Aquatic Bird Opens' September Report
I thought I had way more time than I actually do. Oh well.
So before we get to the players, we start the month with our resident Proxy Hatch Expert Blisk, returning from the wild untamed casinos of Monaco, to once again join the casting desk with Steelmold, bringing his analysis and dry humour, fitting in perfectly for Gold League Casting™. Now settling down in France(?) we can expect Blisk to cast more SDOs and other CranKy events when he can.
Blisk isn’t planning on just wearing his analyst headset though. With MSO #7 he tried his luck and rolled the Random dice and... it didn’t really work in his favour rolling his worst race Terran twice. It probably didn’t help that he also faced his nemesis (Kuro: wait but Nem didn’t play MSO) right off the bat, Salivanth, who denied him a championship in the finals of MSO #4 Blisk would try to play his signature cheesy style anyway, but Salivanth would show his signature not dying to cheese style and combine mass harass with greedy play and force Blisk down to the lower bracket.
Another returning player we’ve had this month was Danish Terran champion, ionlyhavethisfor. An extremely aggressive player, “copying Maru” in his words paid off as he now joins Milkncookies as a two-time SDO champion.
Sea Duckling Open Monthly Stats
Then Master Swan Open would take “regulars” to a whole other level.
Taking place at the same time as GSL Super Tournament, we weren’t expecting much of a turn-out. Though it still had to be played in a double elimination format, a good number of players showed up and boy was this a hyped bracket.
Almost everyone that signed up had been a former champion of SDO or MSO, making this truly a brawl for the best. Favourites were knocked out early, former champions slogged through the lower bracket, and new appearances showed promise of completing the royal road. But ultimately it would climax with Forged Force Gaming’s Chelch reverse sweeping the finals to become the first non Masters league MSO champion.
Chelch is also perhaps one of our more notable newcomers, returning to tournament play after a break of a few years, Steel made a prediction that Chelch would win a tournament shortly after his return. He’d do him one better and win two, one of them, as mentioned being a Masters tournament.
It may be fitting then that he’s found a bit of a rival in another newcomer, Porosha.
Porosha being a bit of a prodigy, hit Diamond 1 shortly after his first appearance and shows promise with his young age. In fact he very well could have won SDO #40 if he didn’t drop out due to time constraints.
A trend that was noted throughout the month was an increase in players from around the target region of ANZ/SEA, including regular New Zealander Jonathan and SDO #40 champion Saxy from Australia.
Most notable among the newcomers though, because I’m biased as fuck, is Quirky, latest pick up for CranKy Ducklings. For once, a Protoss player. Finally Kata wouldn’t have to feel so lonely in the Protoss corner. And then WCS Montreal happened and Quirky was inspired to switch to Zerg. Whoops. At least we didn’t get yet another Terran player :>
Quirky has already proven himself a useful practice partner, a reliable Plat player for VTL and shows promise, being one of the better Platinum players in SDO. Welcome to the pond mate. Wait now I have to update the Power Rank. God damn it.
Alright time for the awards.
Aquatic Bird Monthly Awards
Terran Of The Month: Porosha
While you could say that results matter, what matters more is what those results mean. ionlyhavethisfor’s second championship was enough to push him to the runner-ups, but when you look at it… he made it to the final once and won it in a walkover. (Though there is something in making the finals in the first place.)
Porosha’s semifinals and runner-up finishes in two tournaments in a row were not only more meaningful, considering his opponents; notably Chelch and Light_VIP, but they also show his consistency. Oh and Light said that he liked that Porosha tweeted.
Moving onto October, it’ll be exciting to see if Porosha the Prodigy claims his destiny.
Zerg Of The Month: Not Awarded
Anyone else surprised? We wrote last month about how generally Protoss players tend to be fairly rare in SDO. What we left out was that Zerg players, as with many SEA/ANZ tournaments, are usually easy to come by.
But maybe it’s a dry spell, maybe not many Zerg players signed up. Well, no. Zerg players were the overwhelming majority in both SDO #39 and SDO #40 and yet we still got a PvT final for both of them, with different players. It gets more depressing for the Swarm looking at the full brackets as only 3 out of 12 semi finalist for all of September’s SDOs were Zerg players.
From a region known for being disproportionately Zerg heavy to the point of jokingly calling the tournament ZvZ Duckling Open, I could never imagine that this day would come.
Protoss Of The Month: Chelch
For once the Protoss Pact lasted for a while and we actually had a fair amount of Protoss players throughout the month. This should have made it difficult to choose a Protoss of the month if not for Chelch distinguishing himself amongst them.
While Saxy put up a fair showing, winning SDO #40 and getting knocked out by Chelch in the semi-finals of SDO#38, my bias for players from the target time-zone demographic couldn’t outweigh the sheer dominance of Chelch.
Best Non-Diamond Player: PrimeNine
Fun-fact, this was supposed to be a category from the start, but we didn’t have any candidates so we just left it out. Not-so-fun-fact, I don’t think we’ll have this category very often. Good enough for me to have one now though.
I’d like to think that the stars aligned perfectly in SDO #40. That week we had a small, but noticeable increase in non-Diamond players. Not only that, but random seeding placed them mostly on the same side of the bracket. This made it easy to distinguish noteworthy non-Diamonds.
On one side we had Quirky, King of the Plats and on the other, PrimeNine, Slayer of Nemesis.
