On a recent episode of State of the Game the whole crew were talking about the lack of Protoss and Zerg present in the Global Starcraft League and the large variety of Terran players. Artosis mentioned that despite the lack of non-Terran players, there are still some who are evolving the Protoss game. NSHoSeo_Sage was one who Artosis mentioned and a player who I believe needs more exposure.
Name: Woo Kyung Chul
Sage has been playing StarCraft 2 since release making his first tournament appearance in GSL season 2 though Sage jumped on to most viewer’s favorite list after his first GSTL game where he all-killed the team fOu. Despite not winning any tournaments yet, Sage has shown great tactical intelligence in his matches as well as great macro and micro management. One key thing which Sage is known for is his creative variety of builds which are usually successful in forcing the other player to build a particular way. Sage’s drop play is reminiscent of Brood War shuttle play, usually incorporating them into his harassment or as a multi-pronged assault. Above everything though, Sage is interesting and fun to watch, so he should have an army of fans soon enough.
In this season of the GSL, Sage is currently just past the round of 8 and has shown impressive play throughout the tournament thus far. The match I have linked below is in the round of 8 and shows some spectacular and original DT play, as well as great micro within defensive and offensive battles. Enjoy the new generation of Protoss!
This is Part 3 in a small series covering some League of Legends players. Keep in mind that these spotlights are focused on basic information about these top players to give newer players an idea of who the top players are. Here was Part 1 featuring HotShotGG and Part 2 featuring Reginald.
Name: Brian Wyllie
Hailing from western Canada, TheOddOne is one of the world’s top League of Legends junglers and the most prominent purveyor of instruction in the art of jungling. The handle, “TheOddOne,” comes from the fact that Mr. Wyllie sees himself as a little strange due to his uneven voice and interesting mannerisms.
TheOddOne has always been an avid gamer who played console games before getting into PC gaming with Starcraft and Warcraft 3. TheOddOne started playing DotA in premade teams seriously and transitioned into League of Legends during the beta, finding early success due to his practiced DotA mechanics. TheOddOne has been a member of team SOLOMID since its creation acting as the team’s dedicated jungler.
A habitual solo que rager in League of Legends, TheOddOne is famous just as much for his table slamming as he is for his jungling strategy and decision making. TheOddOne has a great long term strategic outlook in games which dynamically affects how he jungles and the timing of his ganks.
TheOddOne is also a prolific contributer of in-depth jungling guides for multiple characters. TheOddOne updates regular tier listings for jungling characters with each patch, advising players which to use and when as well as detailing jungling trends in his blog.
To learn more about TheOddOne’s playstyle and his jungling preferrences check out these brief interviews with teamliquid and DotA Brazil (in English, click reveal). Ensure to also take a look at his blog which is updated frequently and features some video blogs as well.
Any modern SOLOMID game displays TheOddOne’s excellent jungling skills as he quickly levels and picks the right engagements, so instead I will post the first in TheOddOne’s general jungling tutorial series which helps other players tighten up their jungling game. The video is simply a small taste of TheOddOne’s tutorial prowess.
Part 1 was previously posted featuring HotShotGG and due to some requests for additional content I have beefed up Part 2. Also, please keep in mind that a lot of this information is not common knowledge for the casual player which these spotlights are geared toward though I am always looking for suggestions to make content better. Enjoy. Part 3 features TheOddOne and can be found here.
Name: Andy Dinh
Dinh is a polarizing personality in the League of Legend’s community. He draws a lot of criticism for his aggressive behavior, but is consistently a force which pushes that same community forward. Reginald was an original member of the team All or Nothing, which is now defunct mainly due to Reginald’s strong personality which caused the break-up of the team. Reginald’s brother Dan Dinh (a former member of the team) remarked on the break-up that, “it’s not worth winning if it means I have to work with [Andy].”
After All or Nothing, Reginald went on to co-found the team SOLOMID and the creation of SOLOMID.net which is designed to grow and nurture the League of Legends community. Team SOLOMID’s website has been fashioned around providing players with build guides, strategy videos, and video blogs which seek to improve the average player’s abilities. Reginald is heavily involved with team SOLOMID, providing video blogs and guides on several of the League of Legend’s champions, as well as working on funding team SOLOMID’s tournament travel expenses.
Recently, Reginald has moved to New York from the west coast to start a SOLOMID gaming house in the tradition of the Starcraft team houses in Korea. Promising increased content and better team results, Reginald is once again working to grow League of Legends and push the community as a whole. Andy Dinh is always a volatile personality, but a valuable contributer to the League of Legends all the same, which sometimes causes some very strange passion from fans.
Reginald’s playstyle is widely known to be very aggressive and he is usually the initiator of team fights. Usually playing a carry/mage role, Reginald is always seeking to expose weaknesses through pressure then quickly exploiting those vulnerabilities.
