The last episode stopped around February 2012. With the two initial Gambit Cup seasons the clan scene was finally stable again, national teams were back for a bit and the Defiler Tournaments made sure there was enough competition. More organizers popped up, more events were held, the reconstruction was done. New faces had their chances to shine in a vast amount of smaller tournaments – Brood War was finally back on its feet. No end was in sight, the demand for competition was still not satisfied.
The Third ISL
In February 2012 David ‘LRM)Game‘ Barr and his eager projects were back. It was a while since the American last shared his visions with the fan base. The Gambit Cup Season 2 and the Altitude Nation Wars were about to end and there was room for more competition. With the end of January the Russian side of foreign Brood War was yet again undergoing some sort of break down. Yodin was busy, another Defiler Tournament wasn’t in sight. It was a good time frame for Barr to announce his third International Starleague. And again Barr showed that he was capable of finding sponsors – this time $2.500, which NimblyGames gladly provided, the same company who we already knew from the Nation Wars. The American gathered his old team once again and this time it seemed as if he learned from past mistakes. Especially Benjamin ‘EywaSC‘ Petroff’s Nation Wars and Gambit Cup showed, that archives and good coverage needed to be – by not having either of it. Consequently Barr did it better, improved the system. With the help of his new sponsor an overview page in form of a Wiki was published, so that Teamliquid wasn’t needed for every stage of the tournament. This small changed meant a lot in terms of keeping an overview.
Even though a lot more money was offered, relatively few players signed up for the original qualifiers. The reasons were that Barr now made an official stand against ICCup. He must’ve known that any kind of cooperation between the Russian portal and his organization was impossible, so he switched to the FISH Server. The problem with the Koreans however was that a team for a ladder was not doable, this feature wasn’t available for foreingers. As a result seven qualification tournaments were organized, every of them being open for up to 64 players. Almost none of the cups was filled, since the Anti Hack Launcher wasn’t so easy to install and caused problems for non-native English speakers, who couldn’t fully understand the instructions provided by Game’s helpers. Furthermore, no tournament was finished, a player had only to survive until the Quarterfinals to win a seed for the latter stages of the third ISL. A couple of relatively unskilled players advanced, since a lot of walk overs were granted. Mike ‘Bakuryu’ Lange for example only had to play a single Best of Three, while the Peruvian Terror and the Hungarian Kashu eliminated each other in the first round of the other side of the bracket.
In the second stage the 56 qualified players (7 Tournaments * 8 qualified players) had to undergo a group stage with four players in each group. The best two would advance in the main tournament, a 32 Man Knock Out bracket. Most lucky players with a lesser skill were filtered out in this stage and the familiar new elite was back again. In addition to the 28 qualified players Sziky, Ace, Michael and Pro7ect were invited.
The tournament itself featured a couple of good games, most times these were not about average though. With the exception of Ace, all inivites made it at least to the Round of 8. However, both Michael and Pro7ect lost here. The Russian already went missing in most tournaments after January, participated only quite unmotivated and streamed StarCraft II occasionally. After he was defeated by the Canadian Terran Bibiane with a 0-4 he announced to transfer completely. The Hungarian Zerg Sziky did not really have problems, he white washed Alfio, Bizzy (American Terran) and TechnicS and lost a single game against Bibiane on his way to the finals. Nothing new here, this could be expected, although the sweeps had been a bit of a surprise.
Two Protoss players however made up for several upsets – both not really loved by the community. The German Felix ‘dOTY‘ Gottwald already had a history on broodwar.de, the BWCL and the WGTCL. As former player of the German B-National team and member of w4sp (his nick was Felix back then), he was found guilty of map hacking in 2007 and kicked from his team afterwards. In addition, he was infamous for exploding every now and then when confronted with his cheating, which he denies until today. His skill however was better than ever, he showed he could play without third party tools. He was the only player to take down an invite right away, even with a clear 3-0, not showing any kind of weakness. Furthermore, Gottwald could kill the Polish Sneazel in the Mirror with another white wash in the Round of 8 – it was clear that nobody should underestimate the German now.
The other Protoss was from America and more or less familiar after he qualified for the WCG USA 2010 – Semih. However, he has a life time ban on Teamliquid, not only for flaming a lot, but also for scamming people in real life. Not really a likeable person either. In the first two rounds he faced the inactive Nikolay ‘Defi’ Antonov, whom he could take down, and the Polish Zerg Southpark. Southpark isn’t really bad, but often times plays quite risky openings. No surprise that his offensive play didn’t really work out against a solid Protoss. In the Round of 8 however the American faced Michael, a beast in this match up. The series was quite tense and could theoretically be recommended – not because any of the sets was out of the ordinary, but because of the overall meta game in between the long best of seven.
In the semi finals the two protoss players clashed. In yet another best of seven both went over full distance and it wasn’t clear who’d make it in the end. It was a close race until the end; the deciding seventh set was probably the most interesting game of the ISL 3.
The finals between the German Protoss and the Hungarian tyrant went over full distance again, much to the surprises of the audience. Everyone already knew, that dOTY was one of the best foreigners, but Sziky was Sziky. Until there Sziky never showed any kind of weakness and punished even the smallest mistakes. Gottwald however was motivated, even more so after the close game against Semih. At the end of the day the Hungarian still succeeded, another gold medal to brag with.
Drama Part I: Russia
In Mother Russia things were a bit difficult after their obligatory summer break, because Ilja ‘Heme’ Khamidullin was back and entertained the world with a new idea. He suddenly had money to support Defiler’s community. The 38th Defiler Tournament was already back in May 2012 with ordinary money from within the Russian community. However, Heme also wanted to invest a bit, this time presenting a new sponsor for the foreign Brood War community. And he chose a quite odd one, one so silly, that it was even a whole new level of stupidity. Just to give an example: The ISL 1 also had BitCoins as prizes, which sounded a bit fishy, the idea of virtual money was quite new and unpopular at the time. Still Heme’s idea featured systematic scam.
