Brood War’s magic does not neccessarily need Korea. Korea is a good place to start, has its legacy of its own, but was covered everywhere already. It’s a bit like Godwin’s law you have to at least drop South Korea once when you want to explain outsiders why you’re a fanatic. Yet, foreigners have their own history, history that should be passed along. It was equally nice to follow, watch and play at home. After all, that’s what kept us here. A series about foreign legacy is needed.
But, where to begin? There are plenty of tournaments worth mentioning. If the first article would feature the last big tournament, the Teamliquid Starleague 2, many would not get to read new stuff, nor would it be any different from a link collection. If it’d start with a really outdated league, for example the German Stammkneipe around 2000, many would stop reading after a while, because its impact and the participants were not notable enough for most.
The majority of the people voting in my previous article decided for me – they wanted a rivalry. Honestly, this was a good choice. What better way to introduce interested people than a good old fashioned fight between true legends? Therefore, you’ll hopefully learn something about the – in my opinion – most important clans within the German and the international community. Like every other huge war the ‘Duel of the Fates’ begun with heavily critized ideas, was more than only important for the course of the foreign community, left its marks on strategy, public reception of professional gaming and was, at least back then, highly discussed. It’s not only about players, but about real competition between two of the most known teams in history!
A word of warning – I did try to find sources, sources for a time before 2005 are hard to come by. Most pages I used back then do not exist anymore (World Gaming Tour), have been moved (StarCraftgamers.net → GosuGamers) or have entirely new infrastructure (broodwar.de, gosus.com, etc.). I sincerely apologize for the sad issue. I can’t provide as many battle reports, interviews and VODs as I would’ve liked. I did try to translate some stuff though.
The Birth of a Legend
Back in 1998 video games were considered as a bad thing for youths in Germany. Everytime something bad happened, video games were blamed. The columbine shooting happened because of Marylin Manson and video games. Video games were the reasons for pupils to skip school, use drugs or escape into virtual reality. Youth unemployment was only there, because video games existed. It didn’t matter if it was only Super Mario, Tetris, Counter Strike or StarCraft – it was bad by default. This reputation lasted for very long, the German magazine Der Spiegel and its article about Lim Yo Hwan (EN translation) showed this – published years later, as side note in their print magazine.
Nonetheless, the video gamers did not care. The term eSports was still quite new and a concept not really known to many, a strange construct. One of the first steps to change at least the online community’s view on this new approach to gaming was a clan founded in December 1998: The Dark Elite Forces. A couple of Germans founded the team and started to recruit Germany’s top class of Brood War. Names like KoRn, Kosh and Kalschni were in, all three of them were already quite popular. Kalaschni was known to push Zerg strategies to a whole new level, KoRn is known today as the mastermind behind pokerstrategy and Kosh was overall a beast.
Since it was only a first step, the entire organization wasn’t too good, at least not in its early years. The clan was renamed into iDEF exactly two years later with even more eager plans – this time the international elite should join. In theory everyone should receive a payment of sponsors to wear the new tag. Even though the roster was boosted again and thus making the clan even more successful, the project almost died – apparently the communication wasn’t good enough and the sponsors were not that pleased with the management overall. Hence, two years later (December 2002), the last name change was done and the reign of terror started.
For the new project – now called pro-Gaming ([pG] as tag and pG for short) – featured more than just Brood War, but also almost all important official World Cyber Games titles, inlcuding Counter Strike, later Fifa and WarCraft III. Their roster was more than just impressing. They had the third place winner of WCG 2002, the Polish Zerg Blackman, who already was famous before this event. The defeat he suffered against SlayerS`Boxer` on Lost Temple, in which he couldn’t help but lose to the Emperor’s exceptional control, also only added to his reputation.
Game of WCG 2002: BoxeR vs Blackman
Others names were there as well: Teamliquid’s founder Nazgul, one of the strongest Protoss players, KeSPA professionals Rekrul and Elky joined, not to mention the Americans FroZ, the Brazillian Hellghost or the Swedish legend SaFt. These guys were so experienced, they were already called oldschoolers.
But pro-Gaming started out as German project and as a result the German who-is-who still made half of its official roster. To be fair, compared to the international super stars, the German wing of pG was relatively bad. It’s hard to say they were not good, because the German roster, still not only had Kosh and relatively inactive Kalaschni and KoRn, but also new faces like Breakdown, Dashwriter, Socke or Infinity – all being more than just dominant within their home country. Back then, the German National A-Team was considered to be one of the best nations in the world, thanks to the aforementioned players. These guys were the best of the German traditional clans, they came from the natural born Skillers or Deutschlands Kranke Horde – heavy weights in the German area.
pG.bw promo Video by dyo
2002 didn’t only bring a new name and new recruits, but also meant change. Due to a curious incident Kosh was found hacking. By none other than KoRn. Both played in Blizzard’s ladder under fake nicks, didn’t know who they were up against and gave their best. KoRn revealed his vision (there were no replays yet), and Kosh did not complain – a solid proof he used an illegal third party tool. Bad luck or not, this wasn’t good for the clan’s reputation, especially not since Kosh still stayed for a while. Eventually the old leading trio faded, went into inactivity and left.
Which didn’t matter, the youngsters Fredrik ‘FiSheYe‘ Keitel, Giacomo ‘Socke‘ Thüs and Infity won places one to three in the German WCG preliminaries in Weimar. The main event featured even more known nicks of pro-Gaming’s Brood War squad: Nazgul, Hellghost, Elky and Blackman – just to drop a few names. A giant success for the new team.
The other Team
The ‘other team’, which would later become pG’s rival, were the Templars of Twilight. In 1998 they started out as a Big Game Hunters clan. Big Game Hunters is some sort of 3on3 map, hence nothing which was seen as ‘truely’ competitive. It wasn’t a map you’d use in an individual tournament, it is simply too imbalanced and does enable players to play differently, thanks to too many mineral patches per base. It’s possible to stay on one or two base for an entire game, the minerals simply never go out.
However, it didn’t take too long for their members to switch over to the ‘more legit’ low money maps, such as Lost Temple or Dire Straits. With new maps stronger players came in – according to their final statement the first known ones to join were Silence and Norti. Quite some names, yet none you could compare to pG’s German roster. It’s not too surprising that the German Templars joined German leagues first, namely the Stammkneipe and the Brood War Clan League hosted by broodwar.de (BWCL and bw.de respectively). They already managed to get a few of their names in the German national B-Team roster (e.g. Norti), but otherwise had a hard time to win against strong clans, like the Xsidious Cooperation – from where the founding fathers of pro Gaming originally came.
Yet, this team had a number of really talented players, who only needed more experience. Their line-up was always quite Zerg heavy: Enti, LaZeR, later Kalaschni, Rifter and obviously Silence. All of whom made not only good 2on2 players, but also were strong enough to have chances in smaller German individual tournaments. Still, most of them would probably struggle to take on pG’s youngsters, the results of the German Preliminaries for the World Cyber Games in 2002 showed why. Even compared to other ‘oldschool’ teams like the Fighting Angels, Team ivy or the StarCraft Troopers, they were only a name. One of many. That changed quite fast. In early 2002 the Templars won their first title, the first place in the BWCL and another silver medal a season later. These was just their first step on a long, long road to the international throne.
