The beauty of the PokerStrategy.com TSL 3 is that anyone can qualify. It doesn't matter if you haven't had any success on the world stage, if you have the skills then the dream of winning the TSL can be your reality. ONECrunCher has emerged from nowhere and 'stolen' the 3rd TSL Qualifier from the SC:BW veteran FnaticMSI.Fenix with a clear cut 3-0 victory. His victory caused quite a commotion, some saying he had an easy bracket and wasn't deserving - but can you really say a bracket containing Ciara, Kiwikaki and beastyqt is an easy bracket? CrunCher is legit, his unique twist on the Protoss matchups provides an interesting quirk to his play and his skill cannot be denied.
His lacking results are best explained through his commitment to Warcraft 3, he was actively playing in tournaments as recent as a few months ago. Now he is playing SC2 full time, and he will inevitably rack up a number of results over the coming months - his first being a victory in the 3rd TSL Qualifier. Us Starcrafters don't really know much about the Warcraft scene, or even who CrunCher is. So we sat him down for a chat after his win to reveal some of the mystery behind this amazing American Protoss:
An interview with ONECrunCher
TeamLiquid: Congratulations! You qualified for the TSL3. How did it feel?
ONECrunCher: Thanks. I felt great. I think I played pretty well overall, and am really happy where my performance is at the moment.
TeamLiquid: Not many people know you or your history. Introduce yourself.
ONECrunCher: Hi Team Liquid. I am a 19 year old currently attending college, and enjoying life. I came from Warcraft 3, which I played for a few years, attending Blizzcon and WCGs and such. I played a little of Starcraft 1, but nothing serious, mostly custom maps. I am currently on team ONE.
TeamLiquid: Wheat said you were one of the top up-and-coming NA players in WarCraft 3. What made you switch to SC2? What is your goal for these TL Opens?
ONECrunCher: Well, WC3 was slowly going out of style. Tournaments and teams were fading away. There was not much left to do in the game besides Blizzcon/WCG. SC2 looked like a promising game -- what Blizzard game doesn't, haha. It would also give many more opportunities for teams, leagues, tournaments, and so forth, so I decided to swap over. My goal for the TL Opens were just to try to score as many points as I could. I played in the TSL Qualifier #2, where I got knocked out early by TT1. I was surprised when I started beating players like Beastyqt, Kiwikaki, and Ciara, and I managed to play my best in the remaining series.
TeamLiquid: Our previous winner, Naniwa, who was eliminated in the Semifinals of the first TSL qualifier said he lost because he "was too satisfied" getting to the semifinals. How did you maintain motivation knowing you already exceeded your expectations?
ONECrunCher: I have a lot of experience from WC3 tournaments, and from them I learned a lot about playing long tournaments, mind games, and so forth. After I reached my goal of beating one player, and getting to the next round, I just took it step by step, until I reached the end.
TeamLiquid: You went through a lot of top players like Fenix, Kiwikaki, Ciara (former TL Open #2), and ESL Ranking Top 10 Stephano. Do you think this is a shock to a lot of people to see relatively "unknown" players qualify for the TSL? Or do you think that actual skill and perceived skill is much closer than fans think? Will we see more underrated players qualify?
ONECrunCher: I think it is a shock to people, but the skill difference between a lot of the players are not as large as they might seem. The game is still new, and everything is constantly changing. There are tons of players practicing all the time, but have not yet made a break through in a tournament. I think more underrated players will qualify, just do not underestimate them!
TeamLiquid: You certainly increased your fan base today. Are you going to practice hard for the TSL and overall now that you know you'll be getting hundreds of more stream viewers now? [Note: CrunCher has had a TL stream for quite some time, but now has a Featured Stream after his TL SC2 Open win and TSL3 qualification].
ONECrunCher: Of course. I plan on doing my best in the TSL and in future tournaments, and entertaining people on my stream I feel more motivated to ladder and play better when I have a reason to, and having more viewers will also make it more fun.
TeamLiquid: Tell us a little about your team ONE.
ONECrunCher: ONE (or All 4 One Gaming) is a new team. Some people I knew back from WC3 started it up, and recently we recruited a bunch of great players that have been performing well in leagues and ladder. We have players such as Bubbles, Kyhol, Perplexity, Gatored, and a couple other players who are just having fun being in the team.
TeamLiquid: Does your name mean anything? What's your typical day like? How much do you play / practice? What are your personal goals for SC2?
