Interview with Choi "Polt" Seong Hun

Jul 11 2019 10 min read

Interview with Polt ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!

We had a fantastic opportunity to talk to Choi "Polt" Seong Hun, the Captain America himself. Between 2011 and 2016 this player had an awe-inspiring StarCraft 2 career, winning multiple Korean and international tournaments, as well as pushing the competitive meta.


WePlay!: Let's talk about your plans for the future. Are we going to see Polt in WCS America qualifiers any time soon? Or will you be staying in Korea to compete in GSL?

Polt: I'm still debating because to compete in WCS I will need to move to the USA, and if I want to participate in GSL I have to stay in Korea. Staying here is not a big deal. I just need to do whatever I'm doing right now and don't really need to think too much. But if I decide to move to America, there is a lot I will need to consider because moving is not an easy thing.

Since I played in WCS for many years, I want to go back there, but there are too many things to consider. I'm just working on my skill level at the moment. I will be thinking about it and then make a final decision in the near future.

WePlay!: How do you feel about competition inside Korea right now? Is it getting tougher or is it on the same level as when you enlisted?

Polt: It is probably on the same level. Yet I feel the competition might get a little easier due to the way things are here.

When I left for the military service, it became easier for the rest of the WCS players, right? And the same thing is going to keep happening: the Korean players are going to retire to go to the army, making GSL easier and easier every year.

(Polt Tribute from WCS 2016 World Finals)

WePlay!: How would you describe your playstyle? What is the best way to play StarCraft 2 in your opinion?

Polt: The best way to win in StarCtraft is to figure out your weak points and strong points, and do the same about your opponent. You just need to use it effectively.

You can't really have one plan to win every single game. You're going to have different strategies depending on your opponent's playstyle or the maps, or the meta etc.

My playstyle is putting myself in a scenario where I can win even if I make a mistake. Making mistakes is inevitable - the strongest progamers make mistakes occasionally when the game suddenly starts going the other direction. It happens in every matchup with every single player.

WePlay!: Can you give an example of a situation where you can afford to make a mistake and still win the game?

Polt: One example is, let's say I have 200 supply, and my enemy is maxed out as well. I'm a little ahead economically and have one more base compared to my opponent. In this situation, if we fight right now, and it ends with me losing a lot of units, the enemy might just end the game by destroying my production buildings. To avoid that happening, I try to avoid a big battle and instead focus on denying new bases for him. Then wait until I have a bigger advantage and could remax faster even if I suddenly lost too many units.

A lot of players choose to have an engagement because they have a bigger army right now, and they feel they have better odds. Let's say, you have an 80% chance to win right now, but if the other 20% happens due to a mistake or something else, you might just lose on the spot.

(An example of Polt’s playstyle. Throughout the game he realized there was no way he could win an engagement straight up, so he avoided fighting and eventually found a way to pin the enemy army in one place)

WePlay!: For the sake of StarCraft 2 fans and aspiring Terran players out there, can you break down 1-Raven opening, 2-Raven opening and 3-Raven opening in TvT, and Ravens in general in TvP? For many casual StarCraft 2 viewers, these openings seem very random as if players go for an arbitrary number of Ravens in the early game.

Polt: In TvP, people usually go for one Raven or no Raven. If you make one Raven, it's usually for detection to deal with Dark Templars and Observers easily. At the same time, if your opponent is going for Colossi or Disruptors, you can disable them. Sometimes you might even be able to disable the High Templars if you can micro your way around it and not get Feedbacked.

If the opponent goes for mass gateway army, you might use the Anti-Armor Missile.

In TvT, it's kind of different. In the early game, you usually use them for Auto-Turrets. The Auto-Turret is quite strong with 18 damage and fast attack speed for this phase of the game. At the same time, you can disable Siege Tanks when they are in Siege mode because then they can neither attack nor unsiege, and you can easily snipe them.

Because of that, if you have 2-3 Ravens in the early game, it really helps you a lot.

Let's say you spend the same amount of resources and have more Marines with some additional Siege Tank support. It's just incomparable with the Auto-Turrets and the ability to disable units in the early game. The Terran players make up to 3 Ravens because it has the maximum potential for aggression in this phase of the game.

Even if you are in a bad position, Raven is still the best unit in the early game.

Players need to keep in mind that making 2 or 3 Ravens, gets everything else delayed. Your Stimpack and other upgrades come later because the Ravens are gas heavy. Making only one Raven and focusing on your Marine-Tank composition will significantly improve your Stim timing, which means a lot in TvT. You get to do drops and be more aggressive, and Ravens don't always make up for it.

That's why investing into 2 or 3 early Ravens can be risky. Some players say, "Even if I don't make many Ravens, I can survive and then I'll have an advantage in the early-mid game instead of the super early game. I can get the upper hand this way." That's the way of thinking behind the 1-Raven play.

Each build has pros and cons, and it' depends on the playstyle.

WePlay!: If you can anticipate the opponent going 3 Ravens early, could you just open with a quick Vikings and use them to snipe the Ravens? Could this become a strategy in the future?

