Aquatic Bird Opens - November Report
Light told me that there’s a Friday every week.
(Editor note: The article was written before SDO #48)
Whether it was BlizzCon hype, the new patch or the end of the year meaning more free time, most of November saw the highest number of sign ups we’ve had so far until people didn’t read the new rule about required games. Whoops.
The great thing about that was our drought of Zerg players finally clearing up, giving us not one but two Zerg champions. Just goes to show that if you joke about there being no Zerg players enough, they hear it and rally to your aid. Wait, Light is telling me that there’s no correlation between that. (Goes to show what he knows #FakeZerg)
Weathering against the Swarm however was Porosha the Prodigy. After a bit of a break in October, Porosha came back and claimed his destiny, doing so by combining the progressively growing out of style 2-1-1 build with clean micro to win his last SDO before getting promoted to Masters league.
November also saw the #NextGenDucks ( KatatoniK, Quirky and DallyCat) reach the furthest they ever had, with Kata returning to dispatch Johnathan and get team-killed by Quirky in the quarter-finals. Quirky and Dally reached the semis on opposite ends, but their opponents would prove a little too much to deal with, killing Light’s dream of an all Duckling final. Still reached further than Yakuzaku ever has though. (gaddammit Light maybe rig a bracket for me one of these days)
Sea Duckling Open Monthly Stats
Speaking of Ducklings - The Next Generation, we had DallyCat fill in for Yaku as a co-caster in MSO #9. Her generally calmer analysis is contrasting well with Steelmold’s hype, though in the end Steel’s “humour” infects us all. This also fulfilled her contractual obligation as a Cranky player to cast at least one event. Wait what do you mean that’s not a thing? Make it a thing.
Master Swan also officially ended the Zerg drought with the stream following Zerg newcomer MekaLeka until he was knocked out by Zerg oldcomer Blisk, who eventually took the championship, finally, from non-other than defending champion Ruiyichi who played Random but will always be remembered as a Zerg player and for a time, the absolute most dominant.
Aquatic Bird Monthly Awards
Terran Of The Month: Porosha
Porosha was always a player with great potential, and now with an SDO championship we’ve seen it realised, and what a way he won it too. We didn’t get to see his TvT or TvP but with his TvZ, we’re sated without them.
See, this was before the new patch and the Tranfuse nerf, a time when Zerg had pretty much discovered how to hard counter 2-1-1 and Terran players from Reddit to Code S were already pioneering alternatives. 2-1-1 was a dying opener, at best used in the middle of a series to throw your opponent off. Porosha though discovered a trick to making it work - good micro.
Split after split, target-fire after target-fire even simple things like sending his Marauders forward to tank Banelings, Porosha kept the momentum on in his hands every game, making his follow-up timing pushes all the more deadly.
Hitting Masters shortly after again proved his potential and skill. Though he was a little disappointed at not being able to play in SDO anymore, we’ll wait in anticipation to see how he fairs in MSO.
Zerg Of The Month: mLty
What better way to end the Zerg drought with not one but two Zerg champions this month. (three if you count Blisk in MSO)
Choosing between the two would have been hard, after-all mLty not realising he played in a Double Elimination bracket almost saw him eliminated right off the bat by his nemesis, Nemesis who beat him the last time he reached the finals.
One could say that what our candidates had in common was struggle. Sashamon came out on top in SDO #45, but he had to work for it giving us some fantastically competitive series’ and mLty after getting bopped by Nem had to slog through the lower-bracket. (I heard that this one Terran player’s Widow Mines gave him a hard time, can’t disclose the name tho…)
The difference now was that while Sashamon worked for their win, once mLty realised that he had one more shot to win, his survival instinct kicked in and he didn’t drop a single map since.
Still as aggressive as when we last saw him, mLty refined his style now, transitioning better to the mid-game, spending his larvae on time and his creep spread... my god, his creep spread was scary. Most players have one or two Queens to spread creep, mLty had about six, with replacements ready at any time. You couldn’t clear it, like a hydra if you killed one tumour three more took it’s place, painting half the map purple in less than 10 minutes.
The Zerg drought seems to have subsided for now, and with Zerg players like mLty and Sashamon leading the flood, I don’t think we have to worry about another drought for a while. Maybe a Protoss drought actually, if that’s how the cycle works?
Protoss Of The Month: Reignandpals
If what our candidates for Zerg of the Month had in common was struggle, what our Protoss candidates had in common was consistent struggle. Both players signed up regularly but fell short each time.
Being Diamond 1 though, Reignandpals is definitely still ahead of Johnathan. Humble in victory and graceful in defeat, Reignandpals would get knocked out, sometimes in rather unflattering ways but would be ready to get back in there the next week.
Despite his wins, PvZ continues to be his achilles heel, even after dominating the upper-bracket in SDO #47, he choked the finals to mLty, a player he actually beat the previous week.
Still, likely already aware of this and as a regular with such consistent placings, it’s not hard to imagine him with an SDO win going into December.
Best Non-Diamond: Johnathan
Most players practice all week for SDO, eager to show their best and win Light’s 10 dollars, but for Johnathan SDO *is* his practice. It’s actually not a bad idea, when you practice with someone out of your league, it seems like you get pummeled game after game, but once you use what you’ve learnt against opponents of a similar level, you realize that you’ve actually risen above them, something Johnathan learned when he hit Diamond 3 after a ladder session at the end of November.
Though we had an influx of lower-league players this month, Johnathan still showed himself just a little ahead of them, placing a little higher each week only to prove himself by “graduating” from Platinum at the end of it.
