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!

19 Oct 2012

Is Starcraft 2 facing a serious crisis?

Personally we do not feel that Starcraft 2 is facing a crisis, but there is currently so much talk about the state and future of Starcraft 2 as a game that it's actually insane.

Two days ago it practically exploded when Destiny submitted this post on Reddit:

Starcraft 2 will be dead long before Legacy of the Void if Blizzard doesn't change its course

Most of what he is saying is undoubtable very interesting and impossible to ignore.

One of the issues he discusses is the fact that Starcraft 2's design is focused a lot on hardcore competitive 1v1 laddering, and that this is a major problem because most casual gamers aren't interested in this type of gaming.

In his opinion this is one of the main reasons why Starcraft 2 quickly will lose to games like LoL and DotA.

Destiny doesn't really offer any solution, but concludes that it's up to Blizzard to take drastic measures. Or else he sees no way of SC2 surviving.

With this rather depressing post in mind it was nice to see that Grubby today posted a list of suggestions that he feels could help improve SC2 as a game and the community in general.

This was based on his own thoughts along with the responses he got after inviting everyone on Teamliquid.net to give their takes on the problems that SC2 faces. Especially with regards to what he called "viewership tournament fatigue".

Grubby's Manifesto on SC2 eSports

There are a lot of interesting points and suggestions in his post and it is certainly worth a read.

It's also interesting to see how Destiny and Grubby show quite opposing viewpoints when it comes to having faith in Blizzard. And this is generally something a lot people in the community disagree on.

Does Blizzard listen to the community at all?

In the newest episode of State of the Game which came out yesterday JP McDaniel, Root.Tod, D.Apollo and Col.QXC also discuss Destiny's post and the problems SC2 is facing in general.

At some point while airing, JP was able to confirm that Blizzard has apparently noticed all that's been going on, and that they've agreed to meet with some notable people from the community and discuss the game.

Announcement on State of the Game

This discussion will most likely center around ideas for improving Heart of the Swarm, but hopefully they will also get a chance to discuss the game in general.

Yesterday Artosis also posted his opinion on the state of Starcraft 2 as a game, especially with regards to all the criticism of Heart of the Swarm.

Artosis discusses Heart of the Swarm

In his opinion Starcraft 2's survival isn't threatened, as he sees it as the best and most complex game in the world, and he also concludes:

I listened to people decreeing the end of SC1 from 2002 until 2010 (when the SC2 Beta was finally released). They were all wrong, and anyone talking about it now is wrong too.

We agree that Starcraft 2 is still a fantastic game, and that it offers something that no other games offer.

And perhaps it does not need to appeal to as many gamers and viewers as for instance LoL, in order to continue thriving on it's own terms.

But at the same time there are no doubt a lot of problems facing SC 2 and the community surrounding it.
The number of gamers and viewers is crucial when it comes to how much money the game generates. And the amount of money that the game generates is equal to how much work Blizzard will put into continuously trying to improve the game.

So naturally it's relevant to discuss ways to attract more gamers and viewers and hopefully Blizzard can find some good ways of doing it in the future.

10 Oct 2012

GSL Semifinals - RECAP

Mvp vs. Rain

Set 1 - Whirlwind - Mvp in top left and Rain in bottom left

Rain went for relatively quick expand. Mvp went for reactor'd hellions and medivac. Rain defended pretty well against the hellions, but still lost 9 probes.
Mvp expanded from here while sending a banshee to harass. The banshee did pretty well, but when
Rain counter-pushed with a big 2-base sentry/immortal based army, Mvp was forced to lift up his orbital at the natural and retreat to his main.

This gave Rain a big lead in economy, but their army supply was somewhat similar.
Rain also got pretty ahead in tech and when they finally engaged Rain also caught Mvp's tanks slightly unsieged and his colossi tore Mvp's army apart winning him the first set.

