Tag Archives: starcraft 2

Blog: StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition Unboxing

With the release of Heart of the Swarm just 4 short days away - and GKick’s interview with Rob Clotworthy, the voice of Jim Raynor, just tomorrow - we were greeted by a fantastic copy of the Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm, ready for our enjoyment. If you’re one of the folks who has your copy of Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition en route, here’s a peek at what you’ll be getting when the box arrives!

A look at the box itself, featuring the distinct purple artwork and Zerg logo in the center.

The Collector’s Edition features the game itself, a Behind-the-Scenes DVD with interviews from Blizzard crew and the voice actors behind the game, another amazing soundtrack, a Heart of the Swarm art book, the Zerg Rush mousepad, and a few free-play guest pass codes for World of Warcraft and Wings of Liberty. In addition, all Collector’s Edition and Digital Collector’s Edition owners will get several StarCraft II avatar pictures and a special skin for the Zerg Ultralisk, a Zergling pet for World of Warcraft, and a special Diablo III banner and Blade Wings for your character to add to their battle.net collections.

The first look inside! Every item fits very neatly into the box, thanks to a plastic insert with special slots for each item.
The first look inside! Every item fits very neatly into the box, thanks to a plastic insert with special slots for each item.

The game itself includes a lot of major updates to the core StarCraft II game. In addition to the new campaign mode, the game also includes new units and an overhauled ladder system for the popular multiplayer element of the game. This game also serves as the central of a three-part story that will culminate with Legacy of the Void, possibly in another 2-3 years from now.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Art Book
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Art Book
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Soundtrack

In this chapter of the story, we continue where Jim Raynor “saved” the fallen Kerrigan, who led the Zerg forces as the Queen of Blades, after the battle on Charr. However, it won’t last long as you assume command over Kerrigan and attempt to reclaim your place as leader of the Zerg all while avoiding and threatening the story’s main antagonist, Arcturus Mengsk. There’s a bit more to it, but you’ll need to play to experience it all.

Heart of the Swarm “Zerg Rush” Mousepad
Heart of the Swarm Game DVD and the Behind-the-Scenes DVD/Blu-ray 2-Disc Set
Heart of the Swarm Game DVD and the Behind-the-Scenes DVD/Blu-ray 2-Disc Set

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be available on March 12th, 2013 online and at retailers nationwide. Heart of the Swarm requires StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in order to play.07-entirety

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Gets Release Date; Pre-Orders Available Now

Blizzard has officially announced the release date of their upcoming StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm, as well as opened up digital pre-ordered at battle.net. This new expansion makes a great deal of changes to the multiplayer game and UI elements of StarCraft as well as continuing the epic single-player campaign that began with Wings of Liberty.

Players of other Blizzard titles will also fine additional incentive to pre-order the Digital Deluxe edition of Heart of the Swarm, by unlocking a Baneling minipet for World of Warcraft, additional profile pictures and a new Ultralisk skin for StarCraft II and Queen of Blades hero wings and sigil addons for Diablo III. Players who pre-order the digital deluxe will also unlock many of these features immediately, except for the expansion itself.

The standard expansion will be available on March 12, 2013 nationwide.

Kingston Technology Hosts HyperX 10-Year Anniversary StarCraft II Tournament

Kingston Technology Company, Inc. has announced it’s first ever Starcraft 2 tournament, a thank you to its fans for 10 years of support for Kingston’s line of memory products.

Gamers from around the world are invited to compete online with the goal of qualifying for the live finals in Las Vegas, NV. during International CES 2013 in January. In addition, eight invited pro gamers will be seeded into the top sixteen,  and will battle it out to win one of four cash prizes totaling $15,000 and become the first-ever HyperX Champion.

“We have supported the gaming industry throughout the 10 years HyperX has been around and they have supported us,” said Dara Mullarkey, HyperX business manager, Kingston. “We wanted to create a fun event that would enable us to give back to our fans and loyal customers. This is a great opportunity for them to enjoy competing against each other and win some great prizes.”

The tournament registration is open to anyone; it starts on September 17, 2012 and closes September 27, 2012. There is no purchase necessary to enter. The online competition will be held on October 1 through November 30, 2012. The live final will be held on January 7 and 8 during International CES 2013. The first place winner and HyperX Champion will receive $7,000 USD, second place wins $4,500 USD, third place wins $2,500 and fourth place wins $1,000 USD.

If you think you have what it takes to battle some of the worlds best Starcraft 2 players, or you are just looking for a cool event sure to bring plenty of intense moments and fond memories, click the link to check out all the details and register for the tournament!

Golden Joins Quantic Gaming

Just days after NaNiwa announced his departure from Quantic Gaming, the eSports team has announced the arrival of Cho “Golden” Myung Hwan, formerly of LighT eSports and SlayerS. Golden joins the current squad with such members as TheStC, Apocalypse, and team captain Sase.

“I wanted to join a foreign team because I really like playing in foreign tournaments and think they are a good experience,” Golden said in an interview with Quantic. “I came back to Korea on Monday and will be living here… for now.” Golden also indicated he plans on moving back to the US into the Quantic Training Facility in the future.

For now, Golden says he will be focusing on Korean tournaments before he returns to the US. Golden will be attempting to qualify for the GSL Code A Season 4 tournament soon.

Master’s Cup Series League Season 7 Finals

Evil Geniuses Starcraft 2 team tournament, the Master’s Cup Series League, is heading towards a dramatic conclusion this weekend!

Season 7 of the MCSL will wrapping up on June 30th, pitting the top four teams against each other to determine who will get paid and who will go home empty handed. 11 weeks of intense matches between 12 of some of the world’s best Starcraft 2 teams have left us with just four remaining: CompLexity, Fnatic, Mousesports, and SlayerS.

Being casted by Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson andIsaac “Azael” Cummings-Bentley, round one will feature SlayerS going up against CompLexity, and Fnatic and Mousesports duking it out in round two.

