The grand finals in Toronto are just one week away. I spoke with the teams at University of Waterloo and University of Montreal about how they feel about their performance so far and the games ahead.
University of Waterloo
Facing off against Montreal will be no easy task, and Waterloo knows it. Liang ‘Powerfoe’ Chen expressed frustration about the change in the playoffs format from best-of-seven (as it was years ago) to best-of-five. “If you took the top two players out of our team, we would still make the CSL playoffs,” he said. “If you take either of [Simon ‘Jig’ Lacasse-Labelle] or [Alex ‘Semper’ Dimitriu] out of Montreal, they wouldn’t even have handed over the one hundred dollars to sign up for CSL in the first place.”
Ovidiu ‘Seryph’ Negulescu pictured above queueing into a StarCraft II match.
However, hope is not lost. The strength of their team is in its depth. “We are a deeper team than most, owing to our robust StarCraft community,” said Chen. “This means that our two-versus-two and Archon mode matches are generally very favourable for us, since those are the sets where a lot of teams put in their sacrificial lambs. We also have ‘Avilo’ on our team, a 6K MMR ace player who makes quick work of his opponents with his strong bio terran play.” From here, I knew the memes would begin.
Riddle ‘TheRiddler’ Li (right) displays his StarCraft skills.
The “Avilo” he speaks of, also known as Riddle ‘TheRiddler’ Li, had his own explanation for the source of the team’s strength. “Every one of us owe our success to the popular streamer Avilo, aka the mech god that will save esports,” he stated. “It’s through his stream that we are able to discover the most meta of all strategies even before the Koreans. We practice ‘avikungfu’ and drink mango juice everyday to increase our apm tenfold.” As long as no one practices avikungfu on me in Toronto, I’m okay with this (I think).
On a more serious note, William ‘Buster’ Stewart had this to say, “[Round-of-four] is about as well as I thought we’d do. Waterloo hasn’t made it to the finals in a long time, so it’s really cool to finally make it back there.” Making it this far is commendable, indeed.
Universite de Montreal
Montreal is feeling good, and who can blame them? After all, they have two of the best players to have ever played in the CSL, Alex ‘Semper’ Dimitriu and Simon ‘Jig’ Lacasse-Labelle. Even though that may be the case, the team surprised me with their humility (at least compared to their American counterparts at Temple).
“It’s all because of our god Semper [Dimitriu],” replied Lacasse-Labelle. “We are all followers of his religion. He is carrying us.”
“No, I don’t agree because I can’t win the series by myself,” retorted Dimitriu. “I can only win two of the games.”
“No, I agree,” shot back Lacasse-Labelle. “We are a team, but we have a god in our team.”
“No, you’re the god,” answered Dimitriu.
Despite being such a strong team, they aren’t overly confident about their chances., “I’m not really scared about Waterloo, but we are really preparing for Temple University,” said Lacasse-Labelle. He mentioned that the one-versus-one matchups against Temple were something the team was worried about. “We don’t recognize or know any of the player’s on Waterloo and we usually queue at the top of [Grand Master],” emphasized Lacasse-Labelle. “We’re mostly focusing on Temple, like [Lacasse-Labelle] said.”
A look back to when Montreal beat University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Shifting focus to Temple, Lacasse-Labelle said, “I think that Temple are really good, but we are better. It’s not something we can sit on. As long as we are really prepared and play our A-game then we can definitely win.”
Mathieu ‘Goon’ Daunais also chimed in. “It’s all about one game at a time,” he stated. “One cheese could make us or break us.”
“On paper, our team is the best,” according to Charles-Emile ‘Kraken’ Trudel. “We have two WCS-level players and, as my teammates said, we’re going to practice two-versus-two a lot. If we can win the two-versus-two, we won’t lose a single map.” That being said the two-versus-two is definitely not what the team is known for. The team thinks otherwise. “They should be scared of our two versus two players,” said Lacasse-Labelle. Dimitriu echoed the sentiment.
Early on, they mentioned that practicing together and talking about strategies with each other has brought them this far. The team will have a six hour bus ride to do just that: theorycraft and mentally prepare for the matches ahead. Team manager Alex Tanasie provided a great conclusion. “On behalf of everyone, we wish the best of luck to the other teams,” he said. “Everyone have fun and good luck with everything. We’ll see you all there.”
Be sure to tune in May 12-14 on Twitch to catch the exciting Collegiate StarLeague StarCraft II action!