"Bannerific!" by Daigomi
For the past six months the Brood War community have been deprived of an integral part of its viewing experience. The OSL has simply not been living up to it's name and reputation when it comes to game quality. Bacchus OSL depressed many with it's stellar lineup of lackluster games despite an impressive lineup and many expected similar things to happen with EVER 2008 after round one produced little more than 3 good games. With eight players left in the tournament - seven of them needed to take off the bubble wrap and rise to the occasion.
All seven rose to the occasion and produced the best night of OSL games this year.
Eight of Brood Wars elite pleased the crowd as they graced the stage. Flash, the child prodigy. Luxury, the emerging twin. Best, the intoxicating newcomer. Much, the beloved grampa. July, the God of War. Rock, the caveman. JangBi, the high voltage protoss. Backho, the god slayer. All eight knew that the most prestigious prize in Brood War could be a mere 8 victories away. Flash and Luxury, who was sporting a strangely casual attire, took to their booths and the crowd buzzed with a anxious anticipation.
The time had come for the round of eight to begin.
Luxury receiving some pre-game treatment
Having emerged from the all Zerg group, Luxury's other matchups had not been tested in the OSL. Today, Luxury (Zerg at 1) makes the switch back to ZvT, the matchup which defined him, on a map he tends to do well on. Having removed all fear from his heart and showing confidence in his ability he opened 12 hatch not knowing what Flash (Terran at 5) had in store for him. Flash was in no mood for games tonight and decided to play the standard 1 rax CC. His scouting SCV remained alive for a significant time idling on Luxury's creep while Flash boarded up the defenses at home with bunkers.
Luxury declared his creative intentions by aiming to secure 11 quickly as to ensure a strong gas supply for the build he intended on using. Without so much as a whisper, Flash was curious with Luxury's play and investigated the top left corner of the map. When a group of tearaway Zerglings ravaged the poor SCV's life he knew that there was something up when the two assimilators were missing. Luxury intensified his defenses in fear of Flash's potential sunk break while Flash continued to add Barracks and MnM while he waited for his econ to kick in.
With any possibility of early aggression nullified by 6 sunken colonies, Luxury began working his way up the tech tree and as soon as his Spire completed he placed down a Queen's Nest. The old schooler amongst us knew exactly what this meant and reveled in the thought of this build seeing a revival. Indeed, Luxury had opted to use the build which made Terran's claim Requiem favored Zerg. This was the Guardian Rush. Flash knew his timing window was rapidly closing and with his first Vessels popping he moved out with a sizable force.
Luxury did not let up, and harassed Flash in a desperate attempt to keep him restrained. As the ball of death crawled across the map, Luxury knew he needed to stall him while his precious defiler and guardian tech kicked in. He added a further four sunkens to his initial six and Flash began the siege. Luxury desperately added more sunkens, stalling for time. Knowing that the siege would last some time, Flash sends a dropship to 11 to dispatch of the vital 3rd gas. But it's too late for Flash, his timing window has run out and Guardians begin raining blobs from the sky upon Flash's helpless army. Flash is forced to go home, while his attempts at 11 are nullified by clever nydus usage.
Flash knows that he cannot let up now, and expands away from luxury (8 o'clock). Luxury plows on full steam ahead, and has ultralisk technology available at 11. Lux has his guardians en route to Flash eager to reign death upon his natural. Another dropship appears on the minimap and it drops it's cargo inside Luxury's main. With some masterful movements, Flash takes down the spawning pool and gets the Greater Spire to red health before being run over by the swarm. With guardians idling around his natural, Flash tries to pull them back by attempting to break his sunken line. Using plague and ultralisks Luxury is able to prevent Flash from penetrating the Zerg fortress and Flash is forced to back off just as his expansion at 8 completes.
As the Guardian juggernaut resumes the siege of Flash's natural, the fleet is slowly eroded by irradiates. Luxury scouts 8 and musters up a fearsome hivetech army consisting of Defiler, utlra and cracklings. He prepares to Doom Drop Flash to seal the game for the good guys and attempts to snipe the Vessels irradiating his guardians to no avail. In one swift movement Luxury sends his impressive fleet of overlords at Flash while sending a raiding party to 8 and expanding himself. As the Ultralisks drop from the overlords the crowd is stunned as they see their champion fall right before their eyes. The scourges finally pick up their targets and the vessel fleet combusts in the air. Luxury picks up his macro and suddenly the screen is flooded with ultralisks and cracklings. Flash cannot hold out against the swarm any longer, and is forced to concede to the might of the swarm.
