BlizzCon 2018 is set to bring us a great series of StarCraft II matches during the World Championship Series (WCS) Finals, one of which will be Dark vs. Serral. We caught up to Park “Dark” Ryung Woo of the Gosu Crew after his recent victory against ShoWTimE. During our time with Dark, we talked about his matches against ShoWTimE, his thoughts on his opponent, how he maintains his confidence and focus, and why Dark wanted to play Serral in the round of eight. We discuss Classic, Gosu Crew, and Dark’s stream, and learn a lot about what earned Dark the title of “foreign player killer.”
Daily Esports: First of all, congratulations on your victory. It’s got to feel great to come back and win against ShoWTimE after he beat you, especially since you won so convincingly.
Dark: Thank you.
DES: You’re welcome. So, how did that victory feel?
Dark: After losing yesterday I was very worried I was going to get knocked out and would have to go home early. But after winning today, I’m so relieved and finally I feel comfortable.
DES: What do you think happened there in that first match against ShoWTimE? Because I thought that you had a really clean game against him in that second one.
Dark: I was getting over a fever and a cold, sore throat. I wasn’t feeling perfect yesterday. I was still a little bit sick, and also the build that I prepared for ShoWTimE yesterday, I feel that the builds weren’t too good, so that’s why I lost.
DES: Yeah, that makes sense. I know a lot of people were mentioning that they weren’t feeling the best. How does traveling all the way to Los Angeles affect your condition, versus playing in Korea?
Dark: It’s physically a little bit tiring to travel so far to play in a couple days, but actually it’s my first time getting this ill overseas. I usually get over jet lag pretty well, and I feel good playing overseas. I’m very surprised I got sick this time around. But usually the aeroplane ride is the only tough part of traveling and I enjoy my overseas tournaments.
DES: So what is it like playing in a weekend tournament like BlizzCon? Do you think having time to prepare throughout the week for the round of eight is going to help? Or do you think having all of those matches one after another is still going to be a challenge?
Dark: I’ve actually gained a lot of confidence through today’s match, so I just want to continue playing. I don’t really need the whole week to prepare. I feel I just need a couple days. I could go right away, but since I have a week to prepare, I’m going to do my best to practice the matches and practice some builds so I can be in the best condition for the weekend.
DES: I love your confidence.
DES: Having a good mindset is really important for this kind of competition. So, what do you do to keep yourself focused in between rounds, and just to get yourself ready?
Dark: Early on in my career, I had a hard time gathering my mindset after losing or after having a hard time on stage. But now I’m a veteran player, and I have a lot of experience playing tournaments and I’ve actually learned a lot from my peer players and former teammates. Now I think I’m very good at controlling my mindset and focusing on the control that I have with my confidence. I always was good at focusing on the moments that I liked, even when I was very young. I think I was born with the ability to focus on one thing.
DES: You mentioned focusing all your attention on making it to the round of eight in the post-game interview. So did ShoWTimE earn a bit of your respect there when he beat you in that first match? [And] did you think if you just played your best game you could beat him?
Dark: So, actually, I’ve thought that ShoWTimE is a very good player for a long time, and he was just missing like 1 percent in his play style, and he had a little bit of room to improve. But after losing to him, I feel like it wasn’t because ShoWTimE played a good match; it was because I, myself, didn’t really play that well. So I wasn’t really worried about facing ShoWTimE again. I was more worried about having to go back home so early and not being able to play at BlizzCon for two years, because last year I didn’t make it to BlizzCon and had to go home early. So that was the part I was worried about.
DES: You’re one of my absolute favourite players to watch. Even when you’re down, you’re not out. Do you think your ability to fight your way back out of risky situations is one of your advantages over your opponents?
Dark: Sometimes I just surprise myself when I’m able to turn a game around after being in that spot. In the early years of my career, I was just talking badly about other players just to gain more confidence and to show that I wasn’t scared of them, and I’ve just stuck with that image. Now my fans just think of me as a very confident player. I’m very happy to have that image. It helps me be confident in every game.
DES: So, are you cultivating that image to help build your confidence, or is it something you want to move beyond?
Dark: I just want to keep being confident and keep my image of being a confident player and just provoke my opponents in interviews, just to have fun. [I just want to] make my fans enjoy watching me do that, and even if I’m tired, I’m going to keep doing that throughout my life. Being confident.
DES: You’ve got 35 top four finishes, seven GSL tournament appearances, eight major tournament victories. You did have a shaky start, but you’ve moved beyond the round of eight now, and that was your concern. How confident are you feeling, moving on now into the round of eight and forward?
Dark: I feel very comfortable right now, very relieved to make it to the round of eight. I know that the players I’m going to face in the round of eight matches are stronger than me actually, so that just makes me play more comfortably because I know that I might be able to lose to the stronger player. So I think I can show the skills I usually have during practice when not on camera. If that skill just comes out in the round of eight, I actually think I have a good chance to win.
DES: In the post-game interview, you said that between Maru, Serral, and Rogue, you’d most like to play Serral. Does that decision have anything to do with your title of the foreign player killer, or are you looking for a rematch after GSL vs. the World?
Dark: It’s kind of both. I want to avenge my loss in GSL vs. the World, and I also want to keep my image of being a foreign player killer. But honestly, I think Serral is the weakest player among the three, so that’s why I want to play Serral.
DES: I was on the edge of my seat when you played Classic in the Super Tournament, cheering for you. He’s in a similar position to you right now. He’s playing SpeCial for his place in the round of eight while we have this interview, and I’m really excited to see what happens. If he wins, are you eager for a rematch, or are you just cheering for your new teammate?
Dark: Well, we used to be teammates, but currently we’re not. So actually I feel Classic is the stronger player, so I’d like him to be knocked out by SpeCial.
Dark: And SpeCial is winning right now, so I’m rooting for SpeCial to win another game and knock out Classic.
DES: I was checking the results as it was happening. I think he just won. *laughs* So you know, there you go. So you are on Gosu Crew though, right?
DES: Congratulations. Moving away from BlizzCon, what does the future hold for you now that you’ve joined this team?
Dark: So, Gosu Crew gave me a very good condition. I’m very thankful for that. Now I can just focus on my practice and my tournaments. In order to repay them, I just need to get good results in tournaments I play in so my team gets more happy about me.
DES: So, do you have anyone there with you as your support network during the event? Anyone from Gosu Crew or family?
Dark: No one is gonna come from my team or family; it’s just going to be me. It’s only been a few days since I joined the team. There wasn’t time to prepare, and I don’t really know who’s on the team and who the staff are. I’ll find out after.
DES: Do you have anyone cheering for you at home, that’s watching?
Dark: My friends and my girlfriend and my family are cheering for me. They sent me a message right away after my victory saying congratulations, and even yesterday after I lost, they were saying I played good even though I was sick and stuff. I’m very thankful for that, and also I have a lot of fans that are cheering for me in Korea.
DES: Do you have anything you want to say to your fans, both in Korea and here in North America and Europe and all over the world?
Dark: I’m very thankful that they cheer for me even when I don’t play well. Also, I have an individual stream that I want my fans to come and watch, so please join me and watch my games.
DES: I’ll make sure to link to it when I put up this interview.
Dark: Ah, thank you.
DES: You’re welcome. Thank you so much for the interview. I’m going to be cheering for you as well.
We’ve also interviewed Serral and Rogue, if you want to read more interviews with the players who will be going into the round of eight this weekend. We’ll be covering that too, by the way, so stay tuned for more!
Alexandra is an avid writer and a huge fan of StarCraft, and combining those two things is giving her a great excuse to watch an absolute ton of progaming.