Personality Spotlight: Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn
It doesn't happent too often, for us to see a new StarCraft 2 talent rising, arriving as suddenly as spring storm. We often see all these same names on the scene and it is really difficult to spot a new talented player on the rise. And that is exactly what happened during last IPL; IPL4, where those of you, who paid close attention, could spot a promising Zerg player, Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn.
Scarlett managed to impress many people, when she first had Song "Terious" Byung from Prime as a light snack, then she continued with Protoss Moon "DdoRo" Jung Ho from team Vile and she gave quite a sweat to Kim "Oz" Hak Soo from FXO before she succumbed 1-2 to him and fell to losers' bracker.
But even then, her journey wasn't all over - she put up quite a fight with Benjamin "DeMusliM" Baker, where she'd not grant him a single victory in the series. The last duel of the fates took place against former SlayerS member, Cho Myung "Golden" Hwan, now playing for team LighT - Scarlett falls 2-0 to him and her tournament ride ended at this point. But it seems that many people look up to her, as a new, promising talent, who might be able to take the game home and stand up against the korean domination.
There were rumors, that Scarlett got offer from 4 teams after her glorious succes during IPL4, one of these being 'a korean team with huge sponsor'. Unfortunately, we may never find out which korean team it really was, as Scarlett annonced on Monday, that she would be joining team Eclypsia. Doesn't ring a bell? You are not the only ones, in all honesty.
Don't go yet, that's not all, I managed to catch Scarlett and interrogate her a bit. Have a good reading.
Interview with Scarlett
Hi Scarlett, thank you for joining me today, happy to have you. Before anything, could you please briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
"Hello, I am Scarlett, an 18 year old Zerg player from Canada."
Thank you. You've managed to impress quite a crowd during your performance at IPL4 - but before I delve into that, let's look into your past brifly. For that, a classic question needs to be asked - How did you get to StarCraft 2?
"I was watching my brother play and he showed me some GSL vods. I told him I could beat him at it easily (he was mid-master league) and he said I couldn't. So I started playing with goal to get better than him and played him around 4-6weeks later, beating him 6-0."
Do you come from gaming background? Any other games you played before StarCraft 2? If so, any games, which would directly help you in your transition to StarCraft 2?
"Yes I have played games for a long time. Mostly just warcraft 3 customs (a lot of DotA). I had also played a few games of Warcraft 3 and Brood War, so I understood the basics of RTS. I was good at DotA, which helps in some aspects of Starcraft 2."
Why did you choose to play Zerg? Does Zerg appeal to you in terms of gamestyle in any way?
"I don't actually know why I picked Zerg, but I really like the gameplay... Staying defensive and playing macro oriented well let you win every game, so I know if I lose it is because I made a mistake that I can fix, not because my opponent did a strategy perfectly that I cannot beat."
Let's go and talk about your tournament show for a bit. You've managed to win Playhem-Razer "Sponsor Me!" tournament, which allowed you to participate in the latest IPL4. How did you feel after such accomplishment? What did it mean for you, as a StarCraft 2 player?
"I had only played a few online tournaments before this, and performed quite poorly in many of them (I got very nervous especially when my games were casted). So I was very happy after winning the playhem-razer tournament, and I got to play against my friend in the finals . It means quite a bit, as it allowed me to attend a major LAN event where I could be noticed by teams for my play."
IPL 4 - the day, where several renown players met their doom at your hands, and which got you quite the spotlight. What were your initial thoughts, when you arrived to IPL4 and saw, that you were going to face such strong players? Were you confident about yourself? Or were you rather sober about your performance, in terms of just wanting to give your best shot? Tell me about it.
"The open bracket was posted online 2 days or so before the event, so I knew I would have to play Terious in a ZvZ first round. I was worried about having to play a Korean Zerg at the start and thought I would fall to the loser bracket as ZvZ is my worst match up. I gained confidence when warming up on Ladder before playing because many koreans were watching me and MC's coach told me I play very well.
In regards to the games themselves, he played a very aggressive ling baneling style early on, as many Koreans do against unknown players in ZvZ. I was prepared for this because ling baneling all ins or heavy ling baneling aggression is what the majority of Zerg players did for many months in Grandmaster on NA Ladder, so I easily defended his aggression and had a huge lead every game. However, the first game I did a bad attack into a chokepoint against infestors + spines, costing me the game."
You had quite close game against Oz from FxO, giving him quite a sweat. but he managed to defeat you, thus dropping you into lower bracket. What do you think about that game specifically? Why do you think you lost and what do you think you could've make better in order to secure the victory?
