Why Daum OSL you may ask? Simple really. This was the tournament where many claimed that the general shift took place for a more macro-oriented mindset. Whether this is true or not is something that I'm not sure of yet. Furthermore, this was Flash's debut tournament and one that had quite the wacky map pool. Not to mention that this tournament felt like a crossroad between the past and present, old and new, even if new is considered over a decade old now.
Anyways, let's get started!
I just loved the map pool. It's hard to explain until you watch the games, but wacky maps that force players to reinvent the wheel are always welcome in my book. Fantasy seemed like a mix of a couple of old maps, some that I'm not familiar with. It also had another name that's currently escaping me (some KR name, Myunghong?). Spawns felt really important here, even more so than usual.
Python is python. That map where taking a third felt like a pain in TvZ when I first played it. Having said that, taking the mains, the mineral only or the isolated bases is probably the way I would play the map now compared to trying to take the corners. I still like this map despite it being imba for Terran afaik. It also led to some entertaining games this tournament and I get reminded of FBH vs Savior quite a bit whenever I play on it. Not to mention that it was one of the first maps I played on when I started playing more 1v1.
Hitchhiker and Monty Hall felt like two of a kind at times, almost like twins due to the "general" idea behind the two. However, hitchhiker is my favourite map this tournament. There's something about hitchhiker that screams amazing. Whether it's the design or tileset used or the fact that it feels like such a unique map with the way it forces players to adjust their game. It's also the map where we saw players come up with different strategies or utilize the terrain for both offensive and defensive purposes.
ODT Rec: Bisu vs Flash on Neo Arkanoid - Dweb and corsairs, need I say more?
It was really entertaining to see bio used on more than one occasion in the group stages. I feel like this is one thing that's missing from ASL. More bizzare strats by the players to grab the victory, but I also contend that the level of play has went up since then and players have more things mapped out in comparison. Anyways, the group stage felt like a hit and miss with some of these matches. That might also be partially due to the map pool used. After watching this tournament, I can see why ASL would follow the OSL route from this perspective. I ended up enjoying most games regardless. But before we go further, let's just talk about several of the best games imo from the group stage:
Reach vs Shark on Hitchhiker - Truly amazing. It's hard to explain why this game felt so magical to watch, but part of it is probably the skill level of both players on such a unique map. This might not be Third World, but the positioning, macro and back and forth was just so so great to watch!
Bisu vs Hwasin on Python - I actually thought this would be another typical PvT and it almost was until Bisu used a certain unit which he promised to use afaik. I thought it was a different game so it was a pleasant surprise! It's probably obvious as to what I'm referring to, but for anyone who doesn't remember or know, give it a quick watch to see
Flash vs iloveoov on Monty Hall - The strategy that iloveoov used in this game was the reason I enjoyed it so much. Multitasking and bizzare is what I'd call it, but that's what made it so memorable as well.
Nada vs Hwasin on Monty Hall - For some reason, this game still comes to mind. Perhaps it was the back and forth that they had or the way each choose a different route to take that led to such an interesting game.
Once the elimination rounds, things kicked into overdrive. Flash getting so much hate, despite an insane 14-2 record and plowing through Bisu with his famous cheese then almost beating GGPlay on Fantasy to get to the finals. Iris defeating Savior for past revenge and then 3-0ing Stork with his aggressive style. Seems like 2 facs was almost the norm at the time?
Iris vs Savior - this series felt like a bit of a letdown, especially because of the caliber of players. Probably most because of the first game on Python. Last game was good though from what I recall.
Stork vs Reach - Stork's play and defense on Fantasy was just ever so great, but so was Reach's dt defense. A worthy PvP to watch!
Bisu vs Flash - probably one of the funniest series this whole OSL. The amount of hate Flash got on TL afterwards was great. People really hated him it seems. You have to give credit where it's due. He used two strategies very well, and though I haven't gotten a chance to see his monty hall game again (copyright), I still remember it from years ago. Speaks volumes to the series and its outcome.
GGPlay vs Hwasin - I'm generally a big fan of TvZs and this was a great one. The game on hitchhiker was just insane. The way GGPlay played it and all, using the map architecture was just so so good. Highly recommend it!
Iris vs Stork - This series ended up being a big stomp. Iris was really aggressive and feels like Stork never managed to read it. Granted, the games were fun and Stork's defense on hitchhiker with reavers was some of the best this OSL. It's too bad that even that wasn't good enough to help him grab a victory.
Flash vs GGPlay - Flash's python game and the endless amount of mnm roaming the map was insane, but his experience showed heavily in the last game and probably one of the most memorable ones imo. He had a large army roaming the center and left GGPlay to mine peacefully from his third+fourth for quite a while on Fantasy. There wasn't even a single lurker if I recall right. The Flash nowadays would've taken out the fourth at least. Monty was also good, but more so for GGPlay keeping tabs and realizing that Flash was going to mine out his last mineral patch then going in for the surround.
Iris vs GGPlay - If there's a single series that you want to watch this OSL, make it the finals. Both players played solid, but GGPlay really wanted that win. His defense in game 5 was some of the best I've seen and his usage of swarm+plague to defend while attacking at the same time was mind boggling. Even nowadays, I rarely see Zergs combo swarm with plague, even though the latter is just so deadly to bio (and even mech). That's not to say that Iris folded over and lost, he actually played well, but felt like it was brute force vs masterful defense. At one point, the whole screen was just swarm and Iris had barely any room to move around. A good game to watch for Zergs imo.
This starleague had some amazing games as expected, but there were also some games that felt underwhelming such as Nada dying to Bisu's dts on Fantasy or Flash dying straight up to Savior's lings on the same map. Having said that, between watching the games and reading the LR, you get an idea of the storylines and how the outcome differed greatly from what was expected.
That both Iris and GGPlay rose at the same time and made it to the finals despite being counted out was great. The fact that GGplay got there by beating a lot of notable TvZ players then reverse swept to win against one of the most motivated Terran players made it even better.