In the end though, Quirky was a bit of a one-eyed king while PrimeNine was a real contender. What we saw of Quirky was him tearing through other Platinum players and crashing into a wall called Saxy. What we saw of PrimeNine was him beating a Diamond 2 Protoss in Nemesis and keeping up with a Diamond Zerg in DARKWATCH.
Let’s actually look at that series, while yes a 2-0, the games themselves would demonstrate the volatility of the ZvZ match-up, and more importantly, how close it seemed the two players were. At certain points, it would seem obvious that DARKWATCH was a league above him, better multi-tasking here, fancier micro there, but when looking at say, the production tab, Prime kept up almost identically. What truly cost him the series was what most players deal with at some point or another, tunnel-vision.
For most engagements throughout the series, you could almost hear Prime’s thoughts, “I *have* to win this fight” this was most noticeable at the end of Game 2, PrimeNine had the better tech and defender’s advantage. Had he held out and gotten Brood Lords with his Greater Spire, it’s likely he would have turned the series around, but when he saw a somewhat smaller army from DARKWATCH, Prime couldn’t wait for an Overseer to hatch and ran his Hydralisks, most of his army, into a chokepoint zoned out with Lurkers, giving DARKWATCH much needed momentum. A wave of Roach reinforcements would then see the game over.
It’s not easy to be able to take a step back mid-game and run a quick analysis of the situation, especially if you aren’t used to it. But I believe that when PrimeNine gets it down, he’ll shoot through the ranks in no time.
Best SDO Series: Porosha vs SLAVEMASTER (SDO #40)
Honourable Mentions: Nemesis vs Baxter (SDO #39), Saxy vs Porosha (SDO #40 Finals)
It’s always been said that TvZ is the most dynamic match-up in SC2. And we really see it here.
Game 1 can be summed up by what I believe both players were thinking throughout, “Keep him on his side of the map”. I also like to think that the reason for this philosophy came from SLAVEMASTER opening with a Proxy Hatch that very nearly broke Porosha.
Both players at this point predicted every possibility. For SLAVEMASTER it was, correctly, that Porosha would be able to break out of this containment, and for Porosha it was also, correctly, that SLAVEMASTER knew this and would start droning up. And then we get to SLAVEMASTER who again, correctly, guessed that Porosha would counter attack as soon as he got out and quickly got a Spire to counter his Marauder/Tank heavy army.
It then evolved into a game of Who Can Harass More. Turns out the answer was Porosha who not only sniped key tech, but bought time with every drop, enough to make SLAVEMASTERS eventual push out irrelevant to his defensive siege line.
Porosha then had two words for his Zerg opponent. Timing. Attack. Oh and also, Tank. Positioning. That allowed him to take game 1.
Game 2 while a lot more standard, and honestly a little more one-sided, still showed us great defensive play from the side of SLAVEMASTER and offensive play from Porosha. Though the thing I remember most from this game was that I copied Porosha’s 2-1-1 in ladder later and it helped my TvZ winrate, so thanks Porosha. Yes that’s also a reason why we put him above ionlysc for Terran of the Month.
Best MSO Series: Chelch vs Emin (MSO #7 Finals)
While not everyone agrees, general consensus is that in a double elimination format, whoever made it to the finals from the upper bracket should get something to show for it in the form of a free map win.
Then we had Emin say “Screw your winner’s advantage” and Cyclone rush Chelch, evening up the series in less than five minutes. A second Cyclone rush would see him on match point.
At this point, the rest of Forged Force showed up, even his coach who asked for a quick break to give him some quick pointers. Now I don’t want to say that his teammates gave him their energy and made him go super saiyan, but he definitely played much better afterwards.
Not Cyclone rushing this time, every drop Emin sent out got intercepted and completely denied. To paraphrase Steel, every offensive Emin took failed while the one offensive Chelch took with aggressive and precise Stalker control succeeded so well that Emin would be forced again and again to harass with *something* and each time Chelch was there to swat it away. Soon enough, his economic lead showed in his army and Chelch brought it to the ace match.
Emin, now convinced to return to his roots, or at least his roots for the series, tried once again to Cyclone rush.
Chelch would prove adaptable though and once scouted, deflected the rush and macro’d up hard. On the other hand, Emin was building up a questionable, but intimidating nonetheless mech army. Chelch wasn’t about to risk it yet. Not when his opponent got to match point in no time. Not when he brought the series to the ace after his opponent denied his winner’s bracket advantage so quickly. And certainly not when his team was cheering him on. Once he was confident with his Immortal count, Chelch then walked over Emin’s army to make MSO history as the first non-Masters MSO champion.
Player Of The Month: Chelch
We’ve had dominant players before, but in a weekly tournament, it’s interesting to see how they dominate, and add flavour to a player’s story.
Chelch’s dominance can only be described as the start of something truly historic.
There is somewhat of a disparity between Chelch’s apparent skill and his MMR. According to his teammates, Chelch struggles on ladder due to getting blindsided from non-standard builds and cheeses. You could even see it a little in his Master Swan finals vs Emin. That series however also demonstrated Chelch’s adaptability and incredible defensive play.
On the topic on Master Swan, Chelch not only made amateur South-East Asian/Oceanian Starcraft 2 history by being the first non-Masters league player to win MSO but, with two back to back SDO finals, Chelch demonstrated incredible consistency.
I’m fully confident in saying that if not for internet issues forcing him to give a walkover in SDO #38 and not being able to play in SDO #40, Chelch would have shown a level of dominance similar to Ruiyichi just a month ago.
Writing: Yakuzaku | Proofreading: Light_VIP & Steelmold | Editing: Kuro
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