Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Pre-BlizzCon 2018, Starcraft Edition!


Starcraft news this week is BlizzCon. Aaalmost.

In KSL, the Grand Finals featured the legendary Flash vs his long time nemesis, Effort. In 2010, Effort defeated Flash in a special event and although others occasionally have done the same, Flash has gotten revenge on all of them, except Effort. 

Effort started the match up with a cannon rush perfectly timed to hit Flash before he had army units ready forcing one of the quickest tap outs in history.

Round 2, he did it again, sending Flash into Burning hatred land and from there on, Flash would rather have eaten his G key than use it. 

Flash scored a hit but Effort took the series and remains, the one itch Flash has yet to scratch. 

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In the foreign community, everyone is travelling to Cali so other than some cool show matches, smaller tournaments, TESPA Collegiate week 3 and the return of MarineLord, not much happening. 

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I did come across the High School eSports League but they dont do Starcraft, just shooters, OverWatch and Hearthstone. The League runs tournaments between schools and has cash prizes for kids so kind of awesome actually. A lot of Blizzard fans have kids so maybe if they talk to their schools and get them into the League, esports will be more quickly integrated into daily life.

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The Starcraft Community Summit will be today, with players and top community people invited to Irvine to talk about the state of the game, upcoming secret announcements and plans for the next year. 

We know that the Starcraft tournament season is fully funded for 2019, and that since announcing Starcraft is Free to play this Spring, viewership has jumped 30%-40% at the major tournaments. 

There has been nothing out of Deep Mind, the Starcraft AI project, but the Probots AI tournament that just ended featured bots that while very limited, showed definite learning going on, with SarsaBot, named for the programmer's favorite Game of Thrones character,  lost her first two matches but adapted and adapted again to the strategy dmytrbot was using and began to win. Dmytrbot changed up his strats to cope and although eventually losing to Lady Sansa, both showed what progress amateur programmers are capable of. Vods are on twitch.tv/ESChamp I think.

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There will be a Show match at BlizzCon for Starcraft 1, featuring the current ASL champion Last and the previous KSL champion Rain to determine the Brood War Champion. 

The WCS Global Finals Round of 16 happened, and foreigner after foreigner was cut down, ShoWTime, Kelazhur, Nerchio, Lambo, Has and Neeb. 

SpeCial and Serral made it through, SpeCial taking out Classic in the must see match of the weekend. 

https://liquipedia.net/starcraft2/2018_WCS_Global_Finals

In the brackets, Blizzard didnt even try to hide that they want a Maru vs Serral finals, placing them at opposite ends of the bracket and with the 6 Koreans left, it's hard to say who has the worst bracket. 

Maru faces SoS first, his team mate, the trickster who has never lost a BlizzCon hes been to (twice now). Maru is tricky but SoS is Inception level, you're in the Matrix, there is no spoon territory and it should be a wild match up.

SpeCial vs Stats is rough for SpeCial. Stats is nicknamed the Shield of Aiur for his defense, and defeated Maru at GSL vs the World then in those finals went 4-3 with Serral. 

Stats would then face Maru in Round of 4 and there is a very strong opportunity for Stats to advance with 10 months of watching Maru proxy his way through the GSL. 

Rogue, last years Global Finals Champion, is only ranked 8th this year in standings but either could advance here. 

Which leaves Serral vs Dark, known as the Foreigner Killer for never having lost to one, anywhere, until last week, when ShoWTime, the German Wall, 2-0 him and he had to come back from the losers bracket. 

Recovered from his illness on Day 1, on Day 3 he slammed ShoWTime down 2-0. Considered the best Korean zerg, Dark is facing another Zerg in Serral where European zergs are common and rare in Korea, so it is Dark's worst match up. 

Of these 8 players, anyone could lose. Anyone could be the upset. 

Serral beat Maru at GSL vs the World, their only match, 1-0. 

A long year of Maru dominating, Serral crushing, is almost over. Koreans winning everything may be at an end.

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The four Signature Series videos are out and you should watch them if you get a chance, for Maru, Serral, Rogue and SpeCial. 

They help give so much character to the players, and a storyline to follow even if Starcraft isnt your thing.  

gl and hf!

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