Welcome to Fnatic: An interview with Harstem
Posted 2012-08-01 Bleys
Welcome to Fnatic: An interview with Harstem
The newest European member of FnaticRaidCall's Starcraft 2 Academy is Kevin "Harstem" do Koning, a 17 year old Protoss player from the Netherlands. Despite his age, Harstem was a prodigy in Warcraft III, and his switch to Starcraft 2 has seen a steady rise in skill and results. He joined Fnatic last month, and we were able to ask him a few questions that reveal a smart, funny young man with serious goals and the necessary ambition to launch him to the top.
Do you remember the first tournament you won? Can you tell us about the tournament, how old you were, who you were facing, how it made you feel?
The first tournament I won was the Zergling Cup. I was 16 and I read somewhere about the Zergling Tournament series, the first time I participated I won vs Zanubis in the finals! I was so happy, I was running through the house screaming "I WON!"
Sadly, I never got the prize, which was two Starcraft posters.
Do you have any plans to move to Korea and join the rest of your new teammates in the Fnatic Gaming House?
I really wanna go to Korea to the Fnatic Gaming House, but first I wanna play in a few more European tournaments and get better. It is not useful to go to Korea if you are not a top European player.
Before you joined the team, were there any Fnatic players that you considered close friends or anyone that you enjoyed as a practice partner?
I played against NightEnD quite a lot on ladder, but I never really practiced against him.
How do you feel about ToD departing, as you mentioned him when you joined the team as one of the first that you talked to and had a connection with?
ToD is a Warcraft III legend and at DreamHack he helped me preparing mentally for the games against Fraer. I respect him a lot as a player and as a person, I hope he will find a suiting team!
What are your goals for Starcraft 2 that you think Fnatic can help you achieve?
As a long term goal I want to be the first foreign GSL-winner, so every time foreigners play in the GSL I hope they lose. In the close future, I want to do well in team leagues and make my teammates proud.
How did you choose the race you played, both in W3 and SC2? Were there any progamers that affected your choice, any idols?
In Warcraft 3 I was a big fan of the Dutch Undead player sushilicious, so I picked Undead. I played 3 games of Brood War with Protoss, I figured well I already know Protoss, why not stick with it in Starcraft 2 as well!
What are your opinions on current balance arguments?
The game is pretty balanced except for PvT lategame (small edge for Protoss) and PvZ lategame (small edge for Zerg). I also hear a lot of Terrans complaining about TvZ so I guess Zerg is favored in that match up.
What is your favorite match up to play and which match up do you hate?
My favorite to play is PvT and my least favorite match up is PvZ.
How do you feel about the Protoss vs Zerg match up? Do you think that this match up could be more balanced than it is right now?
Yes, Broodlords need a slight nerf and Immortals need a slight nerf as well. I think the Immortal/Sentry all-in is a little bit too strong.
How does your family feel about your decision to make a living as a progamer?
My family is very supportive and they try to help me in every way possible.
What do you see as the main differences between the EU server and the NA or KR one? Do you have accounts on all three or do you focus your practice against a certain region's play style?
I have accounts on the NA server and the EU server. I feel like the latency while playing on the KR server is too high, so I don't play there.
I only practice on EU, because I feel like the NA server is quite a bit weaker. I do, however, sometimes play on the NA server to test new strategies or to play qualifiers.
What does your training time consist of? Do you only practice ladder and custom games, or do you watch replays and try to innovate new tactics?
When I wake up I normally message a few people. If I get no response I start to ladder. If I do get a response however, I play vs them and we normally discuss the games on Skype after. I almost always watch replays of my practice games, but my ladder games are just for training mechanics so I don't really watch them back. Unless I have no clue why I lost or if I see an interesting build in PvP.
We have seen that NaNiwa and some Korean players are using the Gateway opening versus Zerg, which allows them to put early pressure on their opponent and also get a faster four Warpgates than with Forge. Do you think this build is better than the Forge opening?
I think it is kind of gimmicky, NaNiwa cut a lot of probes to get those early 4 gates up, however I do think it is a good build to have in your toolkit.
What would your suggestion be to all the players who want to become progamers one day? Is it the amount of practice or the quality of practice that matters?
Practice, don't whine about balance, and try to play only macro games. It's quality that matters, not quantity.
Which LAN tournament is your favorite one, the one that you definitely don't want to miss?
How do you feel about FnaticRC's performance in the GSTL and EGMCS? Do you feel like FnaticRC has grown into a strong team?
I think FnaticRC did really well in the EGMCS, sadly we lost to compLexity in the finals. In the GSTL we lost to SlayerS-EG which made me really sad, because I hate losing and I hate it even more when it's versus other foreign or mixed teams.
However I think we did well and next season we will improve and come back stronger!
Is there any player you hate to play against? The one you always have trouble with, no matter how much you practice.
Grubby, I don't think I have ever beaten him in a tournament game. I hope this will change soon in the future.
For daily updates regarding Harstem and his results, you can follow him on Twitter (@Harstem) and like his Facebook page, or simply keep an eye on Fnatic.com. From August 2nd, he will be participating in Assembly Summer 2012, so be sure to follow his progress.