Personality Spotlight: Bryan "Glon" Gemler
There are many known players & StarCraft 2 prodigies, which you hear about every day, if you actually watch the progaming scene. They inspire us, to strive to be better StarCrafters, but in the end, it sometimes feel, that they are out of reach, as if I watched a Hollywood movie, rather than a real person. This is why I decided to actually go and spotlight interesting personalities in StarCraft 2 - not necessarily progamers, but simply people, who inspire me somehow & they aim high, in terms of competition. I will be writing about interesting personalities as I see them, consider this to be the very first token of it.
The first person of choice would be Bryan "Glon" Gemler, a 17 years old guy from Cleveland. He may seem like your ordinary SC2 gamer, someone you meet on the ladder daily, however, Bryan managed to surprise me in recent MLG, when it comes to the performance. It's not too often you see rather unknown player to go and shine, but Bryan managed to do just that.
Let's look at his ride through - His first rounds seemed to go smoothly, as he faced unknown players, in terms of renown in StarCraft 2 community - He beat JoshFreeman in first round; 2:0, then continued in round two, beating StoicRegret 2:1, and finally, in third round, he encountered Bryce "Machine" Bates, a Zerg player from Evil Geniuses. Besting him 2:1, Bryan soldiers on, right into 4th round, this time facing Brian"Spades" Francis. And yet again, Bryan shows that his Zerg armies are capable of wrecking havoc, beating Spades 2:0. Next round, Bryan fights against Moon "Ddoro" Jung Ho from team Vile; however, this time, he falls to his opponent 1:2, dropping into losers' bracket.
His journey continues in losers bracket, where he faces Ilyes "Stephano" Satouri, one of the best foreign Zerg players. That alone is an unique opportunity to learn, and Bryan tried his best in order to best his Zerg opponent. Unfortunately, this is where Bryan's MLG journey ends, as he falls to Stephano in both games; 2:0.
Some of you may now be wondering why I want to spotlight Glon, aren't you? Let's look at the another part of the story, let's return at the very beginning of Bryan's StarCraft 2 career.
Bryan "Glon" Gemler joined North American team vVv Gaming a year ago, as mere Silver level Zerg. Yes, you read it right. A mere Silver Zerg. Through his dedication and help from fellow teammates, he climbed higher and higher, eventually reaching the high Master level. Additionally, what is even more unique, StarCraft 2 is Bryan's first RTS. There are many people duscouraging others from trying to attain something in StarCraft 2, but Bryan is an excellent example of the fact, that if you truly are dedicated to something, you can do it, no matter what your starting point is.
While he is not on the top just yet, he is an inspiration to all of us, who started low; the game can be cruel and gruesome at times, but in the end, it is truly rewarding experience, to see one grow from the very bottom to the higher levels of the gameplay. I wish that Glon will climb even higher, as he continues his own training and becoming even more solid Zerg player.
At the end of my writing attempts; Bryan was so gracious to spend some time answering my pesky questions, hoping you'll enjoy reading it.
Hello Bryan, first of all, could you introduce yourself briefly to our readers?
"Hi! My name is Bryan Gemler, and handle is vVvGlon (@vVvGlon). I play zerg in Starcraft 2 and have been playing the game since about a month after it came out. I am currently 17, and looking at colleges at the same time as pursuing a career in professional gaming. On top of starcraft, I enjoy biking, piano, soccer, and debate."
Now, that we know a bit about you, let's look into your gaming past for a bit - have you played any other games, and if so, which ones?
"I used to play Warcraft 3 and Starcraft brood war. Both were confined to just team games, nothing special (aka I was bad at both games)."
Slowly getting to StarCraft 2, as it's major interest of ours - tell me, how did you get to playing StarCraft 2?
"Last winter, I was in silver league. Now, I am one of America's top zergs and am looking to do even better than my recent top 48 performance at MLG Columbus. My Starcraft 2 beginnings are actually quite humorous. I 7-roach-rushed my way from silver to diamond league (the then-master). Realizing from all the rage that I got from countless wins that I should probably look for a less abusive and more overall solid play style, I began to learn how to macro as zerg and eventually stopped roach rushing all together."
Could you tell us a bit more about your StarCraft 2 beginnings? What were your biggest struggles with the game?
