24 Nov 2012

Dreamhack Winter - TLO

It's not hard to fathom why so many people describe TLO as one of the hardest working players out there.

Yesterday after he was knocked out of the tournament by Snute in a heartbreaking loss in one of the most entertaining games we've seen in a very long time, guess what TLO did?

That's right.

He went down to the empty SC2 tournament area and sat there practicing all alone and streaming for a couple of hours.

His intense laddering was only interrupted for a few minutes when at one point he left the computer with the following message to the viewers of his stream and a certain other individual.

22 Nov 2012

Dreamhack Winter 2012 - NaNiWa shows his love for Russian Romanticism

In order to have a decent chance of advancing from group play, NaNiWa needed to defeat Ret in the last deciding set of the night. 

So this is how NaNiWa prepares: checking his build-orders while listening to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concert No 2 on Youtube. 

This classy move almost makes us forget the badmannered and aggressive remark against Thorzain a couple of hours earlier...

Dreamhack Winter 2012 - EG vs. Liquid

At this Dreamhack as well as at other big European LANs, we've noticed something that we find quite interesting.

Whenever we spot a player from Liquid they are almost always surrounded by teammates/coaches/managers and so forth.

On the contrary the EG players always seem to be by themselves.

We do not know the reason behind this, and for all we know it might be a coincidence, but it certainly feels like the Liquid players at the european LANs have a greater sense of teamspirit surrounding them.

We realize that our experience might not reflect reality at all, and might be due to the Liquid team being bigger at these events, but it still feels rather odd to witness this difference.

Actually most of the pictures we took today of the players from the two teams, reflect our point pretty well.

Thorzain by himself after he was defeated by Ret

Ret watches replay from the last game he lost to NaNiWa with teammate Hero and manager Robin Nymann

Hero in action with supporters watching closely

Stephano battling and ending the day with a score of 2 wins and 2 losses

Dreamhack Winter 2012!

We're at Dreamhack Winter and it's crazy huge! A mixture of pro nerds and amateur nerds everywhere. We'll be reporting from the event all weekend, with lots of pics and other stuff. Here are the first couple of pics from the event:

SaSe playing and losing against Bly. Maybe he should have worn that hat!

TaeJa, MaNa and Stephano.

We caught a glimpse of the WoW Panda looking hungry and stalking Stephano.

The casters doing their thing.

Opening ceremony.

12 Nov 2012

Has Zerg always been IMBA?

TL;DR - Stephano feels Zerg has always been IMBA. In our opinion the different races require different skills and therefore depending on who you are, different races will seem easier to you.
This post isn't about the current balance issues, as we too feel there are some zerg-nerfs that needs to be done.

After beating CranK yesterday at the Lone Star Clash 2 event, Stephano said something like:

"It's easy. I've always said Zerg is the best race and it remains that way. It's way way IMBA."

Since Stephano often brags and sometimes comes of as a bit of a douchebag (intentionally we think), it's funny to hear him say that Zerg is IMBA, since in a sense it is the same as saying that his success is not simply due to his overwhelming amount of talent.

At the Lone Star Clash they had the eye-tracker feature that showed where the players looked the most during the games. What was really interesting is that Stephano looked a lot more on the mini map than CranK and as a result a lot less on the actual battlefield.

It's hard not to regard this as proof that for Zerg players, map awareness is often more important than micro. At least it might seem that way when solely looking at the eye-tracker results with race differences in mind.

And when we think of the best Zerg players over the last couple of years like for instance Nestea, DongRaeGu, Symbol, Life or Stephano we don't primarily think of great micro.
Instead we think of skills like fantastic macro, map awareness, game sense, decision making, movement and so forth.

So what's the point with this?

Well we basically feel that it's far too simple to say that the Zerg race in itself is "way way IMBA".
If that was the case then Zerg would have won everything during the last couple of years and they haven't.

However what can be said with certainty is that it requires different skills to master the different races.

And though Infestors might currently be in need of a nerf (and we think they are), it's ludicrous when people rant about one race generally being IMBA and fundamentally easier.
What everyone should acknowledge, is that different people find different aspects of the game easy. Therefore the different races also seem easier to different people.

And to Stephano Zerg seems IMBA because the skills required to master that race feels natural to him. He understands the race and everything about it so of course it's easy for him.

But that's what's great about the game: The three races are so different!

