There is now less than 24 hours before the TSL Ladder will come to a close. The TSL Ladder Standings will stop updating, and everything will grind to a halt. Speculation about qualifier groups will begin, and accusations about ladder abuse will run wild. As people make a last ditch attempt to gain points things are going to get crazy - not that they haven't been already! Everything is so close around rank #48 that I guarantee you no one in the last few ranks will be having a good night sleep tonight. As always, you can check out the current ladder standings in the TSL Ladder Standings thread.
Alas, the abuse has already started. F91 was caught getting free wins from a friend. Upon being questioned he admitted he cheated and has decided to withdraw from the TSL. Ladder abuse is not acceptable in the TSL and rest assured we will be going over every single player's record from the top 48 and checking for abuse. Do not take the final standings in the thread as gospel - those are subject to change after the points have been adjusted to account for rule breaking. Let F91's case be a warning to anyone tempted to abuse their way in at the last second - the TSL admins will be taking a hard line against anyone caught cheating.
While the F91 incident has brought shame to himself, and his team, we applaud the DuskBin Team manager, ash, for getting right to the heart of the matter and sorting this whole thing out. He has gone over and above to try and get Chinese participation in this league and it is a shame that F91 committed such a despicable act to ruin all his hard work. Despite F91 wasting ash's efforts, ash has remained mannered, civil and professional throughout the ordeal and the TSL Admins take our hats off to him and thank him for his cooperation.
Now let's get off this regrettable topic and onto something worth discussing. Here is the final installment of 'Ladder Talk' featuring the final four players who were eliminated from the Razer TSL.
In this last installment of Ladder Talk we wrap up the last four players who lost in the Round of 16 in the Razer TSL. These four players represent some of the biggest names in the Starcraft community and are huge favorites to go far in this tournament. They are none other than Cloud, Mondragon, Ret and IdrA. With less than 24 hours to go - how are these guys shaping up on the Ladder?
Cloud is a player who amassed an incredible amount of fans here at TeamLiquid. Why? He’s the Cookie Monster Protoss!! . He participated in TL: Attack! and was one of our favourite guests on the show. In the Razer TSL he lost IefNaij 1-2 in the Round of 16 – almost eliminating the TSL Champion. After playing in Blizzcon in 2008, Cloud took a bit of a break from Starcraft in 2009 and left ToT. With that said though, his skill has not deteriorated significantly and still played in a few tournaments this year like JSI - but more notably he won WCG Italy. At WCG 2009 he surprised many people by taking out Draco, Fenix and Louder (but losing to Kolll and Jaedong).
It looked as if Cloud wasn't going to make it into the top ranks as he started in the TSL ladder quite late. But nevertheless, he has done it. He currently sits in the worst seat in the house - #48. His fate is not certain as one win from someone below him could push him out to #49 and out of the TSL. It's going to be an uneasy 24 hours for Cloud but I hope he hangs in the top ranks - he's an entertaining player!
While Mondragon has been less active in recent times (which can be seen in things like his decision not to play in WCG Germany this year) he still has managed to climbs the ranks and currently sits at #5 on the ladder. With less than a day to go a seat in the lucrative top 12 seems certain which makes qualifying for the TSL significantly easier for him. Mondragon is like the Mr Germany of Starcraft – and we all hope that Mondragon makes it through to the Top 16, because really, that’s where he belongs.
Back around early 2007 ret decided to make a return to Starcaft and he rebuilt up his skill. His skill steadily increased after the Razer TSL and he rested among the elite of foreign Starcraft. A while ago, Ret decided to take Starcraft more seriously and he rapidly improved and quickly became the undisputed #1 non-Korean Zerg. As we all know, this later lead to him pursuing his dream to become a progamer in Korea. Ret’s Razer TSL run was cut short by Nony in the Round of 16 which at that stage did not come as a huge surprise.
Things have changed now. In 2009 the only player not considered an underdog against Ret is Idra. As such, he is a huge favourite to take out this tournament – and with it the $10000 first prize. Ret’s had a very successful year already though. His total earnings this year (from Starcraft tournaments) amasses to around $3,300 – not bad for a 10 year old game. He also attended Blizzcon 2009 where he famously defeated Nada on Colosseum II. Ret has barely touched his TSL account in a while and is banking on his A rank to net him a seat in the top 12. Three players need to surpass his total for him to drop out of the top 12 - something I don't see happening with so little time left in the ladder (and so much risk in still playing the ladder!)
But what happened in the Razer TSL? Idra had just moved to Korea to become a progamer and there was a lot of hype around him. After narrowly missing out on the top 16, he survived a cheese onslaught from DashWriter and then dominated his qualifier group. However, he came up against the mighty White-Ra in the Ro16 where he lost 1-2. Ironically, in almost every encounter since then, Idra has destroyed White-Ra (the most recent time being at WCG 2009). Idra's sheer determination to stay in Korea and improve, despite the terrible conditions for foreigners, is something he deserves credit for - and is the reason he holds such a strong position this season.
