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eSports Starcarft 2: Send in the Koreans

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starcraft2

The Koreans Are Here To Win

By Christian Bullock

Intel Extreme Masters Katowice [Poland] continued today with phenomenal match ups.  It was a day of the Elite of the Elite, best of the best in the world.  The South Koreans didn’t disappoint, with three players coming out of the “Group of Death”.  The same Group that American pro-gamer Neeb [Protoss] went up against before he was eliminated.

TY [Terran], aLive [Terran], and Stats [Protoss] all moved on to tomorrows Semi Finals.  All of whom went up against Neeb [Protoss] and won.  Dark [Zerg] was the fourth to move on to the Semi’s.  All four players proved themselves today.  With aLive’s [Terran] upset over fellow South Korean InNoVation [Terran] in the first of the Quarter Finals, you knew that today would be something special.

TY’s [Terran] games were very memorable as well as Dark’s [Zerg] dominance as the best of the best.  Overall I’d have to say Dark’s [Zerg] play was top notch.  His early “cheese” rush is something to watch out for, as he will build Banelings right out of the gate.  I would have to say that it was the fastest I’ve ever seen.  His “Microing”, control over individual units, is something to be in awe of.  It’s just multitasking at its best.  He was a crowd favorite today and is definitely a favorite to win the Tourney.  Although it should be noted that he didn’t have to go through the “Group of Death” and play against: TY [Terran], aLive [Terran], and Stats [Protoss].

TY [Terran] verses GuMiho [Terran] was amazing.  Both were the Human [Terran] and both had “Doom Drops”, where Marines are dropped from Medivac Spaceships directly over the other player’s base.  It was delightfully devastating.  You could feel the speed at which both players were playing at.  You could sense the butterflies in the players stomachs.  That feeling you get when you know what is coming next.  Like a free fall in a roller-coaster.

Stats [Protoss] verses ByuN [Terran] was easily the best played match in the Quarter Finals best of 5.  It was the last of the day, yet the speed at which they played kept me at the edge of my seat.  You just couldn’t look away for a moment or you’d miss something.  Stats [Protoss] played “out of his mind” to defeat ByuN [Terran] in a decisive 3-1 victory.  ByuN’s [Terran] frustration was palpable as you could see him in his booth taking off his sweater and rolling up his sleeves.  Yet it was all for naught as he lost the match.  He grabbed his head and pounded his keyboard, clearly tilted by his missed plays.

Tomorrows [ESL] Starcraft 2 coverage will continue on Twitch [TV] streamed live in the Arena from Katowice [Poland].  Winner will be considered for World Champion and will move on to Blizzcon’s WCS [World Championship Series] at the end of the year [November].

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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