The Templars and pro Gaming followed different philosophies, an eternal dispute of community members – Zwei Herzen schlagen in meiner Brust. To explain that a bit more, some sort of comparison is needed. Germany’s biggest and most successful football (for the Americans: soccer) clubs is Bayern München (Bayern), most of you might’ve heard of them. There are plenty other teams, one of them being 1860 München (1860 or 60 for fans); the name already gives a hint, it’s in the same town. The first one, the major titan of football won so many leagues you have a hard time to count. Key to their success is smart finances, at least on some levels. They always had the reputation to just buy players instead of supporting local talents. Obviously, if you want to be big, you have to think big. It’s a rational choice. 1860 on the other hand was a local hero. If both teams met, it means a derby. A fan favourite. In theory you can cheer for both teams, but not once a derby happens, that’d be a no-go.
It was similar for pro-Gaming vs. the Templars. The Templars were improved enough to take on the German part of pG pretty soon, after the World Cyber Games 2002, they had very good players, too. Enough to cause a lot of problems for their paid opponents and had good chances, really good ones. Both teams had really young players, Socke and Christoph ‘Mondragon’ Semke were only 15 years old and considered as huge talents. Just to give one example. Then again, pro-Gaming was seen rather negative (no hate, it was just odd and unfamiliar), since they bought players rather than supporting the talents. The Templars were a family, they embraced the concept so many other German clans followed. Deutschlands Kranke Horde had sponsors – Socke’s clan before pro-Gaming – but was still quite small compared to pG. Some Templars did win money in minor tours and offline events, but they were no Rekrul or Elky, playing professionally in Korea. FiSheYe did go to Korea three times, played exhibition matches, his clan even tried to advertise itself on the Electronic Convention E3 in Los Angeles. Two entirely different concepts, really.
Templars of Twilight promo by Retuh
To make the contrast a bit bigger – the Templars took pride in hosting their own LAN tournaments every now and then. I still regret never going there, especially since they took place not more than 40 kms away from my home. Twice I had to work and couldn’t attend, one time I was sick, once I had to write my final exams in the German gymnasium. Sucks. However, I did meet some of the nerds by chance, a silly thing really – I remember that my grandmother had to move, so my cousin and me helped out. Later that night we drove home from Nürnberg and stopped by in a MC Donald’s in Bamberg, just to meet a bunch of strangers, who ordered a massive amount of food, something in the lines of 40 burgers, fries and more. Took me a year to find a report on bw.de, which even had pictures of the panicing employees, who screamed to slaughter more chickens. Nevermind – that’s how strongly tied the clan members were. They were the symbol of community oriented clans, while pro-Gaming embraced the concept of a paid clan, at least it tried to be like that. Obviously, pG’s members also were friends to each other and met on various offline events, but their competitive character was always dominating.
Hence, everytime these clans should clash it had a bit of David against Goliath to it. It wasn’t only a thing you looked forward to, because it would guarantee matches of the current elite class of Germany, but also, because both concepts were up against each other. One wanted to see the friends winning, rather than the capitalist idea. It was a bit like during the World Cyber Games whenever a foreigner went up against a Korean. You knew the Koreans would win, but you hoped they wouldn’t. That’s why everyone was excited when Advokate took down Jaedong or Mondragon defeated sAviOr. Doesn’t mean anyone wanted the pG roster to lose, because they were assholes or jerks, but only because you always cheer for the underdog.
However, clan wars between the two leading clans did not happen too often, much to the disappointment of myself. The BWCL was closed and isolated, it was unusual to have foreign players in, German was the language to speak – you had to be from Switzerland, Germany or Austria. So, even if the international top stars of pro-Gaming wanted to participate, they would not have. It was simply not possible for the clan to send out their players – most would not have played either way most likely. Hence, they only sent their strongest German players – Socke, Infinity, Dashwriter and Breakdown. These were enough to make a stand, but did not play as serious as you seen them perform in money tournaments. Consequently, most clashes between pro-Gaming members and Templars happened elsewhere: In LAN Tournaments, the WCG Preliminaries, Nation Wars and so on and so forth. If, due to a miracle, a fight was on in BWCL the replay packs were popular as anything. Download numbers sky rocketed and went way over the 1k download number. To put it into context, even clan wars of other good clans rarely got more than 500 clicks. Back in a time where you would not know whether or not these games were any good and broadwith was limited thanks to 56k modems!
Just to give you an example that the wars indeed lived up to their potential, we’ll take a look on one set of one of the rare wars: Giaccomo ‘Socke’ Thüs vs. Christoph ‘Mondragon’ Semke. I can’t say when exactly this happened, but I guess it was around 2003, a time in which pro-Gaming members dominated the German scene in the big tournaments.
The first map was Neo Hall of Valhalla, a really, really old map. It is considered to be a Semi Island map, which makes it entirely different from usual ground maps and a bit different from air maps. The map has four starting positions on plateaus, the space there is huge, each has the usual amount of minerals and gas. Players need to build transports – meaning Dropships, Shuttles or Overloard upgrades – in order to leave this plateau, a ramp is missing. Other than pure Air Maps like Dire Straits the main part of the map is on an equal ground level. Only mineral only expansions are there, but it offers enough space to move bigger armies. As a result air units are not neccessarily needed and Zerg has a bit more chance to play there. Nonetheless, Mondragon made a habit of picking random on these kind of maps, since Zerg still had a small disadvantage. His main race could be beaten by lesser opponents, and Socke wasn’t bad.
The map was Hall of Valhalla, some really oldschool stuff.
Mondragon starting with Pylon and Assimilator – quite unusual, but it’s not his main race.
Socke starting with Pylon – Gas – Gateway
From now on both add their Cybernetics Core and the robotics facility. Socke however starts to build a few Zealots instead of Dragoons, which was quite common if you wanted to drop your opponent early on.
Socke makes the first move: he sends out his shuttle counter clock wise – a fortunate decisions,
as he is going to scout Mondragon early on.
Mondragon is under pressure, as he decided to follow a reaver build order while skipping his range upgrade. This is why the first four zealots are able to kill a lot of probes and one of the dragoons.
One reaver for Socke is done while the harass is still going on in Mondragons base. Mondragon however sneaks out a probe to take the expo south of his base.
Shortly before the last of the Zealot bites the dust the first reaver for Mondragon pops out.
Only seconds after the harass is over, the Socke’s reaver is being dropped. Mondragon tries to counter with his own reaver and is quite succesful doing so. The drop does not much damage, but can rescue its cargo. The first skirmish is over, Socke is slightly leading in economy and tech-wise.
In the following minutes one of Socke’s reaver constantly tries to attack Mondragons base from the south, missing the Probe that is about to warp in the expansion always by centimeteres. The harass has not much effect though, as Mondragon moves his dragoons fast enough to intercept the incoming Shuttle. Sometimes a few probes die, but nothing to worry about.
Socke decides to add another facility and shuttle speed finishes for him.
Since he is in advantage Socke takes the mineral only next to his main base – by now he discovered the probe of Mondragon and killed it.
Mondragon sends out another probe, this time trying to expand in the island expansion on the way between the player’s bases. Defnitely a bold move.
Mondragon tries to hide his expansion with his drops. He outsmarts the Goon’s AI a bit and gets a couple of free hits here and there.
As a matter of fact, the harass was good enough to keep Socke and his reavers constantly in his base, rather than scouting the map.