The Russian Terran found out about a project called MMM 2011, short for Mavrodi, Mavrodi, Mavrodi 2011. The head of this ‘company’ is Sergey Mavrodi, an infamous mathematician of sorts. In the 90s he introduced a pyramid scheme for Russians. The basic idea was that he got as much money as possible from ordinary, every day people. And that’s about it really, he never intended to give this money back. The usual spam you get from Nigerian Generals asking for support isn’t any different. Ironically, many post-cold-war Russians didn’t know about it and Mavrodi’s ‘project’ went down in history. He made so much money, he could only store it in rooms. Needless to say, he did not get away with it and was convicted a few years later. In 2011 he wanted to start all over again, hence the project MMM 2011. It was obvious that any sane person wouldn’t touch it. The page Heme linked to happily had a number of really ridiculous and yet quite bold FAQ questions. It contained information what to do if the KGB or the CIA would investigate donors, how the system works (‘it works like your telephone. You don’t know how THAT works, so why question our scheme?’) and the like. Obviously, almost all Defiler users weren’t quite sure how to deal with the matter at hand. Nobody fell for it, many were insulted that anyone would be stupid enough to promote Mavrodi, years after it was clear what kind of intentions he had.
Back to Yodin’s quote: ‘Everybody is allowed to share his stupidity’. He allowed Heme to proceed and three MMM Tours were hosted, the first having the double amount of money prizes than usual. The tours itself weren’t bad, but had the bitter taste of Mavrodi all over it. Heated discussions rarely happened on defiler, at least not these kind of arguements you would need to moderate. This was one of two times moderation simply could have been needed. But Yoda was still much in favour of free speech, he knew the outcome and trusted his fans to make their own mind. Which wasn’t hard, given the presentation of MMM-2011’s online presence. Khamidullin couldn’t understand the mass of negative and hateful comments (even though they were quite hilarious sometimes) and once again announced his final retirement. The MMM sponsored tours came to an end after the third MMM Tour – which was quite good.
But even if you missed Heme’s brilliant promotion of the scammer, there were other issues causing problems. Defiler, in contrast to the
ISLs and other American projects, always allowed Koreans to enter, regardless if they were former pro gamers (in_Dove) or not. The Russians did care for competition far more than they did for limitations. Equality was the key and Yodin did defend this idea against everyone else. Not that he was critized for it, but at a time the Russians as a whole were quite demotivated. Lead by Scan more and more Korean Amateurs migrated from FISH, smelling easy money. Most of them were around the same level as Scan or Sziky – which was good and bad, depending on how you looked at it. The mass of skilled players often making it to the last eight obviously had a really hard time to compete with the new Korean flood, so it was kind of bad for them. The audience however gained from the rising competition, Korean nicks often meant more competition and the so dominating duo of Scan and Sziky got real opponents.
Still, the Russians, which still made 60% of all participating players, didn’t really like it. In the opening after the summer break a Terran named orz went through the grid, stomping good players like Sneazel and Bakuryu, in the second MMM Tour two completely unknown Korean Zerg defeated the likes of Michael, Bakuryu and Pro7ect quite easily. The main problem wasn’t that they did, Scan was after all tolerated, but that they’d never participated in any other foreign tournament. It felt odd. Consequently Vladimir ‘Plumbum’ Kisterev organized a Defiler Tournament open only for Russians to make up for the one sided MMM Tour 3.
Despite the sourrounding drama the three MMM Tournaments, the RU Tour and the 38th ‘official’ Dtour offered some great games. The familiar names showed up once more, with Scan winning one out of the five tours of early summer – they also featured a real war veteran from Kazakhstan.
The Kazakhstanian Terran is one of those mysterious names you can only find deep in the Russian community. There’s only little known of him, other than his few entries in the Defiler Tournaments. He literally never signed up for anything but the tournament series. The exceptionally talented Terran won the first two Defiler Tournaments, back when Heme, Scan and Sziky still had to register an account on the new portal. Still, he never really participated in many of the tours, but has a record of more than 70% of won games overall in the past three years. The few times he showed up he almost always made it to the Round of 8 or further, winning a total of four gold medals, twice silver and one time bronze – that alone gained him place three in Defiler’s overall medal table in June 2012, one place higher than Heme.
Ironically, gargoyle isn’t really famous for crazy mechanics or a high APM rate, like so many other Russian Terrans. His success is based on his extraordniary, risky and very agressive play. He uses to mix things up, often uses really outdated openings off of one base and puts pressure on his opponents early on. Many of the new players forgot how to counter it; the seasoned veterans who knew how to fight back were often surprised that the Terran himself knew what he was doing. That means that he wasn’t like one of those Zerg opening with a 2 Hatch but finding themselves in a situation they could hardly transition out of. Failed attacks and rushes didn’t stop gargoyle, he always had a follow-up in mind. In the few cases where he opened with a rather standard style, he also dominated. A true allrounder and quite sad that he never signed up anywhere else, he could’ve been one of the real entertainers.
The Russian Summer
Summer 2012 was better than the year before, there were definitely more tournaments. The ISL 3 was underway, but already in a stage where only 32 of the players participated – the rest could only watch. The Gambit Cup was over and a new season had to prepared first, same was true for the Nation Wars, which Poland won over the United States. The rest was left with various small tournaments hosted by ICCup – the usual ranking tournaments – or the two less interesting leagues BWCL and ICCCL. In July and August only two Defiler Tournaments were organized. The winner: A young Protoss, celebrating his break through.
Dewalt achieved a quite high B rank shortly before the Beta hit the scene, which was quite good, but not good enough to be seen as notable player – at least back at that time. In Defiler’s earliest days Dewalt already signed up for a couple of tournaments, but rarely achieved a high spot. He sometimes made it to the best eight, but that’s as far as he could go. In early 2012 he transferred from Yoda’s team Free Friends Russia to the clan of reps.ru – the reps.ru fun gaming pro team. With these he continued to train, harder, longer and didn’t even try to dodge the best his new team could offer. Especially thanks to Tama’s coaching the 17 year old could learn a lot. Other than his mentor, Dewalt also focussed a lot of energy on his match up against Zerg, which should pay off.
