We recently spent some time with Andrew ‘mOOnGLaDe’ Pender, the World Championship Series (WCS) Oceania Champion, to ask him about his thoughts on the event, his comeback from the Australia Nationals, and how he’s training for the Global Finals in Shanghai.
Congratulations on being the Oceania Final Champion, Andy!
Thank you! I'm so happy and relieved to have qualified for the Global finals in Shanghai!
Out of all players in the ANZ region you have had the most experience in international competition. How did this help you prepare for the WCS events last month?
With the experience I now have, it gives me a good understanding of what I have to be prepared for. This also helps to be able to handle nerves and pressure which is a lot easier for me than some of the other, less experienced players. Also having experience playing in a booth in GSL and last year’s WCG helped to prepare for the WCS events as playing in a booth feels different and if you are not used to it, it can feel way scarier!
You came into the WCS Australia tournaments as a favorite to win. Without revealing too much, how did you change up your strategies over the three days?
Coming into this tournament I was expecting a hefty amount of zerg vs. zerg match ups, but I made sure my zerg vs. terran and zerg vs. protoss were also refined, just to be safe. I had decided on what strategies I would be using for the first two days, with the main goal to qualify for a place in the Oceania finals. After the Nationals were done and I had qualified, I decided to add a couple more variations to my builds that players might not be expecting.
I also decided to stay off of caffeine and energy drinks until the final day, to avoid burning out at the end of either day. Which I think was the best possible idea for me, as I came into the Oceania side of the tournament feeling great and brought my top game!
The WCS Australia Nationals final was a nail-biting series, but you ended up taking second place. How did this affect your gameplay the following day in the Oceania Finals?
It was a shame that I didn't manage to take first on the Australian side, but I didn't let it phase me at all. I knew that Oceania was the real prize for me, as I wanted nothing more than to make it to the Global Finals. If anything it gave me more focus and drive to win Oceania and gain some redemption! :D
Early in the Oceania Finals, you played in an epic TvZ against KnighT, where the second game lasted well over an hour! Give us your insight into this intense series.
That was indeed a great series! Game two was a very interesting game, but I knew my mistake halfway in. I allowed him to comfortably take three bases and go for a mech-based army while I didn't take advantage of it. I made sure in game three I would end it before he could comfortably get into that late game again.
Explain to us what you experienced once you took the Grand Final against MaFia?
That was probably the greatest moment of my eSports career, getting carried through the crowd by my teammates after winning Oceania's biggest tournament to date. Truly a memory I will cherish.
Now that you have the Oceania trophy, did you find a good place to keep it?
It sits next to me on my desk where I can see it every day! It reminds me of my victory and motivates me to keep going.
Your handle mOOnGLaDe is from your Warcraft III days. How has Warcraft III shaped your StarCraft II play style?
Warcraft III has definitely left me with an appreciation for micromanaging my army by making it do as much damage as possible. It gave me a very well-rounded RTS skill base, but my macro is always something I am improving on.
This was the first time Blizzard had held an event of this size in the region. How did these World Championship Series events compare to other international tournaments you have attended?
I feel the production, casting, and games were definitely on a high level compared to any international tournament. The presence of Tastosis and Painuser/HD lent a great feel to the event. The booths were very well made and a pleasure to play in. Overall this was one of the best tournaments I’ve attended in Australia and worldwide.
The Global finals in Shanghai will feature 32 of the top players from all over the world. How does it feel to be representing Australia and New Zealand’s hopes?
Every time I participate in an international tournament, I always feel the pressure to do well in the name of the SEA server and Australia. So while this is nothing new to me, more than ever I want to do well and make it far in the tournament to show everyone that players from this region are able to compete with the best around the world.
What are your plans for Shanghai? What experience would you like to take from it and how are you preparing to face off against the best of the best?
I'm training every day as much as I possibly can in preparation for this event. I really want to give it my best and show some great games. I'm sure this tournament will be one of the most memorable experiences, being the first of its kind, in a country I've never been to, and hosted by Blizzard!
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone?
I'd like to give a shout out to my team Gamecom Nv, my sponsors Plantronics, Horize and Fraglabs. My family for constantly supporting me and my gaming interest! My girlfriend for being forever supportive! And to Blizzard for hosting an amazing tournament and for many tournaments to come! Also, follow me on twitter @moongladeau!