It's been a while I had not blogged. I really wanted to write something after last year Proleague Grand Finals failure in Shanghai, but I was just too demoralized to do it. I live in Shanghai and had been working very hard -- 60+ hours a week -- during few months before the finals. When it was announced the Grand Finals would take place in Shanghai, I could not contain my joy. I kept working hard, counting the days left before the finals. SKT took the first place during the regular season, seeding them directly into the Grand Finals. I am not superstitious, but I more or less convinced myself that working hard was the price to pay to see my favorite team play the finals where I live.
When it was canceled, I cried. At least when the player left the stage, I ran after their bus, waving at them like a crazy monkey, and because I was wearing an SKT shirt, they noticed me and waved back at me. This made me happy for some time, until disappointment took over my mind again. I invited the TLers who were in Shanghai at my place and we had some beers while watching Bisu MSL finals.
After they left, I looked for the place the players were staying at. I obtained the hotel address. It was only a few kilometers from my home ! I took a cab to the hotel. It was around 10.30 PM.
A few Chinese fans were also there. They were as devastated as I was. Some of them were students who had came across the whole country to see their favorites players, and the trip had cost them the equivalent of a month if not more, of studying expenses. I saw a pile of boxes with SKT stickers on it, behind the reception desk, which confirmed I was at the right place, but no players in sight. Players would visit Shanghai the day after so I would almost be guaranteed autographs and pictures if I came back early in the morning. I agreed with the other Chinese fans to come back here early in the morning. I would not see the finals live, but taking pictures with the whole SKT team + Jaedong + TossGirl could not be that bad, right ?
I went out with my wife and drank a lot. I am still not sure whether my Android alarm clock that was sometimes buggy did not ring or if I was too drunk to get up, but I woke up at 11AM and it was already too late. I hated myself so much. I did not get the finals I had been dreaming of for months because of a typhoon that never came. It sucked, but I was not responsible after all. But now, my last hope to see the players was gone. And that was my fault. I opened the Chinese BW forums, and the Chinese fans I had met at the hotel had posted pictures taken with the players that morning.
Pictures taken in Shanghai during "finals" :
+ Show Spoiler +
THE GRAND FINALS
Fast forward to March 2012. SKT lost the last Proleague finals. There are rumors that it may be the last Brood War Proleague Finals. I still think of what could have happened if I had got up on that morning. Would I have a framed picture of me and the whole SKT team on my desk right now ? I only got that Bunkie doll, partially damaged by FlaSh, my cat. My other cat, Bisu, surprisingly never plays with the Bunkie doll. Go figure out !
I am thinking of flying to Korea to see the finals in April. A week later, SKT secures a first place spot and I book my flight.
While I am already dreaming of the finals, KT destroys everyone in the playoffs, their usually awful Zerg line-up showing incredibly solid games. SKT T1 and KT Rolster have unfinished business, and this finals will decide which team is the greatest BW team ever. On one hand, the legendary T1 already won the triple crown, and more titles overall. Another title over their rivals would consecrate them as the best team. On the other hand, KT won the last two Proleague Grand Finals, and winning a third in a row would mark an unprecedented domination.
It is time for redemption. For myself, for SKT, for BW.
I meet-up with the other TLers in front of the stadium. KT has a stall that gives everyone a free bag of pop corn and a can of coke -- that is so cool, seriously. Konadora negotiated directly with KeSPA to get perfectly located seats for each of us. We are seating just behind the VIPs, perfectly in the middle. Our group is seating on KT's side, but it is just a meter away from SKT's side.
It is going to start soon. I get up and grab an SKT flag given by the staff, the same as the ones that can be seen on the VODs ! Except Konadora who is sitting right behind me, I am surrounded by KT fans ! Thanks God, in real life fans behave better than in LR thread !
It looks like the finals are slightly delayed but it does not matter. Cheerleaders of both teams are doing a great job at warming up the audience. I am enjoying every second of that unreal atmosphere : omnipresent flags and chants; the hype is at its height. Or so I think.
Jeon Yong Joon is as good as usual. I love this guy. I have already seen him live in Shanghai for Korean Air OSL Season 2 Finals, and just like in Shanghai, his introduction gives me chills, although I do not understand Korean. Such a powerful voice.
The voice of e-Sports.
