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eSports: Starcraft 2 Neeb, America’s Hope at Katowice

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Neeb The Lone American At Katowice

By Christian Bullock

eSports has been dominated by the South Koreans and this year at IEM Katowice [Poland] it has been no different.  Blizzard’s Starcraft 2 is one of the best eSports games.  It’s an RTS game [Real Time Strategy] where each player builds an Army to defeat the other players.  There are three Races to play and each offers different strengths and weakness.  The Races are Terran [Human], Zerg [Alien], and Protoss [Alien].  The game can be best described as an elaborate Chess Match between two players.

American Starcraft 2 programmer Neeb was poised to go far in this weeks Tournament at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice [Poland].  As the only American to win a major Korean Tournament, there were high hopes for him this week.  The Protoss [Race] player has shown flashes of brilliance in the past.  His microing ability is top notch, he is a top tier pro player, and he is on par with the dominant Koreans who are the best in the world.  The South Koreans have dominated the Starcraft scene for over a decade.  Neeb looked like he would have a break out, as a real challenger to top Koreans.


Sadly our hopes were dashed in Day 3 of the Tourney [Group Stage Round of 24].  During the Group Stage players are grouped into four groups and play 5 best of 3 matches.  Wins come at a premium especially in the more elite player groups.  Neeb went up against his group which was Group B which included players: TY [South Korea] [Terran], aLive [South Korea] [Terran], Stats [South Korea] [Protoss], Harstem [Netherlands] [Protoss], and jjakji [South Korea] [Terran].  His games against Stats [Protoss] were memorable but little mistakes caught up with him as he was eliminated early in the Tourney.  One game stands out in particular, against TY [Terran] where he didn’t research Warp Gates [Upgrade] fast enough.  He was then quickly overwhelmed by TY’s [Terran] early rush.  Neeb’s play against aLive [Terran] was disappointing.  His overall play during Group [Round of 24] was 1-4.  Although it should be noted that he was in one of the toughest groups, nicknamed a “Group of Death”.

Neeb didn’t play as well as expected but we are hoping to see him later this year in Intel Extreme Masters.  The Tourney in Katowice [Poland] continues on with Groups C and D playing Today.  Players will be trying to make it to the Round of 12 [Elimination Bracket] and on to Semi and Grand Finals this weekend.  There are still many exciting games left to play, with a 250,000 dollar prize pool.  We will be following the rest of the Tournament streaming live on Twitch [ESL] Starcraft 2.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

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eSports: Starcraft 2 Will Headline IEM PyeongChang South Korea Ahead of the Olympics

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So last Saturday everyone watching Blizzcon, Blizzard Entertainment’s Yearly Convention, found out that eSports will be coming to the Olympics.  Well they won’t be medaling just yet.  The Intel Extreme Masters will take place just before the Olympics start.  It was an incredible announcement for several reasons.  First off can you believe eSports has grown this big!  I mean seriously, its come a long way from your local Internet Cafe or average LAN Party!  This is huge news for us gamers out there and Millennials!  It tells the world, “yes this is a sport.”

Secondly I think that this is a great way to give a nod to eSports’ “roots”.  South Korea has had a long standing eSports Scene and in point of fact they started the movement back in 1998-1999.  Starcraft: Brood War was the very first eSport on the Korean Scene.  With it’s integral Internet Service Bnet, Battle Net, allowed players from around the world to play against each other over the Internet.  It was incredible when it first came out and it changed gaming forever.

Starcraft: Brood War shipped with Bnet included free to play.  So it’s so fitting that with the announcement of Starcraft 2 Headlining PyeongChang, Blizzard Entertainment is allowing anyone to play for free.  Yup you heard me!  Starcraft 2 will be free to play starting November 14th.  Not only that but the first Campaign will be available, free to play!  Already have Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, fine then you’ll get a free upgrade to Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Campaign.  This is unbelievable and unprecedented!  So basically you can jump right in to Bnet and start laddering for free.