The teams will be competing for a prize pool of $10,000, with 1st place taking home $5,000, 2nd taking $3,000, and 3rd getting $2,000.

Each team will field four players in a first to 3 series. If the teams end up tied 2-2, a final 5th Ace Match will be played to determine the winner. Each game in the series will be a 1v1 best of 3

If you want to catch the matches, click here. You can watch the live stream once it goes up at 12:00 p.m. PDT (3:00 p.m. EDT)

You can also check out the past matches to catch up on how the top 4 made it to finals.

Big prize pool, amazing teams, great castors! Those of you looking for a SC2 fix should look no further. Check it out!


Blizzard Offers HoTS Beta Keys for Help With Arcade 1.5

People that want to increase their chances of getting into the Heart of The Swarm beta-test have a great opportunity avaliable to them for the next couple of days!

From now until the 29th, Blizzard is offering players that help them test out their Arcade beta 1.5 additional chances to win a key, one for each day they test! That’s an additional 3 chances!

“If you want to get in on the action, playing the Rate the Game beta contest is easy. First, visit your account management page, download and install the Arcade (1.5.0) Beta product you see in the game accounts section, then hop into the Arcade. To enter the contest, simply play, rate, and review an Arcade game. The first time you rate and review a new game each day the contest is running gives you another chance to win, so it pays to visit every day until the contest ends. At the end of the contest period we’ll randomly choose 500 eligible contestants to win StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta keys!” -Blizzard

Go here  to opt into the Arcade (1.5.0) Beta.

Remember! You can come back each day from now until the 29th to rate a game and get another chance to win a Heart of the Swarm beta key! There are only going to be 500 winners, so every day you play will really help!

Good luck!

Blizzard’s Heart of The Swarm Multiplayer Preview

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard about Blizzard’s two HoTS Multiplayer VODs. Casted by Day[9] and Rob Simpson, the two go through a full ZvT and ZvP with most of the new units. There are definitely a lot of new tactics and strategies avaliable, with Zerg even getting what appears to be a new late-game unit composition.

One thing to keep in mind is that the balance team has decided to start the units off really strong, and then scale them back as need be as opposed to starting weak and scaling up. This means the damage, ranges, or even abilities could be changed or removed. It’s still in the testing phase so anything seen in the video might not be there or might be changed once HoTS finally drops.

Here are a few of the high-lights from the videos:

Hydras: These things are fast. It’s kind of ridiculous now. Once you hit Hive Techyou can research a movement speed buff that makes them just as fast off creep as they are when they are on it. They are now really easily micro-able, reminiscent of how they were in Brood War. They look really powerful, doing hit an runs with their amazing DPS and escaping easily when the enemy arrives. Looks awesome.

Vipers: The new Zerg caster unit. Abduct looks awesome, able to pull key units of your opponent into the jaws of your swarmy army and take them out. It works especially well with Lings and the new faster Hydras, preventing the units from retreating back to their friends. The Blinding Cloud ability is only usable against biological units, but it’s going to help a lot when Terran starts massing up Marine balls.

Swarm Host: This is the new Zerg siege unit. It’s an interesting take on the role, as this thing does slow sustained damage by spawning small, free ranged units rather than doing bursty damage like the Siege Tank or Colossus. If you can get enough of them together, combined with spines they seem like they’ll be able to lock down positions really well.

Widow Mine: This thing looks a little ridiculous right now. It can one-shot queens, they do AoE damage, and they are only 75min 25gas. Luckily there is a 10 second or so delay before the mines actually explode, so microing your army to make the mines less cost efficient shouldn’t be too hard. Still, if you aren’t careful you can lose valuable units like Queens or Infestors to a cheap factor unit. You can also build them 2 at a time with a Reactor.

Oracle: Protoss’s new economy harassing unit. It’ll be interesting to see if they change this one. Right now they can move into range of mineral patches, and use spell to lock them down with a shield, forcing the opponent to break them down before the mineral patches can be used again. In the ZvP video, spines were used to that the player didn’t have to manually tell his units to break the shields. It looks a bit powerful right now if you aren’t paying attention. It can also cloak your units, but it has to stay stationary to work.

Tempest: It’s a flying 22 range siege unit. And it flies. \ o.O/

Over all it looks pretty awesome. More units means more options. Excited to see what changes and what stays the same!



June 5 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 Summary: LG-IM Vs. TSL

This is going to be an interesting match. Considering LG-IM’s line-up, containing power houses like MVP, LosirA, and NesTea, it’s easy to favor them over TSL. However, the previous match showed us that TSL has a couple of powerful Zerg players. Symbol tore up FnaticRC, and he’s going to be relied on to do the trick again against the intimidating LG-IM team.

Game 1: LG-IM LosirA (Z) Vs. TSL_Revival (Z)

We kick off Game 1 of the 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 with a ZvZ, something that TSL has a lot of experience with.

The players get their naturals, gas and Pools at roughly the same time, with no major divergence on the opening until LosirA decides to go for a Ling attack while Revival goes for his 3rd base. Running Lings up the exposed ramp of Revival, LosirA is able to surround the Queen in the main, but thanks to some bad luck, is unable to get the final hit in, leaving her with 1 HP. A handful of Lings try to attack the 3rd, but are warded off easily by Revival. From here, each player moves on to Lair tech and heads towards Roaches, but LosirA is behind on almost every front.

Revival takes advantage of his tech lead to make the first attack, making a move for LosirA’s 3rd base once his 7 Infestors are ready to go. The attack goes well for Revival, taking out 10 workers, during the trade, but he is unable to make the killing blow. Wisely deciding to retreat, he heads back to base, sitting on his earned economic lead. LosirA however, has been pursuing Roach upgrades relentlessly, finishing his +2 attack while Revival is still on +1 - 0. If the game goes much longer, Revival could find himself with a vastly inferior army.