We get to see a few very well made hype videos. They reinforce the impression that destiny made SKT and KT are facing each other tonight. The particular layout of the stadium reminds me of a gladiator arena when players finally make their entrance.
"Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant"
I pray for a showmatch featuring Reach and TossGirl, to give the Protoss Hero a last stage appearance. Against TossGirl so he has a to win, although he already threw a game in the past against her (http://www.teamliquid.net/tlpd/korean/games/19821_Reach_vs_ToSsGirL/vod). There is at least something the Mantoss cannot resist; it is fine, neither can I.
The atmosphere is pretty fucking good if I you ask me
Team managers and main players are asked a few questions, but I do not understand anything. No time to learn Korean, sigh. Too bad, it looks like BeSt has funny shit to say.
Set 1 : Bisu (orange, 3 o'clock) vs Wooki (teal, 9 o'clock) on Neo Chain Reaction
"Never go Solo, bring a wookie with you"
Wooki decides to play some mind games, hiding his gateways behind his natural. The goal is to make Bisu believe that he is proxy gating. I believe this does not work because proxy gateway 9/10 or 10/10 requires to cut probes, and Bisu is not a fool, he can count Wooki's probes and see that no probes were cut. Bisu quickly scouts the high ground behind his main just in case, and also sees Wooki's nexus.
Bisu has one gateway, pumping zealots, and harasses quite successfully Wooki, also building a manner pylon in the main.
He then techs to DTs while expanding with cannons. He perfectly denies Wooki's scouting probe with a dragoon on his ramp, but Wooki is already building a forge. Um Jae Kyung shouts "Cannon ! Cannon ! Cannon !", and cannons Wooki builds. They finish just in time to prevent Bisu's dt to do any damage, and even loses his DT, but it does not make Wooki look relaxed, the latter being constantly floating over 400 minerals, sometimes up to 700 after only 7 minutes.
The Revolutionist has more than a trick up his sleeve. He uses a probe to glitch the DT over the mineral blocking the back door to Wooki's natural. But Wooki's first "hidden" gateway prevents the sneaky DT to go further. The DT still deals a lot of damage, not only destroying the gateway, but also the citadel and the forge.
This gateway was not only there for mind games
At the same time, Bisu drops two high templars in Wooki's main and storm 10 probes to death. Wooki is also doing a drop of his own, that seems to do less damage that Bisu's, but what the game observer failed to catch is that Wooki had two templars in the shuttle, killing a total of 15 probes. We can clearly see Bisu's supply suddenly drop from 74 to 59.
Tit for tat
The game is fairly even until Bisu manages to storm almost every single probe mining at Wooki's natural, earning him a decisive advantage. Bisu takes a third and keep harassing Wooki with high templars drops. A huge battle in the middle ensues and Bisu crushes Wooki with a 45 supply advantage. Bisu pushes the natural and Wooki types out.
Hey probes, haven't you watched the weather forecast ? It's stormy tonight.
SKT 1 - 0 KT
I take a break between the games to buy hotdogs and nachos. I miss the next set introduction and come back to my seat exactly when the game is about to start. Shit just got real.
Set 2 : Fantasy (yellow, 11 o'clock) vs Flash (purple, 7 o'clock) on Ground Zero
If FanTaSy and FlaSh were going to face each other I thought it would be on Jade. I cannot complain, it is impossible to build turrets in the middle on Ground Zero, and that only provides much more dynamic TvT games, because players are forced to have goliaths forces constantly moving to chase wraiths and dropships, and it also makes air/cloaked units more powerful.
FlaSh opens with a 1 rax FE into 2 facts with armory, while FanTaSy opts for a 1 fact FE into drop vulture, his signature terrorist attack. FanTaSy sees everything in FlaSh's base thanks to this floating rax. Because of 14CC, Flash must use his barracks to block vulture run bys and thus does not have such information.
The first drop does not do much damage. As soon as the drop is cleared, FanTaSy drops another two vultures in the main, this time with mines upgrade, and deals more damage, killing a few SCVs including the one building the starport, and disrupts mining by forcing FlaSh to move SCVs to the natural. FanTaSy has more than evened out the economic advantage FlaSh had obtained with a faster command center.