And the different aspects of the races relate to different aspects of your personality and to master them you have to draw on different parts of your mind.

In our opinion this is what makes the game beautiful to watch.

And in fact this is also what makes some of the games feel like genuine art.

Lone Star Clash 2 update

Stephano once again proved why he is considered the best foreigner, as he reclaimed his title at the Lone Star Clash by beating Bomber in grand final.

Stephano didn't drop a single set in the tournament before the final against Bomber, and Stephano's ZvP especially looks absolutely godlike. In fact after watching his dominating wins against AxslavCranK and BabyKnight we can't possibly imagine how a Protoss could beat him right now.

Speaking of our cute and well-mannered danish hope BabyKnight, he actually played very well at the event as he finished top6 in a very strong field of players.

Yesterday he started out by beating Sheth in a great comeback series.

BabyK lost the first set and in the second set he was pretty far behind, but by playing very patiently he slowly won engagement after engagement and even though Sheth did some nice run-bys he never found a way to deal with BabyK's army.

In the last set BabyK engaged absolutely beautifully with stalkers and colossi at the fourth of Sheth. He blinked beneath all the corrupters of Sheth, while positioning his colossi perfectly in the top out of harms way and they could thus safely tear apart Sheth's ground force. It looked a lot like BabyK needed to prove that he could engage a lot better against Zerg than he had done against Stephano the day before and he certainly did that.

BabyK vs. Sheth = 2 - 1

After BabyK took that series he had to face Polt who had beaten BabyK 2 - 0 one week earlier in the MLG.

In the first set against there were some fantastic defense from BabyK against Polt's massive drop play. At the same time BabyK was investing a lot in upgrades and partially because of this and some really good micro he was able to take out Polt's fourth base. From here BabyK slowly got more and more ahead, and while Polt though did manage to stay in the game for a long time, he eventually had to give up.

In the 2nd set BabyK did an aggressive blink stalker build from 1 base, and with that he forced Polt to lift his natural and retreat to his main. On top of that BabyK killed a lot of SCVs and from there he took his own natural and transitioned to Colossi while delaying Polt's natural for quite a while. A couple of minutes later when BabyK had 3 colossi with range, he attacked and Polt desperately tried getting vikings out, but it was too little to late and BabyK took the series.

BabyK vs. Polt = 2 - 0

From there BabyK had to face Violet and to be honest that series was pretty one-sided, but sadly not in BabyK's favor.

In the first set Violet did a very big and nasty overlord drop into BabyK's main and it did so much damage, practically removing most of BabyK's important structures. BabyK though did manage to stabilize somewhat and get up to a good max'd army with mothership. Unfortunately though his mothership was hovering for 2 seconds over the abyss in the middle of the map and Violet's corrupters took it out for free, and that was pretty much GG.

In the second set BabyK tried some early gateway aggression on Violet's third, but Violet defended well. From there BabyK tried taking his third, but left it a bit undefended and Violet forced a cancel on it. From here BabyK decided to go for an all-in and he did manage to take out Violets fourth, but could not push further and ended up losing most of his army. He then tried taking his third again, but Violet got up to 5 bases quickly and was far ahead in everything and eventually just rolled over BabyK.

Violet vs . BabyKnight = 2 - 0

All in all a really good tournament for BabyK who got a chance to show some really impressive PvT, and after winning 2-0 against both TheStC and Polt he is starting to prove that he is a Korean Terran slayer. We still think that it's his PvZ that sometimes looks the least impressive, but then again, he lost to Stephano and Violet and they are certainly two of the best zergs out there, so no shame in that.

We look forward to seeing him in the WCS finals in Shanghai in 5 days.

FXO.BabyKnight fighting!

10 Nov 2012

Lone Star Clash 2 Update

Stephano just owned danish hope BabyKnight in the second round of the winner bracket in Lone Star Clash 2.

Stephano played his usual perfect ZvP whereas BabyKnight unfortunately made some strange mistakes and choices here and there, so Stephano took the series 2-0 rather comfortably and he now has to face Ganzi in the next round.

BabyKnight on the other hand was knocked into the loser's bracket where he has to face either Sheth or Tod. We're sure however that he still has what it takes to make it far in tournament.

Lone Star Clash 2 update

The Lone Star Clash 2 is underway and if you aren't watching you should.

16 of the best players in the world battling right now in Texas for their share of the 15.000 $ price pool.
You can watch it here:

BabyKnight just won the first match of the tournament against TheStC.