Now back to the Olympics; there has been some discussion as to whether or not eSports should be in the discussion as an “official” Olympic sport.  Is it a Sport?  The answer from the IOC, International Olympic Committee, is that “yes this is a sport.”  “Players practice as much as real Sports Athletes,” which is what they have stated.  Yet there still seems to be a cloud concerning whether or not it “should be” an Olympic Sport.  Their argument is always the same, “Video Games are Violent.”  But let me tell you that they are no more Violent than any other “Sport.”

Listen some Sports like the Shooting Sports are all well and excepted in the Summer Olympic Games.  Which are in all actuality much more dangerous than anything done in eSports.  I mean seriously, why can’t we get past this?  I mean if there are 15 Shooting Events that are well and excepted by the IOC, why not eSports?  Growing up on Video Games, I feel like me and most other Millennials can relate to eSports becoming a Sport.  It just makes sense that this is where we are headed.  And I’m all for more people taking up the discussion.

Lastly with the Olympics being in PyeongChang it just feels like the right time to have Starcraft 2 Center Stage as the main eSport.  This is where the movement began.  This is where eSports became a “Sport”.  This is also where Starcraft became “Starcraft”.  The Koreans perfected the way Starcraft is played and it, “just makes sense” that they host the best in the world, not just in Olympic Sports, but eSports as well.  Congratz South Korea, for the very respectful nod at Starcraft’s “roots”, and for the very exciting time it will be in PyeongChang this February!  GG! HF!

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eSports: Starcraft 2 WCS 2017 Global Finals Recap – Rouge Wins Big

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Rouge Wins Big

It was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.  Everyone watching was holding their breath.  soO [Zerg] was rushing with his Roaches into Rouge’s [Zerg] base.  It looked like he might not have enough Units but he plunged into and forced a GG out of Rouge [Zerg].  The crowd erupted with excitement.  They were so loud that they drowned out the Casters who were going over the “play by play” of the game [Map].  Yep, you guessed it this was Blizzcon!  But more important, ly this was the pivotal game [Map] between soO [Zerg] vs Rouge [Zerg].  This was the Grand Finals!  And soO, the heavy favorite had just gone up [2-1] in the Best of 7 Match Up.  Unfortunately for him this was the year of the upset.  But how did we get to here?

Well there were some huge upsets which turned this Tournament upside down.  First off Neeb [Protoss] the heavy foreign favorite who had won 3 Majors this year couldn’t move on from the Group Round of 16.  He won big during Day One of the Group Round but on the Second Day he played his worst games of the year and ended up getting double eliminated.  It was a sad day, last Sunday, to watch America’s best hope at a Global Title fade away.

The foreign scene now looked like Poland’s Elazer [Zerg] and Mexico’s SpeCial [Terran], up against the best Koreans in the world.  Luckily they faced off against each other in the Round of 8 Bracket, ensuring at least one of them would make it to the Semi Finals.  Elazer [Zerg] looked good and he was a favorite in this Match Up but once again we would see an astounding upset.  As SpeCial [Terran] would beat Elazer [Zerg] without losing a single game [Map], [3-0].

On the other Round of 8 Bracket there was soO [Zerg] vs GuMiHo [Terran].  This was a nail biter of a Match Up that went to 5 games [Maps].  GuMiHo was pretty even with soO and it looked like either one could take it.  One of the most improbable comebacks of the Tournament was GuMiHo [Terran] in Game 4 [Map 4].  He got attacked during an early Zergling Rush but some how managed to stay with it.  He had one Bunker with 4 Marines up against countless lings but some how managed to save the Bunker and mount a Counter Attack.  It was something to watch!  If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it!  Unbelievably he would win that game [Map] and put soO on the ropes for Game 5 [Map 5].  soO would once again attack aggressively and would end up winning the Match and move on to the Semi Finals.

