So, here we are yet again! I'm not exactly sure how I managed to make another 10,000 posts to get to a total of 20,000 but it's all fine and dandy, because I did it. That's all that matters, right? Since my early TL days where I was a mere spectator on here, my own story has unfolded in ways that were completely unexpected.
How It Started:
Every story has a humble beginning and mine wasn't any different. After SSL9 had concluded back in 2014, I decided to start doing my own coverage for an online BW tournament that was going on at the time. I started doing this for several reasons. I missed seeing and reading all those epic writeups that BW staff were putting out and I was uploading and watching vods of the tournament from Afreeca onto youtube. At the same time, I figured that this can be beneficial to the community. After all, I wasn't uploading the vods for myself. I merely wanted to preserve BW history.
The tournament that I speak of is none other than 41 Starleague. An online tournament that was already in its second season and was filled with a lot of ex-pros vying for first place. My first writeup was a Ro16 Recap. I put a lot of effort into trying to make it look as good as possible and recapped as concisely as I could. I had no clue what the reception would be like but my hope was that readers would at least enjoy it. Well, suffice to say, the reception was better than expected. I was even asked by one poster if I can do writeups for the other ongoing online tournament, BCTV Starleague. I ended up deciding to also cover that tournament and recapped the Ro16 a few days later. My plan was to recap and preview both tournaments till their conclusion. I ended up recapping and previewing everything except for the finals.
It seems like my work caught the eyes of staff by then. I was invited to join them by 2Pacalypse- and agreed to do so.
SonicTV BJ Sonicleague (SSL) and Kongdoo Starleague (KSL)
I ended up joining staff towards the end of August 2014 and I've been with staff for a little more than 3 years at this point. My first official task involved making and maintaining the BW Reunion LR and then recapping the finals in a writeup put together by Stratos. From there, I ended up volunteering for and holding onto the role of the recapper for the 10th and 11th iteration of SSL. I was staffed officially after SSL10 concluded. I ended up recapping every single game except the third place match for both SSLs and put a lot of time into writing concise recaps as well as doing some analysis so that a reader could quickly understand how things went down and why. I also ended up experimenting a bit with recap presentation and tried different methods to see which was the best method for delivering the required information. All in all, SSL was a huge part of coverage at the time and was the premier BW tournament during this era. A good example of our coverage: Extinction Event.
What you'll notice from this writeup is that it's quite massive. BW coverage from this perspective is a bit different from the old StarCraft II coverage. We bundle up recaps and previews per week so our writeups can have up to 4 groups recapped and 4 groups previewed. Once you add on a battlereport or other articles as well into the writeup, we're talking about pages and pages of information and several writers involved in each writeup. Essentially, it's a huge collaboration between many dedicated and passionate individuals and teamwork is important. While the linked article shows one of our longest writeups (and recaps) for SSL, this article probably shows one of the most epic ones that we ever put together.
BW hype was getting large back in 2015 and SSL was leading the way. It was getting bigger and better with each iteration and the amount of surprisings that were in store for us, the fans, back then were amazing. It was almost like every week, we got some good news. Sponsors, more money into the scene, more ex-pros coming back, different maps, OGN etc... then in the blink of an eye, it all ended. This was really sad to see. You grow attached to something, especially when you sink in a ton of time and effort in covering it and hope to see it flourish but alas, it wasn't meant to be. I will never forget you! <3
On the flip side, there was another BW tournament that started a bit after SSL10 did and that was KSL run by Kongdoo, Yellow's company at the time. TL also ended up covering that tournament as it ran simultaneously with SSL10 and gave us a lot of cool games on some brand new maps with a BO7 finals (Mind vs Kwanro, who would've thought?) to boot. I was already busy with SSL10 so I mostly wrote about the group ceremony and helped by writing some battlereports such as this among others. By the time SSL and KSL concluded for the year, TL's newest tournament, TLC had already been announced and several had been run. The TLS Championship was also announced and was going to be run in the beginning of 2016.
TeamLiquid Legacy Cups (TLC)
To try and help the foreign scene and deliver on a promise made during TLS 1/2/3 regarding the TLS championship, TL decided to put together a series of weekly tournaments with a total prizepool of $100 each that would run for 6 months straight. This was my first foray into tournament organization for the foreign scene. Along with 2pac, I ended up spending a lot of time discussing how TLC will run, rules, tournament system to use, casters, administrators etc... It was pretty interesting to take part in this and imo, TLC ran pretty damn well after the initial issues encountered. So, what was this initial issue? A decision was made to allow Scan to participate due to his contributions to the foreign scene. It was meant to test the waters and based off the results, we would decide if Scan can continue playing or not.