The first set was on Ohana and BabyKnight did a sneaky but risky quick three nexus play without TheStC being able to do anything about it and eventually BabyKnight's great economy allowed him to overwhelm TheStC.

In the second set it was TheStC that was playing a bit greedy taking his natural quickly and only throwing down 1 defensive bunker without more than a couple of units to support it. BabyKnight had also taken his natural, but at the same time gone for some 3-gate pressure that was in no way an all-in. TheStC though wasn't ready at all and with perfect forcefields and micro in general, BabyKnight was able to trample all the way in to TheStC's base and that was it.
BabyKnight moves on to round 2 of the winner's bracket.

BabyKnight vs. TheStC = 2 - 0

8 Nov 2012

GSL Season 5 Round of 32 - Zerg edition

We just finished watching Life absolutely dominate the last RO 32 group of this GSL season.

Everyone is talking about the current Zerg dominance and this RO 32 certainly felt more zerg dominated than ever before, with three Zerg players winning their groups with a 4-0 score, and 8 Zergs moving on to the RO 16.

We took a quick look at the win rates of all the Zerg featured sets of this GSL RO 32.

In all the sets played, the Zerg players had a combined result of 37 wins and only 15 losses meaning a win percentage of 71 %

That's a pretty nasty overall win percentage for a race...

What we find most interesting though is that a lot of people are focusing on Infestors and Broodlords being Imba and therefore being the problem.

But if we actually take a look at the Zergs that dominated the most, Leenock and Life (arguably the two best zergs in the world right now as well) their play wasn't really that centered around Infestors or Broodlords.
In fact their play was heavily dominated by all kinds of other stuff like Mutalisk play, Roach pushes or Baneling busts.

So what is it exactly that makes Zerg players dominate so much right now?

Hard to say.
Perhaps it's just God's (or Nestea's) way of bringing more attention to the Zerg race and thus provide a natural transition to Heart of the Swam :)

Anyway, the following players moved on to the Round of 16

ZergSymbolCurious, SoulkeyHyunDongRaeGuSniperLeenock and Life

Terran: PoltHack, YodaMarineKing, Bogus and Ryung

Protoss: Parting and Creator

4 Nov 2012

Day 2 of the MLG Fall Championship

In our opinion yesterday was one of the most intense days of gaming in the Starcraft 2 history.

Soooo many good players battling in both the open bracket and the group play of the MLG Fall Championship that it was impossible to watch all the games you wanted.

If we have to pick our favorite games of the day it would be set 1 in the series of Leenock vs. Oz and then the entire series between NaNiWa and Flash.

The 1st set between Leenock and Oz was a crazy basetrade game where Leenock ended up taking a base in the ex-main of Oz via Nydus play and well, we've just never seen a game quite like it.

The series between NaNiWa and Flash was just epic, and you need to watch it right now!

Two of the most famous and infamous players going at it first in a normal series, and then an extended series that ended up going all the way to the seventh set.

Flash did a proxy 2-rax in the last and deciding set, and NaNiWa had taking his natural Nexus quickly so that was basically GG and Flash claimed a spot among the top 6 of the Championship.

Flash thus showed exactly how long it takes for the best Broodwar player in the world to transition to a new game. 

NaNiWa on the other hand showed that he more than anyone in the world has the ability to come back when people think he is done and out.
For months he has seemed depressed and tired of the game and suddenly he plays like a God. That's a charismatic player for you right there.

Unfortunately our danish Protoss hero BabyKnight is now out of the Championship!

He first lost 2-0 to NaNiWa, who had had prepared perfectly and figured out exactly how to play BabyKnight.

After that BabyKnight proved he wasn't out of the tournament yet when he took out Idra 2-1 in impressive fashion and showed some great PvZ.

From there BabyK had to play against HwangSin again and even though BabyK had a lead of 2-1 going in to this extended series he could not take home the victory. 
HwangSin beat BabyK in surprisingly easy fashion when he won 3 games in a row taking the series 4-2

This meant BabyK was down in the Loser's bracket where he suddenly faced Polt, one of the absolute scariest Terrans in the world, in an elimination match.
Polt was too good and defeated BabyK 2-0 meaning the end of the danish player's first MLG.

