The American qualifier for GCS Summer 2018 came to its conclusion on Sunday and as usual with America, nothing went according to plans!
Among the three Western Qualifiers for GCS, the American one was the most challenging to organize. Much was at stake for this region mocked by many for being dead or unskilled.
You cannot be alive if you have nothing to play though, and we are grateful to Netease for giving the Americas a chance.
From WCG participant mOOnGLaDe's request, we decided to allow ANZ players in the American Qualifier as we did during ACS last year.
43 players checked in for this Qualifier, a number similar to the European Qualifier two weeks earlier (45). That's that for the American scene being "dead".
The player pool was really even in terms of skill and we had a hard time deciding who would get the top seeds. We went with this structure :
CrunCher confirmed his excellent form and qualified after beating three orcs in a row, ending with a close 2-1 victory over Kayo in the finals.
mOOnGLaDe was taken out instantly in the first round by future qualified OC. That's the issue with this format, BO1 leaves no room for mistakes. We've found one trace of OC on Liquipedia, in a 2006 cup, where he lost in the finals to Hot after beating HLA and SuhO.
Skuyt reached the final after laming Orange to death with tanks. He was then destroyed by MuscleMike afterwards though. The American would be the only non / in the playoffs. More about this RoC player later as he became the sideshow of the whole competition.
/ AccCreate, a Korean player living in New York was defeated by /Sooo_Unreal, a Chinese student living in Australia. Rudan and Passion are playing the Asian Qualifier so it seemed fitting to return the favor.
Those four players joined the regulars LongWalk, Hunter, Walter and Mackay to the final stage.
Just a 6mn tournament for mOOnGLade on TR - close position
After an expected first round where all invited players qualified, LongWalk and Hunter both reached the Winner Bracket final for what would be the remake of ACS' one last year. Those two seem to have their Warcraft III destinies linked for the last three years.
But enough with the Winner Bracket. Once in not custom, the real show happened in the Loser Bracket this time.
After eliminating Sooo_Unreal in the first round, MuscleMike faced Cruncher in the next as an underdog. His 2-1 victory really astonished everybody. The human had no answer to this mass raiders FS/TC (shockwave) strategy. MuscleMike usually just ensnares and focuses heroes, and it's effective.
Just like that, this unknown player reached the final 4 along with Walter. In the derby of Chile against Mackay (Walter is a Chilean resident) he prevailed 2-1. If Latin America's playing condition drastically improved with this Qualifier, they are not out of the wood yet. Mackay disconnected in the 3rd game while having the lead and then lost the rematch.
I see the future, I feel like the story will repeat itself for the 12th time! He goes out without an invul nor a tp ~ B2W.Neo
Exhausted / sore-throated, Neo could not believe it. MuscleMike applied the same strategy every game, having to face only NE in the final round. FS/SH, harassing, massing raiders and killing his opponents heroes with ensnares and hexes. If only those heroes had invulnerability potions!
Walter was taken down 0-2 then LongWalk 1-2! This was the first time in the last three years that LongWalk was eliminated from an American tournament, and it took a RoC player to do so! Unbelievable.
Neo coping with LongWalk's elimination
With such a successful streak against the American Night Elves elite, MuscleMike was offered a rematch against Hunter.
Unlike his elven brothers, Hunter put in the time and prepared intensively for this Qualifier.
A little backstory here : I wrote about Hunter two years ago as he was about to go to China to participate in WCA. At the time of the interview, it was unsure if he would make it on time or not. He was a last minute replacement for feRfe. The article is still available on w3arena.net.
As it happened, he arrived a few hours late after a nightmare flight, which lasted about 46 hours. Lima - Amsterdam - Beijing - Yinchuan. He only played one official match against 120 and did fine considering the conditions.
Hunter was not about to let, the now fan favorite, MuscleMike crush his dreams of returning to China as a real participant for a World Championship. He studied his opponent's play and won with ease with druids of the talons, still dropping one map for more useless hero losses.
Emotion was high in America this Sunday; from Hunter celebrating his return to China on social medias, to LongWalk disappointment and MuscleMike's seemingly exciting journey. Nice stories to be counted for and we hope for more to be written with Hunter's new adventures in June.
My article was ready for publication when the lie was exposed. I really believed in the MuscleMike Cinderella story, and so did most of the admin team. Call me naive ~ I just did not believe anyone could be so idiotic and go through these lengths to cheat in a major tournament. I did not think a random Reign of Chaos player would collide with a known European player to cheat his way up to the final stage in Shanghai.
Right after the tournament ended and from the community raising suspicions, more evidence surfaced and proved that MuscleMike mandated Razzorman to play on his behalf during GCS America. You can find your way to the official statement here.
We do not take such an attack on one of the major tournament's integrity lightly. Reporting his actions to tournament organizers around the world, I can confirm that Razzorman has been banned for a year from GCS, ESL based tournaments, GoodGame.ru based tournaments, all Chinese and Korean Cups. We are waiting on a statement from nWC3L on the matter.
That was the least we could do. MuscleMike is also banned from all competitions even if it hardly matters as he appears to be a very low level player without any tournament experience.
As for GCS America results, it shall stand as Hunter outplayed all of his opponents. He dropped no map to any American player and has beaten Razzorman twice without much trouble. For this we are grateful.
I am sure Hunter will honor America once more in Shanghai. Time is now for practicing, and supporting him through his new journey to China!