Covering Prequalifiers and Group Stages - some funny games, some intense games and... viva Peru! and Bruce Willis...
It was a Long Walk (pun intended!) from the first announcement that there would be a WCA America Qualifier to having the two nominees qualified.
The organization was quite hectic in the beginning : from having only 7 players registered, we went on with a long debate about which nationalities could participate. Back2Warcraft is no stranger to putting this Qualifiers back on track from raising payers awareness to propose a format and a calendar. Decision was made to make it America(s) only and with all things considered, I am happy about that. Maybe one slot for America would have been great enough but that is a debate from the past now.
History will say (soon) if Americans can compete at the highest level with the best players in the world. None imagine one of them being able to win the WCA title, at least not me. But nobody thought Donald Trump could be elected president neither so maybe America has more surprises for us! Will they be able to take maps or matches out of their future Korean and Chinese opponents? That will be one of the many highlights of the competition.
Let's retrace the Qualifiers from day 1 to its conclusion : WCA America, if you missed it, you gotta read this!
I just saw a couple of those games and still was entertained. First, I liked seeing some W3arena famous characters compete in a big official event like this one. I want to mention Kodos_Forsaken - known to have a vast group of fans repeating "Kodos #1!" endlessly. He is a self assumed troll with a long history of gaming on battle.net to W3arena. Neo said he played 24'000 ladder games on W3arena. That may be a random number, or that may be the truth : I am ready to believe that!
I want to mention also Lykings who has a quite popular stream on Twitch. He is liked for his funny chat and style, always speaking his mind in a mannered way.
Those two players did not go too far in the tournament. Kodos was taken out by Walter that would end qualifying for the group stage. He massed towers and tried to go bloodlusted Taurens. I mean, how cool is that?
Lykings also got eliminated early by Myu, who would end up qualifying in the most akward way afterwards as well. This was an epic game where three Rax of footmens were opposed to a caster army of priests/sorceresses. Lykings made some nice surrounds, always countered by Myu casting invisibility. In the end, we will remember that a lvl 3 panda does wonders on a clustered group of slowed footmen.
That is not going to work... Panda having fun, AM watching invisible
Entertainment came also from Myu who decided later on to do a heroless Tower Rush on Ancient Isles on the decisive game to advance for the playoff. His opponents even disced - he might have "pulled the plug" since he had 4 towers next to his tree, no AOW close-by and no way to save his base.
His opponent played under the nickname "Hopeless" - was it a bad omen?
Some game raised the bar in term of level. I want to mention the Hunter vs Onetoomany on TR that ended with a walk of the Tree of Eternity that actually managed to root himself to an expo despite the larger Orc army on its tail.
I am the Tree of Eternity and I am taking that mine, make way!
At the end of the day, it was nice to see this gathering of the remaining American players still active in the Warcraft world. This is cool that WCA gave this chance to those players to shine for a time.
4 players qualified : 2 Peruvians Hunter and Walter and 2 American Priest and Myu. They joined Insuperable, Sonkie, feRfe and Longwalk.
This tournament was the occasion of seeing retired players coming back to competition such as Sonkie or Longwalk.
Old habits Die Hard for Longwalk that went undefeated in Group B and qualified easily for the Final Four.
Longwalk AKA Bruce Willis
It did not go as well for Sonkie in group A. He lost twice to Walter in their oppositions [1-2] then [0-2]. The last game was the shortest on Echo Isles. Walter creepjacks Sonkie at the Mercenary camp and goes for manaburn + immolation, killing most of Sonkie's units. Sonkie calls GG and wish success to his opponent after 3 minutes!
Game ended after 3 minutes only
It was probably the most exciting game of the group stages. Insuperable won their 1st encounter 2-1, now they meet again for the LB final. It starts with Hunter asking for a pause because there is an earthquake going on in Peru. Yes a real earthquake! It was only 3.3 magnitude from what I've found online but still, it is probably the first time we witness a live earthquake during a Warcraft 3 tournament!
Insuperable quickly leads 1-0 and gets a strong advantage in the second game, being one toe away from the playoff stage. He has a 12 food superiority when he knocks at Hunter's door. Hunter is trying to build an hyppogryph army but only two are produced when the Ancient of Wind falls down. It seems like it is in the bag for the Undead.
But not so fast. First Insuperable actually "plays it safe" and go shop for items and wait some more reinforcements. That gives time to hunter to catch up in population. He also cancels his web teching - he is short on wood. He probably thinks he can deal with those 2 hyppos easy enough with 2 wyrms and one destroyer.
The battle that ensue will prove him wrong. MVP hyppogryphs will tear those wyrms apart thanks to the focus fire of the dryads, Insuperable army is in shamble. He will end up losing the serie 2-1, bummer!
A very bad fight to take - Hyppos of GG
I think Peru deserves some praises and international recognition. I will try to help with this in a few words. I knew for a while that Peru had an incredibly developed Warcraft 3 Scene, from the time I was running the WorldWide FFA platform known as playFFA.net. Peru just had insane statistics in term of the number of players they had and their average skill level - if we just compare this level to their neighboring countries often larger in population like Brazil or Argentina.
I never understood why there were such a development in this very country.
No Peruvian player was invited to the Group Stages, but two qualified and made it to the playoffs! It is funny that their best members play the same race and have similar names : Hunter, Walter and Danger (that did not participate but was seeded in 5th place to be invited if any of the 4 invited declined). There are probably many interesting stories to write about Peru, I will try to contact them in a close future
Walter and Hunter showed resilience and will to never give up and fight to the death.They showed it from the Pre-Qualifiers to the end of the playoffs. This is a story that will be counted by Mr. White no later than tomorrow! The playoffs that followed were the most insane in term of suspense and turnarounds that I ever saw : none of the 4 players disappointed, throwing all their forces in the battles they fought for 11 consecutive hours!
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