Meet Dragon, a longtime top Canadian Protoss and favorite in the NA Summer Starleague. Read the NASSL exclusive on Dragon's thoughts as a dedicated CPL coach, top foreigner, organizer of the North American Squad, and on who's the best in NA. Watch Dragon and others play this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Read more about it here.
Closeup of his majesty: + Show Spoiler +
I turned 30 this year
Where are you from?
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Do you like basil on your pizza?
What's basil? I like my pizzas without any of that green shit on them.
When did you start playing?
When I was 14 I played the campaign at a friends house (shoutout to lazersnipe) for like a year before even getting the game myself because my family didn't have a computer with internet yet. It took that long because his computer ran the game slower than the slowest in-game setting. Despite that I fell in love with Starcraft and eventually got online and played on and off since then.
You're a professional poker player. What would you say is shared between your poker and StarCraft?
Hmm...both games are extremely challenging and both of them had their "prime" before I was competitive so I kinda feel like I missed out on the golden age and jumped on the bandwagon a bit late. Its nice to see SCR is undergoing maybe a second golden age though Anyway they are both strategy games with extra factors to overcome - in Starcraft you overcome the mechanical difficulty, and in poker you overcome the variance and the rake. I think poker is harder to learn but SC harder to execute. I try to approach them from a GTO (game theory optimal) standpoint first and then branch out to exploitative play if the situation calls for it. I definitely rely more on my knowledge in BW than my mechanics and am always looking to increase it.
Favorite matchup? why?
My favorite matchup is ZvP, because it feels like the ceiling for improvement is the highest there for me both strategically and mechanically. Also, I like zerg units, I guess. I started off as a pure zerg player a long time ago. I just like how the race operates and feels, except zvz/zvt emphasize mechanics over strategy too much for my taste (read: I can't micro mutas).
What's it like running a team like NaS? how did it get its original name?
OK so NaS stands for No Autism Squad, or alternatively North American Squad. Me/SuGo/seriOsity/Battousai and a few others (rip Beast) used to play together on Iccup and we called ourselves the squad. When SCR came around we formed a team, which was going to have to include the "squad" part at least. Some names got thrown around, but the best one was North American Squad. Then someone was like "yo we should have it stand for No Autism Squad instead tho lol", because SuGo would regularly call us autistic if we made dubious plays, or for any reason he felt like actually. Thus, [NaS] was formed. Its just an injoke, and I don't have anything against autistic people. In fact I might even have autistic tendencies myself.
Running the team is pretty fun tbh. I don't have to do much except show up every weekend for teamleagues, make lineups, which I would do anyway, and sometimes harass people to show up or post replays. The hardest part for me is recruiting new players. I like the small team feel of just playing with friends, but I also want [NaS] to be a force in the foreign scene and that requires new talent sometimes, Especially with 2v2 in BWCL. We only have one inactive 2v2er and we have lost every single 2v2 set in season 48 now. I even started to learn some 2v2 myself although I couldn't care less about it. Everyone decent in 1v1 or 2v2 seems to be in a team already though.
You haven't played in many tournaments since BSL 6. How's your motivation these days? Still active?
Yeah, all my BW time in the past 4? or whatever months has been taken up by CPL. I take my role as coach there pretty seriously. I also have been encountering some real shit variance in poker so i'm upping my effort there and investing less in Starcraft lately. But overall I still have love for BW and a desire to perform in tournaments. CPL is over now so I have a little more time to practice for leagues and stuff. We've got a lot coming up on the horizon.
How would you describe your relationship with cpl?
I would describe myself as a father figure to the helpless orphans of cpl... Seriously though, I really enjoy coaching but I end up over investing in it every time and getting burnt out. I want that triple crown, man. Might have to just let this one go though, I donno if I'll be coaching next season.
Speaking of cpl, are the Daddy Drag rumors true?
Lol. My students have taken to calling me dad and I blame Melonmonkey. I haven't done anything to discourage it, though. Guilty by inaction?
You're a ZvP race picker. How are you adapting these days to keep your off-race practiced. Will it be a weakness?
It's always a weakness to have to invest more time for the same result. I now have to play 6 matchups at a reasonable level on the ladder to practice the 3 that I really care about. Ive given up on trying to convince blizzard to add racepicking options, they have more important stuff to deal with tbh. I just have to deal with the situation and power through it anyway.
You're well known for having a highly optimized macro approach to StarCraft. How much more optimized do you think you are than the rest of the competition?
Vastly more optimized. Unfathomably, immeasurably better (and superior). Honestly I think everyone is pretty good these days and I get small edges where I can. You gotta think about the whole picture not just macro.
Anything new learned from the Koreans w/ this wealth of VODs and guides?
A few things.
Has your playstyle changed, if at all, this past year?
Hmmmm..I don't think so. I'd rather broaden my play than shift it.
Who are your practice partners?
I mostly play ladder or with my NaS teammates, especially SuGo. I also practice with Qikz. Shoutout to Qikz for practicing with me.
Who do you think is the best player in the starleague? in NA?
I'd like to think it's me: DragOn, King of NA. Occasionally some peasants revolt though such as Ty2. You might say we have a rivalry even. Other people in the tournament I gotta watch out for are Nyoken, Hawk, Jaeyun and Aegyo. Those guys are all really strong players. TT1 is also really strong but he's not playing. Is he even from NA?
BSL7-10 just got announced. Any bw goals for 2019? and beyond
Lol let's focus on BSL7 first: I'd like to retain my ro4 seed. That would be cool.
Bw goals for 2019: Dominate tournaments while also balancing poker, my health, and maybe even get a life. Can I do it? We'll see.
What do you do when you aren't playing SC?
I also play soccer and watch movies.
Interviewer: Seriosity & Ty2