FlaSh knows that FanTaSy has much less tanks and contains FanTaSy at his natural. FanTaSy drop units halfway between his base and FlaSh's so FlaSh cannot reinforce his containment. Meanwhile FlaSh has build a wraith and a valkyrie to defend against drops, but FanTaSy is already one step ahead and snipes the valkyrie with 3 cloaked wraiths. He then pew-pews the tanks containing him and kills them all with the help of vultures. We are not shown the supplies at this time, but FanTaSy sure has a decent advantage. He also has map control, with mines in the middle and air supremacy. That allows him to mine FlaSh's third base location and have a third base running a good minute earlier. So far, FanTaSy is reading FlaSh like a book.
Both players are now sitting on 3 bases and 6 factories. FanTaSy starts his 4th in 1 o'clock main, while FlaSh starts his in 5 o'clock third base, and a 5th in the main. FanTaSy keeps harassing FlaSh, dropping a vulture that kills the SCV building the 4th, and 3 vultures at the third. FlaSh takes a lot of time to react to this drop. It looks like God is out-multitasked by the low APM terrorist ! FlaSh has regained air control with 6 valkyries and 3 dropships and proceed to drop 5 tanks on the high ground over FanTaSy's natural. But FanTaSy's turret has seen the dropships coming, and FanTaSy reacts promptly, sieging tanks on the low ground. Once again, FlaSh is a little slow to react as he takes at least 3 seconds before scanning FanTaSy's cloaked wraith that came to defend the drop. And once again, FlaSh is out-multitasked, FanTaSy raids the 5th and kills tons of SCVs.
Commentators : "Scan ? Scan ? Scan ! Scan ! Scan !
At this point, FanTaSy has a huge advantage, securing the 8 bases in the top half of the map, while FlaSh can only take the 6 remaining bases in the bottom half. It is more than a base advantage, because turrets can be built in 3 and 9 o'clock bases, which gives FanTaSy a great protection against drops. Both players are maxed, FanTaSy pushes to FlaSh's natural, using defense matrices on tanks very efficiently. FlaSh suddenly seems to have very few units to defend. It is because 7 dropships escorted by valkyries are heading to FanTaSy's main for a doom drop. FanTaSy sees it, but the lack of mobility of the mech army does not allow him to defend in time. All of the dropships deliver their cargo in FanTaSy's base and siege instantly in range of FanTaSy's factories, armories and supply depots. One does not get rid of God that easily.
As a Protoss player, I'm glad Terrans don't have the recall ability
FanTaSy gives up his main base, contains FlaSh at his natural, and starts to build a dozen starports at 1 o'clock. This is when the game, the audience, everything becomes insane. FlaSh loses 4 o'clock and is mining on 3 bases, while FanTaSy loses 9 o'clock, mining on 5 bases, but has to rebuild 200 worth of supply depots and armories. The forces FlaSh has dropped are now heading to FanTaSy's new main base and start shelling the natural command center and SCVs. FanTaSy must retreat the units he is using to contain FlaSh. It is unnecessary because FlaSh's army contains almost only tanks and he has lost his valkyries after the doom drop. FanTaSy defends using the wraith he has been pumping from his newly built starports.
Ever heard of a thousand paper cuts? What about a thousand paper planes cuts ?
FlaSh starts building turrets everywhere he can, but it is too late, FanTaSy now has huge fleet of wraiths, and destroys FlaSh's remaining forces and bases. The crowed starts chanting "JUNG MYUNG HOON ! JUNG MYUNG HOON ! JUNG MYUNG HOON !". FlaSh ggs. FanTaSy runs to hug his family. How adorable.
Fantasy : "I'm gonna be the MVP today. 100% sure"
I realize how lucky I am to be here, eating porn food in front of the best TvT since BigFile MSL semis. SKT is now leading 2 to nil, and FlaSh has already been sent. It looks like SKT has it in the bag.
Between the games, KT's ugly new mascots are doing a pretty weird show. It is at least better than having to bear the sight of the Flashcot atrocity.