Mondragon sneaky takes the expo while Socke is busy.
Instead of doing a transfer via shuttle from main to natural and thus helping his economy, Socke decides to do a drop that would hopefully end Mondragons existence right here and right now; two shuttles with four reavers are being dropped and a fierce micro battle starts. Mondragon is able to fight back until only one reaver on both sides remain; Socke sees that he can not decide the game with only this reaver left and returns to his main.
And that’s when he sees what Mondragon did there.
Mondragon is now returning the favour: he drops Socke’s expansion and fires at the Nexus and the few probes that harvest there. In between he goes back and forth while once again trying to get his expansion at he south back up.
He ultimately loses the expansion in between the bases.
Quid pro Quo again: Mondragon moves two shuttles with reavers and dragoons across the map and drops Socke’s main base. He kills a few dragoons and a few probes; overall not big damage done kill wise, but the economy of Socke is on hold.
While being under attack Socke now drops a probe to the upper left corner expansion in order to take it.
Mondragon decided there was not enough action: he starts to harass Socke’s expansion again, sniping workers and eventually forcing his opponent to send his units there to defend. This is a trap, as Mondragons larger force already waits on the other side of the 12 o’clock main and goes in once his bait was swallowed. Meanwhile Mondragon was able to take the expansion south of his base.
Socke has had enough: a counter with four reavers directly into Mondragons main. Here the first micro screw up appears. What used to be a thrilling fight between reavers and shuttles now turns into an epic fail. Socke’s shuttle is way too far away to pick up the reavers, and the reavers starting to be retarded and crawl around instead of firing. He eventually loses all of them and retreats. His advantage is gone by now.
Mondragon doesn’t rest and prepares his two-way attack again. Socke reacts in time and saves most of his army and his workers, the drop doesn’t too much damage and Mondragon loses more units than neccessary.
Mondragon’s expansion is going well, and he takes the 6 o’clock position. This however, is really just about time as his main base just went totally dry.
Socke takes the middle expansion, but gets scouted. Mondragons forces deny every building from getting up.
Socke knows that Mondragon’s main is depleted – so he goes directly for the expansions of his opponent and kills them without losing much. Mondragon is still busy to kill the middle expo of Socke and enters this elimination race with a big delay. Now the cards turn once again into Socke’s favour – shortly before his base goes down, he is able to pull all his units back. His Natural barely survives.
The downside for Socke: he lost more units defending and raiding, Mondragon lost literally not a single Goon. All in all, the game is still open.
History may be a useless subject for some, but Mondragon did pay attention: when the Soviets contained all roads to Berlin the Americans started to use their air force to re-supply the western part of the city. And so does Mondragon. Operation Rosienenbomber at your service – ZERE VILL BE ORDER IN MEIN ECONOMY!
While Mondragon gathers the few minerals he needs for a Nexus Socke expands in the top left corner.
Socke sees the expansion going up and wants to deny it at any cost. He drops all his remaining forces onto the plateau and starts to rape. Mondragon eventually is able to gain the upper hand. This would still not be too big of a deal for Socke, but his minerals were already almost gone – and scarabs are expansive after all. It looks as if Mondragons decision making saved his ass and turned the game around. Again.
From now on all of Socke’s expansions go down; no way he can compete with Mondragon’s army. Revenge is not an option, as Mondragon’s expansion is way too fortified.
After a lot running around the map the two armies meet for a final clash. Socke loses and the game is over. GG!
This battle report already showed it, the two young talents, the next generation of Germany so to speak, already made up for a high class game, despite money missing in it. It was about prestige, fun and competition for these two. A quite entertaining game.
The German Stars
The time is Summer 2003 now and both clans made themselves a name. Almost every major foreign tournament was dominated by pro Gaming, whereas the Templars still focussed on minor tournaments and the young World Gaming Tour ladder, which replaced Battle.net’s original ranking. Still, the Templars made a run for the German national team. Up to this point, the national team roster was filled with pro Gaming members, now more and more players wearing the ToT-tag joined the party. But it wasn’t about both team’s rosters anymore, if you want to succeed on an international level you need new stars. Players able to dominate, to be tyrants, to kill without mercy, hunting their prey and play consistently. It was about time, the Templars had won three more gold medals in BWCL by now, pro-Gaming’s old German elite around Kosh, KoRn and Kalaschni was fading.
Fredrik ‘FiSheYe‘ Keitel wasn’t a bad player in 2003. Far from that. He was better than all other German players, but still a bit in the shadows of Kosh. He had his breakthrough a year earlier, when he dominated the WCG Preliminaries in Weimar. He won easily there, the word competition wasn’t for him, it was more like a bunch of victims lining up to be crashed. Destroying Germany and having a run in the main event are two different things though. He wasn’t expected to come too far one way or the other, Korean professionals attended, as well as the international roster of pro Gaming. He was about to enter pro Gamings international circle, but not yet, at least not in the eyes of many. Yet he was Germanys biggest hope – and didn’t disappoint at all. He advanced from group stage and defeated the first OSL winner Grrr… from Canada in a best of three. But that’s where it ended, he lost against the Russian Ranger and his Dutch team mate Nazgul in the games after. Still, he was there.
In 2003 he took second place in the AMD PG Challenge, another offline tournament filled with the foreign elite. In the German Preliminaries for the WCG he went through the grid like a knife through butter, nothing else was expected from the rising star. He already was an elite player, able to take on the world. This time no other German player of pro-Gaming made it to Seoul – instead CopeTheUnknown, a very strong German Terran, and OgerDaniel, a racepicker, qualified. Cope was seen as safe bet for the Preliminaries, he was better than most of the others, but Daniel not so much, he was a dark horse at best. His clan, Oger, was as traditional as it gets, a team from the really old days, yet not a team good enough anymore. He didn’t care and played more than just solid and raped.
In the WCG both Daniel and FiSh made it out of their groups. FiSheYe didn’t simply advance, he won his group with a clear 7-0, beating the Korean KeSPA Professional Silent_Control. This Terran was a beast and top class, not just a noname. Due to Daniel finishing second both met again in the Round of 16 and clashed. FiSheYe pretty much killed Daniel in the first set, but lost horribly against Daniel’s Zerg. His first loss so far. It didn’t stop him, on the next map he took down the dark horse and advanced. With Grrr… and Elky he had two more KeSPA professionals, the only two foreigners who were seen as strong enough to have a chance to win gold. Both lost, FiSheYe simply outclassed both.
The overall finals of World Cyber Games 2003 came as a huge surprise – German star FiSheYe vs. Korean Amateur ogogo. ogogo was unknown to most foreign fans and even the insiders on Teamliquid needed to read up on his career. The Zerg qualified, but was seen as a lot worse than H.O.T-Forever and SilentControl. In the first time of WCG history a foreigner had a realistic shot at to win the tour. The forum comments went over, the first set gave the young Protoss a huge advantage – antoher Semi Air Map called Gorky Park!
FiSheYe made his fight and did very well, still the Korean had better chances. Years later Keitel claimed that the stage itself was suboptimal and allowed the Korean unfair advantages – apparently both players could hear the Korean commentary, which made FiSheYe’s opening with off-race on Korhal of Ceres useless. I can’t say, but I tend to believe him there, it would not be the first time the World Cyber Games had suboptimal systems installed.