Regardless of our intentions, there was a lot of outrage from players in the TL foreign scene. Though it was stated many times that we were closely following the situation and were taking their feedback into consideration, many seemed to want a decision made right then and there. There were a lot of back and forth discussions about Scan's position in the community, remarks thrown around by some posters and some threads were closed until a final decision after TLC #4.
Our first TLC writeup included our final decision, aka, we recanted after studying the first 4 TLCs and Scan was not allowed to play anymore going forward. He was also banned from the TLS Championship as well for similar reasons. The rest of TLCs ran well with less issues until they concluded towards the end of 2015. VNSL, aka KSL2 which was now essentially Afreeca's tourney (in a way) and was the predecessor of the current ASL started towards the end of Oct 2015 while the TLS Championship started in January 2016.
TeamLiquid Legacy Starleague: Championship (TLS), VANT 36.5 National Starleague (VANT) and Afreeca Starleague (ASL)
I took over coverage at some point towards the end of TLC/beginning of VNSL or so. I had already been involved in a lot of coverage as mentioned above and had no problems leading our team full of passionate and hardworking members. Suffice to say, things ran pretty smoothly. I started editing, formatting, putting stuff together, bugging people for their parts and newsing at some point then. Progression was pretty natural seeing as 2pac was spending a lot of his time on shieldbattery prior to its announcement and prech who played a role in editing and newsing during the SSL days was preoccupied with liquipedia and TLPD as their (mostly) sole contributor.
VNSL was yet another cool offline Korean tournament that was covered much like SSL and KSL. By then, our active staff count was around 7 and we had some sick graphics done by our graphics expert, v1. Just check out our finals preview and recap. The finals between Bisu and EffOrt was pretty epic and EffOrt won his first finals in years! At least it wasn't as much of a thrashing as the SSL11 finals was. The TLS Championship coverage was much of the same and began a bit after VNSL finished though it wasn't as intensive as I would've liked and we never got the finals recap off the ground. Here's an example of what coverage looked like for anyone who's interested: Finals Preview
From there, things have started picking up even more with coverage. ASL started months later with Flash making his first entrance back after quitting Starcraft II only to be dismantled 3-0 by Last in the Ro8 lol. Shuttle was the final champion this ASL and we managed to interview him using top secret channels. Another look at a semifinals writeup for anyone interested. In between tournaments, we aimed to post some articles regarding any other ongoing events or interesting happenings in the Afreeca scene such as the Many Faces of Guemchi and the Legends Match between TBLS.
It was before the start of ASL2, back in October 2016 that my leadership was finally recognized by TL. I was promoted, aka redded and with this, got access to moderator tool and new forums that shall not be spoken of. I made sure to moderate as wisely and fairly as I could since then and made sure to bug KadaverBB with any questions before pulling the trigger. I also got a chance to get a custom icon which was nice. I would've never imagined going this far years ago.
ASL2 started a little over a month later with a lot of hype. I would say the highest since the crazy hype that came with SSL securing OGN for the 10th iteration. We managed to revive the Power Rank and maintain it since then. We had all of TBLS participate and make it into the Ro8. Then we had FvJ which broke lots of records in this era and showed that BW is alive and well! A total of 300k viewers tuned in to watch Jaedong take it to a deciding game 5 on Eye of the Storm. We kept up our coverage quality throughout, interviewed ZerO after giving the community a chance to ask him questions and got a chance to interview TBLS. It was a really busy time but the community was abuzz and the LRs were pretty vibrant. I mean, who doesn't remember all those sheep filled pages whenever Jaedong won a game?
Soon after ASL2 finished, the Afreeca Team Battle (ATB) started and we got our Cinderella story as Team GuemChi made the finals despite being declared one of the weaker teams and beat Team Flash with Soulkey grabbing the deciding game on Circuit Breaker against Flash! Just when talks of Tesagi were starting to gain steam, they were squashed, even if temporarily. Of course, this loss to Soulkey affected Flash to the point where his ASL3 theme was all about revenge! We saw Flash make good on his word as he made the second finals in a row! Who can forget all those cool games and crazy upsets? sSak being on fire, Soulkey taking Flash to a close game 5 (includes a 4 pool!), Shine outsmarting Mong in TvZ and making the finals to met Flash etc... Some examples of coverage for you guys: 1, 2 and 3.
