Interview with Louder[LighT]
INSIDER ESPORTS - Alex Gardner sits down with Louder[Light] to talk about what most would say is the best team in North America.
2008's World Cyber Games USA Grand Final StarCraft tournament was very interesting this past year. With Greg “IdrA” Fields coming back to play holding the advantage of being on the Korean pro team CJ Entus, all eyes were on the young Terran. Meanwhile, Tyler “NonY” Wasieleski was making some noise, being in the finals of the recent SPIRIT tournament and having the opportunity to go to Korea. However, out of the woodwork, David “Louder[LighT]” Fells rose from being a heavy underdog to take 3rd place in the tournament, beating top American players like Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski and Geoff “InControl” Robinson, as well as Fields, in the process. Recently, I got the chance to sit down and talk with Fells on a number of topics, including the WCG USA tournament.
To kick things off, how did you get into StarCraft?
I started playing RTS games with WarCraft 1, played WarCraft 2 - so StarCraft was a game I was excited about and ready to play.
You play Protoss, which is often criticized as being “easy mode” for StarCraft. How would you respond to people who discredit the skill of playing the race?
Well, there is definitely a built element of "easiness" in the durability of the units. The flip side to that is that you have fewer units. You have to compensate with good use of high tech units. Where other races can play the whole game on tier 1-2 tech, you have to rush to tier 3 with Protoss and use your high tech units with precision. The 1a2a3a joke is pretty lame because against skilled opponents, you have to micro really hard to win battles.
What do you have to say about the current trend of Protoss domination - the Taek-Bang Era, and the Six Dragons? Do you think this is translating over into the foreign scene?
If you look at it historically, 1 race dominating isn't anything new. Although, the current situation is a little unique in that we're seeing top 4 in leagues being all Protoss. I think it has a lot to do with maps and adaptability. I think Protoss has always been the strongest race of foreigners overall, and now is no different.
Excluding IdrA and NonY, tell me who you think the best foreign player for each race would be?
Going by results, I'd say IefNiaj (Protoss), Strelok (Terran), and Mondragon (Zerg). and excluding the Chinese of course.
Haha of course, I forgot to mention that. Your team, LighT, has a fairly strong roster, with yourself, Machine and Future on it, 3 WCG USA finalists. How do you think you guys stack up against other foreign teams like Templars of Twilight and Meet Your Makers?
Well we lost to ToT badly last weekend, but I think historically we've shown we can compete with ToT and MYM. We've had a lot of close clanwars with them. Fewer wins than I'd like, but 2-3 and 3-3 results are better than walkovers. Our top lineup right now would definitely be Sadist (who is a clanwar monster), Chosen, Machine and Praetor and then Tenryu/Dea for 2v2. We also had 3 players qualify for stamina - Kawaii, Machine and Chosen.
Being that you do have such good players, proven by those results, is there any other team besides LighT that you think could argue for the spot of top North American team?
Given that sentiment, and excluding China once again, who would you say is the top foreign team?
MYM. Once again , you have to go by results, and they consistently dominate every league and have players performing well in events.
Alright, time to talk about the WCG USA finals tournament. Walking into WCG USA, you were a heavy underdog. Up against the likes of Artosis, IdrA and NonY, no one really gave you a chance, even though you had beaten LzGamer 2-0 in the South regional. What was your mindset going into the tournament?
I went to have a good time. I expected Nony to win everything. I was pleased to take a game off of him. I didn't expect to advance past the first day, much less get 3rd place.
Yeah, I remember you describing him at the South regional as just "fast". You did come out of a fairly strong group in that tournament, including Artosis, who has represented USA in the Grand Final a number of times, Yosh, a strong player in his own right, and teammate Machine. When you advanced to the top 4, what were your thoughts?
Yosh wasn't there, the results would likely have been very different if he were. My only objective when I advanced was to take a game off Nony, which I did. I had hoped to beat G5 but I played horribly that day and got steamrolled. As for Artosis specifically, we've been friends literally forever, as far as Brood War goes. We were newbs together in early 99, and all the years we've played, including the years he was in HnR) with me, I always had his number. I definitely didn't expect to lose to him.
I had forgotten Yosh's absence. Out of the WCG USA field, excluding the three players currently residing in Korea (Artosis, NonY and IdrA), who would you say was the strongest player and would have the best chance in Korea if given the opportunity?
I think had Yosh gone, he probably would've gotten 2nd place; and I still think he's probably the strongest Terran in the US, including the ones in Korea. When he's in shape, anyways. He's just really smart, has 300+ apm (Ed note - actions per minute, an unofficial gauge of skill among RTS players) with no spam, and he can do a lot of things at the same time, sort of like a Korean.
Wow, that's pretty impressive haha. What was your impression on how the 2008 WCG USA StarCraft tournament was run? What could have been done to improve it?
The stage matches were ridiculously done. They had us where we could hear what was going on and see what was on the screen. The first stage match betwen Idra and Incontrol, they didn't have any gameplay at all on the screen because of it (which is probably good, considering how that game went). They could've had a better situation for stage matches, and the scheduling sucked. We all had huge waits between matches through the first 2 days of the event. Overall it was fine in my opinion.
Alright, on to some quick questions to wrap it up. In your personal opinion, what is the future of StarCraft as a competitive eSport? Will SC2 take charge and it be a full take over, or will we see a split similar to the Counter Strike community, where some people believe Source is a good competitive platform and others arguing that 1.6 takes more skill?
Wow, we've gone through almost 30 questions already? Surely not... lol
No, I said I had like 16. Haha.
Oh, lol thank goodness. Anyway, I don't know about Korea, but in America BW has been effectively dead for 9 years. I think StarCraft 2 has potential, but it will all be in how the eSports establishment embraces it. First person shooters seem to be "the thing" in eSports here, and I think if any RTS has a chance, it'll be StarCraft2, the most highly anticipated one ever. I'd like to think there will be an explosion of events and sponsors etc, but I don't really expect it to be honest.
I see. It will be interesting to see what happens. Speaking of Korea, if there was one Korean player, past or present, thatyou could face in a best of 5 series, who would it be, and why?
Hmmmm, I guess I'd have to say Reach. He was always my favorite progamer, I always loved the way he played PvP.
Nice choice. It'd be interesting to see you match up against Mantoss. On the contrary, is there any Korean player you would want no part in facing, and, if so, why not?
No fear of those guys?
Whoever popularized the siege expand build I guess. Not sure who that is, but that's such a bitch play style and so boring.
Haha ok, I'll keep that in mind if I ever play you. Finally, with the new development of the Fnatic StarCraft division, the question has to be asked. Who is a better country for producing StarCraft players – USA or China?
I'm supposed to say USA, of course, but really who knows. China has always been so insular, and if we look at it by the numbers, they certainly have a bigger talent pool. I think the Fnatic team raping everyone silly says a lot, light was the only team to even win a match in clanwars vs them - they 6-0'd MYM. 2 fnatic members are in the top 4 of Stamina, I think they're doing well in PGL too. I think china has higher potential than the US for cultural reasons, too, just like korea. Much more disciplined, focused, goal oriented. Not as individualistic, not from a fragmented media culture.
I see. Well, thanks for taking this time to do this with me. Certainly gave a great perspective on the scene and the different teams in the world.
No problem, it was my pleasure.
Thank you very much to Louder[Light] for the interview and stay tuned for more!