Mvp vs. Rain = 0 - 1

After killing Mvp's tanks Rain could easily feast on Mvp's poor troops

Set 2 - Abyssal City - Mvp to the left and Rain to the right

Both players played pretty safe and they each got up to three bases without taking any damage.
Mvp focused on ghosts anticipating that Rain would go for high templars which he did.
Rain tried some warp prism/templar harass in Mvp's main, but Mvp had placed two vikings in probable drop locations and he managed to take the warp prism out while Rain was spawning units from it. Rain did however manage to storm and take out almost all of Mvp's workers in the main.

At the same time though, Mvp pushed with his massive bio/medivac + ghost army and he landed some very good EMP's and even though Rain threw down a few good storms and forcefields, they weren't enough to save him and Mvp rolled him over and took the set.

Mvp vs. Rain = 1 - 1

Mvp used his ghosts effectively and no forcefields could save Rain

Set 3 - Entombed Valley - Rain in the top left and Mvp in bottom right

They both got up to 2 bases unharassed.
From there Mvp went for a pretty quick 2-base medivac/marine push, but Rain deflected it with an immortal/sentry based army and Mvp retreated.
A short while later Rain took his third and this caused Mvp to pull most of his SCVs and go for a big 2-base push that was aimed to hit just before the first colossus was out.

Rain reacted perfectly though and cancelled his third and walled of with force fields and was able to delay the attack until his colossus got out and Mvp was forced to retreat again.
Rain took his third again while getting some colussi out and also getting high templars. Mvp stayed on 2 bases and finally went for an all-in push with all his SCVs and a bunch of vikings. Rain however had too much and was able to defend with good storms and Mvp was forced to GG.

Mvp vs. Rain = 1 - 2

In the final engagement Rain knew Mvp was all-in so he threw
down some cannons and defended the all-in beautifully

Set 4 - Antiga Shipyard - Mvp in the top left and Rain in the bottom right

Mvp took his natural and built a third CC in his main quickly whereas Rain stayed a bit longer on 2 bases while going up to colossus tech.
He tricked Mvp into thinking he was focusing heavily on collosi and Mvp overproduced vikings a bit before realising Rain has switched to templar tech.

Rain took his third and Mvp went for a big push. Rain had an upgrade advantage, but Mvp had a more army supply and he was able to do lots of damage with the push, with Rain being forced to use probes to defend.
So from here Mvp was ahead in economy and he built to extra bases and started dropping different places to keep Rain in his base. The drops weren't that damaging, but they did keep Rain in his base and when they finally engaged Mvp was ahead in army supply once again and he also managed to catch half of Rain's army that had been split up and Mvp simply crushed him and took the set.

Mvp vs. Rain = 2 - 2

For a brief moment it looked like Rain could come back,
but Mvp simply had the economy to outproduce Rain

Set 5 - Cloud Kingdom - Rain in the top right and Mvp in the bottom left

Mvp went rax>CC (natural)>CC (main) while also delaying Rain's natural with an ebay block.
Rain on the other hand did his already infamous quick DT into expand built that went something like this:
gateway>gas>Cybernetics>gas>twilight>Nexus>dark shrine.

Rain built two DTs, but Mvp had a bunker in front of his natural and was building a turret so Rain pulled them back and for a long while he instead used the DTs with drops in the main and to delay Mvp's third and so forth. All in all Rain did built quite a lot of DTs all of which he of course lost so he spent quite a lot of money on them.

They both got a decent 3-base economy, but it felt like Mvp was a step ahead of Rain, perhaps because Rain had invested too much in DTs.
Rain had begun focusing on colossi, but Mvp had gone up the two starports relatively early so he had a lot of vikings.
Eventually Mvp pulled a lot of SCVs and went for a big push that was practically all-in. Rain had started templar achieves, but it wasn't done so he tried building defensive cannons once again.
But when Mvp arrived his vikings quickly took care of Rain's colossi and from there Rain had no way of defending so Mvp took the set and the series, and with that moved on to another GSL final

Mvp vs. Rain = 3 - 2

Vikings are pretty good against Colossi it seems

Life vs. TaeJa

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

TaeJa went for his classic heavy bio composition with double ebay.
Life went for some pretty quick 2-base muta aggression. He only built 6 mutas though and from there took his third. He harassed a bit in TaeJa's main with his mutas and then went for a big baneling bust up the ramp to TaeJa's main.

