Congratulations. How do you feel after winning this year’s WCS Global Finals?
It feels even better than my GSL win. Larger prize pool, larger number of fans, larger cheers... It was the highlight of my career so far.
Did Dark play as you expected him to? Was he predictable?
I haven’t had too much time to prep, but I think my previous TvZ practice really helped. Dark didn’t face any Terrans at BlizzCon. I just tried to relax and play my own game, which ended up working out.
As the series went on, you made some mistakes. Were you nervous because you were so close to winning BlizzCon, or am I reading into it too much?
Dark is an excellent harasser, and the nonstop crossmap skirmishes made me lose my calm a few times. Other than lifting my Command Center, I don’t think I made any huge misplays, though.
Your play and record improved significantly after LotV. Any secrets?
Actually, I’ve grown as a player since the tail end of HotS. I’ve been playing LotV since its early alpha, and it helped me gain an edge.
Your playstyle is quite different from other Terran players. Who did you take after for inspiration?
It doesn’t make sense to say that I started to play Starcraft following some other player - I was here from the very beginning. Most Korean players don’t have extensive experience playing against foreign Terran players. What makes me different is that I watch many foreign players’ games, which helped me develop my own playstyle.
How were you able to buy time with Reapers against Dark’s Ravagers on Frozen Temple?
I invented this style of play, so I am confident I can hold against pretty much everything. I could have defended with less damage, but Dark gave me a hard time. Overall, it was well done. I’ve never been defeated with this strategy.
How were you able to come back to StarCraft despite the hard times and a long hiatus?
I’m not the type of person who gets comfortable onstage. I thought it would be a miracle for me to make the semifinals, but I worked really hard this time. I’m pretty sure I’m the pro player with the most hours of practice. I guess it’s finally paying off.
You thought you won the series early on. How did you react when Dark started to win games?
It reminded me of the World Series between the Cubs and the Indians. I didn’t think I would lose three games in a row, but the thought did make me nervous. I don’t know how I did it - I lost myself in the middle of the series. I entered “the zone”, so to speak.
With LotV, the scale of the domestic [Korean] league shrank considerably. Any thoughts?
It didn’t affect me since I don’t play in ProLeague. I used to be teamless while other players had teams. It’s ironic to see it reversed. Whatever the case, I can motivate myself to play, so I’ll play hard and well.
How heavy was the trophy?
I was told that it weighs over 40 pounds (20kg), but it didn’t feel that heavy. Still, it was heavy enough to hesitate lifting it up, given my bad wrist.
What’s it like to be the first Terran player to become the WCS Global Champion?
I’m very happy to have such a rare title. It feels good [laughs].
What’s the plan for 2017?
I have to see the details for WCS first, but I plan to live in Korea because I’ve won before and I’m confident that I’ll continue to do well here.
What will you give your puppy Ren for a present?
His snacks cost over $1,750 per year. I think I've done enough already. I'll just give him a nice treat.
Which matchup was the hardest in this BlizzCon?
The hardest match was that one with ShowTime in the Ro16. I was mentally shocked, but I gained my energy back by reading fan letters. I would have lost if I hadn't practiced. I'm glad that I asked him for a practice game.
I heard you're a big fan of Shin-Hyung "INnoVation" Lee.
I kept watching him play during my hiatus in Heart of the Swarm. INnoVation was the best Terran player at that time, so I watched him as a fan. When I first actually met him, my hands shook and I couldn't move my lips. I became his fan because he was so good—and also good looking. I don't think he thinks of me as I think of him. But I like it this way, it's enough. I really appreciate that he helped me practice.
Translated from Inven Lasso's Korean transcription