Five Monday Night Gauntlet Events from February through April, Three Showmatches, and a handful of Pre-Season events finally culminated at the end of August in the Gauntlet Season 1 Global Finals. Eight of the best players from around the world took part in the online tournament held by Gauntlet eSports and broadcast by Nexus Recall on Twitch.tv.
Here’s a look back at an amazingly entertaining online event, in case you missed it or just want to bask in some Gauntlet Glory.
The tournament started off with some great ZvP, and Game 1 would prove to be a microcosm for the rest of the series. Snute’s Roach/Ravager Ling/Baneling style clashed against PuCK’s Adept heavy Gateway composition. Acquisition of a fourth base became both imperative and incredibly dangerous as Psi Storms and Corrosive Biles rained down, obliterating army after army. Clutch Forcefield plays and Overlord drops spread the action out all over the map and turned one-sided fights into surprising reversals.
Some unorthodox play surfaced in Game 2 with heavy use of Stasis Ward, Carriers and a late game map featuring so much static defense that you’d swear these two where playing Heart of the Swarm. The series played out as an excellent example of the meta between these two races, with some creative and super effective curve balls thrown in, like DT Drops!
Series Rating: Over 9000!
These two roommates recently met at the WCS Summer Championships at DreamHack Montreal, with Neeb taking a convincing win in the series. Would Scarlett be able to take her revenge? The Adept Immortal Stalker timing that worked so effectively for Neeb was showcased again in the first Game, and the entire series was basically Neeb showing how effective Adepts can be with great micro and the right supporting cast of units, whether it’s phoenixs, immortals, or Dark Templars.
The real showstopper came in Game 3, with the help of Dustin Browder, in a moment of StarCraft memery that should go down in history. The series went the distance, being settled in Game 5 by one of the most YOLO plays possible.
Series Rating: 5/7
Playing Bly is a lot like playing Has, the only thing you can be sure of is that it’s going to entertaining and delightfully cheesy. And even when you’re one of America’s best Protoss players, like Bails, you have to question whether or not standard play is going to work out. Bails decided to fight #BlyOnFire with fire, and this series had a strong scent of fromage from beginning to end.
Another series that went the Five Game distance, these players simultaneously showcased the best and/or worst aspects of strategy in StarCraft2. If the other two series so far have been pedestals for standard play at the professional level, this series is a (dark) shrine for the power of high level cheese.
Series Rating: out of
This series is an example of the Old Guard versus the Rising Youth. Legacy of the Void has ushered in a new generation of wunderkind players, and Cham is certainly one of them. But Mexico’s young star had his work cut out for him against Captain America, and Polt came into this series determined to keep the pressure on his young opponent. The series was much closer than it looked on paper, but in the end it was a master class on how to Polt your way to victory.
Series Rating: Three simultaneous bio/mine drops
Semi Finals & Finals
Snute seems to have a way of having his games appear to be played back in time, and this series was not exception. Polt took the initiative in Game 1 with a strategy straight out of the old HotS meta. Snute got his feet back under him in short order, and by Game 3 pretty much every base on the map had been taken, used, and fought over.
This series was an absolute clinic, with two of the best players outside of Korea in head-to-head competition. Also Broodlord/Ravager against Battle Cruiser/Mech happened!
Series Rating: 9 Days of the Fusion Core Dance.
Neeb took out The Queen of Blades, who’s style relies on great macro and the standard meta, but her teammate on Team expert couldn’t be more different in terms of playstyle. Bly would test Neeb’s defensive nature with his usual head on aggression, some would assume playing into the Protoss Prodigy’s hands. Neeb himself is no stranger to the power of Protoss all-ins, and these games are the results of an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force cheese. Idra’s Starcraft2 persona is rolling in it’s grave.
Series Rating: #OnFire
Finals: Bly vs Snute
This probably isn’t the Finals matchup most people expected from the opening bracket, but personally I was stoked for it. Sure, it’s a mirror match ZvZ, BUT could it be between players with more different styles? Arguably the most well rounded and consistent zerg player against arguably the cheesiest, most aggressive pro to drop creep. These two players are also some of the most experienced, especially in online cups. The results: you’ll have to see for yourself!
Series Rating: A map full of Carbot Zerglings
Gauntlet StarCraft & Nexus Recall
Here’s to more great Gauntlet games from Season 2!
Until next time,