ONECrunCher: My name doesn't really mean anything. I picked it back when I started playing WC3 random team, when I was 12 or something, and ended up just sticking with it, since I am terrible at making up names. My typical day involves me having a weird sleeping schedule, and going to class late morning until the evening. I practice a couple hours a day at the moment, depending on how much homework or studying I have to do. My goals for SC2 are to try to top what I managed to accomplish at WC3.
TeamLiquid: What did you achieve in WarCraft 3? Don't be shy about details!
ONECrunCher: My achievements for WC3 started in early 2009. I had started playing when the seasonal tournaments began (Blizzcon Regionals). I practiced hard and ended up qualifying, and was really excited, since it was my first LAN, and it was also in Germany. I had also qualified for WCG a few weeks after I qualified for the Blizzcon Regionals. I managed to place 3rd at the 2009 Blizzcon Regionals, which was just short of placing into Blizzcon, but I still received a nice check of $1,000. I was really excited at doing so well at my first LAN, even with how nervous I was. I ended up getting bored of WC3 after the regionals, and didn't practice for WCG, and ended up doing poorly.
I went back to WC3 after 2009, to play in the 2010 seasonal ladder and WCG. Which I managed to take 2nd place in both of those, losing to imba night elf . I had also managed to win a Zotac Cup sometime in 2010, after defeating the Korean Orc Focus in the finals. At Blizzcon I gave up on WC3, and ended up just tower rushing both my opponents, which was pretty funny. Needless to say, it was not pretty. I also played in a bunch of leagues and random small tournaments throughout my WC3 career, too many to even count.
TeamLiquid: What about StarCraft 2?
I played it in the beta and release, but didn't really focus on it too much, since I was busy with WC3 tournaments, and ended up playing WoW/D2 before I got into SC2, which was a few months ago. So I don't really have any achievements for it.
TeamLiquid: Wow, a few months ago? That might surprise some people! How did you get so good at SC2 so quickly then? Just a lot of laddering or custom games?
ONECrunCher: SC2 is still a new game, so I didn't have too much I had to learn. I just had to ladder a bunch to get use to the macro and game play. I watched tournaments for SC2 even when I wasn't playing, so I still had a general idea of what to do, I just had to apply it to my game.
TeamLiquid: You have an interesting name - Abdulaziz. Give us a little bit of your personal (non-SC2) history.
ONECrunCher: I was born in Oregon, currently living in Tennessee, however, my dad is from Kuwait, and my mom's side of the family is from Poland, and my name comes from an Arabic background.
TeamLiquid: What made you choose Protoss in StarCraft 2?
ONECrunCher: When I played a little of SC1 before SC2 beta was out, I picked Terran at first, and ended up sucking at it, and found the style boring. I then swapped to Protoss and massed dragoons and a clicked around the map. I also loved photon cannons back when I first played SC1 when I was a little kid, and massed cannons everywhere, which also resembles WC3 in a way, since I was Human, and towers were a main part of gameplay.
In the beta I played random at first. I found zerg to be a weird race, the creep just didn't fit in with me well, I also found their stlye of massing units to be boring. I actually had fun with Terran, but found TvT too boring to play. So I went with Protoss, who had the awesome warp gate technology, storm(AWESOME!), as well as the best unit, the mothership!
TeamLiquid: You made a mothership against Fenix, was it just for the fans? Were you intimidated at all by your opponents? Did you know who Fenix was? He certainly did not know you -- even asking what RTS background you came from. Do you think being an "underdog" helped in these matches?
ONECrunCher: The mothership was for my build. It is a really powerful unit once you reach the later stages of the game. I was not really intimidated by Fenix, I knew I could take the games if I played well. I knew who he was, and saw he won a couple big tournaments. I don't think being an underdog really helped me win the matches. You should never underestimate your opponents, mostly in the finals of a tournament.
TeamLiquid: Are you excited to play in the TSL? The competition will be quite tough and interesting with the Korean invites. Are you eager to test yourself against top tier Korean players? Who would you like to face?
ONECrunCher: I am very excited. I have been waiting a while to face the top players, and prove myself against them. Players I would love to face are the ones who made a huge name for themselves in GSL, such as Nestea, Fruitdealer, Marineking, MC, MVP. It would be really fun and amazing to have a chance at the best players at the game.
TeamLiquid: Now that you've qualified, do you want to give some predictions for the last 5 TL Open qualifiers? Who would you like to see make it into the field of 32?
ONECrunCher: I would like to see some of my clanmates make it. They are a bunch of great guys. I would also like to see some more WC3 players!
TeamLiquid: Well all three EU / NA qualifiers are former War3 players, so you guys must be doing something right. Any last words or shout outs?
