Author of a remarkable run during the last Nation Wars III, Alexis « MarineLorD » Eusebio is, since the release of the last StarCraft II add-on Legacy of the Void, in a tremendous period. Despite a disappointment at the HomeStory Cup, the Terran player from Millenium crushed (nearly) all alone Sweden, Canada, Finland and even the « final boss », South Korea, at the O'Gaming tournament.
At the top level in France, he is also considered today as one of the best player in the foreign scene. Millenium editorial staff wanted to know more about his latest performances, and went to ask MarineLorD a few questions.
|First name/Last name : Alexis Eusebio
|Country : France|
|Birthdate : 01/06/1995 (20 years-old)|
|Tournaments earnings : 35 991 $|
|Best performance : Top 8 WCS 2015 Saison 2
[M]TinkeR : Hi MarineLorD, and thanks for accepting to answer our questions ! Before coming back on your recent run, I'd like to talk a bit about LotV. How did you approach the switch from HotS to LotV, and what were the main obstacles you've faced at the beginning?
[M]MarineLorD : Hi ! Regarding LotV, I love the fact that there's so much multitasking involved in every match-up, it makes all the aspects of the game slightly more complicated (micro/macro), knowing it's more action-packed. There's a few big issues with the design rather than with balancing I believe, but I think that the game has a bright future.
Your results on the last add-on has been quite impressive lately, and you are undoubtedly on the European top 3 today. Is that a logical improvement for you (you were already among the best foreign players at the end of HotS) or do you think the rupture between HotS and LotV is such that the playstyle on LotV just fits you more?
I think that HotS was only decision-making based, and not so much focused on mechanics. During the last two years, metagame and the game itself hugely disadvantaged Terrans on prepared matches. It's always sad to lose against MaNa in WCS (who's obviously very good though) in the last season while I thought I was playing better in general, but in one Bo3 or two, Protoss design gives him the edge.
In the end from my point of view, it was more up to my opponent to prepare his match, and then I, as a Terran, had to try to play the most solid way, without having the possibility to change my game plan. I couldn't really prepare my matches knowing that my opponent could have done anything on any map, and I had to be very solid and not doing any decision-making/scouting mistake in order for me to hope to win, that's why StarCraft II was increasingly making me lose motivation.
I'm here to play a game that requires skill, and asks for mechanics, and put me on an equal footing with my opponent, not a RTS-style HearthStone remake.
Regarding the NationWars : you ended up at the 2nd place of your groups, then carried on with a tight win against Canada, before crushing Finland, then South Korea. Did some kind of a « trigger » happen at some point? What went through your mind at these moments, and especially when INnoVation GG'ed out?
Globally, I was happy with my results, even if I was sad losing to HuK. For me, the way he played was totally random, and if you take into account all of my different builds and the way I play, his build had only 10-15% chance to win him the game. I was in a defending position against what is standard to play in the current metagame (Warp prism, Oracle, Blink), I tried to get the intel as much as I could, but by playing correctly with Phoenixes, he had the chance to deny any map control.
MarineLorD beats INnoVation and give the final victory to France
For Scarlett and Finland, I don't think I played very well but I tried to abuse the « weaknesses » of my opponents (especially Scarlett and Serral). I don't think I've been so much better than them, but my agression always surprises against Zerg, nobody else play like this in Europe, so it's harder for them to train against that. Then against Korea, to be honest, the plan was simple : we were with Ilyes [Stephano] and David [Lilbow] on Skype, like « INnoVation first on Dusk Towers : MarineLorD you go, you can only macro in TvT with this meta, so you'll most probably going to lose ». The second map was Prion Terraces, we would have sent Lilbow to all-in INnoVation hoping that it would work, even if we expected to lose, and then Central Protocol as a third map for Stephano who would have tried to cheese INnoVation.
Even the charismatic Thorin, esport journalist, had something to say about it
Our objective was clearly to take a few maps, but we never expected to win 5-0. Regarding my matches, I have great respect for these three players, especially INnoVation, so I knew I had to beat him by playing rigorously, and not only rely on gambling. I feel that I played quite bad on the first map, but afterwards I tried to focus really hard. It's complicated to describe because having this level of focus where you can only think of the game, and do everything almost perfectly didn't happen to me very often in my life.
The final score between France and South Korea, at the NationWars III
Usually when playing, you always have on your mind some IRL stuff, past games, the things you have to work on, which mistake not to do again, etc. But when you're as focused as this, you turn off half of your brain, play mechanically almost perfectly, and most of all, you take really good decisions, you know when you have to push, and take the map control, etc.
