In what could only be described as a poetic final, Duckload.White-Ra bested TLAF-Liquid`TLO in an intense 5 match series. In doing so he qualifies for the PokerStrategy.com TSL3 and means that White-Ra has qualified for all three TSLs to date. White-Ra's victory today was truly impressive. The field for Qualifier #4 was the toughest we've ever had. One forum user remarked...
On January 29 2011 23:54 vyyye wrote:
Wow, looking through the brackets it's looking less like a qualifier and more like the European Championship. I wonder who'll place top 3.
Wow, looking through the brackets it's looking less like a qualifier and more like the European Championship. I wonder who'll place top 3.
White-Ra had to fight his way through long time rivals like Strelok and Brat_OK before meeting his SC2-beta rival, TheLittleOne, in the final. In a strange turn of events, TLO's Protoss proved to be too much for White-Ra as TLO won two PvPs against the beast. However, White-Ra's immaculate PvT and PvZ exploited every little mistake TLO made and White-Ra took the series home 3-2. We got a moment to chat with White-Ra after a long days work crushing the best of Europe...
An interview with Duckload.White-Ra
Note: Interview was done via audio and transcribed into text.
TeamLiquid: Congratulations! How do you feel now?
Duckload.White-Ra: I am very happy because I qualify on my second TSL open, and happy because I do not have to spend any more time to qualify. I remember TSL1 and TSL2 games, when I played it was always a very big tournament for the community and everyone wanted to play. Now I have more free time, it's very good.
TeamLiquid: Are you excited to be able to play Koreans in the main draw? Anyone you're looking to prove yourself against?
Duckload.White-Ra: For me it does not matter who I play first round because all players who make TSL draw very gosu. As for Koreans, I am looking forward to playing them because it is not like Starcraft 1, you have more chance and is good practice.
TeamLiquid: You played in both TSL1 and TSL2 for Brood War. How do you remember them?
Duckload.White-Ra: I remember my losses to Draco 2-3 in TSL1, but I remember my loss to Jianfei in TSL2 most. I was winning 2-0 and lose 2-3. In fifth game I had big advantage, but upload two reavers into shuttle when he shoot it. That one little mistake cost me going to semifinal. I try to play good and work hard for TSL3 to not make these mistake. For TSL3 I am looking to Top 4 -- all tournaments I play I only look to make top 3 top 4.
TeamLiquid: You had a big weekend recently, winning 3 tournaments at once.
Duckload.White-Ra: It was very hard work. The community maybe thinks it looks very easy but it's very hard. I practice a lot. Maybe I am a bit lucky, it's unexpected to win 3 big tournaments and finish 2nd place IEM Kiev. Very good first month 2011 for me. My friends, fans, family and wife all very happy and my manager too. I came back from Kiev and did not practice 3-4 days, yesterday I only play 4-5 games, and then play TSL tournament and qualify. I lost 4 games all PvP -- I think my PvP not bad but maybe I need more practice, but not many Protoss to practice with.
TeamLiquid: What does this win mean to you?
Duckload.White-Ra: For me it was very important because I now have free time to prepare for IEM finals. I don't like playing Zotac or Craftcup because you spend too much time doing it. It takes all day. So this was very important for me to win now. After today's victory I can prepare new build orders for IEM finals and TSL main draw.
TeamLiquid: You used a unique warp-prism build in PvT quite often.
Duckload.White-Ra: I wanted to make something new. I wanted to show that not just Terrans can make drops in more than one place, and I want to show that you can use warp prism for harass or scout and puts you in good position even if you do not kill many SCVs. If you do not break Terran midgame economy you are in bad position, they are always ahead in minerals and marauder medivac marine is very strong. Even if you build colossus Terran just makes two starport and vikings, then it is too hard.
I remember using this strategy against Maka and Fenix in Blizzcon, and I will use it in the future, but not always because then Terrans will always prepare for it
TeamLiquid: You recently said in an interview you were 50-50 about going to Korea.
Duckload.White-Ra: GSL is just one tournament, if you put your time and money to go there for one tournament, yes GSL is very good but you lost too much time and investment. You can't play EU online leagues, Black Dragon, and many others. Also I make commitment to all these leagues and I can't just turn my back and refuse. There are many tournament in USA and Europe too, like MLG, IEM, Dreamhack, Assembly, and England too. If you live in Korea you just play one.
TeamLiquid: You are one of the older progamers -- are you going to be playing Starcraft 3 in 10 years?
Duckload.White-Ra: Haha, hard to say. Starcraft 1 was my hobby, but I'm a progamer in Starcraft 2. It's my game beause you don't need 400 apm to win. You can just make smart decision and good build order and you can succeed. Experience and preparation are more important so I like it.
TeamLiquid: How long will you play for then?
Duckload.White-Ra: In sports like soccer and basketball many older players play to 35 or 36 years old. maybe two years more if I still can play well. It is hard to show good games all the time, but I think it is very important for e-sports to show good manner and not write bad words. Not everyone knows about progamers and I think its important to show them good manner.