He killed a ton of SCVs and did a lot of damage with zergings and banelings in general. At the same time TaeJa counterattacked and managed to take out Life's natural.
Life was ahead in supply though and unfortunately TaeJa accidentally sent a lot of SCVs towards Life's main and lost them all to banelings in the middle of map.

From here Life had the economy to restart muta production and built a lot of banelings and eventually he just overran TaeJa and claimed the first set.

Life vs. TaeJa = 1 - 0

Life does what he does best and baneling busts TaeJa's main

Set 2 - Whirlwind - TaeJa in bottom right and Life in top right

TaeJa went command center first which he built in his main, and Life went 10-pool and a bunch of very quick zerglings.
TaeJa however used his CC to wall of and therefore it looked like Life's early aggression wouldn't do anything, but suddenly TaeJa accidentally lowered his depot and ended up losing 3-4 SCVs and a lot of mining time.
From here the game transitioned with both players taking three bases and TaeJa focusing a bit on reactor'd hellions.

But omg Life is fucking crazy and in this game Life really got to show his very own style of zerg to perfection. For the rest of the game there was just constant aggression from him.
He stayed so long on lair tech and with his baneling/zerglings/mutalisk force he just kept forcing TaeJa to stay at home and defend.

Although Life again and again threw away a lot of army supply, with every attack he also managed to take out so many SCVs.
At some point he was also able to take out TaeJas third base and had at this point killed more than 60 SCVs in the game.
Eventually Life safely got up to infestors as well with his economy at this point being far superior to TaeJa's.
TaeJa tried a final push, but was crushed by fungals and banelings.

Life vs. TaeJa = 2 - 0

TaeJa tries to get up a good defense outside his natural and third,
but Life does not mind attacking into sieged tanks

Set 3 - Entombed Valley - TaeJa in the bottom left and Life in the top right

A long and close macro game in which Life went up to three bases a bit quicker and TaeJa went for his double ebay bio style again.

In this game TaeJa was generally able to put on a bit more aggression, but once again Life showed that he just uses zerglings better than anyone in the world.
He constantly does run-bys and tries to take out workers or small parts of army.
Around the 11-minute mark Life did a very successful baneling attack at TaeJa's third killing almost 20 SCVs and at the same time he focused heavily on infestor production at home.

The game went back and forth for a while with a lot of fighting in the middle of the map while Life got some broodlords out and TaeJa got a bunch of vikings out.
There were some engagements that went either way, and in one of them TaeJa took out Life's broodlords, but lost his army while doing so and from there Life transitioned to Ultralisks again.

In the end though Life's constant agression was just too much for TaeJa. Especially when Life started sending burrowed infestors to all the bases of TaeJa and the infested terrans just tore TaeJa's economy apart.
With that Life took the series in impressive fashion and moved on the final in his first GSL ever.

Life vs. TaeJa = 3 - 0

One of TaeJa's almost desperate attempts to break Life

Recommended games of the day:
Set 4 of Mvp vs. Rain and Set 3 of TaeJa vs. Life

9 Oct 2012

Predictions for GSL semifinals

Tomorrow it's time for the GSL semifinals and here are who their GSL statistics say will move on to the finals!

The first match is between LG-IM_Mvp (!) and SKtelecom_Rain (also (!) and (omg, it will be INSANE)).
Mvp has a win rate of 70,4 % against protoss so this is, on paper, his best matchup. Rain has a crazy win rate of 80 % against terran. It has has to be said though, that Rain has only played 6 official matches in the GSL.

