Postmodern Brood War II: Expanding

Part I of the Postmodern Brood War series opened with a short overview about the community and its pages before the Wings of Liberty Beta, an introduction to the new pages and a more detailed view on the first steps – and ended around summer 2011. The second part will continue from there, since the communtiy finally started to become more or less stable. The Russians, supported by Defiler.ru and reps.ru, and the Americans over at Teamliquid announced more leagues, tournaments and events, more than anyone could’ve hoped for only a few months before. Nobody was tired and the demand for more Brood War was not yet satisfied. There were still things missing, things desperately needed!

North America

The first article already introduced David ‘LRM)Game‘ Barr, the organizer to manage the International Starleague 1 and 2. Since the Russians missed to advertise their events fully and due to his massive propaganda, Barr appeared to be the most important pillar of the competitive scene. A lot of Teamliquid’s numbers turned to Miami if they wanted to have more events, because they expected new and even bigger things. The American obviously couldn’t do everything, the two Starleagues were a big project on their own, without support of the Russian server ICCup he had to work around technical issues; aside from his helpers nOoNe and Sayle only little personell was left to do the work of referees, counter abuse and other imporant duties. A lot of fans often announced that they’d help out one way or the other. Then again, saying you’d lend a helping hand and actually offering one are two entire different things – one of the basic problems of organisation. The more people, the less people to actually do work, since everyone relies on everyone else. However, Game did not have a lot of problems with recruiting and delegating work. He was able to convince Liquipedia I’s boss Pholon to do write ups, or get Teamliquid’s famous designer HawaiianPig to give him a couple of promotion banners. Still, more and more fans asked for a nation war scene or a new team league – two projects, which would require more man power than Barr had. ICCup, the traditional platform to organize exactly this kind of projects, was swamped, too. Despite facing too many problems, the platform still tried to make national teams happen with horrible consequences. No money to win, only prestige to gain, not enough motivation for the players. Needless to say, the wars failed. The ICCCL on the other hand was haunted by Barr’s cheating during early 2011 and hence a lot of teams did not trust the administration fully, especially since definite proof was missing until end of summer 2011. Not too surprising, that many of the old and new teams left the league or didn’t take it seriously anymore. Barr and another already busy organizers stated that anybody could pick it up, only motivation was needed. One eager fan listened carefully.

Profile: EywaSC

The Canadian to heed the call was one of the users to discover Brood War quite late: Benjaming ‘EywaSC‘ Petroff. Just like Barr Petroff started as minor administrator at ICCup, he wanted to try to help in the ladder- and tournament department, trying to make the overall server better. He definitely had visions. Petroff wanted the best possible outcome, tournaments with ladder points as prizes were not enough, the success of ISL 1 only strengthened his beliefs. However, he was too impulsive, often started arguments about assignments, couldn’t solve ladder complaints in time and had a hard time to collaborate with other admins. In addition to his work for the Russian server, he already started to organize show matches – a King of the Hill show featuring some of the better players of the current ISL 2. These attracted a number of viewers, but couldn’t safe his position in the ICCup team. He left the Russians under protest, accusing them of being too conservative, narrow-minded and incompetent. This he shared with Barr – he definitely contributed a lot to foreign Brood War, yet exploded whenever confronted with criticism and often caused drama and was overall a rather bad diplomat. Petroff eventually made damn sure to be seen as the biggest clown in late 2012, but that’s a story for the upcoming parts.

The Gambit Cup

After leaving the ICCup staff Petroff contacted Barr and asked for help, which the American provided him gladly. An alliance made sense, both weren’t exactly fond of the Russian server, both wanted to promote Brood War and had almost the same personality.

The first article already explained, that the lower divisions of the old BWCL and ICCCL had a hard time with dying teams. There was almost some kind of Domino-effect: Once a team died, other teams were granted walk overs; or a team showed up with too few players and were consequently disqualified in the second or third week of an ongoing season. As a result the active teams never had to play every opponent. Then again, they could never be sure if it was worth to show up or not, a lot of teams were on the edge of disbanding or disqualification. That doesn’t create a good atmosphere. In the case of the ICCCL another problem arose: Game’s cheating, which the administration would’ve liked to investigate, but couldn’t. Hence a new league would’ve been nice.

In early spring both Barr and the former ICCup CL Head Administrator Joe ‘Joekim‘ Kim discussed an idea openly. A new league in which every team had to pay money in order to participate. This should solve the problem of unstable teams, as these could either not afford to wager money on their activity or would organize themselves better, since they had an incentive now. JoeKim already introduced this idea to ICCup’s senior team, but ran into a brick wall for several reasons. First off, the server should remain a free service, although a premier league with payment involved could’ve been realized. Obviously such a permier league would’ve rendered the already existing idea of the ICCCL useless. Due to the negative responses JoeKim turned to Teamliquid’s user base, who ignored him, too.

yeay, Drama!

That needs a bit more explanation, the idea itself wasn’t the problem. The problem was, that JoeKim revealed that he and Barr had been cheating, he felt free to plea guilty now. Which was a bad move and also explained why no ICCup Admin could easily find proof – JoeKim simply made sure there were no traces left. A person who abused in a fun league obviously is not trusted by anybody, especially not once money is involved. The community wouldn’t know about the cheating incident until today, if Kim and Barr would’ve not started to fight each other for no apparent reason.

However, since the American was rejected, Petroff had a unique opportunity. With the help of Barr he contacted several of the best teams and introduced the new concept. He already had some sort of small reputation from his King of the Hills, not the best one, but at least people knew him. The Canadian indeed found several teams, which would pay up willingly. In June 2011 the project was finally realized: the Gambit Cup (or Gambit’s / Gambits) was announced with a lot of glitter attached to the threads. It wasn’t too successful, only five teams subscribed, yet it was enough for a first season.

The first team was Barr’s clan Los Reyes Del Mambo Evolutions. This team was seen as the best there was, especially since it had most of the best Zerg in their roster. They had Anton ‘kolll‘ Emmerich, the young WCG star from Germany, Dimiter ‘TechnicS‘ Sivkoff, the WCG National 2006 champion from Bulgaria, Mike ‘Bakuryu‘ Lange, of whom we heard last time and finally Pike, one of Poland’s veterans. Furthermore, players like Choosy and Oya could be found in the Amerian team, players known from ICCup’s ladder and the late stages of the Defiler Tournaments.

