From all across the globe, we joined viewers tuning in to watch this year's final of WGL. The master was facing his apprentice - elf versus elf, West versus East, Moon versus Foggy. Would Moon's experience prove sufficient to take his dominating streak to its conclusion, or would Foggy secure himself the title through another uphill battle, as has been his way?
SPOILER MANAGEMENT: For those wishing to view the matches firsthand, we have hidden the final result of each map & and tournament inside SPOILER tabs. So feel at ease to get a feel of the flow of the games here, and still remain innocent enough to enjoy the thrill of the maps later yourself - if you wish to do that.
Going into a BO7 you are almost always ensured the reveal of some pocket strategy, some off-meta surprise timing or a plan crafted to play tricks with the opponents mind. In the games we witnessed tonight, there was plenty of all of it.
Foggy came out of the gates swinging, bringing Demon Hunter out to directly pressure Moon's Keeper's mana dependency. Soon though, from the ashes of the early game, rose an expansion at Moon's natural, as he worked to capitalize on the strength of his T1 army composition. Foggy, in response, would have none of it and prepared to lay siege to the newly acquired mine, bolstered by wisps setting down Ancient Protectors. Would Moon be able to hold his advantage and secure the win?
The second time around, two Keepers set hoof on the battlefield. Foggy would this time be the first to expand at his natural, but would become separated from it by a devastating push from Moon, utilizing mercenaries from his secured Mercenary Camp and a well placed, offensive, Ancient Protector. Foggy would eventually lose his expansion, but did succeed in getting Moon out of his half of the map, and with some scrambling, put together a strong Glaive push against the expansion Moon had setup on his side. Using his zeppelin brilliantly, Foggy started to outmaneuver Moon.
Light shows and music announced the start of the third map, and we saw a much more standard game out of the early minutes, and two Keepers once more. Foggy scouted Moon's expos at a critical timing and successfully cancelled it, putting him at a slight advantage over his opponent. Moon, having made a rather late Huntress Hall, transitioned into a powerful T1 push (with what looked like an exodus of units streaming out of his base on the minimap), centered around a mounting numbers of glaives once more. Foggy lost both his Ancients of Lore, but through a last second Ankh of Reincarnation pass, was able to save his Alchemist and successfully repel Moon. Minutes later, Moon returned again!
The intensity of play was rising with each game. Foggy, fresh faced and hungry for victory, went for his Mercenary Camp. Moon went for a safe green camp by his base and proceeded to move across and become a serious thorn in Foggy's early game. And yes, two Keepers again. Foggy prepared and postures for an early push, but Moon's somehow always perfectly timed scouting allowed him to prepare himself and scare off Foggy before the push realized. Foggy made up for it by catching up in experience, creeping the Market Place and Goblin Shop in quick succession. Moon then came out pushing, with an expansion placed in the background. The push did damage, but Moon was repelled, and, again, Foggy started posturing for his own assault on Moon's side of the map.
The first hero on both sides needs no introduction, and so the early game went fairly standard. Moon came out with slightly better bang for his buck during it though. The second hero on both sides is also no stranger to the match, bringing his Healing Spray and Acid Bomb to bear on his opponents. The real difference came when Foggy went almost straight for Mountain Giants, while Moon focused on Dryad numbers - planning to leverage his legendary micro of the unit. Foggy had his expansion cancelled twice, with Moon putting up his own expansion at the unexpected side mine, in very close proximity to Foggy's natural. And so, Foggy walked over there to go have a word.
Due to it being a mirror match, we can put the patch comments aside for now. Moon finished his WGL 2018 run with only 2 maps taken from him in the entire tournament. Throughout his games, he out-planned, out-meta'd and out-played his opponents. Using Keeper of the Grove's merciless early-to-mid game strength, he punished his opponents for ever stepping foot in the ring with him. He may have looked like he was crying, tending to his eyes after every game, but he was shedding no tears for others, only focused on what he was here to prove.
Foggy made us really proud, and he did not go down without a fight. But for 2018, it is Moon who will be crowned champion - King Keeper.