Jinro: „It was like walkig on water“

15.09.2012 00:33

The then 21-year-old Jonathan ‘Jinro’ Walsh slides restlessly around in his chair in the narrow GSL player box. With two deep breaths he fills his lungs with oxygen and adjusts his cap one last time. His Korean rival, Lee ‘Choya’ Hyung Seop, was also very excited.

Tense, he looks for distraction in his warming pillow, which he has been putting from one hand to the other for several minutes. Europe enters the big StarCraft 2 stage It’s December 7th, 2010. Korea and the rest of the StarCraft world are looking to the quarterfinals of GSL Season 3, in which the four best players in the world are to be determined who can keep their dream of the crowning title of the prestigious league. With Jonathan ‘Jinro’ Walsh, for the first time a European has the chance to achieve this goal.

After five exciting maps, two letters ultimately bring salvation. The Terran from the legendary Team Liquid moves into the semi-finals of the Global StarCraft II League and rises to the hope of thousands of fans outside Korea. It’s moments like these that create legends that give players hero status that continues even after their careers have ended. A status that Jonathan Walsh has to claim earlier than expected around 20 months after his success. Six days after retiring as an active player, we now had the chance to talk to the now 23-year-old Swede about his career, the time in Korea and his future.

jonathan jinro walsh starcraft 2
escene.de: Jonathan, Since you’ve been gone from Progaming, what are your plans for the future? We could read that you plan on focusing more on Poker. Will u put as much effort into Poker as you did in Starcraft 2?

Jonathan ‚Jinro‘ Walsh: I’ll try to put more effort into the theoretical side than I ever did into SC2, but try to live a more balanced life overall.

At the end of 2010 you were on your peak. You won MLG Dallas and got to the RO4 in GSL Season 3. Please Describe your feelings being the first Foreigner that could really compete with the top Koreans.

Walking on water. A little bit surreal, dream-like.

Did you at that time expect that you could make it to the semifinals?

I don’t think I expected much at all, which is a nice state of mind – just very un-assuming and focusing on things as they come. It was the last possibility of getting a straight code S seed (top 8) so everyone who wasn’t already code S did of course have that as their goal.

Let’s talk about your time in Korea. When you came to Korea for the first time, was there anything that was particularly strange compared to how you were used to live in Sweden?

I mean it’s a big difference moving from home into a team house environment, but as for Korea itself, I guess the way everything is always open at all hours. Sweden closes early.

How well were you able to get to know Korea in the past months? Do progamers in Korea have the time for other hobbys or freetime at weekends, or did you just fully concentrate on playing StarCraft 2?

I dont know Korea as well as I would have liked, but it’s not entirely StarCraft2s fault. It’s definitely possible to get to know it better than I have, but there are some restrictions. For a long time I basically only practiced and went to the gym. I’ve started training BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) now and I train quite a lot, so that takes up a good deal of my time now.

Many players hope to get the chance to practice in Korea for a few months to improve themselves. How did the practice in Korea changed your way of playing Starcraft 2? Is it just the amount of practice, that makes a player better, or what was particularly positive for your improvement? How much did the Koreans on your team help improving your own gameplay?

When I first came there, the biggest benefit was just playing better players on the ladder. Later, we started having daily in house ranking games, and I think these were really crazy helpful for everyone. Almost every progamer I’ve ever talked to dislikes ranking games, it feels too much like work, but you know, one benefit of them was that after you were done with the daily set. It did feel like work – and you felt like playing some ladder games
just like you would after you came home from school. Definitely think it was a mistake when we abolished ranking games sometime around spring 2011.

Jonathan Jinro Walsh StarCraft 2 GSL
You practiced together with both korean and foreign players for nearly two years in the oGs/TeamLiquid house in Korea. Is there any difference in the way they used to practice?

Well as I said above, in the beginning we had ranking matches every day and it was very structured and strict. For whatever reason, we stopped doing that at some point and for me personally this loss of structure had a pretty negative impact when coupled with an increasing lack of personal motivation. I think if I had to go back in time to change something, that is the number one thing I’d change. Or if I were to coach, I’d probably have ranking games even knowing how much most people – myself often times included – disliked them. They were good.

What do you think is the main reason, that most of the best foreign players are still a step behind the level of the best Koreans?

The above mentioned structure, not living closely together with other people with whom you can easily discuss stuff. That’s another benefit of ranking games, whenever you lost to someone you could just discuss what went wrong and what to change. I used to ask Ensnare for advice literally all the time, as well as MC or TheWind or Gon or really anyone in the team.

You attended a lot of Tournaments, including MLG, HomeStory Cup and of course GSL. What was the greatest moment in your career?

Getting Code S or beating Choya and getting to the semi-finals, maybe. It was big, all team mates watching. The series went from 2-0 to 2-2 until I finally won 3-2. Good memory.

Thank you for the interview, Jonathan. The last words are yours.

Thank you all for watching 🙂

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