In contrast to the ICCCL a team needed more than just a couple of players who might show up or not. Money was involved, more importantly, the own money. The Team Noobs and the Hungarian clan sas. were interested, but could not be sure to actually have enough members to handle the longer distances of the Gambit Cup. So they simply merged for the first season and called themselves sasNb. This was quite the surprise, suddenly a team equal or even better than LRM appeared. They had Sziky, the argueably best player and a bunch of really oldschool players. We already heard about Ramms in the first part, Napoleon, a Finnish veteran, FlaF, known from the TSLs, Mazur, an extremely experienced polish Protoss and many more. Eastern Europe was back and became the area of the world with the most power in their rosters.

A third team was founded by Polish Sneazel (also the sponsor) and Canadian DraW – the Gambit Team. The two simply united who didn’t find a team otherwise. A lot of new, but skilled faces populated this clan. There was Sneazel, a polish Protoss known from the second ISL, in which he made the fourth place, Michael, who was on his way to become the strongest North American player and DraW, who was on his way to become the strongest North American Protoss, able to take on Europe’s finest.

The fourth clan, very Talent veterans (vTv), was founded by JoeKim and featured a lot of North Americans. The star of this clan was Scan, who we already know by now. The list contained a number of Koreans living abroad and also JoeKim himself. The American was quite skilled, he even qualified for the WCG USA 2010.

The last clan to fill the Gambit Cup Season I was the English Avatars of Victory. They weren’t bad, but compared to the rest not really skilled either. Most of its players were above ICCup’s average, yet not strong enough to actually have a chance in such a prestigeous league. They wanted to contribute, though, wanted to have fun, altough knowing how small their chances were – an attitude one can only applaud to. At the very least they could learn and gather experience. A brave move, yet one neccessary to make the first season happen.

The league itself was chaotic, although Petroff tried to label it as a professional project. Other than during the ISL, the problems were obvious to the fans. It was the first real big step for the Canadian, hence it wasn’t too surprising that he couldn’t help but making mistakes on the way. Many of the decisions were influenced by Barr, which added a bit of an odd taste, since the American was also responsible for one of the participating clans. However, to be fair, this did not really have a negative impact on the other teams. The main problem was caused by more technical aspects. It seemed to be only natural for the Americans to only use Teamliquid and their forums to present events. They missed to realize that mere English texts could confuse non-natives, especially when put in overly complicated phrases (which sometimes made no sense even to the native speakers); helpful tools like the Liquipedia were not used at all. Instead everything was done in form of threads – each play day should have one in theory, eventually one big thread was the solution. The teams still knew who they had to face in each week, the fans not so much. Results were not always updated, if you missed the streams, you had to ask or rely on the player’s posts later on. VODs could only be found on YouTube, the threads listed them only with a significant delay.

Profile: Hacklebeast

The chaos could’ve been a lot worse, even though EywaSC could hardly be blamed for his lack of experience, mistakes just happen. Still, even a huge pile of shit can be turned into gold by casters, which Sayle prove so well for Game’s smaller evens. The Englishman however couldn’t possibly help out a lot in the huge league, two wars a week were too much, since he also had to cast the final stages of the ISLs and maintain a real life. Hence, a new caster had to be found. The man to solve this issue was the American Tom ‘Hacklebeast‘ Hackleman.

Hacklebeast already did some streams with commentary while the discussions started, whether or not a league like Gambit Cup could work. His stream appeared every once in a while among the hundreds of SCII Streams on Teamliquid, but his final break through came with the fist season of the big team league. Hackle was, similar to Sayle, not exactly a good player at the start of his career. Nonetheless, he learned fast, knew which strategies were used and kept the focus on the key moves during the games. He was a bit of contrast to Sayle, more analytical, dry humor, didn’t scream as much and only rarely drifted off to ‘background stories’ about players or organizers, while neglecting to commentate the actual game. He fitted in prefectly, covered the weekly wars, showed the viewer what was happening and took care that the VODs were posted in time.

He also contributed in other ways, outside the league. Hackle created an own show, a more or less new format, for which he invited the elite class of players and asked them to analyze recent games and strategies. The American was desperately needed, especially since Sayle was omnipresent. Make no mistake, he was still a top class caster, but you can only do so much before it gets boring. Consequently the English screamed more, sounded a bit artificial at times, repeated phrases and so on and so forth. This is understandable if you have to stream for hours every week and most viewers would not recognize it – if it wasn’t the only thing you could watch. Hackle really did a good job to add a bit of variation.

The League and its Impacts

The Gambit Cup definitely was important. It’s not really easy to admit for an ex-ICCup Admin to say something positive – but the league was a huge deal for the clan scene. Sometimes the team players are forgotten, those who play 2on2. They could use the ICCup ladder, but this wasn’t really the best thing to show off skill. The ladder could easily be abused with various ‘legal’ tricks to achieve high ranks without much effort, at least compared to the individual pendant. Clan Wars were a better way to gain a reputation for these players, these kind of situation were harder to manage.

But that wasn’t everything. The idea of pay-ins for a league can be disputed, but regardless of the initial arguements, the clan scene was about to collapse. In spring 2011 clans used to be more of an internal network, where players got training partners, prepared internally for the individual tournaments, but missed to provide the old feeling of a team. The true team spirit, which united so many traditional clans before the Beta started to fade. Leagues like the BWCL and ICCCL weren’t a serious matter anymore, they made for a lose competitive frame work – which wasn’t enough. Only the team Noobs and LRM Evolutions made a rivalry there, only driven by the love-hatred both leaders had for each other. This wasn’t what made a league exciting in the first place, at least not for every player in the respective rosters. The risk that the original team spirit threatened to replace the teams with a more shallow concept. Nobody wanted that to happen – just remember how hard the concept of traditional teams were defended in the past. If you need a prime example, look up the major controversy sourrounding the Templar’s roster to pro-Gaming.live.

Team League – Nice for 2on2

The Gambit Cup brought the old nostalgic feeling back, the feeling which truely united a team. Another coulda-shoulda-woulda-scenario: A lot of B-Class players did not get the chance to shine in the many Defiler Tournaments or the ISL. It would not have taken long for them to realize that it’ll be boring or devastating to get roflstomped in the tense tournaments or even having to wait until the Russian tours started again (keep in mind there were no events during Summer 2011!), hence they’d leave. A clan league however gave them a chance to contribute to a higher cause, it didn’t seem too bad to lose or win a smaller set, the overall results mattered. Hence, the Gambit Cup appeared just in the right time, bypassing the lack of individual tournaments.

Since the article isn’t only about the Gambit Cup we should close the chapter – naturally, the rivarly between LRM Evolutions and the Noobs sparked again. This time Sziky was involved which changed the rules. The distances were longer, a Best of Seven with an Ace Match in case of a tied series is different from a shorter Best of Five. Both teams, sasNb and LRM Evolutions, faced each other in the finals. Both teams had to win two wars in a row to win big – and LRM was defeated twice with close 3-4 final scores. The decider was played between the two Zerg legends Sziky and kolll. However, the German Zerg couldn’t keep up and the Hungarian destroyed all hopes for a win.

