Last CSL season my team narrowly lost 3-4 in the finals at University of Florida, where I lost in the ACE match against fellow teammate binski[LighT] from the University of North Texas (ruining my perfect 23-0 record). I was extremely depressed and cried later after my CSL All Stars loss to Qxc because I was very tired of always being mediocre and not even winning a college league was depressing as hell to me. However, in hindsight, we deserved to lose because we focused completely on winning by having me and Caliber[LighT] win two games while praying someone else on the team wins so I can win the ACE match. Due to this, my teammates hardly took it seriously at all and it cost us the victory.
As we approached this season of CSL, everyone decided to take it much more seriously with the upped prize pool, competition and format. We also picked up three new players in the form of SentrY from Georgia, Chemist, the 2v2 god from Utah, and Hwangpo. $40k first place sounded amazing and we believed we had an excellent shot at making the finals once more. As playoffs came around, our team held a week long bootcamp in my basement to focus on training over winter break, and four other bootcamps in January/February each weekend.
Video tour of the UW bootcamp
After qualifying for the live finals, the CSL paid flights for us to fly six? players to LA. We chose to fly an extra three people to the event, including Tilea who spent so much time coaching us.
Setting up the bootcamps took a surprising amount of effort in of itself. We planned for loose practice schedules (8+ hours), food, seating arrangements and such to ensure that all the players could focus on the game. In later bootcamps we would focus on specific matchups and maps. In our bootcamps Tilea[LighT] would also come over and help me coach and play with the players. All of our regular lineup players (Salgoud, Hwangpo, Gom, SentrY) made great progress in their play and it showed.
By the end of the bootcamps each Zerg had taken a long macro game off me convincingly. We had all assigned maps that each player would have played on in the semis and finals matches, and worked on specific builds and scenarios if a map were vetoed. I learned an extremely strong new build from Tilea[LighT] for TvZ and was 100% sure I could take down Suppy if we ended up playing in the finals. Caliber and I also worked with our 2v2 team to make builds for our 2v2 matches.
I personally spent a massive amount of time scouting the Berkeley and Chunnam schools; we found all the Berkeley smurf ids and Chunnam didn’t bother smurfing (probably assuming we wouldn’t check them cross server). I wrote notes and map predictions for each player based on their match histories and straight up got the builds for several of their players. This was shown as we held build order advantages all of our 1v1 games against Chunnam.
While we were scouting Berkeley, we also found that Berkeley discovered our smurf ids. We promptly stopped laddering on all of the accounts and used various GM smurfs and barcodes to ladder and custom. One humorous moment was at the last bootcamp when we heard them say on Suppy’s stream that one of our accounts had 155 bonus pool. We laughed pretty hard since we knew then that they still watched our old smurfs.
As always, things aren’t always as great as they sound. I had a lot of experience growing amateur players through my time with the Kiwiclone Army and team LighT which proved useful in coaching them. However, of course, my CSL teammates had various other commitments and interests which made it hard to focus completely on SC2.
It was also hard to motivate some of them or get them to work on new things at times, but I was pretty satisfied nearing the finals. Our zergs, I felt, had the potential to play at a top NA level despite being only high masters.
After class at about 7:10 I left home with Tilea to go to the Seatac Airport. We met up with the rest of the team by the gate and boarded the plane.
Waiting at the gate
UW CSL’s best chef Hwangpo
Gom playing some placement matches at the airport
After getting the cars we reserved, we checked into the hotel for our two rooms and went out to get food at a local 7-11.
Unbeatable Matt “Cream Cheese All Over His Body” Sax trying to catch up from the airport restroom
Today we went in to the CSL venue at the Peterson Automobile Museum to check it out and take some of the required pictures, including some individual and group photos.
Caliber and Salgoud checking out the main room
Checking out the player room pre-setup
Getting ready to pose for CSL pictures
Eating at Johnny Rockets
After that we went out to find a PC café to practice for our match on Saturday. The first PC café we found was called… King Kong or something? Run by a Korean guy. But Aarhus was already using most of the computers, so we asked the owner for another place and he gave us another address which was way farther called Zeu7 Café or something in K-Town. We ended up dropping $270 paying for about 9 hours for each person.
Renting a third of the PC café like true ballers
Between 4 and 6:30 PM we also had to take more pictures for CSL and go eat.
The Danish God of War, Steinbagger
COME AT ME BRO!
Chunnam team posing on the balcony
Swagpo flexing his swag
TossBoy feeling the love tonight
Tilea[LighT] forced to pose with a hammer
Gom showing Tilea a pose
Tilea showing some swag
Half of the group ended up going back to the hotel before nine, while the last five of us went back to sleep at midnight.
Me without glasses
Tilea trying to sleep
Our team drove to the Peterson Automobile Museum around 10 AM to catch the opening ceremonies which ended up getting delayed to some random time. Instead of waiting, we went downstairs to the food trucks to eat lunch.
