I thought Id make a blog about the showmatch event that took place yesterday http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/brood-war/532191-sc20-remastered-twitchrivals-showmatch and my opinion + experience behind the scenes, as well as some analysis of my match vs Ty2. Like most of my blogs, its going to be long and detailed.
First off, I want to say I was super happy to be invited and enjoyed playing in the event and watching the other matches. Viewer count was high, I consider it a success in general and hope that we get more events like it in the future. I love BW, all BW events that are sponsored and competitive are awesome as far as im concerned.
That being said, I also think there was room for improvement in a few areas. I know Machine, Schamtoo and DocHoliday (also Zombiegrub) worked hard to make the event a success, and there were probably events outside their control that may have impacted the points im about to discuss. My objective here is not to flame people putting time and money into the BW community, but to give some feedback and constructive criticism so as to keep improving the quality of future BW events and support a healthy SCR scene.
#1 The prize structure
1st match: Kawaii vs Sero (500$)
2nd match: DragOn vs Ty2 (500$)
3rd match: UltrA vs Michael (750$)
Final match: Nyoken vs Jaeyun (1000$)
When I first heard about the division of prizes, I was in disbelief..this was the only time Id ever experienced a structure like this, and to be honest it felt like a slap in the face. Nyoken and Jaeyun playing for twice as much as me...(not to mention also more than Michael, the Zotac Masters champion)....wtf? I had to step back and remind myself that I was being offered a lot of money to play my favorite game on stage (virtual stage), this was was an amazing opportunity, really what did it matter if someone else was offered more money? It isnt really about the money anyway. Its about the opportunity to compete with a monetary incentive to make everyone try their best.
Anyway I asked what was up with the prize structure and was told by Schamtoo "I put matches into the slots that were given to me, I judged who should go where on a variety of factors." OK, well I guess skill wasnt high on that list of factors then, otherwise shit wouldve been in a different order. The best I can come up with is that Nyoken and Jaeyun are both popular on twitch (I know for sure Jaeyun is), and since this is a twitch event, twitch popularity is important.
With the whole event being invite only, the answer to the question "is this event a popularity contest?" might actually be yes, at least in some ways. You have to be known to be invited. But this is also a competitive 1v1 game, and putting certain players on a pedestal before any games are even played, is not a good idea IMO. Even if the final match had been DragOn vs Michael for the 1000$, I wouldnt agree with that decision (although I wouldve felt better about it lol). Let the results from competition decide who wins more money, not an arbitrary slot system. 500$ each is plenty.
#2 The objective and invited players
This one isnt as big of a deal as some people in the BW general thread are making it out to be. When I first recieved an email with details about the event, it was advertised as "North Americans Finest" in a series of showmatches (I basically copy/pasted most of the info in my OP there from that email). All of the players invited are top NA players, except for Ultra whos a top SA player. The only problem I have here is that, #1 why is there one south american if its supposed to be an NA event lol, and #2 Kawaiirice hasnt played BW in months, why is he invited as NAs finest when there are other more active candidates.
I wasnt privy to who suggested who, who decided what on the final lineup etc, so this is just speculation. But we still have a decent list of players to draw from in NA who do play BW still. Cute, TT1, SuGo, Beast, Hawk for example. Maybe some of them were invited but couldnt make it, I dont know. What I do know, is that Herbmon, who I guess was acting in some sort of advisory role, was asking me about top NA tosses and I did mention Beast, TT1 and SuGo (tt1 I mentioned wasnt playing seriously lately and sugo had just come back from inactivity, so I recommended beast foremost).
I also brought this issue up and was told that the NAs finest thing was a nisnomer and it was just a friendly invite tour. Ok..that seems like a bit of backtracking to me, but whatever. Invite who you want, but people who have been playing BW generally show better games than people who havent. And if its an NA/SA event, why not invite other south american players who havent been able to participate in an event like this before. UltrA was the only south american who could get a visa to attend Zotac, I feel like TerrOr or Dandy couldve been thrown a bone instead. Of course, we have the argument that UltrA is a better pick because it would be a more even match against most of the NA candidates, but he was matched against Michael who won 2-0 even with a questionable activity level.
The process of deciding who to invite and who to match against who is complicated and there arnt really any perfect answers. I am really just nitpicking here, but I thought there could be some improvement.