The second semi-final will be between Liquid_TaeJa and StarTale_Life.
TaeJa has a 72,2 % win rate against zerg while Life has a win rate of 62,5 % against terran with it being his least favorite matchup statistically. But Life hasn't played that many GSL matches against Terran yet, and generally he actually owns this matchup as well.

So according to the GSL statistics we will see Rain and TaeJa move on to the finals, but will that actually be the case? We say: "no idea whatsoever" and look forward to tomorrow. They all play insanely well at the moment and we are sure that the matches will all be "the best series we've seen in the GSL. EVER." According to Tastosis anyway.

If someone threatened us with a big gun and forced us to pick who we were rooting for we would have to say Rain and Life. They have impressed us the most this season and deep down we think that they will be this season's finalists.

5 Oct 2012

BabyKnight has qualified for the MLG Fall Championship in Dallas

Apparently BabyKnight has qualified for the MLG Fall Championship in Dallas alongside Grubby and Daisy.

The three players achieved top three in the European qualifier and they will all be given "all expenses paid" trips to the event along with a seed into group play.

Congratulations to all three of them and especially our danish hero BabyKnight who impressively managed to defeat both Thorzain, Nerchio and SortOf in the online qualifier.

We can't wait to see how he does in his first MLG!

4 Oct 2012

GSL RO 8 - TaeJa vs. Leenock and MarineKing vs. Life - RECAP

Taeja vs. Leenock (Best of 5)

Set 1 - Cloud Kingdom

The first set was a lot like most of Leenock's games in the RO 16 in that he eventually ended up being behind on bases, but at the same time managed to get his beloved massive Broodlord/Infestor/Queen army. TaeJa had his own fourth base for a long time while constantly denying Leenock's attempts to get one, but eventually when Leenock carefully pushed out TaeJa had no way of stopping Leenock's deadly composition and the young zerg took the set.
0 - 1

Leenock knocks on the door with his favorite composition!

Set 2 - Whirlwind

Leenock went for a heavy roach aggression at the 12-minute mark, but TaeJa har sieged tanks and quite a lot of Marauders and was able to defend well. From there TaeJa started dropping in Leenock's main while pushing out on the map. Leenock tried to transition to Hive-tech, but TaeJa constantly pressured with numerous drops and in the end Leenock tried engaging, but TaeJa's army was better and he took the set.
1 - 1

Leenock's roaches meets some of the old tank and marauder love!

Set 3 - Entombed Valley

TaeJa went for a quick double rax and Leenock scouted only 1 of them. TaeJa got three bunkers up by the natural of Leenock and even though Leenock managed to morph a decent bunch of banelings he weren't able to take out all the bunkers and TaeJa took the set.
2 - 1

The worst zerg nightmare is when TaeJa has 3 bunkers at your natural!

Set 4 - Antiga Shipyard

Once again TaeJa went for a double rax, and tried sending marines and SCVs to the natural of Leenock, but this time Leenock defended and the game transitioned into a longer game. Leenock once again aimed for the 3-base Infestor/Broodlord/Queen composition while Taeja did a bit of drop aggression which allowed him to gain control of the center.
They denied each other's attempts to get a fourth base, but when they finally engaged in the center TaeJa had a lot more vikings than in the first set and he was able to spread them out perfectly and win the engagement. Leenock switched to Ultralisks but lost a bunch of them that were standing too far out on the map and eventually TaeJa could secure a fourth and at the same time do a big push that Leenock couldn't stop.
3 - 1

Leenock with good fungals, but not a big enough army to defeat TaeJa!

General thoughts on TaeJa vs. Leenock

In the Round of 16 Leenock had great success with his Broodlord/Infestor composition which won him a lot of games in which he was actually behind on bases and economy.
In this series though TaeJa's aggressive style just seemed to fluster Leenock more causing him to not be able to focus on getting his Broodlord/Infestor force as intensively.
Generally TaeJa just knew how he wanted to play Leenock and today he looked like the smarter player of the two.

