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Silicon Sports | 29/04/2017

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ACL Sydney Preview

ACL Pro Sydney

With the month being July you may be forgiven for being complacent about the upcoming ACL Sydney. This however, would be a disaster if you’re an avid SEAsports fanatic, given the fact this may be the last major LAN Australia will see in the year 2014 and ACL plan to make it a big one!

Cheeks of nerds all around Australia still slightly damp and salty from the events occurring in Brisbane May 31st-June1st, where newly recruited x5.KingKong was able to yet again demonstrate Korean dominance (terk er jerbs) conquering all white people who stood in his path with a convincing 17-1 map score. His only blip on an otherwise flawless victory being a map dropped in the Grand Final to his adversary Fray’Hut. If history is anything to go by he will be looking to replicate similar results at ‘Australian Technology Park’ this weekend.

In dire times such as these with a whopping 7,000 eSports dollars on the line, we cast our glance to the challengers waiting in the depths as to who might topple the aptly named KingKong.

As Australia prepares for the battle this weekend, our brothers from across the Timor Sea have heard our call for assistance in toppling the adopted King of SEA. With newly assimilated Myi.Blysk and x5.Revenant flying over to help, along with our long time southern allies in New Zealand. Who are sending a partition in Crimson and MightyKiwi, so we may once again fight a foreign invader under the banner ANZAC.

With all these champions in their own right, as well as Australia’s best, facilitated by ACL, hosted at the legendary stage where nearly 2 years ago, Moonglade was crowned Oceanic Champion, we will yet again see an Australian E-sports event that is sure to go down in the history books. Will you be a part of it?

With the groups already unveiled, let us take a more in depth look at the interesting nuances that make up the incestuous South East Asia StarCraft 2 landscape.

ACL Sydney Participants

1. NaMek
2. Soundwave
3. Petrify
4. HuT
5. Skayer
6. RivaL
7. Law
8. Aiya
9. JaYbOc
10. NXZ
11. Alopex
12. Blysk
13. Revenant
14. Arrogance
15. Raziel
16. Peppy
17. Kevin Satria
18. Hydro
19. KingKong
20. Ninja
21. DLavegaNyx
22. MightyKiwi
23. Valheru
24. Ayr
25. Slayer
26. Wally
27. Phoenix
28. Kez
29. Apocolypse
30. Pezz
31. Schnitzel
32. Iaguz
33. ChoboSniper
34. DevianT
35. Frustration
36. South
37. Pressure
38. Probe
39. Kreamy
40. Crimson
41. FIGHTO
42. Yours
43. Azz
44. Syntox
45. Vivid
46. Fergs
47. KIkkoman
48. Val
49. Alpha
50. deL
51. Melord
52. Djvillian 

With Iaguz returning from a stint in the good old U S Of A, unable to accumulate the required points necessary to qualify for groups, he will definitely be the man to beat for those looking to take the long route to eventual glory.

Next up striking fear into lowly masters and diamond players hoping to make their group stage debut is mYi.Blysk. A strong Protoss hope, coming from Singapore he will surely look to do well in the open bracket and continue with momentum into the groups.

Thirdly this group of players will form the mainstay of notable participants. Seed. MightyKiwi, Fray’Crimson, Ecko.Rival, SYF.Fighto and Frustration should all be looking to slay a sea of nerds to make it to the top 24, and praying they don’t manage to find 2 or 3 of the other notable participants in their respective bracket.

Lastly, coming out of retirement will be Ninja. Once of the most promising young Zerglings of Australia, Ninja participated in IEM Singapore 2012, doing very well placing top 12. This coupled with other high finishes in Australian regional tournaments; it was unfortunate to see him step away from the game. Perhaps it’s a reigniting of the flame he once had for Starcraft, perhaps it’s merely convenient, or perhaps it’s the tantalising taste of 7,000 big ones luring him out of retirement, but either way he’ll be an unknown factor to watch out for.

And now, on with the main event!

Bo3 Round Robin, top 2 Advance to Round of 8.

Group A

 1. x5.Kingkong
2. fray`Crimson
3. x5.NXZ
4. eCKo`Chobosniper 

Aforementioned Kingkong has somewhat gotten lucky this group, given an original (not counting open bracket participants) group entirely comprised of Zergs (surprise surprise). With the mirror match-up easily being his forte, he should be coming out of this group with relative 9 pool ease, lest our next favoured challenger, Crimson, can stop him.

Crimson is a name you may not have heard, given his exile (no pun intended) by living in New Zealand, he has been unable to attend major Australian LAN tournaments and in his home town of NZ has been shadowed by Petraeus. Undoubtedly practicing hard (however who knows these days with how dead the game is) I’m giving him 2nd seed in this group.

3rd Seed will be going to young star NXZ. NXZ ejaculated (I couldn’t help it) onto the ACL Pro circuit in early 2013. Since then he has had good results without being great. Given his recent lack of practice due to real life commitments such as school, he has lowered our expectations for him. Perhaps however, this is precisely what he needs to shock us all and remind us he is indeed still a top player.

Lastly we have Chobosniper. A quiet, strong Zerg player from Melbourne, he managed to make the group stage at Brisbane earlier this year and even do well coming out in second place, before he was defeated in the round of 8 by Hut. Had he been given a different group, a higher seed would have been in order; alas he has drawn the proverbial short straw, and has been stuck with 3 other strong players. It would be prudent to keep a close eye on him however.