ONECrunCher: Shoutout to all the people in my team, ONE, and all the support I get from them and my fans. I plan on doing well in the TSL, so be ready!
Normally this is where we would post CrunCher's list of achievements, but seeing as he is such a recent convert he doesn't have any yet! Instead, I'll give you a small story about how I met CrunCher on the ladder during the beta. It was a PvP and people hadn't worked out just how good 4gating was yet. CrunCher went for a fast Warp Prism with 4 gates, attacked my front with some units to draw me out while warping in 4 Zealots in my rear - the Zealots killed my probes and the game was over. From that moment I knew this guy would be one to look out for and hey! Look at him now!
CrunCher's style deviates only slightly from standard, meaning that he's worked out a lot of this game on his own rather than analysing other peoples replays. Typically his armies end up Immortal heavy, which in my opinion is a very fitting unit for a player named "CrunCher" since there is no unit that crunches things better than Immortals - Rwar!! He has slightly unusual chronoboost use, typically chronoboosting out as quick as he can even if he's not 4 Warpgating. In PvZ he does a trademark wall off with a 4th Gateway and a Robotics to defend his natural. If you were to pick his strong match up, it would probably be PvT. His micro is subpurb and he make excellent decisions, but his late game PvT is some of the best in North America. He demonstrated this quite well during the TSL Qualifier in his final against Fenix, but he did against beastyqt in the Ro32 as well - let's see how their game went...
With the score tied 1-1, Lost Temple would be the map of the deciding game between beastyqt and CrunCher. Beastyqt spawned as the teal Terran at 9 while CrunCher picked his trademark orange and warped in at 6. Neither side opted for any funny stuff – Cruncher going for the standard 14 Gate/15 Gas after a scout at 9 while beasty did the standard Rax/Orbital. Around 19 supply, CrunCher finally arrived at his opponents main and immediately steals his gas – something of a CrunCher trademark in this matchup.
Upon stealing the gas his probe immediately leaves and camps Beasty’s natural choke while beasty’s first two marines pound away at the assimilator. Meanwhile CrunCher added his Core and a 2nd gas and had about 75 energy saved up on his Nexus to chronoboost Warpgate out – he also added a 2nd Gate and a Robotics. Beastyqt didn’t let the gas steal get to him, and had already added his Factory and was building his Starport – he was also producing Hellions from his Factory indicating his intention to harass.
Once his observer completed, CrunCher expanded to his natural (around 37 supply). As his observer wandered over to Beasty’s main he spotted a medivac en route to his main filled with marines – the Hellions were preparing to burst through the front while the marines distracted CrunCher. The plan was doomed to fail as CrunCher’s probe controlled the Xel’Naga outside of beasty’s natural and was able to scout the Hellions. Knowing that there were Hellions coming in through the ramp and a drop coming in the back, CrunCher prepared accordingly.
The drop did some damage – it killed a sentry and some probes – but the Hellions were rendered useless by CrunCher’s wall. Meanwhile, beasty had added an Armory and a new Command Center had just finished – it morphed into an Orbital before floating down to the natural. With a 2nd Factory now completed, and his first Thor popping out it was clear beastyqt was going for a unique Thor/Hellion build – a build which has a lethal timing push against Protoss who expand quickly. However, CrunCher could see all of this with a sneaky observer; this would allow him ample time to prepare, but holding would still be require precision control.
Beastyqt moved out with 5 Hellions, 2 Thors, a Medivac and some Marines – he needed to do some damage with this attack or he’d be significantly behind. Beasty’s Hellions ran ahead of the group and attempted to pick off a stray Stalker – but instead were lured back to CrunCher’s natural where some clutch Forcefields trapped 4 of them allowing Stalkers to clean them up. Beasty’s Thors rammed through the Forcefields and prepared to assault CrunCher’s natural. Knowing that if he engaged he would lose the fight, CrunCher retreated up his ramp in an effort to stall for another round of warp-ins and to consolidate his fragmented army.
Beasty went into the natural and start to hammer away at CrunCher’s probes – giving CrunCher a small opportunity to come down his ramp and pick off units with focus fire. Beasty tried to eliminate CrunCher’s lone Colossus with strike cannon, but CrunCher’s superior control allowed him to pick off the Strike Cannoning Thor before the Colossus died – and it wasn’t long before the 2nd Thor fell to Stalker fire as well. It was a close one, but CrunCher’s superior micro was able to clinch the battle and turn the game in his favour.
