I don't want anyone to read a wall of text and in the end have them think they wasted their time on an uninteresting post or a matter they are not really interested in. Thats why I'll give a TLDR version in the beginning instead of at the end. I will be writing about my recent 'performance', experience and thoughts about ladder and Starcraft - how to approach the game or how I personally approach the game.
While I am by no means a big name in the scene, I can say I did play with Naniwa, DIMAGA, DemusliM and NightEnD and many others in the same team, I was semi professional I would say but I never did commit to progaming as I always had a job. I got into casting thanks to my relations with ESL and TaKe and I pretty much saw TaKeTV grow to what its today. So... while thats the past, I decided to get back into gaming a bit more serious, not only because I like the game and competition, but also because I want to know about the current metagames, the strategies and the players to have better casting. If you know a player and his style from watching its great, if you can predict his moves based on smaller details because you face him on ladder - even better!
So... while in the past I probably was a terrible person to play, as I did rage and always complained, did search the mistakes in the other races or in my opponents. I today try to approach the game differently. I try to be more easy, search mistakes in my own play and accept that some things are easier to execute than to defend. Whenever I am mad or upset, I just imagine that you could put for example INnoVation in my place and he would win every single game easily. I think I gg most of the time and also try to glhf as sign of respect. It happens that I am on tilt from a bad losing streak from time to time, but that goes without saying and I guess there's no player in the world that can say he never got mad / never ragequittet a game.
Back to the actual game. I am Terran and while I think its the hardest to play correctly, I also believe its the race with highest potential in the game. Zerg and Protoss get harder the better the Terran gets, so thats my goal for now. Make them sweat, don't make their life easy. When I started (at the end of the last season) I was inactive for about 8 months, because I enjoyed time with my girlfriend, had to work a ton and did sports all the time. Nowadays, the only thing that changed is that I'm solo again so I got a lot more free time. No worries guys, we are still on good terms but it didn't work out for us !
I am still doing sports to balance out work and gaming, but when I say I'm serious about the game, I am. I did hit 1620points in the end and was eagerly waiting for the new season. My 'goal' is not just getting back into grandmasters, but mainly being good. I really don't care that much about my rank when I can sustain good games. Since the beginning of the new season I made about 585 games and there are few people that have more games on the ladder. I rank within top 50 masters usually and only drop out of it after bigger losing streaks (like yesterday T_T). My MMR is okay I guess and peaked at 2097 yesterday, now its at 2045. That is around mid-level grandmasters. I get various people, from top 30 masters to top 50 grandmasters which I think is good progress.
Some people probably say, nearly 600 games is too much. It takes nearly all of my freetime (besides sports and casting) so its quiet a commitment, but I'm a person that doesn't really suffer from overplaying. I need and I do gain experience. I am less afraid to cheese and I mix up my play. Thats something I really want to comment on! Experience!
Experience doesn't improve your mechanics, not micro nor macro. But experience helps you to gain confidence. The worst case scenario for a pro player is not knowing the situation of the game, not knowing what his opponent is up to. If you played 600 games in a short period of time on a good level, you will know how a proxy-stargate Protoss looks. You will know most of the situations and the proper reaction. Why make a bunker when its not needed? If there is no option to your opponent that he can pressure, why set up defences?
While I am by no means anywhere near where I want to be, I am very confident in my progress right now. In the past, I was a "macro" player and I'd say I'm still, but that doesn't lead me in doing only macro builds now. I do like to use the current metagame against others as well. Zergs rarely scout and like to play greedy so from time to time and actually quiet often, I like to play a double 11. Whenever I can and get the chance to play the same opponent in a row, I often try to approach it like a bo3/bo5. I did a double 11 first game? Might play a speed opening next g ame, so I can counter it with 12/12 reaper build into expand/reactor hellion.
You will see lots of reactions and builds from various people, you will improve on the fact that your reactions are better and the snowball effect is quiet suprising. If you ever approached TvP with a commandcenter first, you would be amazed at how much of a difference a bunker makes to the build. How much of a difference those 100 minerals early on can make into the later stages. I've been using and looking into builds more close, playing INnoVations CC first and its a difference like day and night, because everything lines up so perfectly. On a sidenote; never play a buildorder blindly. You cannot just look at it and play it, without adjusting to the game, INnoVation would also get a bunker if he sees pressure is coming etc.
So did I have success ? I don't feel like I do have "success" as I win tournaments, rank high but my success is gaining confidence, being more calm and not feeling insecure vs big-names. I did face NightEnD yesterday in WCS qualifier and while I believe he is the better player and always was we had pretty good games. Game one I did play proxy factory and he played proxy oracle. While I missed to burrow my first mine (WAT THE FUCK) I defended his proxy oracle pretty well. Without that mistakes I could have actuall be ahead in the game, but that way, I lost in the macrogame later on. I pulled my SCVS since I wanted to play a 2 base allin, but he had s torm ready as I was delayed from the early game.
The second game I did a command center first build on Whirlwind while he did a 1 gate expansion into stargate and 3 gates. I took severe damage actually, because I didn't have all my marines in place, so the first oracle did damage and I had to take hte marines out of my bunker in front to defend which resultet in a 1 stalker 1 zealot runby (wtf). I cleard it up and he followed with a MSC+4 oracle stalker bust, which I held off with marine/bunker/repair. Midgame was zealot/archon/storm vs Hellbat/Marauder/Medivac. Fights went pretty well and at some point I was ahead 70 supply. When I moved out maxed he did drop my main with a warpprism stormdrop, aswell as my natural and did a zealot runby at my third. As I was out on the map too far, I wasn't bothering looking back but the position at this third base was basically unbreakable at that point so I needed a better position. I stimmed and ran up to his natural killed it & the main. While I did that, my main was basically shredded, my economy in shambles, but I had a big army,..... in a bad spot now, as he was camping his natural with storm+MSC + zealot/archon/immortal. HOW THE FUCK DO I GET DOWN THAT SHIT? You don't. But wait... I had 2 ghosts (in the middle) so I scanned and emp'd the MSC + all templars. stimmed down the ramp and he could only retreat to his third base. Big fight there, he lost the initial one but cleared up nearly all of my stuff leaving me with 4 medivacs and 4 marauders, while he had 2 archons 2 immortals. Great, I still had 1 OC and he had one base with 4 probes.. but I had 1000 minerals and barracks left. I rebuild ~50 supply(!) and with 31 vs 50 supply at the watchtower it ended in my favor, 1-1!
Third game on starstation I did double rax reaper into expansion, while he did a 1 gate fast expansion with stalker+MSC into hidden Dt. He took a bit of damage from the reapers, but no severe damage, while I took a bit of damage from dts, but really wasn't that bad. The worst thing that happened was getting supplyblock and not constantly building workers, which resulted in no +1 for my bio. I did a 2-base timing again, as its very good on starstation and the open third but as I had no +1 for my bio, I lost. I lost very close with only 4 zealots and half of a colossus alive, but thats all it takes. He lost his natural and tons of probes, but third base nexus was up (no economy) but I was dead - ggs! H e took it 2-1.
So while I can say that I lost, I can say that I didn't completely get raped and I can clearly see progress in my own games. I am not afraid to mix it up and allin, I do play more to the map and I'm not too stubborn anymore. All in all, I feel like having a great time in Starcraft 2 and enjoying sports/casting as balance to it.
I also want to thank the people that support me from team sYs, Downfall from Teamliquid and replays of teNu and HeRoMaRine from mouz that helped me to see mistakes and have better decisions! Ah!
In addition, I'll be bootcamping from this weeks friday for 2 weeks with a friend or two and try to improve a ton :-)! GLHF guys!