Back in Germany Keitel played better than ever. Each Nation War he attended was a guarantted win for his country, each show match was won with ease. He also entered the first GIGA TV Grandslam, went through the bracket once again and completely smashed his opponent OgerEaky – he was nowhere close to FiSheYe’s impeccable skill. Despite his successful year, FiSheYe seemed to lose motivation. He announced to switch to the new game, WarCraft III, and play a bit there.
Christoph ‘Mondragon‘ Semke was the biggest hope of his team. They did have a lot of really good players, but Mondragon displayed a talent nobody had seen. He was an all-time favourite, a player everyone just wanted to cheer for – young, great skill, high APM, modest above all else and embraced traditional values. You simply wanted him to show off pro-gaming. Other than his pendant, FiSheYe, Mondragon did not ‘come out of nowhere’, but was always present in small tournaments and non-money leagues, like Stammkneipe, the WGTour Ladder or BWCL. He wasn’t a monster right away, he did lose a few games on his way to the top, but you could basically seem him improving with every game he played.
The Templars stayed in BWCL around 2004, where they played in the first division for three long years and won eleven times gold. Mondragon was key to their success, his win/lose ratio was insane. He played both 2on2 and 1on1; in BWCL alone he thusly played 180 sets, 162 of which he won: 90 %. It wasn’t surprising that Betrayal invited him directly to Team Germany, so he could play for his country. In the next eleven years he excelled and was the backbone of the team, dragging his country to many wins single handedly. 62 sets he played until 2006, 56 of which he won, another impressing 90% ratio.
He didn’t win big right away, he never really made it far, he was still going to school and was never really interested to be ‘professional’ like the pro-Gaming members. So far, he ‘only’ finished third in WGTour’s third 1on1 season (~2003), while winning the gold for 2on2 in the very same with his clanmate LaZeR. He and LaZeR were very, very strong and dominating. The Zerg duo ate anything you threw at them, having win/lose ratios of 100% in nation wars and almost perfect ratio over all leagues and friendly wars. The true stars back then.
The first Clash: 2004
Broodwar.de was the center for German Brood War, being the place where both Team Germany and BWCL where hosted; additionally, they created an own tournament series, the infamous Brood War 4 Ever Kerrigan Cups and provided the community with a giant replay- and VOD database (exvods.de.vu). For their communtiy coverage they often interviewed the German elite and clan leaders like Kentaro[pG]. In early 2004 the answers were odd – Mondragon seemed to be the current favourite, while semi-inactive FisheYe was still seen better. A clash fo these titans was inevitable at some point.
Still, like already mentioned, the fights were disappointing at first. FiSheYe played four months of WarCraft III and had relative success there; he was able to qualify for the second Giga Grand Slam, but never advanced further. Impressing, surely, but nothing out of the ordinary and really bad compared to his career in Brood War. In Brood War he was able to take down the reigning champions and put his name on any trophy, in WC3 he was B-Class at best.
However, in Summer 2004 he was back and trained a bit to qualify for GIGA TVs Spring Grandslam (the third one overall). GIGA TV is the predeccesor of ESL TV, which still covers eSports. The broadcasting station tried to cover video gaming on national television. This was so-so, since they were pretty hard to see, not everyone was able to get their station in. I for one had to watch VODs later on. Also, their first steps were hilariously bad, so bad you had to love them. They tried to combine video games for casual players and high class competitive play in their Grand Slams. Consequently their moderators had a very basic understanding of the games, the scene and the players, but couldn’t quite cope what was going on on a deeper level. Hence, a lot of the best German players had to commentate, like the German National player Grummel, or KoRn and Kentaro from pro-Gaming – both of whom were managers by now. The casts were facepalm events, yet lovely ones. Before we drift off, a bit of random trivia: The two main moderators for Brood War – Budi and Etienne – work now for MTV Germany and host shows, which cover the newest video games. Budi still name drops Brood War every now and then and still promotes some eSports projects, like FiSheYe’s clans.de.
Since Brood War was already seven years old when the GIGA Grandslam was announced, the broadcasting station wasn’t sure whether or not enough people would tune in to watch a seemingly outdated game of an outdated genre. Then again, they already featured it in their initial Grand Slam (and excluded it for the second) and Brood War was still a major title of WCG. The solution were votings. Every community was able to vote for their favourite game, so Brood War had to defeat the Worms community – for example. To be perfectly honest, the German’s would’ve lost most likely, but then again, that’s what GosuGamers and Teamliquid were for. We simply rigged the shit out of the polls and had no problem to get into the Grandslam. Thanks badly developed pages.
Each Grandslam opened with a ladder phase, for which every German could register. On Giga’s page a ‘fast challenge’ button (that’s why the ladder phase were called fast challenges) was installed, which told a player his next opponent. Everyone lost and won points this way. The leading player of the ranking qualified – every third day the leader was picked. It was a bit of gambling, but it worked out quite well, the German elite did qualify. Mondragon and FiSheYe started out in different groups. While the Zerg made it through as first, the Protoss finished second, showing unusal sloppy plays against weaker opponents like ToT)Rob(.
Again, a lot of pro-Gaming members made it through – Hexer, FiSheYe, Dashwriter and Breakdown, the most familiar faces of all. It was up to Mondragon to stop the horde, to show David has chances against Goliath. FiSheYe knocked out Dashwriter in a relatively close series 2-1 and Mondragon defeated Breakdown with the same score in a mirror match. Next Up: Semi Finals FiSheYe vs. Mondragon.
At this point of time the entire match was covered at the GIGA Studios and was broadcasted. Instead of providing replays, the best of three was streamed – but both VODs and replays are missing. Same for Battle Reports. I remember this match a bit, it wasn’t that good and did not live up to the expectations. Fish still suffered a bit from his inactivity and Mondragon basically outsmarted him entirely: 2-0, a white wash.
The finals were a bit better, Hexer was up against Mondragon, pretty much the best Protoss of this month against Europe’s strongest Zerg.
The next clash of 2004 between the two German legends was during the World Cyber Games Preliminaries in Leipzig. GIGA was responsible to cover this event as well. Now, a combination of semi-professional GIGA and World Cyber Games Germany could only end bad in terms of archiving. Guess what, sources are offline again. Long story short, Mondragon and FiSheYe started in opposite sides of the bracket and basically smashed the competition. They met in the winner bracket finale for the first time. This meant both already had a ticket for the main event. The prizes for first and second place were pretty much hardware only, so they didn’t give much incentive. As a result both played odd – picked random and so on and so forth. Fish lost 2-0, went down, defeated the German Gum (a Zerg) and lost another two sets to Mondragon in the Overall finales. It’s really horrible, to not show you games, they might’ve not been top notch, but still entertaining.
Stepping Up: 2005
2005 the pace was back to normal. FiSheYe did play more again, even though the big tournament wins missed. In WCG 2004, both Mondragon and FiSheYe made their way out of the group stages pretty easily, both had not a huge problem doing so. They were international top level already. However, Fish’s days as contender for the throne were over, at least for this year, the Koreans finally sent their reigning Emperors again. It was getting increasingly harder to knock out one of these.
A few words about the player’s style. The German Protoss was known to be good with Zerg in addition to Protoss. He was considered a slow player, a huge contrast to Mondragon, who was considered fast. FiSheYe had around 200 APM, nothing compared to a Korean Terran, or Mondragons 250+ over hours. Yet, both players had one in common: Exceptional knowledge about the game. Seriously, no strategy whatsoever could really surprise them. They adapted to an opponent’s strategy even before he thought of it. Both dictated every stage of a match, regardless of who they faced. It seemed as if both had a hack running, even though they didn’t.