Best SDO Series: Sashamon vs Hydra (SDO #45 Finals)
Honorable Mentions: Nemesis vs mLty (SDO #47), Porosha vs Oishi (SDO #44 Semifinals)
Playing Random is one of the few things that can make luck a factor in SC2. We’ve had Random players before, we even had a Random champion back in the early days, but there’s always going to be one race they’re better in, one race that lags behind, and one match-up to rule them all.
HydrA doesn’t seem to be any exception, his Protoss very noticeably being a step above his other races. But here’s something about Random players, since it’s admittedly pretty dang difficult to maintain top form in three races at once, most of them understand they should focus on variety, a scenario where quantity really is more valuable than quality.
If we’re talking about variety though, Sashamon had this in spades this series too, each game taking a different approach even in the same match-up.
We start with a game of both opponents playing uncommon. HydrA opened up the 2-1-1, but as discussed previously Zerg players had discovered how to counter this and without Porosha’s micro, HydrA saw his drops picked off by... Mutalisks? Yup, Muta/Ling/Bane may have been out of the meta but in this game it was the perfect move, giving Sashamon much needed map control, taking a base trade convincingly by intercepting reinforcements and letting Banelings take care of the rest.
The follow up game, a ZvP on Dreamcatcher was much more even and much more standard, with both players building up their armies, poking in here and there determining what they could get away with. It wasn’t until the first clash that the result was decided. While both armies seemed about even, it turns out that Immortals live up to their name and don’t die, especially when there are four hallucinated Collosi to tank damage. Sashamon eventually cleaned up, but the damage had already been done, and HydrA could happily tech up to Carriers and end the game, despite Sashamon’s last ditch attempt with Infestors.
Game 3 was a lot more of the same, just with a lot more skirmishes but this was where HydrA’s luck ran out.
As game 4 loaded in and Sashamon scouted the ZvZ, he knew what to do and HydrA didn’t. One little opening for Ling/Bane in HydrA’s wall and GG was immediately called and we were in for the ace match. Yaku’s intro lasted over half that game.
Finally in the ace match, one more game to determine the winner, HydrA rolled T and switched gears. He saw what happened when he tried 2-1-1 and went for a Hellion/Hellbat run-by to transition into bio-mech. His run-by didn’t do too much but given time, the Hellbat/Banshee army he was building would be unstoppable. Had he been given time.
At the end of a long tournament, the size of Lost and Found’s main base slipped his mind, and a Roach/Queen Nydus saw Sashamon become the first Zerg champion since Light back in August, and open the dam to end the Zerg drought.
Best MSO Series: Blisk vs Ruiyichi (MSO #9 Finals)
Honorable Mentions: TerranLord vs MekaLeka (MSO #9 Ro16), Ruiyichi vs Droptimus (MSO #9 Semifinals)
“I don’t have much time.” this is what Ruiyichi told us before the finals, starting the series by going up 2-0 in less than 15 minutes with some well controlled Ling/Bane. All this time as a Random player, his ZvZ hadn’t failed him but it couldn’t last, not when you leave your fate to RNG.
This time facing a ZvP, Blisk gave the fans what they wanted to see, proxy-hatch cancelling three times to buy time and quickly drone up three bases un-scouted, perhaps unintentionally but arguably more importantly, delaying opponent's Cyber-core. Now getting his Cucaracha on, Blisk had a mobile defense, swatting away Ruiyichi’s harass forces before pushing it straight into his smaller army.
The next game went pretty much the same way aside from some stellar Warp Prism micro from Ruiyichi and Blisk being forced to create more than one unit. The Zerg player brought it to the ace, killing Ruiyichi’s hope for a quick series.
Fortune went back into Ruiyichi’s favour this time, one more ZvZ to determine the champion, and why wouldn’t it be Ruiyichi? He’s won the ZvZs they played before. Well because this time, Blisk realised what he lacked compared to Ruiyichi - youth. Blisk being older was slower, less precise, but he could still play smarter. He knew he couldn’t win the Ling/Bane fight so he didn’t let it happen. To take what Dally noticed, 5 minutes in and Blisk didn’t make a single Zergling, instead fully walling off with Spine Crawlers and teching straight to Roaches.
Ruiyichi was now perpetually playing catch-up, as Blisk teched quicker, got upgrades faster and never let Ruiyichi get a third base. With a final Roach/Hydra concave, Blisk who established his dominance in the earliest days of SDO, now claimed his MSO championship.
Player Of The Month: Reignandpals
When we think of Player Of The Month, we think of dominance, we think of Light_VIP winning every SDO he signed up for in a month or Chelch consistently placing, climaxing as the first non-Masters MSO champion.
Reignandpals was not dominant, he didn’t win a single championship this month. (SDO #46 concluded with a DQ walkover) What he was was consistent.
Consistently solid, with impeccable macro, Reign could make Probes, hit Gateway cycles and... lose to Zerg, perhaps the one person that won’t welcome the end of the Zerg drought.
Each time though, each and every time, Reign returned to place well in SDO, where previous players who beat him didn’t.
Reign may need to go back to the drawing board and rethink his approach before he wins a championship, but he’s proven he’s got the mettle, and if he shows the same level of consistency who knows?
December may very well be #SummerOfReignandpals.
Writing: Yakuzaku | Proofreading: Light_VIP & Steelmold | Editing: Kuro
More From CranKy Ducklings
CranKy Ducklings CranKy Clan
@CranKyDucklings CranKy_Ducklings CranKy Ducklings Discord