There were a lot of other things as well like being able to interview remastered devs but I think I wrote enough already. It's definitely been a fun and rewarding experience being at the forefront of BW coverage and with the way things are ramping up with the release of remastered, things will only get busier from here on out. The foreign scene is alive and kicking with more tourneys than ever before and much more in store.
These 5 articles were all pieces that can be considered my favourites. I have an unwritten rule that I don't put out something unless I'm satisfied with it and it's extremely rare that I've broken this. From that perspective, I also loved a lot of the SSL recaps that I wrote back when I first started. Of course, seeing as I've been involved in pretty much most articles since I became EiC, I'm pretty satisfied overall with the work that we are putting out.
1) SSL article: Sonic's Legacy: SSL's Lasting Impact
The reason this article tops my list should be pretty obvious by now. I was a huge SSL fanboy. SSL articles were the reason I started contributing in the first place and I put a lot of time into covering SSL thoroughly with the team. I was heartbroken when the news came out that it was gone. For me, this article was essentially a goodbye to an old friend, much like the days when folks were sad about the demise of MSL and OSL. The amount of time I put into writing this was unfathomable. From the time I started, it took 2 months to get it done. This includes writing the css, trying to get the vod slider to work, watching old vods and re-reading coverage/threads etc... I was putting several hours a day (we're talking 5-6 hours at times) for at least a month. I would write a section then go back and fix it until I was satisfied then once I rewrote another section, I'll go back and read everything and edit again. Even just trying to make a vod list was extremely time demanding. However, for me, time was not a concern. This was all about my passion and love for SSL. It never got the closing treatment that it deserved and I feel that I delivered with the writeup. The reception was great and the overall graphics while different from my original vision, were also wonderful. I felt like I laid an old friend to rest. Love SSL <3
2) Power Rank: ASL2 Power Rank
The Power Rank has a huge history in the BW community. The lack of constant tournaments and time has made it difficult to consistently put out a PR in the post-KeSPA era, however, with this PR, we ended up reviving it. While I did not sink in as much time as the SSL article, I still put it a lot of time looking at statistics, streaming, sponmatches etc... in order to decide on the ranking which can be difficult at times. This was meant to be a team project but I ended up having to write most of the entries and decided on the final rankings on my own after some team consultations. The result was pretty satisfying and got the community talking. I can't really top that by much. It was also pretty cool to see STX hero actually look at the PR on Afreeca with his viewers. I'm not really sure if someone linked it to him and I don't know what his response was but I'm not complaining either.
3) TaekBangLeeSsang Interview: TBLS Interview
This should be self-explanatory. TBLS are some of the most popular and best players to ever touch the game. Their rivalry was off the charts during the KeSPA era. Getting the chance to ask them any question I wanted due to Afreeca's facilitation was great and I think fans would've flipped out at the possibility had this been done during the KeSPA era. The only regret was that this was done online, not offline and there was no possibility of asking followup questions but one must crawl before they walk. I'm sure that if I was in Korea at the time, I could've met them all, asked questions directly and took some pictures. Regardless, it was still pretty awesome and I ended up asking most of the questions there. I even managed to ask about the PR and of course, Flash is satisfied with his ranking lol.
4) TLC Finals Writeup: TLC: In Numbers
With TLC finished, a final post had to be written that tried to summarize everything. By then, we've only managed to put out an article during the earlier editions and recapping another 16 tournaments was out of the question. This was the result of some brainstorming and lots of data analysis. I personally really liked this infograph because it felt like it summarized the important parts of TLC that everyone wanted to know and was extremely pleasant to look at. It also ended up conforming to my vision that I drew using paint so all the better. v1 did a kickass job with the graphics so props to him as well. Still one of my favourites infographs to look at to this day.
5) Revolution: 10 Years On
This article marked the 10 year anniversary of Bisu starting the revolution and upsetting Savior 3-0 when everyone wrote him off back in 2007. I liked it because it served as a good reminder overall and it was a collaboration piece done by myself and Plexa. Most of my pieces have been written by yours truly so this was a new territory. Some folks did seem to misunderstood the intention of the article though thinking that it was meant to rival God of the Battlefield but this was a totally different type of article. It served its purpose, came out well and I get chills watching that Savior video every single time. Viva revolution!