"I stayed on roach/roach hydra for far too long. I was used to most Protoss players dying to aggression at their Natural and 3rd at same time, but Oz had better forcefields and army splitting of any protoss I had ever played before, putting me behind. I also did not tech up to hive fast enough because I thought he was going to push with stalker/sentry/zealot/collosus mid-game, so I died to a timing right before my brood lord were made."
Your next game was against Demuslim. Again managing to pull a surprise on all of us, you defeated him with a solid game 2-0, moving forward, and eventually facing Golden from team LighT, who also plays Zerg. He proceeded and beat you 2-0, which effectively removed you from the tournament. What were your first thoughts after that game in particular?
"Against DeMuslim I was confident because I usually managed to beat him on ladder, and I had even improved my ZvT quite a bit since last time I played him with a good Terran practice partner (I have about 5-10x better winrate ZvT than my second best matchup). He was also very nice and asked if I wanted regame when I made major mistake in opening build.
I was at first not too worried about having to play Golden, as the only 2 times I played him on ladder, I won without too much difficulty. However I had no break time between games vs Oz, DeMuslim, and Golden.. as soon as 1 finished I was told I had to play another. He also played very well and got slight advantages through opening 15hatch vs 14gas14pool both games and kept that advantage until midgame where I lost both games after very long roach vs roach fights. In the first game I also thought he was going to stop being aggressive after I held his first big push, so I made drones+infestors, but he pushed again right after."
Not many people expected what you managed to pull off, and you are quite a surprise rising star to many, due to the fact, that the scene seems to be quite repetitive in terms of professional players. Many people are happy for you, as they do enjoy seeing rising a new talent, rather than seeing the same ones all the time. What were your goals for IPL4 and are you satisfied with your performance?
"I told myself I did not want to attend a major LAN event until I was confident I could make it into pool play. However, the Playhem tournament showed up and I thought it would be fun to just try it out, but I didn't think I would win it as there were a bunch of koreans, etc signed up, who were however disqualified for being on teams. I feel my performance was okay, as it was hardest tournament ever other than GSL, but I could have done better with less mistakes. I hope to at least get to pool play when I go to MLG Anaheim open bracket."
It's Monday, and as a Twitter netizen I saw you'd be announcing your decision regarding joining a team on Monday. Could you reveal to me and our Czech readers which team is it going to be and why did you decide that way in the end?
"It is announced already I joined the French team Eclypsia. It was not my 'best' offer, but I joined this team because I very much liked the people I talked to in it and the direction it is heading in. They also seemed to want to have me as a player rather than for publicity (as I have drawn much attention since IPL4), which is more in line with what I wanted."
Will being on a professional team change your StarCraft 2 routine in any way? Are you a ladder type of person or do you prefer to practice with good players, focusing on your flaws in your gameplay? Opinions differ on that, so of course I have to ask you about that.
"The majority of time I practiced Starcraft 2 was though North American ladder and watching good Zerg streams to find out good things they add to their play which I could take. I will probably practice more with practice partners now, to help with a few things I know I need to work on, but I also enjoying spending time playing many ladder games as it shows weaknesses in play I have not thought of before because of wide variety in strategies people use. However, I will play on Korean ladder whenever I am in a place where it is not too slow, as it gives much better practice."
I always ask this - what are your short-term goals? Where do you see yourself in a year? What do you hope to achieve?
"My short term goal is to get into pool play at MLG Anaheim when I play in open bracket, and then if I don't do well in pool I want to place highly in pool play at the LAN I attend after that.
I consider 1 year very long time in terms of practicing. Because I plan to go to korea to practice which helps much more than the practice I get here. So I want to be good enough to place top 3 in major LAN events after this."
People are going to cheer on you; will we be able to see you on more tournaments and events? Anythins specifically planned in that regard?
"I will play a few online tournaments and showmatches, but probably no LAN events until MLG Anaheim. I will, however, start streaming within 1-2 weeks so people can watch me there if they want."
I will not hold you for any longer, so many thanks for your time. It was definitelly good seeing you rise and I will cheer for you, as many others will. Don't let anyone to discourage you and keep showing them that nothing really matters in StarCraft 2, except the game. Any last shoutouts to the community?
"Thanks to all my fans on TeamLiquid, and my new team Eclypsia ! Also to keydMaker and NMxHendralsk for helping me with some practice before IPL4."
Originally, I wrote this for Czech e-sport portal PLAYzone, czech version of this article can be found here, this is an english version of it, but I generally want to say, that Scarlett is quite an inspirational person, and I certainly hope to see more of her.
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