Nation Wars

It was already mentioned – In February 2011 heated discussions started, the issue: can Nation Wars be revived? Again it was JoeKim to start it all off, at first only in internal forums at ICCup. He asked to add features for national teams again, which meant icons and other features. The project leader YelloAnt however refused after checking the page statistics for the leading countries. It seemed to be a hopeless project. The Brood War Head Admins changed after the ISL 1 drama and the matter was brought up again by different admins. Backed up by ISL 1 team statistics the Canadian ICCup.Tenshi, responsible for ladder and Anti Abuse, made a stand for the nation wars scene, trying to advertise a different approach. He could convince the new leadership and after a few weeks of less thought through preperation a new league was announced, without the technical add-ons Kim had asked for. Tenshi organized different teams on Teamliquid and ICCup and, quite to the surprise of the other senior admins, many of the nations gladly took the opportunity. Unfortunatly, real life happened again – Tenshi had to face several problems and had to step down. Over night the concept needed to be changed in order to make the league happen. Despite the internal problems twelve teams signed up, among them Team Germany without Broodwar.de’s support – the league was already too involved in StarCraft II to keep up with foreign Brood War. Four weeks passed by and the worries of ICCup seemed to be proven wrong. It worked until it didn’t. The old foe inactivity was back.

The Failed Project: ICC Nation Wars (Beta)

Smaller nations like Kasakhstan, Peru, Mexico and Chile fell apart, but didn’t tell anybody. More and more walk overs had to be granted, confusion started to spread its wings – both on the administrator’s and player’s side. The fifth and sixth week were a chaos and the young league had to be cancelled.

Petroff was well prepared and did what he could do best – pick up the pieces, use an already established concept and make it work somehow. With the help of Barr he could find a sponsor: Nimbly Games. This software company gave him $500 in exchange for him promoting their browser game Altitude. Money was one advantage, the other one was that he could easily learn from past mistakes. He already knew which nations were not stable and which could be trusted to field an own team. Consequently he reformed the teams. Some nations were merged, so that there was a team for the Scandinavians, one for Western- and one for Eastern Europe and one for Oceania (without Korea). The ‘bigger’ nations Poland, Germany, Russia, United States and Canada could support themselves well enough.

This second big project of Petroff starting in October 2011 faced the same problems we already heard about. As is tradition, results were hardly updated, Liquipedia wasn’t used and a lot of work had to be done by the team managers and the casting crew. Clans are one entity, national teams a whole different thing. The group stage already showed other flaws the Canadian didn’t foresee. Especially the Asian team caused many of them, because they had Chinese in their line-ups. China and the rest of the world have always hard times. Their players have broken English at best, lag due to the Chinese Wall and hard to replace. If they’d be replaced, the team would’ve lost a lot of man power. There was no way around a tense atmosphere.

The Russians are – and this might come as a surprise – relaxed, care for fair play and complain not a lot. However, if a personality like Game is involved things change. Especially the American player insisted on rules, when there were other solutions, and agressively so. As a result more trash talk than usual went down – not too good.

Furthermore, beginner’s mistakes caused by the Canadian started to put pressure on the wars. According to Germanies captain LML two wars had to be played on the same day, while the dates itself were only submitted with a bit of a delay. Consequently stars like kolll weren’t there on time and sets were lost needlessly; the time for preperation was not enough.

Despite all the problems and flaws the players and the fans could somewhat enjoy the nation wars, thanks to the major efforts of Hacklebeast and Sayle. They made the games worth watching. Not that the games itself were bad, on the contrary, the elite of each area fought for the pride of their nations – but at least the streamers made it easy to forget the sourrounding drama or turned it into something you could enjoy.

Russia is Offline

In between May and September there were not many tournaments for the players. The ISL 2 was in its final stages, which meant that only 16 of the players participated, the majority had not much to hope for. Thanks to the Gambit Cup and the Nation Wars the fans had something to watch and the rest of the players could duke it out elsewhere – but the Russian series was asleep. It didn’t really look like a summer break, but it was.

In late August the Russians started to move again, most organizers were back from their vacation and were eager to take on the world. The Russian national team meant some incentive for their players to train harder. Not that they needed it desperately, but it definitely was a plus. The thing missed by most however were big offline events. This is what makes the Russians different from the rest.

Germany had only little LANs. Nobody wants to shed a bad light on the legendary ToT LANs, the Du Bist Brood War serie organized by Benrath and TerraIncognita, or the old APM LAN. But still, we just dealt with the fact that StarCraft II meant the end of our small offline culture. And we had one, granted not big, but it exsited. The name that has to be dropped is Uzi. The legendary Protoss was the mascot of the WCG, because she was able to qualify for most Nationals due to the WWCL (LAN Ratings) – one spot the elite always neglected. This eventually gained her the interest of the Spiegel magazine (translation) – well done Uzi. You just had to like her.

Speaking of the WCG Nationals: For us Germans the online tournaments were the most important features, that’s where the best showed up. In Russia it was the other way round, they had online tournaments, but didn’t focus on it. All big cities, Moscow, Petersburg, Cheliyabinks and so on, had annual offline tournaments. These were open for any Russian, as long as he paid an entrence fee, the prize was a ticket to the capitol, where the national finals were held. In Moscow the best played for the big money (up to $8.000), but also for the reputation of their respective homes. That was certainly a plus, since the ‘outsiders’ (peasents :troll:) wanted to show Moscow’s audience – Moscow after all isn’t Russia. At least it’s not always seen as ‘Russia’ by most, it’s just a large piece of a bird’s dropping on the map.

Russian LANs in a nutshell

Aside from the WCG Qualifications Russia had more offline events. Most known where the big ASUS Tournaments, for which the likes of White-Ra and Strelok came to the capital. And there still was more. There were LANs all over the country, especially Petersburg and Moscow were the centers, the place to be if you liked competition. Tournaments and even clan leagues were organized in internet cafés. Battle.net was a good thing to have, but LANs have a place in a Russian’s heart as well. There was even a cold war between Moscow and Piter, although everyone liked each other. It is no surprise that the fans exchanged on a whole different level and were closer tied than other nations, friendships were formed, often lasting for years, going way beyond the usual bond clan mates have. The reps.ru fun gaming pro team was founded by two guys sharing the same flat, reps.ru has a huge galery showing tons and tons of LAN pictures and players even go on holiday together. That’s how Russia is. Not a big surprise that the offline scene was so important.

