Aquatic Bird Opens - January 2019 Report
Light told me that making more SCVs isn’t a resolution.
SDO wasn’t the only thing coming back in 2019. Among the regulars and newcomers, Sunokasuri signed up for SDO #50 returning after almost a year to make Milk regret not staying up. Following her series’, we saw that signature Muta switch that blindsided her opponents until she faced Reignandpals who shut down the transition before it could begin.
Unless that’s inaccurate, I’ll double check.
Actually, she went Cucaracha into Roach/Hydra. See, this is why rewatching the VODs is important.
Nope, she went Muta switch in Game 2. Reign didn’t prevent the transition though, he just microed Phoenixes well.
Reignandpals went on a roll that week, crushing his opponents 2-0 to face his nemesis, the other player on fire and another titan of Diamond league, mLty. Those Finals felt identical to the last time they faced, Reignandpals, a player known for his impeccable macro, may have been able to overpower Suno’s mid-game transitions, but mLty prevented Reignandpals from playing his game altogether, going at him hard with every opener, previously being able to fluster him to the point of cannon rushing. Reign kept calm this time, but no matter how thick his defense, mLty found the weak point each time and pierced through Reign’s armour to claim his second SDO championship. No winner’s speech this time though.
This rivalry will have to be put on hold for now however, as shortly after SDO #51 Reignandpals got promoted to Master league, entering MSO #11 as a Masters player.
Reign wasn’t the only one though, as the new season brought new opportunities and Sashamon, who also got promoted to Masters, would be his first opponent in MSO. At the end of their scrappy series, Sashamon came up on top to face his teammate Salivanth in the next round, who picked him apart. Even when Sashamon was far ahead, Sal came back from the edge with barely a flinch.
Salivanth was our top Master Swan in 2018 but this week he was on another level. With only a single cannon rush contain throwing him off in his series against XenoDactyl, Blisk’s prediction came through as Sal casually walked up to the trophy and became the first
Salivanth could very well claim to be the best player in Alpha X Amateur/Community/Second Team/Whatever-The-Non-Pro-Division-Is-Called then, with that week being dominated by Alpha X players and 3 out of 4 of our semifinalists being from said clan. Which is good because it makes up for there being no CranKy players at all this week, I think that might actually be a record.
Light is telling me that I forgot about SDO #51 but I didn’t, I just used Reignandpals to segue into MSO. Speaking of Reignandpals, SDO #51 was his last SDO and in it, he faced the player who I often make the mistake of underestimating, ReaLiTy.
ReaLiTy got put in the arguably more stacked side of the bracket with Sashamon, Reignandpals and a Diamond 1 newcomer, Apoptosis (also I heard Yakuzaku was on that side) and came out on top each time.
On the other side of the bracket we had many of our newcomers, such as the Vietnamese Terran player, EmBánGiày (or EBG because we have trouble pronouncing his name, sorry dude). Though he professed his difficulty in TvP, EBG put up one hell of a fight in the only match-up he’d play that week, culminating in a semi-final finish he almost took against the eventual champion, Firefly. Firefly being the deaf Protoss player from Guyana, Light pointed out that half of the prizes, announcer packs, don’t apply.
ReaLiTy swept through his competition on the other side, Firefly almost didn’t make the Finals, employing a cheeky strategy of Tempests on Stasis to make it there. And even then, ReaLiTy cleanly brought it to match point in about 7 minutes. But this was the beginning of the end of his near perfect run. Holding ReaLiTy’s double Robo proxy with a Void Ray and some counter harass with Adepts meant that Firefly, didn’t get cancelled. And by holding ReaLiTy’s openings again and again, SDO got a new champion in a reverse sweep.
What a way to start the year. With only 3 CranKy events this month, awards and titles are a little trickier to determine, but you know what, you can’t skimp out at the start of the year.
