Welcome back to the Electronic Sports Entertainment's (ESEA's) Starcraft Team League! We are now entering ESEA's eleventh season, and fourth season for their StarCraft division, and this season looks to be one of the most exciting yet with lots of fresh faces and some familiar ones too! Let's begin with a preview of the teams and new maps to get us started.
This season we have a total of twenty teams. Let's look at the signed up teams!
CheckSix Gaming CheckSix received second place last season, and is arguably one of the stronger teams in the competition. Although they lost xSixwinDy (MajOr / Terran), their roster has been bolstered by the addition of the ex-SlayerS Zerg, xSixSleep. Additionally, xSixMystik won Most Valuable Player last season with a 7-1 record. CheckSix has a large roster and a deep lineup, and is a team that must be looked out for!
Infinity Seven Infinity Seven made playoffs last season, losing to LighT in Loser's Round 3 and ending up with a nice fourth place finish. With CrazyMovinG's impressive performance in the MLG Winter Championship (open bracket run and great wins against dSelect, QxGSase, mouzThorzain, Attero, and a narrow 1-2 loss against aTnSocke), I think he is in a much improved shape compared to last season (in which he still put up incredible games against LighT's ACE, KawaiiRice). The addition of iSAxslav further improves Infinity Seven's strength, and I am expecting them to do quite well in this ESEA season!
FTaCt Gaming This relatively new team that just formed a month or two ago is looking to get their first results in ESEA. Their players may not be the most famous or well-known, but they are all very strong players and FTaCt has a solid lineup. Some names I recognize are Sensei and Shinya. We'll have to wait and see if they have what it takes to take out the big hitters in ESEA though!
LighT eSports Last season's third place finishers are looking stronger than ever with the addition of another ex-SlayerS Zerg, GoldenLighT! With the already very strong lineup of KawaiiLight, binskiLighT, HeavensLighT (who did very well in Lone Star Clash), CaliberLighT, LighT is once again in a strong position to get far in ESEA!
Impressive Play I am glad to see this team in ESEA once again this season. They just barely missed playoffs last season, and I think they definitely have what it takes if they focus and get some good wins. iPCake is one player to definitely look out for!
PMS|H2O This is the premier female StarCraft gaming team and it's great to see them participating in ESEA! A lot of people would love to see them doing well. I am also excited to see how they do in ESEA and wish them good luck!
Team Nightmares Nightmares is participating in ESEA once again after a respectable 7th/8th finish last season. They have a pretty nice lineup, but definitely their most scary player is NMxMaSa. He's a player to look out for!
KEYD Team After narrowly missing playoffs last season, KEYD Team looks to improve this season. They were 9th seed last season, one spot away from making playoffs! Perhaps they are looking for redemption and revenge this season. We'll have to see! The addition of keydMaker has strengthened their lineup a lot, and with Potiguar and ReasoN (among some of the names I recognize), they are looking strong for ESEA 11!
Area 51 Gaming Good to see this team back in this season. Last season they finished 15th with a 5-11 record, but ESEA is very valuable experience for this team and I think they may be able to use lessons learned from last season to improve upon their previous performance!
Under Rated Gaming Wow! I think this is a very new team, and I recognize some of the UC Davis players ruxin and Tbeezy. Ruxin is a very strong grandmaster zerg player, and you probably have seen highlight videos of Tbeezy's nuking play that are all over the place And it looks like Slush, who was just left teamless after RGN disbanded, is now on this team too? This team actually looks quite deadly!
Convergence Gaming Finished last season 19th, after pretty much abandoning playing out the majority of last season. But don't let their last season's performance deceive you. They are an incredibly strong team. Perhaps you recognize YaTa, who was the MLG Winter Championship's Breakout Player, reaching the last round of loser's bracket by defeating QxGDestiny 2-0, ClashShew 2-1, TSL_Killer 2-1 (Wow!), and coLdrewbie 2-0 before finally falling to EGPuMa 0-2. What an impressive run. Convergence Gaming is looking to make a mark in ESEA S11!
Team Clash Glad to see last season's winner of Breakout Performance back in ESEA S11. I think it is likely they will keep up that performance heading into this season as well. With their strong Korean lineup and impressive player in ClashMoOk, they've definitely got what it takes to make it in this season!
Team LegioN Team LGN is back after a good 5th/6th place finish last season! I believe they have lost quite a bit of strength with their loss of their Korean lineup Boss, Mystic, and LGNChiTa (who I picked as their most valuable player last season). However, they did get a few pickups too in order to counteract that loss, namely LGNGix, LGNKane, and LGNKarmy. Gix was previously on RGN until it disbanded. Let's see how well they can do for their new team!
vVv Gaming vVv Gaming, a staple and very well-known team, is back again! They finished 7th/8th last season, and I felt like last season they did not play as strong as their lineup was. But perhaps they are a back with a vengeance this season and are ready to crush face! They have added vVvSeoHyeon, a Korean Terran, to their already incredibly deep lineup of vVvRuFF, vVvRockEr, vVvMurdeR, vVvHasuu, vVvTitan, etc.
compLexity Academy compLexity Academy is back after just barely missing playoffs last season (once their chance was over, they forfeited the rest of their games). They've got a pretty strong lineup of coLgoswser, brobocop, etsurlizzuma (although I haven't seen him in a while), and tGensulitor.
