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Picture of TLO on stage at Dreamhack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden
NEWS

1v1 with TLO at DreamHack Summer

Jun 222017

Dario "TLO" Wünsch has been a mainstay in the Starcraft 2 scene since the early days of the Wings of Liberty Beta. In his career as a professional player, for which he has only played for Team Liquid, he has had the privilege of playing in front of the crowd at a DreamHack since DreamHack Winter first brought Starcraft 2 into their esport portion of the LAN in November of 2010. After his run at DreamHack Summer 2017, he took the time to share his experiences with us.

1v1

Do you know how many Dreamhacks you have been to in your Starcraft 2 career?

I don’t really know. I’ve been going to DH 6 or 7 years now, but every year I go to one or two, maybe three? My guess is around 20!

You were close! We did our research and it looks like you’ve been to 18 total, including this one. That’s quite a lot! Does DreamHack have a special place in your heart or is it just like any other tournament?

The thing is as a pro player, I think the LAN part is very cool but I’m not part of that at all. In that sense it doesn’t affect me too much since I’m just here for the competition. Starcraft players are very focused on their own game so I haven’t even been anywhere else but the Starcraft area, but I still like DreamHacks! The atmosphere is cool because at DreamHack everyone in a gamer. It’s not like a Gamescom or an exhibition where there are all these “normies.” So that’s cool and everyone here understands esports.

As a player, does it feel any different from any other LAN? Or does it feel really special because you get these hardcore gamers that enjoy watching you guys play?

It feels a little bit different, but in the end a tournament is a tournament for us.

If you weren’t a professional player and more of a casual, do you understand why the participants flock to the venue every year with everything strapped to their chair, cases of Monster at the ready?

Oh yeah, for sure! Especially when I was younger going to the really big LANs was my dream because we used to have smaller, private LANs. DreamHack is a natural evolution of that. These days I feel too old to do that myself, but it’s kind of cool to be together with so many likeminded people and know that no one is judging you for playing for three days because everyone else is doing that!

Do you think they appreciate the esport portion or is that just a second thought?

I think for DreamHack Summer and Winter, the esports part is secondary to most people. They are mostly here to play games together with their friends and enjoy themselves. The esport thing is a cool thing on the side for them; that doesn’t mean it’s a small part of DreamHack, though. I just think that for the majority, the DreamHack experience in Sweden is primarily the LAN. It’s pure gaming without any worry.

Out of the DreamHack locations you’ve been to, which is your favorite and why?

I like DreamHack Valencia the most basically because it’s in Spain and I love Spain! It’s a little bit hot there because it’s in the summer, but it usually happens on my birthday so that’s kinda special.

Do the different DreamHack locations have different vibes?

The Swedish LANs are the most extreme and are the biggest by far because they are the longest running. In the other locations, I feel the esports focus is bigger because DreamHack is much older and have been around before esports become a really mainstream thing. The new DreamHacks came into existence when esport was already big so for them I feel the esport part is more important. In a way, I prefer that because I am all about esport.

Were you always about esport, even when you were younger? Did you and your older brother ever participate in LANs?

So, esports weren’t a thing when I was tiny -- I encountered esports when I was 12 years old. Even before I knew about them, though, I was always extremely competitive. I didn’t just play games purely for fun. Even when I was younger, I always wanted to be the one winning the games. In the end it’s about having fun, but I was always trying to be the best at whatever game I was playing.

What is your most memorable dreamhack moment that stands out as the best DreamHack that you’ve ever been to? For yourself and/or for your teammates?

I think that my favorite DreamHack was DreamHack Winter when HerO played against PuMa. It was a big Liquid vs EG rivalry and it the finals were insane. The games were amazing and Starcraft was in it’s prime so we just had this gigantic arena full of people cheering. HerO is a very emotional player so when he won, he had finally managed to win a big tournament and he was crying. It was just very emotional.

Has Starcraft at DreamHack changed over the years since then, now that there are WCS points attached to winning? Was it ever one of those tournaments with a casual atmosphere where you can hang out with your friends due to the nature of the LAN or has it always been just as serious?

It’s serious in a way, but in Starcraft almost everyone is friends. It’s funny because in my experience in 1v1 competition the people are way more friendly to one another than in team competitions. In teams you have cliques, where “I hang out with my team, the other team sucks and I want to be with my team.” In Starcraft, you need to get along with everybody because everybody is a potential training partner. If you don’t get along with most people, you won’t get information from them. Also, Starcraft 2 is so stressful that it’s like we suffer together in a way. It’s already so hard to mentally cope with Starcraft that you don’t want to give shit to each other. I think that’s what makes us all such good friends, knowing that we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter what LAN we’re at, it’s just a very tightknit community especially as the years have passed. Many of us have been friend for five or six years now, which in esports is an eternity.

One final question before we let you go: do you have plans to grow out your beard again?

*Laughing* It goes through phases. I don’t know where it’s going, I take it and just go with the flow, you know? I don’t think I’m going to get as big of a beard as I’ve had in the past because it’s actually just a hassle. You have to groom it, take care of it, and shampoo it. When it becomes too hot I will just cut it down again.

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