Earthquakes, fire alarms, food poisoning and prominent oldschool American players were some of the ingredients for the American Qualifier.
After some very entertaining matches in the pre-qualifers and the group stages, we can now crown a champion and a runner-up, who both will be traveling to the promise land of Warcraft 3.
LongWalk and feRfe did it after some incredible series that included nerve-wrecking moments, trash-talking, food poisoning and fire alarms. This American WCA Qualifer had everything on both the entertainment level and great showing from returning players in the American scene. In the last fight for the plane tickets to China were 2x South American players and 2x North American. Three Night Elves players and one human.
LongWalk looked very strong throughout the whole qualifier and was 4-0 going into the playoffs, where he first met Walter, while feRfe met Hunter in his first match. Both North American players took a clean 2-0 win and this meant that the classic NA matchup between the two would decide, who would get the first spot to China.
4 out of 6 games went the distance. Great day to be a Longwalker?
With LongWalks form not dropping a single map in the entire qualifier, we saw the first cracks in LongWalks performance. After his incredible win on Turtle Rock, feRfe turned 180 and pulled the match back in his favour being down 0-2.
Game 3: The quick decision to grab the Naga without the Arch Mage swung the pendulum in feRfe's favour.
feRfe took Ancient Isles and afterwards looked very confident going into game 4. So confident that he took the last 3 matches and turned it around 3-2 and therefore taking the first Grand Finale spot. The caster Orange commented: "he pulled a feRfe", which is now included in the Warcraft 3 dictionary. Very impressible play by the Human player. The game on Ancient Isles caught LongWalk off guard and broke his momentum. In the games after AI - the expo play together with Mountain King gave LongWalk a lot of trouble and it would eventually be the downfall into the Losers' finals, where he would meet Hunter, who beat his countryman Walter.
LongWalk the master of endurance
Hunter and Longwalk met in the Losers's finals that included some of the most incredible games in this qualifier. Game 1, especially, was a 45-minute stamina-enduring game, where both Demon Hunter and Naga Sea Witches saw levels above 6 and Hunter found some inspiration in the movie Lord of the Rings.
LongWalk capped on 100/100 against Hunter's Ancient of Wars. Only two goldmine are not occupied.
The game included an almost mined out Turtle Rock and this would just be the beginning of an amazing series. LongWalk and Hunter had the shoutcasters screaming after some clutch staff plays. LongWalk's army was although too strong with a mix of bears, glaive throwers and dryads. It was too late for Hunter's Chimaera Roosts to go up and he had to tap out after an incredible game.
Hunter did not become discouraged after his loss on Turtle Rock and his resilience was inspirational. After both players exchanging points, the games went all the way to game 5. Would it be the Peruvian or the American from the States? It was all decided on Amazonia.
Amazonia was played out standard with bears and dryads, but Hunter with some smart decision-making managed to snipe the main from LongWalk who was forced to all-in. With 43 army supply, LongWalk had only one last chance to secure his ticket to China.
Bloodwrath and his army led by LongWalk in the final fight
LongWalk made it happen. The Demon Hunter from Hunter did not manage to hold the front and died to the last-ditch effort from the yellow Night Elf player. LongWalk won and would get his revenge match against feRfe in the grand finale.
The Peruvian did everything in his powers and Peru should be extremely proud of their countrymen. It was close for the South Americans to make it, but it was not the day. None the less, a lot of profound respect from everyone towards Peru. Hunter is a fighter! I hope, we will see Hunter more in the future. As Ugrilainen pointed out in his amazing article, the Peruvians should not be underestimated.
Food-poisoned feRfe showed form but LongWalk pulled a feRfe
After an enduring and exciting series between Hunter and LongWalk, a pause was needed before the grand finale. One of the players was although not to be seen after the break. After a longer period, it was known, that feRfe did not feel well after eating and he was suspecting he got food poisoning. He accepted to play the finals with a bad stomach before seeing a doctor.
Was LongWalk still tilted after his first series against feRfe? LongWalk could not find a solution to the human strategy and after Echo Isles and Last Refuge was won by feRfe - it looked like the Human would be crown champion.
Even with food-poisoning the Human player was on point with his plays. ferFe had 3 match points going into the map pool of Secret Valley, Amazonia and Turtle Rock. Only one more win and he would be crowd the champion in the WCA American Qualifier.
Secret Valley loaded up and we saw a new LongWalk. With great micro, he took Secret Valley and countered the Arch Mage blizzard with good positioning and creeping both Ogre Lords. feRfe was in trouble after the loss on Secret Valley. On Amazonia, LongWalk did not look back and took the map with the same hero combination Panda+DH. The Arch Mage with Blizzard was not enough to cut it close for feRfe and he saw his lead shrink to 2-2.
After not taking neither red spots, feRfe cannot deal with the bears, DH+ Panda
"It is all gonna go down on Turtle Rock" said Neo. Orange and Neo were casting for 10 and half hours and boy, what a game to end it on. It was the last game of the tournament and feRfe had to shake off the previous defeats.
After the standard harras from feRfe against the wisps, where he went into an expansion with breakers/rifles, LongWalk killed the human Keep and forced the Human to fight. The last fight can be seen here. LongWalk opted for the Naga second and it did pan out well.
Double level 5 together with higher food army gave the win to LongWalk
Rigged system, sec, hotkey problems, gamma issues
The American qualifier would not be one without the classic trash-talk which was seen in a lot of series. All the classic insults and trash talking, where feRfe took the icing on the cake. feRfe had a lot of problems on his end. The pauses for hotkeys and even video setting such as gamma regulation was needed and the timing of the pauses were quite awkward. The BM was real. It all culminated into the most fitting ending to the WCA American Qualifier.
LongWalk got everyone in tears of laughter
After going the longest distance, we did find our American champion. Say Congratulations to your champion LongWalk who takes the $7.000 in price pool while runner-up feRfe takes $4.100 and Hunter with $2.800!
The American Qualifier gained a lot traction in the community, but the tournament delivered on all fronts. IT HAD IT ALL. Great games and great entertainment. I hope we see more American tournaments in the future, there is a lot of talented players on the continent.
Thanks for reading and do not forget to check out the writeup on the Prequalifies and Group Stage here. Remember to follow both me and Ugrilainen on Twitter, we appreciate your feedback.