I bet Flash is that supple too
Set 3 : soO (blue, 7 o'clock) vs Action (red, 5 o'clock) on Jade
I did not expect a ZvZ at all on this map. It is actually the first ZvZ ever on Jade. At least two of the KT zergs must win to reach the ace match. If the Mafia zerg going to scam everyone again ? What makes it interesting is that soO is on a 6 games win streak, while Action has gone 5-1 in the playoffs. Who is going to take it ?
soO sends his overlord in the right direction. Both players open with 9 pool gas. soO opts for a faster lair, while Action upgrades zerglings speed first. soO add another hatch in main when is spire is about to complete. He then take advantage of his faster spire and sends 3 pairs of scourges to Action's base to snipe mutalisks as they pop out. He trades his 6 scourges against 2 scourges and 2 mutalisks, deepening his advantage. Action's second hatchery is later, but is at the natural so he can have twice soO's gas income. I think that it is what pushes soO to attack. I believe soO could simply build a third hatch at his natural, but he seems to ignore Artosis rule "when you're ahead, get more ahead" and attacks Action with both mutalisks and zerglings. Obviously the Mafia zerg had a scheme, and has a control group of speedlings ready to backstab. An elimination race starts, and Action manages to save his natural hatchery and 5 drones.
Both players start patrolling their flock of muta-scourge and Action builds an evolution chamber.
soO, why wouldn't you kill all these drones while you're at it ? It's not like you have anything else to do with your mutalisks
soO has 4 mutalisks and 3 scourges, and Action has 5 mutalisks and one scourge. soO's decision making is very questionable. Ok, Action has one more mutalisks, but he is going to build a spore, and waiting to attack can only make it worse. Yet, soO keeps flying his mutas around, and finally attacks when the spore is done. It does not make any sense. He obviously loses the battle and ggs.
SKT 2 - KT 1
I am so angry right now. Not that I am not satisfied of the current result, we are still ahead and beating God gives us a huge mental advantage. It is just that leading 2-0 and losing a ZvZ in set 3 reminds me of something... Oh wait it reminds me of last year's Proleague when were a few lucky scourges away to 4-0 KT and ended up losing the whole thing. Destiny would be cruel if it made SKT and KT face each other tonight only to let SKT lose in a similar fashion as last year.
Action brings a huge "Forever Remember Reach" sign on the stage and I applaud heartily.
Cheerleaders from both teams are dancing.
Who's hotter ? Poll in the spoiler
+ Show Spoiler +
Set 4 : Ssak (blue, 5 o'clock) vs Crazy-Hydra (yellow, 11 o'clock) on Sniper Ridge
My wife asks me "Didn't you say that each player can be sent only once ?". soO's lookalike is facing a Crazy-Hydra in super shape, the latter has gone 10-2 in his last 12 games. Ssak opens with 14CC into 2rax with fast +1 upgrade. Crazy-Hydra opens 12 hatch into a classic 3 hatch mutas, and takes a third at 7 o'clock, while Ssak builds a total of 5 rax, a good counter to the 3 hatch mutas build. He moves out with two controls groups of M&Ms. A third group comes to reinforce to reach a critical mass but is crushed by a nice mutaling flank. The same fate awaits a fourth group.
When Ssak forces finally reach Crazy-Hyda's third, there are already 3 lurkers and 2 sunkens to defend. Both players are now fighting for map control. Ssak has a lot of M&M thanks to the 5 rax, but it delayed his vessel tech a lot. There are a few fights in the middle. No player wins any of them significantly, but forcing Crazy-Hydra to constantly pump units prevent him from droning too much. Ssak pushes with 3 tanks and a vessel, and camps at the natural at 7 o'clock to deny Crazy-Hydra a fourth base.
Meanwhile, Crazy-Hydra has tech'ed to defilers, and Ssak has taken a third base at 6 o'clock and started to transition to vultures with mines. Ssak sends a group of M&Ms to Crazy-Hydra's natural, and kills all the mutalisks, widening the supply gap to 40. With a well place dark swarm, Crazy-Hydra forces Ssak to retreat at 7 o'clock and finally builds a hatchery at the natural. He tries to push farther, but a huge mine kills 3 lurkers under the swarm. At the same time, Ssak drops Crazy-Hydra's main and kills 6 drones.
Ssak takes a fourth at 3 o'clock, pushes at 7 o'clock and manages to kill the newly built hatchery, and follows up with the eraser trick at the third. He now has a huge advantage, being 50 supply ahead on 3 bases, while Crazy-Hydra has not secured a crucial fourth gas yet. He decides to attack the natural at 11 o'clock, but Crazy-Hydra defends valiantly thanks to a great defiler usage. It is especially impressive because he is able to successfully drop two lurkers, a defiler and a few zerglings at Ssak's third. He then builds a 4th at 12 o'clock and a 5th at 7 o'clock, but he is still 30 supply behind.
