VortiX: "The main problem with Zerg right now is the infestor"
In the pause between the conclusion of WCS Europe S2 and the seasonal finals at Gamescom we chat up Mousesports' Zerg Vortix. Who's the more favored race currently and why? Why is Zerg the weakest and what needs to be fixed? And will the proposed changes by Blizzard affect the race in any positive way?
NAME: Juan "Vortix" Moreno Durán
WCS RESULTS: Europe Season 2 Top 8
The interview was conducted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev via e-mail on August 17th.
At the start of the interview I am obliged to ask you this: How are things with Mousesports compared to Karont3?
Well I have absolutely no complaints about my stay in Karont3, they have been the most professional organization in Spain so far, that's why I rejected so many offers to stay with them as long as possible. However Mousesports offered me a new world, basically I would go from being a semi-professional player to being a professional one. Things here are really nice, I have a lot of teammates to practice with, while in Karont3 we were only three players (four in the last months) and the experience of the team, which has been in the top for so many years, is helping me grow a lot as a player.
Was moving to a bigger team the logical move considering your results in 2012?
Yes, there is a point where you realize gaming is more than just playing video-games for you, a lot of people start to follow you and support you through every tournament, you travel a lot to play in different countries, etc, and you have to be a bit “selfish” and think what's better for you. Since you are spending so many time in it having a professional salary is a must if you want to be a progamer.
When I spoke to your brother last month, he said that in terms of exposure, recognition and fame he actually prefers smaller teams like Karont3. Do you feel the same way?
I know there are some players that care so much about being famous and having so much recognition, etc, but in my case I am just a progamer because I like to play and compete, which doesn't mean I don't care at all about my fans, I am really grateful for their support. “Fame” and recognition can obviously be positive things, but it can be very bothering at times too. I don't think my fame and recognition have changed so much from Karont3 to Mousesports though.
"The game has changed for everyone, not only for me, there's no such game-doesn't-fit-you thing"
We mentioned your 2012 results and those were indeed outstanding. Yet in 2013 you’re struggling a bit, why so?
Simple, I have been studying much more. In 2012 I was studying but I cared more about gaming, in February of this year I decided I would take studies more seriously and not train/travel so much. Obviously, not training that much and having to make a transition to an expansion with new units, strategies, etc, is not a good way to keep a good level. However, after joining Mousesports, I've been playing much more in the last two months and my results have been pretty OK since then, even if I think I haven't reached my best level yet.
Has the game itself changed to not fit you or it’s more about everybody catching on quickly?
The game has changed for everyone, not only for me, there's no such game-doesn't-fit-you thing. If you train enough, it will fit you, but of course, I didn't train enough in the first months of HotS. However, now I think I'm the European Zerg with better stats in the ladder, and the one that has gotten further in WCS Europe, which again, even if I think I can do better, is still pretty acceptable.
At the start of your 2012 rise you were mostly known for ZvT and ZvP and you openly admitted a few times that around the WCS Europe finals you had no clear idea how to play mirrors. With time though that changed. Do you feel as of now ZvZ is on par with your other match-ups?
Well, the thing is that I started to play “seriously”, meaning that in average, I started to play more than just 2-3 hours a day, at the end of 2011. For a while ZvZ was my worst matchup because in the other matches you just had to watch reps and copy everything, ZvZ was a very reactive match and when I watched ZvZ replays it looked like there was nothing to copy, everything seemed improvised, so it took me a while to figure out the match, but I think that by October-November it was my best match, I even managed to win Thor Open after a 5-0 against Snute, which had a very good ZvZ, in December.
I remember an interview with you from earlier this year in which you said you improved in ZvZ by studying Life and Leenock. Do you still learn from those two or is there a new source of knowledge you channel from?
I kind of do my own thing now, I don't have any fix player who I like to copy, I watch a lot of games from every Korean and try to adapt some new things to my gameplay.
What about when you have to improve on your ZvT and ZvP? Which Zergs do you look at for that?
Again, I don't look up to any player in particular, I watch as many games from Koreans as I get to and try to see if there's some cool stuff that they do and I don't. Lately I have been watching a lot from Hyun, Soulkey and Jaedong, which are probably the most exposed Zerg players right now, but I think there are a lot of Koreans which are better than any European Zerg and I can probably learn from them too.
I want to visit WCS Europe for a second. In the second season, you were the only Zerg in the playoffs and one of only four in the Ro16. Is Europe running thin on good Zergs, now with Stephano’s retirement and all?
I honestly think that the reason is that Zerg is probably the worst race now. In WoL latest months Zerg was the best race and there were a lot of them. Similarly, Terran was the worst race, and there were very few Terrans. Now, Zerg is the worst race and there are very few Zerg players, Protoss is the best and there are a lot of good Protoss players, it always goes like that. Even Stephano had some very bad games at WCS season 2 and I don't think you can say it's because he was inactive already, he was playing ladder and got pretty good results in season 1 or season 2 Ro32.
How do you explain the heavy Protoss presence at Season 2 playoffs? Because it was literally the other way around in Season 1 when BabyKnight was the only Protoss in the quarter finals.
