With 2018 in full swing already, we thought it would be a good idea to pause and look back on all the events and achievements of 2017. From 120 winning back-to-back GCS titles to TH000 winning GCS Winter and NSL in the past two months, here are some important highlights from the past year in Warcraft.
Shout outs to RehcraM for making the beautiful cover!
Mini table of contents, for ease of navigation:
After making it to the GCS grand finals twice before and being stopped from claiming the crown each time, 120 finally made his breakthrough onto centre stage by defeating Lyn 3-2 in a BO5 on New Year's day one year ago. This marked the first 1v1 World Tournament won by an undead player since TeD won World Cyber Games against Fly100% in 2012. The 21-year-old Chinese legend did not stop there either, claiming the GCS title once again in the Summer edition of GCS 2017, becoming the first player to win GCS titles back-to-back.
With many fans complaining about the lack of strong humans in 2017, TH000 and Infi put this idea on its head in the second half of 2017. After a strong second place finish in GCS Summer, Infi made it to the finals of the next three Hols Cups and did not drop a series in the next six weeks of NSL, defeating Moon, TH000, and 120. GCS Winter was TH000’s time to shine, getting revenge on Foggy in the grand finals, who had eliminated him in the last two GCS events. As did Infi, TH000 rode his GCS momentum, defeating Infi, Remind, and Moon in the NSL offline finals with a 9-1 record in total to claim first place and the ~$9000 prize pool.
TH000 (left) and Infi (right)
We all enjoy his Warcraft streams on weekends, but for this first time since 2010 Grubby returned to the big stages to compete with the world elite. At Nostalgia Battlefield in February, team Grubby made it all the way to the finals, only to be defeated by team TH000. Two months later, Grubby flew all the way to China for a show match sponsored by Banana IP Galaxy, where he played against Moon and Sky in two BO1 showmatches.
After this year there is no longer a question whether 20-year-old Life and 22-year-old Romantic belong with the greats of Warcraft 3. Both players made it to the round of 8 both GCS seasons this year with some highly entertaining matches, and both are very active in the competitive scene. Each player wins weekly competitions such as Hols Cups, as well as competing in larger tournaments such as Race Wars and Senniu Team Cup.
Winning over 45 competitions in 2017, Happy has proven himself to be one of the top players not only of Europe, but of the entire world. Although he declines participation to most major tournaments to focus on his streaming career, there are very few European competitions in which Happy does not make it at least to the semifinals, both in 1v1 and 2v2 competitions.
Foggy caught the attention of many in the Eastern world of Warcraft after achieving third place in GCS 2016 Fall, and he only returned more determined than ever. The Eye of the Tiger returned to GCS this year with the goal of making it to the finals he was so close to in 2016. After being sent home with a bronze medal once again in the summer, Foggy entered the winter playoffs as a favourite to take the title. Living up to the expectations he defeated Romantic and Check to make it to the grand final match, where he took home a silver medal after being defeated 4-3 by TH000. Foggy looked to make Super GCS his first GCS win, but after issues in the world of Hearthstone, Super GCS was converted to an all Chinese tournament with no foreigners participating.
Apart from countless stunning games and hundreds of tournaments, this year was exceptionally busy in Warcraft from a development point of view. The Classic Games team at Blizzard has opened up more about Warcraft than any year in the past, and even provided updated Ladder Versions of classic Blizzard maps in a Public Test Realm in an attempt to refresh the meta with some new scenery, and hopefully some new tactics to suit. These maps were featured in Ena Cup #3, 4, and 5 this year, as well as Ena’s MingLee 2v2 Cup, co-hosted with Yaws. Building on the excitement of new maps, Back2Warcraft teamed up with the modding website Hive Workshop to create the Back2Warcraft Mapping Contest, where participants could make competitive 1v1 maps. Winners of the competition won prizes from the Hive Workshop and had their map featured in a competitive tournament hosted by Back2Warcraft.
The Warcraft scene took a big blow this year as WCA was unable to renew their rights to feature Blizzard games in their tournaments. GCS thus became the only world championship for Warcraft, and even that had some road bumps. After easily qualifying through the Western qualifiers, Happy declined to travel to China to participate in the offline portion of GCS, which caused the Chinese organizers to decrease the slots assigned to the Western qualifiers to only two players instead of four. Also, since the qualifiers were platform based, American Warcraft 3 players were forced to compete for qualification on either NetEase or W3Arena, both of which give them a serious ping disadvantage.
To compensate for these setbacks, volunteers from around the scene stepped forward to conquer the challenge. American Warcraft organizers brought to us ACS, an all new annual tournament that allows American Warcraft players the chance to compete in a high stakes tournament with less of a ping disadvantage. ESL volunteers worked extra hard to bring us events such as Ena Cup, Baltplay Open Cup, and Vitalus 2v2 Cup. And how can anyone forget how the entire scene rallied to fundraise prize pool money to keep Gera Cup running for 100 more editions? Despite numerous setbacks, Warcraft fans proved they are made of tougher stuff and made many significant breakthroughs to keep Warcraft thriving around the globe in 2017.
All credits for these amazing facts go to our statistical magician Turbosau!
Most Played Match up:
Happy vs FoCuS (52-47 map wins for Happy)
Most one-sided match ups:
Happy - sonik, 30:2
Happy, Sheik, 20:1
Happy - Lucifer, 59:13
Happy - Foggy, 56:17
Lucifer - Blade, 16:1
Best matchups (1 per player max):
Happy - Undead, 89:13 (87%)
Lyn - Orc, 12:2 (86%)
Foggy - Human, 98:29 (77%)
120, Night Elf, 38:14 (73%)
Moon - Night Elf, 42:19 (69%)
Lowest stats of High Ranked Players
Yumiko - Night Elf, 16:32 (33%)
Zhou_Xixi - Night Elf, 14:25 (35%)
Colorful - human, 13:23 (36%)
Remind - orc, 15:24 (38%)
I just wanted to take a minute to thank some of the people without whom the Warcraft scene would not be where it is. Big thanks to Neo and Remo of Back2Warcraft, without whom I would never have become involved in the scene. Big thanks to David and the Warcraft3.info team for building a superb website to be a home for English-speaking Warcraft, especially RehcraM and Pimz, without whom we would not have such amazing weekly gazettes. Thank you to the American Warcraft organizers, including Martial Spirit, OverAdmire, DPort, Alex, and all the other amazing people who helped make ACS such a success. Thank you to ESL and its Warcraft admins, who put in countless hours of working hosting and organizing tournaments, especially HundredKg, Ena, Woker, and X3-Demon. Shoutouts to my favourite clans, LS, Viki, and team SWE, for always providing entertaining Warcraft, as well as my Warcraft family over at the WC3Gym Discord. Special thank you to Ugrilainen, who is involved in everything listed above and more, and for all his help mentoring me as I became more involved in the Warcraft scene.
Thank you to everyone who is a fan of this beautiful game. I look forward to sharing even bigger and better memories in 2018 with you all.