Joona “Serral” Sotala has made quite the name for himself as one of best StarCraft II players in the world. The Zerg pro has performed exceptionally at the World Championship Series, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In an interview with DualShockers, we talked to Serral for a bit to see how he felt coming into BlizzCon 2018 having been undefeated during the opening week.
It is no secret that Korea has dominated the StarCraft II esports scene. However, Serral, hailing from Finland, has really taken that notion and chucked it off a cliff. He has taken control of the Circuit, earning 14,090 WCS points; that’s over four times more than second place holder ShoWTime, who has 3,270 WCS points. Between Korea and Circuit play, he has the second most points, trailing Maru by less than 200 points.
Despite really shaking things up, his outstanding performance hasn’t done much to change his outlook on the StarCraft II esports landscape as a whole. When asked, he simply said, “Not by much. I think it has been the same pretty much. Maybe a little bit, but not much.”
At the time of when we spoke, Serral wasn’t sure who he would be up against, so he decided to look at some of the sights that Los Angeles had to offer; one of which was shared via Twitter taking a picture of Disney’s angry fowl, Donald Duck. That being said, once he does know, he will be preparing for that first opponent.
As one of the best players around, certainly, there would be pressure to perform at that high of a level at all times. Serral seems to be the antithesis of that statement. While there may be a bit of pressure, he seems very confident going into the competition at BlizzCon.
“Maybe a little, but I don’t really feel the pressure too much,” stated Serral when asked if he feels the pressure to keep performing at his exceptional level. “I like to just come to the tournaments and just try to do my best and not think too much about the pressure. So, not really, but obviously I want to keep up with my results.”
At this point in the WCS, all the players present can be seen as a threat. There are some standouts, like Maru who has been performing as well as Serral, but overall, the competition will certainly be heated going into BlizzCon.
“I mean, most players right now are very good so I don’t think any of them are going to be easy to play against, but I’m very confident against everyone” says Serral, giving credit to everyone that played during group stages while still maintaining his confidence. “Obviously, Maru and TY are the two best Terran players in the world so they are very scary. At the same time, I think Lambo, who was in their group, put up a very good fight against them, so I’m not really worried about those two even.”
What some would call a dream matchup, Maru and Serral going against each other will be an intense match no matter who ends up on top. It really is a clash between the two best players right now in StarCraft II esports. While Serral does have a pre-determined strategy for Terran players in general, he is mostly preparing for each match as they come.
“I actually just prepare for the next person I go against. Maybe if I win that match nicely, I’ll prepare for the next match as well,” Serral states after being asked if he prepares in advance for certain opponents. “Mainly, I prepare for the match at the time and not think too hard.”
Lastly, Serral had a few words for the fans who have supported him throughout the season:
“I want to thank all my fans for the support and I think they have helped me out to make me achieve what I’ve achieved now; I’m very thankful for them.”
The first steps to Finals begin today, at 12 PM PST when the pre-show begins for Quarterfinals. From then until 8:15 PM, StarCraft II esports action will be on determining who will make it to Semifinals tomorrow. Starting at 2 PM PST tomorrow, November 3, 2018, Semifinals begin and will end with the Finals, which will finally name the StarCraft II WCS 2018 champion. If you want to see the current bracket, you can check here.
BlizzCon is hosting events for all of its esports, including the Overwatch World Cup and the HGC Finals, all of which are running simultaneously throughout both the entirety of today and tomorrow. There will also be “What’s Next” panels for each of Blizzard Entertainment’s games, laying out the future of what fans can expect from each franchise. The first one begins today, at 12:30 PM PST, and will feature the action RPG, Diablo.
In other Blizzard Entertainment news, Diablo III: Eternal Collection for the Nintendo Switch released today, so you can slay evil on-the-go.