March 17 - At 16 years old, StarTale's Life clearly enjoys making history in eSports.
In the 2012 Major League Gaming (MLG) Fall Championship, he became the first player to win an MLG championship after being tied 1-1 and losing the third game in the series. In the eight other MLG grand final matches that started with a 1-1 tie, the player who won the third game ended up taking the series.
In January, Life also became the first player to perform a reverse all-kill in a tournament's grand finals. The Zerg player won four straight games in a row to beat DRG 4-3 after losing the first three games in the series. And today, Life became the first player to win two back-to-back MLG championships.
Tournament play began this morning at the MLG Winter Championship as PartinG took on Flash. The Protoss player seemed to be in fine shape midway through the best-of-five series, defending against the Terran's drops and even taking the second game by tricking Flash into building a missile turret in the wrong location. However, Flash lived up to his name in the third and fourth games by quickly dropping behind the Protoss army and sniping all the sentries in one game and then taking out PartinG's main nexus in the next.
Flash went on to face fellow Terran INnoVation in the semifinals, who beat Rain 3-0 in the quarterfinals. Before facing Flash, INnoVation had yet to lose a single game in the tournament and was very confident going into the match. However, Flash proved to be the more innovative player by building a proxy barracks that was not used for reapers, the usual choice for this build. Instead, Flash built quick marauders and researched Concussive Shells. He then used these units to quickly take down SCVs and keep INnoVation's marines from running between the barracks and the bunker. Flash went on to take the series 3-1, only losing the second game to his opponent. Check out the VOD for this match; the 40-minute third game features a killer contain from Flash, who eventually kills all but one of his opponent's buildings.
On the other side of the bracket, Life faced fan-favorite MC in the second semifinal match of the day. Life, who narrowly bested Last 3-2 in the quarterfinals, had a much easier time versus MC, who beat Bomber (Life's teammate) 3-0 in his previous match. Life won 3-0 versus MC, even building a spawning pool at six drones on a very large map to quickly win the second game. MC went on to take fourth place after losing 1-2 versus INnoVation in the consolation match.
In the tournament's grand finals, Life and Flash alternated winning games - going 1-1 and then 2-2 before Life pulled ahead in the end. The match started off with a bang as Life built a spawning pool at 10 drones for early aggression. Flash spotted the pool and blocked Life's expansion with an engineering bay. A tense game followed, as Flash's widow mines and Life's swarm of zerglings, banelings and mutalisks meant that one misstep from either could result in losing an army. After Flash successfully dropped into Life's main and took out the spawning pool, the Zerg player tech switched into vipers and ultralisks. The vipers allowed Life to abduct Flash's medivacs, keeping him from pulling off the drops that many Terran players have been using to win games. With his ultralisks, Life then attacked in multiple places, proving too much for Flash, who conceded the game.
Life decided to again open with a 10-pool in the second game; however, it backfired when Flash killed several drones with hellion harassment. Life dropped further behind in the game when he lost several mutalisks to a widow mine detonation; Flash then executed a perfect drop, taking out units as well as the spawning pool and forcing Life to tap out of the game. However, the Zerg pulled back ahead in the third game with a baneling bust after Flash could not raise his supply depot in time to block out the swarm of zerglings.
Flash tied the series up once more by building two proxy barracks and bunker rushing the Zerg base. Life didn't spot the attack until Flash already had two marines out. The Zerg player tried to pull drones and build a spine crawler; however, in a heroic feat of strength, Flash's SCVs targeted down the spine crawler, allowing the first bunker to complete. Flash started building a second bunker while microing to take out Life's queen. The second bunker finished building; knowing he lost too much in the attack, Life conceded the game.
Both players returned to more standard play styles in the fifth game. Keeping up with his constant aggression, Life built an early macro hatchery that enabled him to build a host of zerglings and banelings to overrun Flash's base. He morphed 32 banelings, killing 47 workers throughout his aggression and then following up with mutalisks to destroy the third Terran base. Realizing he could not recover, Flash tapped out, taking the series to a possible match point.
The final game saw mutual aggression from the players as they tried to deny each other's fourth expansions. Flash took out several zerglings early in the game with his hellions; unfortunately, his army left his base just as Life's mutalisks flew in for a counterattack. With his mass of units, Life was able to push back a drop and an attack from Flash. In the end, Flash could not defend versus his opponent's constant swarm of broodlings, and he eventually conceded the game.
VODs from all of the tournament's games are available on the MLG website. Check out the articles below for suggestions on specific matches to watch. Congratulations to Life for his victory!