"The Canadian StarCraft II scene deserves a little more attention": an interview with Maru "MaSa" Kim

Maru "MaSa" Kim is a mainstay of ROOT Gaming, having join the team a little over two years ago. He is often overshadowed by more well-known Canadian players such as Scarlett or HuK, but this is no longer the case as he beat both of them to the Canadian qualification spot for Intel Extreme Masters Toronto. As a strong proponent of the Canadian StarCraft II scene, MaSa is excited to represent his country in his first Intel Extreme Masters appearance.

  ESL: To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
MaSa: Hi, I’m Maru (the true) Kim, AKA MaSa, one who is looking forward to becoming the best Terran in NA. I am 19 years old, and I just finished my first year of university (hooray!). I have no experience with Intel Extreme Masters tournaments quite yet, but with the upcoming Intel Extreme Masters Toronto, I want to show you guys what I’m capable of.

ESL: Did you find it difficult balancing StarCraft II practice and your studies?
MaSa: Although I didn’t really put a LOT of time into my studies, it was really hard to balance between StarCraft II practice and my studies because on 3 out of 5 weekdays, I would come home at around 7. Then I only had few hours to finish the remaining work, practice, whatever. I don’t put too much time into practicing StarCraft II, but on the other hand I put a lot of time watching other pro players play for example Proleague. I simply didn’t have enough time to catch up with all matches I’d like to watch.

ESL: You originally come from Korea, but you’re widely considered a Canadian player. Can you tell us a little bit about your move from Korea to Canada?
MaSa: There’s nothing much to say, as it’s really really simple. In 2007, my mom brought me and my sister over for education (in all honesty I don’t think I would have survived in the Korean educational environment). I like this country, and I’ve been living in Toronto for roughly seven years now, and hopefully I can get the home court advantage during the tournament ^_^

ESL: From what I’ve heard about it, the Korean education system is really intense, so it sounds like you dodged a bullet there! What do you miss most about Korea?
MaSa: Thing I miss most about Korea is the food. Everytime I see what there is to eat in Korea on the internet, I sometimes feel sad that I can’t enjoy it here. I swear I’ll gain more than 20 pounds if I go to Korea for a month or two.​

Photo credit: Hydrolis

ESL: Congratulations on qualifying for Intel Extreme Masters Toronto! It’s been a while since there’s been a big StarCraft II tournament in Canada - where do you think the Canadian StarCraft II scene is at the moment?
MaSa: I really missed big tournaments here in Canada as we only had about one per year. 
Obviously, there are a lot of Canadians who are really passionate about StarCraft II, as we have shown during past events. I really think the Canadian StarCraft II scene deserves a little more attention at the moment.

ESL: There are some great players who have qualified for Intel Extreme Masters Toronto, as well as some big names in the open bracket of the tournament. Are you worried about some of the competitors you might face in Toronto?
MaSa: Statistically, my TvT matchup is the worst right now. However, I’m more worried about facing Korean Protosses as they know how to harass, or macro perfectly against Terran players. Right now I don’t want to meet MC as his harassments are pretty God damn good, and sOs as I can’t find any mistakes in his play against Terrans in his games. (well, I’m pretty much worried about facing any Korean Protosses)

ESL: How will you be preparing for Intel Extreme Masters Toronto?
MaSa: I’ve always thought that mentality training is more important than physical skills, especially as it doesn’t really come with practice. So I’m going to try to have fun with this tournament. That’s about it.

ESL: What would you consider to be your greatest StarCraft II achievement to date?
MaSa: Winning the MLG GameOn Ender’s Game Tournament. I believe that a lot of people, probably the most, started to recognize the level of MaSa.
  ESL:  Players will be travelling far and wide to get to Intel Extreme Masters Toronto - what food do they have to try when they’re there?
MaSa: Poutine, the best Canadian speciality!

ESL:  Your in-game name comes from Lord of the Rings - if you had to make a Fellowship of the Ring, which players would you choose and why?
MaSa: Flash for Aragorn - simply because he’s swag as hell
Naniwa for Boromir - thought he’s cool, but he died earlier than expected
Jaedong for Legolas - I feel like he’s always been in the ‘loyal’ class throughout the entire StarCraft series. How he shoots down the enemies with bow also reminds me of how Jaedong kills everything with Mutalisk micro
Maru for Gimli - He looks small, but he’s got the ability to TKO anybody at any time.
Definitely Boxer for Gandalf! He literally uses magic to come up with all those different builds and strategies and make ‘em work!
Sam… no idea at all! I really hated this character’s personality and there isn’t any player that reminds me of him
Myself for Frodo because I want all these players to support me :3 It’s gon be good
(and I’m short, too…hobbit here)

ESL: But Sam was so loyal and he literally carried Frodo to Mount Doom - how can you dislike him? Also thank you for the interview, do you have any shoutouts you’d like to make?
MaSa: He just did too many stupid things... and I only remember them over how he actually helped Frodo! Shoutout to MYSELF! Good job qualifying for this tournament! Just don’t get rekt by those Korean Protosses!

We’d like to thank MaSa for his interview, and wish him all the luck coming into Intel Extreme Masters Toronto. Make sure you follow MaSa on Twitter and catch his stream here. Intel Extreme Masters Toronto will begin on the 28th of August - stay tuned for more coverage!


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