RotterdaM on His Top 2017 Events, Matchups, Players—and More

  • Blizzard Entertainment

Few people know the professional StarCraft II scene as well as Kevin ‘RotterdaM’ van der Kooi. He has been playing and commentating StarCraft II since its release in 2010, and he brings his incredible knowledge and experience to every major event on the World Championship Series (WCS) Circuit. With the 2017 season winding down, I spoke with RotterdaM about what he liked most about pro StarCraft II in 2017, and what he’s looking forward to at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon.

What was your favorite WCS Circuit event this year?

“Jönköping was the best because it had my dream final, Serral vs. Neeb. It was the final to look forward to. The best American player and champion of Austin versus the best European player, back-to-back winner of WCS Challenger, and the man on fire. I liked it because they both are similar in a way as well: Neither speak particularly much, and their on-stage presence is similar, but both are so damn good at StarCraft II."

What other matchups did you love?

“Kelazhur vs. Snute in Austin was awesome. It was a huge upset to kick off the year, and the passion and dedication that Kelazhur showed was inspiring. There was also an absolutely ridiculous Zerg vs. Zerg between Snute and Cham on Proxima Station in Jönköping. That had to be the most ridiculous game of the entire season, and it was awesome."

Who were your favorite players to watch this year?

“Kelazhur stands out as a player that has truly taken his game to the next level. From a good but slightly gimmicky player, he became super-legit and showed great consistency. Obviously, we can't ignore Neeb, and it’s absolutely ridiculous what he showed us. The consistency that Neeb showed throughout this year is out of this world and has almost never been seen by a foreigner. Only Stephano in his prime had the same kind of dominating results, but I'd say that what Neeb did to the foreign scene this year is even more impressive. Everyone was out for blood, but he showed almost no weakness, and the crowning achievement was Montreal. [It was] absolute dominance, from not losing a single map in WCS Challenger (15-0) to going 17-2 at the main event—insanely impressive. Hope he brings this to BlizzCon. Obviously most of the top eight impressed me, but these two stand out.”

What are you most excited to see at this year’s WCS Global Finals?

“A dream matchup would be Neeb vs. Dark in the playoffs. The badass Zerg who never loses offline and who took out our foreign hope last year going up against the new and improved Neeb. I'd be so excited to see that.

Other than that, I hope Serral shows us the best possible version of himself. He put up a great fight at GSL vs. the World, but I know he can do even better. They are definitely my go-to foreigners. Elazer vs. TY would be fun, as last year that was probably the ugliest series. It would be fantastic if Elazer could show us great improvement after a year. [And] as a Protoss player, I'm damn excited to watch the best Protoss in the world, Stats. The rest I'll just wait and see.”

The WCS Global Finals begin during BlizzCon Opening Week on Oct. 27.