WCS Global Finals preview

Post 23.10.2019

The highlight of the StarCraft 2 year is here. The Global Finals begin on the 24th of October. Serral returns to defend his World Champion title, will he be able to claim the trophy two years in a row?

The competition is rough from the start, as Serral has been placed in “The Group of Death” with incredibly skilled players, such as Maru, TIME, and Stats. The Finnish Phenom has gone head to head against each of them in thrillingly close series. Last, Stats claimed the victory over Serral in the ASUS ROG 2019 competition in August. In the same tournament, TIME put up a resilient fight against Serral in a Bo5 series, which Serral won in the end 3-2. Serral vs. Maru is the matchup that almost everyone is eager to see, both being among the best of the best in the game. Maru currently stands 4th in points among the Koreans.

The Global Finals are organized in two parts this year. The first part is the Group Stage, which takes place in Seoul on the 24th – 27th of October. Then two players from each group travel to BlizzCon in Anaheim to compete in the Playoffs stage.

Can Serral repeat the unforgettable run he had in the 2018 Global Finals?

We sat down with Joona to share his thoughts leading up to the event.

How have you been preparing for the Global Finals? 

I have been preparing the same way as always. Main focus on ZvT and ZvP since my group doesn’t have Zergs, but still practicing all the matchups. I’ll need that in the later stages anyways if I get there. 

What would winning a backtoback world championship mean to you?

I haven’t thought about it just yet since its so far away, but obviously that would be a huge win and moment for me.

You have said that the competition aspect motivates you to keep playing. But what things inside the game are important to you? Why do you play StarCraft 2 over anything else?

I just like solo games more than team games in general. The RTS genre is very challenging so I feel like I can always improve on so many things, which keeps me motivated to keep practicing and improving. 

Have you had time to rest in between the end of the WCS Circuit and the beginning of the Global Finals? 

I didn’t play as much after WCS Montreal, but went back to normal practicing decently fast. Taking some time off or just playing less every once in a while is very good for yourself.

I saw you had played PUBG with your dad and your brother. How did it go? Do you often play games together?  

Sometimes very rarely, sometimes more depending on the times. I do consider myself a PUBG expert.

Serral was dealt a hard group, but the Finn is looking confident in his form

The esports pro player life consists of a lot of travel. What do you do while sitting, for example, on a long flight? Do you try to relax, or do you try to prep for the upcoming tournament? 

I normally play Nintendo Switch or try to sleep, try because I have never actually managed to sleep on a long flight. Obviously I have the tournament in my mind and I might go through my strats on each map, but generally I do other stuff on the plane. 

Tell us a bit about the tribute the city of Pornainen made, and what it means to you. 

Pornainen showed appreciation for what I did last year and gifted me a plot of land. I’m also cooperating with them and Kotojärvi Golf which has went extremely well so far. I’m extremely happy they recognized what I managed to do. 

You always seem to be able to bounce back even when things are looking grim. What mechanism do you use to avoid tilt and keep your head in the game? 

Well, there isn’t too much you can do after you get behind in a series or lose a game. I just try to focus on the next game and don’t think of the previous game too much. 

We have seen that you mutter to yourself sometimes in between the games. What kind of things do you tell yourself? 

In SC2 tournaments there are happening so many dumb and basic mistakes that I just ask myself how can that even happen.

Your group will consist of TIME, Maru, and Stats. What are your thoughts on each of these opponents? 

Obviously not too happy with the group, but I’m fairly confident against each of them. I’ll play Stats first, I have lost the couple last times I played against him, but I feel like I have fixed the holes in my play now. I have never really played against Maru, in this current meta at least, so I’m not exactly sure what kind of level to expect, but I’m very confident if I can play on my own level. Lastly is TIME who I absolutely think I should win, but he’s not one to look down at since I almost lost to him last time.

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