IGN Pro League
The IGN Pro League is officially over. This tournament has been heralded as the tournament to beat in terms of production value and pure awesomeness. It’s quite hard to believe that the man behind the tournament started it with zero funding and turned it into the beast we saw last weekend. But of course, a tournament can be as cool as it wants, if the games aren’t good, people are gonna be sour.
IPL: The Players
IPL was a cool tournament because it brought in quite a bit of old faces, but brought some new blood as well. Some of my favorites and crowd favorites were:
The literal beast from the east; this man was the winner of the previous online IPL and wants to defend his title. White-Ra single handedly popularized the use of otherwise seemingly useless units, like the warp prism with huge levels of success. Look out for the patented “special tactics” as this man goes for the gold
Some say he’s in a slump, I say he’s taking a break. Idra showed up to IEM Guangzhou in China a few weeks back and absolutely destroyed everyone. He 3-0’d teammate Puma who is considered one of the best players in the world. If that tournament was any indication of Idra’s return to form, watch out, the Grack is back.
Best foreigner? Maybe not, but he has certainly made a case. Using probably the weakest race (thank you Blizzard) he has managed to stay in Code S of the GSL where the rest of his Protoss brethren have fallen. Top 3 control will likely kill all his opponents without a sweat.
Miniboxer, The Little Emperor, The Prince of Terran… I wonder if gets old for this guy? Needless to say, the second coming of BoxeR is in this kid, who has finally made it into Code S. He 2-0’d the god of Zerg Nestea recently and he is looking to continue his monstrous form.
Who says the French always surrender? This guy, with his trademark 10 inch long hair and catchphrase “Go Go, Power Rangers Pink Power,” has shown huge results in European scene. He does it with an amazing Zergling only style, relying on upgrades, fungals, and late game hive to gain him his wins. He is certainly a brilliant player.
People are worried about MC. He has fallen out of Code S all the way to Code B where many believe the 2 time champion will remain. But have faith, this man has already been seeded into the championship bracket. Hopefully with lack of stress, this man can take some people out
Look at all those drones!!! I have yet to watch a casted game of Ret where the caster hasn’t said that. Macro Zerg this man may be, but a very good one. He’s very intelligent player in ZvT and ZvP. That being said, his ZvZ, though seemingly ok, does not suit his high econ/greedy play.
The Spoon Terran is here. This man plays an absolutely methodical way that revolves around suffocating an enemy slowly in a way that doesn’t kill them out right. Put simply, he attempts to kill them with a spoon. Impractical it may seem, but Thorzain is one of the best Terrans, his time in Korea only solidified his spot as top foreigner, many Koreans stating so.
Ignore the adorable haircut. This guy can kill your army while doing an emo hairflip that make all his fangirls squeal… not that I would know. This guy is an incredible player, matching creativity with intelligence and raw mechanics, he is one of the best players currently on a foreign team.
One of the best Terrans in the world, he is the basis of all good Terran play. He has aggressive, intelligent drop play, amazing marine micro, relies on no marauders, and banks entirely on EMP and proper marine micro to decimate armies. I have nightmares of Puma’s ghosts… They’ll shoot my face off and mutter “… EZ PZ.”
Day 1 began with pool play for A and B in addition to the open bracket run that many players decided to attempt. Pool A had 2 Koreans in Alive and BoxeR, both excellent players prepared to duke it out with each other and the two foreigners Stephano and Huk. The results were quite interesting, with Alive coming out on top but with BoxeR on the far bottom. Stephano was able to take the win off of everyone except Alive, placing second, with Huk placing third.
While this was going on, the open bracket had successfully weeded out all the nobodies, with names like Minigun, Catz, KiwiKaki, KawaiiRice, Sheth, and Puma all making it out. There was overwhelming talent in the open bracket, meaning that a few mistakes, and you’re out.
Pool B had players MC, Ryung, Ret, and Strelok. This was the pool where many had their eye on because they wanted to see if MC would be back. Fortunately, MC did not disappoint, He 3-0’d the group with absolute ease, he didn’t drop a single game. The other Korean, Ryung, placed second, losing only two games to MC. Ret and Strelok placed 3rd and 4th respectively, meaning their seeding would be lower than the two Koreans.
