As we approach BlizzCon and the StarCraft II WCS Global Finals, every WCS event becomes more and more important. There are only a few events left this year that reward WCS points, and every point matters. One thousand WCS points are on the line this weekend for both NA and EU StarCraft players, which could make the difference between them getting to compete at BlizzCon or having to watch from home. Players like Scarlett and True are right on the line, so the pressure is on. The EU playoffs have already concluded, but we have a recap of the NA Regional tournament below in case you missed any of these potentially season-ending games.
In this scrappy series, we saw two aggressive players face off to try to out shenanigan the other. Both MaSa and Puck are fond of using proxy builds, which is where they build early production buildings on their opponent’s side of the map to close the rush distance. This led to some very interesting games in this series. Often both players would be rushing each other at the same time, so the games often came down to who had better scouting and was more prepared. In the end, MaSa was just a little more precise in his play and walks away with a flawless victory.
Unfortunately for JonSnow a 3-0 from Neeb was the expected result of this series. At the end of the day, I think Incontrol said it best: “Neeb is a world-class Protoss in the top eight of the GSL, JonSnow is a college student who tries really hard.”
And try hard he did. JonSnow’s only hope against Neeb was to try some wacky builds, but unfortunately, those didn’t pan out for him either. For example, in Game 2 on Redshift, JonSnow took his gold base on the wrong side. The idea here is that he can still mine from his gold base while also being able to easily spread creep and deny Neeb’s gold base. Neeb saw this and just let JonSnow have gold bases without contest, knowing that he would probably be safe with his superior macro abilities. Neeb was correct, easily killing JonSnow’s gold base with an Archon drop and later pushing for the win.
This series was closer than the final scoreline lets on. In Game 2 specifically, Antis had a very real chance of winning. True was down by almost 10 workers and committed to a risky all in with Mutalisks and Zerglings. Antis had opted for a Roach and Hydralisk build and came so close to weathering True’s attack. Unfortunately, Antis left his Hydralisks in an exposed position and True was able to jump on top of them and eliminate the Hyrdalisks, removing any threat to the Mutalisks and winning True the game.
Before this series, Scarlett was 20-3 against Semper, so it was clear that she went into this match with the advantage. However, she was playing from China since she just competed in the 2018 Master’s Coliseum StarCraft II tournament, so she was playing with high ping. Semper tried to exploit this in the first game by going for three proxy barracks. Unfortunately for Semper, even playing from the other side of the planet isn’t a big enough handicap for Scarlett. I wish Semper had tried to go for longer, macro-based games. Scarlett had been playing in a tournament all day and the day before, so he might have had more luck wearing her down in long games.
There was lots of proxy play in this series, from both parties. MaSa is well known for his proxy strategies, but even Neeb went for a proxy Oracle attack in Game 2. However, MaSA struggled to make these attacks work against his opponent. More often than not Neeb would spot the incoming attack just in time to prepare and then successfully defend himself. It takes excellent scouting and game knowledge to catch these attacks before they kill you, but Neeb has more than enough experience under his belt. Neeb has fallen into the background of the StarCraft II scene since Serral showed up, but he cannot be discounted. After all, he did make it to the Quarterfinals of the GSL this year.
Scarlett and True are two highly aggressive players, and boy did they show it in this series. Despite the series going all the way to Game 5, barely any of the games progressed into the mid-game. Almost all of them were centered around Zerglings, Banelings, and Roaches. Mass Mutalisks did make an appearance in Game 2 for both players. Scarlett’s superior macro skills really shined here, as she maintained a larger and better upgraded Mutalisk force for the entire game. True made a few strategic mistakes throughout the series, like over-committing to attacks for far too long or refusing to change the composition of his army when necessary. Although he put up a good fight, True eventually falls to Scarlett in Game 5 on Dreamcatcher in the end.
Neeb wins the Grand Final in a super convincing fashion. It was surprising, to me at least, how easily he seemed to dismantle Scarlett in every game. At no point in the series did Scarlett seem to be controlling the tempo. If Scarlett would play greedy, Neeb would be on top of her base quickly with Adepts and Oracles. If she tried to get aggressive with Zerlgings or Roaches, Neeb would scout it and react almost perfectly every time.
Scarlett had just played Neeb today in the 2018 Master’s Coliseum, where she defeated him 3-0. It’s awesome to me that we can have two completely different results in the span of one day, especially with one player looking so dominant. StarCraft II is so demanding that it’s hard for any player to stay dominant forever, which makes for interesting matches every tournament.
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Lover of tacos, Starcraft, and craft beer. When I’m not busy getting crushed on the ladder, you can find me beating my head against a Dark Souls boss or rocking out to The Sword.