2019 Cranky Events Season 5: Re:dshift
Sea Duckling Open #64-#66 | Master Swan Open #22-#24
Light told me our WoW Classic group needs a healer.
The Terran Apocalypse has finally ended. In the absence of star Terrans such as XenoBlaze, AionLeader and EmBánGiày, SDO was dominated by two non-Terran champions.
The first was StarDuck who’d switched to Protoss and returned from his semi-retirement since SDO #24 to claim SDO #64 and #65 to become one of the few 3-time SDO champions with his trademarked “tricky” style. The second was newcomer Papapanda, who made his impact immediately with a runner-up finish in SDO #64. Papapanda continued to prove himself a worthy contender, finishing in the Semifinals of SDO #65 and competing with Masters players in MSO before finally claiming Light’s 10 dollars in SDO #66.
2019 Season 5 Stats - Sea Duckling Open #64-#66
By comparison, MSO was anyone’s game with new appearances and returning legends halting the hype trains of recent favourites. Though MSO #22 finished with a not unexpected finals between mLty and Emin, it was newcomers Quaterno and AreZ who vanquished more established names to make the finals of MSO #23 and Salivanth, returning from his self imposed exile since MSO #19, to claim his third MSO championship after narrowly defeating rising star, Golo in MSO #24.
2019 Season 5 Stats - Master Swan Open #22-#24
Between rising stars and resurging champions, Season 5 marks the end of an era of champions and the start of many more.
Aquatic Bird Awards
SDO Terran Of The Season: N/A
To further drive the point home that we’re at the end of the Terran Apocalypse, there wasn’t a definitive Terran player to distinguish themselves in SDO.
LastDance has had his best run yet in SDO #64 with a Semifinals finish, but an absence in SDO #65 and some unfortunate bracket luck in SDO #66 stopped that hype train dead in its tracks.
A similar story played out throughout the rest of the season with a few Terran players showing flashes of brilliance, but none having the consistency to truly shine.
For some it’s worrying, seemingly heading into a period of Terran drought. But after the same two Terran champions throughout the past seven SDOs, it almost feels karmic.
SDO Zerg Of The Season: Papapanda
Honourable Mentions: Golo, Eleven
Last season we had a fair amount of Zerg newcomers prove themselves to be champion contenders. One of the players that wasn’t included in that list was Papapanda.
This season,he blew his peers out of the water, dwarfing their results. This season, he made his “true” entrance to SDO, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a good while. This season we witnessed the breakout of Papapanda.
From 13/12 to Swarm Host/Nydus to Muta/Ling, Papapanda has shown to be more than happy to use whatever is in his arsenal to end the game before Hive tech, making the most of Zerg’s natural mobility.
Formerly sliding under the radar, Papapanda made an explosive entry into Season 5 that culminated in SDO #66 with his first SDO championship, and the first SDO Zerg champion since Akontistes in SDO #56.
SDO Protoss Of The Season: StarDuck
Honourable Mentions: Nemesis, TheFetus
After a long break since his championship in SDO #24, StarDuck returned with a new race, new strategies, and two new tournament wins to his name.
A much different beast from Zerg StarDuck who’d cheesed his way to win SDO #24 because he “forgot how to macro,” Protoss StarDuck opted for orthodox games more often than not, vanquishing any doubts that the race switch was anything less than a serious commitment.
Playing up his reputation as a cheesy player in chat channels, StarDuck became all the more dangerous, all the more unpredictable, as he demonstrated his growth as a player, solidly handling the Protoss race to claim his second and third SDO championships back to back.
MSO Terran Of The Season: Emin
Though the OpenTvTD(uckling) era can be declared over, a single remnant remains. Outdoing himself once again, Emin has broken his own record with 4 MSO titles under his belt.
Getting better at series planning, Emin from what we’ve seen played with one goal in mind - “keep the BC rush at the very back of my Zerg opponent’s mind.”
Even when down 0-2 in the finals against mLty in MSO #22, Emin stuck to his guns, opting for the aggressive multi-prong bio style that cost him the first two games. Executing his build much more adeptly, Emin brought the series to the ace match on Acropolis.
Dealing crippling economic damage with his BC/Hellion opening, Emin broke his own record with the ensuing mech push, taking one step closer to becoming the first ever M5O champion.
MSO Zerg Of The Season: Quaterno
The Royal Roader of the season - Quaterno. The captain of Born Gosu represents what the team is capable of in the Oceanic Pond League.
A mystery even after his championship, Quaterno is difficult to pin down as we’ve only seen 2 maps from him
In these maps, Quaterno demonstrated a certain calculated boldness in his engagements. Though content to besiege his opponent with Swarm Hosts, when forced into a fight Quaterno was unrelenting. Using the Nydus the way Blizzard intended, he reinforced his armies and pressed the attack all the way to his opponents base before whittling down their remaining army to force a weakness he could take advantage of.
While it’s true that Quaterno benefited from a walkover in the Semis, he otherwise dominated the tournament, dropping only a single map in the Quarterfinals to become the first Zerg MSO champion since Blisk in MSO #14.
MSO Protoss Of The Season: Salivanth
Another returning player, Salivanth was the original dominant MSO player until his self-imposed exile created a rift as MSO players scrambled to take his place.
As a new status-quo started to form with new regulars led by the rising god Emin, Salivanth returned just to shake things up once again and prove to the upstarts that MSO was his turf.