Since Pro7ect was about to leave Brood War behind and played with little motivation in ISL 3, the title ‘Best Russian’ was up for the grabs. In the 40th Defiler Tour Dewalt signed up and made his way through the bracket. He smashed Terror, Jumper (a quite skilled US American Protoss) and Lancerx. In the winner finals the Protoss faced Mike ‘Bakuryu‘ Lange, who was known to play best against Dewalt’s race. He really did know all of the most recent strategies and could beat players with far better mechanics, simply based on his indepth knowledge. However, Dewalt white washed him twice – one time in the winner bracket and one time in the overall finals; he had a 11-1 record in this tournament. A week later he had a 13-2 run and won his second gold, beating TechnicS, Pro7ect and the oldschool Terran spx. One of his losses came from Scan, who he defeated with a 2-1. This was a new record, Dewalt was the first Protoss to not only win two Defiler Tournaments, but also the Protoss to defend the title. This achievement was only preformed by Heme and Sziky; another sign of Dewalt’s huge talent.
In addition to the Defiler Tournaments the Russians did organize various other notable events. In early February the second ‘big’ Lan was hosted in Moscow, sponsored by the traditional clan 7x, celebrating their tenth anniversary. They had a prize pool of around $400 and about 25 participants. Most of Russia’s finest took part, the eventual winner was Dewalt’s mentor and reps.ru’s most valuable player in Gambit Cup: Tama, runner-up was reps.ru’s administrator Victor ‘Largo‘ Milov. In August 2012 the second LAN in the capital was organized by Vladimir ‘Plumbum‘ Kisterev with $250 in cash as prizes. This had only 18 participants; then again, almost all reps.ru members showed up, including Dewalt, who flew all the 4.000 kms from Novosibirsk and spx coming from Nijnij Novgorod. A quite entertaining communtiy event. Rep.ru’s female photographer reps)ayumi took again quite a lot of pictures – some of which became quite popular at defiler.ru and its chat. Especially the photos of iFU.Must (aka. Lancerx) are probably the most used ones.
In late may Nikolay ‘Defi’ Antonov’s show matches were back, this time featuring even better players. Defi was interested in the best Brood War players he could get and thought about establishing a lose contact to the newly founded SOSPA scene over at the FISH server. In early January 2011 some Koreans first tried to reach out to the foreign scene, but not a lot came around. Some Korean organizer of Bbulsori.com appeared in Liquipedia’s IRC channel and asked for support. It turned out he was asking Teamliquid’s community to send out a team for his clan league, for which some quite notable amateur teams already signed up. It didn’t take a much convincing and a couple of the best foreigners showed up – including Michael, Pro7ect, GoTunk and kolll. In the first clan war the Foreign Allstar Team (FAT) faced the guild GsP – the distance was a Best of Eleven in the familiar All-Kill mode. Needless to say, we had no chances. Michael lost the first set against the former SK Telecom T1 coach Doctor.K. Second in the line-up was Sziky who could beat the strong Protoss – but lost to another unknown Terran called Move in the third game. Everybody else had less chances than the Hungarian and the foreign team was out with a clear 6-1.
Especially since Snipealot2 started to stream more and more Korean Amateur games, it became clear to everyone, that most foreigners, regardless of how good they were, would stand no chance against an average SOSPA player. Especially the veterans in Sonic’s event were a class of their own, after all they did somehow get at least a KeSPA license – which no foreigner could expect to win ever. At least not without training hardcore in Korea. Defi didn’t care and asked the ex-ICCup Clan League admin Hyeon to assist him. Together they found a relatively unknown Korean from a good clan: iOps]Han.. The Terran, just on a side note, will play in Sonic’s 16th Ranking Tournament. However, the match happened in May 2012 and wasn’t really entertaining. Sziky had little chances to do anything against the crazy mechanics the Korean had, that he took won game was better than most expected, but still a bit demotivating.
As follow up Defi planned something even bigger. Han wasn’t known, so the hype sourrounding it was limited to hardcore fans, who already got an idea about the FISH Server and the Amateur scene. Next in line was a real legend, a beast every true Brood War fan knew: Pusan[S.G]. To keep it short, he already had a bronze medal won back in the Shinhan Bank OSL 2005 – which made him a lot scarier than any opponent the foreign world could possible have. Yet again the champion the Russian sent to challenge this guy was Sziky. This time it was a bit more of an advantage for the Hungarian, his argueably best Match Up was vs. Protoss, while the Korean was better against Terran. Anyhow, this time the hype was a lot bigger, everyone wanted to see this happen, and only if it was the for the sake of seeing a KeSPA legend taking on the best foreigner. Even if the games would’ve been very one sided, everyone would have enjoyed it. Lucky for us, Pusan did his best to play as entertaining as possible, while not underestimating his opponent. Sziky on the other hand showed that he could very well adopt and put pressure on a seemingly unbeatable professional. The outcome was definitely one of the best, if not the best series the foreign scene featured in the past three years.
Canadian Drama and Events
In July 2012 the Canadian organizer Benjamin ‘EywaSC‘ Petroff was back and announced the third edition of the Gambit’s Cup. This time the season was officially split into two halfs, the first one featuring a prize pool of $500 and using a the All-Kill mode; the second half had an increased pool of $1850 and used the ordinary clan war mode. However, there were strings attached to Petroff’s new league. He had visions. And visions are not always good, as Heme proofed so weel only a month before.
The scene already critized Heme’s MMM ideas, but Eywa tried to outsmart (or underwhelm) the Russian’s approach to a more serious Brood War organization even further. In July, even before the third season of Gambit Cup was announced, the Canadian also announced that he was about to create a non-profit organization located in his home country. The goal was easy: Promoting foreign Brood War. It featured a lot of eager details, looking already a bit fishy. The initial post suggested that he found a legal way to gain quite a big number of dollars, which he’d invest in Brood War. In addition, several streams should’ve been created, which would run 24/7 – similar to what Snipealot realized on his own. Most questions by the community weren’t really answered, a lot of vague responses were posted, nothing was explained. Shortly after Petroff dropped the bomb with his newest project: The Euro Winter LAN 2013. This offline event should take place in Prague, for no apparent reason and featured a prize pool of $40.000. That was a huge deal. Nobody really believed him and the thread turned against the Canadian in the next months. He posted updates every now and then, telling players different dates, making the one LAN into four LANs, one for Prague, one for Berlin, one for Moscow and the last one was yet to be announced.