FiSheYe developed openings as he went along, it always seemed odd to see him opening with a tech, only to see that he could make seemingly risky strategies work into detail. Even the strongest had to search long and hard to find a chink in his armor. Many made the mistake to thing they could bring down the Protoss if the game was long, he could play long as well; or they thought they could even confuse him with harassment and multitasking, micro heavy play. The latter was worse, he was too fast for that. His low APM was only low, because he played without spamming any click. Every action and command he made was enough. His play was truely inspiring, yet frustrating, because no matter how hard a regular tried, he couldn’t copy it.
Mondragon’s play, on an abstract level, was similar. He also dictated the game. Back then, nobody knew about Mutalisk harassment against Terran, but Mondragon didn’t need it. I remember a game of his against aforementioned Cope, in which he used Dark Swarms on Battle.net as if it was part of the match up – when even the strong National Team members of Germany told the hobby theorycrafters that it was almost impossible to use this defilers as spell casters. Furthermore, the German analyzed the game differently. He once said he was influenced by some unknown Korean Zerg, who used Zerglings to threaten his opponent. He was also influenced by Kalaschni, who more or less made Sauron (macro based Zerg, named after Lord of the Ring’s figure for his masses of Orcs) popular. That was a scary mix. Mondragon was simply everywhere, he had a few lings out, stopped any rushes or stalled armies with a handful of these units. He went up and down, back and forth, saw the tiniest whole in the defense and was in – and caused damage in early stages almost nobody could compensate. In later years many international fans were surprised when Mondragon went up 47-1 against Protoss due to his ling busts and runbys during the first Teamliquid Starleague, or when he outmicroed sAviOr in WCG 2007 – well, not a big thing for the German audience, they were used to get smacked with cheap and inferior units.
So, to sum it up, even if a Protoss was good enough to keep up with Mondragon’s sick army control, his maneuvers and fake attacks, they were basically outmacroed. If it took them thirty seconds too long and could bust Mondragon’s strong contains, they found each other on a map already covered in creep. Every single expansion was already a stronghold and all they could do was taking a late expansion, so they had another five minutes to manage workers before tons and tons of ultralisks knocked at their door. A shitty style to face, especially since Mondragon was so mean to publish guides about his strongest Match Up in 2005. Well, thanks for that (I’m Protoss and remember the impact this shitty guide had)!
So, in Mondragon’s first major tournament ever and in the first big tournament FiSheYe entered after his leave, both had to prove themselves. Group stage wasn’t a problem, we know that now. The next opponent of Fish was the Swedish random player TreK, known for his chaotic style and argueable one of the finest the Templars and Europe had to offer. Really, not a nobody and even a guy to have more than just chances to take down the German and end his career right there. The result were chaotic games, two players knowing to adapt and control the game flow. Really, recommended for unusual Brood War par excellence.
Set 3, the decider, recommended for some oldschool magic!
In the Round of 32 Mondragon defeated the Chilean KniF, but lost with a 1-2 against Advokate a round later. FiSheYe had to face Korean Midas, a class of its own, and went down 0-2 in the Round of 16.
The result of the tournament: Gum was out early on, FiSh and Mondragon took the same places. This was good and bad. Bad, because German hopes were gone for this tournament, good because it had an impact.
In late 2005 the official World Cyber Games tried to expand a bit to the European market. They wanted to create regional tournaments, for example the Panamerican Championships, which Day won. In Europe, the Samsung European Championship was hosted and featured a bunch of the best Europe had to offer – among them Androide. However, the fights between the Russian and Mondragon are a totally different story, so are the SEC.
Important was, that Germany only had one spot for the event. Theoretically, the best German in the WCG 2004 would get this spot. There was no ‘best German player’ in WCG 2004, both Mondragon and FiSheYe had to fight for it in a best of seven. Ironically, FiSheYe, Mondragon and Androide were considered as the favourites. Meaning, whoever would win in the German finals would also be most likely to face the Russian Terran in the overall finals. Since FiSheYe really did train for this event and Mondragon was still more than just active, it was on. More than just on. While fans only talked about such a derby before, now the fans got in huge fights, they cheered, they were thrilled and this time they were not disappointed – the best series between Germans was about to happen!
The map for the first set was Dahlia of Jungle. This map is not quite common, as most maps used for the ECG qualification. Since ECG was a spin-off of the original World Cyber Games ‘the most recent’ maps had to be played, not all of which reflected the current meta game and made up for potential imbalances. However, this map could be considered at least somewhat ok-ish. It had four spawning positions, a middle with two briges between the main space and the corners, an in-base mineral only expansion and ramps. The mineral expansion could be attacked from the outside rather easily, all that was needed was some air unit or floating building to gain vision. Thirds weren’t that hard to take, as the bridges to the middle made contains possible.
In the first set of the best of seven Mondragon spawned on the 3 o’clock position, whereas FiSheYe started on the 12. Both opened with a more or less common build order.
The brown Protoss went for a single gate, gas, a zealot and tried to expand early on in his mineral expansion. The orange Zerg on the other hand played pool first and expanded towards his corner expo in order to get a second gas, which is so helpful for his race. After a few more scouts and ling fake attacks the game speeded up a bit. Mondragon got rid of FiSh’s scouting probe and expanded a second time to his mineral only, while going for a lair. FiSheYe meanwhile added a single dragoon and and a star port. Furthermore, he was able to sneak out a single probe, which his opponent was unware of. After almost seven minutes of cold war the Protoss tried to feel how his opponent’s expansions would be like – a dragoon and four zealots faked an attack on Mondragon’s gas expansion, which was already well defended.
FiSheYe’s characteristic game came through – he used his hidden probe to build a pylon and three cannons right behind Mondragon’s expansion. This was a rather useless move, he had no vision of the minerals, at least not yet. Mondragon did take map control with his initial lurkers, burrowed them right in front of his enemy’s ramp and thusly tried to stall any incoming attack. Meanwhile, he already prepared a few mutalisks, which proceeded to succesfully harass and kill FiSheYe’s undefended natural only. The Protoss reacted quickly, snuck out another probe with the help of a drop ship, flew over to Mondragon’s mineral only and dropped a three zealots. Result: both traded expansions. That wasn’t all, after all, the best two Europeans fought: FiSheYe expanded in his corner and was able to defend it against the incoming mutalisks!
Obviously, Mondragon would not have been in the finals if he would be bad at scouting. He knew about FiSheYe’s expansion, had access and swiftly killed it. The brown Protoss now had to react and did so without thinking for too long: He simply ignored the four lurkers and run over them with a couple of Archons and Zealots, heading towards Mondragon’s gas expansion, to deal another heavy blow. But that wasn’t all, Mondragon took the 6 o’clock main base and its gas expansion in the bottom left corner – which FiSheYe tried to prevent with two dark templars. The Zerg, still busy to a) kill FiSheYe’s hidden expansion, b) watching the entire mini map and c) defending his own initial and most important bases, missed to fulfill all his tasks. He did well for a), the top right corner base was destroyed, his first gas expo was defended, but the 6 o’clock base died and moreover, FiSh was able to take the top left corner base – with another sneaky probe. This happened within another three or four minutes!