Group B

 1. SLCN.Petrify
2. eCKo`Probe
3. SLCN.Kez
4. eCKo`Schnitzel 

A more interesting group given diversity among races, Group B is an interesting debacle of what might come to be. With Petrify, Probe and to a lesser extent Kez, all being a stones throw away from each other in skill, anything could really happen on the day. Oh yeah Schnitzel will be playing too. In all seriousness however, this group may prove to be the one with most interesting results. Not too hard that it may scare away notable open bracket participants, not easy enough that it’s an obvious choice.

Having spent a great deal of time with my team mate Petrify, he’s feeling confident at the moment in his abilities, particularly against Protoss and Probe is still yet to prove himself at a LAN event. For these reasons and because I’m a biased son of a bitch, I give him first seed.

Ever so slightly bringing up the rear and nipping at his toes, is Probe. With strong online performances throughout 2014, my hope for Probe is he can conquer any possible LAN nerves and show his true form at ACL.

Thirdly is Kez. Writing about myself in the third person is perhaps one of my favourite joys in life, so I’ll go ahead and take an objective perspective. Having been a mainstay of the ACL Circuit since its inception in 2012, Kez has always been good but never great. Able to take games of the higher seeded players in groups and demonstrating nefarious tactics, employing anything in his quest for victory, he may be a player to watch in the possibilities of toppling his more in-form opponents.

Lastly is Schnitzel. Race picking Zerg and Protoss at his fancy, Schnitzel has been around the scene for a while now. Main race being Protoss, he may look to employ some odd strategies in the hopes of catching his opponents unawares.

Group C

 1. SLCN.Pezz
2. x5.Revenant
3. fray`Alopex
4. SLCN.Law 

Australian Protoss hope, Pezz, is coming off his highest placing at an ACL event, in Brisbane earlier this year, he managed a 4th place finish, losing in a nail biting series to 2nd place finisher Hut, 2-1. With a tougher field of competition at this event, 4th place may not be as easy, but certainly isn’t out of his reach. With only one match-up to practice, I feel like this is both a gift and a curse. Whilst he can solely focus on the PvZ match-up and polish his skills to a high finish, he will also be burdened with finding ways to surprise his opponents, due to them being able to see what he did previously. If he can practice hard and come up with a variety of builds, particularly important in this given matchup, he will be in good shape, if not however…

An easily recognisable name, Revenant has been a figurehead of Singaporean Starcraft 2 success since the dawn of the beta. Sharing the same fate as Korean hopefuls, his professional career was cut short due to compulsory military service. A blessing in disguise he can now kill you both in and out of the game. A natural at the RTS, even under practiced Revenant will probably do well and come out second, but it will be a close one.

Alopex is a hard one to pick. Sometimes he looks like a fantastic player showing great form and scary in all match-ups. Then other times he loses to me, repeatedly. So go figure. My feeling is he gets nervous or uncomfortable at LANs, despite having a
gorgeous k-pop worthy girlfriend by his side. An ailment he’ll have to overcome if he is to mimic recent success (the nerves, not his gf). For entertainments sake, and so it’s possible for us to hit each other in the bracket, I hope he can get it together on the day and show everybody what he has to offer.

Lastly, but certainly not least (yes I’m aware I did put him as least, but it’s just a phrase) is Law. A strong macro Zerg player I liken in many ways to Alopex. Both extremely scary when they are all guns blazing, but somewhat lackluster in high pressure tournament situations.

Group D

 1. fray`Hut
2. SLCN.Peppy
3. fray`Wally
4. ETL.Soundwave 

This is the group I pick most likely to get Iaguz. So that’s unfortunate. Regardless, hot from a second place finish at ACL Brisbane, Australian veteran Hut should comfortably exit this group in first place should he not get the other Terran hope of Australia.
Having a crikey of a performance in Brisbane earlier this year, Peppy has forged a name for himself rather quickly. A strong up and coming Zerg player, he has defeated many top tier pro’s recently and will be looking to continue his success this tournament.

Wally echoes Peppy in some ways, as they are both hot from a solid performance just last month, with both being fresh new Zerg players. With 2nd and 3rd place most likely riding on their match, it will be extremely interesting to see who advances.

If this were early 2014 I would give Soundwave an equal chance to advance in 2nd place over his rivals, but given their recent performances both online and at LAN, I can’t help but feel Soundwave is a level below. Interestingly however, posting various upsets at ACL Brisbane, particularly being able to defeat Peppy, doing well is not impossible, merely unlikely.

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks, these are the combatants you should be keeping an eye on, and a beer waiting for them, either to console them in their losses, or celebrate with them in their victories (the former much more likely). As previously mentioned, this might be the last major event of the year, despite it being July, so be sure to spread the word and tell all your (possible) friends about this event in Sydney. ACL has been the pride and joy of Australian Starcraft 2 for the past 2 years now. Always giving us a good idea of what to expect at their events, they have said this one is going to be big, with little expense spared for the Starcraft 2 portion of their tournament.

With Mr.Vanzetti and Mr.Baldwin so far being a man of their word, I expect this event to truly be a spectacle to behold.

Good luck, have fun.

Until next time,

Kez.