The stage is set in Washington, D.C for the final Red Bull Battleground, a StarCraft 2 tournament series put on by the energy drink company featuring ridiculous production value and ridiculous tourney formats. Eight top players from around the world will battle it out for a stake in a $50,000 prizepool.
The fifth and final event in the Red Bull series spanning this year is worth 2750 World Championship Series points. The top 16 point holders qualify for the WCS finals at BlizzCon in November.
If anyone knows anything about winning money and WCS points, it’s Choi “Polt” Seong Hun. He’s won more money in StarcCraft 2 than all but two players, topping $300,000 earlier this year, and he doesn’t even need to worry about snagging WCS points at Battlegrounds—after a flawless run in the WCS America round of 16, he’s secured his spot at BlizzCon.
Choi qualified for D.C. by winning Red Bull Battlegrounds Detroit, and enters the tournament as the Terran with nothing to lose. I spoke to him to get his thoughts about this tournament, BlizzCon, and the state of the Terran race.
What are your initial impressions on Washington and the tournament?
Even yesterday, I didn’t feel that excited. But today, when I saw the venue, the stage and all the seats, I knew it would be full with fans and it’s true right now. I’m so, so, excited now.
What are your thoughts on your group? You face Scarlett who you defeated 2-0 a few months back as well as some other strong competition. How do you feel about you chances of making it out of the group?
Actually, all of the other three players, [Kim “Cure” Doh Wook], [Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn] and [Won “PartinG” Lee Sak] are all very strong players. They will be very tough matches but I think I have a very good chance because I know a lot about them, but they don’t really know each other, to my knowledge. So I would say I have a good chance, like 70 percent to make it out of the group.
How much prep time have you had coming into this tournament?
Just a week ago I had my WCS America Round of 16 matches, so I didn’t really have much time. But, there are just eight players in this whole tournament, so it’s kind of easier to prepare compared to other tournaments. So, I focused on just countering the strategy of my opponents, not preparing for everything.
You said you have a 70 percent chance of getting out of Group B. Once you are into the bracket is there anyone specific from Group A that you think will be a challenge?
I think sOs is the biggest threat for me.
What about SoS makes him difficult?
He’s very difficult to study. He just does what he wants to do. *laughs* He seems like he doesn’t prepare anything at all!
There has been a lot of talk recently about Protoss being too strong and other races falling behind. What are your thoughts on Terran as a race and where it stacks up?
At the beginning of this year to June or July, Terrans were losing every match and didn’t win any tournaments. Right now, Terran is getting better and better. A distant position I think, but I still think Protoss is the strongest race.
You’re currently ranked sixth in the World Championship Series rankings. How do you feel about going to the WCS finals very soon?
Blizzcon is the most important tournament of the year. Every single player wants to win that tournament. It will be so, so, difficult. Right now, I’m top six so I’m guaranteed a spot in the tournament, which is really good. I still have more than a month to prepare for that tournament.
Currently Group A matches are underway at the Red Bull Battlegrounds, live at Twitch.tv/redbullesports. Choi’s Group B will begin later tonight.
Screengrab via Red Bull Esports/YouTube