Ssak decides to build valkyries instead of vessels, probably inspired by Canata, but it does not work out well as he loses them one by one, never reaching the critical mass invincible against scourges. Crazy-Hydra drops Ssak's third and forth relentlessly, slowly but surely clawing his way back in the game. Supplies are now even. But Ssak raids 12 o'clock twice with vultures killing a lot of drones. The second raid features a very nice barracks block.
Pimpest play right here
Crazy-Hydra regains map control with a group of mutas, while taking a sixth base at 9 o'clock ! Mutas do a lot of damage, combined with some well placed plagues. The lack of vessel is really hurting Ssak.
What a brilliant attack.
Now with the economic advantage, Crazy-Hydra is 10 supply ahead, 145 to 135, and totally annihilates the big tank forces sitting in the middle with a crackling flank supported by overlord bombing the tanks and throwing swarms on the tanks. Incredible Soulkeyesque attack by Crazy-Hydra ! It is very rare that lurker ling defiler can fight mech efficiently because of spider mines. Only SoulKey did it against Bogus on Ground Zero at the beginning of the season.
Crazy-Hydra now produces units in Sauron zerg mode from his 6 bases, and crushes any attempt from Ssak to secure a new expansion. Ssak gg's when his last forces are destroyed by his own mines dragged by cracklings.
Both players made mistakes, but it was a very entertaining game overall and Crazy-Hydra deserved to take it.
Set 5 : Sun (brown, 12 o'clock) vs Stats (teal, 7 o'clock) on Neo Outlier
I am very curious to see what build they are going to use. 3 gate dragoons to contain the opponent on the high ground at his natural seems powerful. That is what Sun goes for after he kills Stats scouting probe. Stats chooses to 1 gate DT into expand with cannons. Sun attacks just before Stats' DTs are out, and kills all Stats' dragoons, and a lot of probes that were mining at the natural. He does not have observers yet, but Stats cannot send his DTs to Sun's base because he needs them to defend.
Stats' natural nexus survives and he counter attacks, but Sun gets an observer in time to defend. Instead of taking his natural, Sun pulls 5 probes and mines the mineral block at the left side of his base and then Stats' back door at 8 o'clock.
Long legged dragoons can't walk over some small minerals ? No problem, we took Wall-E with us !
He enters Stats' base with a control group of dragoons and a zealot. Stats' cannons are the natural are useless, and he has to pull a lot of probes to defend. Meanwhile, Sun has been pumping dragoons out of his 3 gates and attacks the unsupported cannons at the natural. Stats manages to repel Sun's forces, but loses the nexus at the natural, and is very far behind economically. He attacks in a last ditch attempt Sun's now running natural, only to meet a bigger army supported by reavers.
Sun counter attacks and Stats types out. Not much too say, Sun had a decent game plan, and he executed it very well.
SKT 3 - 2 KT.
Stats and FlaSh both lost their games, but KT cannot be counted out yet. They still have their left-handed playoffs prodigy.
Set 6 : BeSt (purple, 1 o'clock) vs HoeJJa (yellow, 5 o'clock) on Neo Electric Circuit
As expected, BeSt and HoeJJa are sent out. Both players choose very standard openings, BeSt with a 12 nex FFE into corsairs and citadel, and HoeJJa with a 3 hatch spire into 5 hatch hydra. BeSt builds a sizable fleet of corsairs with +1 upgrade but does not use them efficiently. He probably does not want people to blame the doh-sairs, so he keeps them at bay. As a result, he is afraid of a huge hydra bust from HoeJJa, builds tons of cannons at his natural and rushes to templar tech.
Bisu : "Ok BeSt, if you want to win PvZ on Electric Circuit, just make a shitload of cannons at your nat."
BeSt : "Ok, then what?"