(For anyone who doesnt know, Beast is currently among the top of north american players, and has a winning record in practice games against I think every other top level NA player hes played except for me. Hes also beaten eonzerg and dewalt in recent SKTL matches. Of course these results arent highly publicized or numerous and he doesnt have any tournament results to speak of or ladder a ton, only having come up recently because hes been my student. So it makes sense that he wouldnt get invited unless youre paying close attention to the NA scene. And it also doesnt excuse that retarded shitposting he did in the main thead.)
#3 The lack of promotion
Im not sure what the whole story behind this is, but there was some major delay in getting the word out that the event was actually happening. Schamtoo/Docholiday were discussing how soon they were allowed to advertise with only a couple days to go, and there wasnt a clear answer. Perhaps intentionally it was only announced the night before even? I cant say, but in my experience its been successful trend to announce things a week or 2 ahead of time, so people can clear their schedules and get hyped. We were all told to keep it under wraps until the official release, but I was pretty worried that viewership would be pretty low if there was no TL post about it, so I ended up doing it myself. I dont think that was ideal, I wouldve preferred to see something more official and like a week earlier. If I hadnt stepped up there might not have been any TL thread for all I know...DocHoliday was tweeting about it and shit which is great, but some of us dont use social media 24/7, especially not to look for news about BW. I feel this area could be easily improved.
#4 The format
Four bo3s, each for 500$ or more. That might not be a lot of money elsewhere, but in the BW scene thats a lot of money for one set. We had about 3 hours of playtime (I think) for a total of $2750 given out. Thats almost three times the amount of money that BSL4 has gained slowly through community donations, a tournament that is played with rounds extended over weeks and months (and is fucking awesome, thnx zzzero). In my view, we couldve achieved more with this money than just four bo3s. The BSL prizepool couldve been doubled and wed still have plenty of money to spare for four bo3s. We couldve had an 8player tournament, starting with those same four bo3s, and given us twice the amount of playtime/viewership/tournament hype. We couldve had 2 or more separate weekend events of four invite bo3s from different regions, maybe one for NA/SA, one for Europe, etc.
The BW community has survived on low amounts of prizemoney for years, and now with SCR there have been several isolated events that introduce (relatively) huge amounts of money with limited opportunities for everyone to get involved, whether they be region specific or invite based. I am all for pouring money into SCR, but I think the way in which it is done could be improved, especially with more community involvement. I got the impression that Machine, Schamtoo and DocHoliday were a bit overworked as it was, and the intention was to make a short and sweet weekend event because a bigger event wouldve been harder to organize...well if it is, why not get more people to help with it? Im sure there are people out there like me who want to see our community do well since we are getting a bit more attention with SCR, and would be willing to spend a bit of time on it. I dont think events like these should be stunted in anyway due to a lack of manpower or community support. If the community knew about it ahead of time, they would be willing to assist.
OK so there are my points. Again, please dont take this as me bashing the organization or anyone involved in the event. I was happy to work with all of them and look forward to doing so again if the opportunity arises. We need people who are working behind the scenes to make things happen for BW. These guys deserve some respect, they got shit done and the event ended up being successful.
I also want to make it known that some of the dissatisfaction I had during the event was due to my own fault and unfortunate circumstances. Machine had sent out an email to everyone on the 14th with an updated map roster/picking process which I never saw because it ended up in my junk folder. In my match against Ty2 I was under the impression that we would veto maps until 3 left, when the new process was actually a CB start - then loser picks out of the remaining maps. I had planned to veto destination since its a garbage imbalanced map for pvz, especially vs a player who will abuse it with cheesy shit like Ty2. I posted the old map vetoing process in my OP on TL, and even announced like 20minutes before the match that i was "going to veto destination 100%, its basically a free win for Ty2" and apparently no one paid enough attention to remind me that this didnt make sense with the updated structure. So obviously Ty2 picked destination and I lost badly with zero practice or even mental preparation for it. I was pretty fucking angry and let my anger be known at that time to the organization. Ive since apologized for it.
On my match itself, I was happy to play Ty2 to be honest. I wanted revenge since I lost to him last time we faced in a tournament, and specifically I wanted to test myself against his 3hatch drop build, which I was 100% confident he would use against me, as it has been his most successful build against me before. My previous response to it hadnt been precise enough so I worked on improving it in single player before facing him again, and im pretty happy with the result The major difference was that I needed to cut a significant amount of probes so that I could afford enough zlot/templar on time for the drop, as well as robotics tech and cannons at the front. Its OK to cut many probes if zerg is going all in, because my economy is still stronger if I hold regardless.