This is the first part in a series of spotlights on influential League of Legends players which I hope will bring people more in touch with the important professionals who are playing the game. For a small beginner guide on these kinds of games, I wrote one awhile ago here, or here is a good video by Counter Logic Gaming covering the same basics. Part 2 has been posted as well featuring Reginald and here is Part 3 featuring TheOddOne.
Name: George Georgallidis
Mr. Georgallidis is a Canadian League of Legends player hailing from London, Ontario with a background in stocking supermarket shelves as detailed in this adorable newspaper article featuring his mother. HotShotGG has played games throughout childhood and upon finding significant success early in League of Legends, decided to become a professional. A part of the Counter Logic Gaming team, HotShotGG is consistently a feared and dominant force in any team match, usually able to influence the other team’s decision making with his character choices or position on the map. HotShotGG is mostly known for his strong Cho’Gath as well as Nidalee play, though he also plays a variety of roles in CLG matches. Regardless of the character he plays, HotShotGG is a prolific farmer, putting up huge minion kill counts in each game.
While recently going through some turmoil for some rumored, bad mannered play, HotShotGG has been very successful with Counter Logic Gaming, operating as one of his team’s strongest players.
MVP and winner of Intel Extreme Masters Cologne – Grandfinals
I wrote not too long ago about the inevitability of fighting games becoming the next e-sport, which was met with the expected criticism that video games are not sports. Personally I feel the moniker, ‘e-sports’ is simple and easy for people who aren’t involved in competitive video games to understand so I do not usually get involved in the naming debate, which is generally counterproductive in growing the competitive video game industry.
CBS’ Benjamin Golliver Weighs in on E-sports
The nomenclature problems continue for e-sports, however, as there is a new article by Ben Golliver of CBS Sports deriding the concept that e-sports can be anywhere near as stressful as playing a traditional sport. Mr. Golliver’s article speaks specifically of a young professional basketball player’s comparative comment about stress in StarCraft 2 in relation to stress in an NBA game:
“I think you’ve got to look at the circumstances of each. If you’re winning a Starcraft game for the championship at IPL for the six-figure pool prize, that’s probably pretty stressful … At the same time, if you’re going to shoot a three-pointer to win the game with someone guarding you, that’s pretty tough too. I’d say they are both tough in their own right.”
- Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward is going to be participating in the upcoming IPL tournament, but that is not what Mr. Golliver’s focus was unfortunately. Mr. Golliver explains that he feels that the NBA is far too soft these days if professionals are comparing the experience to that of a professional Starcraft 2 match. While Mr. Golliver’s tone is incredibly unprofessional, including a “nerd alert” among other things, I will give his argument some consideration.
I played traditional sports on a competitive level for several years and I have played competitive games for a slightly smaller amount of time. Comparatively, I have played sports at a higher level than I will likely ever play video games, so I believe that I can weigh the experiences fairly. I find competitive video games far more stressful than sports because of the huge amount of concurrent events and strategies which must be executed without outside assistance.
Team sports take a lot of stress off of the individual player because you are only able to control how you contribute to the team while others can pick up your slack if you are not performing up to an appropriate level. The stress in competitive video games comes from the fact that everything rests on your actions and you must respond to all of the stresses appropriately or you lose the match, there is no one else to assist in the effort. While the experiences are not directly comparable, if one was to do so, I find competitive video gaming far more stressful than playing team sports.
Unlike Mr. Golliver, I do not deride sports. I enjoy playing sports as well as watching them. Instead of questioning the legitimacy of a sport based on my ignorance of what it is, I have the maturity to understand that perhaps I need to do a little research
Mr. Golliver is saying basketball isn’t like it was in the old days and that, “we don’t want to live in a world where [the stress in StarCraft 2 is comparable to the stress in the NBA].” Well, Mr. Golliver it appears that world you are so afraid of is your new reality. Welcome to e-sports.
The GSL August season has come down to a Terran vs. Terran battle between two very steady and tactically sound players in Incredible Miracle’s MVP and Old Generations’ Top.
MVP has been unstoppable recently in every competition he has been involved in. After his win in MLG Anaheim against Terran player MMA, he has dropped several big named players in the GSL defeating MC and Optimus (a.k.a. Polt) in the early group stages, then taking out Nestea at the round of 16 and foreigner favorite HuK in the round of 8 before putting down July in the semi-finals. MVP has had a tough road to the GSL Code S finals and has made it look easy. Below is a look at MVP’s match against HuK which shows MVP’s intelligent play and almost flawless decision-making.
