Even with the WCS Global Finals just a few days away, the online StarCraft II competition never stops. Of course, the OTR (online tournament round-up) is here to recap all the action. The WardiTV Fall… err Summer Championship finally reached its conclusion, GuMiho took home some more prize money, oh, and Serral lost. Don’t believe me? Well take a look at the brackets below, and dive into this week’s action!
Top Prize Money Earners of the Week
Elazer - $2000
MaNa - $840
uThermal - $800
Solar - $618
Stats - Dark - $593
Neeb - Reynor - $500
Zest - $447
GuMiho - $410
INnoVation - $397
Rail - Hellraiser - MaSa - Serral - soO - $300
Best Games of the Week:
- Reynor vs uThermal - WardiTV Summer Championship
- GuMiho vs aLive - Kung Fu Cup #20
- Neeb vs MaNa - Ultimate Series RO8
WardiTV Summer Championship: Who Dat Denver? (Oct 17)
With BlizzCon looming, it’s no surprise that both Rogue and Zest took their feet off pedal at the WardiTV Summer Championship Finals. In two closely contested battles, Denver consecutively felled both Korean titans. Rogue opened up with signature aggression in the first two games, ling flooding Denver in game one before getting halted by a flat out build order loss in game two. Denver foiled Rogue’s ling aggression with a cunning baneling flank in game three, but then botched an early pool play of his own in game four. Not leaving anything to chance, both players opted for conservative approaches in game five. Ultimately however, Denver started making lings off of three bases and never stopped. Rogue’s modest roach army got surrounded and the ensuing waves of lings battered Rogue’s base beyond repair.
Zest met a similar fate against Denver. Zest took the first game with ease utilizing his favored dark shrine into double archon drop strategy. Zest broke free from his recent mold, and opened stargate in all four games that followed. Clearly Zest may be better off sticking to what he does best however, as Denver plowed through him with unrelenting aggression to complete a resounding reverse sweep of the BlizzCon qualifier.
One can only speculate that both Rogue and Zest are certainly conserving their strength and saving their best stuff for BlizzCon at this point. Regardless, Denver’s wins against these two top tier Koreans are nothing to be scoffed at.
Not to be outdone however, Reynor halted Denver’s newfound momentum abruptly as the two clashed in the finals. With nothing to hold back, Reynor showed he is simply a class above Denver as he swept the French zerg in dominant fashion.
Kung Fu Cup #20: Lord of the Cyclones (Oct 18)
GuMiho laid waste to another host of Code S calibur opponents in this week’s Kung Fu Cup. GUMiho appears to have refined his hellbat/cyclone mech style from the week prior as he proceeded to wield it with even greater mastery in every matchup he could. His aptitude for this style shown through in his unlikely comeback win against aLive in game 3 of their series. GuMiho found himself down 20 workers early after a series of cyclone drops from aLive. Unbeknownst to aLive however, the cyclone has one true master, GuMiho. Through sheer willpower GuMiho fought his way back to a stable economy with an airtight defense as he zipped around with cyclones of his own. The game culminated in some nutty late game mech vs mech fights including everything from landed vikings to ravens before GuMiho was able to weasle some cyclones and hellbats into aLive’s production facilities and put an end to the madness.
GuMiho snowballed his build’s success right through Solar and Ragnarok as well. Both roach hydra and ling bane hydras comps fell victim to GuMiho’s mech. Cutting back on all the cyclones from last week and transitioning into more tanks and thors instead, seemed to solidify this style of mech in the late game and thus led GuMiho to some easy wins against his Zerg opponents. Though GuMiho has been finding success lately with his new style, no other Terrans appear to be adopting it into their own arsenals. It is unlikely we will see any of it at BlizzCon, but there is always hope.
INnoVation was back in action this week as well. He attempted to steal a page out of GuMiho’s book and attempt some off meta builds of his own. He found success with a proxy reactored barracks which led into a marine cyclone liberator attack, but failed miserably when attempting to make use of early game widow mine play. It is nice to see INnoVation attempting to mix things up after his dismal showings in 2018, but he made need to go back to the drawing board before 2019 rolls around.
Ultimate Series Playoffs: Seeya Serral! (Oct 21)
Before proceeding further, it’s time to address the elephant in this post and discuss how Serral finally lost a Bo5 after all of these long months. No, this loss didn’t occur at a premier offline tournament, nor did Serral have a lot riding on the line here at the Ultimate Series Global Playoffs, but a loss is still a loss, and it was shocking to behold. Neeb opened up their series with a double stargate phoenix build that crippled Serral from the beginning. Game two was close as Serral and Neeb traded blow for blow before Neeb forced Serral into an awkward choke point at Serral’s own fourth base and decimated Serral’s army with storms. In game three Serral went for a big roach ravager all in off of 50 drones, but Neeb managed to fend it off with elegant immortal micro, forcing Serral to tap out.
Despite the 0-3 defeat, expectations for Serral at BlizzCon remain unchanged. Serral’s opponent, Neeb, was a Code S level player as well as a three time WCS champion. Serral’s future opponents in his BlizzCon group are none other than Zest and sOs. With the biggest tournament of Serral’s career just one week a way and two top tier Protosses in his group, it is beyond likely that Serral wasn’t playing at his full level and that he was reluctant to show his best stuff in a tournament with so comparatively little at stake. I mean, hell, the only reason Serral’s loss is worth making a stink over in the first place is because he’s been so overwhelmingly dominant all year long.
MaNa and Neeb put on quite the spectacular display of PvP carnage in the series that followed. Most of the series boiled down to Neeb’s adept play against MaNa’s blink stalkers, and game five between these two Protoss powerhouses was definitely one of my favorites this week and is worth a watch up above.
However, when Elazer and MaNa met in the finals, Elazer reminded the foreigner scene that Zerg still reigns supreme. MaNa’s lone win in this series came in game four when he sniped Elazer’s third base with dark templar and set him behind all game long. Otherwise, Elazer looked fantastic as he opened up his full arsenal of builds and took home the largest monetary prize of the week.
TMS;DW (Too Much StarCraft; Didn't Watch) - Other Notable Tournament Results
OSC JEC Weekly 23
Guru 3 > 2 Creator in finals
Blazing Series Invitational 20
Bunny 3 > 0 Cyan in finals
uThermal 4 > 1 Cyan in finals
INnoVation 3 > 0 Cure in finals
Ballistix Brawl S4 W5
Zest 3 > 2 GuMiho in finals
QCL Power Overwhelming
Selendis and Bugs (Stats Dark Solar) 5 > 4 INnoVation One Man Team (INnoVation soO Zest) in finals
OSC Masters Cup 115
Reynor 3 > 2 Guru
OSC All Stars 62
Namshar 3 > 0 Bly in finals
SKT Season 4 Qualifiers
MaNa 3 > 1 Guru in finals
Go4SC2 Cup 823
souL 3 > 0 Gerald