You watched as he scorched through the beta, taking titles across the board, and cheered as he soared on the Wings of Liberty, destroying foes left, right and center to qualify easily for IEM Season V and most importantly, take home the first Major League Gaming Pro Circuit title of the year. You even sat there and with patience and persistance voted him to #1 on the most recent TL poll. Having said that, it's time to announce that the artist formerly known as Chris Loranger who recently left his old team, Millenium, has undergone a change.
9/10 dentists agree - HuK is an unstoppable force.
Boys and girls, we present Canadian, Protoss and man about town - TLAF-Liquid`HuK!
"We're really happy to announce that HuK will be joining us as we strengthen our Liquid lineup Korea, and look forward to fielding him in the upcoming GSLs," said Victor "Nazgul" Goossens, Manager of Liquid. "We've grown quickly since the retail release of Starcraft 2, and with HuK looking to go to Korea, we saw it as a great opportunity to recruit the strongest foreign Protoss in the world."
Chris will join Liquidians Jonathan "Jinro" Walsh and Dario "TLO" Wunsch in Incheon, Korea, in the Liquid-oGs team house. Flying out with him during the following months will be Swede Hayder "Haypro" Hussein and Dutchman Jos "Ret" De Kroon. With American Protoss player Tyler "Nony" Wasieleski staying on in the United States to focus on the professional gaming scene in North America, HuK will be the first Liquid` Protoss in South Korea to stay on a long term basis.
When is he leaving? How will he fit in at the Liquid-oGs house? What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
These questions and more, all answered by our hero in the exclusive interview below. Without further ado then, let's first say hi to Huk!
Warning: prolonged exposure to HuK may result in injury by probe harass.
Hi Chris, and how are you doing this fine fall evening?
Good, how about you?
I'm good, thanks. ^^ A lot of people are headed back to school this semester, but rumour tells us that you're set on going somewhere else. Do tell.
Well, I’m set on going to the school of pwnage to get a degree in owning newbs. I’m flying to Korea to do this, and I think I’ll end up staying for my masters as well.
And what university are these courses at? Any friends going with you?
Team Liquid, of course. I plan on staying in a tight knit dorm with Jinro and TLO as well as the oGs clan.
Sounds like a plan. You're the seventh player to wear the Liquid tag for SC2. It's been some time coming, but we're glad you're finally here. How does it feel?
Feels great, obviously. I’ve been in talks with Nazgul for awhile. I get along with everyone on TL and have been custom gaming with most of the guys as well. I think the only person I haven’t meet IRL is Jinro. I the person I got along best was Nony, when I met him at MLG Raleigh.
MLG Raleigh - you took 1st place there, and in doing so grabbed the first major American title for SC2. When you started playing back during the beta, did you ever imagine you'd be at the top of a podium just a few months later?
Um yeah, kind of - I don’t want to sound too cocky but I told everyone before I even started playing the beta that I was going to be really good. Then once I started playing I knew I had the 100% commitment that you need to be the best. So I guess in a way I knew it was coming but it’s still cool how it’s happening so fast.
That's interesting. How did you know you'd perform so well?
Well I had always been really good at games in general. I was good at Broodwar, among other RTS games, and that was during high school when generally I had 10901230120 different things going on as well. So when during the SC2 Beta I had nothing going on in my life, I could really focus on it and do well.
You're the fourth Canadian to join Liquid, and the first to join the team's SC2 lineup. Apart from producing a TSL Champion, your country also boasts of SC2 up and comers like KiWiKaKi and Suggy. Gonna give you moment now so you can give us a GO CANADA.
LOL. GO CANADA. But I’m American too. I grew up in the USA. 1 – 16 in USA, 16 – 21 Canada.
Based on what you know of both countries, name a Protoss build that is almost certainly of American origin, and another that was sure to have been birthed in Canada.
Canada – Colossus drop. USA – 4/5 warp gate allin. Also, Mothership rush for both, because I did both, and I’m both, son.
In a few short months you've gone from a home computer and Internet connection to LAN events played in front of live audiences and thousands of viewers on stream. What were some of the cool things (and some of the not so cool things) about going through this process so quickly?
Meeting all the players and staff that you talk to on a day to day basis online.
Meeting all the fans taking pictures, signing autographs, and all that.
Then, going to clubs, bars, parties, dinner with both parties.
Bad performance in ESL. The learning experience can be seen as a good thing as well though, I guess.
You're going to Korea to play in the GSL. For years, you've no doubt seen Korean progamers on TV. What is it like to know that you'll finally have the chance to step into a booth and live that dream?
