thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions. I am sure some fellow StarCraft fans will recall you from the DreamHack: Open Summer 2013 in which you had faced Bischu and Squirtle during Group Stages #1. Back then you played under your old ID "MiddleMan". But it's been a while since we got the chance to see you at a bigger event. As time passes by, StarCraft surely made some new fans who are not famliar with your face yet. So let us begin with a little introduction of your person please.
My name is Pepa "PikA" Jacko, 18 years old Zerg from the Czech republic, currently playing StarCraft II for the norwegian team BX3. I study at gymnasium in Pilsen and after my final exams in May I will move to Sweden to live with my girlfriend and compete at scandinavian tournaments.
Pepa in his usual Streaming Suit
Pepa in his usual Streaming Suit
Just scandinavian tournaments?
Mostly scandinavian tournaments and online cups.
And where do you see the Czech republics StarCraft Scene in comparison to other foreign countries?
I don't like to play in the czech scene, because it is dominated by abusive protoss players who can't play macro, but take themselves insanely seriously and consider themselves very highly skilled after they do 4gate into oracle into DTs type of bullcrap. But there are some exceptions to these players, like TomikuS, who is really good Zerg player, but does not play in the czech scene either.
So how did you get in touch with StarCraft II and ended up as a progamer?
The first game I picked up was The Battle for the Middle-Earth and because of that I have developed a passion for the RTS genre, I played Warhammer 40k: DoW, StarCraft: BroodWar, WarCraft III, all just casually though, not seriously. After StarCraft II came out, I did not really pay much attention to it as I was playing WoW with my friend (which now I quite regret) and I started playing StarCraft in May 2012, started from bronze and I reached Master in December 2012. By then, StarCraft was pretty much the only game I was playing and I had decided to try to become good enough to compete at professional level.
What did your family think about your descision to commit yourself to StarCraft II?
My parents were not really supportive of it, but that did not prevent me from devoting more and more of my time to it. I'm good at managing my time, so there weren't any problems with school results or cutting time from anything else like my kickbox practise and going to the gym to workout.
Who's your StarCraft II Idol and why?
Jaedong, with no doubt. First of all, he is insanely smart, incredibly hardworking, really handsome, charismatic and so entertaining to watch. He is not one of the machine, soul-lacking Koreans, you can see that he is happy when he wins, he tries to speak english and is just entertaining. One more thing I admire about him and what I try to mimic is, that he is all fun outside the game, but from the moment the map loads, to the moment the game ends, he switches off and is COMPLETELY focused on the game. All this made me admire him so much not only as a player, but also as a person.
There are some bad rumors going around that LYGF is just another scammer on the market, players have to "beg" for the money and so on, and some didn't get it at all. Can you tell us your part of the story?
Well, i joined LYGF when Pulse Esports merged with it and I was an academy player. The team seemed quite weird to me from the start, especially because of the name *laughs* But otherwise, it seemed alright, some small sponsors, nothing big.
Then the management started hiring/recruiting LOADS and LOADS of people. I started hearing rumours that there will be team house as well and salaries for players and that's when I started to get suspicious. I was promised team jersey for DreamHack Winter 2013, but there were some "problems" and I did not get anything. Talking money in the team was one big taboo and whenever I asked the manager about it, he said "I have an investor" which seems really weird to me. If you invest into anything, you expect to get money in return, so how is some mysterious "investor" gonna get profit when the players don't even know who he is?
Then Genius got recruited and that was the alarm bell for me to start looking for a different team, because HOW could this team pay for someone like Genius? I figured that they can't and the team is scam. And even if they would not be, with Genius setting the bar, I would not get anything from the team in the future. And because I will be moving to Sweden in May I started looking for scandinavia-based team. I had a friend in norwegian professional team BX3, about which I am 100% sure it's legitimate, who got me to the tryouts for the team, their management agreed on accepting me and so I left LYGF right after the tryouts for BX3.
Then I told that to the LYGF manager Pascal Anton, whose reaction was, I can't call it anything else, childish *laughs* He didn't say a word, removed me from his contact list and kicked me from LYGF skype chat. That only proved to me that leaving LYGF was correct decision.
Did you ever had to run after you money during your stay in LYGF?