A lot of great games coming up today though.
Of the 16 players left, NaNiWa is the only one who isn't Korean and he has lived and trained in Korea for a long time.
So much for the korean dominance ever decreasing...

3 Nov 2012

First day of MLG Fall Championship

What a great opening day of the MLG Fall Championship we got to experience yesterday.

The most important result was in our opinion of course BabyKnight's beautiful 2-1 victory over HwangSin.

Their PvP series was really close, but somewhat weird as well.
The three sets included a lot of cool moves from both sides, but also some rather odd mistakes.

HwangSin took the first set even though BabyK got a good economic lead early on. Later in the game though the danish Protoss attacked too aggressively into HwangSin's Colossi.

The second set was on Tal'Darim Alter and BabyK went for a 4-gate that HwangSin defended well against with only 3 gates.
From there on HwangSin took his natural whereas BabyK went for a Blink-Stalker all-in and with beautiful blink micro BabyK was able to take the set.

In the last set HwangSin went for a proxy robotics build that BabyK defended against. From there BabyK could contain HwangSin in his main while getting his own natural up. This gave BabyK an economic lead and he played the rest of the game carefully and eventually overwhelmed HwangSin with a max supply army.

BabyKnight now has to face the winner of the game between NaNiWa and whoever comes up from the from the Open Bracket.

A lot of great games are coming up today and we can't wait. 

2 Nov 2012

Group B, C and D of GSL Season 5 RO 32

Unfortunately we didn't have time to do a recap of this week's group B, C and D of the RO 32 of this GSL season.

We did however watch a lot of the games from the groups so here's our quick summary of how we experienced them

Group B (Symbol, Hack, RorO and Happy)

From what we saw of this group's games it seemed pretty one-sided in the sense that Symbol dominated   the group heavily.

Symbol defeated both RorO and Hack 2-0 and thus took first place in the group.
We got to see one set of each of these matches and in both of these sets Symbol looked clearly like the better player. It just felt like Symbol was better at dictating where the games ended up going, and that is generally something you see in a lot of Symbol's games, in our modest opinion.

We also got to see the entire last elimination series between Hack and RorO and that was actually a pretty close and cool series. Hack ended up taking it 2-1, but they were evenly matched and of this group's games, the sets between Hack and RorO definitely seemed the most enjoyable.

Symbol and Hack advanced to the RO 16

Group C (Curious, Soulkey, HerO and Maru)

Once again we experienced the group as being somewhat one-sided, with Curious this time being the one that was somewhat dominating. He defeated Maru 2-0 making it almost look easy and then took down HerO 2-1, in a much closer series though.

Generally what this group made us think the most about was that we felt sorry for HerO once again.
Maybe it's just because we've always liked his style, but it just feels like he's always so damn unlucky.

This time he started out by defeating Soulkey 2-0 in a series in which he clearly looked better. He then lost to Curious as mentioned, but the experienced zerg was on fire and Hero made a few strange mistakes so we were still optimistic about Hero's chances.

In the final elimination series Hero was then once again up again Soulkey.
The first set was on Daybreak and here he once again crushed Soulkey giving HerO the 1-0 lead and at this point we felt absolutely certain that he had it in the bag.

Then Broodlord/Infestor happened in set 2 and Soulkey ended up taking it after a long basetrade. But Hero had played fantastically all through the game until the basetrade. His harassment had been perfect and he had kept Soulkey on a few bases while expanding him self so all in all it reminded us a lot about his tragic loss to Leenock in the last season.
In the 3rd set Soulkey did a 6 pool that HerO didn't handle perfectly and this gave Soulkey a lead that eventually won him the game.

Curious and Soulkey advanced to the RO 16

Group D (YoDa, HyuN, GuMiho and Rain)

Before the group was played Rain naturally looked like the clear favorite coming directly from his OSL victory. Unfortunately for everyone Rain cancelled in the last minute due to him going to Dallas for the MLG championship instead.

So we suddenly had a group of three very lucky players.
We only watched a few of the sets and from what we saw we made the following conclusions.
Yoda is better than we thought, and HyuN is worse than we thought and GuMiho is just as unstable as we thought.

We watched one of the sets between Yoda and HyuN and in that set Yoda had HyuN's game totally figured out and was able to defeat him easily even though HyuN got up to Broodlord tech.
We also watched a few of the sets from the final series between HyuN and GuMiho and in those games neither player looked particularly good.

