ThorZaIN, a well-known player from the past, has once again surfaced! We have not seen much from him in the Warcraft 3 competitive scene since 2010, until only some time ago. With the release of Starcraft 2, he decided to change direction and play our sibling-game where he ended up making a big name for himself! After his retirement from Starcraft 2, he's shifted focus to his studies.
Recently, he's been playing Warcraft 3 with his Swedish comrades in their team: Sowiet War Elites (SWE). SWE has had tremendous success in several Western tournaments, including a 1st place in NWC3L season 9! Furthermore, ThorZaIN also, quite recently, won the 1v1 tournament pG Champions Cup #4.
Though his main focus is still school, and his time for gaming therefore is scarce, it's great to see ThorZaIN competing in tournaments and being involved in the community again. I've had the pleasure to ask him a couple of questions, and he brings some very interesting answers to the table, so read through below and enjoy!
First of; a belated congratulations on you and the rest of SWE winning the 9th season of NWC3L! SWE consists of several Swedish players who we know from the past. How did the team suddenly emerge after all these years?
Thanks! EfFeCt and Endarspire came back to the game a couple of years ago already. The passion that these two brothers have for the game is unreal! I don't remember exactly how the rest of us got back into it but I maintained my friendship with both Endarspire and Skutt after quitting WarCraft/StarCraft. I think it had to do with Endarspire asking a couple of old school Swedes if we wanted to make a team in a 4v4 tournament. Even though I didn't end up participating, just talking about WarCraft again with my old friends ignited the spark in me again, and I think that's exactly what happened with the rest of the guys. We noticed that there were actually a couple of team leagues around and decided to make a team. For that, we made sure to bring back as many other old friends as possible, and now we're quite a bunch!
A part of the SWE team - from left: Thorzain, Effect, EndarSpire, Skutt, Knoff
Seeing how well you guys have been playing, do you think Sweden would have the best team in the West, if every nation had to make a ~5 player line-up?
Honestly, Russia probably has the best team. Players like Happy, Cash, HawK and Sheik would make for a terrifying team. After Russia I'm not sure. Both Ukraine, Germany and Sweden would be candidates for the #2 spot. The "problem" with SWE is that most of our players play periodically, probably making us pretty inconsistent.
With you playing so well, defeating some of the West’s top players in pG Champions Cup #4, one would assume that you practice on the ladder – is this the case? If so, where do you play?
I happen to be one of those players to play just every once in a while. For example, I only play during weekends and it's not always I have my weekends free. But when I do, I can play 20+ games, split between 2v2s with my teammates, w3arena (not anymore I guess) and netease. Prior to the pG Champions Cup, I think that I had been playing quite a lot.
You’ve had massive success in Starcraft 2 in the past. Do you still find time to play that game as well?
Unfortunately I don't. Every once in a while I get the urge to pick it back up, but it's a game not really suited for playing "just a bit". It's so much about remembering small details in build orders and timings. WarCraft 3 on the other hand is, at least for me, played more on intuition, something that isn't really lost if you haven't played in 2 weeks. That's why I prefer it over SC2 as a game "on the side".
It’s obvious that you hold both SC2 and WC3 very dear. What are some of the pros and cons between the games from your perspective?
Apart from what I just mentioned, I think that the games are hard to compare in terms of pros and cons. Playing a long drawn out game of SC2 where you have to be at every place at once and in the end winning because you were able to do just that, better than your opponent, is very satisfying. But so are the details of WarCraft III. Snap-noticing that the only way you can kill that escaping demon hunter is by using your footman, which just happened to be in place, to do a really micro intensive block. Even though I only play WarCraft these days, I still watch some StarCraft 2 every once in a while.
Thorzain after winning 2012 DreamHack Open Stockholm
Patch 1.29 recently went live, which is the first patch that effects the gameplay in over 7 years. What are your overall thoughts on the changes that Blizzard has made?
Oh my god is it exciting to be playing on a new patch! I have so much experimenting I want to do but I've mostly been playing 2v2s lately so I haven't had the opportunity to try out all the cool stuff in 1v1s, although I have been owned by an alchemist or two already! It's just so refreshing seeing Blizzard putting time and effort into the game again, and I applaud them for it. Btw, the clap buff seems INSANE against orc, so I'd better use it as much as possible before it's changed.
You were invited to the Warcraft 3 Invitational at Blizzards HQ, but didn't accept the invitation. How come?
I really really wanted to go, and I was super excited about being invited. Unfortunately I had important school obligations at the time. I asked for time off but was denied. In the end, my friend EfFeCt ended up going in my place, so I was still able to be happy for his sake. And honestly, he probably has proven himself more worthy than I for such an opportunity, so in the end I'm not salty whatsoever, just happy that Blizzard actually arranged an event like this for their 15 year old game.
If you had to specify your playstyle compared to other players, how’d you say it’s different?
Techy! I often sacrifice early game power in order to tech as soon as possible. I think that the footman is one of the worst units in the game, especially as the game goes on. So I tend to not make a lot of them and rather try to get my higher tech units out as soon as possible. Be it in matchups where human players often tech at one base or matchups where human players often expand, I like to both tech faster than many of my fellow human players and many times not expand, respectively.
On this website, we sometimes feature non-meta strategies. Do you have a favourite strategy that you either find underrated or just especially amusing to play?
Keeping it simple and not including any potential new 1.29 strategies, I really like 1 base against undead. Both tier 2 rifle caster and 1 base straight tier 3 are fun and refreshing styles to play, and I actually do feel that they are somewhat viable strategies on certain maps. It's just such a satisfying feeling imagining the undead going "This human player doesn't expand? What a foolish ploy.", just to tap out 15 minutes later, completely dumbfounded and embarrassed.
Thorzain vs Sheik - 1-base T3