Were you expecting such results during the NationWars, especially against Korea? What role do your teammates (Lilbow and Stephano) had in this run?
We were expecting a 5-2 or 5-1 for South Korea. Regarding the final, I knew Stephano couldn't win a game, we were just hoping for him to sacrifice on the maps we hated, depending on the match-up. For Lilbow, I trusted his Protoss bullshit, especially on PvT. I knew I had to win against Hydra, PartinG, and INnoVation at least once, and I thought Lilbow was able to take a map from INnoVation. So in this match, Lilbow was here to « snipe » INnoVation.
Let's get back to the game itself : LotV has been released for nearly two months already, what are your thoughts on the current balance and Terran meta ; and what do you think are the main area for improvements for Blizzard?
For me, we need to review the Blizzard team in charge of the maps. Give us goddamn KeSPA maps, but please stop ... I love diversity of the maps, they are imbalanced : OK, but I don't believe that a map-pool has to favour the randomness, like it's the case in TvP. Even in TvZ, on a few maps, Zerg can't scout the Terran because there's no safe path for the Overlords against Marines, which is a big issue. I know that Blizzard likes games based on luck, but I don't think StarCraft II should be one of them.
Regarding the David Kim team, in charge of the balance, I have the feeling that they are doing a decent job, but I don't think they are here to balance the game. I expect from David Kim and his team an improvement in terms of design in a way that the three races have the same amount of skill required to be played, and so that it allows the best player to win all of his games. From my perspective, maps should affect the balance, and the patches from David Kim should only change the design.
As a Terran, I think we should have slightly more agressive options at a high level (against Protoss), allowing us to have a better scouting, and more intel, and would make the game less random. The second problem for me is the Protoss design : too many things are easy for them, especially on early/midgame, like when they have to defend their base with Pylones. We can't really differentiate the good Protoss players from the bad ones before being quite far in the game, particularly because those defences require a limited scout from Protoss as they allow to defend more or less every aggression. I think that the last patch is quite good, a Photon overcharge slightly buff the Terran aggression and the Reaper, which will make the game harder for Protoss.
The sleeveless shirt is trendy again thanks to MarineLorD
The new WCS format was eagerly awaited, knowing that the 2015 system was globally appreciated. What do you think of the new 2016 WCS format? Less tournaments, less Koreans, and more money, is that the correct equation?
I don't really have any opinion, I use to like having Koreans in Europe/America training with us, but it's true that sometimes, some Koreans only came for a year, with a huge advantage. From my point of view, we could only catch up their level after six or seven months of playing with them, but every year there were new Koreans, so it was a never-ending circle.
Regarding the money, I appreciated the fact that you could have a significant amount of money quite safely if you were good in WCS. I still don't know if I like this new system, but it doesn't seem to be that bad.
Llewellys [Millenium esport director] was thinking about sending Lilbow to Korea after the last WCS. It eventually didn't happen for various reasons (he had to carry on training on HotS for BlizzCon while everyone else was already playing LotV). Do you think it's the good time for you (and do you want to)?
I could go to Korea but I think it's only useful at the end of the year, after the WCS. And knowing there's 80% chance I will go back to studies in september, it might be too complicated to see my Korean friends.
We are in 2016 : how could you review your past year, and what are your objectifs/resolutions for this new year?
It was an average year yet correct, I'll just try to do my best for all the next tournaments, as always, but just because I made a big run doesn't mean I'll win everything now. I was very successful during the NationWars because of this small random factor in the current StarCraft II metagame.
I could totally lose a weaker Protoss who doesn't deserve to beat me tomorrow, if he is successful. Despite that, and as I said before, I train and play to win, so let's see in DreamHack :)
Before wrapping up this interview, where will we be able to see you in the coming days/weeks?
DreamHack Leipzig for now, I think that's the only thing I have.
Thank you very much for this interview! I'll let you with the traditionnal last words and shoutouts if you have. See you !
Thanks for the interview, I hope David Kim and/or people working for Blizzard will read my opinion about the game design, and that they'll do all they can to improve it fast, give us skins regularly and a good map-pool ! Thanks to all of those who support me, as always, follow me on Twitter @M_MarineLorD.
Thanks to my sponsors Logitech, Alienware and Orange ! Sorry if the interview seems a bit whiny, I tried to be as objective as possible despite my race, hoping it will help Blizzard improve our game.