Despite having the army advantage, CrunCher’s peon count had suffered from the two attacks that Beasty had made – he was around 16 workers behind after accounting for Mules. But since he now had the army advantage, and hence map control, he was able to immediately take his gold expansion to try and level the economic playing field. Meanwhile beasty was adding upgrades for his Thor/Hellion army while mixing in Vikings to deal with the Colossus. Somehow two Hellions were able to slip into CrunCher’s main – Blue Flame had just finished and that meant that they were able to get a handful of kills, while this normally wouldn’t be much of a blow, since CrunCher was already behind in peons losing even 3 probes was a significant setback.
Beasty had his third prepared, and floated over his Command Center as CrunCher’s gold finished warping in. CrunCher was also adding Templar Tech and starting to make Immortals. Beasty kept up the relentless harass by dropped 2 Hellions in CrunCher’s gold – netting another 9 kills and keeping CrunCher’s economy down. By now Beasty had caught up in army worth and was ahead in economy – the game was looking for good for him at this point. CrunCher hurriedly added two forges and Chronoboosted out Storm, Charge, Weapons and Armour.
Beasty continued to harass CrunCher with another two Hellions drop which killed another 9 probes – the situation was rapidly deteriorating for CrunCher, he would have to win the upcoming battle to have a chance in this game. He added a second Robotics and a Dark Shrine and a few more Gateways bringing his Gateway count to 10. Meanwhile, Beasty had 4 Barracks with 2 new ones building, a Ghost Academy and 4 Factories. Beasty’s main had mined out, but he had just taken 12 natural meanwhile CrunCher’s main still had some minerals, but was about to run out. Beasty prepared to take 12 main and CrunCher took 3’s natural.
With their economies preparing for the next phase of the game, Beasty readied his forces and launched an attack – he was maxed with his army worth 1k minerals more than CrunCher’s 180 supply army. CrunCher spread his forces out, preparing to get the better concave. Both sides jostled for position as CrunCher tried to get storms off on Beasty’s Marines/Hellions/Vikings while Beasty’s Vikings tried to get volleys off on CrunCher’s Colossus. Beasty’s Vikings clumped too much, and CrunCher got a key Storm off on them – killing the vast majority of them. Stalkers picked off the remainder while the rest of CrunCher’s forces went to work on the Thors. Despite their best Strike Cannons, another round of warp-ins killed off the majority of Beasty’s forces – leaving him with 2 Thors and two badly hurt Marauders.
The next round of warp-ins, along with a newly constructed Immortal, were able to finish up Beasty’s army – but the game had been tilted in Beasty’s favour. He was ahead in supply, economy and army. Both sides took a moment to rebuild their forces; CrunCher opting for a Zealot/Immortal/Templar composition while Beasty continued with his Thor/Hellion/Marauder. The first 3 Dark Templar warped in and were immediately sent off towards Beasty’s gold, 12 Natural and 12 main to harass. The Dark Templars were very successful: the one at the gold killed 7 SCVs and stalled a Command Center from completing, the one at 12 natural got 6 kills and stalled mining for a good 30-40 seconds and the one in 12 main got 5 kills, almost killed an Orbital and also stalled mining.
The Dark Templar had served two purposes – CrunCher stalled for time as he rebuilt his army and also slowed down Beasty’s monster economy. Now CrunCher had the worker advantage and was fighting on good economic ground. CrunCher also had +3/+3 finish up – meaning he was in the best position possible to take on what Beasty could muster. He also added two more gateways and a Stargate. Yes. A Stargate. Once that finished, he added a Fleet Beacon – a Mothership was on it’s way.
Two more Dark Templar tried to harass 12, but this time could only manage a few kills before being picked off. CrunCher took this time to expand to 3 Main. Now that Beasty had remaxed, it was time for him to move out with a scary army of Thor/Marauder/Ghost. Cleverly, he cloaked his Ghosts and moved them in ahead of his army and got off some amazing EMPs on CrunCher’s army. Given that CrunCher’s army was mostly Immortal/Templar/Zealot – these EMPs were devastating.
Beasty knew he had an excellent opportunity, and moved in immediately with his Marauder/Thor army forcing CrunCher to retreat into his natural. Fortunately, thanks to the power of the Khadarin Amulet, a fresh round of Templar warp-ins were able to get some amazing storms off on Beasty’s clumping army dealing terrible terrible damage.
CrunCher was still forced to continue his retreat, but now Beasty’s army had been significantly weakened. More Templar warp-ins were able to get some more amazing storms off on Beasty’s army – this time killing the majority of it. The Thors had been stripped of their Marauder support, and now the remaining Immortal/Colossus/Archons were able to dispatch of them.