Day 2 started out amazingly, an epic TvT set was played between Select and Thorzain, with Thorzain showing the power of the spoon to his APM counterpart. The second game, a PvZ between Sleep and Hero showed a unique style where Mutalisks appeared, units traditionally unused due to the use of blink stalkers. However, Sleep, with this unique style, took out Hero 2-0. Then things got dicey. Apparently, in Atlantic City, some bozo driving a truck hit the Comcast internet lines, knocking out everything. For anyone who has had to deal with Comcast in these situations before… I pity them, so I sat and watched as IGN frantically tried to figure out what to do. They managed to start broadcasting utilizing a satellite. However, by the time they had this set up, they were far behind schedule, so they left the group as is and said that Sleep, with his clean 2-0 vs. Thorzain’s 2-1, had won the group.
Pool D was played and it was the night of White-Ra. Utilizing warp prism drops, he had one of the best PvT sets against MMA where he used zealot drops to keep MMA on the backfoot while getting a glorious Protoss army. It was amazing play. However, a relative unknown, oGsTheSTC managed to 3-0 the group, partly because after getting destroyed by White-Ra, Idra decided that the “jet-lag” was too much for him to deal with.
And so we came to the Championship Bracket. There were fourteen Koreans against eighteen foreigners to start, though the foreigner number was expected to drop considerably. Some notable games were Puma vs. Hero, KiwiKaKi vs. Stephano, and MC vs. Inori. I won’t say much, but each series was a 2-1 with at least one nail biter game.
By the time the round of 16 came, there was a 1:1 ratio of Korean to foreigner. It was at this time that it became apparent just how good Korean Terrans were. It was clear that someone would need a lot of talent to take out these players. If you want to see how to play Terran, watch any of these players play.
In the round of eight, there were more Koreans than foreigners, with Idra, Ret, and Stephano being the last ones standing. They would go up against Lucky, Puma, MMA, TheStC, and Inori. Needless to say, Koreans dominated, but fortunately, MMA and Puma had to play, knocking out powerhouse Puma before he could have his way with the bracket. In addition, Stephano 2-1’d Inori, meaning there would be a foreigner in the Round of 4!
The Round of 4 was Lucky vs. MMa and TheStC vs. Stephano. MMA and TheStC were favorites to win, but the Zergs showed incredibly unique styles that absolutely crushed the traditional TvZ style. This meant that there would be a ZvZ final
I’m going to get analytical about both these players styles, so skip it if you don’t want to gain some Zerg knowledge.
Lucky won 2 ZvT’s against BoxeR and Ryung in the tournament, meaning he beat SlayerS Terrans like it was nothing. It was brutal to watch because Lucky’s style of going for early Roach and Ling timing attacks against a reactored hellion expanding Terran was incredibly one-sided. Many would consider these attacks to be all in’s, but in reality, it is actually a “I’ll attack because I know he’ll have trouble holding it off and drone behind it.” It is very similar to the play of Slush, who has placed consistently highly in MLG. There is nothing wrong with Roaches, it’s said that Zergs have taken this long to figure it out, but now that they have, maybe they’ll stop complaining
And you thought I was useless
As I said earlier, Stephano’s ling only style is astounding, they say marines kill everything, but fast upgrades on those little buggers and they kill everything too. Stephano forgoes the traditional ZvT Mutalisk Baneling into Broodlord combo in favor of Zergling Infestor into Ultralisk. It works amazingly, He constantly counterattacks and because of his mobile lings, he appears to be in two places at once.
I make dead people
So who would win? Would it be the last foreign power ranger, or the Korean Zerg (couldn’t think of anything clever…)? A ZvZ final meant that the games would be volatile, and volatile they were. I won’t spoil what happened, but in the end, it was this man that won:
It was actually...
Let’s all take a moment of silence… for the American and Korean pride that was lost today… because we are admitting defeat… to a Frenchman. But in all seriousness, a foreigner has won a tournament with Koreans in it! Stephano now joins the ranks of Huk, Idra, and Dimaga as some of the best foreigners out there.
However, let’s thank IGN too. These guys put together one hell of a show. Hard to believe they came all this way in a couple of months. Their stream was the best one I have seen in long time, with the amount of features offered to me outright and the awesomeness of what was offered if I had purchased IGN Prime, IGN… you hit all the right notes…
Well… Except For Him