Flash 0-1 Luxury
The Swarm is not beaten yet!
Being one of the two players who went 3-0 in the group phase, Best is quickly becoming the protoss of the hour. Amongst a field of stagnating players, Best stands out as a genius and wakeup call to the rest of the Protoss race. His infectious style has worked wonders with the crowd and teamliquid alike and stands tall at 5 ready to take on Much at 11. Much of course is no pushover himself, having just dominated Free 3-1 in the Arena MSL and won the hearts of the Seoul with his pylon art. Knowing that it would take everything to defeat Best, Much begins the mind games by sending out one of his initial probes. Upon scouting Best he moves back down the ramp and begins a proxy pylon; right in the scouting path of Best and to no ones surprise, Best scouts it immediately. The proximity pylon is soon followed up with a proximity gateway and Best prepares himself for the worst.
Much makes the most of his scouting probe and causes more mayhem with a manner pylon, trapping a single probe. Soon Much has a zealot walking around inside Best's main killing off probes. Best matches him every step by equalizing the zealot count and minimizing damage. Both players climb the tech tree and Best sends a Zealot to harass much while killing his proxy buildings. Much is not satisfied with how his build worked out and follows up proxy with more proxy - starting a proxy citadel/templar tech at 7. Dark Templar are soon emerging from Much's gateways to which Best has no response. As the first Dark Templar sneaks in and begins silencing probes, but before he does this he tips off Best by attacking his Nexus - Best blocks further intruders by using his Dragoons to block his ramp.
Much begins an expansion while Best has to deal with the Dark Templar threat. Soon observers are out and the Dark Tempalrs are nullified - but Best is not happy with Much. He loads up a shuttle with a Zealot and a Dark Templar of his own and goes to drop him. Much thinks he is safe with a cannon in his min line, but by using the zealot to draw hits Best is able to kill the cannon and ~6 probes before Much coming to shut the Dark Templar down. Best takes a faster third, and Much immediately tried to capitalize on this fact. He moves his troops around to Best's third and assaults it. Despite having the bigger army, Much decides to back off when Best has High Templar join the fray.
Both players enter a macro state of mind and secure their thirds while adding gateways. Much moves in for another assault at Best's third, but once again despite superior numbers he loses the skirmish and is forced to retreat before serious damage can be dealt. Within a fraction of a second the small population discrepancy is removed, and both players continue to macro hard. Best sends out a shuttle and tries to harass Much, but can only get at an empty main. As the armies escalate, tension rises and soon the two combatants fight in the center of the map. With some brilliant control and storming, Best is able to force Much into retreat. Best is shows off his superior multitasking and immediately storm drops Much's 3rd base - annihilating all traces of probe life.
Best engages multiple times with Much forcing him to lose more and more units. He also takes down Much's 4th base at 7, while his own at 7 is running strong. Much begins producing a pure zealot/archon army and tries to tackle the mixed army of Best - with precision storming and control Best repels the renegade Zealots. The game reaches a strange tranquil lull, the eye of the storm. Both players rebuild a large portion of their armies and Much launches an initiative at Best's 4th. He manages to take down the base but Best quickly reinforces the area and storms the attacking party of zealots to death. With his supply almost triple that of Muchs, he simply a-moves his army into Much's third and waits for Much to tap out.
Best 1-0 Much
Get caught up in the storm of BeSt
With memories of the disaster on RoV firmly in Rock's mind, there can be no doubt he was keen for revenge. With an impressive performance against GGPlay in the group stage, Rock looked poised to enact the revenge he was desperately seeking. July (Zerg at 1) began his attempt for the golden mouse by opening with the standard 9pool speed while Rock (Protoss at 5) simply played 1 gate tech. July does not hesitate for a moment before landing down an expansion to catch up in macro.