Sea Duckling Open Monthly Stats
Aquatic Bird Monthly Awards
Terran Of The Month: EmBánGiày
New year, new sign ups, and EmBánGiày was one that made his mark with his first SDO. Though he’d only play in his least favourite match-up that week, against some of the most unorthodox PvT players we’ve seen, Nemesis and Firefly, EBG proved himself adept at handling the pressure and adapting on the fly to swat away any cheeky shenanigans with DTs or Disruptors, nearly becoming our first Terran champion of the year and the first in a while.
Though that didn’t end up happening, EmBánGiày told us he not only enjoyed the experience, but also learned a lot, especially on TvP. He’d take this with him the next week in MSO to take a map off Voltacus, an MSO and SDO veteran, to confirm my suspicion that he’d be Terran of the Month.
Zerg Of The Month: Sashamon
Sashamon came in as a bit of a surprise performer at the end of 2018, winning SDO #45 and then making the finals of MSO #10 after taking out competition higher than himself in rank.
This month, Sashamon had some hard luck, being taken out by Sunokasuri, a bit of a ZvZ specialist, and an on-fire ReaLiTy who never dropped a map till the finals.
I wouldn’t take it away from Sashamon because of this though, while mLty proved himself to be on another level of his competition, having a perfect run in SDO #50, Sashamon’s promotion to Master league and performance in MSO #11, bringing Salivanth to the edge, proved that he was above even that.
Protoss Of The Month: Firefly
Runner-ups: Reignandpals, ReaLiTy
The contenders for Protoss of the month was closer than ever, with each of them having a claim for different reasons in different weeklies.
When they traded blows however, Firefly came up on top, and while we may not know how a Reignandpals vs Firefly series would go, we do know that Firefly was the only one among the three with a championship this month.
To top it off, Firefly’s disability put them against even greater adversity. While sound may not be as important in SC2 as sight, it’s still useful to, you know, hear and it’s safe to guess that most players still rely on sounds to draw their attention. Cue Keen nuking Scarlett’s everything cause she played without sound and couldn’t hear the alert.
Looks like Firefly... got renewed.
The Underduck Award: Light told me to put Yakuzaku’s return in SDO #51
Replacing the best non-Diamond award since Diamond’s a huge league and a Diamond 3 player going against a Diamond 1 can be just as big of a struggle as a Platinum player against a Diamond. The Underduck Award is given to a player for most impressive performance compared to in-game rank or reputation from previous weeklies.
Speaking of Diamond 3s, Yakuzaku who was at the first SDO and was the most regular sign up of 2018 finally had a bit of a breakout performance in SDO #51, with a 2-1 Quarterfinals finish against a Diamond 1 newcomer, Apoptosis.
Yaku was always an exciting player to watch in team leagues and a reliable player who contributed to CranKy’s victories, but in individual league, he consistently found himself at the short end of the stick. One of the more lower league players, no one expects him to win or even make the Finals, but random seeding more often than not had him pit against some of the best.
But in SDO #51, Yakuzaku started the tournament against a player that was every part his equal, Silence. And even then, only narrowly took the victory. (Can anyone verify this? Kappa) That’s a trend with Yaku though, even in team league, that win or lose Yaku’s games always seem closer than they have any right to be, and this trend would continue with the Quarterfinals against Apoptosis where Light can fill you in on what happened. Or I can, basically, too much tunnel vision in the mid-game led to an under-prepared late game.
A surprise for many, mostly Light, Yaku’s initial challenge of winning an SDO by the end of February may still be incredibly far-fetched, but week after week it gets a little closer to reality. Not the player ReaLiTy, he’s already won one, could win another though.
Best SDO Series: Sunokasuri vs Sashamon (SDO #50)
Honorable Mentions: EmBánGiày vs Nemesis (SDO #51), ReaLiTy vs Apoptosis (SDO #51)
“This is not something you see usually in ZvZ” - Steelmold
ZvZ can get tiresome to watch very quickly after watching the same one-sided Ling/Bane or passive Roach/Ravager over and over again. With Sunokasuri though, you’re almost guaranteed that this won’t be the case, but before she could be featured in a report, she vanished, cause this was before Light told me to make them. Suno made her much anticipated return, and who better to face and show off her ZvZ than Zerg of the Month, Sashamon.
