This is my first blog entry, so I think that before I start bragging, I should introduce myself.
I am 23yrs old, french, living in Shanghai as a business intelligence consultant. I got married recently, but I am still secretly in love with Tossgirl.
I was planning to go to Korea to see some live Brood War, because I don't live that far after all, but last month, emuxcg told us that STX was organizing a tournament against Chinese players at the World Expo. I have to say that I am incredibly lucky. Not only the whole STX is coming to play in the city I live, but I had booked a plane ticket for holidays in France and the departure was on August 30th while the finals of the STX tournament was on August 29th.
I decided to make a thread in the community forum to organize a meet up, but most of the TLers that were in Shanghai this summer had already left.
So I ended going with Kaolla, a cool TL member from Holland.
Basically, the plan was :
- locate the Korean Pavilion and pray that the queue doesn't take more than a couple hours
- watch STX destroy chinese players
- try to approach the players to get autographs / pictures
- eventually take a picture with Tossgirl
We met at 11.15, took 20 minutes to find the Korean Pavilion. The problem is that there was a big stage in the Asia Area, and it would make a lot of sense that the finals took place there. So we looked for staff working at the Korean Pavilion in order to make sure that the finals were indeed inside the Korean Pavilion. It would have been the most epic fail to queue up for 4 hours to enter the pavilion to realize then that everything was on the big stage outside... The staff we met was terribly useless. I started in english :
"Hi, do you speak english ?"
"We would like to make sure that the finals or the Starcraft tournament are taking place inside the pavilion"
"You know, Starcraft, it's a video game"
The queue in the korean pavilion, queues everywhere !
I continued in chinese, because even if she was Korean she had more chance to speak chinese.
Me (approx translation) :
"I heard that there is a video game competition here this afternoon. Can you confirm ?"
"I don't know"
"But it's supposed to take place in the pavilion you work for, how come you don't know ?"
"I don't know"
We ended up even more confused than before asking the staff. We went all around the pavilion (which is fucking maze of queues and fences) to eventually arrive 15 minutes later at the exit of the pavilion. I entered by the exit to talk to a hostess with a walkie-talkie. The guard asked me to go out, but I ignored him and asked the same thing as before to the hostess. Once again, she didn't know. I started to get angry. I used to BM people a lot IRL, and have problems to deal with impulsiveness but I made a huge effort to be calm (lol unintended pun) and asked her why she doesn't use her fucking walkie to ask one of her colleagues. She executed.
She got an answer in korean, and told me that the Starcraft tournament was not taking place in the national Korean pavilion, but in the corporate korean pavilion.
I said thanks and smiled, but in fact I was more like "FML, the corporate pavilion is on the opposite side of the Expo, we have to cross a fucking river to get there".
We got a little lost after that because I misread a map of the expo (it was upside down, seriously wtf...). Then, we found an expo bus that could take a tunnel to cross the river. Great. It was already 12.20, the finals were starting in 45 minutes and we still have to eat and get to the corporate pavilion.
We found the directions and were heading toward the pavilion when we saw one of the few restaurant of the expo that looked decent and not too packed. FYI, you need to queue up for almost an hour to get in the KFC... We ate quickly and rushed to the corporate pavilion.
We arrived there at 12.50. There was a huge queue on the left side, and it seemed the only way to get to the seats - there were no walls and we could the the small stage and the ~100 seats. We were very disappointed at first, but we realized that there was also another entrance, but it was blocked by a ribbon and two security gards. We thought that restricted to the press, or to people holding a korean passport. But we are ballers, so we tried anyway. The guard didn't smile. He even looked a little pissed, like "oh god are you fucking blind, can't you see the long queue on the left ?!". He simply opened the fence to let us pass. I looked at Kaolla, he looked at me, we had banana grins
We sat on the fifth row. We couldn't believe how lucky we just were. WTF was the huge queue on the left for, if we could just step in ?? A NeoTV trailer started. A very hot chinese announcer came on the stage to present the tournament, and announce the next match. Legend vs Bogus.
Tossgirl looking bored during the highlight of the previous day
After a very disappointing first round where all the chinese players lost, Legend defeated July and Tossgirl in the loser brackets. Even if Bogus was not the best STX player, he was still a A-team progamer, while Legend had switched to poker and probably didn't played much BW since China WCG finals. Everyone was pumped. Most of the audience was chinese. The whole STX team came, and occupied the two first rows of seats. July, Tossgirl, Calm, Kal, all were there, sitting a few meters from us. Awesome. And the booths looked so great, I'm sure they are imported.
The game starts. Legend went nex 12 into dt drops. Did quite a good job harassing, and made a great push which won him the game. Second game, he did fast dt drops but fails. Bogus won. Third game is on Match Point. Bogus took a fast 3rd, Legend pushed and microed very well. gg.
There was a short break before the finals. Some people in the audience got up, and we managed to find two seats on the first row. We were sitting just behind Calm and Tossgirl. Damn, we could even smell the delicate fried chicken scent emanating from July.
So close... yet so far.
The crowd was cheering, while the players on the STX bench looked disappointed by Bogus' performance. Trap was the last resort for STX. And Legend had the momentum. In front of an ecstatic chinese audience. The format had be changed to a BO5 upon STX request. It could not be more exciting !
Legend won the first game with a 3 gates robo vs Trap's 2 gates robo expand. Wow. In the second game, Trap tried to in-base proxy, but Legend scouted it and capitalizes on his advantage to win the second game.
