Wanted to write a little on this past weekends MLG Dallas 2012. I went to the event with no expectations or any pressure on myself, one of the first times I just went to play without worrying about how anything would go. Probably because most of the events I've played in this year I've done pretty terribly in minus some WCS qualifiers in May where I was actually playing really well for an extended period of time. I was really inactive from right after MLG Raleigh till about 2 weeks before this event. Played very little over the course of August through early October (for various reasons, I'm getting back into running pretty seriously, also work got pretty busy for a while and I've just had less motivation to play starcraft in general as I still think TvZ is sort of a broken matchup and really boring to play, watch or even study) also I was planning on playing 100 games the weekend before MLG but there ended up being a hurricane so I ended up staying over my parents place for 3 days when I was planning on doing nothing but practicing. when I'm not playing alot I get really freaking bad, I'm already bad enough even when I do play alot. my best playstyle has always been refining and working on timings or learning a bunch of different builds which takes alot of practice and studying especially for terran. People who play a more freestyle and are better at adapting or creativity don't need to practice the same way or as much in my opinion.
Dallas is probably my least favorite city I've gone to for MLG. It's a pretty nice looking city and is pretty big and has some nice hotels (the new Omni hotel is amazing) but I've had a few weird experiences while visiting here now for 2 MLG's and have heard so many other sketchy stories it's just not a place I care to visit much. I've gone to a bunch of cities throughout the US now for MLG's in the past 2 years, Raleigh multiple times, Columbus multiple times, Anaheim, Providence and this was my 2nd trip to Dallas. Just walking around the streets in Dallas is annoying because of the amount of panhandlers/people begging for money. I think Future and I got approached by 3 people over the course of 5 minutes as we walked just a few blocks from the convention center to get lunch in the middle of the day yesterday. (The chipotle we tried going to ended up being closed too so it was a fail all around) People just come up to you wherever you are. I ate twice at a McDonalds a couple blocks from the convention center and both times I ate there random people were walking through the place as you're eating asking for money. I'm from DC and I guess I usually stick to the nice areas so stuff like this is just weird for me. how people can walk into a McDonalds while you're eating and just ask you for money is so strange to see and so annoying to have to worry about or deal with. Ret, Naniwa and Sjow all apparently got mugged in Dallas 2011 and it doesn't surprise me at all, walking alone literally anywhere feels risky, at least just a few blocks north of the convention center. Last night I had to catch a cab back to the hotel where Future and I were staying at and I was alone because Future had gone back early. Anyway I walked to the place where we had caught a cab the last night but there was nothing there except one guy who was like "yeah I'm not working right now find another cab" and he recommended I go stand at "that corner over there" And he pointed to a corner near a grayhound bus stop where like 5 or 6 of the most sketch guys you can imagine were sitting around doing nothing, I crossed the street to start walking over there for some stupid reason and some guy tries to talk to me "hey man you need a cab I can hook you up" it was then I had one of those I need to get out of here asap moments, I basically half ran straight into the closest hotel a block and a half away and had them call a cab for me...walking alone anywhere at any time is not smart in this city, at least not beyond the 2 block radius of the convention center and the Omni. Apparently there were riots and stuff in some parts of the city not too long ago, no idea what that's about but some parts of Dallas seem to be rougher than any other city I've been to.
Anyway on to the actual event. I've been to every MLG championship event this year and the crowd for Dallas felt like the smallest for an MLG in a while. The crowd was still pretty good but I personally felt it was smaller and/or less enthusiastic than usual. Perhaps the LoL and Halo4 crowds were quite large and sc2 for the first time in nearly 2 years didn't feel like the biggest/most important thing going on at the venue. LoL was an equal if not bigger crowd and halo4 didn't even have a stage but they had hundreds of people near the back making quite a bit of noise especially near the end, it reminded me a little of what Starcraft looked like way back in MLG DC 2010, Halo had the main stage area for that event but there were so many more people there for Starcraft making so much more noise you just felt starcraft had more life. Didn't really want to go into the whole sc2 is dying thing, I think talking about sc2 dying or thinking about it isn't really productive, instead people should just do things to help it grow instead of waste time worrying or talking about it dying.
