mOOnGLaDe Interview - HoTS has taken a lot of getting used to
Nv.mOOnGLaDe was recently announced as one of the premier players in Blizzards new WCS tournament series, we caught up with him for an interview.
Recently I caught up with Andrew 'mOOnGLaDe' Pender, the current WCS Oceania champion and arguably the best player in the region. The Australian Zerg player from team Nv Gamecom boasts a rich professional gaming history, having already proved himself as one of the best in his region for Warcraft III, one of Starcraft 2's big brother titles.
Paladin: So HoTS has been out for nearly a month now. What is the most noticeable difference for you?
Nv.mOOnGLaDe: I'd say the most noticeable difference is that it feels very refreshing and interesting again, WoL was getting very stale towards the end. Next most noticeable things would have to be widow mines and voidrays :P.
On that, do you consider the game balanced?
Currently I think there’s a couple of things that need balancing, which are quite obvious when watching pro games. Such as skytoss (mass void / tempest with high templar) which seems unbeatable by just about any zerg army resulting in doing a fairly boring style of massing static defences and waiting behind them with your army, as well as I think a change needs to be made to widow mines as their cost is too cheap and damage is just too great.
Do you think Blizzard will get there? Or was WoL still unbalanced before HoTS release?
I definitely think Blizz will get there, it will need a lot of time but it will happen. The end of WoL Zerg seemed the strongest, but the other races weren't miles behind or anything, it was getting pretty close which I think is a great job for only 2 years of play.
So have you enjoyed HoTS more than you did WoL, or is it too early?
It's taken a lot of getting used to, going from feeling like the strongest race into dealing with these really powerful changes for the other races :P but i'm really happy HoTs is out and im having a lot more fun than I was for the last 6 months of WoL.
Did you complete the HoTS campaign? If so thoughts?
Yeah it was the first thing I did. I thought it was great! And I’m sure I’ll play through it again in the near future. Definitely some interesting ideas in it and really looking forward to the next campagin in Legacy of the void.
Being a pro gamer, for a genre of game, and for Starcraft itself is something im very passionate about, so trying to make this my fulltime career means a great deal to me, and I hope I can do it for a lot longer.
So there’s no retirement or snaking away into the background any time in the next 5 years?
Well I can only play it by ear at the moment, if I feel like my performance is dropping and I feel there isn't enough for me to continue playing for (opportunities, tournaments) then I might consider a different path, but no intention for now of anything else.
So is there any particular race be it ZvP ZvZ or ZvT that you find particularly troublesome in HoTS?
It's taken me quite a while to come to terms with dealing with widow mines in hots, especially coming from WoL where I felt like more of a ZvT specialist to any other match up. But overall there's no brick walls that i felt like I can’t overcome in HoTs, just require a lot more practice.
Back to mentioning about opportunities, does this stem from the lack of SEA in the recent WCS announcement?
While it's a shame SEA doesn’t get their own WCS league, but its understandable with the size of our community/playerbase. And it's not like we have no chance of participating in it, we simply have to choose a different region. Most of it is online until the later stages, and most of the top Aus players do have access to sponsors that will send them overseas. So I feel like it's not a total loss.It's more in general though, sometimes tournaments can dry up for a small time, or they are too costly to attend (being far away in Europe for example).
So you have plans to participate in a WCS region?
Absolutely! I'll be participating in NA WCS.
Not at all, I’m really grateful towards blizzard for taking another step in the right direction for e-sports, it would be silly to be upset about it in the SEA scene, we have a long way to go, both in skill and player numbers.
I'll head to the States if I get to that stage for sure!
Are WCS your only plans for this year? What does 2013 hold for mOOnGLaDe?
I'm definitely be trying to attend more MLG's and IEM's if possible. With Plantronics as my sponsor I have many tournaments available to me! So long as I qualify for them.
Lets backtrack, nobody knows Andrew Pender. What was your breakthrough moment?
Hmmm breakthrough moment, well I came into SC2 a pretty well known RTS player from Warcraft3, mostly in the Aus/SEA and NA regions, plus a couple of encounters with EU players. But I guess doing well in my first IEM in Hanover in 2011 really got me noticed coming 4th behind Koreans, in SC2.
Was there anyone in particular that got you there? That was influential in that?
My previous team FXO did help me initially get me out there and gave me the opportunity to perform overseas. But there was no one specifically that helped; it was just practice and opportunities taken!
SO there hasn’t been any one person that has had a major influence on your career?
No there hasn't really been anyone majorly influencing my career.
Lets talk about Gamecom Nv, what have they done for you? Have they given you the most of opportunities or have individual sponsors helped get you to tournaments and such?
Since I joined Gamecom Nv, both Gamecom and Dox (the manager of NV) have helped me get to every tournament I wanted to participate in. They have both been great support for me, and continue to be!
I personally want to touch on your social life, its common knowledge that your Girlfriend Livi is also a GM player, what does it mean to have her as a player and have her as support?
It's great that my girlfriend is also a big SC2 fan, and being able to talk to her about my games or my thoughts on the game is really a bonus. Her reaching GM is also a great achievement, and is a result of how much she plays!
Are you two able to practice and bounce builds off of each other easily? How important has she been to your development and vice versa?
I still teach her some things, and review her replays when I get them. She keeps me motivated for sure, which helps my development, but I think we still have a bit of a gap between us, before we can effectively practice together.
Well, there’s only so far laddering can take you, practicing customs etc helps a great deal too. But any pro players who ladder generally are grand master.
Do you have a nemesis? PiG, Mafia - those kind of guys?
I consider both of them my rivals for sure, they've been competing with me in all the big tournaments of SEA and qualifiers for international tournaments.
Last few, a day in the life of Andrew Pender? Hours of practice? Study? Socialize?
Leading up to a tournament I usually practice 6-10 hours a day of good practice, as well as maintain a good sleeping schedule, and exercise daily to be healthy. Socially. hmm I do meet up with friends occasionally, fairly normal stuff.
Does practice consist of custom games? Laddering?
Probably for myself, about 70% laddering and 30% customing, as well as studying replays/vods of mostly Korean tournaments (GSL, Proleague)
Finally, if you could offer advice to someone wanting to get onto the scene, whether it be caster, player, player manager or team owner, what would it be?
Well, most important thing for all roles would be to understand the game, and the community, and if you want to succeed, make sure you have the passion and motivation for it. In the SEA scene especially, it's a lot harder to break out.
Any final comments?
Just thanks for the interview and shoutout to my Team Gamecom Nv and my girl Livi!
As well as my sponsors Plantronics, Horize and Fraglabs.
Thanks mOOnGLaDe and good luck in 2013!
A very informative interview - it's clear by the way he talks and his enthusiasm, that there is a level of passion he has for the game and wants to improve it greatly. I would like to thank Dox, Gamecom Nv and mOOnGLaDe for giving up their time to organise this.
Look out for mOOnGLaDe throughout the year, he wishes to participate as much as he can, and Gamecom will seek to take him anywhere he goes. We also wish him the best of luck in WCS, hopefully mOOnGLaDe can go deep in WCS NA and we can see him on the world stages.
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