Alien Invasion are a team who are really starting to step things up for 2014. In the past two months they have recruited three great players (Strelok, Patience and Golden) to buffer their already deep and varied roster. If you don't know them already the Alien Invasion players are a great bunch of guys - I've had the pleasure of chatting and getting to know some of them through their participation in other SC2Improve events. Players you may recognize from these events are LilleKanin, Revenge, Chubz and CPU - with consistently strong results in Qualifiers these guys always seem to be recurring figures in the later parts of our tournaments.
So when you add Strelok, Patience and Golden to this already strong and successful roster - what do you end up with? The favorites to win the whole League? Potentially - we've already seen that Patience can and will perform against the toughest of opponents with a third place finish at Dreamhack Winter and more recently a RO8 finish in ASUS ROG Winter where he lost 1-3 to StarDust. So you have an ace who can turn around and beat anybody on a good day - then you have Strelok and Golden.
Though we have not seen so much recently from Golden, we know he is a highly motivated and skilled player (alongside being quite the personality as well!) He is somebody which no team going up against Alien Invasion will be able to take lightly. Then there is Strelok - the Terran who has an unusual play style - using Mech often in his games. This is something that can throw a lot of people off, which when you are playing essentially in BO1s (for an all-kill format league) makes you one of the most dangerous players your team can field.
Alongside a dangerous roster Alien Invasion have something which makes them fairly unique - a team house in Duisburg, Germany. This of course allows their Korean players to play on EU with no latency - which of course is great for playing in the EU Cups and Leagues - but there is a whole lot more to it than that. To find out more I got in touch with one of Alien Invasion's managers, Lukas 'tbeen', who has been organising Alien Invasion's SC2ITL games.
Wardi : Hey thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these few questions. First off, how have you been enjoying the league so far?
Lukas : It's been a blast so far. We are really excited to be a part of this league at this stage. When the league started we thought about more CW practice, because before we participated in here, we lost some CWs we shouldn't have. Therefore we played in the SC2Improve Team League and nearly every player got a chance to show what he is capable of. All in all we could fix our problems so far, I guess :)
Wardi : In Group D you were definitely one of the favorites for the top spot, alongside Vega Squadron and RuW, did you expect to perform so well, being undefeated with two weeks left?
Lukas : Not at all. Like I said before, we had some problems here and there with the performance in Team Leagues. But over the course of the league we got better and better and now we are here without a single loss thanks to every player in our roster. They really helped each other and it's good for the stability of a team, if you know that you can rely on your mates sometimes.
Wardi : Recently we have seen Alien Invasion make a series of impressive pick-ups, adding Strelok, Patience and Golden to your roster. With this new strength, how far are you expecting to go in the playoffs? Many would say you guys have the greatest chance of defeating mYinsanity, would you agree?
Lukas : Strelok already showed as what he is capable of. He is team league-beast, it's insane how constant he plays in those kind of scenarios. Besides that we hope that our Koreans can help us enormously. In the beginning Patience didn't know all the different EU players but so far it looks like he accomodated himself quite well in our team house. With Golden coming it's another great addition especially for AiHanfy who now has a zerg mate to discuss strategy with. In my opinion we can beat mYinsanity. They do have a superb roster but this will be our win. Stardust won at ASUS ROG vs Patience, we win in the Team League. That easy ;)
Wardi : Are there any teams in particular who you would like to play or avoid in the playoffs?
Lukas : I think there are definitely strong opponents but I think we can handle all of them.
Wardi : Patience has recently moved into the Alien Invasion team house and Golden will also soon be moving in. How important is the team house for the team, allowing your Korean players to compete in Europe without the issues of latency?
Lukas : The importance is more than just the latency. Sure, it's nice to let them play in the EU zone without any lags. But living together in a team house just sprouts another kind of team spirit. If you really know your team mates, you can help them analyze some of their replays or help them after a painful loss. You eat together, sleep together and you play as a whole together. I think a team house, especially with three Koreans, is essential to build up a top-notch team, which can achieve a lot with hard work and dedication. That's our plan in Duisburg!
Wardi : You have set up for 2014 to be a great year for Alien Invasion - are there any main goals you have in mind to achieve this year?
Lukas : Basically we want out players to qualify for all WCS events possible. Patience did well at ASUS ROG with his Top 8 finish. Strelok also qualified for WCS Challenger League. I hope we'll see a lot more players from Ai in the next WCS Season. The biggest goal would be an Alien Invasion player at the Global Finals this year. We'll see if this dream becomes real.
Wardi : If there are any shoutouts or sponsors or anybody you wish to mention, or if you have anything else to say, please feel free!
Lukas : Yes, we recently had some additions in sponsorships which I would like to mention here. First of all Fubati.com, a free betting portal for our German soccer fans. Also thanks to LeaseWeb for supporting Alien Invasion. Last but not least there is Otaku.de, a shop for Anime Merchandise. We thank all of them for investing in eSports and Alien Invasion. Nothing of this would be possible without them. Thanks a lot!
Also thank you Wardi for the interview, you are doing an incredible job with all the different Cups and League with SC2Improve. People do not appreciate this too often!
Thanks to Lukas for taking the time to answer the questions and tell us a little bit more about how Alien Invasion is working out as a team. I hope you enjoyed the first of our SC2ITL Playoff Team Previews. I will leave you with some of Alien Invasion's statistics in the SC2ITL (updated as of end of Week 11).
Alien Invasion - Group D - Position : 1st - Wins : 11 - Losses : 0 - Map Wins : 44 - Map Losses : 13 - All-kills : 6