Revival goes for another big attack once he reaches 200/200, attacking the 3rd again, but LosirA pushes back with a better concave and a far better Roach army. Once he crushes Revival’s force, he goes for a counter-attack and is able to kill the 4th and the 3rd. LosirA never loses momentum from this point, and marches on, defeating Revival in the first game of the night.

Game 2: LG-IM LosirA (Z) Vs. TSL_inori (P) Series is at 1-0

TSL chooses to field inori against LosirA on Entombed Valley for their second go, a great map for late-game Protoss.

Our Protoss player goes for a Nexus first to start off, a bit risky, but a risk that pays off as he gets away with it without any disadvantage. LosirA goes for 3 Hatches before 5 minutes, setting himself up for a more passive, long-term strategy.

Sacrificing gas and tech for more economy, LosirA exposes himself to early Stalker harassment, but only loses a few drones before the Stalkers decide to go home. inori plays the match normally, going for a fast and easy to hold 3rd, deciding against a very aggressive style of play that can catch some Zergs off-guard on such a 3rd base friendly map. The Zerg player also chooses to play more passively, getting Hive and going for faster tech and a 4th in response to Toss’s economic play.

Once inori is happy with his Immortal count, he moves out to stop LosirA’s 4th. He picks off the Hatchery before it is canceled, and actually picks off a few more units than he should have thanks to LosirA over-extending a bit. After a long skirmish, LosirA pushes inori’s forces back. Looking for blood, LosirA moves out into the field, able to stop inori’s attempt at his own 4th while he was out of position. From here, LosirA is able to macro-up enough forces to overwhelm inori, who just wasn’t able to accomplish enough with his offensives.

With an upgraded Ling/Roach/Infestor force, LosirA sweeps over inori, forcing him to GG and picking up LG-IM’s second win of the night.

Game 3: LG-IM LosirA (Z) Vs. TSL_Polt (T) Series is at 2-0

Feeling pressure to take out LosirA before he snowballs, TSL sends out one of their strongest players. Polt takes up the TSL banner and prepares to take the Zerg out on a Terran favored map, Antiga Shipyard.

This is Polt’s time to shine. In a lot of ways, it’s do or die right now. Not winning this game leaves TSL with few options. They’ll be down 3 games. They won’t have another favorable map choice, and they won’t have one of their strongest players. If Polt doesn’t win here, the pressure is really going to fall on Symbol to pick up the slack. It could be too much for him, and crushing for the team.

Polt kicks the game off with a newer style of Terran player, getting Reactored Hellions along with Banshees, pressuring, and expanding behind it. LosirA is ready for this though, and gets not just 4, not just 6, but 8 (eight!) Queens in total to push the pressure back. Not only does this make him completely safe, it allows him to have 15(!!!) active Creep Tumors steadily pump out the purple stuff, inching closer and closer to Polt’s base.

LosirA looks great right now. He’s been able to Drone up as much as he’s liked, and Polt’s Banshee/Hellion opening has been completely negated, serving only as glorified scouts and Creep Tumor cleanup when they get chance. LosirA also picks up a 4th base in the North East corner, and is getting a Spire. Polt is macroing up on his 3 bases, and is trying to figure out a way to deal with LosirA’s ocean of Creep.

Luckily LosirA hears Polt’s cries for help, and sends wave after wave of Zergy flesh into a wall of bullets and Tank shells. The Ling/Muta/Bane army trades terribly with Polt’s, and after LosirA decides he is done throwing away units, Polt is free to start the Creep cleanup. He takes a 4th in the middle and looks as if he is ready to topple LosirA, and stop his win-streak.

Just when it was starting to look bleak, LosirA is able to get a nice looking force of Broods and Infestors together, and with some great fungals, pushes Polt back and back and back. He gets into a position where he can siege Polt’s 4th with Broods, and because of the low Viking numbers, LosirA takes the game with his free-reign of the air.

LosirA is wins his 3rd game, and TSL is running out of options.

Game 4: LG-IM LosirA (Z) Vs. TSL_HyuN Series is at 3-0

HyuN decides to go for a really risky 10 Pool build, probably feeling that he can’t go into a straight-up match against LosirA and win. Using his Drone scout, LosirA sees this, and changes his plan. He gets a Pool instead of a Hatch, and is able to get his Lings out in time. LosirA defends with maybe 1 Drone lost, and gets a huge ginormous lead.

HyuN continues his aggression know that he cannot continue the game playing from behind, but again fails to make anything happen. LosirA knows that HyuN’s only option is more offense, and gets a few Spines, a few Queens, and defends the Bane/Ling attack losing only some Lings and Spines.

The TSL player goes for a Spire, and rather than let him play out a long game he’ll eventually lose, LosirA goes to put him out of his misery. He attacks with Banes and Lings, kills tons of workers, and the rest of the game is HyuN wasting everyone’s time by playing a game where he is only operating at a third of LosirA’s economy. HyuN loses. And it’s boring. Lame.

Game 5: LG-IM LosirA (Z) Vs. TSL_Symbol (Z) Series is at 4-0

Hopefully Symbol can get that previous games bad taste out of my mouth. Yuck. It’s 4-0, so he is going to need to reverse All-Kill to make this happen for TSL.

The game has both players doing the ZvZ mirror until a few minutes in. Symbol is able to scout exactly when the Lair is completed for LosirA, and also sees a Roach Warren. Knowing this, LosirA goes for some tricky mind-games and cancels the Warren, and instead starts a Spire. A tricky play, but unfortunately Symbol gets a Infestation Pit as soon as his own Lair is done (blindly or with some intuition it is hard to say,) basically ensuring that he will be safe against Mutas.

Once the Mutas do arrive, Symbol deals with it easily, and goes on to get faster upgrades for his Roaches, as well as faster Infestors, giving him a nice advantage moving forward. At this point, both players sit back a bit to figure out what to do. Symbol is able to send some sneaky burrowed Infestors out, and kills the 4th Hatchery of LosirA. Symbol in the meantime gets a Nydus Network, and is preparing to go for LosirA’s main base. Moments before he is able to attack though, LosirA arrives with a scarey Infestor/Hydra/Roach army, and just barely gets stopped by a reinforcing round of Symbol’s Roaches. Having dealt with LosirA’s attack, he jumps into his Nydus Worm, and attacks LosirA’s main, but doesn’t deal significant damage.