While the initial announce was still more or less discussed, the atmosphere tense, everything was fine. Everybody was expecting further informations, everyone just had to believe that somehow, due to some obscure financial trick, he did the unthinkable. Turned out Petroff didn’t. The money he announced for the prize pool was there only in his imagination. Apparently all his plans revolved around the idea that he could sell ice hockey cards to fans during an ongoing season in Canada. He also thought he’d find more people helping him to sell similar cards for other sporting events abroad, so that the pool could eventually be formed. Needless to say, this was public suicide. Once he revealed his financial scheme, he became the clown of the foreign community, on Teamliquid and everywhere else. This had a big impact – Petroff was already annoyed by the constant questions he had to answer and exploded verbally more often than usual. In the end he gave up the control over the Gambit Cup Season 3, which suffered from the same problems than the previous editions and nOoNe took over as administrator. To be fair – the Canadian did pay the winners of the second half of GC Season 3.
Gambit Cup 3, Part I
For the first half of the Gambit Cup Season eight teams registered, most were familiar to the audience, one way or the other. Los Reyes Del Mambo Evolutions, the Hungarian clan sas, the Russian teams reps) and iFU were back with almost no changes. Most notably was Michael now being part of the already impressing line-up of sas; the other traditional clan, the team Noobs, was also back, even though under the team Samjoc Gaming (SJ). Two of the new teams were not so new after all: Team SiR had everything the other two Russian teams missed – a lot of seasoned Defiler Tournament veterans, none of them on a elite class level though. The sixth clan was named FOX and replaced the Avatars of Victory. However, this time they had some better players in their roster, most notably Bibiane, the Canadian Terran to place fourth in the ISL 3 and Karate, a Zerg player from England, who already finished rather high in several Defiler Tournaments and smaller events hosted by Barr. Now they at least had chances to score here and there. The eight clan was the most interesting of them all: The Chinese Team. It really didn’t feature any known name, at least not from past foreign tournaments after autumn 2010. Then again, they featured really oldschool and really good players, the nick JayStar basically jumped at the readers. This Protoss was known from his several appearances during the official WCG tournaments, in which he made a good stand against even the Korean KeSPA professionals.
China, theoretically speaking, counts as ‘foreign’, because it’s not Korea. Then again, the Chinese were always isolated, yet a giant community, which could organize huge tournaments on their own. Before Wings of Liberty clans like Meet Your Makers had a pretty good coverage about some of these events, especially the PGLs and the IEFs, in which legends like White-Ra, Draco and Idra played. Even these beasts had to play their very best to achieve anything in China, that’s how good they were. Now, China didn’t bother with StarCraft II much, they missed this game. Both, they and us, never tried to interact after Beta. The language barrier and Chinese politics make joint ventures quite hopeless, it’s hard to play with them, they lag, they don’t speak English on a good-enough level. Doesn’t mean they had no scene of their own, that they lost players. Most recent tournaments suggest, that the best of their community can well take on the SOSPA Amatuers; in the current Sonic Ranking Tournament their star, FengZi, made it through his Round of 32 group. Just to give you an idea of how skilled this nation is. So a lot was expected of team China, even though nobody knew who or what was eventually going to happen. The obvious facts though backed the Chinese up – a WCG legend, a couple of strong players from their own OSL copy and players like TheWK, who already achieved an A- rank easily before Beta.
The following weeks should tell the world that including China without testing the situation first was a rather bad idea. Just like in the first edition of Eywa’s Nation Wars China did cause problems, mostly due to technical issues. This caused a controversy once Barr was involved – LRM’s manager was quite known to use the rules in order to get as many advantages as possible; meaning he tried to claim walk overs over China, when the technical problems hit once again. This only added fuel to the fire.
Other than the drama revolving the Chinese team and the bad management by the Canadian the league again provided a number of quite interesting games, thanks to Hacklebeast’s long casts. The first all-kill was performed by Michael, who single handedly took down Samjoc Gaming. The list of all-killers was as followed: Karate in Week 1 (Samjoc Gaming), Bakuryu in Week 2 (FOX) and Week 3 (vs SiR), Bibiane in Week 3 (vs China), Sziky (vs FOX) and Alfio (vs. SiR) in Week 4, Michael (vs iFU), Napoleon (vs. China) and Ace (vs. FOX) in Week 6.
After the final seventh week sas lead the board, Samjoc was runner up and LRM Evolutions came in third. In the play offs the American team beat Samjoc Gaming with a quite clear 4-2 and had to face the Hungarian team. There was much speculation whether or not Barr could send out his snipers well enough to get rid of both Michael and Sziky, yet it was quite clear, that it could very well go over full distance – seven games between the strongest clans at that time. Then the Hungarians decided to just forget about their argueably best players and nominated a Terran for the first game, who just owned – including the WCG Germany 2010 winner iNfernal.
Matthias ‘skzlime‘ Farkas is one of the mysterious players of Brood War. It’s quite hard to tell why he was seen as one of the best players after Summer 2012 and why he didn’t appear in notable events before. The Hungarian Terran did play since around 2003, competitively even, as he was member of quite known clans back in the day, namely tA-r and F2F. Granted, these clans were known, but more because they lasted for longer than most other teams; they were part of the higher divisions of the old Clan Leagues, way back, but never achieved much. Still, he had the unique opportunity to train with a lot of Hungary’s finest – including Ace. Not a big surprise he joined sas once the team was founded, simply to enjoy Brood War. The first time Farkas somewhat reminded people out there, that there was more to his play, was during an ICCup Clan League tournament, in which he somehow managed to un-infest a Command Center in his set against Bakuryu. In Winter 2012 he was back and just killed the Polish Zerg players trutaCz and Pike, who weren’t exactly easy prey, continued to smash both Germans iNfernal and Bakuryu – and these two were no no-names either. He just did it, showing no mercy. A quite impressing run. In the months after he proceeded to walk through some Defiler Tournaments and won the bronce medal twice, losing respectively to eOnzErG, of whom we’ll hear later, and the Korean Amateur and now convicted map hacker Neagle. The point is, you rarely saw him, when he entered something, he showed what he was capable of. Easy as that.
