Dead game? Not on your life.
Only ten days after Blizzcon, today Blizzard released the launch of a Starcraft 2 Pro League in Australia/New Zealand in partnership with Gamestah. Over the course of a month, the creatively titled “ANZ Proleague” will feature five Oceanic teams:
- SYF Gaming
- OSC Elite
- Legacy Esports
The most surprising part of the announcements that followed was the inclusion of League of Legends professional and staple of the OPL Bradley ‘Tgun’ Seymour on the Legacy roster. While cross-title competition is common in FPS circles, it’s much more rare in MOBA/RTS where game knowledge is far more deep. I asked Tgun about his history with Starcraft.
Tgun: “I’ve kept playing SC2 the whole time, but not a lot – maybe a game every three months? But since this opportunity came up, I’ve been practising a fair bit and trying to get back up to speed.. I feel like I was pretty good, definitely in the top end, but that was quite a while ago. It’s hard to say where I would be now, but I just aim to be competitive, and get back to playing a game that I really enjoy.”
“I’d just finished the season in the OPL and the opportunity presented itself in the off season for League. There’s not many other League of Legends pros that are into Starcraft but on the production side there is. Hingers was into Starcraft and Benji used to play and commentate before he was recruited to Riot.”
Chhopsky: So in terms of the competition, who do you know of that’s going to be competing and what do you know about them?
Tgun: “The general top tier of Australian talent is going to be in there, but there’s a lot that I don’t know about. The team has been really supportive and helped me prepare so far, getting me up to date on what the meta is and keeping up with all the current strats. And obviously with the builds I’ve not kept up, but with players like Probe on our team, you know, he’s going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting.. I’m going to be a pretty face behind him.”
Chhopsky: And such a pretty face it is – so what do you play?
Tgun: “I play Zerg, still Zerg. No reason to change now! Way back in 2010 I actually played Terran in my first two tournaments. But my friend played Zerg and he would always kick my arse. And this was way back then, and Terran was actually really really good, but in my naivety, it had to be the race I was playing and nothing to do with that my friend was just much better than me. It couldn’t have been that, it had to be the race … No.”
Chhopsky: So what kind of preparation have been doing? You’ve previously had a pretty set in stone scrim environment with a lot of people to train with, what are you doing to get up to speed?
Tgun: “My teammates have given me some really in-depth training in terms of the current matchups, some really good current VODs and builds, including, and this needs to be mentioned, a lot of cheese builds, because at first they thought I would be too bad at macro and decision-making to play the long game, but I’ve done a lot of work there too. I’ve been playing on the Korean server a lot and it’s taught me a lot and really helped me get back up to speed.”
Chhopsky: Nice. I mean, you’ve always been known as a thinking man’s player, so I can see that being something you can get across. So was Starcraft 2 your first real RTS?
Tgun: “It was the first one I played multiplayer. I played Warcraft 3, I played Brood War, I played Age of Empires, but I was never really good at those. Before that my multiplayer was focused on Counter-strike but when Starcraft 2 rolled around, that was what did it for me. In terms of transitioning between titles, it’s very rare to see someone do that. I’m not trying to say I’m some kind of super genius who can be pro in multiple games, but I just got into both games at the time when I had friends in them and I was able to work at both. Obviously for CS:GO players you’re going to see them having an easier time in PUBG than a League player in Starcraft 2, even though PUBG is constantly updated and being fixed as they build it out.”
Chhopsky: So what’s it like playing an esport that doesn’t change every two weeks on Patch Day?
Tgun: “Well, Starcraft doesn’t change every two weeks, but we’re about to have a major patch, but it’s a very different thing because League is very meta-driven by patches where as Starcraft is very driven by player strategies and maps. It’s the players developing techniques rather than the game itself changing. “
Chhopsky: Final question – for League of Legends fans who’ve watched you in OPL, what advice do you have to prepare themselves to get across and watch this event?
Tgun: “The best thing you can do is download and play Starcraft 2 – it just went free to play, so there’s no reason not to. But simply watching it is enough to paint a good picture in your head and see the flow of what’s going on. This might be biased but it’s a very easy game to follow. It’s so bright you’re able to follow the fights, but for more macro type thing, the commentators we’ve got are REALLY good, and they explain things super well. Zepph and Maynarde are great and really break things down, even if you don’t play at all you can understand it with their help.”
Legacy’s recent purchase by the Adelaide Crows has allowed the already-expanding organization to take on yet another esport. Michael Carmody, one of the driving forces behind Legacy Esports’ success had much to say on the topic.
“Starcraft is the game that nearly every gamer has played in some capacity. It’s the grandfather of so much of modern video gaming and esports. It’s failure to really be the “dead game” everyone it memes it to be is purely because it has a direct line to nostalgia in so many gamers hearts. No one doubts Starcraft 2’s place as an esport, and I’m glad we can be a part of a VERY long history and continue the story with returning veterans and developing rookies in the Legacy SC2 team for ANZ Team League. No spectate issues, new game patches, a developing meta, AND an international scene that continues to “put on the show” no matter which new buzz title pops up trying to gain attention.
SC2 doesn’t care about your hot takes. It will probably still be here long after your game has gone End of Life.”
ANZ Proleague Starcraft 2 kicks off on November 21 at 7pm AEST (midnight on the 20th PST) and will be broadcast live at http://twitch.tv/blizzard_anz