Getting some breakfast at Starbucks
Waiting for the eternally delayed opening ceremony
Getting food at CSL’s food trucks
Eating on the sidewalk
Random text blows my mind
After finishing our food we returned to the venue and watched Aarhus inevitably lose to Berkeley. They had a good run and had massive amounts of swag, so it was sad to see them lose.
Loser777 made a cheerful for me \ o /
Hate the back side though / o \
Chemist ready to fight.
Randomly playing footsies
Me against the world
Going into the match against Chunnam, our team had a lot of confidence. Caliber gave our team a small pep-talk and we broke after yelling, “YOLOBOIS!” We basically got exactly what we wanted in terms of draws. Some people I’ve read were wondering what idiot decided to put me and Caliber last. However, I felt that if my team played to their potential we should have won 4-0 easily. I had even scouted the builds of the first four Chunnam players which we countered early on.
YOLO BOIS – shamelessly jacked from CSL site
Salgoud vs llllllllllll
First off was Salgoud against the barcode Protoss. According to my notes the Protoss preferred a phoenix robo into late third opening, so Salgoud was going to max out and attack with roach ling. The protoss did basically what we had predicted but cancelled his third to do a colossus allin, which promptly got surrounded and killed by Salgoud’s attack. He ended up losing 20 drones to warp prism harass, didn’t replace them and ended up losing the game to a second two base allin with five colossus.
Our second match was Gom against NosSave, who was apparently a CJ Entus B-teamer. We believed he would go for a hellion banshee opener or marine hellion medivac opener, so we had Gom practice mostly against those two builds. Gom crushed the very late pressure attack and was super ahead, then slowly threw away units doing counters and died to a late 2-2 attack. (T_T)
Our third match was our 2v2 with Rawls and Chemist on Deconstructed. We had practiced a very specific build to counter proxy marauder that could macro against standard builds, and I ended up finding their 2v2 build as well. Despite that, Chemist forgot to move out to protect Rawls so our Terran lost over half his workers, so we were forced to allin and lost.
Setting up 2v2
Finally we had Hwangpo against Chunnam’s second best Terran, Eins. I had worked with Hwangpo the most for ZvT and I had the most confidence that he would win. I also found eins’ build order from his match history and we knew we’d have an easy win there. Hwangpo crushed the first wave (as did our other two zerg players) even with some botched control, but after some more awful control, late baneling morphs and a manner hatch (which he says was a macro hatch since a drone was there anyway), Hwangpo also lost.
It’s hard to explain exactly how I felt when Hwangpo slowly went from winning to losing horribly. I felt that I did everything I could have possibly done for my team this season. We had more high level practice partners than the other teams, we knew exactly what our opponents would do, we weren’t jetlagged (as Chunnam flew from Korea that may have been a factor), we had practiced specific maps and scenarios that had occurred and got excellent draws. And yet we had lost. I had complete confidence in my team’s skill that we might have even won 4-0; I still believe that if Gom was playing to his full potential he would have crushed NosSave easily. Bitterness and disappointment are inadequate words to describe my feelings.
Following our loss, I threw away my notes against Berkeley and went to find Suppy and the Berkeley school to give them my notes and info on Chunnam. It was quite amusing when I told them how much I knew about their team; I knew all their smurfs and most of their builds. We then had some mini allkill match of some sort against Aarhus for the 3rd/4th place match (which had nothing at stake) and screwed around to fill content for the CSL.
Caliber ownin’ it up
The Danish God
After watching Berkeley win 4-3 against Chunnam I was happy that Suppy (and an American school) won, but at the same time, I (and the rest of my team) were a bit regretful. We knew that we could have won against Chunnam quite easily if everyone had played well. I had extremely mixed feelings as I reflected on the event to write this blog. Even to the end of Lings of Liberty, I couldn’t win a college league where we held so many advantages over our opposing teams. I haven’t done anything notable for a long time in SC2 and CSL was my last WoL tournament until my switch (barring a game or two in the IPTL which is still WoL). Getting 4-0’ed was the most unexpected outcome and the worst possible way to finish my career in WoL.
I am still waiting for confirmation on something else to blog about news, but until then; I should conclude this blog. I’d like to thank first and foremost my CSL team for believing in me as captain/half coordinator and working hard this season, my parents for putting up with 6+ people in our basement for the five bootcamps we held, and anybody that cheered for my team or just watched the CSL in general. I’d also like to thank all the people that helped our team: Quantic.SeoHyeon, binski, Moosegills, Saikou, Ranged, and fray`iaguz for sending me some replays of eins.
Also thanks to Gretorp and his girlfriend for making an hour drive out twice to see me at the finals and treat Tilea and myself to Pho tonight~
Thank you for reading.