Another round of qualifiers occurred 2 weeks ago, and we finished the first western qualifier with a great finale. One player was set to earn a spot in the Gold Championship Series Winter 2017 later this year. Who would it be?
“Winter is coming” said Eddard Stark, in the popular US-Sitcom Game of Thrones, and these words had a similar meaning to many players in the Western Qualifier. It meant players would bring their best efforts to secure the plane ticket to China for the biggest tournament in Warcraft 3 in November.
The Gold Championship Series is the current biggest tournament series for Warcraft 3, organised by Chinese powerhouse NetEase, and it is the destination for every player who wishes to test their skills to the limit. Last year, we had the Gold Championship Series Fall, that included swooping four Western players in the tournament. During that tournament, Foggy once again showed brilliance.
Foggy was the main favourite going into the first edition of Western Qualifier, and together with OrcWorker, Hawk and Sonik, they were invited to the Qualifier beforehand.
Before the Western Qualifier could start, we needed to find 4 players in the Open Qualifier to fill up the brackets.
GCS Winter EU/NA Open Qualifier:
The open qualifier included 89 hopeful players, which was a great number of players. The origins of the players were widespread from the Eastern part of Russia to South America and everything in between.
Since the 4 best players were automatically qualified into the main qualifier, the players had to focus their efforts into getting a place into the semifinals. The open qualifier brackets were seeded, and that was a big help for some of the players.
Two well-known players, Cash and Effect were among the last four players, and they won their games respectively against RussianTh000 and Imperius. Cash has previously won Gera Cups a couple of years ago and Effect won many tournaments throughout the years, both solo and together with the Swedes.
The two other players who deserved their spots in the Main Qualifier they were /TheGreatWall and RaZZoRMaN.
TheGreatWall has been showing very impressive results in Gera Cup and has won against Koreans and other top players in Europe. He is known for his unorthodox strategies, which can catch opponents off-guard. He plays both human and orc.
RaZZoRMaN has been placing top tier in ESL tournaments and has also shown his skills with Orc.
Players included: Hawk, Foggy, OrcWorker, Sonik, Effect, TheGreatWall, RaZZoRMaN, and Cash.
Cash showed strength (and strong internet connection) with his def-win against Sonik and surprising win against OrcWorker in the winner bracket semifinals. He had the chance to walk straight into grand finals, if he managed to beat Foggy in the Winner Bracket finals.
EfFeCt also showed hist strength by taking maps off of OrcWorker and Sonik in his battles in the quarter finals and Loser Bracket round #1.
After day 1, the last standing players were clear: HawK and OrcWorker in the Loser Bracket, and Cash and Foggy in the winner bracket.
Day 2 – Final day:
Video on demand: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/178909917
OrcWorker vs Hawk (Loswer Bracket Round 3)
The first battle on day 2 was the Human vs. Orc:
After each player took their own maps, it was all decided on Turtle Rock. The odds were in OrcWorker’s favour, but he still had to win it.
The last fight can be seen here. OrcWorker was creeping the big turtle 7 and Hawk saw an opportunity to fight in a favourable position. The eagerness of Hawk was to be his downfall. His army was not positioned optimally, and OrcWorker took full advantage of the Archmage being too far up front.
The invulnerability potion was not enough, since OrcWorker perfectly blocked the exits and Hawk had no other option than to type GG.
Foggy vs Cash (Winner Bracket finals)
Cash showed during Day 1, that he was to be respected as a tier 1 player. He defeated OrcWorker in the semifinals, and that victory brought him into the Winner Bracket finals.
Foggy was his opponent. The Ukrainian was the big favourite – grabbing the plane tickets to China. In the past, he has struggled against Orc players, so this would be the perfect opportunity for Cash to further prove, that he is not a walk-over.
The series went to 3 games and after Cash won Amazonia and Foggy won Ancient Isles, the decision was to be made on Twisted Meadows.
Foggy opened with Huntresses and Ancients of Lore, while Cash opened with the cookie cutter strategy. During the mid-game, Foggy crept with a handful of Dryads at his natural expansion, and he planted a Tree of Life. With clever play, Foggy beforehand made sure that the Orcish tech was both delayed and harassed. Unfortunately to the extent that Cash could not deny nor disrupt his Tree of Life.
Foggy took full advantage and macro'ed well to gain a substantial army lead. Even though the army was not the most efficient, the sheer number of combat units made it hard for Cash to win.
Foggy won the last game and went straight into the Grand Finals, while OrcWorker got his revenge match against Cash.
OrcWorker vs. Cash (Lower Bracket Finals)
Revenge match was on the menu in the Loser Bracket finals, where Cash had the chance to knock OrcWorker out of the qualifier. OrcWorker on the other hand had been fighting in the Lower Bracket after losing to Cash, so he was very motivated to continue his winning streak and play the grand finals.
