Homestory Cup VI Day 1 Recap
Now that the first day of Homestory Cup has come and gone, we can take a moment to reflect. It has been an exciting and fun day, as hyped up Code S players fall to no name foreigners, no name foreigners fall to no name Koreans and Stephano most likely falls to the powers of alcohol.
The Liquid Advantage
Many people consider Liquid to be a home to 2 types of players. There’s the up and comers, such as Huk and HerO when they were originally signed. Then there’s the ‘Brood War old guard’ as I like to call them. These are the guys’ that have been around since the olden days, where 720p was just a super advanced technology used by the military in their top secret fighter jets. These players’ usually have much wisdom, and also good facial hair like Jinro and Ret. Liquid were represented by both of these groups’ in the 1st Group Stage of the beer chugging, Loopin’ Louie playing funfest that is the Homestory Cup tournament. Liquid’s two European Zerg’s, TLO and Ret both qualified from their groups placing 1st and 2nd respectively.
TLO’s plays really shows that the time he spent in Korea was time well spent. His games against ClouD really showcased his improved multitasking and game sense, as he was able to punish ClouD’s greediness perfectly. It was the same story against MaNa who he comfortably beat 2-1 to advance top of the group.
Ret started off shakily, with a close 2-1 loss to German Protoss HasuObs. However he managed to pull through against Fuzer 2-1, before enacting his revenge against HasuObs by winning 2-0, showcasing some great control and macro play.
I'm sure most of you have heard of Naama. He is famous for insane all ins with Battlecruiser's and SCV's pulled and MULE's raining from the sky like soft, Christmas snow. But no one would expect him to take a map off the Bosstoss, Protoss President himself, MC? And a whole set, well, that would just be ridiculous! That's what I thought too, but it turns out anything, quite literally, can happen in an apartment in Germany.
Naama showed some very interesting styles of play in both games. In the first game, he went for a ruthless banshee all in, easily taking game number one. In game two, he once again cheesed, but this time the SCV train had a few troubles pulling into the station. MC held off the first attack from Naama, before he eventually fell to a follow up.
Prepare a feast!
For those actively following the European Starcraft 2 scene, Millennium's Feast should not be an unfamiliar name. Younger brother to his former teammate, Reave, the Belgian Protoss has been placing high in online cups for many months. However, until around the summer of 2012 he has not seen a real breakout. It was around then that he announced he was going to take a year off so he could direct all his time towards practicing, and not long after placed 2nd in the AbsoluteArena Invitational. Decent placings at events such as DreamHack Valencia 2012 has further solidified his reputation as a competent Protoss, with a particularly strong PvZ.
It was this strong PvZ that, in a huge upset, meant he beat Stephano in the first match of the group stage. It was a close set of games, with some odd slip ups in the games. For example, in Game 1 he didn't morph a Greater Spire, lost the vast majority of his Roaches due to excellent forcefields on feast's part and ended up banking over 3000 minerals, which left him powerless against feast's Immortal/Colossus heavy attack, to say the least. The second game ended up in a base race after an Immortal/Sentry all in from feast's side, but Stephano's speedy Zerglings' sealed the deal. In the third game, we saw the staple of any good Protoss' play in the PvZ matchup, once again if you're not getting bored of it yet, it was the Immortal/Sentry all in. Stephano put up a good defence, but some bad engagements from his side ended up costing him the game.
A New Hope
Snute showed off just how strong he is, by topping Group D, to tree.hugger’s glee. He showed off his excellent multitasking play, utilising multipronged Roach and Zergling aggression all over the map in his games against Naama and Tarrantius.
For those who have been following the European scene closely for a while, this won’t be a particularly surprising result. He has been showing us very interesting drop based and aggressively oriented play for a few months in online tournaments, in which he has placed well consistently. Where Snute goes on in the tournament from this point, it's hard to say, but if tree.hugger's opinion is anything to go by he could well go on to win the whole thing.