GuMiho made some strange decisions and HyuN made some very poor engagements and threw away units in weird ways a couple of times.
But Hyun was able to take the series in the final set and thus move on, but we fell pretty certain that he would have had a harder time if Rain had been present.

YoDa and HyuN advanced to the RO 16

29 Oct 2012

GSL Season 5 Code S RO 32 Group A - RECAP

Liquid_TaeJa vs. MVP_Finale

Set 1 - Abyssal City - TaeJa to the left and Finale to the right

There weren't really any kinds of aggression during the first 10 minutes. TaeJa invested a lot in ghosts with cloak and Finale initially went for archons and storm tech, but later also added colossi.

TaeJa lost some ghosts for free when they were chasing part of Finale's army and got forcefielded away from the rest of his army. Finale on the other hand lost a colossus for free due to a misrally.

When they had their final engagement Finale had a couple of Colossi, but TaeJa had no vikings and Finale's archons, colossi and storms tore apart TaeJa's army and the young Protoss took the first set.

TaeJa vs. Finale = 0 - 1

Set 2 - Antiga Shipyard - TaeJa in bottom right and Finale in top left

TaeJa took his natural quickly, but Finale was able to sneak a pylon into the natural of TaeJa.

Finale pretended to expand as well, but went for a 4-gate instead, and unfortunately for poor TaeJa he never scouted the pylon. Finale warped in and attacked just before TaeJa got a second bunker up and the 4-gate pressure was far too much for TaeJa who was forced to GG giving Finale a surprising win in the first match.

TaeJa vs. Finale = 0 - 2

TSL_Polt vs. StarTale_Parting

Set 1 - Daybreak - Polt in bottom left and Parting in top right

Both got their third bases up (Polt's in the main though) without getting harassed. Parting tried some heavy 8 gate pressure, but Polt had 3 bunkers and was able to barely deflect the attack. From there Polt could fly his third safely out and they both went for double upgrades with Parting investing in archons and Polt in ghosts.

Polt tried some heavy drop play, but Parting scouted it and used the opportunity to move in at Polt's third and force a lift. But Polt was able to prevent Parting from pushing further on with great EMPs.

From there Parting started producing double colossi, but at the same time Polt went for triple viking production.
Parting however managed to force a big engagement before Polt had built up a decent army so that gave the protoss a good lead.
Polt tried some counter harassment, but Parting cleaned it up and was able to push towards Polt's base and take out his remaining forces with his Colossus/Archon based army.

Polt vs. Parting = 0 - 1

Set 2 - Antiga Shipyard - Polt in bottom right and Parting in top left 

Parting went for a DT into expand build whereas Polt took his natural quickly and from there aimed for a 8-minute marine/marauder with stim and +1 attack.

Parting's DTs were able to do a good amount of damage, but Polt evacuated some of his SCVs. At the same time Polt was able to take out Parting's natural with his push. On top of that Parting did an unfortunate move-command mistake and lost a lot of units for free.

By pulling probes Parting was able to deflect Polt's attack and then retake his natural.
Eventually Parting got some Immortals and Colossi, but around the 15-minute mark Polt pushed with his big bio army, and with good drop play was able to catch Parting's Colossi and different parts of Parting's army at different locations and in the end Parting had lost too much and was forced to GG.

Polt vs. Parting = 1 - 1

Set 3 - Cloud Kingdom - Polt in bottom left and Parting in top right

Parting went Nexus first whereas Polt went for some early 3-rax aggression upon scouting the Nexus first. Polt tried to get a bunker up at the natural of Parting, but by pulling probes Parting was able to defend.
Instead Polt expanded himself, but was of course pretty far behind in economy. Polt still has a bigger army though and he tried to push at the natural of Parting again and this time he forced Parting to retreat into his main and also got a bunker up at Parting's natural.

Parting got an immortal out and was able to push down his ramp and take out Polt's army and the bunker with good force fields, and thus save his natural.
At this point Parting was far ahead and he decided to go for a big counterpush. Polt was able to hold on for a while by pulling SCVs, but Parting stayed ahead while adding on colossi.
Polt never found an answer for Parting's colossi and was forced to GG in the end.

Polt vs. Parting = 1 - 2

MVP_Finale vs. StarTale_Parting

Set 1 - Antiga Shipyard - Finale in bottom left and Parting in top right

Finale went for a 4-gate and Parting went for 2-gate and a robo.