Both players take some time to breath, and then go right back into it. LosirA loses his bottom left base, while at the same time taking down Symbol’s 3rd and Hive. For a moment it seems as if Symbol wants to go for a base trade, but instead decides to go back to base to defend. Symbol comes out in a better position, with more bases, and a 3-2 upgrade for his forces (with Ultras on the way,) while LosirA is only at 2-1.

LosirA decides to try to make something happen, and engages in the middle of the map. He has a scarey force, but thanks to Symbol’s upgrades and army composition, is able to stop the Hydra heavy force of LosirA from pushing further. LosirA constantly gets good positions for his engagements, but eventually runs out of gas when he decides against getting a new expansion for himself while Symbol holds his.

LosirA players great, and gets 4 wins for LG-IM before getting taken out by Symbol in a really exciting ZvZ. Can Symbol really do it?

Game 6: LG-IM YoDa (T) Vs. TSL_Symbol (Z) Series is at 4-1

LG-IM picks a lesser known player from their team to fight Symbol in his second game. YoDa goes for Reactored Hellions, and follows up with a 2nd and 3rd Command Center. Symbol gets himself a Roach Warren and 2 Baneling Nests (lol,) and keeps YoDa completely in the dark while doing it.

YoDa is able to sneak in some Hellions, becoming aware of what is happening, but it is far to late. Symbol breaks into his base with his Roach/Ling/Bane army, and gets the victory in before the 10 minute mark. A really simple game considering the crazy ZvZ we had earlier.

One wonders if it is a wise coaching decision to send in their weaker players against Symbol, who has shown that he is a fully capable Zerg. Are they simply feeding the beast?

Game 7: LG-IM Happy (T) Vs. TSL_Symbol (Z) Series is at 4-2

Another ZvT for Symbol. Another weaker player for Symbol to contend against. When is LG-IM going to send out their heavy hitters?

The Terran goes for a greedy 1 Barracks into CC. He actually gets the identical build that was used in the last game, getting a 3rd Command Center. And guess what? Symbol does the same thing too. A Roach/Ling/Bane bust kills Happy in the exact same way that killed YoDa. Symbol is at 3 wins. He only needs to get 2 more wins to reverse all of the work that LosirA had done.

Game 8: LG-IM Mvp (T) Vs. TSL_Symbol (Z) Series is at 4-3

Finally the big-guns come out. Mvp was going to make an appearance at some point. Now the only question is, did LG-IM play him to late?

Mvp isn’t shy about his confidence. He goes for a CC first before Barracks, and Symbol isn’t able to spot it with his initial Overlord scout. Mvp follows up with Reactored Hellions and another CC. Symbol on the other hand changes gears, and goes for 4 Queens and a 3rd before gas starts, and then transitions into a Roach Warren and 2 Evo Chambers.

Mvp scouts around with his Hellions, stopping the Creep from spreading and also picking up 2 stray Drone kills. In the meantime, he goes for Mech play. Symbol dedicates himself to Roaches, getting ranged +1 +1 upgrades and Roach Speed.

This has all of the trimmings of a long game. But that isn’t what Symbol wants. He hits a SICK timing with his Roaches, and is able to rush in and completely destroy Mvp while he is setting up the 3rd. He breaks through once and just never stops. Mvp buckles to continued Roach waves.

Mvp, one of the last remaining big-boys for LG-IM goes down. We are at an Ace Match! From a 4-0 deficit, Symbol brings it back and threatens a Reverse All-Kill!

Game 9: LG-IM NesTea (Z) Vs. TSL_Symbol (Z) Series is at 4-4

So here we are. What seemed like a night of free wins for LG-IM has turned into a horrendous situation for the team. The coaching staff of Incredible Miracle has been feeding Symbol all night. He just broke down Mvp, and he is hungry for more. He only needs to take down NesTea to get the Reverse All-Kill. It all comes down to this last ZvZ.

Cross-positions on Metropolis are what greets us as the final game begins. NesTea goes for a safe and passive build, getting 4 Queens and delaying his gas, Speed, and tech by a lot. Symbol goes for a more aggressive opening, fast Speed and a fast Lair.

He blunders a bit in the very beginning of the game, losing a Queen that was chasing a stray Overlord to 4 Lings. A bit of a set-back for Symbol, but nothing he can’t overcome.

Symbol intends to get some harassment in with his freshly popped Mutas, but instead is forced to run back to base in order to deal with NesTea’s +1 +1 Lings. They head straight for Symbol’s 3rd and are able to take it down along with 3 Drones before Symbol is able to get back and take care of them. In the meantime, NesTea is getting +2 +2 for his lings, as well as building up his Infestor count. At the same time, Symbol is Roach upgrades and starting his Pathogen Glands for the his Infestors.

Both players hunker down and fortify their positions from this spot. NesTea has killed the 3rd a couple of times, but Symbol now sets it up, and also picksup his 4th base, NesTea does the same on his end as well. even on bases, they are however going for radically different armies. NesTea is continuing with his melee focused composition, getting +3 +3 as well as Ultras and Adrenal glands. Symbol is getting a 2nd Spire and Teching to Broodlords. Both players have set up Spine Crawler walls to section off their sides of the map, but Symbol looks like he is in a better position to start his attacks once he decides to.

NesTea has waited long enough. The tension has been building and it is time for the climax. He crashes into Symbol’s Spine wall full-force, and breaks through. Breaching the defense right before the Broods morph, he splits his forces and takes down the natural and follows up with wave of Lings to kill the 3rd.