Bisu : "I don't know, I didn't get that far last time"
This is a terrible mistake because HoeJJa only builds a handful of hydras, takes a fourth at 6 o'clock makes lots of drones. At 9 minutes HoeJJa is already on 4 bases 3 gases, lurker tech, and hive in progress. BeSt has not even completed the zealot legs upgrade yet. He takes his mineral only third, which is not very useful because he needs gas for dragoons, HTs and observers, to go out of his base, and soon reavers to secure a fourth base against hive tech. He attempts a DT drop in the main, and a high templar drop at HoeJJa's third but kills two drones in total. Not a good trade.
He tries to take a fourth at 9 o'clock, but HoeJJa simply has too many units and denies it with lurkers and zerglings. Normally at this stage of the game, protoss should have map control with a decent supply margin, while zerg should play defensively until hive tech kicks in. But HoeJJja's economic and tech advantage is too much. He already has cracklings and defilers, and secured his fourth base a long time ago. Supplies have been even since the beginning of the game and there is not much BeSt can do. He tries to take his fourth again and secures it. At 14:46, HoeJJa casts the biggest plague in a while, hitting no less than 20 zealots and dragoons ! Wow ! Without archon and reaver support, BeSt's plagued army melts to cracklings.
"Aaahhhh playguuuu !"
HoeJJa has taken a fifth base, and builds a few queens to ensnare the protoss army. BeSt hopelessly tries for a few minutes to deal some damage with an almost pure zealot army, but HoeJJa has a complete map control. It is only a matter of time before BeSt collapses. When he loses his fourth, BeSt gg's.
Kind of disappointing game from BeSt. He fortified his base with tons of cannons while HoeJJa was expanding and droning. Then HoeJJa defended drops well and showed a good army control. There was nothing BeSt could do running on only two gases for so long. The TL guy sitting next to me (hi dude, I don't know what your TL ID is) is browsing TL on his phone and tells me that HoeJJa is #4 on Twitter and Proleague Finals are #1 ? Holy crap !
It is time for the ace match. Who are they going to send ? I predict that KT will send Stats and SKT had enough time to prepare a good sniping build for FanTaSy.
SKT chooses Bisu ! KT sends FlaSh ! This is how it was meant to end ! What will be FlaSh's game plan on this unfavorable map ? I heard numerous times that S-class players were above map imbalance, how about God ? SKT had specifically chosen this map so KT does not send FlaSh. What the hell is going to happen ? Everyone is hysterical. The TL guy sitting next to me also makes a very interesting remark; the ace match being PvT, we will have seen every single match up played tonight. What did we do to deserve such a treat ?
Bisu playing Farmville before the ace match. Not everyone needs to do obscure things with a ruler before a game
I try to make a video with my phone to capture the incredible atmosphere preceding the ace match. But Android has something to say about the game that is about to start :
Unable to use Flash. Notice how the F is capitalized. My phone is clearly not talking about that small bright light.
Final Set : Bisu (white, 9 o'clock) vs FlaSh (purple, 3 o'clock) on Neo Chain Reaction
This photo gave me chills when I uploaded it
Bisu builds a proxy gate and does not even try to hide it. FlaSh sends an SCV very early, too early to scout a deadly 10/15. Was he going to proxy barracks and bunker rush on the high ground like he successfully did against BeSt on Jade ? We will never know, because it is not a viable strategy anymore. After building the gateway, Bisu's probe steals FlaSh's gas.
A wise man once said "Proxy is not cheese if it's not hidden"
FlaSh adds a sim city supply depot between his barracks and the gas, and builds a hidden second barracks. Bisu quickly scouts it and add a second gateway in his main. While FlaSh is microing his two marines against Bisu's zealot, Bisu builds a manner pylon that blocks no less than 5 SCVs ! When the pylon is about to complete, Bisu cancels it and gets his 75 minerals refund.
FlaSh does not know about the second gateway. I think he is expecting either tech or expand from Bisu, so he pushes with 2 SCVs and 9 marines to kill the proxy gateway. Both players are showing amazing micro skills, and Bisu's 3 zealots die, killing only 3 marines. FlaSh reinforces with another SCV and another marine. Bisu only has two zealots to defend. It does not look good, but a third one spawns, ready to sacrifice his life for Aiur.
FlaSh makes a slight micro mistake here. He is attacking the pylon with two of his SCVs. When zealots charge, SCVs are not in front of the marines and cannot act as a 60 HP wall, so FlaSh is forced to retreat. While FlaSh is busy microing the best he can, Bisu proves that he is the best player on the scene in terms of multitasking abilities and steals FlaSh's gas a second time.
