Every so often, it’s important to take a step back from the matches and standings and focus on the players instead, who put in the effort to make an entity such as the Collegiate StarLeague possible. This week, I got the chance to speak with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s StarCraft II team. Georgia Tech is no newcomer to the CSL StarCraft II community. For years, this school has fielded solid teams, and many of their current players are CSL veterans. Read on for my conversation with the players.
Tyler “Gloob” O’Keefe: Congratulations on beating Temple University. How does it feel to have beaten a team that many of us consider a favorite?
Jiseok “jiseokcube” Choi: To be honest, it doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment withl all of the forfeits. We most likely would have lost if everyone was there, so we got pretty lucky, but it's always nice to get that extra win. TheoRy's victory was quite impressive though, so I'll pass it to him for his thoughts.
Derek “TheoRy” Travisano: Taking a game off of [Conan] Suppy [Liu] in CSL makes me satisfied with my improvement. The year Georgia Tech got second place in the CSL, Suppy defeated me in the ace match pretty handily for a Berkeley victory. He is someone I've looked up to in the CSL as being very successful in the game and real life, and also being the most accomplished CSL player.
Pranav “PluTo” Shenoy: Suppy has been that player that has had consistent success back when he played for Cal [Berkeley] and now as well. So, it’s nice to see that our boy Derek [TheoRy] was able to beat him during their game last week.
O’Keefe: Speaking of your second place finish in 2013, it seems to me that Georgia tech has a kind of legacy in this league. Do you have a sense of that when you play?
A legacy to uphold: Georgia Tech's legendary StarCraft II squad from 2013.
Travisano: It's really cool to add our names to Georgia Tech's rich StarCraft history. When I joined the club, about six years ago, the player who everyone looked up to was MasterAsia, a WCG China champion and the best North American Zerg in the StarCraft II beta. We've also all heard stories about the Brood War pro, Assem, who went to compete in Korean pro leagues. Other notable Grandmasters from Georgia Tech who graduated during my CSL career include MaSsan, echuchee, ReMiix, Maestro, and FXOShield. It is a good feeling to hear our names mentioned along with these legendary players and to continue their legacy.
Shenoy: When I got [to Georgia Tech], I was in Silver League and had been playing StarCraft II for about a year. When I joined CSL, the captain, Remiix, helped me get to Diamond league that year. It would be another year-and-a-half before I was able to finally place in Masters. So, for me, the CSL has been about being able to get better at the game and challenge myself in a tournament setting.
Choi: This is only my second year in CSL. I happened to become the captain right as Remiix graduated with a lot of the other veteran players. We barely scraped into the playoffs last year, thanks to Plurmorant. I wasn't sure how this year was going to go, but we were able to have TheoRy and PluTo back, and they've been a big part of the team's success. I'm sure they have lots of stories as they've been around for a while. As the new captain, I do have the desire to continue that legacy; unfortunately, interest in StarCraft II seems to be dwindling at Georgia Tech, so it's been hard finding people who are really passionate about playing. [Chunlok] BoxedCube [Lo] and I will do our best to fill those shoes though, working on making that jump to Masters!
O’Keefe: Well, hopefully you’ll be able to make it to the playoffs again this year. Of course, you’ll have to make it through the group stages first. Any thoughts on the teams in your current group or teams you might face in the next group stage?
Choi: Objectively, I think we're sitting at third or fourth in our division, in terms of raw skill. But, despite having slightly weaker individual skill, I think we have good chances of pulling upsets with good preparation. If we shore up our individual ability more, I think we'll definitely be contending the top spots next year. Waterloo is a scary team, we lost pretty hard to them last year… Unfortunately, [University of Georgia] doesn't have a team this year, so we couldn't crush them like we always do.
Travisano: [University of Connecticut] and Temple both have great talent, our chances against [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute] likely depend on how the lineups pair up. I'd like to be in a division with Temple again. Temple is definitely a stacked team bringing good opportunity to measure my improvements.
Shenoy: It feels good to play in a hard division and have a good record. Hopefully, when playoff-time comes, we can keep the trend going. CSL changed the match format from regular season to playoffs (playoffs used to be best-of-seven) and it seems to me that this was one of the problems we had. We would be really solid for the best-of-fives, but struggle to win the best-of-sevens.
O’Keefe: Any final comments?
Shenoy: When I first joined Georgia Tech, I needed to take two humanities classes. When I met Remiix due to the CSL, he persuaded me to take Korean. I ended up spending a summer abroad in Korea which was one of the best experiences of college. And it was only because I joined CSL that I happened to take Korean at all. Not to mention that I also got to visit the GSL (Global StarCraft II League) and see Classic take home the gold.
Travisano: It makes me very happy that Georgia Tech has a new generation of players and a leader like Jiseok [Choi] to carry on [its] legacy.
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