March 16 – The Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (HotS) expansion may focus on Zerg, but the Terran clearly dominated today’s play at the Major League Gaming (MLG) Winter Championship in Dallas, Tex.
Protoss and Zerg players had a lot of trouble defending versus Terran drops right from the start of the day. In the first match, Mvp opened with this style to win 3-1 versus Feast. Next, a fellow Terran – TaeJa – knocked Protoss SaSe out of the tournament with more drops. Even fan-favorite Stephano could not hold the Terran aggression, losing 0-3 to Last. In the final match of the tournament’s first round, the Terran domination continued as Polt beat Creator 3-1 using early reaper harassment and multi-pronged aggression.
The tournament’s second round featured 16 pros – eight Terran, three Protoss and five Zerg players. Like yesterday, most of the matches greatly favored one player over the other, finishing in 3-0 or 3-1 victories. By the end of the long day, eight players – Bomber, Flash, INnoVation, Last, Life, MC, PartinG and Rain - emerged victorious and will continue playing tomorrow. Four of these players are top-rated Terrans. Can anyone step up to the challenge and end the reign of these pros?
One such contender to beat the waves of Terran drops is MC. In one of the most anticipated matches of the day, the Boss Toss himself defeated a major Terran opponent – Mvp – using constant oracle harassment to take the first and third games in the series. He then won the fourth game with early five-gate pressure, using forcefields to keep Mvp’s SCVs from repairing his bunkers and holding against his Protoss opponent.
MC was not the only player to defend versus this strong Terran pressure. In the amazingly epic final match of the day, Life used early mass zergling / baneling harassment to turn the tables and pressure his Terran opponent. This match was one of only two so far in the tournament to go to the final game in the best-of-five match (the other featuring Rain versus jjakji).
Polt opened every game of his match versus Life with early reaper / hellion aggression, even bunker rushing to pressure his Zerg opponent. Normally, this type of play is difficult for Zerg players to hold; however, Life proved that a solid Zerg defense versus this opener is very possible. Both pros played incredibly, as their battles were often too close for anyone to guess a victor before one of the players’ units overran the others’. In the final game, Life’s aggression proved too much for Polt, who conceded to the Zerg victor.
If you are wondering whether to check out the VOD from this match, here are reasons to watch it:
- You want to see how a Zerg can possibly counter Terran drops.
- You want to see the entire crowd (as well as Day and Husky, the game’s casters) do the fusion core dance (that’s right – battlecruisers!).
- You want to hear Day and Husky yell and cheer so excitedly that Husky lost his voice and Day got hiccups.
- You like explosions - especially those caused by widow mines and banelings (or widow mines to banelings).
- You just like things that are awesome.
Seriously – watch this VOD.
Need more Starcraft? If you have a couple of hours on your hands, check out the Bomber / Goswser match. The third game, which ran 80 minutes, nearly beat what is largely considered the longest professional Starcraft II game on record (87 minutes). If you are hesitant to commit yourself to that long of a match, here are some incentives (spoilers) to convince you:
- Bomber used hunter seeker missiles on his own medivac and then flew it over Goswser’s units to kill them.
- Bomber accidentally nuked his own units.
- The players actually mined out all of the map’s bases in the third game.
Will a Terran win the first major Heart of the Swarm tournament since the expansion’s release? Or will one of the remaining Protoss or Zerg players defend the drops and take the tournament? Find out tomorrow in what promises to be an epic conclusion to the MLG Winter Championship. The semifinal matches are scheduled to begin at 11:10 a.m. CDT. As always, you can watch the tournament live or view VODs of previous games on MLG’s website.
Be sure to check back here for a recap of the tournament’s final day!