Once Blizzard announced they’d leave out the LAN Modus to gain more control and as a blow for the KeSPA scene, they also offended the Russians. This didn’t really meet their spirit at all, they understood it even less than we Germans or everyone else did.

Before we drift off: In October 2011 a LAN in Moscow (the Moscow Love Open) was announced on reps.ru. More than 30 users signed up for it over night and celebrated the come back of their beloved offline scene. The tournament offered $130 for the winners, but that wasn’t the important part. It was important because it meant that the Russians were back, in full force, ready to show the foreigners who’s boss. They were united again. Consequently, the Defiler Series had to be started again. If Yodin couldn’t organize them or stream anything, somebody else should. So they did. There’s was always someone around to organize and stream. Tournaments had to be. And that was it then.

This meant that Defiler exploded. Activity everywhere – more streams than usual, the chat working 24 hours every day, every week. More show matches without money, more commentaries, more clan activity. If there was no offical tour, they simply made smaller tours. More fun tours like the Perversion Series, more tournaments just for the sake of competition.

Other Organizations

While the Russians got back on their feet another old player tried to make a come back, one almost forgotten: GosuGamers had a new tournament script and needed to test it. They found a sponsor and tried to please the scene with the newly founded ‘GosuCups‘. Up to that point all the page offered were small news and a quite well updated replay database. However, they did not forget how to manage a tournament. They offered a thought through format, facing little to no problems, which made quite the contrast to Barr’s and Petroff’s project. Again, Sayle should be the streamer. But more on this event later.

The second ‘organization’ to promote Brood War was the team UEDGaming, founded by the English irx. They needed players and found a lot of recruits, since they could afford to pay at least a small sum of money. To start with, they recruited the ex Templar Ace from Hungary and found a number of players of the B-Class. The leadership wanted to introduce their roster with show matches. They were casted by Mote ‘Elegant‘ Keatinge, known as sponsor for the ISL and the AoV Invitational. Show matches were not enough, the clan definitely wanted more – so they organized two ‘seasons’ of a King of the Hill show. Only the leading players from the Defiler Tournaments and the ISLs were invited.

This again wasn’t the end of it – they needed more. The biggest surprise was a recruit from South Korea: In_Dove. This guy already participated in Blizzard’s Sandlot Tournament 2006 and was one of the best players, winning more than the likes of Mondragon or Testie. Shortly after this event he joined, alongside with By.Fantasy, the team of SK Telecom T1. It didn’t take long until he was promoted to their A-Team, with which he won the Proleague. He wasn’t exactly a Bonjiwa, but far from a scrub. The Terran was seen as a highly intelligent sniper, one could even take on the leading Zerg. His insane mechanics allowed him to perform the hardest strategies. He was the player to watch if you wanted to see top nocht SK Terran – a strategy which uses bio forces and vessels throughout the entire game.Despite his long break from Brood War he didn’t lack skill. He completely killed it in many show matches and attracted up to 1,000 viewers to his stream.

However, the clan didn’t last too long. The end came in March 2012, once irx stopped to pay his players. The last tournament the clan organized was the Xsplit Random Invitational in February 2012, shortly after In_Dove announced his switch to StarCraft II. The tournament was overtowered by flame wars, but that was no excuse for irx refusing to pay players later on.

The Players

Since the leading trio consisting of Ilja ‘Heme‘ Khamidullin, Seung ‘Scan‘ Ryoo und Szikszai ‘Sziky‘ Miklós fell appart in spring 2011, the summer meant something more. While the Russian went missing, the Korean and the Hungarian continued to dominate in Gambit Cup and the Defiler Series – no big surprises there. Especially the Zerg dictated many of the tournaments, his impressing 10-1 run in the second UEDGaming KOTH showed how big his lead was.

However, the Defiler Tournaments were a bit different. Scan could stop him here. It was only a matter of who signed up for which tournament – it was a rare case both signed up for the same editions. Also, Scan’s daily mood was important. We remember: He often used fun strategies and chagned races. The summer break changed the leader board completely, while the top two were reserved for Scan and Sziky, others tried to close the gap between the Top 2 and the rest.

The New Noise

The first Defiler Tour after the break – the 23rd – was dominated by Jaegon ‘Pro7ect‘ Kim. He replaced Michael, the winner of the 22nd edition. This was the start of a long rivalry, which lasted for a few months.

Both, the Russian Terran and the American Zerg, improved a lot during summer. Michael won the first UEDGaming KOTH, or in different words, had the longest streak. To be fair, his opponents weren’t top tier foreigners – Game, ZaRaki and Plumbum were more organizers than stars (respectively managing LRM, sas and reps), but his fourth kill, Anton ‘kolll’ Emmerich was more than just capable in the Zerg mirror. Pro7ect on the other hand didn’t really show his skill too often, mostly notable were his long streaming sessions, in which he took down most foreign stars on ICCup’s or FISH’s ladder.

Russian Terran Pro7ect about to kill somebody.

This was the interesting thing about the new rivals; they never faced each other in the big tournaments. On the contrary, their battle fields were part of minor events. Their first match was a the Quarter Final of Pro7ect’s Defiler Mini Tour. These Mini Tournaments were part of Russia’s winter explosions. Many of the Defiler users organized these smaller events, sponsored around $10 for every tour and hosted them whenever they felt like it. These tours used only a single elimination mode, no loser bracket. They also took place in Moscow’s evening hours or at least on late afternoon, which allowed the Americans to participate without having to play at night. Anyhow, back to the rivalry.

The Round of Eight came closer and with that Pro7ect and Michael had to face each other. And none of the two would cave. The Russian provided the only stream for this event, which meant he had to show his First Person View – much to the benefit of the audience. In ordinary Mini Tournaments 100 viewers were a success, this time more than 500 watched, that’s how good the series was. The first set on Fighting Spirit was already a feast for the audience, it lasted for 40 minutes. 40 minutes of a Terran playing with 350 APM – which he needed, Michael delivered blow after blow, searching for a chink in the Russian’s armor. A futile effort. The next game on Match Point was over fast, only ten minutes and the American showed how unimpressed he was. The series was tied and the decider was on. Pro7ect picked La Mancha and was eager to win – again more than 300 APM, training every unit, forcing his will over the American, the game going back and forth for nearly an hour.

It is a pity, that Twitch deleted the FPVOD. However, Hackle’s and Pro7ect’s commentary aren’t bad either, especially since the Terran explains his strategy in detail. I clearly remember how the Russian screamed relieved once the American typed out – a brilliant game in a tournament nobody considered to be imporant. By the way, the game was a bit too much, only one round later Kim lost to Lancerx aka. RMUst – but continued to commentate the rest of the tournament. Then again, nothing else could be expected of Pro7ect. A true fan.

