other for the most part, and to me, hanging out with people from around the world who have grown to be some of my best friends is the biggest satisfaction I get from offline events.
You are known for being an amazing judge of skill, able to see someone play and tell if they have any talent or promise. Are there any players who you have your eye on? What kinds of things do you look for when scoping out new players or talent?
There are always players you notice, vileIllusion seems to be on the right path. European protoss Monchi was really impressive the one time I played him, and if he sticks around I’m sure he’ll be fantastic. Slivko from Russia is also great from what I’ve seen, and many players like HeavenSLight or Xenocider seem to be on the right path, but there’s a lot more, always, as the game progresses. However, there are less new players, and for this reason, talented players are usually already on their way to the top, like some of the ones I just mentioned. It was a lot easier back in the BETA, when everyone was starting to play, to recognize talent and build a team based upon it (ROOT). Talent is not hard to see or recognize. To be a top player you must be both mechanically capable and smart/creative. Many top players will just copy builds and are “told what to think.” Other players, the best ones, are capable of making decisions based on maps, match-ups and the current metagame without having to wait to see what Nestea, MVP and MC did in the last GSL. Understanding of the game and motivation are two very important factors. Do you want to make a living out of this? How much time can you put into this every day? Those were two of the questions I asked every single person before they joined ROOT.
You are also known as one of the best players at “metagaming” your opponents, and because of that you are seen as a trendsetter. What kinds of trends do you think we’ll see in this upcoming year for StarCraft II. Outside of the actual game, what kind of trends do you think we’ll see in eSports? In your opinion, are we moving in the right direction?
I think eSports is definitely moving in the right direction and improving consistently. I think people are starting to enjoy very analytic casting from players who know exactly what they are talking about. Casters are doing a far better job of catching up to this as well than they were in the early stages, and although most casters don’t play the game at a high level, there are casters who are Hybrids, such as Rotterdam, MrBitter and Apollo. They play the game at a relatively high level, and it makes their analysis while casting a lot easier to follow. Not to take away from any of the other casters, who as a whole have been consistently improving in my opinion. I LOVE listening to TotalBiscuit, because he puts so much passion into it. He may not know as much as other casters/players about the game, but he makes it so exciting. Its just fun to watch, and I think that combined with a strong analysis, that’s a win as far as casting goes. Another one of my favorite casters is DjWheat. He may not be the best player but not only is he fun and cool to listen to, but he actually tries to ladder and improve his game. If you watch his stream when he ladders he is always questioning himself and his decisions in the game. There is also Artosis/Tasteless/day9. Everyone knows how great they are. There are a ton of other casters out there doing the best job that they can, and I think as a whole we’re in the right direction. The game will keep evolving, the players will continue to play and get better, because there is money to be made. That is why I think it relies upon the casters to make these games interesting and enjoyable to the audience. I think we are definitely on the right path.
As far as metagame, its impossible to predict. I do a lot of stuff considered weird at the moment, but I did a lot of stuff that was considered weird in the beta and that is completely standard right now, so it’s really hard to say how the game will evolve. Its not up to me, but I’ll try and contribute as much as I can 😉
Your fans just can’t seem to get enough of you. I mean, your stream is one of the most popular out there. Whenever you play in tournaments or show-matches people tune in. What’s your secret? Is it just raw charisma, or is there something more to it? What do you think makes your stream and play so unique and popular?
Tough question, so I’ll open by saying I’m kind of arrogant, usually in a sarcastic way. For instance, I have no problem answering this question, where a lot of other people might be like “ah I don’t know I guess I’m just lucky.” I don’t think I am LOL. I think people like identifying with players. I am authentic in the sense that I am myself, and I’m not afraid of what people watching might think if I play Disney songs and sing to them. My singing may not be the greatest in the world, but I’m not trying to pretend that I’m someone I am not, ever. If I’m mad, I am mad and if I’m happy, I am happy. If I think the best player in the world made a mistake, I’ll say exactly that. If a silver player does something brilliant, I’ll give him props for it. That is also something casters need to take into account when casting. For instance, I just casted the NASTL qualifiers not long ago and Slivko was playing Leenock. The favorite was absolutely Leenock, but from the very beginning of the game I said that Leenock was playing too safe and it was a bit silly, where Slivko was making great decisions. Some people in the chat where flaming me as I was saying this, because ITS LEENOCK, of course he’s going to beat Slivko. As it turned out that game, Slivko demolished Leenock. It’s quite often that casters seem to predict the outcome of a match before it’s played and just praise the guy who’s going to win on paper because it’s the safe bet and it’ll make them look smart, but I think as we all learn the game a bit more, we can fix that! Sorry I went off topic but I think that is a little thing we need to work on as a community. Anyways, I think I’m popular mainly because I am myself and don’t try to be anyone else. I speak my mind and a lot of people find me to be smart and funny. I also interact a lot and care for my fans and often times do analysis of my games. Unfortunately, most people start watching me for all of these reasons, but I want to be watched because I win and I am the best, and I will work towards that this year.
Along the same lines, I’m sure there are plenty of fans who would love to meet you in person. Do you know what live tournament events you’ll be attending this year?
Every tournament I can attend I suppose. I plan on moving back to Peru so I don’t know if that will make things harder, but I love meeting fans it’s very gratifying.
Lastly, are there any shoutouts or final words to leave with your fans?
I’d like to give a shoutout to compLexity Gaming, and all of my fans and friends, <3 u all. I’d also like to give a shoutout to all of our sponsors, Creative, Sound Blaster, PNY, OriginPC and QPAD.