TaeJa vs. Leenock = 3 - 1

MarineKing vs. Life (Best of 5)

Set 1 - Cloud Kingdom 

MarineKing tried some early bunker aggression on Life's natural, but Life deflected it perfectly. The game transitioned into longer game with both eventually going up to three bases, with MarineKing though delaying Life's third significantly.

The game was pretty back and forth with Life moving around with his zerglings beautifully and trying a lot of run-bys. He invested heavily in zergling/baneling aggression constantly switching between attack MarineKing's main and third and managed to kill almost 30 SCVs.
But MarineKing's upgrades were better and when he finally pushed out Life couldn't defend.
1 - 0

MarineKing likes his marines. Life doesn't! 

Set 2 - Daybreak  

They both went up to three bases pretty fast, but Life used his three bases to once again do some heavy zergling/baneling aggression. He did this beautifully and even though MarineKing got a bunker up by his natural he took far too much damage from Life's attack. MarineKing tried to do a typical MarineKing counter-attack, but Life had far too much and he crushed it, and when he then he pushed out afterwards with Infestors MarineKing had no way of defending.
1 - 1

MarineKing is thinking: why is this kid's zerglings so damn annoying!

Set 3 - Entombed Valley 

MarineKing went for proxy rax, but Life had 10-pooled which was the perfect way to counter. MarineKing built a bunker behind the minerals of Life's natural and forced a cancel. Meanwhile Life countered with some zerglings in MarineKing's main, and did a lot of damage. At this point MKP had lost a lot of SCVs while Life hadn't lose a single drone. 
Life expanded twice and delayed MarineKing's expansion for a long time with zergling aggression. The far better economy eventually won Life the game as he crushed MarineKings feeble attack.
1 - 2

Life plays with MarineKing as the zerg forces are far superior at this point!

Set 4 - Whirlwind 

Life went for quick speed, and did some light harassment. MarineKing went for hellions so he held off the lings pretty easily. While MarineKing had his hellions out on the map, Life did som ling run-bys and got a good amount of SCVs. Life then went for mutas and the muta-ling composition turned out to be too much for MarineKing and although he had Thors, Life did a really nice magicbox and killed way too many SCVs that was trying to repair the Thors. Eventually he just overran MarineKings natural and main with zerglings and the young zerg took the set and the series in impressive fashion. 
1 - 3

Look at that happy kid. 15 years old and already in the semifinals of GSL!

General thoughts on MarineKing vs. Life

Life just has his own cool aggressive style of playing and there are just so many small things that he excels at like his constant zergling movement and his somewhat strange timings. In every game his great zergling based harass managed to damage MarineKing's economy severely. And even with MarineKing's great micro and defensive abilities he was still forced to constantly try and protect his bases. This just allows Life to control practically all games he plays, which is why he has what it takes to reach round of 4. 

MarineKing vs. Life = 1 - 3

3 Oct 2012

GSL RO 8 - Rain vs. Hero and Mvp vs. Symbol - RECAP

Rain vs. Hero (Best of 5)

Set 1 - Entombed Valley (Rain in bottom right and Hero in top right)

Hero went for early DTs and was able to take out Rain's natural expansion while getting his own up. The game transitioned into a longer game where both players got up to three bases and went for Colossi tech with 2 robos each. Hero tried some more DT harass, but not with great success.

In general Rain's robos were faster though and his production slightly ahead of Hero's and when they finally engaged, Rain had 1 more Colossus and 3-4 more Immortals than Hero. 
In the engagement Rain simply positioned and controlled his army much better and by attacking from two angles he was able to comfortably win the engagement and take the set. 1 - 0

Set 2 - Abyssal City (Rain to the right and Hero to the left)

Both focused on blink Stalkers in the early game on and then transitioned into robo tech. Rain was able to blink into Hero's main and take out his robo once again gaining a lead in the robo production.
Eventually they both went up to double robo and three bases as well.
At some point Hero managed to take a small revenge and blink into Rain's main and take out one of his robos.