This season Idra holds the same position that Mondragon did – he is the favourite, and there is every expectation that he will perform. However, this season there are so many Zergs placing in high positions something bad might go wrong in the Round of 16. Idra lost to Kolll at WCG 2009 and has been known to lose to cheesy Zergs in the past – thus his victory in the TSL is by no means a sure thing. In the meantime though, Idra should hold his #1 rank since he has a clear 1000 point lead over #2. That means we get to look forward to seeing Nony vs Idra – a former progamer vs a current one – in early January.
Everyone took note when Infernal defeated Kolll on the ladder 8-2 some time ago. TeamLiquid decided to investigate this a bit further so we begged Infernal to give us a glimpse into this series. He produced this replay as the defining game of the series - and Pangshai was only too eager to write a Battle Report for it!
Infernal vs Kolll
A battle report by Pangshai
This match featured two Germans - one fresh off a WCG fourth place finish, a young upstart who surprised everyone by beating Idra 2-0, the other a perennial WCG contestant, having competed with the best for as long as we remember. They met on Heartbreak Ridge, which, having been out for a while now, both players have had tonnes of practice on.
Some friendly banter marking the beginning of the game, the pair opted for standard openings, forge FE against overpool into double expo. Besides some probe control by Infernal to block Kolll's hatcheries, the early game played out in textbook style, and both players sat back and macroed up with their expansions done.
Following the completion of his core, Infernal quickly warped a stargate and a robotics facility while starting the +1 air weapons upgrade, his objective: corsair/reaver. Kolll, however, was more than prepared, his economy strong with three bases, hydra upgrades completed, and lings burrowed in position for good recon. Be it his original gameplan all along, or in response to Kolll's play, Infernal elected to get the reaver damage upgrade before shuttle speed, delaying the mobility of his corsair reaver.
The game continued with Infernal adding more gateways, churning out dragoons and reavers while waiting for his shuttle speed to complete. Might we have read his play wrongly? Was he instead going for a goon/reaver timing push? His corsair count was strangely high, but he had also started +1 weapons. Whatever it was, Infernal eventually moved out with an army of two groups of goons, along with four shuttled reavers and a small fleet of corsairs.
This army made its way over to Kolll's choke. There it met a welcoming party of well spread lurkers and a vast contingent of hydra/ling. Infernal's first observer was picked off, and his corsairs soon joined it in the afterlife, but a menancing army still awaited the arrival of an observer. One joined them subsequently, and a huge battle began. It seemed the Protoss was outmatched in terms of firepower and that Kolll would take an easy victory, but the reavers proved more resilient than expected, their damage upgrade enabling them to take down large scores of hydras with each scarab.
The battlefield was ridden with hydra blood and blue dragoon goo at the conclusion of the battle, both sides, nursing some heavy casualties. Infernal had taken the opportunity to expand to his third while teching to templars, and Kolll had similarly taken a fourth base at his mineral only. The pair, now sat a little and macroed up new armies, Kolll trying unsuccessfully to apply pressure at Infernal's third, and Infernal similarly failing to do damage with his drop on the mineral only.
Making a switch to mutas, Koll then headed over to Infernal's main, looking to do some damage. They picked off a good number of probes, but Infernal had, in the meantime, cleared out the lurkers on his cliff, and pushed his army up to Kolll's choke again. This time it was supported by both templar and reavers, and Kolll's observer sniping did not net all of Infernal's observers. Infernal took out the defending lurkers easily and headed for Kolll's nat, which also fell, thanks in part to a relentless stream of reinforcements.
Following this, the largely goon army headed up to Kolll's third, strangely, leaving the main and the newly completed defiler tech intact. As with all goon armies, lings gobbled it up whole, and Kolll looked set to take the game, their supplies roughly equal, and Infernal hugely down on bases, only mining from one to Kolll's four (including a rebuilding nat). A storm drop attempt at Kolll's top left base only took down a few drones, and the shuttle was lost, leaving Infernal hurting even further. At this point, defilers were in play, and Infernal's upgrades were behind at 1-0-0 against Kolll's soon to be 2-1.
Infernal was determined not to give up, however. A DT drop headed over to top left and quickly razed the hatchery there. Kolll's ling/defiler attempt at Infernal's expansion also met up with some resistance on the way, melting to storms from Infernal's army, which then trudged up to Kolll's mineral only and took it out. Suddenly finding himself, previously with the supply and economic advantage, now being trampled all over, Kolll made a last stand at his choke with a vastly inferior army. Infernal batted it away, drawing the GG from Kolll and earning a hard fought victory.
Interesting build from Infernal, with the corsairs and the reavers really having us guessing. The goon/reaver timing push was his answer to the people screaming muta templar snipe imba, but what really shone through was his perseverance, not giving up when behind, and eventually coming through with the DT drop that took out Kolll's expansion and won him the game.
The ladder is almost over. Hang on to your hats folks! I know a ton of you will be f5'ing that Ladder Standings thread tomorrow eager to see who makes the cut. To all players - resist the temptation to break the rules! We will catch you, and you will bring shame on yourself and jeopardize your entry into the TSL. We wish each and every one of you the best of luck in the dying hours of the Ladder.
Let the madness begin.
This TSL is sponsored by PokerStrategy.com, the world's largest poker school and community. With hundreds of Poker VODs and an assortment of learning material in 18 different languages, PokerStrategy.com offers the chance for aspiring Poker players to learn from a beginner to a professional level.