By Conan “Suppy” Liu of Evil Geniuses
After a somewhat long break from consistent practice last semester, I was able to qualify for WCS Premier League Ro32. It was a tough road for me to get through the qualifiers and my challenger match against Bails (who is doing extremely well right now), but I was able to practice very efficiently as soon as I got back. I felt like many of my matchups improved significantly as I was able to view them with a new perspective. I learned a lot about my ZvP and ZvZ in the short span of my return to practicing.
One of the factors that I think was immensely beneficial in this rapid learning curve was that I rediscovered the importance of watching replays. In the past two years, I think I have stagnated in terms of learning new things because I would focus much more on grinding out as many games as possible or watching streams and VODs online. These things are all of course very useful, but I think it is actually a much better allocation of time to spend time actively thinking about each match you have played and analyzing the replays of the games you lost.
Watching replays, first of all, allows you to go directly to the places you would like to analyze, and watch them over and over again. Streams and VODs don’t allow that quite as easily, as you can’t see everything that you would like to see and oftentimes it’s a pain to watch on the slower speed and wait to buffer every time you’d like to rewatch some crucial moment. Additionally, another advantage to watching replays is the fact that you know exactly what you are thinking at every single moment. Because it is your own game play, it is significantly easier to find out how to adjust things to respond better in the future.
Moving forward, what I am planning to do and what I’ve been doing somewhat recently is to not be afraid of watching my replays on stream a bit more. I think it can give an extremely good perspective for people on how to analyze their own games and also provide an insight as to how I’m making some of the decisions that I make. My plan is to watch all the losses of the games I’ve played the previous practice session at the start of my next stream session, and then after analyzing them, to then play some ladder games. I’m also hoping to start naming my replays accurately so that I can find them easier in the future and remember what certain things I learned from each replay. Adding a short description to each game would very much help me remember what the particular game was and what I learned from it.
I certainly encourage everyone who is looking to improve to remember the importance of watching their own replays. Replays are, I would say, the most valuable tool aside from practicing. Weighing stream watching and VOD-watching too heavily will not be as beneficial in my eyes to analyzing your own play and your own reactions in each game. Instead, use streams and VODs as a source of inspiration for new ideas and new builds when you are feeling like you need to bring something fresh to the table. However, for the sake of improving, remember the importance of watching replays!
Follow Conan on twitter @EGSuppy