Dorota & Andrzej Komincz
On August 10th, 2012 Grzegorz „MaNa” Komincz, Wojciech „Funkay” Komincz and Krzysztof „Draco” Nalepka, went on a long journey to South Korea, where StarCraft II was awaiting them. They spent two months there living in the GOM house with Thomas "Khaldor" Kilian, Andrew "SLoG" An and later on also with Swedish player Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi. Moreover, they were the last players, who had the possibility to stay in the GOM house, because it has now been closed after already serving its initial purpose. The house has previously welcomed other excellent foreign players, due to its humble lodgings, such as: Yoan "ToD" Merlo, Kim "SaSe" Hammar, Marcus "ThorZaIN" Eklöf, Svyatoslav "HappyZerg" Vlasyuk, Jonas "Cytoplasm" Larsson, Marc-Olivier "desRow" Proulx, Andrei "DeathAngel" Nodea, Andrew "mOOnGLaDe" Pender and many more. Whereas players such as Aleksey "White-Ra" Krupnyk, Dmytro "DIMAGA" Filipchuk, Yang "Sen" Chia Cheng, Stefan "MorroW" Andersson and Payam "TT1" Toghyan also had an opportunity to visit the GOM house, but their stay was of a rather short period of time, because their main aim was the GSL World Championship tournament.
The GOM house itself was located in close vicinity to the GOM TV studio and designed for foreigners participating in their tournaments, but some of the players were visiting purely in an attempt to improve their skills. The house was founded in January 2011 and its operations came to an end in November 2012. Primarily, the GOM house’s aim was to support foreign players while their own teams were unable to provide the proper infrastructure in South Korea. GOM TV admitted that the house finished its mission and now a lot of teams have their own place in Korea or are directly connected with Korean teams. They also added, they are not planning to bring the GOM house back into operation in the foreseeable future.
The Komincz brothers stayed in the StarCraft country for two months and MaNa himself said, that if it had been up to him, he would had stayed in Korea longer. But on the very last day, when they packed their stuff, he had mixed feelings. At the same time he wanted to both stay and go. But let’s start from the beginning.
Travelling from Poland to the vastly diverse and different land of Korea, they arrived in September and their main goal was to improve their skills in StarCraft II. Before the trip, MaNa was very determined to play. He just wanted to practice, practice and practice, to increase and acquire as much fresh knowledge as he could. When I asked him about his training he answered:
Unfortunately, I can't say with a clear conscience that I spent as much time for gaming as I wanted to. For the first month I was playing a lot, around 25 games per day. Then, lovely Mr. Khaldor showed me an anime called Sword Art Online, which I liked very much. I would like to add that I have never watched anime before and I had no clue that they can be so entertaining. When I was waiting for the next episode of SAO, at the same time I was searching for something else and I dedicated too much time for watching anime rather than playing (I am kidding of course) but the truth is, I could have focused more on practice."
Unluckily for Grzegorz, Sword Art Online is over now and he has to say goodbye to his favourite anime. However, to soothe his suffering, MaNa found something new - Fairy Tail! 162 episodes are waiting for him and the number of episodes is still growing.
Let’s focus on how MaNa’s training looked like in Korea, and on his preparations for Up&Down and Code S matches
When I started playing on the Korean server I had to play from the very beginning - Bronze League. I got my account from SnowBird and I would like to thank him for that. If I remember correctly, I started with a 32-0 score. However, when I got placed in Diamond League, first problems occurred, because games were on a very good level. It took me about one month to get the promotion to Grandmaster. The league was closed almost all the time and to get there was a miracle, but in the end I found myself in there. In Korea 90 out of 100 StarCraft accounts are barcodes and that’s why I never knew who I was playing against.
Speaking about my GSL matches, with a clear conscience I can admit, that they were the most stressful moments in my eSports life. From the very beginning of my career I always wanted to sit in one of those Korean booths, playing some big and important tournament. That was my dream, which finally came true. I have to say that GOM TV studio is very small. I always thought it will be bigger but still can place some viewers. Everywhere around were cameras and all people, from production to organization, were very nice.
The pressure that I put on myself was unimaginable. I was very happy when I advanced to Code S. After my losses, I lost my faith. I was searching some ideas for PvsT matchup and luckily it didn’t took a long time so I went back to practice. Unfortunately, not as intense as before Up&Down and Code S matches. I could have played more during my stay in Korea, nevertheless I feel that I acquired a lot. I learnt how to practice much more effectively and I think that is very important.”
In the end, I asked MaNa about his stay in Korea from the other, not gaming side. He and his brother didn’t visit a lot of places nor went on all too many sightseeing tips. They stayed at the GOM house and played StarCraft II. Despite that, they still came away with a lot of memories and something to talk about:
First of all, I will surely miss Bulgogi (Korean dish that usually consists of grilled marinated beef, chicken or pork), trolling Korean people in Polish and teaching them polish words which meant something else than what we told them. We were trying to eat something new, going to different restaurants and places, but we never liked any of them. Our hearts are dedicated to Bulgogi.