This basically is a glimpse of how the entire game went: Mondragon controlled the key areas of the map, while FiSheYe did his best to sneak around the Zerg’s vision – either to expand (most times successfully), or because he wanted to take down morphing hatcheries. This went so-so for FiSh, his attacks never really slowed his opponent down, but he was able to re-take not only his own corner position, but also sneak into 3 o’clocks mineral only. As soon as the first pylon was done, FiSheYe usually also warped in tons of cannons. After 15 minutes of back and forth play, the situation was a bit weird – FiSh’s main was empty, so was his natural, Mondragon was constantly trying to get his economy really running; quite hard to do if you get a few Zeals here and there or a drop. However, Mondragon did have enough of it, moved in with his main army and tried to just kill FiSh’s main – and FiSh thought he’d use this seemingly advantage to take down three of Mondragon’s Expos (6 o’clock main + its natural + 5 o’clock corner base).
The screens show it pretty well, FiSheYe could take down the six o’clock, but had no chances on the other two positions. Meanwhile his base was gone. To make it short, this was a deadly blow. Obviously, the Protoss from Berlin would not give up, Mondragon was about to run out of minerals in his main, did not have his natural only and was on low economy. However, he could re-inforce rather easily, while his opponent had no opportunity to invest in anything but cannons, pylons and gateways. FiSh could hang on and even get back on his feet thanks to brilliant multi tasking, but lost in the long run, as soon as Mondragon had enough Cracklings, Ultras and Defilers to end it.
This was a bit sad, as the first half of the game was way, way better than most could dare to dream, yet, the second half was basically Mondragon against 1a attacks of cheap zealots. It did take a while, but the key move was over, FiSh was out as soon as he gave up his main base.
Let’s stay on outdated maps, shall we. The second set used Gorky Park aka. Gorky Islands. I never found out if there was a difference in between these two versions and didn’t really bother to check Liquipedia, because it really doesn’t matter. It has four spawning positions, each located in the corners of the map. And it’s downward imbalanced for Zerg, most likely the reason why FiSheYe picked it in the first place – like any other semi-air map, it does favour strong Air Units, which means Protoss has an in-built advantage. All main bases are located on a plateau; a cliff is behind every starting positions, which allows Terran to expand quickyl with a CC, simply lift and you got it. The sourrounding area is either ice or a grassland tile set. On first you can’t built, on second you can.
Now, since Zerg has a disadvantage Mondragon went for random – a wise move. FiSheYe did so too, simply to force Dissy to scout rather than to prepare a build order designed to kill of Protoss right away. Consequently both played with their off races – which both were good with either way (see Mondragon vs. Socke) – FiSheYe spawned as yellow Terran on bottom left, Mondragon as purple Protoss on bottom right. Like on any other given air map the game started off really, really slow. Both had to play blind, as both didn’t know what they were up against. FiSheYe played a lot more agressive and went for a CC right away to immediately expand to his cliff expansion, while Mondragon opened with the usual defensive tech. Then again, the Protoss (this time and for the rest of set 2 means Dissy) added the Star Portal rather than a robotics in order to scout fast. FiSh, the Terran (see last sentence, same true for Fish and Terran), had a serious advantage due to his early on expo. He went for Mech straight away, a good choice against any race, and prepared to drop and scout with his useless buildings – his barracks and his ebay. This went quite well, Mondragon could only drop with a huge delay, thanks to his corsair. However, FiSh’s drop ships were also quite late, the sacrifice for a early expansion. As a result the Protoss simply dropped four Dragoons on the Terran’s cliff – which denied mining for a long time.
Afterwards Mondragon tried to expand to the low ground ressources on the 3 o’clock position only to get scanned right away. At this point the Terran wasn’t able to prevent this expo from going up, but again used all his dropships to sneak out a few SCVs and three vultures. The SCVs prepared an expansion on the cliff of top left, while the Vultures harassed Mondragon’s new base – not too successful. Meanwhile, Protoss dropped FiSh’s cliff again, this time without any result but exploding archons.
Mondragon started to transfer his units to the low ground, he was probably expecting the first real threats against his newly done expansion. He also tried to take the top right cliff expansion, thinking he could defend that better. FiSheYe kept a good overview, used his scanners all the time and knew quite well where to attack – Dissy’s main was completely empty. Hence, a giant drop there killed a lot of mining probes, made it impossible for his opponent to react fast enough and killed a number of buildings. Meanwhile Dissy took revenge and killed FiSheYe’s top right expansions and took the cliff 11 o’clock himself; FiSheYe abused his knowledge and did the same to Mondragon’s 2 o’clock cliff, but also expanded on the 9 o’clock low ground spot.
To round up the game – it wasn’t too exciting if you expected the same amount of multitasking the first set featured. FiSheYe abused his knowledge of the match up more than just well – he was always at least three steps ahead of Mondragon. The Protoss basically only survived because he was top notch when it came to mechancis and was able to trade his units excaptionally well against a superior army. Mondragon exchanged his cliff expansions against a better stance on the low ground – he took the 12 o’clock low ground expo – and had his main army roaming around the vast space under the plateaus. He also was able to build up to four carriers. With his army he could take down FiSh’s 9 o’clock low ground – at least for a bit. Still, the Terran had the upper left completely under his control and a superior economy.
The last screen shot shows Mondragon’s biggest problem – he was running out of minerals. His 12 expo wasn’t up, the main and cliff expo were out of minerals entirely. FiSheYe launched a really, really huge attack after he lost his 9 o’clock. Mondragon was in serious problems now, he had less and less fighting units and was left with a handful of High Templars and Carriers. Again, thanks to his superior control he could destroy almost all of the push and furthermore deny the re-inforcements from dealing even more damage.
However, the end was inevitable. Mondragon had to make a move, FiSheYe was already too big. He went all-in and launched a bigger attack on the top left main expansion – and found himself in a nightmare of turrets, Goliaths and Siege Tanks. GG, it was over.
The third set was another really odd map, at least by today’s standards. Korhal of Ceres is a two player map, spawning positions are the 11 o’clock and the 5 o’clock positions in the corners. There’s no real middle ground here, just a long path between two main bases with large chokes on even maps, which makes wall-ins really hard. Wall-ins are quite useless, too, as each main base has a second entrance, a ramp, which leads down to a mineral only. Then, there’s still more silly stuff – a lot of paths leading around the entire map, narrow enough to make sure you want to kill dragoons for their stupidity, pathes that lead to some expansions, but not to the others, allow for a lot of hidden attacks. All in all, it does favour Zerg a lot, at least today’s play would make it impossible to win as Protoss.
FiSheye started out as orange Protoss on the top position, Mondragon as purple Zerg on the bottom one. This time, FiSheYe went for a rather standard semi-Rush/semi-Tech opening. He added a single Gateway, a Forge and took his gas early on. Mondragon on the other hand took his backdoor mineral only first, massed some lings to be safe against a hardcore rush and only then took the gas expansion in the middle. After five minute of safe play FiSheYe started a first attack with five zealots, while sneaking out a single probe to scout for the less usual expansion spots. He must’ve known he’d run into problems, but he tried to fight on Mondragon’s gas expo – needless to say he lost all his Zealots right away. Mondragon’s sunken timing came perfectly.