This game also went late game (two PvP macrogames in a row!!!) and they both got their fourth base up with Rain though being ahead on his, as well as on upgrades. After the game went a bit back and forth for a while the game in the end came down to a big final engagement around the 32-minute mark. This time Rain had 3 more Colossi and 1-2 more Immortals than Hero and once again Rain looked a lot better in the engagement, controlling his Immortals and Colossi fantastically and he took the set. 2 - 0

Set 3 - Daybreak (Rain in the top right and Hero in bottom left)

Hero went for some early 3-gate stalker pressure into robo whereas Rain went directly for early Robo meaning that his robo was once again ahead of Hero's.
Hero's 3-gate pressure was pretty much a failure as Rain trapped his stalkers with forcefields and took them out with his immortal supported army.

They both expanded and went for robotics support bay, but once again Rain was ahead on both things.
Around the 12-minute mark when Rain's first Colossus was finished he pushed out and Hero tried to defend by using immortal/warp prism micro, but it backfired as he lost the warp prism with an Immortal in it, and eventually Rain rolled him over and claimed the set as well as the series in dominating fashion. 3 - 0

General thoughts on Rain vs. Hero

All in all a really cool and unique PvP series that showed us that the best Protoss players in the world are finally figuring the matchup out. Especially the two first sets that gave us some heavy late-game PvP action.

The series was however pretty one-sided with Rain clearly looking better in all the engagements and with regards to the build orders as well.

Hero made some small mistakes here and there, which might have been due to his infamous nerve-issues, but in the end there was no doubt about who the better player was today.

Rain lived up the hype and he definitely has a good shot at becoming the next GSL champion!

Rain vs. Hero = 3 - 0

Mvp vs. Symbol (Best of 5)

Set 1 - Abyssal City (Mvp to the right and Symbol to the left)

Their opening builds were something like this:

Symbol: Hatch first > Pool > Gas > Zerglingspeed > 3rd Hatch > Roach Warren > Roach-production
Mvp: CC first> Rax > Factory > Starport > Techlab > Bunker > 3rd CC > Cloak > Banshee-production

Mvp tried different kinds of Banshee+Hellion harass some of which worked pretty well with him for instance killing Symbol's roach warren and around 10 drones.
The game transitioned into mid and late game with both of them taking additional bases and Mvp going heavy mech and Symbol aiming for a broodlord/infestor composition.
Meanwhile they both did different kinds of harass like Mvp killing overlords with vikings and Symbol doing effective zergling run-by into Mvp's third.

Eventually Mvp grabbed a fourth base and then pushed and took out Symbol's fifth. Symbol retook the fifth while Mvp took his sixth.
Symbol used burrowed Infestors to take out Mvp's sixth with infested terrans, but at the same time Mvp pushed and took out the fifth and fourth of Symbol.

Symbol tried to retake some bases, but Mvp denied all his attempts and eventually starved Symbol out forcing him to a final engagement just before the 30-minute mark. Symbol though had no way of breaking the scary fully upgraded mech army with his inferior remaining forces which consisted of mainly Infestors, so Mvp took the set. 1 - 0

Set 2 - Daybreak  (Mvp in top right and Symbol in bottom left)

Symbol went hatch first again and this time Mvp tried some bunker aggression at his natural. Symbol scouted it and pulled lots of drones though and denied the aggression, and from there both focused a bit on their economy. Symbol went up to three hatcheries and Mvp took his natural while getting a third CC in his main.

This game Mvp went for bio+hellions with double e-bay and Symbol geared up for a heavy early/mid-game all-in with Roaches/Banelings/Zerglings.
Around the 9-minute mark Mvp evacuated his natural after scouting Symbol's incoming attack. Mvp tried getting bunkers up in his main, but Symbol broke open the wall with banelings and eventually overran Mvp's main with zerglings and roaches winning Symbol the second set. 1 - 1

Set 3 - Antiga Shipyard (Mvp in bottom left and Symbol in top right)

Symbol went hatch first, zergling-speed, 3rd hatch and then a roach warren whereas Mvp went CC first and from there went for reactor'd hellions + banshees and eventually a 3rd CC as well.