Symbol has taken a lot of damage, but he still has an amazing army on the field. He marches towards NesTea’s bases knowing he is weak. NesTea tries to get some Corrupters up, but the Infestor support keeps Symbol’s Broods safe. The players go into an intense base-trade, but NesTea just cannot stop Symbol from plowing through his buildings. It’s very, very close, but Symbol is able to out-muscle NesTea, and takes down one of the best Zergs in the world.

Symbol takes his floundering TSL team, on the verge of losing, and turns it all around. He goes 5 games straight without losing, killing some of the best Code S players around.

Reverse. All. Kill. TSL WINS!

It’s interesting to think about how much of this loss was the coaches fault. They gave Symbol 3 free games before he had to start facing their best players. Did they unknowingly level-up Symbol? We’ll never know how it would’ve turned out if they had run Mvp or NesTea right off the bat, but it doesn’t take away how amazing Symbol did regardless.

The June 6 series of the 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 is going to have LG-IM facing off against FnaticRC in an elimination round! Check out www.GOMTV.net to watch the games live and check out when the next scheduled program is dropping.

As always, check back here at gkick.net for more gaming news, and especially more summaries from me!

Follow me at www.twitter.com/MLockey for eSports news, SC2 news, GSTL news, all sorts of stuff! The June 6 summary will be coming up later today if you weren’t able to watch it live!

gl gl everyone!

June 4 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 Summary: TSL Vs. FnaticRC

We kick off the week with TSL Vs. FnaticRC. It’s FnaticRC’s first GSTL appearance! They have the 5th Race, can he turn it up and lead Fnatic to victory?

Game 1: TSL_Shine (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_NightEnD (P)

The first game is Shine against NightEnD, a foreigner from Romania. NightEnD is one of the best performing foreigners on the ladder, so it’ll be interesting to see how well he’ll be able to perform in the 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2.

NightEnD begins the game cutting some corners, having to pull 10-12 Probes to delay the 4 Lings that arrive at his natural, stalling until the Canon goes up. NightEnD continues to get a Robo and add 3 Warpgates, playing safe and getting 2 Observers before starting Immortal production.

Shine moves out with a nice group of Roaches, applying some pressure to NightEnD, which allows him to tech up to Infestors while also getting a 4th base up. Once NightEnD decides to move out, he has Blink Stalkers and some Colossus. Shine Spines up his 4th base, and is able to get up his Broodlords before the attack lands. The players exchange blows with each other, but eventually Shine switches over to a Brood and Infestor army, and overpowers NightEnD.

TSL takes the first game thanks to Shine’s solid play, starting the series in their favor.

Game 2: TSL_Shine (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_Moon (Z) Series is at 1-0

After receiving its first GSTL loss, Fnatic responds by sending out the 5th Race. Moon, who had garnered much fame from his innovative Warcraft 3 play (thus his AKA, 5th Race,) has moved on to SC2, and he is repping the FnaticRC team.

Shine gets a little bit of an advantage in the beginning if the match by blocking Moon’s attempt to build a Hatchery twice, forcing Moon to build a Pool first. Although the builds end up becoming symmetrical moving into the mid-game, it’s possible that this little tactic by Shine might’ve thrown Moon off.

The first big move comes courtesy of Shine, slipping a group of Zerglings into Moon’s growing 3rd, killing the developing Hatchery before Moon is able to cancel it. This puts Moon into an awkward position. Do I sit back and rebuild my 3rd, playing from behind if my opponent is getting his next base? Or do I counter attack and try to go eye for an eye? Moon goes with the latter, and moves out with a squadron of Lings and Roaches.

Moon launches a three-pronged attack on Shine, attacking each base. Lings attack and harass the 3rd, and Roaches split up and go for the Drones of the natural and the main. In total, the assault managed to kill 20 Drones! This puts Moon at a huge advantage. From here, Shine decides he needs to kill Moon now. Catching up on Drones without falling seriously behind in some other area would be impossible.

Shine launches series of failed offensives letting Moon grow out of control, and with the superior economy earned by his earlier timing attack, Moon takes the game.

Game 3: TSL_inori (P) Vs. FnaticRC_Moon (Z) Series is at 1-1

TSL, even though it has a huge pool of Zerg players, and thus has plenty of ZvZ practice, decides to go with a Protoss to take on Moon.

inori starts the game off really well. He is able to stop the natural Hatchery, and even gets ahead at home by going Nexus first, and getting a Gate before Canon. Moon responds by getting 3 bases at 4:05 game time.

Knowing that Moon is going to have late Ling Speed, inori moves out with a Zealot and a Stalker to try to force some mistakes out of Moon. Placing down a Pylon tucked away near the ramp of the 3rd, inori starts his pressure. A Zealot and 2 Stalker force moves in, and because of the lack of speed, get free pressure. He forces Moon to build several rounds of Lings, which is something a Zerg never wants to have to do this early. He luckily defends, despite the great 1+ timing attack from inori. He does manage to get a 3rd behind the attack however, and is looking really good going into mid-game.

Moon decides to go for a Spire for his Lair tech choice. inori goes with a Robobay, and decides to get Immortals despite not knowing whether or not Moon was dedicating himself to Roaches. Once the Mutas are out on the field, Moon gets aggressive, and takes pot shots at inori when he can. He builds and builds his Muta clump up, while building bases spread out at opposite ends of the map incase the players decide to go for a base race. Splitting his units, Moon is able to snipe inori’s 3rd Nexus, and cancels a 4th.

Eventually inori stabilizes, getting his 3rd and 4th back up, but Moon has transitioned into an Infestor and Roach based army. Using some sneaky burrowing, Moon takes down the 4th while inori is out of position. We go into a base-trade scenerio, and although inori is able to take some bases, Moon’s momentum carried threw the whole game. Moon’s army of Broods and Infestors is just too much, and eventually inori gets backed into a corner, is forced to fight, and he loses everything. Moon takes game 3.

Game 4: TSL_HyuN (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_Moon (Z) Series is at 1-2

Having tried the Protoss route, TSL switch back to fielding a Zerg to take on Moon. He’s now won 2 games in a row, and momentum is building. Can Moon All-Kill?