TeamLiquid: You travel quite a bit these days -- you spent some time in the US last year.
Duckload.White-Ra: Last holiday I go to USA for one month, visit uncles sister and many friends from Ukraine in New York City, and play WCG, MLG, and Blizzcon. I have good visa so visit USA no problem.
TeamLiquid: What does your wife think of your progaming success? Is she supportive of your progaming?
Duckload.White-Ra: My wife is happy. Sometimes she comes with me on trips, like DreamHack. I am thankful to my sponsor for paying my hotel, food, everything, and I can just pay my wife plane ticket and we can travel together. If I am at home playing in tournament she knows, if friend calls she says "he's playing" -- she understands. It's very good for me. When I practice she will ask me to do other things go take walk or go to cinema, and I will of course stop for 1-2 days, maybe play 1 hour not 6-8 hours. Maybe we will go to IEM Germany together.
TeamLiquid: What do you do outside of Starcraft? Do you have a regular job?
Duckload.White-Ra: I write for a big Russian magazine. I have worked there 5-6 years. I write about SC2 and make good money for Ukraine. They also make VOD for Russian and English, maybe soon you will see my regular and FPVOD for them. But I need to improve my English, right now I need friends to translate for me because my English is not perfect.
TeamLiquid: Any last words?
Duckload.White-Ra: Thanks for supporting me in big way. I know even many Zerg and Terran players like my games. Thank you fans, and especially thank you Duckload.com for sponsoring me and we will go forward working together. I want to show beautiful games and very interesting decisions when I play. For me, I want to make a show when I play, not just have results.
TeamLiquid: Congratulations on qualifying for the TSL3.
White-Ra was one of the most impressive players during the beta. But during the first few months of release his name continually popped up on the eliminated list of tournaments. Why this happened, we don't know. But what we do know is that within the past month White-Ra has slipped back into form and is once again looking like the top Protoss in Europe. Over the past few weeks he's won three tournaments and placed second in another. A truly impressive feat.
White-Ra's style is completely unique. You won't find another like it in the world. The Warp Prism is a key unit in his gameplay. He has experimented with its use in PvP, PvT and PvZ and makes frequent use of it in PvT. Further, his builds and building placements are very unusual for a Protoss and yet somehow he can make them work. Not only that, he makes them work in style. Let's have a look at how he dismantled one of his long time rivals, Brat_OK, on his road to taking our the TSL Qualifier #4 Title...
After taking a 1-0 lead in the series, White-Ra warped in as the red Protoss at 1 on Xel’Naga Caverns while Brat_OK spawned as the yellow Terran at 7. Both sides opened in their usual fashion and scouted late. White-Ra’s scout was too late to be able to enter Brat_OK’s main, so his probe just camped out at the local Xel’Naga Watchtower. Once Brat_OK’s SCV was forced out Ra added a Robotics Facility – a trademark White-Ra opening. Brat_OK had moved onto two rax and prepared to expand while pressuring with a small force consisting of 2 Marauders, a Marine and an SCV.
Brat_OK tested White-Ra’s ramp, but ran into 3 Zealots and a Stalker which forced his small force into full retreat. But this distraction had given Brat_OK’s Reaper a brief window where it could leap inside – an opportunity that Brat_OK wouldn’t miss. The Reaper jumped in, saw the Robotics and a 2nd Gateway and immediately left. Ra’s Prism completed and he instantly loaded it up with four Zealots and sent it on its way to Brat_OK. Behind this pressure White-Ra had completed a third gateway and started his expansion. Ra’s prism entered Brat_OK’s main just as his Orbital was floating down to his natural.
The Zealots got around 4 kills and stalled Brat_OK’s mining a tiny bit – at a cost of two Zealots (two were saved) this was definitely a good trade for Ra. Meanwhile Ra was adding a Twilight Council which indicated his intention of going storm; an excellent idea given his Warp Prism opening. However, before teching to Storm, Ra added a Dark Shrine – another great idea to complement his Prism play. Ra went back in for another swipe at Brat_OK’s SCVs with his Prism and was able to net a further two kills – but he lost all his Zealots in the process.
Brat_OK’s first Medivac popped, and he instantly loaded it up with 4 Marauders to start counter dropping. Around this time Brat_OK’s scouting Barracks had finally entered White-Ra’s main and scouted the Dark Shrine – moments before it was set to complete. Brat_OK added a Tech Lab to his Starport and dropped an Engineering Bay instantly. Brat_OK dropped his Marauders next to the Dark Shrine and began pounding away at it, meanwhile White-Ra had three Dark Templar en route to Brat_OK – one in a Warp Prism and two by land.
One of the Dark Templar were instantly scanned and killed by Brat_OK. The other land based one went to work on the SCVs in Brat_OK’s natural and netted 4 kills before being scanned. The one that came in via Warp Prism was able to get 7 kills before being picked off. All in all this was nothing game breaking but Brat_OK was slightly behind in economy and needed to make something happen while Ra was still weak from teching so hard. Meanwhile, Brat_OK had also picked off White-Ra’s Dark Shrine which prevented any more Dark Templar from warping in.