One of the hundred turning points of this game
Two marines arrive to reinforce and FlaSh decides to engage. Once again, the micro is jaw dropping, and Bisu kills a few more marines until FlaSh reaches the high ground at the natural. FlaSh starts a command center, while Bisu has built a third gateway, and another manner pylon ! We can start seeing the impact of the manner pylons and pulled SCV because Bisu is 10 supply ahead, 38 to 28.
Bisu attacks the natural where FlaSh is building a bunker with 5 zealots, against 7 marines and 2 SCVs. Bisu is about to destroy FlaSh but the bunker completes and Bisu moves the three remaining zealots to FlaSh's main. Bisu adds a nexus but loses his three zealots without killing a single marine. He runs by another two zealots that only manage to kill a single marine. FlaSh's natural command center is finished. Supply are even, 37 to 37 ! Bisu has taken his gas and builds a cybernetics core.
Are those zealots going to kill something ? Nope !
FlaSh tries to kill the proxy gateway once again, but he is welcomed by 3 zealots and retreats. Meanwhile, Bisu's probe shows that zealots are not the only making fun of the Terran enemy and builds yet another manner pylon, blocking this time 4 SCVs !
Proberto, Y U NO STOP ?! (屮ﾟДﾟ)屮
FlaSh pushes again and this time Bisu is forced to retreat. He kills the pylon powering the proxy gateway and heads to Bisu's natural but Bisu's forces are reinforced are now comprised of 6 zealots and two dragoons. They engage on the bridge in the middle of map. I expect Bisu to easily crush those 11 rangeless and medicless marines. FlaSh's micro is flawless, he kills all the zealots but has to retreat because the two dragoons are still alive. Commentators say "If they were not facing each other, each of them would have already won by now". Even if Bisu loses, I absolutely do not regret that SKT has sent him.
How was that even possible, Flash ? And the zealots were micro'ed by no one else than Bisu. Hats off.
During those micro battles, Bisu has added a robotics and two other gateways for a total of four. FlaSh has built two factories with add-ons. We get to see another impressive micro fight between dragoons with range against marines without range on the high ground. Bisu manages to get on the high ground and snipes the bunker before SCVs can repair, but two tanks siege just in time to defend ! What a game !
FlaSh has added a third factory, an academy and an ebay, while Bisu has started a third at 7 o'clock and built a robotics support bay, followed by a forge and an observatory.
Will FlaSh be able to hit a timing ? He has been in the dark since a beginning, can he estimate Bisu's army size ? He pushes with 5 tanks, a group of M&M and 2 SCVs. He is heading straight to the back door to Bisu's main. Bisu only has 6 dragoons, a zealot, a shuttle and a reaver. He is also adding more gateways and has a much better economy, so if he defends this attack he should be able to win.
FlaSh's army reaches the high ground at 10 o'clock, but two scarabs kill 4 marines and a tank. Commentators shout "BIG SHOT!". Bisu loses two dragoons, and retreat, and is now heading to FlaSh's natural, to prevent FlaSh to reinforce his army. Meanwhile, Flash destroys the temple at Bisu's back door. FlaSh pushes with another 5 tanks, while Bisu tries to drop his reaver in FlaSh's main but loses the shuttle and only killing a turret.
FlaSh now has pretty big army sitting on the high ground behind his main, and blocks the access from Bisu's natural with an engineering bay, and starts shelling the cybernetics core. Bisu moves his probes from his main to his natural. This is so tense ! FlaSh adds a bunker there. Bisu is going to try to attack from both sides ! The reaver kills 3 tanks then dies.
Another Ribo daebak moment
FlaSh's forces are almost destroyed, but Bisu also takes a lot of damage and has lost his cybernetics core. Supplies are closer, 84 for Bisu and 75 for FlaSh, but Bisu has now 8 gateways while FlaSh is still on 3 factories.
En Taro Adun !