Polt: It is not really possible to snipe the Raven in the early game in TvT. You need a lot of Vikings to snipe them but investing in this tech in the early game is too expensive because that amount of minerals should be used on the infrastructure. I don't think it's the ideal way to deal with the Raven, which is why Terrans mostly choose either going for the same Raven count as the opponent, or, as I said before, just go for 1 Raven and skip everything. Just skip to the next stage quickly.

WePlay!: Do you have a favourite foreigner Terran player?

Polt: TBH, since I'm focusing on KR ladder I don't know how the foreign players are doing. I mean, I don't even know how other Korean players are doing because they are using barcodes. I have no idea who is playing unless I'm watching a tournament. And in the tournaments, the only Terran player who's showing remarkable results is Special. He got into WCS finals last season. So, yeah, I've got to say Special.

When I was watching HomeStory Cup recently, I heard a lot of people saying Clem has good potential and I agree, but it looks like he needs something more than that right now.

WePlay!: Can you explain what you mean by that?

Polt: People talked about guys like Reynor, saying that he has a potential and now he really plays well, and it's showing in results. Somehow, he made it; he beat Serral in 2019 WCS Winter Europe. Clem needs something of the same sort. I don't know how people think about this, but in my opinion, winning something or beating a big player means a lot and kind of makes a player grow. So, Clem needs something like that too.

WePlay!: So, he needs some big result to go to the next level, right?

Polt: Yes.

WePlay!: Is this something you relate to? Because I remember you winning your first big tournament in Korea (2011 GSL Super Tournament, Polt beat MMA 4:0 in the finals) and after your first championship, you got into the groove and became a better player overall. Is that what you think Clem needs right now?

Polt: It doesn't happen to everyone, but it kind of happened to me. After winning that tournament, I really grew a lot.

WePlay!: The Polt Viking in TvZ, the fast 5 Barracks in TvP. You've proven to be an innovator and meta-pusher. One can easily put you and people like Gumiho and sOs in one category of players. Is there something you could point out that would make you stand out as an innovator?

Polt: I didn't really try to innovate or make people do something different. I just wanted to find a playstyle or the ways to play the game fitting myself. Gumiho and other Terran players have different playstyles. It works the same for me, I only try to find what works the best for me, and in that way I, as you say, found something innovative.

WePlay!: Let's talk about your time in the military service. During one of your streams, you told the viewers that you were like an SCV there.

Polt: It's basically like I was a recruit and didn't have any special skills. They trained us to be able to shoot and do some kind of that stuff, but, you know, a bit of training doesn't mean I could be a real soldier.

WePlay!: So, you were not in like a support unit designated to building or anything like it?

Polt: No, I wasn't in a unit required to be building things. In that case, I would also need to have a sort of speciality.

When I said I was like an SCV I was thinking of the "pool the boys" term. Like, I would just be tanking. I mean, seriously, if the war happened, what could I do as a recruit.

WePlay!: I didn’t expect that comparison!

Did you have days off?

Polt: On Sundays and national holidays.

WePlay!: Were you allowed to visit the town during those holidays?

Polt: No.

WePlay!: So, it was just an easier day without the drills and some other duties, right?

Polt: Correct.

WePlay!How did you do in the shooting range?

Polt: Not the best but not the worst either. Maybe a little above average.

(Polt on vacation)

WePlay!Did people you served with know who you are? Were you in a special social status because of your StarCraft 2 background?

Polt: No, they didn't. I wasn’t any sort of celebrity in the army.

WePlay!: What is your take on the Battle Royale and Autobattler genres? The first one exploded when you were in the army; the other is getting a lot of traction now.

Polt: I don't play the Battle Royale games. I played some Dota Auto Chess though, and I plan to try the League game (Teamfight Tactics - WePlay!).

WePlay!: Will you be streaming Teamfight Tactics?

Polt: I want to try it, and if I like it, maybe I will stream the game sometime.

WePlay!: I remember when you were crushing one WCS event after another, there were memy-but-kinda-serious talks that one day you might become the president of South Korea. Have you had any thoughts about going into politics at all?

Polt: No, I don't think about politics and don't see myself in it at all.

(Polt fan art)

WePlay!: When you play StarCraft 2 on the stream you don't use the barcode. Do you think it gives you an advantage or disadvantage?

Polt: In terms of MMR, it gives me a disadvantage because they know who they are playing against. But I don't really care, so it's ok. Some of my viewers tell me "You ought to use barcode, so you don't get countered." But I don't mind getting countered, and it's ok.

WePlay!: Son Heung-min or Park Ji-sung? And why?

Polt: Park Ji-sung is really-really popular right now. Probably more popular than any other football player in South Korea.

I don't follow soccer regularly, not too interested in it and don't feel I have much time for it.

I personally prefer Son Heung-min. I don't know him at all, but he just looks like a good guy :).

WePlay!: Thank you very much and good luck in your Next Big Tournament!

Where you can find Polt



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