Anyway moving on to my actual games, Friday came along and I did great in warmups, surprisingly going like 10-3 on ladder beating lots of good players and just generally feeling better than usual. The bracket came out and I once again got stuck with a pretty insane bracket My path to group play I would have had to beat Sson/(M18M in bw), MC, Moonglade Huk and somebody else. yeah that's probably not happening so just go out and have fun+do my best(typical approach I try to apply to any MLG or tournament). So I had a bye, played a random protoss guy in round 2 and found myself against Sson in round 3, I lost game 1 pretty stupidly and won game 2 almost equally as stupidly. I did a cloak banshee build vs his 7gate no robo allin, I defended his gateway attack and a banshee killed like 20 probes and denied mining at his main for almost 2 full minutes, I almost found a way to screw up, probably was nervous when I realized I was SO far ahead. still managed to win with a marine tank push. Game 3 was actually very close and my best played game of the series but I made a few key scouting mistakes and got caught fighting in a pretty bad spot. I actually for one of the first times in over a year felt slightly nervous throughout both games2 and 3, game 3 was especially bad because I kept wondering how monumental it would be if I actually won. Had I found a way to block those thoughts out and not let myself get content by just taking a single game off him I think I actually should have won as crazy as that sounds. I was actually playing at a higher level in game 3 I could feel it, just made a couple minor mistakes that cost me. My TvP was by far my best matchup going into the event I was taking games off really good players both on NA and KR server in the weeks leading up to MLG. my TvZ is super terrible though so my ladder rating and overall stats never really showed much improvement even though I was doing so well in my TvP's.
Anyway after losing to Stardust I wasn't that sad, in fact I was really happy I took a game and played a pretty solid game 3 vs a kespa/former bw pro. Stardust lost to MC right after he beat me so he also got kicked to the lower bracket pretty early. The next day I watched most of Stardusts games and he crushed through kids easy mode all day. He made some good people like Everize and Theognis look silly, both Terran users who are significantly better players than me overall. (theognis series sucked though, for some idiotic reason neither of them vetoed Tal Darim so that ended up being the 2nd map and theognis did some desperation 1base hellion banshee siege allin...) Stardust made the championship bracket finally losing to Soulkey after winning 5 series in a row in the losers bracket. I hadn't seen Stardust play at all before this event and had no idea how good he actually was so I was mainly interested in how impressive me playing him really close was.
My losers bracket run was pretty short, I played against Flatline in losers 3 and won pretty easily, wish I could have continued playing TvP, my TvP at the moment really is pretty legit. But sadly round 4 I had to play tgun, somebody who I know I've lost to a couple times on ladder and he's knocked me out of at least a couple playhems I believe. I should have played super greedy against him because he turtled so hard, but I did builds I have been practicing more recently, 2base hellion/marine/medivac timing builds which are just pretty shitty in TvZ these days. TvZ is a very frustrating matchup to play and has been for me since at least June. I usually rotate around with different timings or builds for TvZ but nothing really works anymore so my winrate in that matchup is probably under 30% vs good/known players.
The only other notable losers bracket thing I really remember was flo vs Incontrol which drew a massive crowd. Incontrol came dangerously close to joining me in the flowned club but I think flo was nervous or just played bad because in game 3 she got ghosts ridiculously late and made a bunch of bad attacks in bad spots. She did take game 2 off him pretty easily, the feeling around that match when it was 1-1 was pretty crazy and was definitely a fun match to watch.
Anyway I do intend to quit playing competitively at least for now. This was the last major tournament I plan on playing in for a while at least. The game has gotten bland and stale for me, even watching recent tournaments has gotten really boring. I feel I've seen and played vs most everything at this point. Studying games and learning new things doesn't really exist anymore because most zerg players play the same, and it forces the other two races into very specific counters or a seemingly very limited number of options. People playing the same is fine if its at least interesting to watch, but zerg players making infestors every single game just isn't that fun to watch anymore and is probably why 30k people left the MLG stream as soon as Flash lost yesterday. It just feels very demotivating and annoying to have to play TvZ, Terran is constantly on a razors edge all game in that matchup while zerg can actually make many many mistakes and still win. Hero vs Scarlett game 3 on Tal Darim on Saturday was one of the most depressing games to watch as a fan of the game. Hero had outplayed scarlett the entire game (I only saw the end, just speaking off what I heard) but Hero was unable to really finish off the main army of broodlords/infestors because scarlett kept preventing a killer vortex/archon toilet (the only real way protoss has a chance of beating maxed lategame zerg in my opinion) eventually scarlett just kept fungaling small squads of units while both of them were not mining and had no base and finally 25 minutes later Hero finally lost. I think he typed something like "good balance" during the end game when he realized he was eventually going to lose because infestors would keep fungaling/throwing infested terrans. It was pretty stupid to watch and I could tell even Scarlett after the game knew it was dumb.
Anyway that's that, very fun event overall, some nice mafia games in the late night and it's always amazing seeing all of my friends in the community. time for a few shoutouts before I'm done, future for hooking me up with a room, storrzerg for being an awesome manager, Grant(theBOOCH) for picking me up from the airport and housing me on the first night again. Zaranth for making me an amazing poster/cheerful, and anyone else who's helped or supported me through any MLG 2012 event, it was a great year. I don't know what 2013 will hold in terms of MLG and HoTS but 2012 was a great year and I'm really glad I was able to attend all 4 championship events this year.