Brackets and standings on
Life wins DreamHack Bucharest
After having his first chance at taking a DreamHack title snatched away from him by TaeJa at the Winter '13 finals, StarTale's Life was absolutely ruthless when given another chance. The precise micro and uncanny game sense that once defined Life's ZvZ all came back to him in the grand finals against AX.Impact, allowing him to win in a quick 3-0 rout. The victory capped off a difficult tournament run for Life that included wins over frequent-foe Leenock, cheese connoisseur Stardust, and Korean Terran INnoVation.
While Impact’s play reflected some exhaustion from playing all day (the finals ended past 1 a.m. local time), Life kept the same form he displayed against Leenock in the RO16. The StarTale Zerg coolly deflected all attempts at early aggression while doing significant damage with his attacks. He also stayed one step ahead in the mindgames, getting the superior build order in all three games.
With the DreamHack trophy, Life earned his seventh major championship of his career, and increased his career earnings to $223,271 (10th all time). He also claimed the his second "Triple Crown" by completing another trio of tournament wins in the three major regions of America, Europe and Korea.
Life's DreamHack victory in 2014 continues a long stretch of impressive performances and high tournament finishes that began at 2013's Bucharest tournament. Though he is still a long way from reclaiming his overwhelmingly dominant form from 2012, he is certainly back on the right track.
Despite losing to Life in the finals, Impact lived up to his ID and left a strong impression on everyone watching. Eliminated from the GSL Global Tournament with lackluster games against Maru and Action, expectations were low for Impact when he was announced as a late DreamHack entrant. Instead, he had the tournament of his career, defeating HerO, Ryung, MC, and Jaedong on his way to the finals. If Impact's DreamHack run reflects his true potential, then he is sure to be a force in the international tournament scene.
Grand Finals Recap: Life 3 - 0 Impactby CosmicSpiral
Game 1 (Frost): The series started off in unremarkable fashion. Spawning on cross positions, Impact opted for a pool-hatch build while Life started with hatch-extractor-pool. Life used his early gas to get zergling speed and took map control, taking a very fast third. Impact tried to punish this haughty move with a roach/speedling/queen push towards Life’s third, but found his opponent pumping out large numbers of roaches and speedlings at just the right time. Impact’s preemptive strike petered out, and gave way to a counter-attack from Life that pushed him all the way back to his own, delayed third.
In the end, the two players traded evenly in terms of army supply, but Life maintained a drone lead and faster upgrades. After a brief lull to rebuild, Life moved out with a maxed-out roach/hydra army. Impact swung a roach force around the map to for a backdoor attack, but made no difference. Life’s army was too strong and his bank was too large, leaving Impact with no option but to GG out.
Game 2 (Merry Go Round): Impact continued his attempts to take the initiative against Life, starting with an 8-pool in hopes of punishing a hatch first build. However Life opened with blind 15 pool and easily held off the attack. Despite Impact getting quicker zergling speed, Life managed to kill off a queen and some drones with a runby into the enemy natural. Impact transitioned into a standard follow-up with a roach warren and +1 missile attack. Life started his lair but also geared up for the same push that Impact attempted in Game 1.
Life’s version of the attack found more success with 10 drone kills. Knowing he was down in drone count but ahead in army, Impact charged his forces across the map. He successfully breached the natural but Life’s reinforcements proved too much and the Axiom player was forced to retreat. Impact attempted one last hurrah after seeing Life’s completed third and tapped out upon seeing Life’s superior force.
Game 3 (Habitation Station): With victory within his grasp Life reversed the roles by opening with an 8 pool of his own. The calculated risk proved fruitful as Impact went hatch first, allowing Life to force a cancel on the natural expansion. From there Life poked and prodded at Impact’s defenses while upgrading zergling speed on one base. Impact scouted the lack of an expansion and accordingly responded with a spine crawler and multiple queens.
Meanwhile, Life used the opportunity to expand to the gold base – his preferred follow-up to early pools on Habitation. This proved wise as Impact’s lack of gas meant he could neither punish Life’s new base nor chase Life’s speedlings once they trickled into his main. Life used his superior income to lean on his opponent, immediately pressuring Impact with speedling/baneling while finishing his third base. Eventually Impact was overwhelmed by the sheer production and conceded defeat.
Other Notes From The Final 16by Trasko
- To no one's surprise, foreigners lose: The standard DreamHack ritual repeated itself as non-Korean players crumbled in the later stages of the tournament after giving viewers hope early on.
Swedish Zerg Fnatic.Zanster was the first to fall, drawing an unfortunate match against ZvZ expert EG.Jaedong. Liquid`Snute fared better by taking out Roccat.HyuN in the Ro16, but went on to be eliminating by Jaedong in the quarterfinals.
NrS.Welmu showed Acer.INnoVation that he would not go down without a fight, yet unfortunately lost the series 1-2 in a very close final game on Overgrowth. After claiming first place in an all-Korean group in the Ro32, XMG.ToD fell to Danish Terran player Liquid`Bunny in the Ro16. In turn, Bunny was eliminated by INnoVation in the next round.
- Upsets: One could argue that MC taking down KT.TY 2-1 could be considered an upset as the incredible KeSPA player had some of the best performances in Proleague. But lets not forget that this is the veteran Protoss player MC we're talking about, and the WCS Europe champion at that. However, there was a real upset in the quarterfinals, as MC would lose to Axiom.Impact in a close 1-2 series. In general, Impact's entire run through the tournament could be considered one giant upset.
- Lack of Protoss Dominance: Did you know that this is the first Premier Tournament in 2014 with only 2 Protoss players in the Ro8? And also the first Premiere tournament in 2014 without a Protoss in the finals?
- Awesome games: This Dreamhack, like many others before, has of course provided with a bunch of fantastic games. A must watch if you missed any of the games or did not have the chance to watch is game 3 in the INnoVation-Welmu series. Without spoiling too much; Innovation showed how insane micro can win you a game even if you're incredibly behind in a super tight series.
Another great series was the ZvZ between Snute and Jaedong. Yes this ZvZ was actually extremely exciting! Snute really gave Jaedong a run for his money, showing that his ZvZ was almost of equal skill as that of Jaedong's.
Life versus StarDust game 3 can also be listed as one of the fantastic games of day 2. With an incredible hold, Life somehow managed to pick away at mYi.StarDust's army and keep his probe count low, eventually clawing back to earn a comeback victory.
- Koreans are terrible at champagne ceremonies. (via reddit)