Both players met each other again and again. They faced each other in the Quarter Finals of the Nation Wars, fighting for the pride of their country – this time the American came out on top. Most times their daily performance mattered, it was hard to predict who was better before the game started. The highlight however was the GosuCup – both qualified in the first two qualification cups. Pro7ect won the first edition over the Peruvian WCG Star CastrO with a clear 2-0, while Michael won the second with the same result over the Polish Zerg trutaCz. Still, both weren’t exactly considered as favourites for the main tournament, since Sziky qualified in the eigth cup. The GosuCup started out with 12 of these qualifiers, proceeded with a group stage with four groups. Only two players would advance from this second stage to a knock-out bracket.

Pro7ect faced the Italian Protoss Alfio and the German Zerg Bakuryu – two relatively strong opponents. The Italian wasn’t bad, but Pro7ect didn’t care and stomped him into the ground. The only player left was Bakuryu, both duked it out for the first place – which offered a better seeding later on. The German, in theory, could not keep up. He was infamous for his low APM, which meant a huge disadvantage, once the Russian’s raw mechanics are considered. Yet, Bakuryu is never scared, he simply fought back. At the end of the day, this wasn’t enough, but a 1-2 showed that he came close. The games were really worth watching.

Michael’s group was a lot easier. He had to play an inactive Polish Protoss – Choosy – and the Peruvian Terran Terror. Both couldn’t do much and especially the Protoss had little to no chances against the big talent.

The clear favourite, Sziky, had the toughest opponents, he was in the group of death. With Napoleon, one of the most experienced race pickers there are, and TechnicS, the WCG Bulgaria winner of 2006, he faced the two strongest players he could’ve possibly got. 30 years of Brood War experience are distributed among these three names – that’s how hard the group was. None of them was newb. The Finnish won two bronze medals in the third and fourth Defiler Tour after the summer break and underlined how little the old school had forgotten. Still, the two Zerg players were considered to be beasts against Terran, which made him the underdog in GosuGamer’s betting system. He still made it, against all odds, and walzed over the dead corpse of the Hungarian. The real upset happened a game later, TechnicS defeated the supposedly immortal with a clear 2-0; Sziky was out. Everything could happen.

TechnicS advanced second, losing to Napoleon, and faced Pro7ect. A tough opponent for the Russian, but one he eventually defeated with a 2-1. One round later, he showed that he indeed had the best foreign Terran vs. Zerg and smashed Napoleon with a clean 3-0 white wash. Michael on the other side of the bracket faced SouthPark and crushed him with marvellous Mutalisk-Micro. His second opponent, Choosy, couldn’t stop him either, another 3-0. Both faced each other in the overall finals – $100 were on the line. Enough for both to step up their game – again.

The Defiler Tournaments

In between September 2011 and February 2012 15 Defiler Tournaments were hosted. Yodin casted all of them again, average streaming time: eight hours each sunday, one time even crossing the eleven hours mark. The leading players, Sziky and Scan, had a bad start. Sziky lost in the first edition three sets to the Polish Zerg Pike, Scan was crushed by the Italian Alfio and the Russian Tama.

The re-start showed how much the rest of the players improved. Suddenly the level was high, really high. The 23rd edition, which Pro7ect won, featured not one player below a B Ranking on ICCup after the Round of 32. Most of the Defiler fans knew the faces capable of coming this far, whereas Teamliquid’s fan still had a hard time to realize how sick the skill of the players actually was. There were reasons for that. Not every hidden talent of Defiler participated in foreign events organized on Teamliquid, not everyone was attracted by the national teams or clans. Some didn’t want to play on FISH, the server of choice by Petroff and Barr. Might be they got over there to train occasionally, but not for leagues. They were familiar with ICCup and nobody likes rapid changes. Hence, the skewed impression – not everyone on Teamliquid was familiar with the nicks. To give an example, we’ll list a small Battle Report.

Battle Report: Sneazel vs. Discharge

This example features a match between the Polish Protoss Sneazel and the relatively unknown Hungarian Zerg Discharge, taking from the Round of 16 of the 23rd Defiler Tournament. Sneazel was known, definitely, at least by the Polish scene over at Netwars.pl. He was captain of the Polish National Team and the Gambit Team founded by Eywa. He managed to finish 4th in the second ISL, only losing to Sziky and Kashu, defeated Ace only a few weeks before the game happened in the Nation Wars. He really was among the best foreigners and could probably be seen as the best foreign Protoss during the ISL 2 months.

Discharges makes a contrast. He was unknown. He was in no clan, he only signed up for Defiler Tournaments and didn’t even really use ICCup’s Ladder. He had a quite impressing statistic there, but stopped after 50 games. He could’ve been a stat abuser, or a high talented player without much motivation – nobody knew. It wasn’t a big surprise that Yoda decided to follow Pro7ect’s game instead of a supposedly uninteresting match between a a scrub and the best Protoss.

Well, Yoda was wrong, or not, he is Russian and could show a match between two top class Russians. But that’s beside the point. The first two sets of the Best of Three were indeed boring. Sneazel lost the first due to a bad opening, but took the second as unspectactular as he lost the first. The series was tied, the decider was played on Circuit Breakers.

The openings of both players were nothing out of the ordinary. Discharge, spawning at the right bottom position had to place his second hatchery on his mineral only, as Sneazel blocked his natural with a pylon. The Polish player, spawning on the right bottom, decided to go for a standard fast expansion, but with a very conservative build order – two cannons before nexus.


Sneazel lost his scout probe early on, which is a huge disadvantage for every Protoss. He had to add a third cannon, since he wasn’t sure what was coming for him. With his first three zealots and the first dragoon Sneazel moved out, he was already safe against the strongest all-ins. It was a quite smart move, if Zerg was going for a hydra-bust, the few units wouldn’t matter too much, if Discharge would go for mutas, he could at least force a few sunkens or pick up a few drones. Turns out Discharge went for a Sauron (macro) orientated opening, adding more hatcheries and drones. He was already starting to pump mass hydralisks off of his three saturated bases when the strike force arrived. Discharge defended, but lost an overlord in the process.

The initial attack was one out of many to come. In the following minutes Protoss started to pump a lot of speed zealots, archons and high templars, storm upgrade was on the way. When he had a decent amount of units Sneazel went out and attacked time and time again. The first bigger battlefield was the mineral-only expansion of Discharge, which he defended quite easily, as his lurkers popped out just in time. Only a minute later the Polish moved in, this time targeting the natural expansion. Since Discharge moved his hydra force at the bottom of the map the base was almost undefended; only few lurkers could stop the incoming zealots. Most of them were caught by storms and the Zerg units were in a disarray.