Finale managed to get a pylon into the natural and main of Parting and the game turned into a heavy micro battle in Parting's base, but Parting managed to survive and was only a few probes behind Finale after the attack ended.

From there Parting expanded whereas Finale decided to continue aggression instead of expanding himself. Finale was able to force Parting to retreat into his main, and thus take out Parting's natural.

From there though Parting was able to push out and take out Finale's army and also retake his natural.
Parting then pushed towards Finale's base, who had tried getting his own nexus up, but when Parting arrived he had far too much so Parting took the set.

Finale vs. Parting = 0 - 1

Set 2 - Cloud Kingdom - Finale in bottom left and Parting in top right

Finale went for quick DTs into expand, but Parting went for quick robo so he took no damage from the DTs.
Parting then expanded himself while Finale cancelled his Nexus and added more gates instead.

Eventually it came down to an all-in attack from Finale with his archon-immortal based army.
By barely having enough immortals and pulling drones Parting was able to survive the attack and with that the game was over.

Finale vs. Parting = 0 - 2

TSL_Polt vs. Liquid_TaeJa

Set 1 - Antiga Shipyard - Polt in bottom right and TaeJa in top left

Both went for quick CCs and TaeJa did a good early drop that took out some SCVs and Polt's tech lab researching Stim. Polt though did a decent counter push and was able to take out TaeJa's tech lab researching combat shields. Eventually both took their third while going for heavy Marine/Tank compositions.

Polt took control of the center, but at some point TaeJa was able to stim and catch some of Polt's tanks giving TaeJa the tank lead. Polt still remained in the center though.

Eventually TaeJa tried to do a big flank on Polt's army in the center, but ended up getting flanked himself when Polt came in with another force from the south and from there on Polt had a good lead.

They both took their fifth bases, but Polt was able to push on TaeJa's third with his tank lead advantage. Eventually Polt also pushed further towards TaeJa's natural and main and at this point TaeJa was way behind in army supply.
He still had 4 bases and a lot of SCVs, but since he had no answer for Polt's army and he was forced to GG eventually.

Polt vs. TaeJa = 1 - 0

Set 2 - Daybreak - Polt in bottom left and TaeJa in top right

Polt went for bio and TaeJa went for mech. TaeJa took his third faster than Polt and he also took out one of Polt's tanks early on with hellions so the Liquid player was in a good position.
Eventually Polt sieged up outside TaeJa's third and natural and it looked like neither would break the other.
Suddenly TaeJa engaged at the ramp outside his natural with only half his army and Polt's bio force took out lots of TaeJa's tanks practically for free and with all of TaeJa's remaining tanks still positioned at his third, Polt was able to move on into TaeJa's natural and TaeJa was forced to GG and with that was knocked out of the tournament.

Polt vs. TaeJa = 2 - 0

After taking out most of TaeJa's tanks Polt's bio force has free reign!

TSL_Polt vs. MVP_Finale

Set 1 - Whirlwind - Polt in top right and Finale in bottom right

Finale took his third rather early on whereas Polt invested a lot of all kinds of aggression, but Finale was ready for all his drops and took out several full medivacs, so Finale got way ahead in economy. 
When Finale finally pushed out Polt had no answer to the massive damage that Finale dealt with his Colossi and storms.
So Finale could push all the way up the main of Polt who tried a counter drop, but once again Finale defended well and thus he took the set.

Polt vs. Finale = 0 - 1

Set 2 - Antiga Shipyard - Polt in bottom right and Finale in top left

Both went for some aggressive builds with Polt going for reactor'd hellions + banshee and Finale for early twilight (blink) and robo. 

Polt got hellions into Finale's main and was able to take out 10 probes. Finale tried to counterpush with blink stalkers and was able to do a good amount of damage in Polt's base. Polt however got more hellions into Finale's base and in the end Finale has no probes left. 

At the same time Polt was able to force the blink stalkers to retreat with excellent SCV and hellion + banshee defense and with that he claimed the second set.

Polt vs. Finale = 1 - 1

Finale's only hope is his remaining blink stalkers, but they're doomed

Set 3 - Antiga Shipyard - Polt in top right and Finale in bottom left

Finale went for a 2-base 6-gate push around the 8-minute mark with around 5 sentries. Polt had two bunkers, and he scouted the incoming attack in the last second and was able to position all his SCVs correctly and also get a 3rd bunker up.