Kal was stamping his feet in a way that meant "omg Trap sucks, let me show you who's the boss". As good as Legend used to be, he already retired while STX players were training 10 hours a day in a progaming house. But he was about to kill the whole STX selection. We could not believe it. I almost believed this was setup in order to let a chinese player win. But the next game showed me how it would be wrong to think that Trap could have thrown the games. Game 3 at Destination was very standard. 2 bases vs 2 bases. But Trap teched a little earlier, and macroed even better than Legend, plus he caught Legend's army moving and destroy it. He even used feedback to get rid of two HTs, but it wasn't even necessary. In the game 4, Legend went 4 gate goon all-in cutting a lot of probes, but microed poorly, Trap defended. One sided but very tense game.
Although Trap was coming from the winners bracket, he did not start the match up 1-0. There was a final game, one of the most interesting maps of the last few years, Outsider. And that was in this game that we could eventually see how much better are the Korean progamers. Legend got totally outplayed.
Both players went zeal core zeal with some light zealot harass. Trap used then the pylon trick to go through the mineral line and saw that Legend built the backdoor expansion at 6 o'clock. He went for a fast shuttle to drop goons there. He dropped two goons first to harass Legend's probes, then two additional goons who can kill the nexus from behind the minerals. Legend took a ninja expo at 11 o'clock. But by the time Legend realized he should have countered, Trap had already taken his backdoor expo and had already units to defend successfully. Legend was so far behind, and he couldn't really do anything about it. Trap's plan was just the standard reaction of a professional Korean who had played hundreds of PVPs at Outsider and who knew perfectly how to hard counter the fast backdoor expo. Legend, on the contrary didn't know how to react properly and took a ninja expo instead.
It was really a good series, and it was the first real experience of live Brood War for me. I knew that Kaolla had seen a few games in Korea already, but he seemed to enjoy a lot this afternoon too. After all, they could have showed replays of D+ players, the simple fact of watching it on a big screen sitting behind Tossgirl was self sufficient. The only thing I missed was the Korean commentators. I would have loved to hear a live RIIIIIIBOOOOOOOO ! I am maybe demanding too much.
The showmatch started. I had never heard of Sse and we all expected that Kal would destroy him. He actually played a very nice game and totally dominated Kal, but we actually didn't care about the game.
We had something else in mind. The reason we came here. Take a picture with Tossgirl. The problem was that Tossgirl was not sitting as close to us as before, and the STX security was watching us closely so we didn't not harass the players for autographs.
STX staff is not amused
But the temptation was too strong. We saw some chinese fans tapping Kal's shoulder to get an autograph, so I borrowed a pen to the chinese guy on my left, asked a random girl to rip a page off her notebook, and there I was, ready to harass the poor Calm sitting just in front of me. I start calling "Calm ! Calm!". Unfortunately the STX security asked us to leave him alone, as an official from STX is making a speach on the stage. Calm seemed to be happy to have some foreign fans here. He let us know by a quick hand sign that he was actually gonna come back for us as soon as the speach is over.
Kal signing autographs
But all the players suddenly got up and left the place. Most of the audience leaves as well. Even though you can never trust a zerg, we decided to wait that Calm returned. The closing ceremony started and all the players came back. Calm suddenly turned around, stared at me, and asked "I know ?! I know ?!" I hesitated a few seconds before understanding that he meant "Do you know me ?!" I instantly replied "You are Calm !" - a part of me was thinking Clam and I laughed inwardly. I guess that he wanted to see if we were just some curious foreigners that happened to come by the corporate pavilion and took seats, or if we were real BW fans. Because when I said his name, he said "Yeah !" and raised his thumb up. This "Yeah" definitely sounded like "FUCK YEAH". I asked for an autograph, while Kaolla asked for a picture. Calm was very friendly and was really happy to be with his fans. I won't call him Clam anymore. I promise.
Calm : "Fuck yeah foreign fans !"
The ceremony was now over, and it was the time to achieve our wildest dream. Tossgirl. Tossgirl. Where was she ? The rest of the players had left while we were with Calm. We headed toward inside the pavilion, and luckily I saw Tossgirl through a door that was ajar. Because we are ballers, but more because we had to do it, Kaolla asked an STX staff who was next to the door if we could take pictures with Tossgirl. He didn't say anything and entered the small rooms where all the STX players were.
A few seconds later, Tossgirl arrived. I felt exactly like in these movies when the hero sees the girl of his dreams and the video goes slow motion. She was looking at me, and smiling. I was incredibly happy and overwhelmed by the fact I was standing in front of her and she was smiling to me. We reiterated our wish to take a picture with her. She nicely accepted. I took a picture of her with Kaolla to suddenly realize that it was fucking hot and I had been sweating all the day and that I must smell terrible. I come close to her. Then I thought "omg it's probably the only occasion I have in my life, I don't care if I'm smelly" and put my arm around her shoulders. We thanked her. Once again huge banana grin. Maybe banana somewhere else too.
Now I can die in peace.
Kaolla and Tossgirl
Tossgirl and I (I know I should've thrown this fucking map instead of carrying it like a retard)
As we are going to leave, Legend came by like he was looking for fans - yeah with stars like Kal, Calm, July and Tossgirl, noone gave a shit about Legend I sid hello and told him we were his fans and that we would like to take a photo with him. He complimented my chinese and we asked someone to take the picture for us.
Legend, who just beat three and a half koreans
We called it a day as I had to get ready to fly to France. I couldn't miss that flight because I had to get my visa in time and come back to Shanghai for the OSL finals. I'll probably make another blog entry to explain how I risked my life to see the OSL finals in Shanghai :D
Kaolla and I went to see the STX tournament hosted in Shanghai World Expo. Because we are ballers we took photos with Tossgirl.