Storm had just finished researching for White-Ra and he began mixing in Templars to his Zealot/Immortal/Sentry army. Brat_OK moved out with a marine heavy force with a Raven and two medivacs for support. They charged into White-Ra natural hoping to hit a timing before White-Ra had storm; he was too late.
With three clutch storms, Brat_OK’s fragile army was decimated and he was put on the retreat. White-Ra was now ahead, but Brat_OK still had a potent army – he would have to remain careful if he wanted to win. With the Khaydarin Amulet upgrade completed, White-Ra warped in another round of Templar and constructed a new Warp Prism for Storm dropping. Meanwhile Brat_OK rallied his reinforcements to try and break White-Ra before his lead became too great.
Unfortunately for Brat_OK, his forces were completely disorganised. His reinforcements had come up the middle but his last attack force (healed back to full health) was still on the left hand side of the map. His split army could not fight White-Ra’s united army so his central force was forced to stim and retreat back home. White-Ra gave chase to Brat_OK’s retreating army. This gave the forces on the left side of the map a chance to counter attack White-Ra’s natural; which Brat_OK gladly took. While unable to do significant damage, it did give Brat_OK some time to recollect himself as White-Ra retreated his whole army to defend the counter.
It was now time for White-Ra to begin harassing again. First it was a cheeky warp-in of Zealots to a proxy pylon near Brat_OK’s natural which killed off a handful of SCVs in Brat_OK’s natural. Second it was a Warp Prism loaded with 2 Storm ready Templar. Brat_OK saw the Prism coming, and stimmed three marines to take out the prism – it wasn’t enough and the Templar landed and began storming. Strangely, White-Ra stormed the Marines and then missed his second storm on the SCVs meaning his drop was nearly useless – netting 6 kills total. Despite the set back, White-Ra expanded to 9 to extend his economic lead.
White-Ra gathered his troops and marched across the map – he had also mixed in Colossus into his army, a very nasty tech switch to deal with as Terran. At the same time Brat_OK moved out with a Medivac/Marine/Ghost composition – perfect against Templar play, terrible against Colossus. Both armies jostled for position around the left Xel’Naga Watchtower – Brat_OK having the slight edge since he controlled it. Brat_OK tried to use this to his advantage by sniping off Templar – instead, White-Ra instinctively feedbacked the ghosts – rendering them useless. With no more ghosts to worry about – White-Ra moved in for the kill.
This fight shouldn’t have been as one sided as it was. Brat_OK had a small skirmishing party headed off towards White-Ra’s natural – meaning (once again) that his army was split. White-Ra’s unified army with Storm and Colossus easily tore through Brat_OK’s half an army. White-Ra knew the game was over, and barely bothered to defend his Natural from Brat_OK’s raid. As White-Ra’s army moved into Brat_OK’s main – Brat_OK called a quits and tapped out.
This game was quintessential White-Ra. The Warp Prism opening netted him a tiny advantage which he was able to hold the whole game. The whole key to this match was the timing of Storm - Brat_OK's push relied on White-Ra not having storm - so the game was all downhill once his army was blanketed with storm. Brat_OK made some questionable decisions when he was splitting his army up for attacks, but all in all White-Ra was one step ahead of him the entire game.
You can see some of White-Ra's other games from checking out the replay packs posted here as well as the VODs of the Semifinals and Finals casted by Wolf and DJWheat which will be uploaded shortly to our Youtube channel.
It's hard to believe it, but we're now at the half way point of the TSL Qualifier Series. The TSL Qualifier Leaderboard has been updated to reflect the results of TSL Qualifier #4. TLAF-Liquid`TLO jumps out to a commanding lead on the field with 151 points. Ciara also has virtually cemented his spot in the TSL with another solid performance and is sits comfortably in second place on 140 points. Beastyqt also jumps up the ranks with his semifinal finish and Moonan sits at #5 on 77 points. Strelok's dual Ro8 performance gets him to 52 points and currently sits just above the cut off line.
At this stage it's still hard to tell how many points it's going to take to qualify. With the way TLO is playing it seems likely that he will eventually win one of the TSL Qualifiers and if he does that will open up another spot for the ladder. There are also a number of names who haven't made significant moves on the ladder yet - Mana, Brat_OK, KiWiKaKi, Namaa, Morrow etc are all in the hunt for a win and are very capable of doing so. Strelok is also one to look out for as his overall game is looking very sharp at the moment. It also remains to be seen whether a Zerg will be able to win a qualifier, or if all our Zergs will come in off of the ladder.
There's still 4 TSL Qualifiers remaining, and really, anything could happen. TSL Qualifier #5 will be held on the European server and expect another amazing turnout. There isn't much time left to qualify, so every match counts. As such, the players will be giving it their all to secure themselves a spot in the PokerStrategy.com TSL and their chance at winning $15,000.
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.