You open your eyes to look around. There’s a seemingly endless supply of cases full of production equipment lying around, hundreds of meters of cable have been run through everywhere, and countless faces are intently staring at their monitors. You try to remember what you had for lunch, but it seems so long ago. You’ve tried to stay hydrated over the day with a water bottle always by your side. It’s been a tough day so far, and you’re sure that it’s only going to get harder. You’ve been at it for a few days already, and it’s getting late into the night. You just have to push through these last few hours.
You’re mentally and physically exhausted. Your hands are aching. You feel a throbbing headache coming on. You let out a long, drawn-out breath and wipe your eyes. At least it’s dark back here. One way or another, it’ll all be over soon, and this gives you comfort. You draw upon the last reserves of your strength, hidden somewhere you didn’t even know existed. A booming voice reaches your ears, and you know it’s time to walk up to the stage: “And now, let’s head into the Grand Finals!”
The weekender tournaments tend to be grueling work. Whether it’s 32 participants or more, players will have to wade through increasingly difficult matches over very long days. A part of a pro-player’s skill set is to train the mental fortitude to keep focusing on the task at hand. You have to survive a relentless onslaught of opponents, all with their own bags of tricks. The pressure is immense. There can be no distractions, but coaches, producers, the press, organizers and fans are all vying for a player’s attention.
Amidst all this, Dennis Gehlen’s HomeStory Cups are a refreshing change. Having a more relaxed atmosphere makes for an entirely different tournament. It’s good for the players: they get to meet their friends, have a good time between the matches and generally just chill. It’s good for the fans, too: they get to see their favorites in a more casual setting, the players joking around, trying their hand in casting. HomeStory has been the locale for some of the most memorable analytical commentary in the game’s history. A HomeStory tournament has also traditionally been a herald for the winter solstice, a suitable way to bring in the new year. This will be the 12th time, and TaKe has amassed a loyal following over the last five years. Besides the tournament, there’s most certainly going to be various showmatches and other activities.
This is also yet another step in the early stages of the new expansion. Even though the stakes aren’t quite as high this time around, this will be the perfect opportunity for the players to showcase their LotV skills. This will also be an excellent opportunity to listen to their opinions on the new units, balance and the ever-shifting meta. Is Zerg truly the top of the heap now? Is Protoss really the eternal underdog? Who even cares about Terran anymore? What’s going to happen in 2016?
So take a break, enjoy the yuletide, and tune in to Germany. You’ve deserved it.
With a total of 32 players, it’s not a small tournament. Most of them were invited, but eight players had to through qualifiers to attend. There’s a mix of old and new, Koreans and international players. Even so, eight players stand above the rest.
MC The Boss Toss is technically retired, but he’s been seen around various events, partaking in showmatches. It’s not really a return from retirement, is it? What’s to be expected is wild plays and great rapport with the others. Grouped with Bunny, Bly and Harstem, Advancing from his group may seem like a sure thing, but MC has always lived and died by the adage: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
Prediction: Best casting of the weekend.
HyuN: HyuN, or as he will be known over the weekend, the Other Other Korean. Can he pull off the HyuNpossible? No matter how HyuNlikely it is? Triumph against all odds, even if HyuNprobable? Will the trophy stay HyuNreachable? Okay, I think that’s all I got.
Prediction: Best (worst) puns of the weekend.
RotterdaM: More known for his casting and personality than as a player. It’s unlikely he’s a serious contender for the top, but hey, this is HomeStory. The most interesting question is if he’s going to make it out of the group stage or not.
Prediction: Best all-in builds of the weekend.
HuK: While HuK’s not quite the force of nature he used to be, he’s still one to watch out for, and might have a surprising amount of tricks up his sleeve. He certainly has his work cut out for him, there’s a tough group of Europeans vying to take him down.
Prediction: Best Archon teammate of the weekend.
MMA: Just hours before the tournament was supposed to start, MMA revealed his intentions to retire. There’s only one conclusion to draw. HomeStory Cup 12 will forever be known as MMA’s last tournament victory.
Prediction: Best smile of the weekend.
Stephano: Is the Frenchman really retired? Who knows! Glad he’s here.
Prediction: Best locks of the weekends.
Scarlett: She’s been dubbed the foreign hope countless of times, but has managed to step up to the plate only infrequently. Does Scarlett still have the chops, or are her days already behind her? If nothing else, she’s the most experienced of her group, which should all but guarantee advancement.
Prediction: Best individual run through the brackets.
Lilbow: The only foreigner to qualify for 2015 WCS Global Finals, only to be crushed by Life. Now, he should be able to secure a second place in his group, after which he’ll be ripe pickings for others.
Prediction: Best gnashing of teeth from the community when he gets knocked out.
A Very HSC Christmas Game
This HSC, instead of having an elaborate set of rules, we should go with something simple. Christmas is a time to sit back and relax, and possibly get blacked out drunk at home. In case you're in the mood for another TL HomeStory Cup drinking game, we've got you covered.
- The Rules:
- TL Prediction is 100% right - Take a shot
- TL Prediction is right but in the wrong order - Drink your chaser and then take a shot
- TL Prediction is 50% right - Mix two drinks together and take a shot
- TL Prediction is 0% right - Take a breather or have a snack
- Player calls out prediction on stream, gets eliminated - Refill your glass and down it
- Player calls out prediction on stream, advances - Post on TL to laugh at us
Yup. This time, we're betting on TL writers (well, just lichter randomly guessing as per usual) getting things right or wrong. Everyone knows we know our Starcraft, but hey, this meta is still pretty whack. Who knows, you might survive the group stages without a single drop drunk.
Group A: TOP and TLO
Group B: Nerchio and MaNa
Group C: Zanster and ShoWTimE
Group D: PtitDrogo and Shura
Group E: Lilbow and uThermal
Group F: #Blyonfire and MC
Group G: Elazer and HeRoMaRinE
Group H: Snute and Stephano
* Warning: TL.net will not be held accountable for any stupid shit you end up doing while playing this game; please stop drinking once you feel like puking.