Interview with Joona "Serral" Sotala after WESG 2017 Grand Final about his success in the 3rd place-decider, Korean opponents and the ways of practicing in order to become one of the best.
First, congratulates on winning the 3rd place. Although you, unfortunately, lost to Maru, you still have easily defeated Classic. How do you evaluate these two players?
I think, for me the biggest problem was that I didn't get much practice against Terrans in past. And Maru knew that I was not too strong in late game.
Against Classic I was really confident. Obviously, I lost 1 map - Acid Plant. My ZvP is not the best matchup but its not bad, so I was really confident. I don't think I did something special, I just played my own game and it worked out.
What were you discussing with audience after the match against Classic? Why do you think you can defeat the current top Protoss player in the world? Is it because of the strong ZvP, or did you prepare a targeted tactic for him?
I think Classic was slightly tilted after the loss to Dark. I saw his games and I think he plays very good, but in ZvP I feel fine and I know what to do so that helps a lot. I expect the fight would be a bit closer, but I controlled most of the games which was a bit surprise.
After watching the final, do you think this match can represent the current highest level of StarCraft 2?
I think so. I think Maru is the best Terran right now and Dark is the best Zerg right now. So it was probably the best final we could hope for. I don't know if it was the best match, but It was pretty good matchup.
It seems like non-Korean Zerg is very strong and can already pose a very big threat to Korean Protoss and Zerg. But it is still very tough to fight against Korean Terran. Why it’s so difficult to defeat them?
They are just better, I think. I mean we are just not quite at their level and its very hard to defeat them. This tournament have 3 best Korean players for all 3 races, so its even more difficult for us. Playing against top Korean players is always very hard and I don't think its gonna change soon.
Most European players go to South Korea for training in order to upgrade, but you do not seem to care. Do you think that training in Europe can also maintain your good state?
I was in Korea once in last year for a month. This year I was thinking to go to Korea, but I don't want to go now. Now we have a good cup and the next one will be only before BlizzCon. I’m not going now atleast and I’m not sure if I’ll go before BlizzCon. For now I’ve been traveling so much already and I just want to be at home a bit.
We know that your brother was once a professional StarCraft 2 player, but his performance seems to be not that outstanding as yours. How did you decide to participate in such a highly competitive e-sport game?
My brother never got to the top level. His career mainly in the military service which took much time and he couldn't keep going [in SC2]. And I just keep going, I was younger and I didnt really have something could stopped me. So I just keep playing and improving myself.
I watch some tournaments when I was young and I wanted to take part in one of them, but for that time I was not ready, I played a bit casual. After 2012 and my first team I noticed that I started to play really good in ladder. I think it was a point when I decided to go full time.
Chinese players, and StarCraft 2 fans all over the world, are hoping that there will exist a non-Korean player who can come forward to end Korean players’ dominance. As the strongest non-Korean player at the moment, do you think you have a chance to do this? Or what do you think a player needs to do to defeat the Koreans?
I think it's very hard for any non-Korean player to beat them consistently. But I think that players like Elazer, me, Neeb could take maps from them and win series, but we are not better then them yet. And I’m not sure when we will be.
We just trying to our best to win against them and sometimes we do.
Your and Raynor’s excellent performance on WESG once again made everyone think about the word ‘talent’. Both of you are the only players who practice a little time each day. Do you think that becoming a top player requires some kind of a talent? Or it's just you having some special ways to practice yourself?
I think playing need some talent. Not like need, but talent always helps. But mainly it's just practice and game understanding and studying the game.
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