They both tried harassing each other in different ways as the game transitioned into mid-game with Mvp trying a number drops, most of which were deflected immediately by Symbol, who on the other tried a few run-bys with zerglings which Mvp deflected as well.

Eventually Mvp pushed across the map with a Marine/Tank force, but Symbol defended well in the center with nice fungals followed by banelings. About a minute later though he threw away 4 Infestors for nothing when he tried to do a counter-attack.

Mvp then pulled of a quick and effective push that took out Symbol's third, while wisely adding 2 extra starports anticipating that Symbol was going for quick Broodlords.
Symbol took a fourth the top left corner and a fifth in the bottom right corner, but when Mvp finally pushed towards Symbol's main the poor Zerg player was far behind in supply and didn't really stand a chance.
He had a few broodlords and landed some good fungals, but that was nowhere near enough and Mvp took the set. 2 - 1

Set 4 - Ohana (Mvp in top left and Symbol in bottom right)

Symbol went for some semi early 2-base 9 roach aggression that could have potentially dealt a lot of damage as Mvp quickly had taken his natural as well as built a 3rd CC in his main. Mvp however scouted it just in time to lift up his natural and get a bunker down on top of the ramp to his main.
Symbol's roaches fried some of the repairing SCVs, but eventually got cleaned up.
A short while later Mvp went for a counterattack with around 7 hellions and he killed some drones, but neither of their initial attacks had done that much damage.

From there they both took their third bases with Mvp though clearly being in control of the game.
Mvp simply showed great macro skills and while they were both on three bases he quickly got ahead of Symbol in supply. Mvp also did some annoying drops while eventually pushing with Tanks/Marines and taking out Symbol's third. Symbol retook it, but in the meantime Mvp already had his fourth up and running.

In this game Symbol had once again gone for a pretty quick hive this time though going for a Infestor/Ulralisk composition. Once again Mvp denied Symbol's attempts to get a fourth or fifth base while Mvp himself got an insane amount of production facilities.
Symbol was eventually forced to do a big engagement in the center and he did clean up Mvp's forces, but Mvp already had a new army in production whereas Symbol himself could in no way keep up with the production.

In the end Mvp practically just kept sending units towards Symbol's base and Symbol could not withstand and was forced to GG. 3 - 1

General thoughts on Mvp vs. Symbol

In general this series was rather one-sided as well. And even though there were a lot of times were Mvp wasn't exactly dominating, you still never got the chance that Mvp was truly threatened. Especially since Symbol's only win came with his baneling bust.

Watching the series it was very apparent just how much more experienced Mvp is. At least in the sense that he just always looked so damn well-prepared when he plays the GSL, and that is pretty important in a tournament where players always have time to prepare.

In conclusion Mvp doesn't seem to be tired of winning and the semifinal between him and Rain will probably be the toughest series that has ever been played in SC2.

Mvp vs. Symbol = 3 - 1

Recommended games of the day:

Set 2 between Rain and Hero 

Set 1 between Mvp and Symbol

Finally for some light humor in the end.

Between the two series Artosis made the joke that he thought Matrix 2 was better than Matrix 1! Tasteless didn't get that it was a joke instantly and we'll leave you with the bewildered look on Tasteless' face as he for a second or two thought that his best friend was actually a complete retard...

GSL code S round of 8 predictions

Today the first two quarterfinals of season 4, GSL code S, will be played and they are potentially both some pretty epic matches.

The first one is SKtelecom_Rain vs. Liquid_Hero and the second one is LG-IM_Mvp vs. TSL_Symbol.