After that exchange CrunCher had gained a marginal advantage, nothing to gloat about, but he certainly was in a better position than he was 15 minutes ago. CrunCher now had 4 Robotics up and in excess of 14 Gateways AND a Mothership had just started production. Beastyqt had floated an Orbital to his island, and maintained the 1 base advantage he has established earlier. Beasty resumed his harass play and 2 Hellions were able to pick off around 9 probes from 3 natural. But by now CrunCher had a significant worker advantage so losing those probes didn’t really matter. Both sides had essentially remaxed by this point (that is, a remax within about 2 minutes of losing both their armies). Beasty also dropped 3 Hellions into 3 main and despite CrunCher’s best splitting efforts, the Hellions were able to kill 20 odd probes before being killed.
At this point losing those probes was beneficial to CrunCher as it allowed him to add more units into his maxed army. CrunCher’s Mothership had also warped into the battle field. With that CrunCher, for the first time, took the initiative and attacked into Beasty’s maxed army. Beasty, once again, got off a number of clutch EMPs before the battle rendering his Templar useless. Realising that he would lose the engagement, CrunCher quickly retreated to the safety of his Mothership and morphed some Archons. Meanwhile another Hellion drop had been landed in 3 main, and another 23 probes were purged from this world. Again, losing these probes was arguably beneficial to CrunCher since it allowed his army to get bigger while Beasty was stuck with 4k overmins.
With 30 supply more army, CrunCher’s army value had finally taken over Beasty’s – he now held a 2k/2k resource advantage. CrunCher moved in for the kill and the final battle commenced.
Beasty’s army was out of position – his Thors were at the front blocking his Marauders – but it didn’t matter. CrunCher steamrolled on, even landing a sexy Vortex which further tipped the battle in CrunCher’s favour.
This was an amazing game. CrunCher held off Beasty’s relentless attacks with solid defence. But defending came at a cost, and his economy was significantly set back. Realising his poor position, CrunCher’s decision to harass with Dark Templar was the turning point of the match. The time that those Dark Templar were able to stall for, and the economic damage they did, allowed him to catch up in economy giving him a new breath of life in the game. The game was far from over though, Beastyqt’s Ghost usage should be commended as he completely neutralised the active High Templar in CrunCher’s army – however when he tried to push in for the kill the Khadarin Amulet allowed the fresh Templar to get clutch storms off giving CrunCher a window of opportunity to take the game. Lastly, Beasty’s late game Hellion harass actually hurt him more than it helped him – CrunCher’s maxed army was 30 supply stronger than Beasty’s since Beasty had 60 workers to CrunCher’s 30 after his Harass. This, in combination with the Mothership, spelled the undoing of Beasty and allowed CrunCher to take the game and series 2-1.
Truly and amazing game – and both players should be commended for their play. You can see CrunCher’s other games either by downloading the reppack from this thread or checking out Chill and DJWheat's commentary of the Semifinals and Finals which will be available shortly on our YouTube Channel. Do check them out as his series against Ciara and Kiwikaki are definitely worth watching – as well as the previous two games between him and beastyqt.
The TSL Qualifier Leaderboard has been updated to reflect the results of TSL Qualifier #3. Ciara jumps out to a narrow lead over the pack with his Ro16 finish in the last qualifier. While it's still mathematically possible that he won't make the TSL - it's looking very very likely that he'll make it in given how the other Qualifiers have gone. Fenix and Goody share 2nd place with 100 points each. Stefano adds a Semifinal finish to his Ro16 finish in TSL Qualifier #1 and cements himself in 4th place. TLAF-Liquid`TLO also jumps into a qualifying position after his semifinal finish. KawaiiRice and Maker are both sitting on 40 points, just outside of the top 8, after a Ro16 and Ro8 finish.
There's still 5 TSL Qualifiers remaining so expect the leaderboard to change up quite a bit over the coming weeks. It was the IEM Finals in Kiev this weekend so a few heavy hitters from the EU scene missed out on their chance to qualify this week, but expect them to turn up in force this coming weekend since time is quickly running out to qualify for the TSL. ONECrunCher was basically an unknown in the Starcraft 2 scene before today, but now his name will be remembered for years to come as one of the 32 best players in the world by qualifying for the TSL. Remember, anyone can qualify for the TSL - perhaps it will be you who wins the qualifier this weekend?
Don't forget that if you are a non-US resident you can sign up for our PokerStrategy.com TSL3 Raffle. You and a friend could win an all expenses paid trip to Korea and $1000 spending money. Further, you'll get to tour the oGs-Liquid` house and rumour has it you'll get to have dinner with Jinro. Check out all the details in this thread.
Best of luck.
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Discuss with other fans in the TSL3 Forum.