The players have almost the exact same timings until we get to the Baneling nest. Moon gets it just a bit faster, and morphs 2 well positioned Lings into Banelings right outside for HyuN’s base. Knowing that there isn’t a Spinecrawler in position, Moon moves in and gets an amazing Baneling hit on the Drone line. After the forces of Moon run dry, he has killed 11 Drones. Instead of going for more offense, which might’ve been able to end the game, Moon goes for the safer option, teching and Droning with an economic advantage.

Because of Moon’s Baneling attack, HyuN is able to actually tech faster, and gets the Spire about 30 seconds faster than Moon. Both players use sneaky Ling attack to force each other to cancel their 3rds (Moon actually loses his seconds after it is built.) Although HyuN gets his Mutas out faster, Moon’s Ling pressure keeps the Mutas at HyuNs base.

Some minor skirmishes lead into both players getting their 3rds finally. HyuN decides to go for the riskier 3 gas 3rd. It’s a harder to defend position, but you get 50% gas. The game stays relatively even until a critical blunder by HyuN causes him to lose a huge group of Mutas with only minor loses for Moon. Once HyuN loses his momentum, it is the beginning of the end.

With a better economy and more map control, Moon goes for a 4th, and gets the next step in tech. Infestors, Roaches, and Hydras, kill HyuN, who attempts to go for a baserace knowing that he cannot beat Moon head-on. Moon takes a 3rd game and is well on his way to taking out the entire TSL team.

Game 5: TSL_Symbol (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_Moon (Z) Series is at 1-3

Unlike the previous ZvZs, this match has very different openings from both players. Symbol a faster gas and faster speed. Way faster speed. Moon decides to get a Baneling Nest before speed. And then he gets a Lair before Speed, and then an Infestation Pit. He sacrifices map control and scouting for way faster tech. Symbol is able to see this with his fast Lings however. Initially going for a Spire, he cancels that once he becomes aware of the Infestor play, and switches to Roach/Infestor.

Some good maneuvering allows Symbol to force Moon to cancel his 3rd. Soon after, Moon kills Symbol 3rd. These players just can’t get 3rds. Moon decides to put his Infestor tech to good use, burrowing 4 and sending them towards Symbol”s base. Unfortunately he didn’t scout out the path for his burrowed force, and ends up losing them for free.

Symbol smells that he has the advantage, and this triggers him to move out immediately. The situation looks desperate for Moon. He just lost all of his Infestors, and he doesn’t have much to defend with at home. What does he do? Pump out waves of Zerglings and delay as much as possible! Symbol get’s the 3rd of Moon, let’s not forget that. Ok but now that we got that out of the way. WOW! Moon’s Zergling backstab is ridiculous. Attacking seemingly everywhere at once, morphing Banelings, microing Lings. Once the barrage of Ling related violence is over, the worker count is 47 to 15. Woooooooow!

This helped Moon a lot, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. He didn’t have a real standing army (only Lings and Infestors,) he couldn’t get a 3rd up, and he threw away another 6 Infestors for free by trying to do a burrow-by. Symbol goes for a Nydus attack at Moon’s base, it works, and he kills Moon. A really exciting game, but Moon’s mistakes kept him from the All-Kill

Game 6: TSL_Symbol (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_Oz (P) Series is at 2-3

Both of the players open up greedily, a Nexus first for the Protoss player and Hatch first for the Zerg. Symbol is actually able to slip 6 Lings into the main of Oz, but excellent control makes the brief Ling attack almost completely ineffective.

The mid-game transition sees Symbol getting a Lair, Spire, and a 3rd. Oz get’s his own 3rd as well. Symbol threatens it, but thanks to a huge group of Sentries, he is able to stop Symbol’s Lings. Once Symbol’s Mutas are done, he heads over to Oz’s base, and gets a handful of worker kills, while also adding 21(!) more workers! This puts his worker total in the triple digits. Isn’t that too much?!

Oz gets Storm and Blink to deal with the Mutas, and moves out as Symbol is establishing his 4th. Those hundreds of workers? Spine Crawlers! Symbol makes a wall of Spines and uses them to stall Oz’s army while he techs up to Broods and upgrades.  Oz, who has been sticking to Templar tech, cannot breach the Spine wall without a siege unit, and ends up commiting to a game-ending attack that never really started. Without a 4th and with Symbol instantly remaxing whenever he takes loses, Oz GGs when he runs out of steam.

Game 7: TSL_Symbol (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_ByuL (Z) Series is at 3-3

This 7th game is a story of risks. Risks that didn’t pay off. ByuL is relatively unknown, and thus the TSL team knows a lot less about him than Fnatic knows about Symbol. Can ByuL pull out some new moves and dethrone Symbol?

This game starts out with two very different openings once both players get their naturals. ByuL goes for Gas before Pool, and Symbol gets a Pool and delays gas for quite a bit. ByuL launches a Ling attack against Symbol, hoping to catch him off guard and win the game outright. But Symbol’s great micro and a little bit of hesitation on ByuL’s part negate the attack with only 2 Drones lost.

Now ByuL is behind on Drones and tech. He decides to go for a Roach/Baneling timing attack make up for his bad position. Meanwhile, Symbol has been teching comfortably, Lair started before speed. Once ByuL moves out, Symbol is ready with a obstacle course of 10 Spines, Queens, and freshly popped Mutas. Again ByuL hesitates, and actually turns back and retreats once he sees what he is up against. Symbol doesn’t let him leave without some punishment though, and kills all of the Banelings that ByuL moved out with.

With ByuL behind on basically everything because of his hesitant and risky play, Symbol eventually overwhelms him with a growing Muta count.

Game 8: TSL_Symbol (Z) Vs. FnaticRC_Alive (T) Series is at 4-3

Alive is a former TSL member, and he has one of the best win ratios in the GSTL. FnaticRC is relying on him to take the next two games, so he has a lot of work ahead of him.

