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VortiX talks IEM

 Juan "VortiX" Moreno Durán was for a long time known primarily as " LucifroN's little brother", but after storming to a 3rd-4th place finish at IEM VII Cologne the young Spaniard is well on his way to making a reputation all of his own.

In this interview find out why it took VortiX explains why it took so long for him to show up at international LANs, why he felt he played bad during his 3:0 sweep of  ForGG, what prevented him from typing out in the fourth game of the quarter-final against SuperNova and how he came to finish with a 1-4 record at EPS Berlin Open this week.

When you competed in WarCraft 3 at ESWC 2010 you were only ~16.  How seriously did you take WC3 and how good do you think you were at the time in comparison to the other Europeans?

I didn't take WC3 as seriously as SC2 in terms of practice, I onlyed play 20 games per week most of the time.  Unless I was preparing for some important tournament, though there weren't many on WC3.  I think that in late 2009 and the beginning of 2010, when I managed to make a 13-2 record in WC3L, I was pretty good compared to other European players, probably around top 10.

Since you were an Undead player in WC3 what is your perspective on the opinion I've often heard that in the latter years it was next to impossible to beat Orcs due to the way the game was balanced.  How would you compare the balance of that game at that time with SC2?

It was kinda hard, but I wouldn't say it was impossible.  In the last years Undead started to play the matchup a bit differently than usual, getting banshees or teching faster and the matchup changed a bit, even if it was still slightly imbalanced for Orc.  I would compare it to SC2 right now, where everyone is claiming Zerg is imbalanced, but Terrans are changing their way of playing lately and using more mech and air in the late game, changing the matchup a bit.

You've been playing SC2 since the beta, competing a lot online and in Spanish tournaments.  So why did it take you until The Gathering in April to compete at an international offline event?  How would you assess your level in the period leading up to the last four months?

Basically because I didn't manage to qualify for any.  Also, I am busy with my studies most of the time and I can only travel during Summer.  I think before The Gathering I was a pretty decent player, but probably "just another GM".  It was the motivation that my results at The Gathering gave me that made me really take SC2 a bit more seriously and improve more and more.

Does that meant you won't be attending many offline events outside of Spain over the last 3-4 months of the year?

I'm gonna be attending WCS europe and Dreamhack Valencia and then take a break from offline events until february, and then another break until next Summer.

Is it the same scenario for your brother (  LucifroN) then, since he also doesn't attend many offline tournaments and is studying too?

Well, probably yes, but he's got a more flexible timetable so maybe he will attend some others if he hasn't got exams near the date.

Where does competitive esports fit into your life?  A lot of players in your position, coming off a successful IEM run, would go all-in and attempt to take time off school to compete or up their activity in the game.  Where does esports fit into your life?  Is it something you'd like to pursue full-time after school finishes?

It is a hobby I guess, I like videogames and I like competition, that's all.  I'm not taking it as a part-time job or anything, though if I'm still doing well at it after finishing my career then I'll maybe go full-time, it's something I haven't thought about yet.

How much practice time do you put into an average day?  Would you improve if you played more hours?  What is your perspective on Koreans playing much more?

I play 2-3 hours a day normally, in Summer time I play more than that if I have time, but I don't think it's that important to play so much.  As long as you play more than just 2-3 games a day then it's good, I don't think there's much difference from playing 3 hours or 10, except if you play 10 you'll probably get saturated :D

What is your relationship with your brother like as a player?  Do you practice together much?  Do you talk about the game a lot?  How similar are you, races aside, in playing style?

I don't play that much with him, as in this game there are a lot of different styles and strategies, and training only versus the same player isn't that helpful, but we talk about the ZvT matchup a lot.  I don't think our playing style is similar in any way in this game.

How you would describe your strengths and his?

I guess I'm much more of an aggressive player, trying to get the advantage in the early to mid-game, and he relies much more on his mechanics and is pretty good in standard macro games.

When you saw your group (featuring MC, SuperNova,  HasuObs,  KiLLeR and ReaL) what was your initial reaction?  How difficult did you consider it in comparion to the other groups?  Which players did you expect to beat?

I thought I could beat every player in my group except MC, due to my bad ZvP.  It turned out SuperNova was in such great shape too, I think it was one of the hardest groups, even though there were some groups with 3 Koreans.


There were a lot of high expectations for ForGG in the playoffs, certainly to beat you in a Bo5.  How much did you know about him before your match?  Had you played him on the ladder?