Finale decided to try and break him anyway, and he took out two of the bunkers, but his army was crushed and as stim finished for Polt the attack was absolutely denied.

From there Polt was far ahead, but Finale tried to transitioned into a longer game while getting DTs.
Polt moved out when he had a bunch of medivacs and Finale was able to hold on a bit with his DTs, but Polt just kept sending units and eventually Finale was forced to GG.

Polt vs. Finale = 2 - 1

Polt defends perfectly against Finale's big attack

Parting and Polt advanced to the round of 16! 

Finale and TaeJa is knocked down to code A!

Polt is a happy dude as he secures himself a spot in the RO 16

All in all some pretty surprising results as TaeJa was probably the favourite going into the group, but ended up finishing in last place.
Parting on the other hand showed some really dominating play and is definitely looking like a protoss contender to take this season.

23 Oct 2012

Group brackets for MLG Fall Championship released!


Group Play Brackets for MLG Dallas 2012

At first glance Group C looks like the "group of death" with top korean killer nerds TaeJa and Life in it. TaeJa vs. Life isn't exactly a bad match to open the MLG Group Play up with either.

Our Danish hero BabyKnight has been placed in Groub B alongside NaNiWa, TheStC, Grubby, Hwangsin and 1 of 4 proleague players (Flash, Soo, Soulkey or Hyvaa).

These 5 players will be joined by 2 of the 8 players that makes it through Open Bracket.

Anyway, we can't wait to see BabyKnight in action in his first MLG.

His game against NaNiWa especially will be quite epic.

Recently we stalked NaNiWa on twitter and noticed him writing the following.

Even though it's just twitter and probably said in fun, it still seems pretty obvious that NaNiWa doesn't consider BabyKnight to be a Starcraft mastermind.

We sincerely hope that BabyK can prove NaNiWa otherwise and crush him in their PvP clash.

20 Oct 2012

GSL 2012 Season 4 Finals - Mvp vs. Life - RECAP

Set 1 - Cloud Kingdom - Life in bottom left and Mvp in top right

Mvp went for double factory hellion production and Life went for his usual aggressive zergling-focused style. Mvp did very successful hellion harass at the natural and main of Life taking out more than 20 drones. Life though went for roaches and Infestors from there and was able to control the map enough to stay ahead on bases.

Eventually the game went into lategame and Life got the currently much despised composition of Infestor/Broodlord with corrupters as well to deal with the vikings.
Life threw down loads of good fungals and in the end almost at the 30-minute mark, Mvp could no longer defend against Life's force and was forced to GG.

Mvp vs. Life = 0 - 1

Set 2 - Entombed Valley - Life in bottom left and Mvp in top right

Not much happened in the early game with Mvp going safely for a mech composition and Life gearing up for Infestors. Mvp was planning to invest a lot in banshees, but Life scouted the starport and the tech lab researching cloak so Mvp stopped the banshee investment.

Throughout this game Life was once again really successful with his zergling run-bys and he was able to take out SCVs left and right and force cancels on Mvp's attempts to take more bases.

This game though got into the lategame as well with Life once again getting broodlords. This time Mvp was a bit better prepared for them and was able to take them all out by having the far superior air force which consisted of vikings and ravens.

Life however switched into Ultralisks and Mvp had no real answer for them and the Infestors and was forced to GG in the end, in a set that also almost reached the 30-minute mark.

Mvp vs. Life = 0 - 2

Set 3 - Antiga Shipyard - Mvp to the right and Life to the left

Life built a lot of zerglings early on that didn't really do that much damage. Mvp went for a lot of blue flamed hellions eventually going up to 10 of them. Life on the other hand was going for Mutas and he had no real defense against all the hellions and they managed to kill almost 30 drones!

Life tried to counterattack with his mutas, but Mvp had already prepared with turrets and Life was too far behind and was forced to GG.

Mvp vs. Life = 1 - 2

Set 4 - Whirlwind - Mvp in bottom left and Life in top left

Life went for some 10-pool aggression, but Mvp scouted the incoming zerglings with an SCV and he cancelled his CC building at the natural and started building it in his main instead and took no damage from Life's 10-pool.

Once again Mvp went for blue flamed hellions, and although he didn't get quite as many of them as in the last game Life still weren't properly prepared for them. And in this game as well Mvp managed to kill around 30 drones with his hellion harass.

