If you’ve been keeping up with the European scene lately, you will know what a force EmpireKas is. Kas boasts an impressive number of Go4SC2 titles and a handful of Zotac wins over Europe's finest, and more recently he took out the HomerJ Xmas Special and the GosuGamers Holiday Special with clean 3-0 victories over MouzMana and dignitas.SjoW. It looks like Kas can’t be stopped as he just rolled out the punishment in the first PokerStrategy.com TSL Qualifier beating the likes of Adelscott, Naniwa and Ciara. We got a moment after the final to catch up with Kas and hear his thoughts on his most recent win and qualification into the PokerStrategy.com TSL:
An interview with EmpireKas
TeamLiquid: Hi Kas, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on your victory today! Could you introduce yourself to everyone?
EmpireKas: Thanks! Hi, I am Hayda Mihaylo, better known as Kas, and I am a member of team Empire. I live in Ternopil, Ukraine. Originally I was a Warcraft 3 player but I have switched over to Starcraft 2.
TeamLiquid: How long have you been playing Starcraft 2?
EmpireKas: I’ve been playing Starcraft 2 from start. About three weeks into the beta, i was able to get a beta key and then I starting playing. My first race was Protoss, but just before the end of beta I switched to Terran
TeamLiquid: Did you play many RTS games before Warcraft 3?
EmpireKas: No and this is why it’s so hard for me, and why I play so much. I didn’t play Warcraft 3 for very long, I only started playing Warcraft 3 when it started dying and all good players were leaving it. There were no big tournaments or LANs. I want to be able to experience these things in Starcraft 2, and I hope will be good enough to make it! I did play a bit of Starcraft 1 before beta, just to see what it was like. I only played about 50 games though.
TeamLiquid: You said you play so much, how many games do you play in a typical week?
EmpireKas: I mostly play on the ladder, only 1-2 games per week as custom games. This is because I get a lot of good players in the ladder and I can’t train specific matchups because my overall shape is not so good. So I just spend most of my time practising my mechanics on the ladder. I think other top players have some adv because of their experience with Starcraft 1. It’s harder for me, but I try my best. When I have a free day I can practice up to 6-7 hours per day, but some days I’m unable to practice at all. It also depends on how I’m feeling that day, how motivated I am and whether there are any upcoming tournaments.
TeamLiquid: How long did you play Warcraft 3 for?
EmpireKas: I played Warcraft 3 for three years. I was in a number of Ukrainian and Russian teams like sp, dmz, pokeroff and I was on some German teams like GaB, and sTa. It may look like a lot, but I wasn’t a player who changed teams very often.
TeamLiquid: Did you think you had a good chance of qualifying for the PokerStrategy.com TSL?
EmpireKas: For sure! But I wasn’t thinking that I would be able to win it all today, so I was just thinking "I hope I show good games and do the best I can." I’m very very happy with the result today.
TeamLiquid: How would you evaluate each of your matchups?
EmpireKas: I find playing against Zerg the most difficult. I think my Terran vs Terran is pretty good since there are many Terrans on the ladder and I have some good safe builds to use. Against Protoss I know what to do, but Protoss have a lot of builds and hard to play against because every good Protoss has a different style which you need to adapt to, it’s tough.
TeamLiquid: Alright Kas, we'll let you get back to practising! Thanks for your time
EmpireKas: No problem!
Here's a quick overview of Kas's recent results
He has even more wins from some unlisted tournaments
Kas has a distinctive conservative style in his play, which comes as no surprise since his primary source of practice is the ladder. No matter what his opponents threw at him, Kas was able to stay calm and make the best of the situation at hand. During the quarterfinals, Adelscott attempted to throw Kas off his game with a unique midgame strategy, let’s see how Kas handled it:
Kas spawned as the light blue Terran at 10 while Adelscott, wearing his characteristic Orange, warped in as Protoss at 1 on Shakuras Plateau. Neither side opted for anything fancy, Kas opening with the very safe 2Rax FE whereas Adel opened 1Gate FE into 3 Gate/Robo. Adel warped in a mostly Sentry army with his first few round of units, so when Kas’s first Marine/Marauder poke came he was quickly forced to run home – or face being decimated by forcefields.
Meanwhile a scouting reaper was able to get inside Adel’s main and get a small glimpse of what was going on. Since Adel hasn’t picked a tech path yet, Kas didn’t gain anything too valuable from that information. With Adel’s first observer scouting out Kas’s main, both players settled in for a macro game. Realising this, Adel took his third relatively early – at around 70 supply. To compensate for his lack of Tech units, he added a 2nd robotics and started to pump Colossus like no tomorrow. And then the twist came:
Adel’s army composition was primarily Sentry/Zealot with many Colossus about to come. There is no way he could afford the gas to pump out the number of Stalkers he would need to fend of Vikings raids on his Colossus. So instead, he made use of the tools he already had at his disposal and researched Hallucination. The plan was to Hallucinate a number of Void Rays or Colossus prior to engagement which would hopefully distract the Vikings long enough for Adel’s army to demolish Kas’s, and he would ride the advantage home from there.
Meanwhile Kas had switched off all his Barracks to Tech-Labs and gone dual reactor Starport – allowing him to truly pump out Vikings and Medivacs. Kas’s 3rd base finally dropped at 120 supply, just as he moved out with his first force. Adel carefully retreated, as to lure Kas in, and Hallucinated a number of Void Rays. But Kas was too clever for this – his ‘attack’ was merely a poke – and after killing a proxy pylon in the middle of the map he quickly retreated his army back to his half of the map; wasting a round of Hallucination.
With that disappointment behind him, Adel took his fourth base and both sides continued to add forces. Then at around 150 supply Kas decided it was time and moved out with his army. Kas’s Vikings crept up on Adel’s Colossus and got a round of shots off on them, Adel retreated, Hallucinated some Void Rays and Kas scanned them – revealing the ploy. From there it was a simple matter of focus firing the Colossus with his (completely unopposed) Vikings and the Protoss army crumbled since it lacked splash damage to deal with the mass of bio.
With Adel on the retreat, Kas simply walked into Adel’s third and demolished it. And then went to his fourth, and demolished that too. Adel wasn’t one to give up the fight just yet, he had just finished his templar tech and had just started another base. But he was over 50 supply behind and Kas had just completed his fourth base. Adelscott put all his faith in one final engagement in the center but a few perfect EMPs and hundreds of Medivacs making Kas’s bio blob invincible forced Adelscott to concede.
All in all, a resoundingly solid game by Kas. He was able to exploit the weaknesses in Adel’s game plan by feinting an attack repeatedly – this forced Hallucinations and kept Adel on his toes. But really, the clincher game when Kas surprised Adel by taking the initiative and landing 2 clean volleys of Viking missiles on Adel’s Colossus. Adel was horribly out of position at this point, had no Hallucinations to soak damage and a perfect scan revealed all of Adel’s tricky intentions. Kas cannot be faulted for his performance; it was wall to wall solid.
You can check out Kas's other games from the TSL Qualifier by grabbing the replays from here or checking out our Youtube channel to see Chill and DJWheat cast the games.
Remember, even though Kas has directly qualified for the PokerStrategy.com TSL, those who finished 2nd-16th have earned themselves points for the TSL Qualifier Ladder. Ciara, our 2nd place finisher, tops the ladder at the moment with 100 points. You can see how all your favourites are doing here and remember to check this every week, as it will be updated after every PokerStrategy.com TSL Qualifier.
Next week the PokerStrategy.com TSL Qualifiers come to the NA server, and who knows; perhaps you will be the next person to qualify for the PokerStrategy.com TSL.
Best of luck.
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