July's initial lings manage to get up Rock's ramp and they scout his Stargate tech. They manage to cause Rock some distress, and snipe off a probe. 4 Speed lings run amok in Rock's main harassing probes as a sluggish zealot desperately tries to quell the escalating situation. A corsair arrives on the battle scene but is unable to do anything against July's fresh hydralisk force. Rock decides to take matters into his own hands and moves out with a small Zeal/Dragoon force aiming to pressure July's natural.
July showcases some brilliant defensive micro by targeting Rock's dragoons with his sunkens and is able to repel the early pressure with ease once some Zergling reinforcements join the fray. July takes dominance in the game as his hydrlisks snipe Rock's corsair leaving him blind. Rock decides it's time to catch up in macro and adds his natural, templar tech and a number of gateways. July's third is up and he adds more sunkens to his natural while he techs to his trademark Mutalisks.
July's other signature unit, the Zergling, is also serving him well today as another group manage to sneak into Rock's base and catch a glimpse at Rock's +1 Zeal push. Due to this little bit of information July immediately proceeds to mass produce sunken colonies. Rock begins the barrage and has zealots streaming into July's natural - but the sunkens do their bit and stall the Zealots long enough for the mutalisks to arrive and mop up the mess. The mutalisks begin to decimate Rock's dragoons and corsairs at his main as July shows off why he is the master of the Mutalisk.
Rock tries to nab a stronger economy by taking his third - but July's persistent harass makes life difficult for him. July adds two more hatchs at home and Rock becomes visibly agitated at the harass.
July begins massing Hydralisks and Zerglings and prepares to assault Rock. Using his superb Mutalisk control and Scourges he is able to neutralize the Corsairs while his army moves into position. The siege begins, and before long everything is reduced to rubble and Rock is left flabbergasted at July's masterful control and strategy. As the stream of Hydralisks mount up - there is nothing Rock can do. Rock bows out, disappointed with his effort.
JulyZerg 1-0 Rock
Right this way Mr Tushin, Sir
There was but one match left to settle this evening, and BackHo and Jangbi took to their respective booths. BackHo was determined to keep his strong run alive by defeating the pride of Khan - JangBi. While there has been much controversy surrounding the poor lad, he has been attaining some amazing results. Jangbi on the other hand has put the Spark back into the protoss race. His electric force against Nada is surely one of the plays of the year - and is arguably the favorite for this series. Things open identically, with BackHo (Protoss at 4) jumping out to a 2 psi lead over Jangbi (Protoss at 1) after a one gate core build. Both players exchange scouting probes, and harassment Zealots then diverge in their choice of midgame tech.
JangBi opts for the safe and dependable Robotics Facility while BackHo decides that the quirky Templar tech is better suited for him this game. Fortunately for JangBi, his obs is out just in time to catch the Dark Templars of BackHo. However, Backho does not get complacent, and moves out with his army to pressure Jangbi. The two armies collide in a brief skirmish where both sides trade dragoons. Backho starts his expansion slightly faster than Jangbi - but not enough to cause a significant macro difference. Jangbi also builds two reavers to support his natural while scurrying around with a shuttle full of Dark Templar.
BackHo demonstrates sense of star and perfectly anticipates the dark templar drop of Jangbi - only losing 5 probes before killing the Dark Templar. Both rally up their armies and prepare to fight - Backho with a large number of Dragoons and High Templar and Jangbi with a composite Dragoon/Reaver army. The armies engage, and Backho is throughly decimated by Jangbi's superb reaver control and his own lack of control over his High Templar (which were lost to stray goon fire). After losing such an epic battle in which his psi is reduced to half that of Jangbi, Backho is rather stranded and quickly concedes the game once Jangbi pressure forward.
Backho 0-1 JangBi
All too easy
This weeks games were simply wonderful, and very entertaining. Seeing as other tournaments are disappointing right now in terms of quality - it is about time the OSL picked up. This evening showcased some of the best gamers of today - and some of the better games this year. Luxury, Best, July and JangBi have all gone one up and will be pleased with their efforts. For Flash, Much, Rock and Backho there are no more second chances, and they will need to pull out everything to save their bacon come Friday.
Stay tuned for more OSL coverage, as previews are to come later in the week!