Recap

StarCraft II Grand Finals: Return of the Kings

No other outcome could be this perfect. Temple University returned to the finals to finish what they couldn’t last year. Conan “Suppy” Liu, a legend of Collegiate StarLeague’s golden years, has returned to play his part in yet another Collegiate StarCraft finals. In their way stood University of Waterloo. Would this be a return to form for the Suppy-squad or would Waterloo have the last laugh? Below you’ll find brief recaps of each series followed by statements from the victors and my Collegiate StarCraft postmortem.

Check out the games for yourself! Always with excellent casting from Joe “JoeLoguidice” Logiudice, Ravi “feardragon” Pareek, and Jessica “ZombieGrub” Chernega.

Semi-final Series 1

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute versus Temple University

In under four minutes, RPI’s Jarod “JonSnow” George scored the first win of the day against Temple’s Robbie “Tesla” Plata. A group of zerglings sprinting past Plata’s Protoss wall did all the damage required. The second match felt a bit more real. Conan “Suppy” Liu, Temple's ace, faced off against Alex “Spacemen” Jonson of RPI in a Zerg mirror-matchup. Liu’s superior zergling and baneling control shined as he secured the win for Temple. The two-versus-two was largely characterized by early game aggression from RPI with Temple on the back foot, aside from some oracle backstabs. In the end, Temple held, pushed out and took the lead in the series. Game four was an important one, as it would decide whether George would be enabled to give his team an ace match victory. Fortunately for Temple, Ron “CentaurWA” Wang was able to hold off his RPI opponent’s proxy stargate build.

Result: Temple University 3-1 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Temple Terran’s crucial hold in match four.

Semi-final Series 2

University of Waterloo versus University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The second semi-final began with a Terran-versus-Zerg match between Waterloo’s (in)famous Riddle “TheRiddler” Li (T) and UIUC’s David “Crilmon” Buksa (Z). Early zergling pressure kept Li’s attention split in the early game, allowing Buksa to macro up and defeat Li before too many tanks could show up. In the second match, Eugene “Yenfu” Lu showed us the power of the golden armada. His carrier and void ray army was too much for UIUC’s Zerg player who tapped out quickly. Waterloo’s double Terran two-versus-two team opened with double reapers, which set them up for a strong bio-tank push to finish the game. In match four, Waterloo’s William “Buster” Stewart manner-MULEd (after roasting a hefty amount of drones). Then, he manner-MULEd again (after shutting down the UIUC Zerg’s push and winning the game).

Result: University of Waterloo 3-1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Stewart’s final manner-MULEs in game four.

Grand Finals

Temple University versus University of Waterloo

Match one of the grand-finals started with a Zerg mirror-matchup featuring Temple’s Taylor “DaddyTugboat” Tredinnick (formerly “KingTugboat”) and Waterloo’s Daniel “Kudralisk” Ku. An interesting burrowed-roach build from Ku ultimately overpowered the zergling-based play of Tredinnick. Match two featured Li (Waterloo, T) and Plata (Temple, P). Li opted for defensive widow mines in the early game. The game quickly turned into a slugfest with both players sustaining damage at their third base expansions. Ultimately, Plata and his stalkers came out ahead, tying the series. The Waterloo two-versus-two team opened with double reaper again, though this time they were unable to do significant damage. The zergling-banshee counter-push from Temple crippled one of the Waterloo Terrans and the follow-up push secured a Temple victory. In game four, Liu (Temple, Z) faced off against Stewart (Waterloo, T). Unlike many of our matches, this one did not feature any major shenanigans. A big two-base attack and follow-up pushes from the Terran seriously threatened the Zerg, but Liu managed to hold. Finally, a big wave of Zerg crashed down on the Terran army as Liu served up a match, set, and championship win for Temple.

Grand Finals Result: Temple University 3-1 University of Waterloo


Temple’s final push of for the championship.

Post-match Player Interviews

"It feels good that we finally won a title! I feel I performed quite well, except my big failure of a proxy factory against Jason “Jason” Papadimitrious [in the round of sixteen]. We researched both RPI and Waterloo and practiced together for three consecutive days. We saw [that] both teams would play very aggressively in the two-versus-two, so we prepared very well and read them like a book. Fun fact: I always got supply blocked when I was practicing and chatting with [Conan “Suppy” Liu] for the two-versus-two. So, in the final game, I told him to only tell me critical information like 'they are coming this way, help me, attack here.' And I’m glad I didn’t get supply blocked at all under the pressure of their six-rax reaper."

-Ron “CentaurWA” Wang

“As far as our performance goes, I think we played very well during the playoffs as a whole.  We had a real wakeup call when we almost lost to Ontario in the round of sixteen, which kicked our butts into gear.  From there we practiced really hard, and it showed with a very strong quarterfinals and on.

After we [Temple] took second place in both 2016 and 2017, we were hungry for a win. We really wanted it. We never practiced as hard as we did for this playoffs, and I'm glad we did.  It felt amazing to finally be a champion.

We feel really good for next year.  All of us will be able to play next year, and we look forward to taking another win.

