Petrify’s ACL Melbourne Blog!
Okay so firstly this blog is totally 100% a ripoff of Fenner’s because I found it a really really cool read! Secondly, I’ve just had a 12 hour day at uni so please go easy if this is a total ramble or just really poorly written!
I wrote a blog a few months before ACL about how I was going to step up my practice hardcore in the lead up to this event because I wanted to do really well. Despite the fact I didn’t achieve the specific goals that I wanted to, I was extremely pleased with my practice. However, I knew I had some serious flaws in my gameplay vs terran that I wanted to iron out, but I knew that I didn’t have any terrans in my group and I was unlikely to hit any terrans from the open bracket. Boy did that come back to bite me.
When the groups were released for Melbourne I was pretty damn happy. I knew that I could advance as long as the open bracket players weren’t too strong. I am always a huge advocate of play the player, not the game, and while this isn’t necessarily the best approach to the game, it is what I am comfortable with. This lead to me trying to get a mental advantage against the best player in my group first, Petraeus.
Despite all my crap trash talk against Petraeus in the lead up, I think he is the strongest all round player in SEA at the moment and I didn’t want to play him. Whilst I had already beaten him 2-0 in zvz, I thought both games involved a bit of luck and some pretty big risks. However, I wanted to put the spotlight on this series because I feel like if Petraeus has one weakeness it’s playing under pressure (although I could be totally wrong about that, that’s just how I feel). Aside from calling Petraeus out, that was all the preparation I did for him. I didn’t feel the need to prepare any specific builds as I don’t believe zvz works that way, which I learned after playing PiG at AVcon.
For the other players in my group, Megafonzie and Phoenix, I did very little research. Whilst I knew a little bit about Megafonzies style, I knew it wouldn’t be the same come ACL time due to his strong practice partners. Phoenix on the other hand is a zerg and I feel pretty invincible vs zergs that aren’t Petraeus/Pig/Kingkong/Glade. However I did learn that he had a tendency to be a relatively greedy player so I wanted to win with good timings and micro based games.
Fortunately, Melbourne is my home town so I spent Friday at home practicing, and tried to get an early night – so I can’t write too much about that.
Saturday: Day 1
I went down to the arena with two of my best friends who enjoy watching my games despite not playing Starcraft anymore. This was great for relaxing my nerves. By the time I got there, around 11, I was pumped and ready for the games to start. Having been told that the games would start around ~2ish for the groups, by the time it hit around 4, I was getting a little agitated that we hadn’t started playing. I can’t remember specifically what time the groups started but it felt like it was very late. Most players were trying to get practice games in but I didn’t want to play ladder and lose, then tilt. So i just played one game with nobody in it as if I were playing for real. I hit around 20-30 APM higher than my average so I was feeling good regardless.
I started hearing whispers that I was up next on stage vs Petraeus but I hadn’t heard anything official. This is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to get the best player out of the way first, on stage to get rid of my nerves so I could go about my business against the other guys. I decided to go ask Baldie if the rumors were true, and fortunately, they were! I was to play on stage and on stream vs Petraeus after Jazbas and Poker (i think it was them) finished their series.
Patiently I waited like a schoolboy with butterflies in my stomach for their series to end. When it finally ended, I rushed on stage to plug in my gear and get ready.
Going into this series, I had no plans for vetos, and no plans for builds, I was going to do what I was doing in practice that was winning for me in the days leading up to the event. All I know is I didn’t want to play Whirlwind because it’s random in zvz and I wanted this to be a game of skill. Fortunately, I thought he’d feel the same, so I’m pretty sure he vetoed it.
Belshir Vestige I feel like this map is amazing for speedling/baneling pressure, but I do it so often I felt it was almost predictable for me to do that in the series. There were two things I was sure of vs Petraeus, 1) Expect 15 pools. 2) Expect mutalisks. I decided to opt for a 15 pool myself as I thought Petraus might think I’d go hatch first because I know he 15 pools a lot and he may cheese me. Alas, my first overlord finally crosses the map and sees a hatch first. What? He’s not supposed to do that. I early pool all the time. Brilliant read by him. He wins the first zvz mind game – this is something I’m not used to. I see he’s gone super early speed so I go baneling nest first knowing this is a good pressure map. Unfortunately, the pressure never came, and I decided I’d use a strong build that I had in practice which is to fake a large speedling bane attack whilst grabbing +1 armor behind it. This initial fake pressure delays their tech and they counter attack after they’ve held, which then provides me a disguise to be making a tonne of lings, faking an overreaction. Fortunately for me Petraeus was going mutalisks and I was able to overrun him with lings. My reaction after game one was… simply ‘well, that was easier than I thought’.
Akilon Wastes (I will never forget this game as long as I’m involved in starcraft, so I’m going to write it a little different). Okay one game up vs Petraeus, heh, he’s going to think i’m going to early pool and he’s going to 15pool. Hatch first time! But… you don’t hatch first… ever… Screw it. Do it anyway. I cannot describe the overwhelming amount of relief I had when I saw he 15 pooled. I win this mind game. Good! Now he’s going to expect you’ll put on hard pressure with this hatch gas pool, so just defend and tech hard. Wait – he’s pressuring me? Oh god. I think I have enough to defend. He won’t commit to this anyway. Just build a handful of lings and keep droning. Aasdfdsfsfs he’s committing. Panic stations. Don’t lose drones or queens. Alright he did damage, but my spire tech has to be way ahead of his. Go check if he has a third, if he doesn’t, you’re going to win. Aw shit he has a third almost finished – why didn’t you put an overlord there? Stupid. Nevermind, your mutas are faster. Do damage. Do it fast. Secure your third. Beat him with upgrade timings.
