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Crossing Over: Axslav
by Ciel

Where are they now? A question that many of us Warcraft III fans ask with regard to our former idols: The Warcraft III pros. Well, in most cases the answer is but a simple one. They are now playing Starcraft II, of course.

Every Thursday WCReplays will be catching up with a former Warcraft III player who has since 'crossed over' to Starcraft II. Once we've tracked them down we'll be asking these players a series of questions in relation to both Warcraft III and Starcraft II. This week is the turn of American superstar Axslav.

General Information

Real Name - Nick Ranish
Age - 25
Nationality - American
Warcraft III Race - Random
Starcraft II Race - Protoss
Favourite Warcraft III Map - Melting Valley
Favourite Starcraft II Map - MLG Metalopolis
Favourite Warcraft III Unit - Huntress
Favourite Starcraft II Unit - Zealot
Favourite Warcraft III Race (if forced to pick!) - Night Elf
Favourite Warcraft III Hero - Goblin Tinker
Warcraft III Achievements - WCG USA Finals / WC3L and NGL Participant
Starcraft II Achievements - 2nd place GCPL / 4th place IPL1 / 10-0 Machinima Realm Invitational /9-2 Gosucoaching Premiere League


The Frozen Throne expansion saw Warcraft III change quite substantially. Do you think that Heart of the Swarm will have a similarly big impact on Starcraft II?

The Frozen Throne had a huge impact partly because it came out at the same time as the most game changing balance patch to Warcraft. Adding in unarmored armor type to spellcaster units, putting cooldowns on Scrolls of Healing, and making uplifted Ancients of War have non-fortified armor were all just as major changes as The Frozen Throne itself. I don't see Heart of the Swarm coming out with quite as many major changes alongside it as Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty does not have the same degree of gameplay problems that Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos had.

How do you feel when playing former top level Warcraft III players in Starcraft II? Is there an added level of pressure in that situation?

Most former Warcraft III players are very strong in the early game but are not very scary in the mid-game. Because of this I'm uncomfortable playing PvP versus former Warcraft III players but very comfortable playing any other mathcup. There isn't any additional pressure playing somebody just because they have a background in Warcraft III.

Does your Blizzard fanboyness extend beyond RTS titles? Are you psyched for Diablo III? Have you ever given WoW a shot?

I'm really just a pure strategy fan. I tried playing WoW once and I quit after 20 minutes after realising it just isn't my type of game.

What are the most useful things you learned in Warcraft III that you carried along to Starcraft II?

While I never really developed my micro in Warcraft III, it did improve somewhat and it definitely helps a lot in Starcraft II to have strong micro.

Similiarly, did you Warcraft III play ever hinder your Starcraft II ability? Over-microing, perhaps?

I don't think it's possible to overmicro unless your multi-tasking is weak or you're doing poor micro which would still be different from "overmicro". While there isn't any need for making quick tactical/strategical decisions in Warcraft III, it doesn't make you any worse at those.

Would you say there are any similarities between the Warcraft III and Starcraft II races?

Protoss is kind of like Night Elf in that it is the easiest to play. Terran is kind of like Human or Orc on Lost Temple in that it's just plain ridiculous.

Do you miss the RPG elements that Warcraft III had? Heroes, items, mercenaries...

Mercenaries were pretty cool I thought but they wouldn't fit in well with Starcraft II.

Warcraft IV or Heart of the Swarm?

Heart of the Swarm.

Have you played the Starcraft II campaign? Do you have high hopes for Heart of the Swarm's?

Yes, I really enjoyed the Starcraft II campaign and I think Heart of the Swarm's will be just as good

Do you miss Gnolls? You've got to, right?!

Yes, they needed to put the Gnoll Mercenary Camp on the competitive maps, though. Mass Gnolls led by the Beastmaster would probably be unstoppable.

What one, non-balance change would you make to Starcraft II?

I would like to see some sort of high ground advantage given to units in Starcraft II.

Is yellow as imba in Starcraft II as it was in Warcraft III?!

Unfortunately not. :-(

How come you decided to race up in Starcraft II? Was there one race that you just couldn't bear playing?

SC2 is much more difficult to play Random in and I played Protoss in SC1 so I went back to my roots.

You gained quite a reputation as a 2s players in Warcraft III. What do you think about team and FFA games in SC2?

FFA games are never really good because anything you do to improve your position would just get you more teamed up on against good players. I felt that Warcraft III was a game that was greatly improved by the 2v2 dynamic as it added in tactical considerations whereas in Starcraft II 2v2 has potential but it is hard to see exactly how much as the current maps are all terrible.

Finally, any shoutouts for your (WC3 or SC2!) buddies or sponsors?

Shoutout to my teammates; they're all great people. Thanks to our sponsors who make this all possible: Intel, Steelseries, Monster, Kingston, Intel Extreme, 6pool gaming, and Bigfoot Networks. And of course a shoutout to everybody who likes me.

Swing by next week when Ciel will be interviewing Undead turned Terran sensation FuRy.

  1. awesome! <3 interviews. especially with ex wc3 players! just another reason to make my thursdays more awesome

  2. Great interview, Axslav fighting.

  3. Good interview! Thanks Alex.

  4. Great idea!Great questions. Very well done Ciel. <3 Axslav <3

  5. Axslav FTW!!! <3

  6. Great interview. Shouldn't this go in the Interviews section though?

  7. ^ That section has been discontinued.

  8. My gnoll question got asked! <3

  9. I enjoyed this, look forward to more.

  10. Axslav man I still <3 you but some of your answers made my heart skip a beat...Heart of the Swarm over Wc4?!?!?! I feel like wc3 is now for sure dead and Lucifer is the scourge's only hope...except that he has no one to play against, because they have all "crossed over" to the dark side of RTS (and yes, I mean SCII). Age of Empires was better than SCII will ever be (even SC1 was better).

    Anyway, I still <3 you Axslav, but what would lvl80gnomemage have to say about this? I still remember the days of solo alchemist with unholy frenzy and wyrms--of mass hunts and tower rushes--even if you are willing to forget them for some false idol with only three races and no heroes...I feel like this domain should change its name to

  11. these interviews make my day

  12. Great job with these Ciel!

  13. We need more interviews! =) great job!