Once again, Flash sends all of his army to Bisu's back door, but this time Bisu decides to counter with a control group of speedzealots. FlaSh tries to semi wall-in with a barracks. He only has a bunker and 3 sieged tanks. It is going to be very difficult to defend, and Bisu keeps sending more units ! Zealots break the natural and enters the main. Three newly produced tanks siege in the main and SCVs are pulled ! Without vultures, zealots are incredibly effective against Terran. FlaSh is forced to retreat most of his units at 10 o'clock to defend, but a group of zealots and a shuttle with reaver catches them on the way. Bisu now has a huge lead, and units produced in FlaSh's base instantly die as they spawn. Players on the SKT bench stand up, raising fists in victory as FlaSh gg's.
I could not take a picture of myself, but this is pretty much how I was
SKT 4 - KT 3. SKT are the Proleague champions !
Bisu let himself fall onto the floor, quite a weird ceremony. Flash looks devastated. SKT team throws water everywhere, a champagne-less version of Formula 1 victories. I rush to the stage. Moments of sheer joy. I do not talk, I have a huge grin on my face, I am almost crying.
A pot smoking friend of mine always says : "Don't forget to bring a towel"
SKT are given "T1 Champions" T-shirts. I am wondering what they have done of the "KT Champions" T-shirts they had printed beforehand. Straight to the bin ? Coach Park, Bisu and FanTaSy are interviewed. Coach Lee is also interviewed. Flash is crying, his head down. It makes me a little sad, but we cannot have winners without having losers.
Bunkie, I would ask you an autograph if you could hold a pen with those gloves
Reach accepts the second place trophy for KT. Coach Park takes the winner trophy. I am standing just in front of them, taking tons of pictures just like Fomos and DES photographers !
Is it me or s2 looks like BoxeR on this pic ? Poll in spoiler
+ Show Spoiler +
It is time for the MVP award. FanTaSy was clearly the MVP of the season, but Bisu's performance in the ace match was just too much. We start chanting "KIM TAEK YONG ! KIM TAEK YONG ! KIM TAEK YONG !" and Bisu receives the MVP award.
Bitter FanTaSy : MVP but can't pass OSL prelims ? Who said I'm jealous ?
There is a rain of white confettis and the show is over. Players take a few extra poses for the journalists (and I :D) such as throwing their T1 Champions cap in the air etc.
See, KeSPA didn't forget to put some Blizzard in here
T1 players are gathered for a short press conference. It is already very late, and my wife is urging me to leave. She says that all TLers have already left. Where the fuck is Konadora ? I flew to Korea to take a picture with Bisu and redeem myself, there is no way I am leaving now. We are only two dozens of hardcore fans in the stadium. I am afraid that players will not meet us after the press conference. It is already 20 past midnight now, everyone looks exhausted.
Closed eyes dreaming Bisu : Did I really beat Flash ? Or it just FanTaSy ?
Just like a photo by Fomos. Except that I can post it on TL
The press conference is over. I catch Bisu and take a few pictures with him and thank him in Korean. "Kamsahamida" is actually the only Korean word I know if we exclude "kimchi", and "playguuuu". But I have forgotten to take my hat off, and to reset the zoom and focus on the camera before handing to my wife. The pictures are pretty bad. On the first one Bisu makes a horrible face. I will not post it here because it would be terribly disrespectful.
I see Coach Park alone. Wtf, this guy needs more love. I call "Coach Park !" and he comes to hug me ! I congratulate him and we take a few pics together.
Coach Park smiling like a boss. Oh wait... he's the boss
I need to catch Bisu again, but I am not the only fan here, and he does look tired and I do not want to be obnoxious. I decide to use the autograph trick. I get a pen and paper and ask for an autograph. While he is signing, I take the pose and get a perfect picture. Mission accomplished.
Life. Is. Complete.
I go back to the hotel but I am too excited to sleep. I go straight to TL to read the comments in the LR thread and make people jealous with my pictures.
The day could not have gone any better. Best finals in a while, all match ups played and exciting games, ace match won by my favorite player in a very epic game giving the victory to my favorite team, pictures with Bisu and Coach Park.
I just want to thank everyone involved in the Korean scene, organizers, sponsors, players, coaches, map makers, commentators - I have no idea of what you are saying but I love you guys - , Konadora for getting the tickets and Scarecrow for organizing the TL meet up. This was easily one of the best days in my life and I will never be thankful enough for that.
Unfortunately, I did not think of taking pictures at the entrance of the stadium, then I was too absorbed by the show to take pictures of our TL group. Then I rushed to the stage and lost everyone. Being with TLers only made the show better !