Obligatory BW Section:
While I still dodge TvT and play the occasional TvP, TvZ has stolen my heart and won't relinquish it to this day. Since my last 10k blog, I've improved tremendously in this matchup. It's much like I said in my ICCup blog from back then: " Gone are the days where I lost to zerglings/lurkers and I now welcome the days where I lose to defilers/ultralisks more often XD". Must've predicted the future because the amount of times I've lost to late game zerg is insane. Even when I've held the advantage, I can never seem to close it off at times. At least my macro is pleasant to the eye:
Pro or Scrub Macro?
First off, I'm a huge fan of Korean casting. I don't even have to understand it. I'm talking about the energy of the cast. You can just feel it! As someone who has played, watched and discussed the game a lot, Korean casting is where its at. However, the BW community has some pretty damn good english casters who know the game well and can adjust to their audience. I usually try to tune in when there's casting. I've had a chance to get some of my games casted, including a grudgematch, so in no particular order:
1) Sayle: this guy is badass, kickass, one of my favourite casters of all time and one of the best in the scene atm. You thought tastosis was good? Then you don't know Sayle or have never heard his casting. His balance between knowledge and humour is unparalleled imo and I still have fond memories of watching PL, even if it was the hybrid league at the time. He's also someone who sinks a ton of time into casting and is quite familiar with the foreign community. I managed to get Sayle to cast some reps of mine, both TvZs against a close friend, just the other day so for anyone who's interested in some of the craziest and most bizzare TvZs ever: TvZ Paradise
2) Bisudagger: let's say that BD knows what passion is. As someone who is a staff member and has been casting for 4 years straight in the post-KeSPA era (on hiatus atm), BD was at the forefront of the casting gig. He also supported the scene through seeking sponsors and running tournaments. BD has other powers though. During his fight club, one of his donation incentives was hit and I got stuck having to play a grudgematch against our gfx artist, v1 who was some B level protoss player in the old days. Suffice to say, I got destroyed... badly lol. The vods seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth so if you were someone who got to watch the games live, consider yourself lucky! Will link them if I manage to find them but maybe I shouldn't
3) L_Master: another pretty cool commentator in the post-KeSPA era who is knowledgeable and a founder of the D ranks single and team league. L_Master had a nice segment that he ran when he came back to TL after a hiatus that focused on community casts. I ended up submitting a PvZ on Tau Cross where myself and my close friend both offraced. Let's just say that L_master was both impressed and probably stupefied at some of what was taking place haha. For anyone who's interested in watching the cast: hmm
I have continued writing blogs that serve to highlight many of my bizzare games that I've played on ICCup and Shieldbattery. I also experimented a lot by using more gifs, fpv etc... in my writeups such as the drifting tank above. It's been fun so far and was also a treat reading all the good comments. Now without further ado, my favourite blogs:
1) I finally managed to win: Late game TvZ
This blog takes first place primarily due to its significance. To put things into perspective, while my TvZ was improving, I was unable to win a late game TvZ unless I managed to take down a third. This was the first game where I finally broke that. I used a lot of drops, double expanded at times and a large bank to come back from the brink of defeat in one of my craziest victorious to date. The game itself was close to an hour long but the lessons learned were for life! Also, if you've never seen a ~480mb gif in your life, you better tune in because this was an experiment in the making.
2) That moment...First FPV
One of the coolest thing to watch in BW is a first person view. At that time, I was trying to record some using Xsplit and fold's method. I finally managed to record some and eventually managed to capture one of my best games ever at the time. It was also a game that was pretty exhausting because it was close to 50 minutes of never ending macro, micro and harass in late game TvZ. Despite putting my opponent on the rope, I could not deliver the finishing blow but the game itself is a great watch for anyone who wants to see what a comeback in BW is like.
3) 3v3 BGH with IntoTheRainbow and 2pac: Battle Report
When expro IntoTheRainbow, aka HopeTorture in Starcraft II came to try shieldbattery, we ended up getting the opportunity to play some games with him. Being able to communicate with an expro in broken english was great and all but being on his team was even better. Of course, the coolest part was that my micro was complemented on stream lol. This is probably one of the only BGH battlereports that I will ever write.