My brain went into a state of trance once I had mutalisks out for a long time. No thoughts, just express yourself through the mutalisks. Every movement I did have to have purpose or someone as good as him will find an opening in my defenses and captalise. Never over-commit with your mutas – but find the holes in his armour and punish him. After a dance of what felt like an eternity, I finally took an engage I thought I could win, I had an upgrade lead, and it looked like I was even on mutas. Turns out I was only behind by one or two. But he took the engage better. And he had lings under my mutas. I pulled my mutalisks back, but the damage was done. I knew i was behind a lot on the muta count and I knew you can’t come back from that. I hit enter and typed GG. But then I backspaced it. Wait – spore crawlers are stupid as shit right? His economy is even with yours. Just send lings everywhere, try to get ahead economically and only fight under spores. Fortunately I burrowed two spores under a muta fight that I would have lost at my natural, and they were able to get off about 3 shots each. Somehow I was only a little bit behind on mutas. But it wasn’t enough, my economy was worse now. Fuck it. Sack your natural, your main, and go for the throat at his only mining base with your mutas. Spore up every base. I was focusing on my mutalisks only at this point when the spores were building but I knew he’d taken down the fortress at my fourth also – he had to have lost mutas to the spores there. Shit. He went straight for my spire – what a brilliant move. Well I have to engage now or I lose. WTF HES 1/2 AND I’M 2/2? GO. The euphoria that wept over me when I won that fight was indescribable.
Newkirk. I don’t have much to say about this game other than he played exceptionally well and predicted all my moves a step ahead. From throwing down 3 stargates as my spire finishes to muta switch, to composing himself perfectly whilst base racing. Superb play by him. Don’t leave yet though, remember Akilon. Make him stay in it for as long as possible for a mental edge.
Whirlwind. Okay he went FFE last game. You’re down a game. He’s not going to play safe, he’s going to want that win now and do a gateway timing. 10p speed time. YES first scout and he went gate expand. GG.
Whirlwind. WHY THE DFRUDHFDS;FSDF DID YOU FORGET TO VETO WHIRLWIND? DRONE SCOUT. PLAY SAFE. HIT A ROACH TIMING. Shit he went super greedy. Hit the roach timing anyway and hope he went overboard. Barely any roaches? Good. Keep rallying. GG
WTF YOU HAVE GLADE AND HUT IN YOUR GROUP? I didn’t want Glade Or a terran. FUCK.
Neo planet S. 9 pool him. Your micro is solid. He’s playing greedy, even vs a 15p you can out micro him. Aw crap I think I only killed 5 drones with my initial lings. Hopefully this speed bane follow up even things up. I can’t remember what happens after that but I know I won. I was tired at this point and wanted to go home.
Day one finished ontop of my group! Just gotta beat glade or hut.
Sunday: Final day
Brimming with confidence after beating Petraeus 2-0 the day before and watching Glade get manhandled by Petraeus 2-0, I knew I could beat Glade if I played well.
Akilon Wastes. Do your game one build vs Petraeus, that worked fantastically. Shit he didn’t overreact to the pressure. And he saw all my lings banking. Crap you are behind. Wait – this is moonglade. Why was I confident? This guys been an idol of yours for ages. Oh god. He’s playing amazing. This isn’t what I saw vs Petraeus? Wow, I just got beaten handily in zvz. The only one whos doing that recently to you was KingKong. GG.
Belshir Vestige. Glade likes hatch first, you can’t mineral stack on this map. 9 pool! Shit. 15 pool. Cool you cancelled the hatch! The rest of the game is a blur to me but I just remember Glade playing incredibly well and having an answer to everything I threw at him.
FUCK i have to beat Hut to advance. And he can’t even go through. He has nothing to lose. You have everything to lose. And he plays terran. At this point, I had already lost. Mentally I was not capable of winning with this attitude, I should have treated it like a ladder game.
Belshir Vestige. The whole game was summed up in my mind afterward in one sentence. “You are playing like you don’t even want to win”.
Whirlwind. “You moron, win two games in a row and you should advance to the championship bracket. Get your shit together and play properly”. This game went on for a very long time, I think it was 35-40 minutes long. I was donating units constantly with miss control from nerves, but to Huts credit he played extremely well and I was beaten by the better player.
At this point, I’m nearly in tears. Ontop of my group one day, 0-4 the next. Fortunately, the bad news was stopped when I found out pezz advanced and I get to cast him with Kez!
Aside from my series vs Petraeus this was easily the highlight of my tournament. I absolutely enjoyed casting Pezz beat Ninja and felt like my commentary was really strong analytically and complimented greatly by Kez’s style. Maybe I’ll cast more in the future…
Unfortunately, my uni schedule is ridiculous this semester and I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to play at a competitive level anymore. I’m going to try for a little bit but I won’t be able to practice and if my play becomes too bad i’m going to stop playing competitively. However, I would like to step into a casting role more often as I feel I enjoyed it just as much as playing. Hopefully I can stay in the starcraft scene in one of these roles.
Thankyou for reading, if anybody did!