Extremely exciting. Right now it still hasn’t really hit me but I know once I’m over there and in a booth I’ll think of this moment when I answered this question. Not going to be living the dream until I win one though.
Indeed, and how focused are you on doing that? As we speak, you are at the top of the world ladder, hovering between #1 and #2 (mainly because you stopped playing to take this interview, I believe). Do you think that the sort of mass daily gaming you are used to will help you fit into the Korean training regimen better
I’m 100% committed, and always have been. I honestly think I’m the most committed player playing right now. Whatever I do I give it my all or don’t give it anything at all. All or nothing - that’s just who I am. I think the practice setup will help me but I’ve always thought of training as quality > quantity. If i feel it is the best regimen though, then I obviously have no problem staying with it.
In joining Liquid, you are rubbing shoulders with some of the scene's biggest names. You've been playing with most of your new teammates for a while, so why not tell us a little bit about your past experiences with them, and in particular, what you're looking forward to the most about getting to practice daily with Jinro, Haypro, TLO and Ret in Korea?
Jinro and TLo I’ve practiced with the most. We’ve done some custom games here and there for fun and I also helped TLO prepare for some matches with Whitera back in the day. Ret I think I’ve played a total of 1-2 games with but really look forward to how good he will get, and how fast because the guy has got crazy skills. Haypro is probably the one I’ve had least experience with. I havn't met him in real life and I think we only played in tournaments, but he’s really solid as well and Morrow speaks well of him, which means a lot to me.
Looking to Korea - how much do you know of the culture, both progaming and wider Korean culture, and how well do you think you'll adjust to your new way of life there?
I’ve skimmed through some blogs of the different TL.net people who have been there, and have tried learning the different mannerism I’m going to have to get accustomed too. The biggest issue will be living with a lot of ppl in same house I think, but I’m pretty nice and Koreans are generally well mannered so that shouldn’t be a problem. Other than that I like to take like 4-5 showers on avg per day which I might have to minimize. Other than that, it should be ezpz! Oh, I also plan to take everyone out to dinner when I get there.
Oh that's great! TLO recently promised a free dinner to every foreigner arriving in Korea as well, so you guys should be set on the food front. From probe harass to early warp gate powered aggression, HuK has long been synonymous with aggressive play. Soon however, you will be in a country and on a server that, as our Liquidians over there report, is pretty much all aggro, all the time. On that note, we'd like to ask - what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
An immovable object would have to have an inertia that was infinite, and therefore infinite mass. Such an object would collapse under its own gravity and create a singularity.
I.e - Huk would smash that shit.
So you’d basically use Vortex?
Sure. On a more serious note, I’m capable of switching gears and using a lot of different play styles. I’m always trying to adapt and learn new ways to play the game so it shouldn't be a problem at all.
Let's talk Protoss. IEM Cologne saw a major dearth of the race, and the MLG Raleigh was Aiur all the way. What do you think of Protoss' position in SC2 at the moment, and who are the players you have an eye on as you continue to improve your game?
Well, at the moment with the patch just being released I’m having a lot of issues but generally I think it’s the most creative and definitely has the most micro mechanics. Other than that, top Protoss players for me are Kiwikaki, Whitera Naniwa and Suggy. Also depends on the week and who’s hot and who’s not.
Have you been watching the GSL? Any Koreans you find interesting at the moment?
I find them all interesting. Their gameplay at some points is really different from ours. They also have a different metagame just by the different decision making/timings they have on everything. I mean there are a lot of good players but I think foreigners aren't that far behind. I wish TLO would went further in this GSL!
Given that you have a few months to go before Korea though, what is your immediate focus going to be? Are there areas of your game you'd like to improve now that you're sure you'll be trying for GSL Opens in the months to come?
Overall, just improving my game in general. I basically take it one day at a time and improve on everything. I would like to get higher APM and really focus on some high risk, high micro builds.
In a few months, you've gone from being just another gamer to being signed by one of the top SC2 teams out there, and will soon be in Korea, bidding for a spot in the biggest SC2 tourney in the world. There are thousands of players out there who want what you have - what advice would you give them as they chase their dreams
Be 100% committed. Don't go into it with other possibilities on your mind or other things going on in your life or you will fail. Play hard, consciously try to get better, and watch Day9.
Sound advice, HuK. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to having a chat again soon. Gogo, back to the ladder! Glhf.
Well, how's that for news? This is just the beginning though. HuK fans rejoice, because as TL's coverage of their home team continues, you guys are just going to see more and more of your favourite Protoss. And now that he's on your favourite team, it's just that much better isn't it? Welcome, HuK. We hope you enjoy your stay!
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