East European Uprising
With the end of summer Eastern Europe was back. Until now we heard a lot about the Russians, what they did, where they played and so on. Even though there was a lot more coming from their side, another ‘Eastern’ country made a lot of efforts to support foreign Brood War, too. Even before Beta the Polish scene was well organized and could do a lot on their own. They were the home of true legends, including Blackman, the guy supposedly to train against A.I. and making a real entertaining series against Boxer during WCG 2002, or Draco, the foreigner with blue eyes and all. Hence, they had a legacy and every motivation to preserve it. In cooperation with Defiler.ru the Polish Protoss Mazur organized two tournaments with around $100 in prizes for each. These were called ‘Netwars Cups‘ – which is center for Polish Brood War – netwars.pl. It’s legendary and you should know of it, it’s just like reps.ru, a bunch of fans grouped together, exchanging, organizing, loving Brood War. Anyhow, since these were the ‘minor’ Polish tournaments, we’ll not go into full detail here. However, since both tournaments were won by the same player, we’ll need another profile.
In September 2012 Michał ‘trutaCz‘ Szarejko finally had his break through. Of sorts, because he was already a more than skilled player in the months after the Beta. The career of the Polish Zerg started somewhen around 2005. It took a while until his talent unfolded. In 2009 he was strong enough to join the Polish National Team, for which he played 2on2. And that’s probably the reason why it took so long for him to achieve notable tournament finishes in the first place. He transferred relatively late to individual matches, or in other words, focussed more on 1on1. Once he did, there was no stopping him. He scored not only an A+ rank on ICCup and won the ladder season, but also started to make his way from a the second tier player of the Russian tournament series to the top. The gold medals in the Netwars Cups were just the beginning, in early February trutaCz won two more gold medals in the offical Defiler Tournaments, one silver in the tournament before – losing only to the known FISH Amateur iOps’Sense. A player you could rely on and with a bright future!
In addition to the Polish Cups the Russian scene exploded once more. The standard Defiler Tournaments were back. It was winter again, which meant that the Russians were once again bored enough to organize a ton of Mini Tournaments to make up for the long seven days in between the big events. This time Sziky went missing and Scan was busy playing within the Chinese community, so the tournaments were open for new tyrants. And we got a new, yet short rivalry between two Zerg players.
Dimiter ‘TechnicS‘ Sivkoff was already mentioned in various chapters of this series. The Bulgarian Zerg was already a quite known player, mostly for his appearance during the WCG 2006 grand finals. Back then he wasn’t experienced enough to make it far, but now he had learned for over six years. He was already part of the elite circle, yet didn’t achieve a notable result in the major tournaments. Sivkoff would be a prime example for a player playing just for fun, or having his best moments during clan leagues. In leagues he played either for LRM Evolutions and got them a rather huge amount of wins, or for his new team Bulgarian Elite Gamers. Regardless, up until late 2012 he was only present in the fun tournaments, like the Xsplit Invitational, in which he lost only to Napoleon with a close 2-3.
In November however, he started to win big – two times Defiler Gold within three weeks, two silver medals and a third place shortly after, furthermore the sixth place in the ISL 3. He was finally back and full in shape, hard to beat a Zerg so talented.
Jose ‘eOnzErG‘ Luis is a Spanish Zerg player and was the leading figure of the Russian clan iFU. He is another member of the new generation, his career started rather late – in 2008. He did win the ADEC 2 tournament in Cuba during his holidays; the Cubans had a strong and devoted community, yet this wasn’t something notable in comparison to the achievements Scan and Sziky harvested at the same time. In February 2011 he could win a gold medal in the ninth Defiler Tournament over the Hungarian Ace, but that seemed to be a one time event. A lot like Bakuryu and Dewalt the young Spaniard registered for every tournament out there, trained hard on the ladder and with his allies in iFU – but could never really advance high enough to be counted among the elite circle. The reason were his strategies. Especially in early 2011 he was known to play agressive, no matter what. This made it easy to predict his play style and it was only a matter of solid early play to take an advantage. No surprise, that this wouldn’t work against top tier players, ever. Somewhen the Zerg found his weakness and started to play differently. Which paid off: twice gold, twice silver, one time bronce in a short time frame in the Russian tournaments, along with a win of the sas Festive tournament hosted in late December.
The three, trutaCz, eOnzErG and TechnicS made a good new leading trio. However, trutaCz played when the other two didn’t and he rarely met them. The Bulgarian and the Spaniard however met rather often, especially in the Russian tournament series. They clashed eight times and duked it out in the final stages of the offical and Mini Tours, along with one game later on for a different tournament. This all was spiced by some, well, arguement the two tried to settle. Sivkoff claimed to have beaten Luis on the ICCup ladder with his off-race Protoss in a longer series, while Luis denied that time and time again. It’s hard to tell who of them is correct, as eOnzErG’s account was shared by different players from time to time; fact however is, that both of them really hated each other with all passion a Brood War player can have. Obviously there was trash talk invovled, but not serious one. It was just the right amount to make a boring Zerg mirror exciting and often made TechnicS use Protoss, just to underline his skill. In the long run TechnicS defeated eOnzErG with an 8-6 record. He lost all games as Protoss, but won the games in the mirror matches.
Russian King of the Hill
In December reps.ru’s admin Victor ‘Largo‘ Milov announced another event: The Russian King of the Hill. Every Russian was free to register for that event and hand over a $10 pay-in. That was great, even if you were not from Russia – because Russia did have a lot of really good players. 14 players signed up, some of which we already know, some of which we’re about to hear more from. The line up featured Ramms, Tama, Defi, Largo himself, yoda, Dewalt and others. The main idea of this event was closer to the traditional King of the Hills as the pendants organized by UEDGaming a year before. Two players start the series, winner stays, a new champion comes and hopefully replaces the winner. The player to win most games would win the prize pool.