Also, when we were asking our friends who visited Korea they were always saying: 'Bulgogi is the best'. At the restaurant that we were always eating, we have met one very nice Korean girl. We called her 'Yellow' because she was always wearing a yellow t-shirt. Every single time we went there, she was there also and we never had to order our food because she always knew what we wanted to eat. Always nice and kind to us and when we went there last time we told her we are leaving soon. She got sad like we did and we made a group picture.
Another great thing in Korea is, that when we were hungry, it didn’t matter what time it was, we could always go out and eat whatever we wanted. Restaurants are open 24/7, which is awesome. But there is also one thing I won’t miss. Fruit vendor. They were shouting every single day in front of our windows with loudspeaker saying they have fresh and clean fruits for sale. We couldn’t sleep at all.
I would like to share one funny story which we had in our first days in the GOM house when NaNiwa wasn't there yet. There was a 'Korean Manager' who lived with us. Khaldor, SloG and he never left his sanctuary, which is his room. Around 4 o'clock in the morning we were still up, because we weren't used to the time zone. We didn’t know what came over us, but we started to do stupid things. One of them was walking and dancing like a crab. It wouldn’t be any odd if no one could see us. But of course me - as the stupidest one - had to dance right next to the manager’s room. Unfortunately, we woke him up and just imagine his face when he opened door around 4:30 and saw progamers dancing like a crab. Priceless."
Korea was a great adventure for me and my brother Funkay. If I ever get a chance to go there again, I will definitely take it.”
MaNa's 2012 summary
In 2012, MaNa participated in a total of 15 offline tournaments, travelling the globe, visiting countries such as Sweden, Romania, Germany, Korea, France or Finland. In three of them he came back with gold in his hands.
|Gamers Assembly 2012||3-1 vs. HasuObs (P)|
|DreamHack Summer 2012||3-1 vs. DIMAGA (Z)|
|Electronic Sports World Cup 2012||2-0 vs. ForGG (T)|
|Blizzard WCS 2012 Poland||0-2 vs. Nerchio (Z)|
|DreamHack Bucharest 2012||1-2 vs. Bly (Z)|
|RO8||ASUS RoG Winter 2012||1-2 vs. Lucky (Z)|
|RO8||ASUS RoG Summer 2012||0-3 vs. MC (P)|
|RO8||DreamHack Winter 2012||0-3 vs. Nerchio (Z)|
|RO16||Blizzard WCS 2012 Europe||0-2 vs. SortOf (Z)|
|GS2||DreamHack Stockholm 2012||w/ Runa (P), Elfi (P), Monster (Z)|
|GS2||HomeStory Cup VI||w/ Snute (Z), Symbol (Z), DIMAGA (Z)|
|GS1||IEM Season VI World Championship||w/ DIMAGA (Z), SeleCT (T), Zenio (Z), PuMa (T), Killer (P)|
|GS1||HomeStory Cup V||w/ Snute (Z), Sleep (Z), Destiny (Z)|
|GS1||GSL Season 4||w/ TaeJa (T), MMA (T), Mvp (T)|
|GS1||ASUS RoG GD Invitational||w/ TLO (Z), Kas (T), Elfi (P)|
|RO8||= Round of Eight (5th-8th)|
|RO16||= Round of Sixteen|
|GS2||= Groupstage 2|
|GS1||= Groupstage 1|
MaNa said, his biggest failure in 2012 was ASUS ROG GD Invitational in Sweden, where he went after he came back from Korea and he was considered as one of the favorites. He went into the tournament, not having the initial game-plan behind his play, and therefore lost all of his matches and placed last in his group. The group consisted of four players where top three advanced to the next round. He had no clue what happened with his condition during the group stage, however he didn't give up and kept on trying to create some new concepts in his gameplay.
However, heading into a new year 2013, MaNa is determined to keep practicing hard and improve himself as much as possible. He is planning to repeat his success from the previous year and put in much more effort than before. In addition, he's waiting for Heart of the Swarm like all other players and cannot wait for it because the environment will change a lot.
MaNa's plan for the upcoming year? To keep practicing and become a better person, a better player. That is a small plan but one which is very important to Grzegorz. Also, he wants to attend every tournament he can, definitely Major League Gaming at least once because it is a great event with amazing players. Korean tournaments rest heavily on MaNa's mind as he wants to accomplish great things in the far east also. His first tournament in 2013 will be Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland. Grzegorz didn’t qualify but he is attending to play in the Open Bracket and he is really looking forward to play in front of his home crowd.
This young Polish player had a lot of achievements in 2012. All what's left now is bide his time for the second part of StarCraft II - Heart of the Swarm. We will have to wait for MaNa's upcoming successes in 2013 and keep supporting him.