The remaining European tickets for WGL were being distributed this weekend. And easy as "one, two, three", Russia took them all.
With ToD on the starting blocks and amongst KotG criticism, the journey was not an easy one for Neytpoh (Neutron), HawK and Cash. We witnessed some crazy games with an unusual amount of ultimates!
I want to thank the participants of the latest qualifiers for being so consistent. Two Ukrainians then two Peruvians and now three Russians : it makes it easy for us to think of suitable article banners!
OrcWorker succumbs to the Open Qualifier
There are some breaking news sometimes going unnoticed. For the first time OrcWorker did not make it to the final stage of a GCS/WGL Qualifier he was participating in. He was taken down [1-0] by Biko who was then eliminated by Maru.
The system has been stable ever since Europe obtained its own Qualifier. Four players are directly invited to a final round while four others have to qualify for it. While the playoffs are fine and provide good entertainment, I have always been annoyed by this open qualifier.
First of all it is brutal and quite random. While some players seem to excel in this format (StarShaped qualified thrice this way) we see regularly players like OrcWorker being taken down after one map or one cheese. I remember hyping mOOnGLaDe's return for the first GCS America qualifier ever organized...only to see him being taken out after one round. I do not mind strong players being eliminated early but could it be live on stream after a full series? We did not see it on Back2Warcraft but HawK nearly lost his last BO1 against Serbdash. What would we be writing about him today if he did not even qualify?
Besides the first rounds are quite pointless and unlike Netease's Qualifier, do not involve all the best players early on. I think that is an issue, we should think of a system that rewards ladder rankings and consistency as Netease's one does. I believe this is the direction towards which we must aim for the next season.
Those qualifiers are also very hard to follow for the common viewer on stream. It's hard to keep track on what is going on in the grid.
A word on Maru that went from being in Wolves eSports secondary roster a few months ago to finishing in the final 8 of this tournament, even taking a map out of Neytpoh. Those progresses are impressive and we will keep an eye on his future performances.
One death pact away
EnTe messed up the grid on every level Saturday! First he was late for more than thirty minutes and was thrown down to the loser brackets, Cash advancing without playing. As always when we have to take such a decision, the player shows up two minutes after and Cash accepted to play the series in full. That was a nice move that fired back with a surprising loss [1-2].
He then took the lead against the favorite Neytpoh who was admittedly struggling with his internet connection all game. Four hero kills on level 5 and over were not enough to secure the qualification in the second game however. As many times as the Alchemist level 8 felt down to the nukes, it took one Death Knight loss to get the Russian the equalizer . This was the most exciting game that I've seen in a long time.
After more than 30 minutes of battle, EnTe's DK dies while there was a window to save him. Right when his mana counter hit 50, the DK still had 19hp and could have used Death Pact on the animated abomination that decided to run in another direction instead. Did EnTe know that he could use death pact on it the DK's ultimate? These are the little things that change outcomes of tournaments! The Keeper then survived the Lich's right clicks going invisible and buying dust not to be revealed... so sneaky! The German did not recover and lost his three remaining games.
Could this DK have survived?
EnTe shares some love for the Keeper of the Grove
The clash ToD vs HawK
We enjoyed our own McGregor vs Khabib fight in the first round with the two best European Human players of all times facing off right away.
I'm obviously using this UFC reference because ToD was in Vegas during the fight and had to play from Nevada at 08:00 AM local time. These were not the best conditions to get prepared as he could not really practice for three weeks.
He did still astound the Russian in the first game by using the Mountain King first on Last Refuge that got him an early lead. He ultimately lost the series [1-2] to the Russian. HawK then had to face Starshaped against whom he had a largely positive record and qualified easily [2-0].
HawK vs ToD : the anticipated match did not disappoint
Off-racing as a statement
We already knew the identity of two more qualified Europeans with Neytpoh and HawK reaching the Winner Bracket final. The top three places were assured to qualify, they just had to battle for the prize pool. Neytpoh would take the best out of HawK [3-2] in the Grand Finals.
HawK vs Neutron : Double surrounds/cloaks and reveals
Cash and NightEnD played a decisive BO3 to avoid finishing in 4th position and empty handed. That's when the Russian made us raise our eyebrows stating he would play NE.
Is he actually serious about playing NE? In such an important game after such a long time? Cash never played NE before, never! (...) He is really playing NE, I cant believe this... that was not a troll, the best Orc player in Europe is playing NE... -Remodemo (in disbelief)
Cash lost to EnTe in the first round while NightEnD was thrown to the Loser Bracket early on as well by a NE Starshaped. Cash may not have felt confident enough to play against another Undead with his own race and believed that the Romanian had a weakness against NE. The gamble payed off as Cash won [2-1].
This decision evidently sparked more criticisms from fans about the new Keeper of the Grove being imbalanced.
Rendez-vous in November
We now know our full lineup for WGL. We will be sending quite many Night Elves :
- Sonik and Foggy from the first European Qualifier
- Hunter and Walter from the American Qualifier
- Neytpoh, HawK and Cash from the second European Qualifier
Festivities in Shanghai should start the last week of November. Back2Warcraft will be on site to commentate the now enlarged to 24 players competition. I should be there as well with Ivan aka Hundredkg.
We certainly hope for some good results from our delegation!