WCS ANZ Qualifiers Wrap
What a weekend for eSports in our little corner of the world!
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Blizzard ANZ’s community manager, PJ ‘Arcagnion’ Russell, we had a direct qualifier into the WCS America Challenger League for three players from the SEA region. The open bracket was hotly contested by 41 players in a best of three, double elimination format. The top eight from this bracket would go through to Sunday’s round of 16 to face the eight invited players in the guise of RedArchon, Iaguz, Petreaus, KingKong, EnDerr, PiG, Revenant and Blysk.
I am very proud to say that our very own Team Silicon Sports pros, Jack ‘Pezz’ Perry and Mark ‘Petrify’ Fittipaldi, played exceptionally well through out the bracket qualifying for Sunday’s finals. Yes, REALPET returned after stepping down from competitive SC2 late in 2013 and subsequently took out first place in the bracket! Pezz was solid as well, only dropping maps to Alopex and team mate, Petrify, to finish equal 5th.
At the time we are really starting to see a changing of the guard with notables such as Rossi and JazBas failing to make the cut, who quite sadly have declared their retirement from the competitive scene following the qualifiers. Other notables who missed out included MightKiwi, Fenner and NXZ which goes to show that there is a really good spread of talent out there in SEA land. Hopefully this is a catalyst for people to up the ante and increase their skill level so we can take on those in the WCS Challenger & Premier Leagues.
After the day was run and won, we had Petrify, Fighto, Lobo, Alopex, Myuu, Pezz, Probe and KayZ advance to the round of 16.
Day 1 Bracket: http://wcs2014_aclpro.challonge.com/WCS_SEA_S1D1
Day 1 VOD: http://www.twitch.tv/aclprosc2/b/494282881
The top four had been discussed at length in the lead up to Sunday’s finals, with most tipping Petraeus, Iaguz, PiG & Kingkong taking one of the three spots available. But as we all know anything can happen in finals and there is always a dark horse who just happens to sneak under the radar. Thanks to ACL Pro and Australia’s premier casting duo, Maynarde & Zepph (with Insano directing the action), we bore witness to some amazing games and some breakout performances.
On the SLCN front, Pezz unfortunately bowed out after falling to PiG in the opening round of the upper bracket and then subsequently to Lobo in the lower bracket. Just need to work on those tournament nerves, Pezzu! Petrify on the other hand had a close fought series with RedArchon in a TvZ series that ebbed and flowed, eventually succumbing 2-1. He then faced another Terran in the form of KayZ. Again the score was 2-1 but Petrify was in the winners circle on this occasion. Next opponent, Revenant, proved too difficult and knocked Petrify out of the lower bracket in another tight contest finishing 2-1.
I caught up with Mark to get his thoughts on his performance over the weekend.
Petrify: “I’m exceedingly happy with how I went in the qualifiers, as most people know I retired recently so I didn’t practice at all in the lead up, as such I was pleasantly surprised by how well I went. It was a pretty interesting experience playing with zero expectations of doing well, so maybe I will enter more tournaments with that mindset!”
Well done to all our players who competed over the weekend. It was a great result for the team even if not everyone successfully completed their objectives.
So let us get back to the action. Now I mentioned there was some surprises and breakout performances. This came in the way of Probe. The Melbourne Protoss player for team eCKo and clan mGG had an amazing finals to the say the least, stomping face and taking names at the same time. He first accounted for EnDerr 2-0 and then knocked Iaguz into the lower bracket as well without dropping a map. PiG was his next opponent, but he was prepared for the Dark Templar and Tempest play Probe had exploited so well in previous matches. If Probe could win the next match against EnDerr, he would then be one series away from a spot in the WCS America Challenger League. This was a series for the ages and you really need to watch the VODs as these two fought tooth and nail. EnDerr proved too strong out-manoeuvring Probe’s death ball and finished with a 2-1 victory and one hand on a coveted spot in WCS Challenger League.
It was no surprise to see KingKong and PiG facing off in the upper bracket final and taking two of the spots available in the American Challenger League. Their rivalry was renewed once more after the SCS Grand Finale, where PiG took a memorable victory. This final, however, proved difficult for PiG succumbing 2-0 to the Kong. He would have to bide his time for another chance to prove his dominance.
To other results in the lower bracket, Iaguz was eliminated by Blysk. This sent viewers into a frenzy announcing the death of Terran in the SEA scene once more as Lobo knocked out RedArchon as well in the same round. Another favourite, Petraeus, found life difficult after losing to KingKong in the upper bracket and then accounting for Blysk in the lower bracket with a convincing 2-0 result. He was now through to meet EnDerr to contest the final spot available in the WCS America Challenger League. Again this was a series that could have gone either way. Ultimately, EnDerr finished the victor closing out the series 2-1.
The three qualifiers had now been determined and now it was a question of prize money (cash monay!) these local champions would take home. After going down to KingKong in the upper bracket, PiG and EnDerr played out the Lower Bracket final. This proved to be a very tough ZvZ match. However, PiG surfaced as the victor 2-1 and earned the right to take on KingKong once again. An extremely good showing for EnDerr has ensured he will be one to watch when the Challenger League matches come round.
We were now at the Grand Final. KingKong only had to win the first set to secure the top spot, where as PiG had his work cut out for him having to win two Best of Three sets, having qualified for the final from the lower bracket. As mentioned before this is a fierce rivalry in the SEA scene and they pulled out all stops to ensure their victory. The first game lived up to the hype and KingKong took the early lead but PiG came back to secure the first win of the series. Roach/Hydra play from both players was impeccable in the second game but it was the positioning that was the difference. PiG exploited this and took the first series 2-0.
The extended finals brought it all level, it was time to put it all on the line for both players. Again the micro of the ling bane battles, the concaves, the unit composition, the upgrades all played their part. However, the momentum PiG had gained from his earlier series win against EnDerr and the first set against KingKong was carrying him to victory. But it was probably more the incentive of a tasty victory pizza awaiting him that took him over the line. PiG closed out the series 2-0 and finished the victor in the first SEA Qualifier for 2014!
Congratz PiG! Victory Pizza is the Best Pizza!
A massive congratulations to our SEA representatives, EnDerr (Philippines), KingKong (Korea) and PiG (Australia), who I am sure will more than hold their own in the coming Challenger League matches.
Day 2 Brackets: http://wcs2014_aclpro.challonge.com/WCS_SEA_S1D2
Day 2 VOD: http://www.twitch.tv/aclprosc2/b/494567151