This coming weekend we will see 32 of North America’s finest StarCraft II players compete in the World Championship Series (WCS) North America Finals being held this weekend at the Major League Gaming Summer Championship in Raleigh North Carolina. They’ll be battling for a $60,000 prize pool, but they’ll also be fighting it out for seven seeds to represent the entire continent of North America at the Battle.net World Championship in Shanghai China later this year.
These 32 players come from every imaginable background. There are players who never believed that they would be competing on the professional level, and fan favorites from Brood War's heyday. We’ve seen established favorites carry the day, and incredible upsets as players new on the scene have proven their mettle. Now, the next test looms on the horizon. There’s a lot on the line, and the pressure is on. On the eve of the event, we’ve reached out to some of these players to learn a little bit more about who they are.
Tell us a bit about where you’re from and what representing your country in the WCS means to you.
DDE: I am from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It feels great to represent my country even though it is a video game. I became a Canadian citizen just about three years ago too.
Stalife: I'm from Vancouver, Canada, a city with the best local eSports scene. Representing Canada in WCS for means just having fun and enjoying a nice weekend. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to compete in WCS NA.
RaNgeD: Hello, my name is Austin "RaNgeD" King, I am 22 years old and I am from a small town about 45 minutes from Seattle, Washington. I am a full-time StarCraft II Pro Gamer for team NewRoSoft and I am very excited to represent not only my team, but also the USA and Seattle in the WCS NA event. It is a great honor to do so and I promise to do my absolute best to show great games and set an example for good sportsmanship.
State: I'm from California; I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but moved to the Quantic Training Facility in San Diego to prepare for the WCS. I look forward to representing the United States at the North American Championship and (hopefully) the Worlds.
Illusion: I'm from the USA. Representing USA in WCS is important to me because foreigners in general are seen as generally worse than Koreans. This is my chance to show that I am one of the best foreigners and I can compete at the top, foreigner or not.
Ddoro: I moved from Korea to Canada when I was in high school. Even though most of my life was spent in Korea, I love living in Canada, and it's a great place to call home.
ViBE: Hello my name is Dan Scherlong and I play StarCraft II with the handle "ROOTViBE". I have been playing StarCraft II since the beta, and this is the first game I invested myself enough into to attempt and go pro at it. I have played other RTS games before this such as StarCraft I, Warcraft II, and Warcraft III. Before StarCraft II the only RTS game I played a lot was Warcraft III and I actually got pretty good but I never got myself into the pro scene so I set a goal to do that with StarCraft II before the game came out. And finally to finish things off I am from USA, Colorado playing in the WCS North American event, and eventually the Battle.net World Championship as a representative of USA. It means a lot to me because it gives me a good opportunity to show the world that players from my region are better than people give us credit for. I love being the underdog because it always feels so good when you win and make waves in the community.
Huk: I’m from Ontario, Canada. Representing Canada means a lot to me, especially after NASL seeing all the Canadian fans and their undying support for me. I hope to have better results (in the North America Finals) than I had there.
HelloKitty: I was originally born in Jilin, China. When I was little, I moved to America along with the rest of my family. Today, I am a US citizen and I am very proud to be representing the United States, competing in the WCS. I feel as it is a must-win situation against any of my foreign competitors at WCS North America. I want to show to the rest of the world that we're still a force to be reckoned with. So look out WCS North America, we're going to dominate!
Suppy: I am from California's Bay Area, currently attending school at UC Berkeley. It's a nice area and we even have a cool eSports club here that I'm now the president of, and we are really hoping to grow it in the coming semesters. Representing the U.S. is definitely very meaningful for me. I feel like I am representing my school, my friends who are rooting for me, the Collegiate Starleague, my own team Evil Geniuses, the Bay Area, and maybe even the D.C. / Northern Virginia area where I have many StarCraft friends at after a few summer internships there. I really hope to represent the United States to the best of my abilities!
Ostojiy: I'm from Toronto, Canada and making it past the continental championships to represent my nation in China would be an incredible honor. The World Championship Series has been an awesome set of tournaments so far and I am ecstatic to prove myself in Raleigh!