We had a team of people helping us. Shoutouts to Pengwin, Raze, and Sugar!  See all you CSL folks next year!”

-Taylor “DaddyTugboat” Tredinnick

"After the first game versus Ontario [in the round of sixteen] we changed our entire mentality. Getting to the ace match with Suppy against Jason was the worst case scenario and we knew we had to step our game up. We practiced every week after that point and evaluated our progress. Our two-versus-two was very weak because of the Zerg-Protoss combination, but we identified it just in time for the finals, completely blind-countering RPI and Waterloo's reaper aggression, which we knew was coming. We played dozens of matches with different scenarios and that is what lead us to victory. It feels really good. It is satisfying to finally be the champions of CSL and it’s been a long time coming. Our team is very excited with the win and we are all proud of each other. It was a team effort. If any one of our players put any less than one hundred percent into each and every game, we may not be speaking. We would like to shout out Austin 'Sugar' Kim for his invaluable two-versus-two expertise, Jonathan 'Raze' Whipple for his previous years of commitment and practice for the finals, Stefan 'PengWin' Mott for Zerg all-in advice, and the CSL casting crew for treating us well. We also want to give a shout out to everyone who was pulling for us to beat Waterloo. Our team also owes its existence to Suppy's competitive spirit. Without his idea of creating a joint Temple-Jefferson unit, we wouldn't have been able to play this season. Cheers."

-Robbie “Tesla” Plata

"I felt like every game I played in the playoffs was very tenuous. I had many close calls, but somehow I was able to come through, just barely, on many of the matches. In the round of sixteen versus Jason for example, he could have easily punished me with his large group of hellions, but he gave me a lot of respect and didn't punish me for over-droning. My ultralisk/hydralisk push also was a bit risky, as if I had just slightly too few units, I would have lost the fight handily. Thankfully, it worked out though and I managed to win the [ace match].

In the round of eight and in the round of four, although I was favored against both my Zerg opponents, they were still close calls. An extremely quick nydus caught me off guard and took out my entire main base, but I was able to hold on thanks to the favorable expansion layout of Backwater and maintain a drone lead. On Neon Violet Square versus Spacemens, I think I played a little too cautiously and found myself behind after his aggression. I was able to come out ahead by microing well, but it was definitely not a very comfortable position!

Finally, in the grand finals against Buster, I over-droned HARD. I totally misread the situation, despite seeing lots of marines early and no third base, I continued to drone past sixty for some reason. He had the game absolutely won when I had only five queens against around twenty marines, and his micro at sniping my banes was very impressive. The most critical moment was when I had two banes coming in from the right, which distracted him from the 2 banes coming from the top behind my queens (which were admittedly very difficult to see since they were able to sneak by right as a queen died). Those two banes connected and allowed me to come back to win the game and the championship for Temple.

Shoutouts to Night and Sugar who helped us prep so much for each of the 2v2s! I think our preparation for the 2v2s was really the key to us being able to take home the championship - we studied the other teams' strategy a lot and were able to practice very strong responses. Thanks also to Raze and Pengwin for giving us tips and support before our final matches, and of course shoutout to CSL for holding yet another amazing season!

CSL will always be a special tournament to me. There's not much to say other than it feels great to be considered the most successful player in CSL history, and that I've gained so many great experiences, teammates, and friends from this collegiate league. I think the success revolves around how much preparation we did before each of our important matches. Back in 2013 for AZUBU, we scouted our opponent's styles, their map vetoes (based on looking through their entire match histories and seeing which maps were never played), hid our own match history (by repeatedly leaving games versus AI until no real games could be seen any longer on match history), etc. And more than five years later, my teammates and I at Temple were doing similar things. I really don't think we would have beaten either RPI or Waterloo without the amount of preparation we did. CentaurWA must have repeated 'everything is happening according to our plan' at least fifty times in our Discord during the matches, so I think he was particularly proud of how effective and accurate our preparation turned out to be.

I met Mona [Zhang] in the Washington D.C. community right around the time she had just started CSL, so I feel like I've been following along with CSL since almost the very beginning. My own initials, oddly enough, are CSL (Conan S. Liu). I think that probably means the tournament and me share some kind of special connection :). And now here we are, it's 2018 and I am still lucky to be able to compete in this amazing tournament. I have my fingers crossed for what's to come next year for CSL!"

-Conan “Suppy” Liu

Despite the lack of a LAN event, the Collegiate StarLeauge StarCraft finals were still as action-packed and competitive as ever. Moreover, compared to those of last year, these finals were much less predictable (though it would be uncharacteristic of me not to remind you that I predicted the results). Although collegiate StarCraft may not be as popular as it once was, we were reminded last weekend of the passion and dedication that the players and teams still put into this great game. Whatever the future of competitive collegiate StarCraft may be, I’m confident that these teams and these players will carry the torch.

You can catch me trying to get noticed on camera in the GSL studio or retweeting Suppy on Twitter.

Be sure to tune in for updates on CSL news during the off-season. We’ll post about the upcoming seasons and more!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news and updates. Also, visit our YouTube channel for VODs of all of our CSL matches!

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