Life tried some zergling run-bys, but they were pretty much all denied by Mvp and the failed 10-pool and especially the hellion harass had gived Mvp such an economic lead that when he finally moved out his mech army was far too powerful for Life to stop and Mvp tied up the series.

Mvp vs. Life = 2 - 2

Set 5 - Abyssal City - Mvp to the left and Life to the right

Mvp once again went for mech and Life once again went for his usual aggressive zergling style. Throughout the entire early game he didn't really do any damage with the speedlings though as Mvp once again used his hellions perfectly. Mvp also did some harass with the hellions which was somewhat successful although not as devastating as in the last game.

Eventually Life went up to Infestors while Mvp kept playing insanely safe and doing all he could to avoid zergling run-bys while also baiting out fungals with banshees.
This meant that when Mvp finally pushed out with his truly scary mech army Life didn't have that much Infestor energy left.

Life was able to delay the push with one really good zergling run-by, but it still did not give him enough time to come up with any force that could match Mvp's army. He tried his best with all his Infestors, but they didn't really have any support so Mvp took the game and the lead for the first time in the series.

Mvp vs. Life = 3 - 2

Life doesn't have the Infestor energy needed to stop Mvp's army

Set 6 - Ohana - Mvp in the bottom and Life in the top

Before the game Life looked incredibly stressed out and it really felt like Mvp was going to take this set and the championship. Life hadn't lost faith in his style though and he once again played his usual agressive ling style. This time though he was more careful with his lings and Mvp didn't do any real damage with his hellions which he had once again gone for.

Life was able to force cancels on numerous CCs while getting a perfect economy and going for Infestors and eventually Broodlords. Once again Mvp tried to force Life to spend his infestor energy on banshees, but this time Life had a lot of other stuff to support his infestors and when he pushed out with his max Roach/Infestor/Broodlord/Corrupter army Mvp had no answer and Life took the set.

Mvp vs. Life = 3 - 3

Mvp cannot stop the Infestor/Roach/Broodlord composition of Life

At this point Life almost looked as relieved and happy as if he had won the entire championship.
This was pretty understandable though as he had forced a final and deciding set against Mvp and suddenly proven to himself and the world that Mvp still hadn't completely figured him out yet.

Set 7 - Daybreak - Life to the bottom left and Mvp to the top right

Life once again went for a 10-pool and he managed to get Mvp's quick natural expansion cancelled, but besides that he didn't get anything done and economically he was therefore behind.

Mvp went for his double factory heavy reactor'd hellion style and it looked like Life was ready for it, as he started a roach warren, but then he didn't build any roaches anyway and went for a spire instead.
So Mvp did a lot of damage with the hellions and killed a ton of drones at the natural of Life, and Life practically did no damage with his counter attack with mutas.

Mvp slaughtering a bunch of Life's poor drones

At this point the game almost looked over as Life was still not even mining on his third.
From there Mvp went for a lot of factorys and a Thor focused composition whereas Life went for Infestors and Roaches.
Mvp took his fourth in the center and Life took his fourth and fifth and Mvp went for a big thor push on Life's fifth.

Mvp took out the base, but Life managed to fungal and surround all the Thors and therefore take them all out.
At the same time Life did a counter attack at Mvp's fourth, but it was a planetary and Mvp barely saved it, but lost a lot of SCVs.

Suddenly Life was back in the game and he could safely go into broodlord tech. At the same time he had a lot of Infestors that he could allow tanking up energy as Mvp had no way of moving out.

Eventually Life pushed out with Infestors/Broodlords and for a while Mvp was able to defend against them, but Life had secured a great economy and he could just keep sending units and as he prevented Mvp from mining anywhere he was able to eventually outlast him.

Mvp saved his Planetary for a long time, but eventually could no longer 

So Life took the game which was certainly among the best sets of a GSL final and he took the championship in a GSL tournament that has no doubt been the hardest and most competitive so far of all the GSLs.

We can't really believe Life managed to win that last game against Mvp. What a fantastic comeback by Life and what an amazing game! (Go buy a season's pass or whatever and watch it at gomtv.net)

Mvp vs. Life = 3 - 4

A big crowd of nerds cheers for Life, or Blizzard? Probably not the latter...

The young star gets to kiss the trophy. It's almost as good as the 50 k dollars.

Our favorite sets of the day:

Set 1, 5 and 7!