As so many of the Qualifier #1 games, this series also went to 3 maps! The last map was Last Refuge and both players went for one burrow tech. OrcWorker went for a different creep route, as he was aiming for the Troll High Priest that potentially could drop Sentry Wards, which came into fruition. The ward helped OrcWorker creep aggressively with little caution.
With Cash getting a Ring of Protection and missing a critical last hit from Windwalk, the Blademaster from OrcWorker had better head start. The lower experience on Cash’s Blademaster meant, he had to creep somewhere risky. With OrcWorker’s spider senses, he figured out the creeping route for Cash. At Cash's natural expansion, the creeps were fighting back against Cash’s forces, and OrcWorker capitalised on the opportunity with a great creep jack.
OrcWorker came out on top, and had a smoother transition into the mid-game, where both opted for the quick Tier 3 tech to gain Lightning Orb, improved Kodo drums, as well as master training for their Spirit Walkers.
After some creeping, Cash did not creep his Goblin Shop and OrcWorker wanted to force Cash into a bad position. The Blademasters contested for the Ogre Magi and Cash decided to devote his army into the creeps at the Goblin Shop. The trolls answered by throwing ensnares onto Cash’s units and OrcWorker quickly seized the moment to gain a couple of free units.
The Wand of the Wind was a big find for OrcWorker. Cash opted for two greedy Spirit Walkers before getting the adept training upgrade and this got punished. The Blademaster from Cash was disabled and unable to deal his dps to OrcWorker and this cost the Russian a lot.
The Belarusian had a decision to make - attack and potentially win the game or gain a bigger lead?
Instead of committing, OrcWorker went back to creeping. A mistake some might say, because it resulted in Cash sneak-killing the Ogre Lord (Red spot) and gained the Legion Doom-Horn. A very good item for Cash.
More skirmishing between the players was in OrcWorker’s favour, although Cash desperately fought his heart out to gain enough time for upgrades, items and experience on his heroes to contest the army of OrcWorker.
But it was not enough. When the mines expired, the Belarussian invested in a Tiny Great Hall and Cash had to go all-in. He did not have the resources for a Great Hall and he was forced to fight.
The hero level, superior army food and micro from OrcWorker was too much. The Belarussian was going into the grand finale against Foggy.
We get a rematch from WCA 2016.
Foggy vs OrcWorker G5 – Turtle Rock:
Many of the series during the GCS Winter 2017 went all the way to the last game, and the grand finals were not an exception. Both the Night Elf and Orc were playing their absolute best and the tension was high. Orcs have a great record against Elf on the highest level and OrcWorker showed previously, that he plays the match up well.
The last WCA, in 2016, Foggy won 3-2 against OrcWorker. It was clear enough for everyone that the Orc wanted the revenge.
The last map on Turtle Rock would be cross position, and this meant easier creeping for the Tauren Chieftain.
The game was set in stone, and none of the players deviated from the meta. Level 2 Demon Hunter and level 2 Blademaster were fighting it out. Foggy tried for a Tier 2 building harrass with the Beastmaster, but the entrance to the Orcish base was well-protected.
Foggy went back to creeping and with 3 archers, Demon Hunter and Beastmaster, but without the Ancient of War, the creeping was a little hard. OrcWorker contested Foggy's creeping, successfully disrupting the leveling of the Night Elf heroes. Meanwhile, the Tauren Chieftain crept aggressively around the map, and was rewarded with great items.
With a great Raider scout from OrcWorker – he saw that Foggy went for the red spot, and with his good positioning, he immediately punished the Elf. The Demon Hunter teleported back and OrcWorker crept the red spot. Foggy was in trouble. With two level 3 Orc heroes and 3 auras (Scourge Bone Chimes, Warsong Battle Drums, and Endurance Aura) the Orcish horde was very scary.
OrcWorker was in a great position. He pushed above 50 food and was ready to fight against Foggy with his massive force. Foggy crept the lvl 7 turtle closest to his base, and OrcWorker immediately went heads on. The dangerous army from OrcWorker steamrolled the Night Elf army. With the necessary micro, and with Foggy being forced to invest in teleport scrolls and therefore not having a staff, the Orc quickly killed the Demon Hunter and the moon wells for Foggy.
After a bloody fight where the Demon Hunter died twice, and both the the Tinker and Tauren Chieftain once – the Blademaster cleaned up. OrcWorker did it. The revenge was sweet and Foggy tapped out. GG.
The Orcs were victorious!
Congratulations to OrcWorker. He is travelling to China to fight for his worth in the GCS Winter 2017. This is the third time the Belarussian is competing in a major tournament.
Open Qualifier #2
The Open Qualifier is not done yet, since the Western scene is awarded a second spot in the main event! That means that, starting this Saturday, we will find out who is to be the second contender from the Western scene.
Here is the link, if you want to participate: