ride can be a terrible thing. Pride can make a monster out of a kind man. Pride goeth before the fall; it is the cruel brother of Honor and the poison of empires. I think it often a grave frailty of mankind. Sometimes, though, in those darkest hours when we have nothing else, we turn inwards and lean on our Pride. Sometimes, when we can't walk, Pride pushes us forward nonetheless. A man with Pride would rather die on his feet than live on his knees, with all the good and all the evil that comes with that choice. At its best, Pride is the resolute denial of the inevitable, a middle finger held to the man. Pride makes us alive, distinguishes us from animals or machines.
And when, in the 13th match of the 2012 GSL Season 3 Up&Down Group D, StarTale_Hack was up against Liquid_Zenio, the only thing motivating Hack was Pride. You see, at this point in the group, three players had a record of 3-1, and three players had a record of 1-3. There was no way any of the bottom 3 players would advance, but only two of the top three players could advance, so more games were played. Hack, destined for Code A, was matched up against Zenio, of destiny indeterminate. Wolf commented, I believe, that Hack could easily cheese or do some crazy strat, because he no longer had a shot at Code S-- his only motivation was Pride.
Hack proved Wolf wrong, though. He pulled no punches. He opened with an aggressive expo -> hellion -> banshee -> quick third base BO, dealing some modest but inconsequential damage. Standard as hell. As he transitioned into the midgame, he didn't falter. He didn't play for appearances. He didn't all-in. He tried his ass off. He displayed multitask that changed my opinion of him from "who's that?" to "nerd baller extraordinarie".
You see, Zenio tried this thing called "expanding" but Hack wasn't having any of that. While Zenio prodded Hack's front, Hack dropped Zenio's 10:00 base AND Zenio's 5:00 base, taking out the 10:00 base and dropping the 5:00 base deep into the red. Hack was on fire.
He also wasn't down with any sort of zerg frontal assaults, which he swatted away like small, partially-winged flies. In fact, he was utterly unafraid to launch a frontal assault of his own on Zenio's third, WHILE dropping Zenio's fourth and walkbying into Zenio's fifth. The casters and observer could barely keep track of it all.
In the space of 5 seconds, Zenio literally went from being on 4 bases with a 5th coming up to being on 2 bases, neither of which had any minerals left. I'm not even fucking kidding you. Watch the VoD, and at some point suddenly the zerg player just doesn't have bases. Hack just kept on pounding away at him, unrelentingly, and eventually Zenio couldn't hold any of the fronts any more. They all collapsed at once, like a house of cards where there's one big card on the bottom and Hack just kicks the shit out of it. Zenio lost his greater spire and half of his hatcheries and all his creep spread in a matter of moments.
Zenio is no small foe, either-- he easily a high Code A quality Zerg, and I even thought he was going to win these up/downs along with MC and get into Code S where he belongs. He was putting his all into this game, trying his hardest to make it into the upper division of the GSL. Zenio wanted this, and he wanted it bad. You can tell by the way he plays, by the way he hungers for glory. And you can tell by the look of despair, of enormous sadness, that's on his face when it all falls down.
This was a man who was crushed. Zenio gave it his all. He'll be back next season, no doubt, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the Up&Downs or even going directly into Code S. But this was a man who was hungry for victory, for promotion. Clearly, Zenio was motivated, by the chance for Code S, and everything that comes with it.
Hack, though, was already eliminated. This game would determine Zenio's fate, not his. All Hack had motivating him was the Pride of a progamer.
Sometimes, that's all you need.
This is part of Blazinghand's Blog Series covering The GSL. If you enjoyed this article, check out his articles on Mvp's Path to the Finals in GSL 2012 Season 2 or Mvp and NesTea's Flanking Tactics.