Drewbie: I'm from Victoria, British Columbia. I am very proud to be representing Canada at the North American finals for WCS. Ever since I started playing Brood War around 10 years ago, I dreamed about going to Korea and playing in the WCG grand finals and being the best player in Canada. I was pretty bad though and could never compete with the top players in Canada back then. After many years of gaming and hard work I have come a long way and I'm really happy about qualifying as one of the top 10 Canadian players. My goal is to make the top 3 and to advance to the Grand Finals and do my best for my team and for Canada. :D
Cham: Hi, my name is Pablo "Cham" Blanco. I’m from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. I am very excited to have this opportunity given to me to represent my country in the WCS. It means a lot to me because for the first time I feel that a lot of people are supporting me and also expect a lot from me. This event will be one of the best moments in my career and I am definitely taking this very seriously. Go Mexico!
JimRising: I am from the Port of Veracruz. Representing Mexico at the WCS is big and generates a lot of emotion from the idea of being champion to the fear of not doing well. However, I will give it everything I got to bring Mexico to the forefront and show everyone that we too can be good at eSports.
Zapo: Greetings. I’m from Mexico City, Mexico. To me, being able to represent my country in an event of this caliber is a challenge, because I’m under pressure to demonstrate that I have what it takes to be in the WCS North America Finals. Secondly, I want to show that Mexico also has what it takes to be able to participate and compete with the best players from the United States and Canada.
What would you like to say to all your fans supporting you back at home?
DDE: I will try to play well and show decent results in both MLG and WCS.
Stalife: Thank you to the awesome people in Vancouver. You guys put up amazing eSports scene. BarCraft Vancouver fighting!
RaNgeD: To all of my friends, family, and fans. Thank you so much for being so supportive of me, through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. It's because of your love and support that I continue to fight to improve, not just as a StarCraft player, but also as a person. I praise God for the opportunities I've been blessed with, and I look forward to the future, as even greater things are in store. :)
State: Thanks for supporting me! I'll try my best to show good games at Raleigh. ^^;
Illusion: Thanks for giving me a chance to be where I am today, I’d like to say that I've earned it, but I couldn't have done it without the community's support. I hope to represent the NA region in the Global Finals of WCS. :)
Ddoro: I haven't lived in Canada for as long as some other competitors, but I consider myself Canadian. I hope all the Canadian fans support me!
ViBE: To all my fans, friends, and family back at home I just want to say I really appreciate all the support everyone has given me because that is a big part of the drive that motivates me to practice as much as I do, and I hope I can give you all some really exciting games to watch.
Huk: Hmmm. I think I’ve been a fan favorite for a while--in Canada especially. I don’t know what to say besides that despite not posting the best results lately, I really hope to qualify for the World Championship, and I know that if I do, I will give it my all to represent Canada as well as I can.
HelloKitty: I always appreciate your support of me, you are the reason for me to practice hard and win more often. Whether you cheer for me at Raleigh or at home, I will showcase my best games yet and I promise you that I will not let you down.
Suppy: Last night I actually dreamed that I won WCS North America and I woke up with the biggest smile on my face, and then realized that it was just a dream. Although I'm not coming into this with expectations quite that high, I don't think it's too big of a stretch for me to accomplish something great. I'm feeling a lot of pressure to perform, but your support is incredibly helpful to me, and alleviates a lot of that stress. I really appreciate all your positive and encouraging comments, it's extremely motivating and I really hope I can prove myself worthy of your support! Please wish me luck and, once again, thank you so much!
Ostojiy: Thanks to everyone that has supported me and helped me get to where I am today. I have improved a ton over the last six months and will certainly try my best to showcase that skill and play some solid StarCraft II!
Drewbie: Well my fans are awesome and I really appreciate the support I get from the community. So, please keep cheering for me and I will do my best.
Cham: Thank you everyone for your support, I hope to not let you down at this important event. I will give it my best effort possible. Thanks again for your support and we’ll see you at the event.
JimRising: To all my fans I would like to let them know that I have trained a lot, and that I will give it my best effort; even if I don’t do well, know that I put my heart into it. Also, don’t stop training, anyone can be here to represent Mexico, you just need to be dedicated. Cheers!
Zapo: To all who are supporting me, be it in Mexico or anywhere else, I will do my best to be able to meet and exceed your expectations.