I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kenny ‘aLtShortizz‘ Ang, GrandMaster Zerg on SEA (Rank 87 at the time of writing) and I am very excited to present this to you.
What makes aLtShortizz’s story so exciting is that he went from Bronze to GrandMasters in a short seven months! This sort of progress is inspirational to many of us who are struggling in Bronze or even somewhere in the middle and just goes to show that players aren’t born in GM.
Hello Shortizz and thank you for allowing me to interview. First lets just have you introduce yourself!
Hi everyone, my name is Kenny Ang and I play under the nickname aLtShortizz. I am currently a GM on SEA server and Master on NA and KR servers.
You have created a bit of a stir in the SEA community for your inspiring progress on the ladders, care to share your achievement with us?
I was placed in Bronze league back in February and got promoted into GM league in August. It was something like Season 1 – Gold, Season 2 – Rank 1 Master, Season 3 – GM. Winning the Sc2SEA community open twice was also very rewarding and I got recognition through that and was eventually invited to join top Singapore clan aLt.
What made you decide to play Zerg, and, have you ever had a moment where you wanted to change races?
I played Zerg in Broodwar and naturally chose Zerg again in SC2. The Zerg mechanics were harder to grasp for me in the beginning (I tried the other races too), but I felt that with better understanding and control of the mechanics, especially the queen, Zerg has a lot of potential.
There were many times where I was frustrated and often thought that I was losing to lesser players, thus leading me to contemplate a race switch. I believe everyone went through phases like that but in order to improve, you need to stop thinking that your losing to lesser players and focus more on why you are losing in the first place. For example, I dont blame Terran OP for winning with a 11/11 bunker rush (Although I think its cheap). I prefer to take the loss as me not defending the bunker rush well enough despite knowing how to.
“I believe in order to improve, you need to stop thinking that your losing to lesser players and focus more on why you are losing in the first place.”
What inspired you to try to get really good at StarCraft 2?
As I have stated in my Strategy guide [on SC2SEA.com], in order to improve quickly and massively, you have to devote alot of time and effort into it. After playing BW for 5 years, I was shocked and humiliated to be place into Bronze league when I did my placements. I guess that was actually a good start looking back at it now as it stirs up the competitiveness in me.
How does it feel to have progressed the way that you have? Are you happy to rest on your laurels now, or do you have a ‘next step’ planned?
I intend to at least maintain my current standard while practising a lot more with my teammates. Balancing life and gaming is very important and when a choice has to be made, everyone should put gaming aside. If you get too overwhelmed in trying to improve and play, it will consume you and thats never a good thing.
On that note, how have you balanced normal life and SC2, and, has anyone from ‘real life’ been supportive or disagreed with what you were doing?
My GF bought me my copy of SC2 because she knew how much I had loved BW. I was hesitant to purchase it because I knew exactly how much it might consume me =P. I wouldn’t say alot of people are supportive of my practise because gaming is not really a hobby that most would look up to.
Hopefully that will change in the future!
How does a typical day of practice go for you?
When I was practising to get into GM league (always aim high) I would do 5-10 Games of custom games, watch replays of games that I lost and didn’t understand why then Ladder 5-10 games. So thats pretty much 10-20 games a day, not counting the hours I spent researching timings and build orders.
After getting into GM, I play mostly on average of 5 games just to keep myself ‘updated’. A lot of people think that you have to consistently play a lot to reach and maintain a high level but really, all you need is a period where u have time to make a good push and then you can sit back on it and just maintain your standard.
StarCraft 2 seems to be a game that becomes deeper the more you look. What would you say has changed about the way you see StarCraft 2 since Bronze?
Being in BSG (Bronze/Silver/Gold) was actually a lot more fun compared to nowadays. There were so many players whom you can compete with and everyone does really fun and weird stuff that cracks you up! However, once you attain a certain ranking and you’ll realise that the people you are playing are usually the same. Its either a TA, nGen, aLt or SPR that you would be laddering against these days (on SEA). And quite honestly, its getting a little too boring especially when some people do the same opening almost every game.
Game play wise, being in Bronze gives you a lot of room for improvement and the satisfaction that comes with it. The satisfaction comes mostly from winning tournaments since there are very little people that you actually surpass.
What have been the most important factors in your progress?
The satisfaction of improving and beating people whom are considered the best. Also, I would like to say that being part of a community helps too. When I was hanging out with PRACBUD and ClanFaDe, they would constantly cheer me on because they want to see a GM amongst themselves. I guess that made me more proud when I achieved what me and my friends wanted.
Do you have any final tips for the Bronzies out struggling to get promoted?
Playing 1000 games everyday will get you nowhere if you do not realise your mistakes. Sometimes, listening is actually more important that playing. Search around for some useful tips and guides and try to define your ‘play-style’ from there. I strongly suggest everyone to sign up for tournaments that are listed in Sc2SEA.com. Dont just play in BSGs, join the Open tournaments too so you can have a chance to play against high level players. The only way to improve is to constantly play against better players and the look at your mistakes after you lose.
Lastly, dont be disheartened and always remember this is a game that we bought to relax ourselves. If losing too much gets to you, just walk away and come back later.
Sound advice! Thanks again for your time.
Do you have a story of triumph to tell? Let us know about it in the comments below or send us an email!