Lancerx aka RMust is one of the oddest persons you could possibly meet online. The Russian Protoss is not unfriendly, never really flames, but his character is hard to phrase in words. He just is himself. Like Bakuryu, eOnzErG, Dewalt and many others the Russian did train a lot. Well, more than most actually, regardless of time of year or other variables, Lancerx always had at least one account with more than 300 games on it. The thing is, many of the best players stop to ladder once they reached a high rank with impressive stats. If you’re good, that’s not hard to do, to maintain the rank with nice stats is a whole different issue. Hence the switch to other accounts, so you have one to brag with. Must didn’t care, he just wanted to play. It’s hard to find somebody as passionate about the game as him. Yet, his training wasn’t enough to actually achieve high ranks online and still probably isn’t. It’s not as he wasn’t talented, he definitely knows what he does. On good days he can take on the best players, on other days he just fails and repeats silly mistakes. But he returns and that’s all that counts.
His LAN achievements however are a completely different story. He’s always there when it’s going down offline, regardless of the city is Petersburg or Moscow. Apparently, once Lancerx sees you in real life, he knows what to do. His Protoss on LANs appears to be completely different from what he shows online – rarely mistakes, a great sense of overview and a very thought through opening. This shows: Three gold medals and one third place in the Russian LANs. Also, Lancerx is known for his photos – most Defiler.ru memes are not used often, his are the most photoshoped and popular ones. A guy you just have to like, the true mascot of Defiler.ru!
The first few matches in the Russian King of the Hill were quite one sided, Djem5 white washed TTF, in a Protoss vs. Terran – btw, both players were around a high B rank. Defi took over and white washed Djem5. That was the end of the underlying concept of ‘winner stays’, Antonov had to step down, as he was busy in real life. Next opener was Lancerx vs Ramms, which the Protoss took quite easily. And then Dewalt happened to the event. There’s no other way to put it, the Protoss just dominated each and everyone involved. In his final set against his second opponent, Largo, the games were quite one sided again and Yodin, the caster, was getting bored. Which was good, if Yodin is bored things happen. And if things happen, they might involve his wife. And if his wife is involved, it’s not about Brood War anymore, but about entertaining the audience. Listen for yourself!
The next eight matches were as one sided as it could possibly be, especially Yodin had no real chance, but made the hell of trash talk out of it. Then again, it did feature highlights, quite thrilling games. Most of Dewalt’s opponents had to surrender to the youngster’s impeccable mechanics and strategies. However, the oldschoolers, especially Plumbum and Djem5 knew who they were up against. Their big advantage was, that they knew their own weakness as well. If you know you can’t keep up with long drawn games, you change the rules. And that they could do pretty well. They adapted to the match up, took into account which kind of style Dewalt played in previous matches and sets against them and tried to find a chink in the armor. Both series can be highly recommend, not because they showed perfect mechanics, but how much actual meta gaming can mean – the thoughts in between sets!
The actual King of the Hill wasn’t the end. Once Dewalt was finished to kill each and everyone six players were invited to play a final group stage, from which the two first placed players would advance – it was only one group, everyone was everyone. This time Djem5 and Lancerx made it out, with Must winning the series with a close 2-1.
The King of the Hill, the Mini Tournaments and the many official Defiler Tournaments were not everything. Since this article is not only about Russia, we’ll just mention the Moscow New Year LAN as a side note. The LAN took place shortly before Christmas and featured Russia’s 16 strongest players, funded by RU_Brain with $330. This time almost every game was way above average, every player was giving his very best. A series between the mysterious Terran Biggus and Tama was argueable the best Protoss vs. Terran in the past months and is still highly recommended – at least what’s left as VODs on Twitch.tv!
Interview with Largo
Could you shortly introduce yourself?
reps)Largo aka Viktor here. I’m D+ and one of the admins of reps.ru. (E/N: He’s more of a really high B Rank)
As leader of reps.ru’s team and administrator of this page, you probably know more about the Russian scene than anyone else. Could you please describe what makes the Russians so different from a community like, let’s say, Teamliquid or GosuGamers?
During the time of Russian BW our community was a bit out of the global one. I believe the main reason was the language, at any rate 5-7 years ago. It’s like a confined gaming pot which made community members close to each other. That’s not good but that’s it.
Seeing that Defiler hosted more than 70 tournaments by now in addition to at least five LANs I know of – how was that bad? It seems Russia was still highly active.
As everywhere in the world, everyting is based on the personalities.Few enthusiasts moving the boat.
Well, anyhow then. Last winter there have been a lot of Russian community events – like the RU KOTH and the LANs. Can you tell me a bit why it is that the Russians seem to disappear during Summer and then literally are all over the place in winter?
Maybe because of the Summer vacations? Or just the eventuality. For example, I’ve got a time and a wish to make a Russian KOTH so it was done. The LANs has its frequency about once per 6 monthes and it seems pretty comfortable for orgs and players both.
So, after the summer break last year, there was the RU KOTH, a LAN and multiple Defiler Tournaments – are there any special memories about them? Some events you liked a lot, others you don’t want to repeat?
When you are a player and there are a lot ot events – what can be better? Especially when you can take part as an org too and to modify rules/maps/anything you need to make it better?
The only sad thing was small number of participants on the some of the LANs — because imo we made a good job announcing our events.
However life goes on, and BW is old enough not to get a great number of players for each event.
How about other events? There was Gambit Cup Season 3, the SBWI Nation Wars, the Polish Netwars Cups, a mapmaker tournament… any memories about these? After all you did play in most of them yourself 😉
It’s great people making BW all over the world and doing something wide and opened to everyone. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to participate everywhere so I was concentrated on our own events.
Also our reps team line-up is retired now, we’re still friends but we can’t show our best in the tournaments like Gambit Cup.