The second Sneazel realized that there were actually no forces coming to help in time, he went up the ramp and into the heart of the Zerg’s base. He swiftly took care of the lair and was able to kill of the spawning pool, forcing Discharge to stay on hydra/lurk for the next minutes. Sneazel tried to abuse this by attacking the mineral-only. The Zerg however didn’t quit and started to counterattack the main base of Protoss. Out of nowhere he pumped a mass hydralisks, replaced his losses. From now on attack after attack went down, Discharge barely staying alive, mainly thanks to his fourth base in the middle right hand side of the map.

In the next ten minutes the Protoss attacked in the middle of the map, placed a couple of really good storms on the incoming Zerg forces, but was repelled again and again.

Sneazel used the distraction to expand to his mineral-only, which just added to the tense fights; the distances between the bases of the two was minimal. Consequently more fights started, the middle expansion at the bottom was often a scenery of the fights. In the long run Sneazel’s many gate ways demanded their tribute. He ran out of minerals, while the Zerg could pump up to two control groups within a few seconds. Often times three or even four smaller clashes went down, all over the map.

Discharge managed to win more ground every time he encountered the Protoss. After killing off Sneazel’s last attack in his mineral only, Discharge was the winner.

Eventually Sneazel couldn’t help but to type out. These were almost 25 Minutes of non-stop fights!


After the inital two Defiler Tours the tyrants were back. Scan won four of the remaining twelve tournament, Sziky won six. This was a so-so situation for the fans; on one hand you were familiar with the tyrants, on the other it was a bit boring to see the same faces basically owning everyone.

However, the flood of smaller tournaments made sure that other players could shine – Sziky and Scan rarely signed up for these. The Russian flood definitely helped out a lot here. Mostly the Russians organized show matches for themselves, sometimes though, they advertised them to a broader audience. The mastermind of most Mini Tournaments and a couple of show matches featuring the new elite class should be introduced.

Profile: Nikolay ‘Defi’ Antonov

Antonov is a guy you hardly read about. The Russian found relatively late to the competitive Brood War scene, since he lived in Irkutsk until 2006, an area without really good internet connections. In late summer of 2006 he moved to St. Petersburg, found out about their offline community and improved a lot. He really gained experience there, participated in many of their LANs, but couldn’t picka race – he just played every three. Defi is one of the guys to play poker for a living, like so many Brood War veterans before him. This somehow makes him the prime example for a reps.ru user, poker and a heart beating for our beloved game. Other than most passive readers Antonov played quite actively for a longer period of time and surprised Piter’s community, who didn’t see him coming. In 2009 he finished fourth in the ASUS LAN, losing to Casper, one of Russia’s finest Terrans. He also qualified for the WCG Nationals in the same year, but couldn’t advance from the group stage, where he had to face Ramms and Advokate. Still, not a bad year for a ‘new comer’.

Defi – The Man Himself

After Beta he somewhat went missing in action. Defi still did play, but only for fun, money wasn’t his motivation. Together with Vladimir ‘Plumbum’ Kisterev and Victor ‘Largo’ Milov Defi was the founder of the reps.ru fun gaming pro-team in March 2011; ironically, he did not believe that the team would be as successful as it turned out to be. As player Antonov mostly appeared in Russia’s 2on2 line up for the Altitude Nation Wars, where he won all games for his country, regardless of who was his ally for the day. Most importantly though was his role as sponsor and organizer during Winter 2011, at least for the context of this article. Defi invited a number of high class foreign players to duke it out for a few bucks. The list of invites for his show matches impressive, it featured the likes of Pro7ect, Bakuryu, Sziky and Ace, despite the prizes being only around $10 for each best of series. Furthermore, Antonov was the sponsor for most Mini Tournaments, which we heard a bit about already. According to Defi he didn’t invest into Brood War, because he wanted to be seen as an important sponsor, or because he wanted to support the competitive scene, his biggest motivation was to simply watch Brood War on a higher level. A few months later, during Spring and Summer 2012 Defi should do more – which we’ll hear about in the next article.

Profile: Terror

Thanks to Defi’s Show Matches and four Defiler Tours another Terran made himself a name: Terror. The Peruvian was a relatively unknown face before the Beta, outside of South America only few heard of him. He first appeared in the WCG Peru 2009 nationals under the nick ‘Chobo‘. He did survive the first group stage, but was knocked out by the legend Fenix a round later. Terror was also a part of Peru’s B-Team, which at least gained him some entries in the big data bases, such as the GosuGamer’s Ranking.

It took a while since Terror improved enough, to be considered as elite player. His career was a bit similar to Bakuryu, a guy playing above average, but one not being good enough yet. The Peruvian did play a lot in ICCup’s ladder, used quite a number of fake flag accounts, which made it hard for outsiders to realize who he actually was. The Terran also played in almost every Clan War for his clan, the Team Noobs, with which he almost, twice, won the ICCup Clan League. Even though Terror had the same problem as most Americans, the good old time zones, he was one of the constant visitors in the Defiler Tournament Series. However, if you’re tired, you can’t possibly play your full potential, hence Terror often times missed to come further than the Round of 8.

Autumn 2011 should change that. He won his first silver medal in the tournament after the summer break, followed by a bronze medal in November. His improved skill showed already during these two tournaments. The Terran made his final break through in January 2011, where he won Bronze, Silver and Gold in three tournaments. This made him the second best player of his race, only Pro7ect was better. His mechanics were good, so good that it took a top notch player to really get him down. Especially his match up against Zerg was quite unique – he used a lot of new and exotic strategies, like the Valconic Opening. You rarely saw that in foreign Brood War!

Profile: Napoleon

Jani ‘Napoleon’ Kurkela is one of the oldest, most experienced players in the scene, he really did see everything, played in everything and knew everyone. He was there, back all the way to 1998 and had a lot of success in Brood War’s earliest days – he finished as top player in World Gaming Tour’s ladder, just to list one example, in a time in which this ladder featured names like Mondragon, Elky and so on. Despite his reputation and experience the Finnish was never the guy to win big in major events. Still, nobody underestimated him, because that would’ve been a huge mistake. That showed in GosuGamer’s FragBet league, in which he played for the French MicroGamerZ: he killed of the original Los Reyes Del Mambo with an All-Kill and repeated this against the Czech Demolition Squad in the Play Offs only a few weeks later. Anyhow, he was rarely seen outside clan leagues after 2006. His name appeared every now and then, sure, but not that frequently anymore. In the months after the SCII Beta he returned, mostly in ICCup’s 2on2 ladder. But not only with one account, but with up to three acounts in the Top 50 of every season. That’s a thing only Scan could do at that time.

