Sure, there've been extra distractions this year—work's been a killer, and I had a MSc dissertation to write—but to be completely honest, SC2's not my game anymore. Hell, it's not been my game since the launch of Legacy. I'm sure there are many of you out there who love the new direction of the game, and I'm happy that that's the case for you, but unfortunately it just isn't true for me.
It's not that I hate the game now—I still like it enough to watch when I've got some spare time, or to head down to HSC to meet up with friends—but I just don't love it unconditionally like I did with HotS, sinking every evening I had into watching literally every game played on LAN for three years. I'm happy if SC2 is still that thing for you, but it's not for me anymore; and that's fine. I'm far more invested in who won—players I've been following for nearly eight years now—than how.
In 2015, I wrote because I loved to write about Starcraft. In 2016, I wrote because I felt that there were things that needed writing, and if no one else was around to do it, it might as well've been me. This year, there's just not been that need.
I'm still going to be around; there are articles to edit and post, and the occasional desperation 3am article panic-writeup is bound to come up sometime again. I'll still be following every tournament that happens, and I might even head down to HSC again for a third year in a row next winter. It's just that I'll be more in the background than spamming the TL news feed twice a week. Maybe I'll be back; maybe I'll fall back in love with SC2 on the new patch (though BL infestor can fuck off and die). There's still an article on GuMiho that I've been retooling for over a year now, and I'll probably get round to finishing it soon. But if this is where it comes to an end, I'm happy with the journey.
Thanks to Zealously for giving me a shot; to lichter for teaching me how to write and manage things; to Olli for always being there to tell me about why I'm wrong about protoss. Thanks to all the zombies in writers' chat for keeping me amused for the past three years, and thanks to everyone who's ever taken something out of a piece I've written.
If you want to re-read anything I've ever written, here's a list. In particular, I thought my herO and TY pieces were pretty decent, and the article on Squirtle is without a doubt my favourite thing I've ever written.
Seeing as I don't know if this'll ever be written or changed anymore, my final list of the top 10 games / series / things in SC2 (this is my list so I'll cheat as much as I want):
10. Any extreme bullshit cheese that shouldn't work but does (too many to list)
This isn't to celebrate bullshit in SC2. Adept rushes in early LotV were bullshit and utterly dreadful to watch; reaper rushes are also pretty fucking bad to watch. This is to celebrate the bullshit that shouldn't work. The kind of bullshit in Mystery vs TooDming, where China showed that mass oracle's always been pretty hilariously good, or in Patience vs TRUE; probably the closest game of SC2 ever played. Or indeed every Has game under the sun. They will all be remembered. (See also: Top vs viOLet
9. jjakji vs Leenock (GSL November 2011, Grand Finals) G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6
Still the greatest finals ever played in SC2. It's the little things; the hidden base on Tal'Darim Altar, Leenock's crushing ZvT supremacy, jjakji's never-say-die attitude on Bel'Shir Beach. No other final has been this consistently good.
8. Curious vs TRUE (DH Valencia '15, Grand Finals) G2
ZvZs aren't meant to be like this. There were a handful of good ZvZ games in WoL / HotS, mostly revolving around insane ling / bane wars (Leenock vs Life / DRG vs NesTea) or around one key moment of genius (Scarlett vs TooDming). This though was something completely different; a demonstration of the controlled chaos and multitasking harass that ZvZ could be. It's by far my favourite ZvZ game in SC2.
7. TRUE vs MyuNgSiK (SPL '14, Playoff Semifinals) G3
Still the greatest example of a player undergoing a complete mental breakdown under pressure. I don't think I've ever laughed harder at a game.
6. Sculp vs Symbol (GSTL S2, Metropolis) G6
Middling terran going up against the twin forces of Symbol's GSTL dominance and BL infestor? Some players might remembered for championships, but others are immortal for a single game of perfection. Sculp is one of the latter.
5. INnoVation vs TaeJa (WCS S2 Finals 2013, Ro.16, Newkirk Precinct) G3
Inarguably the most high level TvT ever played. Nothing else in HotS even came close. To analyse it would take thousands of words; just watch it. And if you've seen it already, just watch it again.
4. Squirtle vs Soulkey (GSL S1 2013, Ro.16, Neo Planet S) G2 / Mvp vs Leenock (GSL November 2011, Ro.4, Dual Sight) G2
There's no type of game in SC2 I value more than a fight against near-certain defeat. Both Squirtle and Mvp know that they are absolutely fucked in these games; the types of games you'd instantly GG out of on ladder and requeue up. The fact that they didn't gave us two of the most miraculous games in SC2 history. Both are playing against the very best zergs in the world at the time; both are hopelessly behind; both somehow, someway, convince us watching that they had a chance. (See also, Mvp vs INnoVation)
3. GuMiho vs Losira (GSL S1 2013, Ro.16) G1, G2, G3
Game 1 itself was pretty brilliant. Game 2 upped the stakes. Game 3 cemented this as the best series ever played in Starcraft 2. No other Bo3 even comes close. People rightly give the forgotten GSL season a hard kicking for being the GSL: BL-infestor edition, but frankly I'd watch an entire season of that for these two miracles to exist.
2. INnoVation vs Curious (IEM NY Asian Qualifiers, Frost)
Throughout HotS, bio vs muta-ling-bane TvZ was the inarguable premier matchup in the game. Sure, there were times when balance was horrifically tilted in one way or the other, but at all times, it was still an insanely fun matchup to watch, and the fact that it's all but dead in LotV makes me incredibly sad. INnoVation vs Curious is undoubtedly my favourite of the lot, if only because it came out of absolutely nowhere. INnoVation was still the dominant TvZer in the world, and to watch Curious produce one of the best ZvT performances ever seen, among a handful of twitch viewers similarly dedicated to watching the KR qualifiers was like how I'd imagine old people sound when they say that they first heard the Beatles play live in a random Liverpudlian pub. As it unfolded, it justified all my faith in watching everything that Korean Starcraft had to offer.
1. MMA vs GuMiho (GSTL S2 Finals, Antiga Shipyard)
The game that changed everything for me. Even in blurry GOM 240p; even with having to pause every minute or so to google "What is a rax?"; the very first game I ever watched in SC2 is maybe still the best. As an introduction to Starcraft, nothing could have given me more of an indication of why this is the game that I'd choose to love.