In the following minutes nothing serious happened. Obviously, FiSheYe simply had to cannon ‘rush’ his opponent again. Means, he simply placed a plyon and a cannon on the ridge behind his opponent’s backdoor expansion. This was a futile effort, too easy and too late, it went down after killing a single drone. Meanwhile, the Protoss tried to take both – his backdoor and his middle expansion – and was denied by a handfull of lings on both. FiSheYe needed an expo, so he chose his backdoor, easier to defend, at least on a first glimpse. Mondragon already had Mutalisks and tried to harass the natural of Fish, but could only stall. However, this game for time was good for Zerg, he was able to take a third expansion on the spot right above his spawning position. In the following minutes a lot of Muta harass and Fake Ling attacks went down, while FiSheYe’s army, consisting out of a control group of Zeals and one Archon tried to find a weak spot. There was no weak spot, he could not reach Mondragon’s new base. His tactic was easy – threaten the Zerg and hope for to get a few more bases going. Futile effort again, Mondragon ruled with iron grip. After ten minutes of back and forth FiSheYe could find a weak spot – he splitted his army in two parts, one half suiciding and thusly engaging Mondragon’s army, while the other ‘half’ took down his opponent’s “safe” new third expansion
Mondragon tried to counter, he saw that he would lose his base anyways. FiSheYe and defended with ease, he already knew that would be coming. This is the only reason this game wasn’t over, as the Zerg was already on a Hive tech, while FiSh only controlled a second gas for a minute by now. Also, his main gas was almost empty – not an ideal situation when your opponent is about to get a bunch of Cracklings. Turns out, the Cracklings weren’t the problem, the Greater Spire was. Mondragon did use Guardians as soon as he could build them and abused the cliffs to deny mining or kill probes. He also sent out a number of Cracklings to harass FiSh’s backdoor.
The next five minutes was the same happening again and again. FiSheYe used his High Templars to storm the Guardians or Cracklings, while Mondragon could take down the backdoor – but that wasn’t too bad, it was already about mined out. He however missed to deny FiSh’s expansion below his main base. The game dragged on, the Protoss got more and more useless Archons and a great number of Zealots. With them he tried to take down Mondragon’s fifth expansion – bottom left – and did quite well, as he lost only cheap zealots. At one point FiSh had to realize he would have no more chance if he didn’t do something. Hence, he went all-in and pushed towards Mondragon’s main with full force. At first, it seemed to work out well, he broke Mondragon’s middle base easily, but then, Ultralisks. Ultralisks end everything if they are supported by three running bases.
The fourth set was obviously FiSh’s pick again. Gorky Park. And both played random. Again. Both did not get their main races – again. A reptition. Almost – FiSheYe spawend as Zerg on the 2 o’clock main, Mondragon spawned as Terran on the direct opposite position.
This game started fairly standard and ended fairly standard. It’s probably the least exciting of all the series, so we keep it fairly short. Mondragon went straight for mech, but unlike FiSh he did not expand. FiSheYe went for Spire and Overlord Drop right away and also expanded twice – on his cliff and on the 12 o’clock. He started to harass Mondragon, denied early transfers and kept him in his base. Mech off of one gas doesn’t work, Mutalisks supported by three however does. That’s the story in short. No fancy hanky panky hit&run by FisheYe, no LanLatency. These kind of games were boring. It ended with FiSheYe having four bases and massing mutas, while Mondragon tried one really big go, which couldn’t do shit. FiSheYe’s creep was covered in dozens of sunkens. Once Mondragon left his main base, it was open for three control groups of mutas. GG. Also, mass fights never happened, FiSh simply outplayed Mondragon.
The map for the fifth set was Mondragon’s choice: Martian Cross. Or Chow Chow. Seriously, I do not get why the WCG Map Pool needs two names per map. At all, there honestly is no difference. Regardless. The map is – by nowaday’s standards – still quite imbalanced, but together with Dahlia of Jungle the more or less familiar thing. It is another four player map, again all starting positions are in the corners. Each position has a usual natural with gas and everything. The walking distances are really long though, the choke is on even ground, no ramps, which makes defense against masses of lings rather unpleasant. Anyhow, you should now the map – keep this in mind – FiSheYe’s game against TreK was linked already.
Both players started with their main race for a change, FiSheYe being the yellow Protoss on 2 o’clock, Mondragon as red Zerg on bottom left. Mondragon’s standard opening on this map was a 9 Pool Speed, FiSheYe went for some sort of modern Fast Expansion (without any Sim City, it’s futile there): Two cannons, a Pylon one Forge. Both played rather safe, Mondragon added a lot of lings to prepare for a run-by into FiSh’s main, but also put down two more hatcheries, one of which was the standard expansion hatch. FiSh knew about the run-by danger and defended his main with a second pylon and a third cannon there. Mondragon didn’t know and tried. He got in with most of his lings, but couldn’t do anything. The situation was tied.
The passive style of both went on for a while. FiSheYe added the usual tech, skipped the Corsairs and tried to attack with his first five zealots. That was kind of useless, as they took ages to get down to the cross position, just to see Mondragon’s Hydra Den being done. However, FiSheYe went for a third, this time directly behind his natural expansion. Mondragon tried to take advantage of this spread-out bases with Mutalisks and a lot of speed lings. At first, it paid off, as he could take down almost all of FiSheYe’s cannons in the natural, but lost too many units to the close-by third base cannons.
Theoretically, this was really, really bad for Zerg. He was still on two bases against three, the Protoss was about to start to macro like a mad man. Consequently Mondragon took his own third and fourth in one go. Positions: The 9 o’clock and the 5 o’clock main base. FiSheYe was getting greedy and tried to take the 3 o’clock expansion. Mondragon punished him heavily with his first lurkers, abusing the fact that his opponent had no robotic facility yet – and supported this push with the little air units he had left.
Now the tides turned within a minute. FiSheYe’s main was under siege, an observer was a long time away, he could do nothing to prevent Mondragon from raising his expansions. Futhermore, the Zerg put a Lurker behind FiSheYe’s third and denied mining there. However, at that time Mondragon should have focussed on Economy, his fourth and fifth hatch was still just up. He did not, he underestimated FiSheYe’s timing – observers were out two minutes later. Mondragon wanted to end it right there and tried to bust his opponent’s third with a lot of hydralisks he should’ve better used to contain. Meanwhile, FiSheYe took the 11 o’clock main and secured it with a lot of cannons.
Mondragon spotted the expansions only seconds later and knew he was in trouble again. The base was already quite fortified with six cannons, so more than just a handful of Speedlings were needed. Consequently the Zerg moved the main part of his army to the top base, which was still not running. FiSheYe reacted and destroyed the 4 o’clock main with ease, while taking the 3 o’clock for good.
Mondragon, now being on a hive but only on two and a half gas, was in real problem. He tried to attack FiSheYe’s third again, failed again, the game was over. The remains of his small army were simply crushed by FiSheYe’s maxed out army within seconds.