Once famed for his double-Robo proxy and impeccable Warp Prism micro, Salivanth’s play was much more straightforward during his homecoming run. Still being among the rare breed of Protoss players who prefer heavy Robo unit compositions, Sal displayed a mastery of transitional play, moving seamlessly from the opening to the midgame, to the endgame.
Though he stopped participating in more international events, Salivanth never stopped playing the game he loved and while his opponents made him bleed, he made us all remember why he was the first player to win more than one MSO, and the second to win three.
The Underduck Award: Golo
For the better part of Season 5, Golo’s tournaments were marred by a string of bad luck, often facing the favourites of the week early, unable to show what he was capable of. In MSO #24, Golo decided to make his own luck, opting out of SDO #66, using that time to improve.
Getting revenge on his MSO adversaries, he defeated StarDuck twice and got back at mLty’s 0-2 sweep with his own 1-0 before taking on the rising star AreZ in one of the stranger yet also standard series’ we’ve had lately.
Initially one of the less prominent new-comers, Golo’s miracle run in MSO #24 proved him to be a championship contender, able to give even the legendary Salivanth a run for his money.
Best SDO Series: Papapanda vs StarDuck (SDO #64 Finals)
Honorable Mentions: Papapanda vs StarDuck (SDO #66 Semifinals), Papapanda vs TheFetus (SDO #66 Finals)
PvZ is a match-up with mixed reactions. It’s somewhat more popular than their respective mirrors, but even die-hard fans have to admit that it’s prone to monotony, with the same builds being used time and again.
We had no such problems this series, thanks in no small part to having two of our more stylistic players in SDO face off against one another.
This series gave us a bit of everything, with an odd Stargate opening from StarDuck transitioning to a traditional macro game, to Papapanda’s 3 minute win with a classic 12-pool and most surprisingly of all with these two, standard play with Soul Trains and Roach builds and with the big brain moves from StarDuck and ballsy maneuvers from Papapanda we sure weren’t lacking in suspense.
And as the dust settled, when the final GG was called, StarDuck completed his transition, ascending to his new form of Protoss champion and Papapanda made his explosive break-out, making a name for himself (Steelmold: “Best name in esports”) as a serious Zerg contender.
Best MSO Series: Emin vs mLty (MSO #22 Finals)
Honorable Mentions: AreZ vs Saxy (MSO #23 Semifinals), Golo vs StarDuck (MSO #24 Losers' Finals), Salivanth vs Golo (MSO #24 Grand Finals)
Having already played one another in the finals of MSO #17, the rematch was hyped the minute the finalists were confirmed.
It was a battle between mLty, the ever improving Zerg player, eager to fulfill his destiny with an MSO championship and Emin, the dominant player, the unmovable object, the player with the ability to inexplicably find a path to victory. And the players were sure to live up to the excitement.
This series allowed our two players to really showcase their strengths. mLty demonstrated the true power of the Swarm with his Ultralisks trampling any opposition, forcing the victory with sheer brute force. And Emin, with solid defensive play steadily moving his siege line forward, coupled with unrelenting multi-pronged harass to out-multitask mLty into surrender. The suspense lasted from the initial scouting skirmish until the final GG on the ace match.
Watching this series was like watching two colliding forces. A bear wrestling with a bull, an avalanche crashing into a tsunami, an endless tug-of-war until finally, Emin gained a foothold, broke his own record and became the undisputed king of MSO.
SDO Player Of The Season: StarDuck
“StarDuck is being a Protoss. He’s going full Protoss.” - Steelmold 2019
The trucks were spammed, and StarDuck has awoken once again, rousing delight and despair around the CranKy Ducklings Discord server which, incidentally, you too can join right here.
Much more macro orientated than we were used to, StarDuck’s reactive style of countering his opponent’s plays is a result of his clear understanding of Protoss, knowledge that eluded him not too long ago.
For as much as he grew to a player with solid macro mechanics, StarDuck is still a player who was born in chaos, and when backed into a corner is more than willing to remind his opponents about his cheesy origins.
From proxy Void Rays in PvP to Glaive rush in PvZ, StarDuck rarely ever used the same build more than once in a series, allowing him to become far more unpredictable, even more than when he refused to play standard Zerg.
Representing the resurgent players in Season 5 of SDO, StarDuck was not only the first and most titled champion, but did so in style, fulfilling the potential noticed since he switched from Zerg to Protoss in season 2. Here’s hoping he can do it with Terran as well.
MSO Player Of The Season: AreZ
If StarDuck represented the resurgent players in SDO, AreZ represented the new appearances in MSO, establishing himself among the short list of favourites.
Though a traditional siege mech player, AreZ is anything but passive. With a harassment force always getting something done somewhere on the map, AreZ knew how to force his opponents to attack into his siege line to disastrous effect.
He’s also a player who knows when and how to slit his opponents' throats, quickly evaluating the situation after a major engagement and how to get the most out of the army he has left.
With a Finals appearance on his first tournament and a Losers' Finals only two weeks later, AreZ had as explosive of an entry as you could ask for short of becoming a royal roader. But unlike many royal roaders of MSO past, AreZ looks to become a new regular, likely staying on Steel’s shortlist for many tournaments to come. (Steelmold: “I have a shortlist?”) (Steel forgot about his shortlist again :ohno: )
Writing: Yakuzaku | Proofreading: Light_VIP & Steelmold | Editing: Kuro
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