By TLO

Hey everyone,

This is my first blog for MLG—actually it’s my very first blog! However, writing this shouldn’t be too hard, as I have plenty of things to tell you. I’ll talk about my experiences over the past few months and give you insight into my life, my team, and my plan for getting back to the top.

An unwanted Break

Let’s start off with the unpleasant topic so we can get it over with. I have been carrying a problem around with me ever since I left Korea: RSI. CTS and tendonitis have been a pain to my play (quite literally) for a long time. I have been stubborn and stupid and didn’t want to stop practising. It is only pain, I told myself. Well, guess what? Pain indicates a problem, but I didn’t want to listen back then. It robbed me of my concentration and made me hate playing at least as much as I love it. In the end, it got so bad that I stopped feeling my fingers whenever I started my training.

That’s when I knew I had to do something, to take a break and fix my body. But I still had some commitments I didn’t want to leave unattended.

MLG Columbus

Even though I knew my chances of going far in the tournament were diminished by the fact that I had to completely stop practising, I still wanted to participate and try my best. I knew it was going to feel horrible to under-perform in front of so many people. But some things are more important than pride—I knew even if I did very badly (I ended up 1-4 in the group) I would still gain ranking points. It is so important to stay in the Top 16 and in Pool Play that I don’t want to skip any MLG events. I finished 28th at MLG Columbus—which, considering that I placed in the Top 5 in the two MLGs I competed in before—is a huge defeat but not entirely unexpected.

Putting all that aside, MLG events are always great fun and I was eager to see my teammates again. I might not have done too well in the tournament but I still had a good time, meeting friends and fans alike.

On top of that, it's always a pleasure to meet Bravo; having him around makes hanging out at the Sony Ericsson Booth quite an experience. Seeing him was definitely a highlight of the event! And make sure to catch me at every MLG event in the Sony Ericsson booth. Come say hi!

Huk Rising

After not-so-great results for TLAF-Liquid` at MLG Columbus, Huk and I went to two more tournaments only two weeks later.

First was Dreamhack, in the country I currently live in: beautiful Sweden! After that was HomeStory Cup III in my old home country, Germany.

I already knew about it and so did everyone on TLAF-Liquid`, but some people still weren't convinced of Huk's skill. He likes to show confidence—he will say that he is one of the best players in the world, maybe the best foreigner, so obviously he polarizes.

I have always admired his work ethic and self confidence. Chris is inspiring to me as he shows that in the end, it comes down to two things: self confidence and hard work. Everyone who makes a living from pro gaming is living nothing short of a dream. Why do so many of us waste that? I won't exclude myself from that either—we all need to give more. We make a living from playing video games, flying all around the world having our biggest passion as a job. Seize the day, work harder, don’t waste it, give everything.

Huk did that and Huk was victorious, taking the Champion title for both Dreamhack Summer and the Homestory Cup III. Seeing him making it all the way to the Finals and then not even stopping there, but winning both events, gave me goosebumps and nerd chills.  Furthermore, it motivated me. I can't let my teammate take all the titles, right?  (Better them than anyone else, though.)

Taking a Step Back

After carrying my injury around from A to B for almost a year now, I finally decided that I needed do something good for myself. After the HomeStory Cup in Germany, our manager TLAF-Liquid`Nazgul offered to let me stay with him until I felt better, an offer that I gladly accepted.

I have spent the last few weeks in the beautiful town of Utrecht, doing nothing but relaxing, reading through A Song of Ice and Fire (so good), collecting my mind and fixing my body. I am honestly being spoiled a little bit. Victor and his girlfriend are such great people. He promised me that I wouldn't have to do anything but take care of myself and that they will take care of the rest. I will miss the amazing food when I leave.

Other than just enjoying life, I have been actively exercising my body, getting rid of back, wrist, forearm, shoulder and neck pain. It's been a while since I felt so alive and I know that I will have to keep it that way if I want to make an impact on the pro scene in SC2.  It may sound silly to people who haven't experienced gaming themselves, but we can't deny the fact that it is a sport, and demands certain physical prerequisites. Fact: if you want to perform to your potential, your body needs to be in shape. Mind and body need to work together; I say that to all gamers. Get in shape. You will feel more comfortable and more confident, and will be able to focus over a much longer period of time.

Here is where I see the difference between someone physically active and a person in bad shape. The slacker might be able to play eight hours a day, but will he actually train eight hours a day? In most cases the answer is “no.” Some of the hours he will actively focus on improving, but the rest are a waste of time. Pro gaming is young and players still make many mistakes. We are being disorganized, just playing day by day without any real concept of improving.

It has become my personal goal to not waste any more of my time. Every day is a challenge and if you want to get to the top, you need to use each day of your life to improve yourself. There is no limitation to what that could be. Only one thing is clear—it goes far beyond joining ladder games from dawn to dusk.

A successful day of relaxation and exercise can make the difference between losing in a ro64, or winning 50k USD.

Starting Over

 I never realized how much I loved StarCraft 2 until it was taken away from me. I have been yearning for it. I wanted it so badly, but I couldn’t. Suddenly I saw all of my flaws, all these new builds, and all this beauty and untapped potential.

Some people say that the skill cap in SC2 is too low. These people couldn't be more wrong. It is easy to fall into lazy patterns and be a very high-level player without giving everything, but SC2 is so young. Only the pro gamers who push themselves to the very limit of what this game offers will prevail in the long run.

About one or two weeks ago I started practising again with a secret ID. I didn't want to have any pressure—I just wanted to play my game without being bothered by anyone. It felt amazing to do the thing I love the most again without the bitter companion of pain.  And using my real name I qualified for the WCG Germany Playoffs and got pretty far in the IEM qualifiers before losing to Sjow. At the moment I am not really impressed by my skill, but I know how to get up there again. Better than ever before.

I don't want to spoil too much, but here's a hint:

Nukes.

Obviously nukes.

GL HF! See you on Ladder or at MLG!