I now regret to have said the fourth set was a silly and one sided one, because the sixth set was also rather disappointing. For some reason FiSheYe picked Zerg or random on Dahlia of Jungle, while Mondragon spawned with his main race. I honestly have no idea what it is with FiSh and picking Terran vs. a beastly Zerg in deciding games, because he had a realistic shot to end it all. So, to save you some time, let’s just say the “Protoss” (Terran) opened with two Barrackes, followed by a Factory and two Starports – only to build a wraith, a dropship and a control group of M&M. His goal was probably to confuse the shit out of Mondragon and it worked well at first. Mondragon played really, really passive and went for map control and Hydra/Ling/Lurk. Then he saw FiSheYe’s build order was no order but build chaos and dropped him to death. Well, to be fair, FiSh did some good drops here and there, but that’s not what you do against Mondragon. Not really. He might be bad against Terran, but not that bad.
To no fault of his own Mondragon was forced to go into a decider. FiSheYe’s map pick was once again Martian Cross. Both played their main races. However, this time the starting positions were reversed.
This time the strategies used were almost the same as in the first set on Chow Chow. Mondragon with a 9 Pool Speed and FiSheYe with a Fast Expansion, playing it safe all the way. However, not really, he tried his tricks again. See for yourself, you know where it will lead.
So, while the FiSheYe vs TreK game was still quite fun to watch, Mondragon vs FiSh with the same strategy wasn’t exactly. It was basically the same as the WCG VOD, but Mondragon knew how to react. He controlled FiSh’s natural expansion for hours, at least that’s what it seemed and killed off any expansion as soon as any Probe showed up. No chance for FiSh – GG, a close series 4-3! The old king is dead, all hail the new king!
The story wasn’t over. Since Androide was seen as one of the strongest foreigners in history, Mondragon was now seen as the champion. Well, the rivalry wasn’t over and again isn’t part of this article. FiSheYe still sat in Berlin, waiting. He, too, was back, his series showed it how close it was when both met – and other than Androide he was forced to take on Mondragon in his very best Match Up. A Match up Mondragon was soo good at, that he destroyed KeSPA Professional ZeuS in a show match. Well, for now, the three of them were tied, with the Russian participating in only few events. Germany had more events.
Next in line was the Giga Grandslam IV – again this was possible thanks to rigged polls. And again both met a few times, twice in Group stage and once in the overall finals.
Even though FiSheYe did lose again it wasn’t over for him. He fought his way back to the top and qualified for the overall finals. The first map was Parallel Lines – a true air map, which meant that the Protoss had an advantage. Mondragon tried to circumvent this by going for random, so FiSheYe couldn’t unfold his strategic genious right away. FiSheYe did the same, both picked random and the match started.
VOD with EN Subs
The Giga Grandslam final had settled it – FiSheYe was defeated and Mondragon now replaced him as best German and best European player. The games were close, closer than most thought, yet FiSheYe couldn’t help but die to Dissy’s incredible Zerg vs. Protoss. Most fans liked this new trend, as the young Protoss wasn’t that easy to cheer for at times. He was friendly, trustworthy, all that, but also said what he thought. Shortly before his WarCraft III switch he told the world he was somewhat fed up with the old game, which sounded a bit awkward. He also always stressed out, that he was confident in his play, that he saw himself as a clear favourite. Well, that is honest, you have to hand it to him, yet it also had a touch of arrogance to it.
Mondragon on the other hand was always modest, he would always tell the world that he was the inferior player, praise his opponent’s strength and so on and so forth. While this sounded charming at first, it slowly got boring. If you read that before any clan war, minor tournament or nation war match, it sounded artificial. Yet, if he would have acted like FiSheYe, most people would have critized him either way.
All in all the Templars and Mondragon as their leading player were still everyone’s darling, while pro-Gaming and FiSheYe were still Goliath, an enemy you wanted to lose deep down in your heart. In July 2005 this changed. A lot. FiSheye and Breakdown announced that they left pro-Gaming, which seemed to be a hard blow. They were argueably the best Germans of pG’s roster and seen as two favourites for the upcoming World Cyber Games. Only four days later the next rumors spread: pro-Gaming was no more. At least all the international super stars were gone, FiSheYe and Breakdown’s departure was just the start of an exodus. That alone wasn’t the problem, a lot of eSports fans saw it coming, as the Counter Strike roster was always a source for trouble. At first the players weren’t paid, some of their members were caught hacking and so on and so forth – quite bad for the serious clan’s public relations.
The real surprise – and that’s a giant understatement – was the people who would replace pG.BW’s roster. Nobody than the Templars of Twilight joined, completely, and now claimed the [pG] tag for their own. Mondragon’s team, so loved for their traditional values, now seemed to go after the big money, contracts and artificial professionalism. This caused a major uproad: within hours after the initial news on GosuGamers dozens and dozens of people complained and argued and wondered how this could happen.
As bad as this news seemed to be at first, Mondragon’s crew did their best to promote their new team. They played against various Korean Amateurs or even entire guilds – and made a really good show out of it. However, it didn’t take long, in November 2005 the clan was back at their home, pG.BW was dying, with or without them, the scandals of the other squads were too much.
End of Line
The real rivalry was over with this news – pG was dead, FiSheYe was found a new home: eSa Lehnitz, a German multi gaming clan, who also recruited Breakdown. All the other good German pro-Gaming members were scattered among several clans, some like Socke or Dashwriter were thinking about retirement, most found a temporary team elsewhere, before Meet Your Members was founded. That however is also a different story.
FiSheYe is kinda the favourite, but the Koreans are more favourite than him
In the months after Mondragon’s and Fish’s clash in Giga Grandslam the fight also slowed down. The Zerg had to take his final exams, just like FiSheYe a few months before him, and hence wasn’t participating in WCG Germany 2005. The Preliminaries were won by Breakdown, FiSheYe came in as runner-up and made it to the main event a fifth time in a row. In the main event he advanced from group stage, only losing a single set against the dominating pro-gamer XelloS[yG]. He beat Testie, who was seen as the best foreigner after Mondragon, with a clear 2-0 in the Round of 16 and lost to the eventual winner ForU in the Quarters. His WCG History so far: 2nd, twice Quarter Finals, once Round of 16, once failed to advance from group stage. An impressing achievement, he was argueably the most successful foreigner when it came to the WCGs so far.
Back in Germany, in late 2005, FiSheYe qualified a third time for the Giga Grandslam. He had it easy, Mondragon was still MIA, nobody was there to stop him. He eventually took the second Giga gold, this time over the up and coming new talent Schnibl0r with a really clear 2-0. Nothing the youngster could do.
And this is where the story ends – FiSheYe’s last tournament and he went out with a blow. He gave a lot of statements in early January that he now – and sure this time – was done with Brood War for good. He did try to qualify for WCG Germany 2006 again, succeeded, but lost to Mondragon and Schnibl0r in less good games. He was simply not interested anymore. He resigned, as he already said, once he missed his spot for WCG 2006. A hero left the scene, one of the legends you rarely see.
In retrospect, the rivarly was never present in news. Nobody really noticed how both players and the clans struggled, at least not back then. There was so much going on – the WCGs, the Giga Grandslams, multiple LANs, big leagues – the fight between these two always happened between the lines. Surely, both parties made it to the headlines, at least the scandal did, yet it is a good example of how exciting foreign Brood War used to be.
The biggest problem with this article weren’t just the sources which are now offline, but also the rare occasions in which both met. Don’t make a mistake, most of you probably still remember Dissy, he played until late 2010. His reign started here, the ECG Qualifiers were the one to make sure he could beat anyone. It’s really sad that FiSheYe never met new-age Mondragon, at least not when he was in his prime. These two really reigned over Germany, later Europe and at least for several months the international scene.