The finals were reserved for the last day of the World Cyber Games. Most of the foreign fans were sad and happy at the same time. It was yet another year featuring only professionals in the finals, the hopes of a complete upset were shattered. Draco should not have advanced as first of his group, so that he had a better seed and at least the small chance to face a Korean in the Semis instead of the Quarterfinals. Also, the third place match never was such a big deal. The ugly sister of the Grand Final’s Grand Final was an odd thing – for some reason the organization decided to have it played out after the actual first place match was over. Legendary, a professional and argueably a heavy weight in his country, wasn’t a match for Midas. Two relatively one sided games later, the Koreans made their tripple perfect, all Medals went to KeSPA country.
However, there was enough reason to be happy. Even an old grump like me couldn’t help but wet himself once it was clear that the titans of the game, Iloveoov and JulyZerg, would meet again. Both had a history, a really exciting one. Iloveoov was the more famous of the two, after his career most likely even the more important player. Back in 2006 this wasn’t so sure yet. Iloveoov did develope a whole new Terran vs. Zerg. Just like his mentor Boxer, he was unstoppable and unbeatable, despite or maybe even because his very low APM. He was the guy who could pump out tons of units in no time, and simply waltzed over any ground force he would meet. A lot of the old generation Zerg tried to counter his play, but they simply could not find a chink in his armor. His timings always hit them anyhwere, any all-in was thrown back into their faces. If they tried fancy micro stunts, oov showed that he could do more than just build units. It was incredible, really. Oov’s records were incredible, the myth of his 27-0 streak (which is argued about), shows that it was an upset for him in his prime to just drop one set. One set.
This era of dominance ended with a new Zerg – JulyZerg. The first time they met JulyZerg was still a nobody compared to the bus driver, but a nobody with a high APM, perfect execution and enough nerves to not start shaking in his booth only because he faced Oov. Their battles were legendary, especially since JulyZerg improved so much, he finally found ways to take sets and matches off the titan at the important tournaments. The TvZ match up changed again, especially once July showed the world what Mutalisk Micro can be like – not some flapping insects buying time, but a unit deadly enough to eat anything on the map if handled correctly. There was more than one Terran who cursed JulyZerg for making the Wings of Fury popular.
Both of them had two OSL gold medals, Oov additionally held three golden MSL titles. There was no way this match could be topped, regardless of what would happen. It doesn’t need high quality 50+ minute games for Brood War fans to freak out – just remember the Bunker Rushes of Boxer against Yellow. Except this time, there was no Yellow. This time, there was a golden Zerg, a Zerg who was able to take over the KeSPA ranking from a dominating Terran. Enough of the introductions, if you’re really interested in all of their history, I recommend reading Thorin’s article.
To sum it up, the article reads a little if it was one tournament out of many. But it was important for the history, history which was written between the lines, in forum comments and which now is the foundation of several Liquipedia articles. So, what changed because of this World Cyber Games?
For one, the public perception of Mondragon as unbeatable monster was gone in Germany. Regardless of what people said, the Germans were always a little proud to have had the unbeatable elite in the past. First, we had FiSheYe, who dominated in 2003 and 2004, afterwards it was Mondragon’s turn for the better part of 2004 until WCG 2006. There was no tournament the two of them could not have won. Also, our Nation Team kicked most wars, simply because we had one of them participating. In Europe there were the Dutch, the Scandinavians and the Polish to make our live hard, sometimes the Russian Terrans as well, but none of their rosters were stable enough. Now, all of a sudden, the Polish started to play like true monsters and did not stop – thanks to the hype Draco caused.
However, that was only Germany and not all of the Germans thought like this. Between mid 2004 and mid 2005 the question remained if Mondragon was the best player in the world; only Androide could challenge him on eye level, but if the two met, Mondragon didn’t take any chances and destroyed the Russian in legendary matches. The Russian was gone in mid 2005, just to be replaced by Sen and Testie. The two of them were hard competition, but Mondragon was still slightly better, even though Sen didn’t cave, he won almost as much as Mondragon did. It seemed to be an era of Zerg. Thanks to Mondragon’s guides and Sen more sound builds any Protoss had a hard time to deal with Zerg players copying one of the best. Draco wasn’t really in the top circle of the trio, he was always one step behind. At least in public, West European views. Everyone knew he had a great talent, but the big records were missing. And all of a sudden, in the course of just a few months, he rose to power. There now was a new star, one could copy, most knew. He was exactly like FiSheYe was before, seen as slightly arrogant, heavily critized by some, but owned everyone. It was the first big result of a talent, who’d stay in the Brood War universe until 2010. The first chapter in a new world.
This would be the end of this blog. I hope I didn’t bore you to death and that enough games were displayed to keep you reading. For the outro there’s one last thing you should watch – Spitfire’s highlight compilation of the WCG 2006.