College student Samuel “Kane” Morrissette moonlights as a top StarCraft II player. Before hitting Red Bull Training Ground, the 20-year-old Canadian spoke with us over email about the tough balance between his studies and StarCraft, and also his dreams of eSports training in Korea.
How do you balance the travel and practice that comes with
StarCraft II with your college career. Also, what are you studying?
I'm currently going into my final year of my bachelor of science degree with a major in math and minor in philosophy. It can definitely be hard sometimes to balance school and StarCraft, especially when you're trying to improve consistently and quickly. I'll admit that sometimes I have played a little too much StarCraft (especially in the last year), but I have always tried to prioritize my studies over StarCraft. Of course, it can be really hard sometimes when you love to play as much as I do.
We understand that there isn’t much of an eSports or StarCraft scene at your school or your town. How do you stay connected with the sport and your fans?
I stay connected with my fans mostly through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and also my own livestream. I also have lots of friends that I talk to on Skype, but I don't have any friends from my hometown who are into the StarCraft scene.
I expect any Koreans that will be attending to be really tough competition. I'm not too concerned with the foreigners but maybe I should be!
You also do some coaching. Any tricks of the trade you can share to aspiring players?
Play lots. If you want to get better you should try to play as much as you can. There are a few exceptions to this rule (Scarlett and Stephano), but if you look at any of the best Zergs in the world, they did not get there by sitting around. Instead, they practiced their asses off, and it really shows in their play. If you put enough time and effort into anything, you will notice the improvements.
You recently took home top prize at ShoutCast America, against other elite NA players. What do you think the competition will be like during Red Bull Training Grounds? Any predictions about who will come out on top?
I actually don't know who else will be going to the Red Bull Training Grounds, but I expect any Koreans that will be attending to be really tough competition. I'm not TOO concerned with the foreigners but maybe I should be!
You recently blogged about your thoughts about your continuing career, particularly after school. Does participation in events like Red Bull Training Grounds and your performance at MLG Anaheim weigh into your decision making?
It would be really, really nice to do well at these events, but in all honesty it won't affect my decision in continuing my StarCraft career. I already know for sure that I want to continue. Right now, I'm trying to decide whether it would be in my best interest to take a year off school to pursue StarCraft before going back to finish my undergraduate degree, and I still need some time to make this decision. If I decide to not take a year off, I will pursue StarCraft for some time after I finish my degree. It would be a dream come true to perform well at these events, but I don't expect to do well with so many Koreans attending MLG Anaheim until I can actually train in Korea, which is my main goal right now. I want to get over there ASAP, but it's just a matter of finances at this point.
How useful is watching pro player livestream to bettering your game?
I would say watching streams is incredibly important to upping your game. When I was a lot worse, I watched Stephano's stream almost exclusively and it helped me improve so much. Nowadays, it's hard to find a player streaming that I can learn a lot from, so I mostly watch tournament streams to learn. It's also really helpful because the NA server isn't the best practice for me right now and I get too much latency to EU/KR so I have to rely on streams to watch what better players are doing.
I don't expect to do well with so many Koreans attending MLG Anaheim until I can actually train in Korea, which is my main goal right now. I want to get over there ASAP, but it's just a matter of finances at this point.
Describe your typical practice routine.
My practice routine varies a lot and I'm not on a consistent schedule right now. I guess I wake up, watch any VODs that I may have missed during the night (usually GSL or proleague) and try to pinpoint some little things that I could incorporate into my play. After that, I usually try to ladder as much as I can during the day and focus on trying these new things out to see if they are helpful or work well. Like I said, my schedule is fairly inconsistent, so I play a lot less and watch a lot some days. Other days I play a ton some days and watch hardly any VODs.
What are your goals for MLG Anaheim?
Since I know there will be a ton of tough competition, and sometimes the brackets can be really tough, I just want to try my best. I will be satisfied if I can walk out of the tournament feeling like I played well and tried my best, even if I get knocked out the first round. I guess I also don't want to be knocked out by a foreigner.
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