Alright, how do you see the Russian events, namely Defiler, continue in the future?
As long as we have Yoda and a couple of guys who continue his affair and sponsoring the tours defiler will stay alive.
Since you’re also a good player, could you explain why Zerg seem to dominate at the moment? A lack of motivation for the other races or a strategical shift we’re witnessing?
All depends on the names. It’s enough to get a little group of the skilled zerg/protoss/terran players who will dominate the scene and create the appereance there is a shitf or something. Just the names and the times.
So, since this is about foreign BW post Beta – could you name the following:
1) Top Three games of the past 3 years (foreign BW)
2) Which event did you enjoy the most?
3) If you could put an award to one(!) person/organization in Foreign BW World for his contributions (non-player), who would it be?
4) Who’s the player with the biggest talent?
5) Who do you cheer for (player) the most?
It’s really hard to judje since all the biggest events are closed for BW, that has a great influence on the competitive part of BW – no young talents, no top level players – just enthusiasts, game addicts and other nerds /joke/
1) To be honest I do not remember any of series. It was always way more interesting for me to play, not to watch. The most exciting series just for me were our team games in iCCup-CL (especially when we won the season once) and our way in Gambit Cup
2) LAN in St.Petersburg’2011 + Moscow LAN’2012
3) also too hard, there are some people like you, Yoda, tl.net guys…
4) Hm… the strongest one is Sziky, no doubts, but I can’t not mention Dewalt — because I saw how he grew up from the mediocre player to the best Europe protoss at the moment
5) of course it’s the members of my team especially our old best line-up: Defi, Plumbum, Dewalt, Pro7ect, Tama, GoTunk
Any last words, greetings or similar?
Happy birthday, Zaraki!
and : ) to dsaqwe
and :draw: to Draw
and yoyo dudes everything gonna be fine to anyone :3
Thanks for the Interview!
More Defiler Tournaments
Until July 2013 more and more Defiler Tournaments were hosted, before Yoda finally announced he had enough and would need his holidays. The trio of eOnzErG, trutaCz and TechnicS continued to get strong results, but they weren’t as dominant as Sziky and Scan. Both old tyrants did occasionally registered, but not as frequent as usual anymore. However, the Koreans were back, more than ever. Most of the relatively unknown names proceeded to walk over what the Defiler community could offer, adding the familiar odd taste of spring 2012 once more. In late spring the negative view on the Koreans was on a new high; two Koreans were disqualified, since they used map hacks. Apparently a private Korean hack was released, which could bypass both the Antihack Launcher for FISH and ICCup. It was already more or less known, that FISH’s AntiHack wasn’t too safe, even with relatively outdated third party tools, but it still came as a blow for ICCup. Lucky for the international community, these maps remained as private source – other than these two Koreans nobody was found with hacks activated past Beta.
Other than that, more and more oldschoolers had their chance to shine in the Russian Defiler Tournaments. The Finnish Protoss Matti ‘Arcneon’ Punkari, known from his WCG Finland 2004 gold medal, won one of the tournaments, Tama was back and won a gold medal, Napoleon and Gargoyle took each one tournament. Especially the last two names made for a couple of quite entertaining plays, as they didn’t care who they were up against, they just played their old, familiar style.
The Swedish Brood War Initiative
Already in late April 2012 a Teamliquid user called Jaevlaterran made some quite interesting proposal on the American forums: He was interested to establish a new organization with the sole goal to promote foreign Brood War.
Could you please introduce yourself?
I’m 24 years old, my name is Ludvig, I’m Swedish, I study economics at Stockholm University.
Could you briefly (or longer) explain what the SBWI is?
Well, the SBWI is a non-profit organization to promote Brood War, with focus on the foreign scene. That is the brief explanation I suppose.
Alright, we’ll come to details later anyways. How did you get the idea to create an organization in the first place?
Well, the day I heard about the official anouncement regarding the korean BW scene switching to SC2. I went to a friends house. We talked about old BW memories and were pretty sad together there, watching some of our favorite games etc. Then I went home and when I got home I started thinking: what makes them qualified to make this decision, that one sport is superior to another etc. It all boiled down to the crew vs the captain argument, platonic critique of democracy, the masses don’t necessarily know better than the educated and so on. Since I am majoring in what’s called “national economic game theory” I consider many of the elite aspects to have been traded off for availability and such when BW became SC2. And for a lot of other reasons I consider SC2 to be a game theoretically inferior game to BW, so I really just got scared I wouldn’t have any more games to analyse, watch with friends. I wanted to secure a way that BW could never truly did, that there would always pour in money into the scene – and then I thought of it: A non-profit organization that could support tours and, with the way I created it, I made sure it would get funds from the Swedish government.
Could you explain how the funding works? It sounds a bit hard to understand for aliens, especially for me as German. German press, media and politics consider video games more of a threat than actually a contribution to culture…
First of all Sweden is all into the national economic theory on social capital. Since organizations are a great way to improve social capital in a country the Swedish government funds some of them.What they fund mostly is 2 types of organizations: Either youth organizations or so called study circles. Study circles are a group of people who just meet up and study something together, such as let’s say knitting. They meet up, teach eachother how to knit etc. and just hang out. Then the gov will support this so they have money to buy coffe, fabrics or whatever, some cookies etc, but in my case it is that we study BW and use the money to support tours to study from. We meet up and watch BW, play BW. This, although we in practice are a youth organization still. The youth organization part derives from the fact that sweden had a lot of alcoholism back in the day and anything the will keep the kids away from the streets and “occupied” is good. However restrictions on non-drinking etc. doesn’t exist anymore. Nowadays it is mostly about young people learning how to organize things and have something to do, meet friends etc and the Swedish government funds this.
So basically, it keeps the kids off the streets and teaches them how to run an organization, as well as improving socail capital, in that the members share contacts etc. We are a youth organization atm (since we still have a majority of our members under 25), but once the people born 89 will turn 25 we will just convert it to a study circle.
Did you have a hard time to start the project or did people flood you right away? Was a lot of advertising neccessary, if so, where did you search for recruits?