In the second game on destination I did a 1base corsair into expand strat because with my current understanding, thats the best way to minimize chances of getting fucked by all the abusive shit zerg can do on that map. Of course, chances of being fucked are still quite high since 1base pvz blows in general.
To explain, the main thing that makes destination imbalanced in pvz is the backdoor mineral patch. Any map with a backdoor that can be easily removed is Z >>> P for a zerg who is willing to abuse it. Protoss relies on FE builds to remain even in economy in the early game with zerg, which means theres a time in which protoss wont have a standing army thats able to fight and hold its own without cannon support, if zerg commits to it. That period of time is very long, basically up until the point where protoss can safely secure a 3rd base. So lets say zerg wants to abuse the backdoor on destination. He can send a drone to mine it out. What can I do about it? Can I build cannons from inside my natural to range the drone mining and prevent catastrophe? No, only on ONE position in destination, and I dont remember which one because I stopped FEing on it a long time ago. So not only its destination imbalanced, its positionally imbalanced. Lets say I get the position where I cant cannon to hit the drone mining out my minerals. So then my options are: build extra pylon+cannon on top of the cliff to snipe it, or build extra cannon(s) in my mineral line. Any reaction with FE and without cannons means I lose immediately, even with 1gFE, you still need cannons vs mass ling or hydra busts. When they mine out the backdoor, they can mass ling or hydra bust in the nat OR the main, which is just ridiculous. Either I have to ruin my timings and economy building fucking twice as many cannons as usual, or I can lose if zerg attacks in the right place.
Now that weve established that FFE is a great way to lose on destination, how about 1base? Ill have units right away, and I can even make a dragoon to snipe a drone trying to mine my backdoor, so thats no longer an issue. But now the issue is...what strategy to do with 1base pvz. There is a reason that less than 1% of professional PvZs are 1base nowadays. Its just worse, and unless ive yet to discover a solid way of doing it, you can end up in a disadvantage even while playing optimally. 2gate is bad on destination because of the bridges and the long rush distance. Likewise, any dragoon/reaver push is also bad, because getting into the natural with all your bulky ass units and getting a good engagement is pretty much impossible. Sair/dt/nexus builds are weak against well timed hydra busts and muta switches. Sair/nexus builds are weak against speedling busts or runbys. Protoss can put pressure on the zerg with 1base into expand, but its extremely risky because you dont have cannons to fall back on when you need them. And then if you do manage to get up your expansion safely, the economy is still a lot worse than with FFE. Zerg willing to go all in and take risks will win a lot of games automatically vs 1base expanding protoss.
Now that weve established that 1base PvZ is a great way to lose on destination, I want to add some other ways that destination is truely a horrible map vs an abusive zerg. Your natural probe line can be ranged by lurkers from behind the cliff, and even if you have cannons there, they wont fire without vision from an air unit. The double bridge is impossible to get out vs a lurker contain, so you have to go around the backway to break a contain, and meanwhile zerg can move 3 feet to drop into your massive unprotected main base, or simply just counter into the nat if you didnt leave enough units there. It is such a fucking nightmare to try and counter everything zerg can do, and it rewards risky aggressive styles which of course describes Ty2 exactly. If it never got played in any foreign tournament again I would definitely be ok with that.
So anyway in the actual game, I went for sair/nexus and died to its weakness, mass ling + runby, with a muta followup. I couldve played better in that game, but even if I did that wouldnt guarantee a win.
In the 3rd game, I was pretty sure Ty2 would do lingspeed into some cheese, and I was right. I actually didnt expect it to be a 1hatch muta, but regardless my cannon defense timings were sufficient vs that as well, the timing is only a few seconds earlier. I think Ty2 fucked up making too many lings at the start, if he had made less hed have been able to 2hatch muta instead and maybe play a longer game from there with some followup aggression. I kept expecting him to hydra bust followup but his economy wasnt strong enough for it. My build may have been suboptimal as well, I think I needed a bit of an earlier 2nd gas because I was gas starved all game and ended up not being able to make templars as fast as I wanted to regain map control.
Lastly, Ive started streaming so heres my twitch https://www.twitch.tv/dragonbw
If you got this far thnx for reading