We did see a Ling/Bane war in game 1, and in it Sashamon showed why he’s Zerg of the Month, consistently backing Suno’s Zerglings into a corner prime for his Banelings.
Holding his aggression much better now in game 2, both players started their transition to the next phase. For Sashamon that meant Roaches, and for Sunokasuri, naturally it was Mutalisks. Funny thing about these compositions is that Roaches don’t shoot up, and after making Roaches of her own to buffer the ground army, Suno took the game.
Now on game 3, Sashamon was determined to show that Suno wasn’t the only one who could play the Muta game, and when they clashed, Sasha was actually the one taking better trades, shaving off Suno’s Muta count before backing off, but it was in these retreats that cost Sashamon the match. Muta wars are pretty different than Phoenix wars in that Mutalisks do splash damage, and each time Sashamon backed off, his Mutas clumped up just that little bit and Suno pressed the attack weakening every Muta until they could eventually be picked off one by one, then used her freshly produced ones to harass his economy.
While SDO in the past was almost plagued with an overabundance of ZvZ, Sunokasuri was an outlier, providing a, much needed, very refreshing take on the match-up, and did so once again this January.
Switch to Mutalisks, not Osu!
Best MSO Series: Reignandpals vs Sashamon
Honorable Mentions: Salivanth vs XenoDactyl
With random seeding in the first round, sometimes you get predictable matches, sometimes you get the eventual champions facing off the weakest player in the bracket (rip Yaku), and sometimes you get two players who are so evenly matched that the winner is whoever didn’t pass out of exhaustion first.
Sashamon and Reignandpals fit that role perfectly. Both players came in at the end of 2018 and immediately made their marks, making deep runs and winning tournaments. They both played in SDO #51 where they both got knocked out by ReaLiTy and shortly after that, both got to Masters league to duke it out for the opportunity to face the best that MSO could offer.
The scrappiest of scrappy series’, game 1 can best be described as 15 minutes of mid-game, with both players teching quickly in the early game but preventing each other from teching further, not by sniping buildings or harassing economies, but simply resetting each others' armies over and over again to the point that they couldn’t afford to do anything other than make units.
A slim window of opportunity gave Sashamon the resources to get a Greater Spire, and with Reignandpals either tunnel-visioned or perhaps overestimating the DPS of his many small Chargelot/Archon forces against Hydras, when the Brood Lords showed up at his base, Reign was forced to call GG.
Evidently for Reignandpals though, that was just a warmup, after using Glaived Adepts to harass workers and keep Sashamon on his side of the map, we’d see Reign’s control get more precise and his timings get crisper with Sashamon finding the army composition that deflected Reignandpals the previous map get overwhelmed by a more efficient army.
This was where Sashamon decided to invoke his inner mLty, choosing King’s Cove as the final map to give himself two potential openings for his Ling flood, which once again proved to be Reignandpals’ Achilles heel as Sashamon advanced to see how he’d fare against perhaps the best MSO player so far in Salivanth.
Player Of The Month: Sashamon
New year, new season, new Masters and new players to look out for.
Both Sashamon and Reignandpals were contenders for PotM, as they both made their presence known throughout January, even when reviewing the brackets wouldn’t say that.
They may both have been knocked out without us knowing how in SDO #51 by ReaLiTy that was on fire, but that doesn’t take away from the hyper competitive ZvZ by Sashamon in SDO #50 or Reignandpals’ perfect run to the finals in that same tournament.
I put Sashamon barely over Reignandpals though, not because he bested him in MSO, but because by beating Reignandpals, we got an opportunity to see him face Salivanth, go toe to toe with and even look close to beating the only
Even though neither of them were champions, they were both arguably the most improved players. And if both of them show the same, consistent rate of improvement, it’s not hard to imagine an MSO championship from either of them by the time the year’s half-way through.
Writing: Yakuzaku | Proofreading: Light_VIP & Steelmold | Editing: Kuro
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