Well basically, as it happened in the first months of WoL, there were players that were good because they were on top with the new meta, they had strategies whose defense hadn't being figured out yet, etc. For example, TLO placed high in a few tournaments at the beginning by doing some all-ins which people were not prepared for. But I think right now most stuff is figured out already, Protoss players do know what they have to do versus everything, they know exactly how to stop all-ins and they know exactly how to play in every late-game situation, so there's not a way to catch them “unaware”.
Now that every race does know how to react to everything and they don't fall to certain strategies because of not knowing how to stop them, I think it's clear that Protoss is the strongest race, which results in six Protoss players in top 8 [for WCS Europe]. I don't think the balance is horribly bad, but obviously, Zerg is slightly worse than the other 2 races, and Protoss Is probably more favored than Terran.
The European circuit had a Korean winner once again. Do you think Europe will be able to win its own league next season?
I don't think it's our own league. Despite Blizzard deciding to call it “regional tournament” I don't see how it can be regional when Korean players can play from their home (until Ro16 of course). Can we can beat the current Korean players? Yes, I think so. After all, Grubby and Hasu won MVP, I won MC, Lucifron did almost beat Duckdeok, Welmu beat him as well. I think it's possible, but of course, it's more likely that a Korean player wins it again.
"Can we can beat the current Korean players? Yes, I think so"
Duckdeok’s triumph surprised many because he was more or less an underdog. What do you think of him as a player?
He looks like a very cool person, both in-game and out of it, so I'm happy for him. I didn't expect him to win it all, but, well, he only had to win PvP's in the playoffs to do that, and I didn't really know his PvP level, so maybe it isn't that surprising. I have only seen him play vs Terran and Zerg once (versus Stephano and LucifroN) so I don't think I can judge him as a player in general terms.
Will this championship of his be a one-time thing or is he good enough to have a comparable finish in the future?
He did show very good games, he looked very solid versus Stephano and Lucifron and his PvP looked insane too. It's hard to say because all of his series, except the one versus NaNiWa, were very close, so maybe this time he wins it all and next season he falls in ro32. Starcraft II goes like that, you can never know, but he is indeed a good player.
As you mentioned before Zerg is struggling a bit. What's the core of the problem?
The problem with Zerg is that there are very few options right now. In Wings of Liberty you had a lot of strategies and a wide variety of all-ins to combine so that you weren't a predictable player. In HotS due to the widow mines and the mothership core, all-ining is almost impossible, so you are forced to play macro in every single game, and now that infestors are so bad and you can't make a fast transition to tier thre. Thus, there are very few options left and that's why you almost only see muta/ling/bane into ultra play vs Terran and you only see some kind of hydra into swarm host/viper play versus Protoss. If you try anything else you will most likely die.
There was a Blizzpost recently hinting about test buffs to Zerg and one of the proposed changes was Vipers starting with full energy. Is that at all necessary? Don’t you think this will hurt ranged-based compositions like MMM and especially mech a bit too much?
I don't think it will affect at all versus MMM, since you hit tier 3 very late if you want to hold the constant pushes, and I don't think it will affect that much versus Protoss either, since by the time you attack them they will most likely have high templars, so you will only be able to use maximum one spell (and if you don't they will insta-kill the vipers). It does indeed look too much versus mech Terrans, but mech is weak overall, I don't think there are many Terrans using mech that much anymore.
If vipers are OK as they are, what aspect of the race needs to be tweaked?
I think the main problem with Zerg right now is the Infestor. Before, the Infestor could help you hold certain pushes and at the same time make a transition to a better tech, now it is worthless and you are forced to stay much longer on tier 2, and Zerg's tier 2 isn't that good (at least not as good as Terran's or Protoss'). I really don't understand the Infestor right now, in WoL it made sense not to have upgrades to infested Terrans or have a projectile for fungal, but I can't really see why the infestor is kept that way now that infestor/brood lord is not working anymore.
The second proposed change is Overseers getting a speed buff upgrade to counter late-game widow mines. How impactful will that be overall?
I don't really see the relation between overseer speed buff and dealing with Terran in lategame, I would like to have that clarified by Blizzard. I can't see how having overseers with faster speed is going to help engaging a mass widow mine/marine/marauder army, it is indeed good to have an overseer with your mutas all the time, but it won't change much, not in direct engages.
The Season 2 finals are in a week‘s time. What do you expect to happen there?
Well, I expect Innovation or Rain to take it all, even though I see Maru and Polt with high chances too. Maru winning it all would be so interesting, but It's going to be hard now that I guess most Korean players have figured out his style.
What are the chances of the foreigners overall? We’re about to see a nice mix of proven champions and known names but the competition cannot be tougher.
Except Scarlett or Jim I don't think any of them will be capable of making it into the Ro8, but I hope I'm wrong and I will be cheering for (most of) them anyways. Would be cool to have someone upset the Koreans!
Last question so to close this with a smile. Do you ever wish swarm hosts were lurkers?
Huh, without swarm hosts then I don't know how we would even win a few games versus Protosses, haha!
Closing shoutouts to anybody?
Well thanks for the interview, I used to visit GosuGamers a lot when I was WC3 player and there're some really cool people there! Thanks to my sponsors BenQ, Geil, XMG, Razer and Thortech and my team Mousersports for their support, and thanks to every single person out there who enjoys my play and cheers for me, ¡muchas gracias!
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