The game starts out fairly standard. Symbol goes the gas-less route, and gets 4 Queens for defense. Alive gets some Hellions as well as Banshees in order to harasss Symbol and throw him off balance. Symbols Queens defend, and start spreading Creep, using 6 tumors to get as much of the map covered as possible. Once Alive moves out with a group of Marines, Hellions, and Banshees, Symbol has a Queen and Roaches to push them back.

Symbol gets his 3rd, and continues to push into the middle, spreading his Creep. Alive establishes his 3rd base. In the meantime, Symbol gets Banes and Infestors, and prepares to attack Alive’s new base. The attack on Alive’s 3rd does tons of damage, killing a lot of SCVs and Tanks, weakening the force that he’ll be able to field once he eventually decides to move out.

Alive attempts some drop play, but doesn’t find any success. Once Symbol gets his Ultraisk tech, he moves out again, and starts an endless wave of attacks that beat Alive into submission. He eventually crumbles, and Symbol takes his 4th game in a row, winning the series for TSL!

Make sure to check out www.GOMTV.net to watch the games Live! Stay tuned for my next article!



June 1 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 Summary: NSH Vs. ZeNEX

Can the exciting rise of the underdogs, team ZeNEX, keep moving towards a 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 victory? Led by the fresh-faced warrior Life, they will face NHS. Winner gets out of Group A, loser gets eliminated!

Game 1: NSH_Freaky (Z) Vs. ZeNEX_Pet (Z)

We start the series off with Freaky and Pet. Pet is a relatively unknown player, where as Freaky has become infamous for his heavy infestor play.

I’m curious if starting with a Zerg against ZeNEX is wise, considering their rising star Life is currently on a 14 game winstreak against Zergs. Could opening with a Zerg allow Life to come in and immediately start building momentum? Time will tell.

The builds start a bit differently, but end up at the same place Speed and Bane Nest finishing at the same time. Different tech paths emerge when Pet decides on getting his lair tech earlier, while Freaky favors a fast melee upgrade. Further tech progression has Pet settling for a roach timing attack and Freaky getting Infestors.

Once Pet gets the upgrades for his roaches, it’s time to move out. Cleverly dodging a scouting Overseer, Pet gets as much surprise out of his roaches as possible before moving out. Unfortunately for him, a Ling runby from Freaky kills a lot of Drones, but he presses on. Pet is met with a stiff defense. Well timed Infestors and Lings emerge from their eggs exactly when needed, and with plenty of fungals, +1 Lings, and a little bit of help from his Drones, Freaky is able to hold.

As the blood and fungals fade, we’re left with Freaky at a 40 to 22 worker advantage, with Pet mustering yet another attack. With even more Infestors to defend with, Pet is repelled, and is forced to lick his wounds back at home.

Both players take the next few moments to play passively, each one getting their 3rd. Pet is actually able to get back into the worker game, surpassing Freaky. How does this happen? Because Freaky just got 20+ Infestors. Twenty. And what does one do with so many Infestors? One does not simply walk them into Pets base. Freaky opts for drop play, and after a withering set of multi-pronged  drops, Pet succumbs to a cloud of fungus, and many… many infested marines.

Game 2: NSH_Freaky (Z) Vs. ZeNEX_Avenge (P) Series is at 1-0

With one of the ZeNEX players dead, Avenge takes up the team banner. Now that he has someone to… avenge *ba dum chi*, will he be able to win his first 2012 HOT6 GSTL Season 2 match? (Shout outs to Wolf for the excellent joke)

The players go for the standard builds of the day, FFE for Protoss and Pool first for Zerg. Freaky chooses to only get 2 Lings in the beginning, which normally would be great for the extra drone. However, once he arrives at the front of Avenge’s base and finds he could slip in uncontested, 6 might’ve been a lot nicer. Regardless, he is able to cause Freaky a lot of lost mining time with constant Ling micro.

Stargate opening for Avenge, which Freaky is able to smell thanks to excellent Overlord placement, seeing the 4 gas. The air-harass does barely noticeable damage, and the players move on to Lair and Infestor tech Zerg side, and Colossus for Protoss.

Freaky spots Avenge moving out to the middle of the map, and uses his freshly researched drop tech to send a huge force right into Avenge’s main while he is away. Taking probe loses with no hope to get back in time, Avenge decides to go for the throat and initiate a base trade. Unfortunately, Freaky had prepared for this possibility, and a wall of Spines backed up by Infestors and Drop-Banes is able to clean up the threat.

Back at Avenge’s base, all infrastructure is completely destroyed. Avenge types out, and bitterly swallows his 3rd straight loss. *sadface*

Game 3: NSH_Freaky Vs. ZeNEX_Life (Z) Series is at 2-0

A couple things to note on the coaching/metagame level going into this match: ZeNEX decides for a ZvZ on Antiga Shipyard. This takes away NSH’s option of using it as a TvZ map later on in the series, which can be nasty for Zergs. A smart play that gives their star players, rising star Life and Code S player SuHoSin (also Zerg *AKA Line* as many advantages as possible.

Life. ZvZ beast (again, 14 game ZvZ win-streak. Wow!) All-Killer. Ladies man (maybe?) and nerd bad-ass. Can he do it? Is he going to be as solid has he was in the past two showings?

Life gets a Hatch first this game (in the past he has favored pool first) while Freaky goes for Pool. The beginning phase is basically symmetrical for both players, although Life does get a slightly faster Speed and Bane Nest.

Life goes for a Roach timing, getting Lair at 7 minutes and +1 for his Roaches. Freaky gets Infestors again. He really likes using Infestors. Like in his previous ZvZ games, Life tries to end it with that Roach timing we talked about, but he meets a wall of Spines supported by Infestors. He attempts to move in while the last few are building, and gets caught by fungals. He barely makes it out alive with a badly damaged Roach force.

The players go for 3rds, and Life tries to prevent Freaky from establishing his next base. Again he runs into the Spine/Infestor wall, which has been repositioned to the low-ground. He’s able to slip a few roaches by after taking another set of heavy losses, but cannot stop the 3rd. Going the opposite route, he decides to answer Freaky by taking a 4th.

