We spent some time with Jared ‘PiG’ Krensel, the WCS Australia National Champion, to ask his thoughts on the event, his comeback in the final after losing the first best of three, and why everyone should love his nickname.
Congratulations on winning the WCS Australia Nationals earlier this month! For the event we had international casters, which was a first for Australia. Do you think it added any pressure to perform?
Even after IEM, and WCS in Australia, I have yet to be cast by Tastosis! Somehow every series I played was cast by HD and Painuser, so I guess knowing there were over 7000 viewers and a large live audience was the main issue. The casters were only scary in that they bring more viewers and with more views comes more pressure. Also sitting in the booth was very intimidating as you had white noise coming in to make sure it was 100% soundproofed. As a result it created a little bit of a drowning sensation which I combated by shouting and swearing constantly in the booth to rev myself up. Dot, Mayo and my fans cheering and holding signs for me all helped me get myself pumped as I knew I had them all propping me up on their shoulders and so all I had to do was focus on the games at hand.
Another reason I could keep my cool is that I practiced 6-8 hours a day for 5 weeks leading up the tournament nd as such there was very little improvisation in what I was doing. It was like executing dance-steps or a fighting routine that I'd spent over a month perfecting day in and day out.
The Australian region is known for its strong Zerg players. How did you plan your training for ZvZs specifically without giving away too many strategies early in the tournament?
I think that I have a solid grasp of Roach/Infestor play in ZvZ and also have a good variety of aggressions and timings. I understand the early to midgame timings of ZvZ intricately and so I feel that as long as I adjust my timings constantly throughout a tournament I can't be abused very much. I actually didn't prepare for any opponents going into the tournament, but I did try to practice vs Mutalisk play the day before it began, as I knew this style had faded off Korean ladder but was still loved by players like Ninja and mOOnGLaDe. So basically, I just practiced a huge amount and as Korean High Masters/low GM is infested with other zerg players, I had plenty of practice against a lot of very strong zergs. As my style was a very reflexive and not an all-in style, I felt as long as I kept adjusting my timings I'd be impervious to just about anything that came my way.
In the Grand Final, there were some tough matches with mOOnGLaDe, and he eventually took the first set of three. What thoughts were going through your mind before you started the final series of games?
I felt horribly shaken up after I held his 10 pool in game 2 of the previous series, and then my brain malfunctioned under the pressure and I went for 2 roach warrens and a spire - a completely nonsensical follow-up. I was also supply blocked for large portions and turned what felt like a solid lead into a crushing defeat. The next game I was tilted and messed up some basics and fell way behind to a simple Zergling/Baneling pressure. So before the next series started I basically felt like I'd just let him back into it, and couldn't even focus on what I would need to change in my play in the final series. Luckily Dot (my lovely girlfriend and amazing coach) was there and she reminded me of a basic strategic flaw I was making in all of these games. With this information and my fans cheering for me, I got back in the booth, roared as loudly as I could and bounced up and down in my chair to try and get my focus to return. I then executed very well keeping in mind the adjustments to my play and managed to take it 2-0.
How does it feel to be the WCS Australia Champion?
Amazing! I felt great after winning the ACL Melbourne event a month earlier - it was the biggest win I'd had to date - but this was an entirely different story, in front of 7000 stream viewers, hundreds of live spectators, undoubtedly all the best Australian players were there and so I felt better than I ever had before. Also I had managed to defeat Andrew ‘mOOnGLaDe’ Pender, one of the guys whose stream I used to watch when I was an average player to learn how to play zerg and one of my biggest idols. I felt like I'd trained the hardest in my life for this event and it had paid off. In short, it felt like I was on top of the world.
Your family came along to watch the Australian Nationals. Do they usually come along as support, and did it help for them to be there?
My family have actually never been to a live event to watch me play (even my brother!) since I've taken up pro-gaming. My brother had been there earlier in the day and he had messaged Dot asking if he could get my family in. I hadn't heard if they'd actually come into the venue or not so I was actually playing with no idea anyone but my older brother was there. It was a big and pleasant surprise to see them coming up to the stage to congratulate me and made me very happy to know I have their support despite living out of home for several years and following an unusual career path!
People are probably interested to know how you decided the player handle PiG. What’s the story behind it?
I think I always just loved pigs. They're a strange animal that is pink, has a curly tail and eat just about anything. They also snort and squeal and have awesome noses. Also wild boars are actually insanely powerful and can grow to the size of small cows in the wild, so don't mess with them!
Also they provide so many kinds of amazing meat: Bacon, roast pork, ham, crackling and all the best types of sausage! How can you not love pigs?
So I guess when I was about 12 years old playing in an internet cafe for the first time I just randomly chose "fatpigsucker" as my ID. Steadily I felt this name sounded pretty juvenile and just shortened it to "PiG.rAndoM" as I played random in Warcraft III. So when Starcraft II was released it just made sense to shorten it to "PiG".
How did you find the WCS event in Australia compared to other tournaments in the region?
ACL had started outclassing all other events in organization and production with their tournaments this year. However the WCS event by Blizzard in conjunction with them was just an entirely different scale. International casters, hotels and refreshments + transport provided, a huge live audience, booths, you name it and it was there! It was a huge success and a great event for the Australian StarCraft II scene!
What future plans do you have in eSports this year?
I plan to travel to as many overseas events as possible to find better practice partners so that I can represent the region as best I can. I know most Australian fans watch international events, so it’s my job to win major international tournaments and grow the local scene. With that interest, the local LAN scene will prosper and grow bigger and bigger. The idea of the spaces being too big across Australia, or there not being enough people are actually very false. It's just a matter of having the right networks, production, hype, and excitement behind the events!
Shoutout to my sponsors Tt eSports, Gigabyte Notebooks, AVerMedia and Mwave.com.au
Cheers and thanks for having me!