Top has had a much easier path through GSL Code S than MVP, but has impressed with his strong and safe macro game on his way to the finals. Known well for his very long Terran mech-style games he is able to slowly bring games into his favor by using strong defensive play and patient map positioning. Top is similar in style to swedish superstar Thorzain, where he uses position and large numbers of siege tanks to win matches. Below is a semi-final match of Top vs. Optimus which really shows the strength of his methodical play.
Top will immediately try playing a macro mech-style as he did in all of his games against Optimus. Top had great success against Optimus playing this way and will use it again against MVP as well. This assumption will put Top at an immediate disadvantage to MVP. MVP’s play is a lot less easy to predict, especially since he has been known to use proxy play in the early game. I believe the advantage here is clearly for MVP due to his immense experience in big game play and his ability to utilize a broad variety of builds and timings for his attacks
I predict MVP will win with a couple shorts games and a few very long ones, though the opportunity is definitely there for Top to surprise everyone. That surprise is what I’m hoping for the most.
I love watching the GSL, regardless of who is commentating, but I have favorite casters just as any other viewer. Tastosis is a perennial favorite of the community and I can’t argue with their entertainment value, but I am really starting to love watching DOA and Wolf cast. DOA seems to be loosening up and dropping some solid jokes lately and Wolf seems to be having a great time while broadcasting as well. The other night, during the GSTL cast of team MVP vs. TSL Wolf and DOA spoke at length about one of the most important figures in Korean Starcraft e-sports today…..TSL_Clide.
Now I’m sure many are aware of Artosis’ fascination with how “good” Clide is, but what happened with Wolf and DOA was the birth of something which is perhaps even more important than Clide’s skill level…his sideburns, or to use Wolf’s more apt nomenclature, his Clideburns.
I can’t wait to see Clideburns for sale during the next GSL season so everyone can be apart of Clidemania.
Keep up the good work DOA and Wolf .
P.S. Keep in mind that GSL is having a free VoD weekend right now, so watch as much as you want from Starcraft 2′s 1 year broadcast history for free!
Awhile ago I mused about how foreign professionals could get into the position to consistently beat Korean professionals in Starcraft 2. I concluded that moving to Korea was the answer due to the high skill level of opponents available and the regimented training schedules. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea.
Team Evil Geniuses has, relatively recently, set up their own, Korean style, team training house in Arizona. Professional players Naniwa, Thorzain, and Fenix have gone to Korea to benefit from the competitive environment just as HuK did not so long ago. HuK, who is now a part of Evil Geniuses, has been impressing people with his increase in skill from training in Korea for several weeks now and finished MLG Raleigh as the top foreigner. Additionally, the now defunct team, F.United with Naniwa, Thorzain and Fenix has had several games (series 1, series 2) which were so impressive against Korean professionals that Fenix has been added to the Korean team Incredible Miracle. E.G. Idra is reportedly going to Korea as well and while that is great news for Idra, I believe that there needs to be a larger presence in Korea of foreign teams.
The desire is certainly there from players wanting to train in Korea, several are there now and more are planning on going. I don’t see why multiple teams can’t gather some funding together to have a ‘foreigner’ house in Korea. Players could either be there for a short period of time or for a longer term depending on how much they or their team want to pay to practice and compete in the GSL. As someone who has lived in Korea before I can say that knowledge of Korean is not essential to getting around and living in Seoul so a translator would not even be necessary. I believe that a permanent base of operations for foreigners in the country would serve to supercharge the skills of those outside of Korea and bring Starcraft 2 play to a higher level of play for everyone.
As e-sports evolve, so does the expectations of fans as well as the skills required to compete in Starcraft 2. I believe having an international presence for the professional teams is the next big step in Starcraft 2 e-sports, so let’s do everything to make that happen. International teams, it’s time to come together.
MLG Raleigh had a lot of cool moments which arose from the heated competition showcasing some great talent. Here are four of my favorites, in no particular order, that people who didn’t watch, need to see! Beware there are minor spoilers ahead, use MLG’s VoD service directly to avoid spoilers.
Startale_Bomber vs. coL.MVP_DongRaeGu
DongRaeGu is a fan favorite Zerg player from Korea who has had success in the Global Starcraft Team League, though hasn’t been able to advance past the initial rounds of Code A of the GSL. Bomber is a Terran who has had more success in the GSL than DongRaeGu, winning the Code A in May to get into Code S. When these two players squared off on the main stage Bomber showed the world not only how skilled his is, but also how incredibly confident he is in his abilities.
DeMuslim is a Terran player who has steadily increased in skill. One of the premiere European players, DeMuslim played extremely well at this MLG and has established himself as one of the best players in the world outside of Korea. Trickster has had varying degrees of success in Korea though never going further than the round of 8 in Code S. Despite Trickster’s difficulties in the GSL lately, he is still a Korean professional and his match against DeMuslim showed just how much foreigners have closed the gap in skill between Koreans and the rest of the world. A great series.