On the next Round of 8 Bracket herO [Protoss] vs Rouge [Zerg] was another Match Up to watch.  Rouge [Zerg] would go on to beat herO [Protoss] another heavy favorite in the Tournament.  Lastly there was INnoVation [Terran] vs TY [Zerg] in the Quarter Finals.  The two heavyweights went at it and the all time favorite, nicknamed “the Machine”, INnoVation [Terran] lost.  It was unbelievable how so many good players lost.  I mean seriously, no one saw this coming!

soO [Zerg] would go on to beat SpeCial {Terran] [3-0], which was simply total domination.  And Rouge [Zerg] would beat TY [Terran] in a surprising Match Up.  Rouge [Zerg] really went on a hot streak and by the time the Grand Finals rolled around he was ready to play.  This guy looked scary as heck!  I know most people were wondering if he could actually do it.  The main storyline though was about soO’s [Zerg] consistent 2nd Place Finishes.  He has come in 2nd place so many times and has never won a Tournament.  It looked like he might do it as he was up [2-1] in the GF Best of 7.

Yet we would witness the rise of a new star of Starcraft 2 Progaming, Rouge [Zerg].  After Game 3 Rouge recouped himself and began to engineer one of the great ZvZ that Startcraft 2 has ever seen.  Rouge [Zerg] came at soO [Zerg] with the ling/bane Rush, with the Roach/Ravenger Rush, with the Muta/Hydra Rush, with Droppling Rush, yet all of that doesn’t compare to the mind games that he played.  His masterful and now patented Swarm Host Attack that he used against his other opponents showed that he has a great mid to late game.  I’d also like to point out that he isn’t afraid to be aggressive.  I mean holy cow, this guy attacks with Roaches/Ravengers nearly every game!  He was all over the map and no one could stop him.  Some games [Maps] looked like some kind of bizarre scenario out of the SC2 Campaign!  These games are ones to watch over and over again.  They are that good.  And I’m not even a ZvZ fan, and I’m saying this!

Rouge [Zerg] would win 3 straight games [Maps] and would claim the $280,000 1st place prize and the Title of 2017 World Champion.  soO would once again finish 2nd and continue his streak of losing in the Grand Finals.  Wow what an amazing Tournament it was at Blizzcon!  If you want to see replays you can watch them at Blizzcon.com or on the Blizzcon Mobile App.  The 2017 Starcraft 2 Season has now concluded but we are all excited for 2018!  Oh and what is this I hear, Starcraft 2 at the Olympics?  Yeah more on that in another blog.  Congratz to Rouge for the best Swarm Host play I have ever seen!  GG! HF!

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eSports: Neeb Spectacular in the Starcraft 2 WCS Global Finals 2017 Day One Group Stage

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It’s a mouthful, the Starcraft 2 WCS Global Finals, started yesterday with the Day One Group Stage.  Where the best in the world faced off against each other.  There are 8 spots up for grabs, for the BlizzCon Finals on November 3-4.  Two Groups played yesterday with double eliminations.  Groups A and B were rock solid with the 4 best out of, 8 WCS Circuit Winners and 8 GSL Korean Circuit Winners.  4 Pro Players for each Group.  Yesterday we saw the match up of the Weekend so far.  The American Neeb [Protoss] vs the Korean Rouge [Zerg].

It was so epic that I’m covering most of this Match Up exclusively.  I mean hey you want to hear about the best of the best right!  You want to follow the history making games!  And you want to see which ones that will be watched over and over again.  Well this Match Up had it all and it was only a best out of 3.  Mind you everyone will be saying, “game 3″.  ‘Enuff Said”!

Talking about each player just gives me goosebumps.  These two Pro Gamers were headed for one of the great epic games of 2017.  Neeb and Rouge come off having an incredible year in separate Circuits.  Neeb in point of fact is the heavy favorite foreigner to going up against the Koreans.  He is America’s best hope for a Global Finals Win, something that no North American has ever done.  Rouge is one of the best Zerg Players coming out of Korea and in point of fact he was a heavy favorite to beat Neeb in their first Match.

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