During Summer 2011 Napoleon was there, won more than most people expected him to. He participated rarely in big events, lost early on in the ISLs, so he was known, but not a favourite. That changed, in summer he really was in shape – twice Bronze after Sziky and Scan in Defiler, Third/Fourth place in GosuCup after beating Sziky – not bad, not bad at all.

Spotight: Xsplit Random Invitational

Napoleon makes for a good transition for the next tournament. UEDGaming wanted to organize an extraordinary fun event at the end of January 2012. The circumstances were a bit curious. UED’s head, irx, faced several problems. His biggest star, in_Dove, announced his retirement in January, wanting to transition to StarCraft II and focussing on his psychology courses, in addition to his helpers being caught up in real life. However, in_Dove indirectly was the reason why the tournament happened in the first place.

The English missed organizers. I missed a player. That was stupid like hell, but here is the story: I did write an article series on Teamliquid – the Advent Calendar– for which I tried to organize an ICCup Attack show, featuring the US American star G5. I however was and still am a bad manager and push came to shove: I missed to make sure G5 got the date correctly, so he went missing. Five minutes before the start. Irx heard about the debacle and lent us in_Dove, who replaced G5 for the time being (he showed up later under various really curious circumstances involving phone calls to his girl friend). I still regret my stupidity until this very day and am thankful for the major support offered by in_dove, irx, Manifesto and Sayle, who did their best to work around the clusterfuck. Anyhow, as apology and thank you, I agreed to organize irx’ new event: The Random Invitational.

The idea of this event was that 16 players would play a Double Elimination Tournament, but had to pick random as race. In the Winner Bracket the players had to ‘shout’, which meant they wrote which race they spawned with. In the Lower Bracket they had to ‘scout’ – which is self explanatory. It’s not surprising that the games were chaotic, yet still quite entertaining.

Even though Sziky was invited, the clear favourites for the title were Napoleon, being a seasoned race picker, Michael, who constantly switched races on his stream, and TechnicS, who already had a reputation as all rounder. Napoleon was defeated by TechnicS in the winner bracket with a clear 2-0, but fought his way back. In the overall finales both monsters had to play again, this time with TechnicS leading 1-0 already. And it was a good series, a really highlight of the month. Without revealing too much: It went down in history books. Most likely.

Watch live video from voroshsc on TwitchTV

More Team Leagues

In November 2011 Petroff announced a second season of the Gambit Cup. This time he expanded the prize pool, almost $1000 were on the line, thanks to the sponsorship of Twitch.tv and users. This attracted a lot more teams – ten clan signed up.

LRM Evolutions, Avatars of Victory and the Gambit Team were back with their old line up. However, the Noobs and sas. signed up as seperate teams again. The Hungarians did recruit more foreigners this time, with the Croatian dsaqwe and the Canadian DraW they had two of the strongest foreign Protoss in their roster. Three Russian teams signed up as well: reps.ru, insanity without Limits (iwL-) and the international Federation of Untouchables (iFU).

iwL was a bit similar to AoV – strong, but not really strong enough. They had three quite strong Terrans – gag, Boom and Bender, but not one foreigner who could’ve been considered to be a star. IFU was a bit different, they had a long list of players being very skilled, but not really top notch yet. Their leader, the Spanish eOnzErG, did his best to add hype, he was always around to promote his beloved team in broken English. He wasn’t bad as player either, he already won a Defiler Tournament and finished second in the rD Winners Tournament. The Zerg was backed up by names like TTF, already scoring an A- ranking, Rmust aka Lancerx, one of Russia’s strongest Protoss players, or the Italian Alfio, always there to take down a good foreigner. They were not seen as possible winners, but definitely had chances to go far.

The other teams were disturbed Mind (dM-) and the American clan PaiN, but both missed, similar to AoV and iwL, really strong players.

19 Weeks were scheduled for the new season, while the old organisational problems were simply repeated and not solved. Eywa wasn’t born to archive a league correctly. But it worked, again, since the team captains and the streamers – again Sayle and Hacklebeast – did well to provide what was needed the most.

Still, the second season was a great improvement despite all the usual problems. Another modus was used this time – nothing new, but a warmly welcomed alternative to the old methods. The first half of the season used the regular Clan War mode with a best of seven. If the first six sets ended in a tie, an ace match was scheduled. Consequently, the tactics and mind games of the team captains mattered and there was more thrill for the viewers.

The second half copied the system of the FragBet League or the ProLeague, depending on what you watched before Beta: The infamous All-Kills were back. The distance was again a best of seven, but only one player was nominated by each team at the start of a war. The winner stayed, the loser was replaced by another team mate. The team to win four games won the entire war. This way the so-called All-Kills were possible: If one player killed of four players of the other team, he performed such an all-kill. Theoretically speaking, the teams with bad players and one really good foreigner should gain the most. Yet, this wasn’t the case, Sziky’s team fell victim to All-Kills more often than one might’ve suspected.

The All-Kills are an all-time favourite of the audience, there’s no doubt about it. Even if the games turn out to be one sided, most fans will still cheer for a player to achieve the All-Kill. In the 13th week the mode was changed – and the players did their best to please the audience. In the war between the Noobs and reps) the young Russian Dewalt started with a 3-0, before he was defeated by the German m0b. The German then started to turn the war and tied it 3-3, but eventually lost to Pro7ect. In the second war of this week the Italian Alfio defeated Kashu, ZaRaki and dsaqwe; iFU took a 3-0 lead over the Hungarians. However, the Candian DraW intervened and took down Alfio, Lancerx, eOnzErG and OctZerg. It seemed to be the week of the Protoss players – all four played for Aiur.

The second week was a great deal for Zerg: OctoberZerg killed Team Noobs (Flip, Napoleon, FlaF, Terror) and Michael killed sas (DraW, Sziky, Ace, ZaRaki) for the Gambit Team. The following weeks showed, that all-kills were only possible if you played for the swarm: The only players to achieve it again were nOoNe, who single handedly 5-pooled the Russians from iwL-, the Polish GameZZZ who killed Team Noobs – and of course, Sziky who defeated iwL- and dM- with a 4-0 sweep.

At the end of the season Sziky once more took the record as best player, he had a 20-3 Win/Lose statistic according to the TLPD. Second was Michael, with ‘only’ a 14-6. Another interesting fact was that not one Terran made it to the Top10 of the overall players – even though Pro7ect and Terror played well in other tournaments. Apparently Terran isn’t good for that mode. The real surprise was a Protoss from Russia, one never really recognized before the Beta.