4) Life of CC Planet Earth Parody
Planet Earth is one of my favourite shows of all time, especially because of David Attenborough. Seeing an opportunity arise, I decided to do a battle report on a bizzare BW game that I had played while staying true to the spirit of Planet Earth. The result was a story about CC and how it survives the harsh environments of Heartbreak Ridge. One of my more creative blogs and definitely worth the read imo.
5) World Cup 2014: World Cup
Back when the World Cup rolled around in 2014, I ended up tuning in for a good portion of the later stages of the tournament. It was quite the ride and there were lots of cool discussions, gifs and pics so I'm definitely tuning in for the next one. I decided to recap the world cup from my perspective, including all the major highlights and I was pretty satisfied with how it ended up. I do recommend the read for anyone who enjoyed the WC and don't forget to click on the gif links littered throughout. Some of them still work to this very day!
Well, this section was pretty difficult to write because I've talked to a lot of members over the years. I tried my best not to miss anyone! Keep in mind that these are in no particular order:
1) BW Staff: 2pac, prech, Bisudagger, Stratos, v1, BLinD-RawR, Sayle, FlaShFTW, amazingxkcd, c3rberUs, bioboyat lemmata, EsportsJohn, Ty2, Ziggy, TheNewEra, Peeano, ninazerg and HaN
You guys rock! We've had a couple of crazy and busy year with BW rising to the top once again. Coverage has been great overall and the passion is deep. Thanks for all your hard work and hoping that we can continue working together for years to come! Also, that night where we played 2v2 BGH for close to 5 hours straight was crazy good. We need to do that again! XD
2) JieXian: As my ongoing zerg practice partner, your zerg shenanigans have always driven me nuts over the years and you have stolen victory from his grasp many times. Regardless, my skills in the matchup have also reached new heights thanks to your help and I've had the opportunity to play on a lot of new and cool maps. Here's to many more years of TvZ games and maybe, just maybe I'll finally win a 3 port wraith game lol.
3) Falling: As my protoss practice partner from the old DRTL days, you made me tear my hair out in every TvP we played >< Up to this day, I've never won a single TvP against you despite trying my hardest to do so and even when I had a large advantage like that one game on Neo Jade where you did the stove and failed it. Though it's been years since we've played some games, maybe we'll find the time for a game or two in the near future.
4) TLADT: We've had our differences over the years but also some good times. A cool bunch of peeps for anyone who wants to take part in an anime community. I would mention names but I am pretty sure I will miss someone. Golden rule is to remember that everyone's taste but yours is shitty and you'll fit right in! On a more serious note, a lot of good discussions have been had over the years. Hopefully, the good times keep rolling.
5) DRTL Team: It's been ages since I participated in a team league but playing under the stealth bunnies tag was good fun. Deciding on the games and players, playing together and obsing games was all great and helped us improve our game plus it led to some fun chats. It's too bad the semis/finals never panned out but our adventure has at least been documented on LP!
6) KadaverBB: My soulmate on this site who has been instrumental to my growth as a moderator. I've lost track of how many times I've bugged you with questions before I pushed that warn or ban button. Though I'm able to stand on my own now and don't bug you nearly as much (I should bug you more!), it's been pretty fun to learn the ins and outs of moderation. Many thanks for that!
7) Admins (Plexa, lichter): We've had a lot of interesting discussions regarding BW and you both have been pretty open about your thoughts. You have also been always there for questions/concerns or even when I had to request assistance. Pretty reliable overall (well, Plexa is at least lol). Can't really ask for better admins!
8) Seeker: My nemesis when it comes to moderation. Despite putting up a good fight, you still kept falling short and even asked for somewhat of a truce haha. Also, rigging this TLCMAT has finally caught up to you. I hope you learned your lesson! On a more serious note, keep patrolling these forums and being awesome!
9) Others: Tec for his shieldbattery, pandemona for his social media assistance and any guests writers who have helped with our coverage. Thanks for the help!
Anyone who has loved the game through all the good and bad times and who has spurred us on during our coverage, you my friend are fantastic! Keep spurring us on and we'll keep trying to deliver as much as we can! After all, it's our passion and love for the game that make us go the distance. Will all that said, thanks for anyone who managed to read through this blog.
For preservation purposes: + Show Spoiler +