"Building off the previous answer, my biggest struggle was learning how to macro. All inning every game (for 500+ games) taught me 2 important things: how to micro, and how to be fast. I learned how to be quick in my movements, decisive in my game decisions. It's here that transitioning into macro was less of an adjustment as people think. Speed/quickness meant that I could gain a macro edge over my opponents through multitasking. Once I learned the macro openings, it was a simple matter to transition into a macro player (for point of reference, this was a year ago, at the beginning of last summer). It got to the point where I wasn't all inning at all anymore, something that I quickly corrected this past fall to mix into a multi game series."
We all have our goals. Someone bigger, someone smaller, but in the end, we all have them. What were your goals in terms of StarCraft 2 by then? Did you just decide to try hard and aim high?
"Back then, I had ambition. I applied and was accepted to vVv as a community member. I was a part of the vVv academy, and made my move to the A team this past winter. I've always strived for success, and nothing ever changed that. A lot about being a professional is not being born with some talent. It's about working harder than anyone else/putting more effort into each meaningful game."
In your MLG report, you mentioned, that you had friends helping you. Would you mind saying who it was, and how exactly did they help you along the way, in order to become a solid Zerg player you are today?
"My sole biggest influence and tutor in my path of Starcraft 2 is vVv Titan (Tristan Johnson). Although he has retired from playing professionally at the moment, Titan helped to refine my practice and gave me inspiration while watching him play."
Finally getting to your recent MLG performance, where you managed to raise couple of eyebrows - what were your feelings before the tournament? Were you nervous? Did you look forward to the experience?
"Actually, I was more nervous about getting there on time than anything. At the greyhound station, my bus was delayed by an hour + with no explanation or expected departure time given to us. After I got to MLG, I had a settings scare where I couldn't find my normal settings. In the end, I came out confident and ready to face anyone, knowing that I was fully capable of competing with the best players in the tournament."
You faced some renown players during your MLG journey - how did you feel about that? What did it mean for you to be on equal footing with players like EG.Machine and Spades?
"More than this, I was on equal footing with almost every player there. In the winners bracket round 5, I fell to VileDdoro 1-2. This was my biggest mistake of the tournament, as I do not think I should have lost to Ddoro or lost the games that we played. If I had won, I would not only have been one win away from pool play but also would not have had a misfortune of playing Stephano in losers bracket round 7. My performance confirmed my practice results, that I could take down anyone."
You eventually fell to one of the best Zerg players in the world, Mill.Stephano. What were your feelings about the game with him? Is there anything you know you could've done better? Any 'lessons' you took from that game, which would help you to improve as a player and further solidify your gameplay?
"Rather than retype this out, I wrote a blog on teamliquid about my MLG experience an in particular my games vs Stephano. It can be found here"
Let's move on a bit - you started as Silver level Zerg. That is rather low level - there are many people on that level, who might want to follow your footsteps; is there any kind of advice you'd offer them, to be able to reach what you did?
"I would suggest picking an abusive strategy that wins a lot of games. As a lower level player, honestly just increasing your win rate by any means possible should be your goal. When playing better and better players, your apm and multitasking will up, as well as how cleanly you execute a build. Also, don't be afraid to make up your own strategies. Look at vVvRuff, who has had HUGE success with his unique strategies."
An inevitable question - how much time do you spend practicing StarCraft 2? Any regular schedule, or just winging it, whenever you feel like it? Any specific practice routine, or just ladder for you?
"During school, I practice ~10 hours a week (compared to the 10 hours a day of pros I beat @ MLG ). During the summer/breaks, it's about 6-8 hours a day. I do a mix of customs and ladder, although I like to spend all my meaningful practice in customs or on korean ladder (because yes, AM ladder is bad)"
I can't forget ask you about your future goals, in terms of StarCraft 2. Anything specific in planning or are you just going to go with the flow? Will we get to see you participating in further MLG's?
"Due to my top 48 MLG performance, I am in the invite-only qualifier for Spring Arena #2. Here, I hope to not only qualifier for the Arena in NYC but then qualifier for Pool play in MLG Anaheim. Regardless, I will be at Anaheim."
Anything else you enjoy besides StarCraft 2? Hobbies, studies, anything?
"I enjoy soccer, biking, and debate. I'm actually quite good at debate, I'm a state finalist. As far as my future concerns, My best guess is something to do with Chemistry and Engineering (Chemical engineering...? ). Other than that, school/social life keep me busy on top of practice for SC2."
Thank you for your time, Bryan. I wish you many more successes in StarCraft 2, make us all proud by your hard work!
"As a last word -- shout out to the whole vVv family, in particular our manager, vVvSugarbear. Thanks a bunch!"
Original article can be found over at my website here.
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