GSL Up/Down Group E Preview
Huk has had a rather strange 2012. After winning prestigious titles such as MLG Orlando, DreamHack Summer and Homecup Story III in 2011, many people had faith in him being the best foreigner in the world. He was staying in the SlayerS team house and looking strong for the upcoming 2012, dubbed ‘The Year of Esports’. However, not all fairy tales have a happy ending and nor does this one. 2012 has been, quite simply, an abysmal year for Huk. He got knocked down to Code A and eventually out of the GSL all together and his best results in the entire year were around March and April when he placed well in two MLG’s.
Despite all this doom and gloom, it’s not all bad. He placed 13th-16th in IPL 5, which was one of the most stacked tournaments in 2012. On top of that, he has arguably the weakest group in all the Up/Downs, and with the unpredictability of PvP as well as some of the players’ being fresh-faced to a format like this, Huk could well get out of this group, back into Code S and many peoples’ hearts.
Ah, Nestea. Once the God of Zerg, with amazing strategic plays that left Artosis screaming himself hoarse out of joy has seemingly fallen so far. While he was once considered the master of the Zerg race, a title he shared with DRG, he is now but a shadow of his former self. Or at least, that seems to be popular opinion, but what some people tend to forget is Nestea could well be the most consistent player in the world. He even had an award named after him for being in Code S ten seasons in a row. That...and he is the most successful Zerg player ever in terms of Code S championships, as well as second most successful player ever.
That was the past though. Will he perform well enough now to give him another spot in Code S. I don’t think so, as good as Nestea is he is getting to be an old, stalwart bastion who we always see in the Round of 32, where he is knocked out and then qualifies through Code A. In a group populated by some truly fantastic up and comers, as well as Fantasy the legend himself, I don’t see Nestea pulling through this season.
Flying came into the scene with, and pardon the pun, flying colors. He did excellently in the OSL, taking out fantastic players such as Mvp, BaBy and Parting in the group stage, finishing top of his group. It was not all clear sailing however as he fell to the Protoss President himself, MC in the Round of 8. Since then his results in Proleague have not lived up to the standard he set himself, to put it nicely. With not a win to his name so far, it is fair to say Flying has been significantly underperforming, after we saw his true potential not long ago.
While he certainly could grab a Code S spot, how far in the tournament he will go I cannot say, because he is one of the most inconsistent players in the group.
Center is a bit of a dark horse in this group. He is now teamless, after TSL disbanded and it is unknown if he will be picked up by any big team anytime soon, so this is definitely his chance to impress potential employers. However, he only recently entered the GSL scene, qualifying for Season 5’s Code A after beating check in the finals of the preliminaries. In Code A he started off with a very impressive result, taking out Code S champion, Seed 2-0. He took another victory against Byun, before falling to the soulful monster that is Parting.
Through beating Seed, Center has proven that his TvP is nothing to laugh at, which in such a Protoss heavy group is excellent for him. Whether he is just another Bomber, going on fantastic runs only to throw games away at the last minute, or whether he can be a new Terran beast is yet to be seen. I have high hopes that he will be the center of attention.
While finale has been around since GSL Open Season 2, we have not seen any results from him until 2012. Things have really kicked off for him in the past year, beating players such as Leenock, Oz and Gumiho in the GSTL, qualifying for Code S Season 5 where he took down Taeja 2-0 and winning the tournament Revenge of the Nerds by beating Moon 3-1.
All these results indicate that finale may well end up getting pretty deep in this Code S, assuming he can make it out of this group. All results indicate he can, his PvP is more than strong enough to beat Huk or Flying and he has proven that he is walk over in PvT after taking out the TvP legend himself, Taeja. There is no reason why he should not qualify from this group, or at the least provide an entertaining finale.
Fantasy. The man. The legend. He has arrived in Starcraft 2, and already proved himself to be an adept multitasker with his fantastic bio play against Zerg, Protoss’ and Terran alike. So far, and quite surprisingly, we have not seen a single mech build out of our vulture inclined hero, who recently was given a golden vulture for his 2000th day as a pro gamer is looking like he could well finish top of his group and advance into Code S.
Whether it’s a kooky proxy reaper build, or just your standard