Profile: Tama

Tama is the prime example of how many huge talents were hidden in Russia. He was seen as the best Protoss until the end 2011, at least in his country. Back in 2009 he could show how good he was during the ASUS Summer 2009, where he took the third place. The Protoss was known to be a scaring monster in the mirror match up and a very good sniper of Terrans. The first time this showed very well was during the ISL 1 ladder stage, in which he stumbled over the ex-Templar Yayba, the strongest Polish Protoss before beta. He forced his will over Yayba, took the game to its very edge – it took almost an hour, every unit and spell, before the Russian defeated the veteran.

The 7x Clan LAN Champion – Tama

But, single games like these, hidden among dozens of other replays don’t make a player famous. Especially when you only appear regularly for offline events in Moscow or Petersburg, regardless if you win big in them or not. However, if he appeared, he was scary. He won gold medals in Defiler twice – not many Protoss were good enough to do that. In Gambit Cup he was one of reps’ strongest players and finally made it to the top 10 of the most valuable player list. He also meant a great deal to his comrades, he was a perfect training partner and mentor to the younger members of his team – but more to that in future articles!

Back to the league: Six teams qualified for the play offs, which used the regular mode again, no more all-kills there. This made sense, the skill of every player mattered more than their potential for an All-Kill. The Russians from reps.ru defeated LRM Evolutions, the Hungarians from sas took down iFU – no big surprises in the early stages. The Semi Finals were not different, Gambit Team took down reps and sas defeated the Noobs. Not much excitment until this point.

The finals however were a different story: sas. vs Gambit Team. Both clans had to play each other at least twice, the first team to win this overall best of three would win the money. Needless to say, both played to their full potential and forced the deciding war. The finals, casted by Hacklebeast, were thrilling. Most sets were a bit one-sided, but still, the tension was there. Nobody knew if Gambit Team or sas would take it – both played on an equal level. The line-ups really did matter, snipers and elite players could make the difference here. Definitely worth watching!

The Other Leagues

In the two years before the StarCraft II Beta colleagues of mine and me tried to create a portal for beginners on the German page broodwar.de. This wasn’t an easy task, the goal sounded simple, when it really wasn’t: Support the players without any clue of competitive gaming, or without previous experience in the RTS Genre. It’s hard to sort out the basics, you never know if you bore people by explaining what the keyboard is for, or if it really is needed. Following statement is not meant as insult, but one of the problems: Beginners were not always helpful to help us figure out what they want. Some tended to get annoyed, because they never saw the point in improving mechanics, critized Brood War’s old interface and so on and so forth. Hard to keep up the motivation. However, we somewhat succeeded, we even had Team Germany members releasing strategy guides and – with the help of YelloAnt – were able to host a PVPGN Server just for beginners. The point is, doing something for beginners is a herculean task.

The same issue was a pivotal one after the Beta: How to include beginners? Yet, most big projects like the ISLs, the Defiler Series or the ICCup ladder were there for already experienced players. It wasn’t easy to enter one of them as rookie, the eventual outcome couldn’t be anything than a great number of really bad losses. ICCup’s team, Barr, Petroff and everyone else missed to realize this. All of us thought, that throwing money at top class players would attract new blood – a bloody stupid conclusion if you ask me.

DRTL – The Place To Be!

Hence, the following project came to me as surprise. I was used to read annoyed and demotivated posts by beginners. Moreover, many players always requested things to happen, but barely tried to help organizing. Still, in November 2011 Teamliquid’s user CobaltBlu just suggested to create a league for beginners. He simply made a thread and told some details. The idea paid off, nine teams registered right away – more than for the initial season of Gambit Cup. No team was inactive, on the contrary, their members wrote happy posts about their team in the blog sections, hyping the clan wars and discussed streams. A brand new sub community was created. In my eyes, this still seems to be impossible, yet it was done. Ironically, the DRTL (D Ranks Team Leagues) were organized a lot more professional than the ICCCL, BWCL or the Gambit Cup. Instead of Excel tables, they used Liquipedia. They updated scores, sent in replays in time and never started flame wars. Well, almost never. All that without financial support or monetary incentives. How about that. You can only applaud, it really did remind me of why the community was so special. It meant hope in desperate times.

But there was more for the beginner’s community, shows from newbs for newbs. The first one to create such a show was Kaspra. He approached Sayle and nOoNe, two more or less notable players (or streamers), who analyzed his games and gave tips on stream. Hacklebeast organized a show called ‘Behind the Curtain‘ – the show from which we got the Pro7ect VODs earlier in the article. Hackle was a D Ranked scrub (no offense), he knew what he was talking about, but his mechanics were missing. Consequently a number of high profiled players were invited to analyze games together with the new caster.

Also, Liquipedia was more or less updated and Teamliquid’s strategy forum was used again by beginners. Between the lines and behind the stage there was movement. One players simply has to be praised for his endless efforts: Mike ‘Bakuryu‘ Lange. The skilled German often helped out beginners, whenever they had questions. He posted a giant wall of text here and there, or even sent private messages, if the thread was closed. It didn’t matter where he was, he was always there to offer a helping hand. If he was asked online, he’d watch replays and analyze them, or even train against beginners. Only few top notch players do that. It’s a hard task, you often have to repeat instructions, up to a point where it annoys you. Not so in the case of Lange – he never lost his temper. A really great personality!

However, since the beginners aren’t really the focus of the articles, we’ll end here. To give you an idea: The DRTLs do still exist and still flourish. The sixth season ended a while ago, and there’s still demand for more. They even have Individual Tournaments now, the DRITs.


The Shape of Things to Come

We’ll end at this point, we’re already reviewed another 10.000 games in Defiler Tours, Nation Wars and Gambit Cup. This time I tried to pick more VODs, better ones hopefully. Yet, many great moments are still ahead: We’ll probably start of with a lot of hilarious drama next time, involving familiar faces from Russia and Canada, both trying to explain financial ideas. There’ll also be new organizations, this time, I’ll promise, even interviews. Scandinavia was rising from its tombs, showing how they could create a page like Starcraftgamers.net in the first place; we’ll also see how Defi and his show matches expanded, up to a point where an old KeSPA star took on Sziky. Also, a third edition of the ISLs will be coming up, with another edition of Nation Wars and Gambit Cup waiting. Also, Russia had more, this time a lot better, LANs, Show Match Series and obviously the Defiler Tournaments. So far we only reviewed about 30 of the 70 Defiler Tournaments – a lot more ground to cover.

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