Leenock: "Foreigners play in exotic way, there's a lot to be learned from them"

StarCraft 2 Radoslav “Nydra” Kolev

NAME: Lee "Leenock" Dong Nyoung 
COUNTRY: Korea South Korea
RACE: Zerg
WCS RESULTS: Korea Season 1 Ro32


Days away from the WCS Korea season two playoffs, we catch up with somebody who's been absent from that particular tribune for quite a while. It's FXO's Leenock, a player otherwise known for his multitude of achievements across the entire globe and the most recent winner of DreamHack Stockholm 2013.
We start the interview with Leenock's lack of results on Korean soil but as we go along, more topics keep popping up. What does he think about the change of format in WCS Korea? Has he ever considered switching regions and what does he think about those that do? What's his take on his rivalry with Life? What does he think of Naniwa and why does he watch foreign household names?
The interview was conducted via e-mail by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev on July 17th, 2013.

Let's start with WCS Korea. For a player who's been and still is a top Zerg, your WCS run is not as successful as people would've expected and you've been slaloming between Ro32 and Code A constantly. Why is that?

The transition from WoL to HotS was slower than I thought as it did take me some time to get familiar with the new units. It is nearly done now, though, so you can expect things from me from now on.

How do you think the switch in format is working for the tournament, going from a Bo3 dual tournament to a Bo1 dual tournament plus a Bo3 round robin?

It has been a really long time since I had to play a Bo1 so it was a bit hard. Still, the conditions are the same for all so it doesn't make much difference, though I am disappointed for having to play less games.

Is it a good idea to provide different challenges format-wise or the circuit should stick to consistency?

No one can say what is best. Every event prefers to have its own format, it is up to event organizers.

 Photo: Xensin

After I failed to advance to the Ro16, I sometimes thought about switching but ultimately I don't want to go to other regions."

Many Koreans have switched to the foreign WCS circuit, have you never considered that?

After I failed to advance to the Ro16, I sometimes thought about that but ultimately I don't want to go to other regions.

What do you think of players who switch to NA or EU?

I think they know how to get chances. It's a hard decision to take but I think it's a nice one.

Now that you're out of the Premier league for the time being, who do you think and who do you want to win the OSL?

INnoVation is keeping good form, so I think he could take it somehow.

Down in Challenger, you share a bracket with sC and Songduri as well as three Protoss players in Avenge, Argo and Jangbi. How do you weigh your chances?

If I prepare properly, I can surely advance.

Staying on WCS topic, in Season 1 you played Life twice again and there's quite a lot of history between you now. Do you consider him a #1 rival?

I played him a lot of times and overall the match results are nearly even so I see how people see that as a rivalry. Yet I want to keep winning, becoming a player excelling above everyone else and who has no rival.

You've always managed to deliver high quality games against Life (and not just against him). How do you make a match-up like ZvZ entertaining to watch?

I prefer to use fast units like Zerglings, Banelings, Mutalisks and so does Life. Thus, we end up in a fast paced game with lots of micromanagement control and that's what makes it entertaining.

Do you enjoy the mirror more in HotS or before?

I like Mutalisks so I enjoy it more in HotS.

According to what Snute told us, Jaedong has the best ZvZ in the world at the moment. Do you agree/disagree and why?

I haven't played any games against him so I can't say if or why he's at that level.

Do you see any difference between how eSF and current/former KeSPA players play the ZvZ match-up (and the game in general)?

In my opinion, it is more up to player's style and not their background, so it is different for every person.

How big a threat is KeSPA? After all, both Korea S1 and Season 1 finals went to them.

Actually, I don't care for KeSPA/eSF issue. Regardless of who joins the scene, it's the good players that will perform well and the better players who'll win.

Do you think future upcoming players will prefer to join KeSPA teams instead of eSF ones because of their school of training?

They will select the team with the practicing directions and object that suit them better.

As a player, do you think eSF teams should accommodate the training practices of their KeSPA neighbors?

I don't think it's that serious of an issue.

Photo: Helena Kristiansson / DreamHack

DreamHack Stockholm was your first event in Europe? Thoughts on the experience?

It was my first time in Europe, so I was excited. What was best though was how many people reacted to the matches.

What are the differences between NA/Korea and Europe crowds?

I don't know about crowd difference per se, but most oversea events tend to finish in a shorter time span. As a result, many people visit the venue, so the audience numbers are quite different, it makes it more exciting.

Having played in every region now, which one do you like best?

NA is the best, because I won many titles there. *laughs*

Photo: Helena Kristiansson / DreamHack

I evaluate Naniwa very highly. He participates quite a lot in overseas events and practices in an environment that is not as good as on a Korean team, but he plays his own playstyle and always get good result."

At DreamHack, Naniwa gave you quite the run for your money before falling 2-3 and he's also someone you've met on a couple of occasions both in HotS and WoL. What do you think of him as a player?

I evaluate him very highly. He participates quite a lot in overseas events and practices in an environment that is not as good as on a Korean team, but he plays his own playstyle and always get good result.

Do you follow any players from EU and NA? Who, why, what can be learned from them?

I prefer to watch every game played by known players. Unlike Koreans, foreigners play exotic games so there's a great deal of things to be learned from them.

You're among the younger players in StarCraft 2, yet you've played on the biggest stages in the world. How does a young person such as yourself handle that big a pressure?

In fact, I didn't think about that at first. It is experience that matters. Even though I've lost several grand finals in my time it's all fine because fans get to see every side of me.

So do you believe that experience is ultimately more important than youth?

I think it is experience, which is something difficult to acquire when you're a youngster. And this is why I think I have an advantage before others.

Staying on that topic, do you think we shall see another Flash in SC2 (a young prodigy rising to be the ultimate champion)? Many had faith in Life but his recent results don't speak in his defense.

No one can say for certain, but it is indeed the dream of all gamers. Everyone strives for that dream and this is what makes them go forward.

Final words?

I'm not getting that good results as of recent, but I am doing my best so it'd be good if many people can cheer for me. An d an "I love you" to all the fans who keep supporting me! :D

Rotator photo: Helena Kristiansson / DreamHack

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