22 Sep 2012

Dreamhack Valencia Day 1 Summary

Today was day 1 of Dreamhack Valencia and oh my God did we see a lot of exciting games.

In the first group stage (RO 64) played early today there weren't really any big surprises.

Apart from LiquidRet missing out on the tournament because of a delayed plane or something, almost all the players we had expected to advanced also managed to do so.

The first group stage did result in a lot of good games and series though, and one of our favorite series was probably LiquidTaeJa vs. FnaticNightEnD.

After the first two sets the series was tied which meant they had to play a third an deciding set on Daybreak.

They both got up to three bases without getting harassed at all.
At this point TaeJa decided to go and poke at NightEnD's third with a small bio force + medivac.
This resulted in a nice little engagement where NightEnD threw down perfect forcefields to trap and kill some of TaeJa's units. TaeJa however managed to pick up some of his units beautifully and therefore avoid too big of a loss.

Around three minutes later TaeJa pushed again and this time with a a lot bigger bio army + multiple medivacs. TaeJa's army size was actually a bit bigger than NightEnD's, but NightEnD used good storms and feedback on the medivacs to get out of the engagement a tiny bit ahead.

TaeJa however showed extremely good macro skills and maxed out quicker than his opponent.
For some reason TaeJa at this point decided to pull practically ALL his SCVs for a final All-in push. This wasn't exactly a necessary all-in, but TaeJa had guessed that NightEnD at this point had started transitioning into Colossi tech, and this realisation had made TaeJa decide to try and break him before his colossi started popping out.

With this big push TaeJa managed to take out NightEnD's third easily.
From here TaeJa went towards NightEnD's natural taking out big chunks of NightEnD's army along the way.

Eventually though, NightEnD got a few Collossi out and was able to take a final stand at the ramp to his main. Here he actually managed to take out TaeJa's remaining forces, and having drawn almost all his SCV's TaeJa knew that he was too far behind and he was forced to GG.
So NightEnD was able to take a surprising and impressive win against the bad ass TaeJa

NightEnd vs. TaeJa = 2-1

In the second group stage of today (RO 32) it certainly got hotter with regards to some of the big boys having to work harder in order to qualify for the playoffs sunday.

There weren't exactly that many surprises here either though and once again almost all of the players we had expected to go through also managed to.
One of the biggest upsets was probably that Italian terran Cloud managed to 2-0 DeMusliM and with that knock the EG player out of the tournament.

Grubby was also knocked out of the tournament which in it self perhaps was a bit of a surprise. Unfortunately for him though he had landed in the same group as Stephano and TaeJa, making it the absolute hardest group. This proved too much for Grubby as he was defeated by both Stephano and TaeJa, against whom he did however manage to put up a valiant fight.

Our favourite series of the second group stage was Stephano vs. TaeJa.

They played one of the last series of the day and when they met they had both already qualified for the playoffs. This didn't mean that they weren't totally hooked on crushing their opponent though.

Besides getting the best seeds for the playoffs, there was also a lot of pride at stake in this matchup between the best foreigner in the world, and the korean with the best results in foreign tournaments over the summer.

The first two sets were really close and well-played, with one player each claiming a set.

The third and deciding set was on Metropolis and both player's seemed keen on making it an epic macro game from the start.

They both went up to three bases rather quickly.
Stephano invested alot in getting his creepspread going while TaeJa focused on hellions and banshees to get some map control.
Stephano was actually pretty good at engaging hellions with zerglings and managed to get a good surround on them a couple of times. So with his zerglings he actually prevented TaeJa from taking out too many creep tumors.

Instead TaeJa tried to deny Stephano's fourth with his banshee. Stephano however was on top of it before the banshee had practically landed a single shot. This alertness from Stephano was characteristic of Stephano's play in general as he never seemed to take any damage from drops and so forth through the series.

Around the the 15 minute mark TaeJa did his first big push but when they engaged they ended up taking out most of each other's armies leaving them at a pretty even supply afterwards.

For a very long time the game battled back and forth with Stephano at some point being able to push all the way to the doorsteps of TaeJa's base with broodlords and infestors.
TaeJa managed to defend though, partly because of good raven usage, and eventually he was able to push all the way back towards Stephanos main.
Here he got a goo siege up and at this point things started looking really tough for Stephano.

Stephano tried breaking TaeJa's siegeline a couple of times but to no prevail and eventually he was overrun by TaeJa's forces, and Stephano's 4500 banked minerals couldn't save him.
In fact a big part of his defeat in this set was due to a severe lack of gas in the beginning of the late late game which meant he at that point could no longer remax with important units after a couple of big engagements.

TaeJa vs. Stephano = 2-1

So tomorrow the 16 best players will battle in the playoffs and it's not impossible that we get to see a rematch between TaeJa and Stephano.
They certainly both have what it takes to win the tournament.
If neither of them end up taking it, then our money is on Violet or Hero.
But we'll se tomorrow

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