Let's get a step by step review of the WCA Europe playoffs up to the WB Final. I cannot go through all the games but I will cover the key moments of the matchups.
I was really surprised to see how tough Group A (WarchiefRich / Hawk) and Group D (Foggy Yaws) were. The fact that A & D collided in the Round of 8 was the insurance of having major casualties right away. I am convinced that this tournament outcome was heavily influenced by its structure.
Yaws qualified 2-1 as everybody seemed to have underestimated him again. His 2-0 loss in the group stage against Foggy did not prepare us to see him beat "RobotRich". It all came down to the last map on Terenas Stand where Yaws managed to cancel Rich's expansion 6 times. Yaws had map control and created multiple threats : Rich could not attack, could not defend main and expos simultaneously.
Cannot imagine a worst start than the one Orcworker had in game 1 on Turtle Rock. Wan being on point on his surround, not losing a fiend early on, killing heroes and grunts : easy win in view right?
Orcworker had to come up with a genius plan, and he did so! Forcing Wan into multiple TPs raider harassing his Necropolis, he bought time to expo and come back into the game.
Game 2 was more one sided. Orcworker 2-0 Wan.
Probably the weirdest series at the time I write this article. During game 1, Cechi showed so much talent and confidence, multikilling Sonik's heroes : DH and Panda.
The following game on TM, Sonik picked up the Warden. Cechi went all in, selling building and dual crypting ghouls. Unfortunately for the czech, Sonik was crossmap and defended perfectly.
Last game on EI, Cechi went ghouls wagons... it did not work out. Sonik qualified 2-1 and it really appeared like the Warden had put Cechi on edge.
Game 1 on Echo Isles, Hawk was most certainly expecting a Warden play from Foggy and went Th000 style, tinker first with an arcane tower rush. Foggy must have expected it, since he went DH first and manaburnt the tinker to death.
During Game 2, Hawk was much in control on Terenas Stand, fast expanding and harassing so well that it left Foggy supplied stuck and without an huntress hall for a very long time. This game was one sided in favor of Hawk who ended conquering the whole map and stealing Foggy's expansion.
Game 3 was closer but ended in another Hawk's victory. It was quite the surprise to see Foggy drop out to the loser bracket after the first round of the playoff. He had no right to anymore misstep by then if he wanted to keep his WCA dreams alive.
The magic of Warcraft : while Foggy and Warchief had beaten Yaws and Hawk 2-0 respectively in the group stage, they would both lose 1-2 in the first round of the playoff. Right away, my prediction of having Warchief and Foggy in the last 3 could be thrown into the garbage can. And it started to get gloomy for Harry Potter's chances to reach China.
Unfortunately now that I have a new internet connection and a better VPN, I can watch B2W just fine. It lead to a very short night, and a difficult day at work!
Game 1 on EI was pretty close, Yaws tried to get access to the shop (Shop control on EI is key as Neo said hundred of times). He sent an invisible Bloodmage to buy some scrolls and potions. Orcworker was right there creeping, and planted a sentry ward to scout the shop because, as Neo says (well forget it). Anyway bad luck for Yaws, the bloodmage was revealed, killed, then Orcworker attacked Yaws right away.
Game 2 was more one sided and Orcworker cruised to the Winner Bracket Final without conceiding a single map. He secured at least 3000 $, beating the one that pushed Fly100% to his limits a few months back.
I am quoting Remo here and this was I think the most intense match of the first day. These two players know each other very well : but is there any knowing Sonik? He is nicknamed "The Lunatic" by B2W, because he can play anything.
I watched the two first game then I collapsed, it was like 3:30 AM. Score was 1-1, Sonik taking the first map on Terenas using Warden + Tinker. Hawk equalized on Nomad Isles. Two short games. We were going onto a decisive dramatic game on Last Refuge.
Sonik is actually winning that fight?
Guys, this game is so crazy. So important, so decisive. So epic. Just a must watch. I checked the twitch VOD the next day on my way to work. Did not want to know the result, I wanted to see by myself who qualified. When I arrived at work, Hawk had an expo (late one since Sonik did much harassment), he had killed the DH twice, the Panda once and forced a TP.
I had to stop watching to get to work, but it was so obvious in my mind that Hawk would win! Since we talk quite often about WCA on Skype, I congratulated him, calling him Mr Comeback (he came back twice from a 0-1 score from Shadai in the group stage, then the same against Foggy). Still I watched the end of the game on lunch break and was quite puzzled to see that there were still quite a long way to go until the end.
Of course I rushed onto skype to edit my message to Hawk. I still do not know what happened. Sonik once again gave heroes for free, like against Cechi in the first round. But this guy is unpredictable, aggressive and crazy talented. At a point I think Remo says "Sonik is actually winning that fight right?" totally surprised. If Remo was surprised about it, I cannot explain what happened. Just watch the game yourself!
Two days after we would get to the Winner Bracket Final between Orcworker and Sonik. But before that, we would have one full day of Loser Bracket, starting with Wan vs WarchiefRich and Cechi vs Foggy.
Those games were so intense and the players must be congratulated for that. I could not wait to see what would happen in the LB.
2 more articles will follow, to be written as fast as possible (way faster than George R R Martin be reassured!).
I would love to have a few more following on my twitter channel : twitter.com/playffa