From here on the match gets very chaotic. Freaky does a lot of innovative things with his Infestors. He uses Nydus to position his Infestors south of Life’s main across the gap, and shoots Infested Marines into the base. He also uses the same tactic to safely assualt Life’s 4th (in the middle of the map) from the high-ground from the NW main. While this is happening, Life drops Freaky’s bases, and scores some economic damage along with taking out the Infestor Pit.

The game ends abruptly when Freaky realizes he has taken too much damage at home and has too little energy in his largely Infestor based army and taps out.

The game ended so suddenly, and the pace was so frantic, that the MCs actually had a hard time distinguishing who GG’d. Analyzing the replay though, it’s easy to see why Freaky called the game. He literally only had Drones and Infestors towards the end, and was behind on supply the whole time once the action started.

Game 4: NSH_San (P) Vs. ZeNEX_Life (Z) Series is at 2-1

Every time we’ve seen Life come in and smash a Zerg players face in (after Avenge dies,) we’ve seen him to go on to get at least 2 more kills. With a 15th ZvZ win under his belt, it’s time for Life to do what he does best and take his team forward.

San and Life start the match standard, FFE for Toss, Pool for Zerg. Probe harass causes Life to get his first expansions at his 3rd, but will take the natural once he takes care of the Pylon that was placed there.

Life is able to get a Speed Ling into San’s base, running around for what seemed like forever in his main. Although he didn’t see anything, it did cause San to delay the additional Warpgates he was adding. Getting a robo as well, San goes for a Warp Prism build, loading up 2 Sentries and heading towards Life’s base while dodging as many of Life’s units as he could before setting up.

Because he had been spotted, San doesn’t attempt to FF the ramp of Life’s base, and instead gets into a nice position to harass the 3rd. Using FFs and the map architecture, he’s able to prevent a full ling surround, and kills 9 drones before taking off. Less obvious but still damaging is the fact that Life was forced to produce 20 additional lings, which could’ve been 10 more Drone or 5 more Roaches.

The follow up push containing 3 Immortals with +1 +1 upgrades and 10 Sentries is simply too much for Life. A disappointing end to Life’s night here, we didn’t get to see and same hype and momentum that Life was able to muster the previous nights.

Game 5: NSH_San (P) Vs. ZeNEX_SuHoSin AKA Line (Z) Series is at 3-1

ZeNEX looks just… demoralized after this loss. Their shining star, the guy breathing new… wow almost wrote life… ah what the hell. New Life (boom!) into the team has just been snuffed out after only managing to get one win. They need to get 4 more games before NSH gets 2 and there is only one player left on the bench that has shown results. The mood is grim.

Standard opening from both players, FFE and Pool. SuHoSin gets his 3rd before gas and San gets himself a fast +1 along with Warp Prism. He tries to get some work done with a clever bait, eventually locking the majority of SuHoSin’s forces up top in the main, but can’t get much damage in before he’s forced away from the natural.

SuHoSin’s map-awareness allows him to deny San’s attempt at a 3rd at an unconventional position. Followed up with a two-pronged attack with Infestors and +1 Lings, SuHoSin kills San’s 3rd again with burrowed Infestors laying down Marine eggs. This triggers aggression from San, who abandons his 3rd grabbing attempts. He instead moves out with a mixed force, supported by Colossus.

Although SuHoSin beats him back temporarily with 16 Mutas and a ground force, a wave of reinforcements along with great FFs and unit control smash through the Zerg defenses, and NSH takes their 4th game of the night.

Game 6: NSH_San (P) Vs. ZeNEX_Treme (P) Series is at 4-1

I would hate to be in Treme’s shoes right now. Having just seen your two best players get dismantled, knowing that you have to win 4 games in a row to prevent your team from getting eliminated!? I can’t even imagine the pressure and despair weighing down on him.

Treme decides to go for a Stargate build. Using his Phoenix, he sees (unfortunately for him) that his opponent is going for a 2 Gate pressure into Expo. Using a proxy Pylon, San starts his offensive. Treme is able to get back to his ramp just in time to save himself with a FF, stalling while he gets the forces he needs to retake his natural so he can expand.

Treme is behind. San’s expansion and Immortal are both up way before Treme’s. Thanks to the Stargate play that basically just served as an expensive way to scout, Treme is doing everything in slow-motion.

San takes this advantage and tries to turn it into a mid-game win with an Immortal push. Two waves attempt to crush Treme, but defenders advantage and good micro help keep him alive. Infact, San actually overextends and is forced to retreat, helping Treme get back into the game.

Both players build up their infrastructure, with both players almost mirroring each other except for slightly faster Colossus production for Treme thanks to an earlier second Robo Bay. He also still has that Stargate.

San moves out again while Treme is setting up a 3rd. What looks like a good engagement for Treme (starts with an excellent concave) soon favors San, who uses focus firing and superior control to take the game from team ZeNEX. Treme taps out and ZeNEX is eliminated, only winning 1 game.

Post Game:

NSH joins SlayerS (who beat Team Liquid, eliminating them from the GSTL) and move on from Group A. It was an unfortunate night. The games were fun, but the underdog story line of ZeNEX was cut short after the build-up of the past few days.

Fortunately, we can look forward to ZeNEX returning next season, where with some more team-depth, they could be a real scarey team. Team Liquid’s debut as an independent team was short, and not sweet. A lack of real practice time probably took a real toll on them though. It’ll be interesting to see what they can come up with next season.

And thus concludes Group A! NSH and SlayerS move on!

Make sure to tune into www.GOMTV.net for the beginning of Group B, starting off with TSL Vs. FnaticRC on June 4th

Thanks for reading, and make sure to comeback for more GSTL and other eSports coverage! Follow me at www.twitter.com/MLockey for #SC2 #FGC and other#eSports updates throughout the day ;D