Well, I’ve run this type of organizations before. As soon as me and my friends found something we wanted to do, we would start an organization to get money for the hobby or whatever. Starting it went fairly smoothly. After a bit of hefty paper work, I finally got it approved. After that I just contacted everyone I knew who liked BW, and posted it on TL. I then tried to make sure that my thread continuously popped up on the front page by constantly updating it as soon as I had something to update. Members are actually still coming in, but at the same time, we lose members. At this moment we are increasing in numbers
Also, there is a place where organizations receiving funds from the swedish gov. can advertise. I advertized there.
My notes suggest the first time SBWI actively appeared as ‘organization’ was in November 2012 – the Nation Wars. How and why Nation Wars, rather than a big tournament?
Whad a meeting about what we wanted to do and a couple of things came up. LRM)Game said he could organize nation wars if we would be interested and many on the meeting thought that this would be a smooth way to make our entry. Also, nation wars is so much fun 🙂
It has the pros of having a clanleague and the passion of a soccer world cup.
I had a talk with Expoxide – who iirc does the PR work for SBWI – earlier this week. He said he found to Brood War thanks to Eywa’s Altitude Nation Wars in 2011. Has that maybe something to do with it? Meaning: Are many of your members still ‘new’ to the scene (Beta and after), or are most of you seasoned veterans from the early days?
We definitely have two groups of people: Veterans and newbies. I suppose I am somewhere inbetween, I watched BW long enough to be a veteran, but I didn’t find TL until after SC2. I basically thought I was the only one I knew who watched other people play BW, but later I found out a friend of mine did too and he told me about TL, that there were live streams. I had never seen a live stream before the beta. I only watched on youtube -cholera, klazart, nukethestars, deja – mostly nukethestars though. The rest of the people in SBWI seem to be people who played the game in the years it came out, then fell out of the loop and came back after the beta or people who simply played the game from 98-99 until now.
Back to SBWI events. My list suggests that SBWI’s next event was the Summer Tour in June, this time organized by your members alone. Was there a reason to organize it on your own, without the help of other organizers?
Yes. We had an evaluation of the SBWI nation wars and there was a lot of drama that occured in that tour, mostly in our opinion, as a result of the way LRM)Game handled certain situations. We had too little power to influence his decisions it proved, so we wanted to organize ourselves. This will most likely be the case for most of our future events. But, of course we will work with people too. I don’t think there are enough BW people in Sweden to fill all roles in a tournament TBH
When we worked with LRM)Game he was the lone organizer and we had no power to influence his decisions. That will never happen again.
There were other organizations after the Beta, some of which don’t exist anymore, other’s currently being on a break. How’s your view on these? Can you point out which organizations you find very good, are there some you don’t like?
You had the UED and that story, but I honestly don’t think too much of any of those organizations: I see the SBWI as a grassroot project. It starts out as a primarily Swedish organization to fund tours, to save a dying bw scene. Nowadays we have so many international donations, it is starting to turn into a world initiative and we have enough money to not just save foreign BW, but keep a constant inflow of high prized tours. I can really see this becoming bigger in the future
As the foreign scene is a little bit divided: We have the Russian scene, the Western scene, the Chinese scene and the Latin American. they merge only temporarily nowadays, but I see a lot of potential in more permanent merging of these scenes in the future and I think any BW organization worth its salt has to merge bring all these scenes together basically
Also, about organizations I don’t like: I don’t like shady scams that much. I do like organizations under the scrutiny of a government controlling that it is the money is used as specified -> or they lose their funds. I also think the non monetary aspect of a BW organization has to be mentioned, it should be a way to promote the sport- help mapmakers, noobs, semi-noobs, as well as good players – and bring together all the resources we have within the BW scene and use them in the optimal way. I have been working closely with a Russian in this matter, one of our major donors of the SBWI, and hopefully some of this will be seen as our website gets ready. Which should be very soon 🙂
So, since this is about foreign BW post Beta – could you name the following:
1) Top Three games of the past 3 years (foreign BW)
2) Which event did you enjoy the most?
3) If you could put an award to one(!) person/organization in Foreign BW World for his contributions (non-player), who would it be?
4) Who’s the player with the biggest talent?
5) Who do you cheer for (player) the most?
1) Top 3 games:
Funniest series: deska vs semih in SBWI NW, I have never laughed that much in my entire life
Best series: eonzerg vs skzlime third place match in TLS 1
Most entertaining: Sziky vs. Scan
Any last words or shout outs?
Shoutouts to AlexoundOS and fr)korea for their russianity. Technics for being awesome, Bakuryu for his sportsmanship. Meatsheild + ult_haxx + tehrei and epoxide for always screaming by my side when we watch BW making korean commentators seem quiet in comparison!
Ok, thanks for the interview =)
The interview said a bit already – the idea was success and thanks to the new funds new tournaments were planned. Barr was finally back and announced a second season of Nation Wars in October 2012. He did remember the chaos Petroff caused a year ago and hence the structures were a bit different now.
Only eight teams were open for the nations, with Poland and Russia being the only true ‘nations’ in the nation wars. Furthermore, the team Asia Pacific now only featured two Chinese players, which meant that their player base was rather limited. South America had similar problems, only little active and skilled players made them the clear outsiders. Other than that, Bulgaria and Hungary were in different categories this time. Three rounds were planned, the first one featuring two groups with four teams, the second one another four country group. In both stages only the first two nations advanced. For the eventual finales North America and Poland made it through – showing how much the Polish gained by their new tournaments and their page Netwars.pl. The finals itself were as one sided as it could possible be – a clear 4-1 over Poland – even though the Polish lost to the mostly US American line-up only a round before.
Shape of Things to Come
We’re closing on the end of this article series – we already finished with the Russian scene. However, there’s more to cover for the American / Western scene. Next article will feature more information about the return of an famous page to foreign Brood War. There’s also the second half of the Gambit Cup Season 3 and some more from the Polish scene. Theoretically all of it won’t make up for a long article, hence more statistics and pictures will be added to sum up the past three years in a more comprehensive way.