Nah, because i did not have a contract, I did not get any money from LYGF *laughs* but I was not promised any, so no loss there.
PikA riding a horse "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (TM)"[
What is important to you, to make you feel comfortable about joining a team and has changed in the regard of the personal approach after your experience with the lygf? Were there some new questions popping in your head, that had to be answered from BX3, before you felt ready to join them?
When i consider joining a team, there is a couple of things I look for. The support I will get from a team, the people, the practise I can get from being on that team, the exposure I will get and how good the team jersey looks (this one is actually really important to me *laughs*) So, had I been teamless, I would not have joined LYGF. I joined it only because Pulse merged with it and I did not have any interest in finding myself a team back then because I did not devote myself to StarCraft so seriously as I do now. With BX3, I can get a lot of support for LANs, the practise is amazing, the people on the team are awesome, the manager and owner is really intelligent, responsible guy who knows how esports economy works and the jersey of BX3 looks SPECTACULAR! BX3 is with no doubt the best team I have been on.
Is there a picture showing you in that handsome jersey?
I was unable to get my jersey yet, because I am from the Czech republic and I will be moving to Sweden in may, therefore the first time I will be wearing my BX3 jersey will be at DreamHack Summer 2014, where I will be competing, dont forget to tune in and cheer for me!
What are the goals you'd like to accomplish in 2014 and what are the events and titles you are aiming for?
My ultimate goal for this year tournament-wise is to reach Ro32 in one of the DreamHack tournaments.
You said you play at least 20 games a day, how does your overall training look like? Do you ladder a lot or do you prefer to analyse your replays and train with custom maps?
My training usually consists of ladder, I save the replays of losses I dont understand and then I watch those replays with King, who is norwegian GM Zerg contracted by BX3, my good friend and also BX3 coach. I also play some custom games with my teammates, but thats not as often as ladder sessions. I stream my training sessions in 720p at twitch.tv/pepachu almost every day with commentary, so you are welcome to tune in and watch. Ever since I started playing StarCraft, my matchups were ZvT>ZvP>ZvZ, so I mostly focus on improving my ZvZ now, because vs Protoss I am decent and vs Terran I am really good.
What do you think about the recent balance discussions and Blizzard's approach to them?
I think Blizzard's balance team and David Kim is finally starting to use brain. The newly proposed changes look pretty decent, besides the Tempest change, which is simply dumb, because Swarm host is the real issue, not tempest.
Do you think Swarm Host is a bad unit?
Swarm host is a unit with great idea and poor design *laughs*. When it's used agressively (burrow, send wave, unburrow, go elsewhere) it's fun to watch and play with, but then you watch Stephano's 2,5 hour game in progress with no mining, 65 swarm hosts and he is just sitting there and watching... That kind of playstyle is literally killing my soul as does turtle mech and turtle skytoss. There are decent ideas on TL.net how to redesign Swarm Host and I think Blizzard should give those a look.
Any specific ones on your mind?
There is a thread suggesting buff to Locust damage and health, but decrease of their life span as well as decrease of the Swarm host burrow/unburrow time. Then there are some upgrades suggested, but in general that's the idea on how to make Swarm host aggressive siege unit instead of "lets turtle and win this game by killing the soul of my opponent".
What does your wishlist for Legacy of the Void look like?
Complete redesign of Protoss. Remove Force field, buff adequately ground units, let them have warp gate, I don't mind that at all, but PLEASE REMOVE FORCE FIELD. Or giving the force field some amount HP and make it breakable would be really good change I think if David Kim insists on leaving that spell ingame. Second wish I have is fungal doing more damage, but just slowing units down, not immobilizing them and also giving infested terrans back the upgrades. And last wish is redesign of Swarm Hosts so they can't be used as Stephano uses them.
Gabriella, Lord Vader and PikA (the dark one)
Thanks for the interview. Do you have anything to tell your fans or sponsors?
I want to thank my team BX3 for being awesome and I am looking forward to working with them further, our sponsors madcatZ, Rockstar Energy (seriously, this drink is delicious, I can't get enough of it ^^), Thermo Transit, Tritton, Orcbite, eSport Arena and Webvert. Also I want to say hello to my lovely girlfriend Gabriella, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY sweetie!!!
Original Post: MyStarCraft.de