With regards to predictions, most people we've talked to (and teamliquid.net as well) expect Rain to win the first match and Mvp to win the second.

This is quite understandable since Rain without a doubt reigns as the most hyped korean right now with him so rapidly improving that it's actually insane.
And when it comes to Mvp, well he is just Mvp. And you never really feel like betting against him do you?

However, we at the The Starcraft Stalker are going to go with our hearts today and say that we think/hope that Hero and Symbol advances.

It will be hard for sure, but we dreamt that Hero were to become the champion of the next 7 GSLs so of course he will make it.
And Symbol?
Well he is just a symbol, and a symbol cannot be defeated. Go watch Batman if you don't believe us...

2 Oct 2012

Do you think some of the SC 2 pros are considering retirement?

Introduction to discussion:

If at some point you were among the best players in the world, it's naturally going to be very frustrating if you're no longer able to make it far in any tournaments.

We've seen some players like HayprO and Jinro retiring recently, partly due to them no longer being able to play at the very highest level, and also both stating that their motivation was no longer what it needed to be.

As the general level has increased dramatically, it's become harder to achieve really good results, even with an all-in dedication.

So with this in mind we wonder: Will a big SC2 star shock us all in the near future by retiring?

The following players are just some of the names that would provide really big news if they were to quit, even though we don't think any of them necessarily are or should be considering retiring.


As we all know he initially performed extremely well and continued to for a long time, but for a while now has not achieved that impressive results.
Sure, he barely qualified for the WCS world finals in Shanghai and has just qualified for the IPL5, but is that enough for someone like him?

Will he quit anytime soon?
Probably not, but it will certainly depend on his results over the next 6 months or so, whether he can continue believing he still has what it takes.


It's pretty safe to say that of pretty much all the players out there, iNcontroL is probably the one that will have the easiest time finding a job in the community, if he stops playing professionally.

He himself has expressed that he still believes he has what it takes, to do well in a big tournament and that he still considers himself a player before anything else.

But at the same time it's been a really long time since he has shown world-class play and since he is such a charismatic character, we doubt it will be that long before he makes the official switch from player to caster/host/manager whatever.


In 2011 he won MLG in Dallas and finished second in Providence as well as beating both Mvp and Nestea in the MLG global Invitational at a time when they were considered the two best players in the world.
In early 2012 he managed to get RO 8 in season 2 and 3 of the GSL code S, but has since then lost a lot of games, some of which were to pretty unknown players.

While we don't think NaNiWa is going to quit at all, as he seems like a guy who believes too much in himself, we still feel he has a very pretty tough road ahead of him.
Especially if he stays in Korea where the competition is just now getting absolutely insane.

Therefore we feel that he probably ought to return from Korea to try and regain his confidence a bit.
Or else lack of results in Korea might eventually be what causes him to break down and retire.


Still considered to be the greatest human on earth by many, he has had a really tough time lately losing clearly in both the GSL and the OSL. While he probably has the game-understanding to theoretically become one of the best players in the world again, it's seems unlikely that he will be able to find the same kind of motivation as some of the young and upcoming players.

Therefore we see it as being realistic that Nestea retires at some point relatively soon unless he suddenly achieves something impressive again.
But if you've created the universe, then anything less than a GSL title must be a disappointment.


The players we mentioned aren't necessarily the ones that are most likely to retire any day soon.

They are just some of the more famous players that aren't producing fantastic results at the moment.

There are of course a long list of players that might be considering retirement, as the life of a pro SC2 gamer in many ways must be damn exhausting.

For most players the pay isn't exactly great, and while you do get to play SC 2 all day, it's only natural that you also need to achieve good results, in order to feel satisfied and happy.

An important thing to add though is that the feeling of self-realisation for most players will also be affected by how much the SC2 scene eventually ends up growing.

If every country in the world ends up having a SC2 scene that really flourishes economically and competitively then perhaps you don't need to be the best in the world to feel like you are achieving something.

Top 5 in Luxembourg might just be enough...