Welcome to my 6th ever Weekly Recall. A recap of the major events in the StarCraft Week. And this has been as an exciting week as we can expect in StarCraft featuring not just the GSL Finals but the 2017 premiere of SSL. All leading up to the much hyped, long speculated announcement of StarCraft Remastered.
This announcement was accompanied by the (arguably even more impactful) revelation that the original StarCraft Anthology will also be patched for the first time in over 8 years. On the 30th of March StarCraft will be upgraded to Patch v1.18a.
StarCraft Patch v1.18 Highlights
StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War will both be completely free to play
Native Fish Support
StarCraft Remastered is coming in Summer as a purchaseable upgrade to StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War
Players of both the original StarCraft Anthology and StarCraft: Remastered will be able to play together, seamlessly.
Global StarCraft League – Grand Finals
In case anyone had forgotten Stat’s airtight defensive play from Katowice, Game 1 on Whirlwind was the refresher course. soO opened with a hyper aggressive zergling rush. Stats wasn’t phased, shutting it down and making it look easy. For those following this season of GSL from the early rounds, this game would be reminiscent of Stats’ early defensive play against ByuL’s zergling aggression.
The Long Con
Game 2 on Proxima Station couldn’t be more different however. Stats took the full initiative and controlled the pace of the game from his first expansion to the last drop. Proxima Station is a highly defensive map with a pocket expansion. Especially in Protoss vs Zerg, it’s a very popular map for Skytoss turtles. Stats went for an early expand into his third, ignoring his safe pocket expansion. Doing this, he feigned taking three early bases. Baiting soO into thinking he was playing a hyper defensive game, likely going for a mass Carrier push.
Stats committed to selling this act even further by rushing out a pair of Void Rays. Satisfied with his ruse and that the bait was taken, Stats followed up with a massive Warp Gate explosion. At this point soO was in the middle of preparing an anti-air Hydralisk army to hit the defensive Protoss with a timing-attack before he could reach critical mass. Instead he was having his door kicked in by massive ground army built to hard counter Hydras.
Having taken a massive advantage in the initial attack, Stats didn’t let up on the mind games. He opened his final attack with a warp into soO’s main. Having lured soO’s army back to his main to defend, Stats pushed into soO’s 3rd with the bulk of his Adept, Sentry army. The Grand Finale to Stats’ master plan was to lock soO into his own base with Forcefields on his ramp leaving soO completely unable to respond, ending the game.
The Stasis Saga
As tends to happen on Abyssal Reef, things got weird, in a good way. soO initiated first with a Zergling drop into Stats’ main. Stats would reciprocate by repeatedly placing Stasis Wards into soO’s mineral lines to slow down his mining. Both players traded harassment before the final engagement.
soO would eventually land a solid baneling drop into Stats’ third but at that point it was already too late. Stats was already in the process of ending the game. His economy was already slowed down too much by stasis and Stats struck with perfect timing. Hitting soO with waves of Adepts while soO was stuck on Hydras in an attempt to deter the Protoss’ Void Ray and Oracle harassment. Just as before on Proxima, Stats’ dictated the pace of the game and struck with intention.
Stats would take this Oracle Strategy into Echo again. soO intially held Stats’ 4 Oracle Rush beautifully. But Stats would follow up by getting huge Stasis hits into each of soO’s mining bases.
This time however, Stats’ would be the one too late on the return. Capitalizing on Stats’ heavy Vespene investment, soO struck decisively. Just as previously Stats’ was able to counter soO’s Hydralisks with Adepts, soO’s Hydras this time would secure the advantage over Stats’ Void Ray, Zealot army to end the game.
After dealing absolutely massive economic damage in the early game through repeated Adept harassment, Cactus Valley seemed to be all but won for Stats. Stats attempted to close the game with an Adept, Immortal push into soO’s base. The fight traded evenly for a while but the critical moment came when soO sniped Stats’ Warp Prism, completely shutting down Stats’ ability to continue aggression. Unable to provide further reinforcements, Stats’ Immortals were forfeit, and with them his game.
This took us to Game 6 on Daybreak. For the most part, this was a series defined by mind games and pinpoint timing attacks. But it was a good change of pace to see the Daybreak go the distance. Daybreak, brought everything you could expect. Aggression on both sides, back and forth, territory wars.
And in the end, the series was brought full circle.
Where we started with Stats’ unrivaled defense, this game would be decided by it. Near the end of the game, soO seemed to have caught Stats completely out of position. Stats responded by recalling, exactly the number of units he needed to clear the attack out of his main while cutting off the rest to defend his other mining bases. A multi-pronged attack that would have been a crippling disaster for any other Protoss, Stats’ handled with calm, clear decision making to retain his advantage in the game and eventually closing out in the followup attack.
Stats ended the series 4-2 and the player, long considered the best Protoss in the world, was finally able to claim his first premiere tournament title.
StarCraft StarLeague (SSL)
After strong indications of the league being dropped, the SSL has finally made its surprising return in 2017 with a new sponsor in Jin Air Greewings. And a refreshing new format to show for it. Finally stepping out of the shadows as GSL’s adopted sibling, to become a distinct event in its own right.
SSL differentiates itself from GSL by being played in a Round Robin format with the top four players advancing to the post-season knockout round. A welcome change as the round robins from the early portions of the previous league were typically the most distinct rounds of the event.
Map Pool Update
Updated Map List
Ascension to Aiur
Odyssey (previously known as Windwaker) replaces Paladino Terminal
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