Beyond the Game 2006 (6)

Following up was the all deciding match: Germany vs. Poland. A lot of discussions flooded almost every Brood War related forum, nobody was sure what to expect. Mondragon had been away for a longer time frame but continued to play every now and then in bigger leagues. In January Draco and the German Zerg met in the Semi Finals of the GGL AmeriCup Season 2, league with $800 for the winner. In August, only a two months before the WCG Grand Finals both faced each other again, this time in the overall finale of the EuroCup XIII with $600 on the line. The overall score: Mondragon 5, Draco 0. Draco did not win one set, Mondragon completely outsmarted him. But that was before Draco’s training in Korea started. The question remained, was that an advantage or not? Could two months hardcore training in Korean hellfire forge an unbeatable Protoss? Also, Mondragon stated he didn’t expect anything after realizing in which group he was and what kind of players he had to beat if he wanted to advance.

The map started on Paranoid Android, the only two player map in the pack. Both main bases are close to each other and separated by water. Theoretically, this was a good map for the Zerg, as he had vision on his opponent right from the start, due to Overlord scouting. Also, Protoss couldn’t really fast expand well, as Photon Cannons would either only protect the ramp or the minerals, both wasn’t possible. Especially Zergling busts were horrible on this map. Consequently, either a one Gateway Tech or a Two Gateway Zealot Rush followed. Having this in mind Mondragon opened with a Spawning Pool first, while Draco went for an early gas and blocked his ramp with Zealots.

The first minutes didn’t go very well for the Zerg, as Draco was able to defend his ramp against the Zergling pressure and denied Mondragon’s Natural expansion for quite long. The second Mondragon could morph the Hatchery three Zealots went into his main base, trying to stop him from mining. Not a big disadvantage, as Mondragon saved his Drones. However, simultaneously a Dragoon shot down the Zerg’s unprotected Overlord. A Corsair flew over to Mondragon soon after, while Zerg was now economically behind. Instead of adding more workers, Mondragon tried to sneak a bunch of Zerglings into the Protoss base, as soon as Draco tried to take his own Natural.

The second attempt didn’t go too well. A few Zerglings made it in, they saw the Templar Archives warping in, but couldn’t deal any damage. Draco continued to harass the Zerg with his initial Corsair and a Dark Templar – but only managed to kill a single Drone and two or three Zerglings. Mondragon on the other hand tried another runby.

The second runby killed a handful of Probes, enough to hurt Draco slightly. However, since Draco already had his natural and High Templars with Psionic Storms on the way, Mondragon was now really with his back against the wall. Every single attempt to get another base was disrupted by stray Dark Templars. Mondragon saw them, fought them, but Draco managed to buy himself a few seconds every time Mondragon tried to get rid of the units. Five minutes later, the Draco’s economy was more than just good. The German now had to do something.

Mondragon headed with a few Overlords and Lurker/Lings towards the Main Nexus, but had to turn around halfway, as Cannons and a High Templar were there to defend. At this point Draco’s Robotics was still warping, so that the Lurkers stalled him for a half a minute. Draco used almost his entire army to clean up the few Lurkers, leaving his Natural expansion vulnerable to further attacks. Mondragon went in, killed the cannons, but Draco was just too fast. If Draco stood a few seconds longer in his main base, he would have most likely lost all of his Probes at his Natural; his good reaction time saved him. Mondragon was in serious trouble, having only two running bases and two unsaturated new expansions, no further tech tree and inferior units.
In the next four minutes the German tried everything to stall Draco – faints, fake attacks, real Zergling runbys, fake drops. Nothing helped, Draco was already up tripple in supply and walked over the remains of the Zerg ground forces.

This was it – Mondragon was out, Draco succeeded and his haters had to shut up. This wasn’t lucky anymore, it was a whole new level of dominance. For now Draco was the new king, he took down a top class Terran and beheaded the foreing Zerg tyrant.

Continue on Page 7: The way to the finals

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