Quantic Gaming Quantic represents a huge name joining ESEA S11 once again and it's gonna be great. They've got a really nice lineup of Agh, iNkA, Theo (is that Theognis?), etc. And also have QuanticFlo, who was previously on PMS|H2O! Perhaps we'll see a bit of rivalry or drama in those matches? Although I am wondering where QuanticDestiny and QuanticNaniwa are! Regardless, Quantic in their return to ESEA looks pretty strong, and we'll see how they do! They previously placed 4th in ESEA S9.
*QuanticTheo is Theognis, and Destiny is signed up as QuanticDest.
It's Gosu eSports It's Gosu is back this season after getting first place in ESEA S10 and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with. Will they be able to defend their championship title against some strong new teams joining the fray and against some of the more seasoned ones as well? We'll see what Gosu's strong lineup of ostojiy, HwangSin, ViBE, dde, etc. have to say about that!
DuSt Gaming This team is also extremely new, founded just over a month ago, but it's also got an impressive lineup of players. Sia, a Korean Terran, was once on ZeNEX and NSHS! Let's see how DuSt Gaming shows off their talent in their first competition!
That concludes our introductions of all the teams, and now its time to see the new maps for this season!
Map Pool ESV Cloud Kingdom ESV Ohana Metropolis Daybreak Korhal Compound Atlantis Spaceship Metalopolis GSL Antiga Shipyard
Nice new map pool overall. It is a breath of fresh air now that we're getting some new maps in here. Most of these maps should be familiar to everyone. If any, Atlantis Spaceship and Ohana are probably the least familiar maps, so I'll touch on those here briefly.
A beautiful map that is reminiscent of GSL Bel'Shir Beach. Fairly standard three base layout. With little dead air space for mutalisk harrass, and hard to take fourth bases (both must expand towards the opponent), I think this map might be a little bit tough for Zerg. This is somewhat balanced by the wide open spaces that tend to help Zerg in large engagements.
This is a very interesting new map that is actually also just entering the GSL for the first time as well. So far, TLPD has this map very unfavored for Zerg, with a 21.3% win ratio against Terran and a 30% win ratio against Protoss. However the sample size is still small and we have yet to see. In terms of map characteristics, some interesting things to note are the two main paths to the enemy base, and the middle base which has 3 gases, one of which is a high yield gas. That makes that base extremely valuable, but it is also an extremely vulnerable base. I think that base may lead to some very interesting games though! The third is easy to take but extremely open, and thus not the easiest to defend. The same problem on this map is that a fourth base requires expanding towards the opponent, which is always difficult for Zerg. There is a lot more dead air for mutalisk harrass though. A very interesting map and I can't wait to see it in play!
Here is ESEA Administrator da_bears' thoughts on the map selections and reasoning behind choosing each map.
da_bears wrote: Maps are very important in the starcraft world, they are like the basketball courts, ice arenas and football fields all rolled into 1 sport. As a former pro gamer I know what's it like when maps can win and lose games depending on the preparation of the players. As Starcraft 2 gets older the maps will be continuously changing and the leagues will have to adapt every season by switching maps out. One of my biggest mindset of deciding maps for the league are: how balanced each map is, what race it favors, what the players in the league think, and what the other tournaments are using.
I generally want a mix of maps that will be used in all tourneys so when the players go to major events like MLG, IPL and even GSL qualifier events. These players will have a good idea of what to expect in a league match on those maps. GSL has had the biggest influence on me when choosing the map pool. I have been watching GSL since it first debuted Starcraft 2 in 2010 and the various maps have shaped the game to what it is now.
ESV Cloud Kingdom: I like how the map looks, the path ways and how wide the map is. It can give Zergs nice run around room and Terrans safe mech play on 3 bases.
ESV Ohana: This map is more of a risk pick, I have never seen it in play but I've talked to some teams at MLG and they like this map over Bel'shir Beach. And since GSL added it, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
Metropolis: Some players do not like this map because of the third base, but I feel that this map hasn't found its potential being so new. I have yet to see someone use the island expos and watching MMA proxy rax is always fun to watch.
Day break: I've always like watching matches on this map, I feel like it's the staple 2 player map right now. It was one of the first matches I saw where a protoss fast expanded twice against a terran and it gave me goosebumps.
Korhal Compound: Another risk map, I have not seen this played but it's on the ladder and some of the players from the league liked it so I threw it in the pool. By the looks if it, I think it will be one of the more macro oriented maps in terms of being able to defend 4 bases.
Atlantis Spaceship: Taking out crossfire was a huge relief to everyone I talked to in ESEA. Watching crossfire wasn't the best map to watch matches when all you saw was 1-1-1 timing pushes from Terran in every single match up. So I threw in this map on a whim from other players telling me it's a pretty good map. It will also give an edge to protoss players with the small ramps to the main for those greedy plays.
MLG Metalopolis: Classic map, a lot of great matches have come from this map over the sc2 lifespan. Seeing an old classic map brings a nice warm, fuzzy feeling when you play and watch it.
GSL Antiga Shipyard: This map is becoming a classic, being with GSL and every major tournament right now it is familiar with every pro player.
On March 29 2012 04:51 Superiorwolf wrote: Ah ok haha, thanks for pointing that out I didn't realize that xD
yeah that Slush on underrated gaming is from a european country so i don't think its the big and famous slush we know and love (not saying that slush isn't good for all we know he could be a complete gosu)
VirgilSC2 United States. March 29 2012 05:03. Posts 5743
I am really glad it filled up a bit more toward the end, and we are really looking forward to getting some matches up against some really great Starcraft teams. We will continue to fight and improve as the season progresses. GL HF! PMS|H2O Fighting!
mystik123 United States. March 29 2012 09:27. Posts 22