Well, I had only played 3 games versus him on the ladder, if I'm not wrong, and I won all of them.  I was told he was 2 base all-ining a lot, but versus me he didn't all-in that much, so I didn't really know what to expect.

Do you think he played too greedily?  Some people felt like that since anytime he would put down a double command center or double engineering bay you'd respond with ling-bane coming in.

I think he maybe got too overconfident in the first game after kicking my 3rd, he made so many CC's, and I punished that with ling-bane aggression, while still making eco and teching, so I got back in the game.  I don't think his problem was playing too greedily though, I just think his positions in the late game were really bad, at least in the 1st and 3rd games.

Did winning that series in a 3:0 sweep affect your confidence?

It didn't affect my confidence that much, because I felt that I was playing bad, or worse than usual, and I was just winning because he was making so many crucial mistakes.


What were you expecting from the SuperNova quarter-final match?  He beat you 2:1 in the group so did that damage your confidence at all?  What is your opinion of his TvZ?

I was pretty scared, because he had beaten me 2:1 and 2:0'd everyone else and he seemed to be unstoppable.  I talked with LucifroN about the games and what I should try to make better going against him again, and it helped a bit.  Still, I think I was really lucky in the last game.  His TvZ is really really good I think, especially when he plays mech.

From the outside it was a very close series, and I've seen that some people felt like you got lucky when he cancelled stim in the decider.  What was the key moment which decided it in your opinion?

I think the luckiest moment in last game was when my 4th hatch survived at 20 hp and I was able to counter-attack with broodlords.  If he had killed the hatch it was over for me, but obviously the stim cancellation was very huge too.

You were 0:1 and 1:2 down against him, and facing a disadvantage numerous times in the games.  Did you feel as though the series was slipping away from you or you were losing?  Is it your style to come from behind like that?

Haha well, actually I was about to type gg and leave in the fourth game, after losing all my zerglings and queens, when suddenly 8-10 lings popped out, surrounding his 4 or 5 red hellions.  I don't normally get that far behind in the early game, but I'm still really inexperienced in this kind of events and I was a bit nervous or unfocused, and made many mistakes in early game that led me to be at a disadvantage.

At the event Mvp showed off a TvZ mech build that impressed many people, the one he used against Nerchio in the final on ClouD Kingdom and against you on Ohama in the semi-final.  SuperNova also did a similar build, but favouring ravens and medivacs over banshees and he was often much later with vikings.  He used the build against you three times at IEM, so had you seen that build before?  How effective do you think it is?

I hadn't seen it before, even though I'm seeing it much more after that IEM.  It's pretty good, even though I'm doing much better versus it now than back then.

In your semi-final against Mvp you managed to win a map.  What is he like as an opponent and how close were you to winning the other maps?

Mvp is really good, he plays really smartly... it's really hard to play versus someone like him.  Still, I think the Ohana and Cloud Kingdom games were completely mine, but I had very bad positioning in both games.

In comparison to IEM the Berlin Open this week was hardly star-studded, so what can you say about your 1-4 record in the group?  There will be those who didn't know you prior to IEM who will now probably think your run in Cologne was a fluke.

Well, the thing is that after IEM I went away on vacation until the 31st of August, so I only had 2 days to train for EPS Berlin Open, which was pretty bad.  Also, I think my ZvP is really really bad, but it's okay, I know what I have to improve for WCS.

There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about Zerg being overpowered or particularly strong since the last patch.  You seemed to joke about it at IEM saying that you didn't expect to beat him 3:0 but that since he was a Terran it was ok.  What is your sense of the balance at the moment?

Well, people are talking a lot about patch-Zergs and so on and they seem to forget about all the Zergs that have been geting worse and worse with the time.  I don't think it's that imbalanced, I just said that because ZvT is my best matchup by far, so I thought it maybe wasn't that weird.

I read that  mOOnGLaDe said that Zerg's strength at the moment is hard late-game switches, and people have said it's difficult for Terran to deal with them.  What do you think?

It's hard, but I think it's much easier to deal with it if you play mech, most terrans are realising lately, even though of course you can't play mech on every map.

What's the biggest thing you learned from your IEM experience?

That if I play well I can get into good positions, even with very good players in the tournament, so to just calm down and try to do my best, and also to not get too upset about losses.

I know you're a football fan so which footballer plays the game like VortiX plays SC2?

Materazzi! hahaha.  He's so aggressive :D


The final words belong to you.

Thanks to all my supporters and to karont3 for their excellent treatment in the 9 months I've been there :D

(Photographs courtesy of their respective owners)

Categories: Interview