TriMaster is a lesser known Terran player who played through the entire open bracket, defeating many players including HayPro before getting into pool play. After being knocked into the Losers bracket, he also had one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, beating E.G._Idra. TriMaster is one to watch with good timings and great multi-pronged drops. I have TriMaster’s match against E.G._iNcontrol below showing some dominating play. Also, here are his matches against E.G._HuK to show how well he does against a world class player. Unfortunately his match against Idra is not available as a VoD.
Nada is a professional who has been around since Brood War, where he had a successful career. Though he hasn’t won a major tournament yet, he is a very skilled Terran player. E.G._PuMa is a Terran player who I’ve personally praised for his aggressive style. He won NASL Season 1 as well as Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Cologne before crushing the open bracket in MLG Raleigh. The matches between these two players were a huge tug of war showcasing some impressive skill and original tactics, especially with Nada’s heavy use of the Terran airforce. Nada’s own true HYPE moment. A pleasure to watch.
This past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, was Major League Gaming’s latest stop on their pro circuit. I am going to look at what Major League Gaming did right in Raleigh and some things that need to be reexamined. I will also discuss what the predominate Starcraft 2 tournament trends were with some examples. I am focusing primarily on the Starcraft 2 aspect of the event as that was primarily what I watched. Click here for the top MLG Raleigh moments.
Production and Organization
The brackets were all played in a smooth and timely manner with very few technical hick-ups through all three days. From the viewer’s standpoint the large production flowed effortlessly with a small number of technical hick-ups at the beginning of day 1.
Additionally, putting up all the VoDs for free was a great idea by MLG, enabling people to advertise the tournament for free by linking games. There were good production values from MLG as well as incredibly useful multi-streaming on wellplayed.org‘s wellplayed.tv service helping people watch as much of the content as possible.
The casters all performed well with J.P. McDaniel pitching in for a few matches and providing some good MC duty before large matches. While Husky made several comments which were confusing and blatantly incorrect, Day had little difficulty smoothly moving along without calling a lot of attention to the gaffs.
The professionals that were in attendance played great games and the non-Korean players really showcased the closing gap in skill between the Koreans and the rest of the world. KiwiKaki and DeMuslim both put up good results and showed that they can be competitive with the Koreans.
Bomber displayed a lot of Clubber Lang styled personality before destroying DRG, who was visibly shaken after being dominated. Bomber did the same in the Grand Finals as he defeated Coca soundly.
Complexity’s TriMaster had the biggest upset of the show defeating Idra 2-1 and causing some visible frustration from the Zerg professional. TriMaster might be a player to watch after running all the way through the open brackets and only being eliminated by HuK in a close 4-1 series
The only significant issue present was one which has plagued other large tournaments, that being the occasionally large amount of time between streamed games. As a viewer of the streams there were times where huge periods of time were spent on a fixed camera position watching players play games from a third person perspective. I understand that there is a schedule of matches which vary greatly in length, thus leading to either long or short intermissions, but there must be a way to remedy this situation. My twitter was full of people complaining about the huge wait times between matches and I believe that filling the dead time between matches with some kind of content may help retain more viewers. One such suggestion is for matches to be shown without commentators, simply from a player’s perspective, though anything might be better than nothing.
People couldn’t stop talking about the enormous use of hellions at MLG Anaheim and while they were still out in full force, I believe that most people have gotten used to all of their workers dying to blue blasts of death. After MLG Raleigh, the new topic has been the Terran 1/1/1 build. The 1/1/1 was used consistently throughout MLG Raleigh partially because it’s the most versatile Terran build and also because of how lethal it is when used for a timely Banshee/Marine/Tank push. Below is a good example of the power of a correctly applied 1/1/1 rush. You’ll see that KiwiKaki appropriately prepares for it, but PuMa’s application of the build is quite impressive.
Conversely, here is Complexity’s TriMaster trying the 1/1/1 push and HuK showing superior skill when dealing with his attack.
Despite everyone talking about the 1/1/1 push, I believe a significant story is still the continued evolution of Terran vs. Terran. Terrans showed more aggression and less drawn out positional tank battles similar to what I referenced in an earlier article. Bomber and Noblesse showed some of this impressive early air aggression in their game 3.
Overall MLG Raleigh was a very entertaining tournament. Western players are starting to show a big skill increase allowing for better matches against the Korean professionals. The Korean players seem to love the atmosphere at the MLG tournaments and that will serve to spread the word to the rest of the Korean community about what attending an MLG can offer. I can’t see the tournament doing anything but grow with such great production values and match-ups offered. Now if only MLG could add the worldwide fighting game community…