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My trip to the AMD PG Challenge
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Date: 12/06/01 06:12
Game Type: Starcraft
Labels:Famous Reporter(1), Starcraft(1), Pro Player(1)
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AMD PG Challenge

AMD PG Challenge was a big LAN party with a lot of tournaments held in various computer games. It took place in the Czech Republic, near Prague in a huge aircraft hangar. Even though I was there just to spectate I found it very enjoyable and I'm going to try to remember what was happening day by day :). Note that I was there with my friends from Bulgaria and I'm going to tell the story from our perspective, this is more a report of our trip rather than a report of the whole event.

I know they are 2v2 partners, but I didn't know they...    T___TDay 0

On Wednesday the whole Bulgarian group of 4 gamers and 2 spectators arrived in Prague, after a 24 hour bus ride. That day we just had a walk around the city and enjoyed the nice sights. In the evening the 3 broodwar players and me went to our small hotel or more appropriate "hostel" as they call it. We had two rooms, one for [OS]KurMur and nL8)DIDI8[BG] and one for me and [o]Mr.X. Czech people seem to have a weird understanding about a 2 person room, so me and Mr.X had to sleep together in a huge bed T_T. We were a bit hungry, but luckily DIDI8 had brought some nice food from Bulgaria and he shared it with us :).

Day 1

We weren't sure about the time the tourney starts, that's why after a breakfast at McDonalds we took a taxi quite early and went to the Airport Logistic Park, where the lan party was taking place. Unfortunately it turned out we have to wait 4 hours there before they let us get in :(. The guards at the entrance just told us to go to a nearby village to eat something, but some very cold rain and strong cold wind forced us to run back as fast as we could... The next few hours we waited in a small room where our only entertainment was the camera I had brought and a coffee machine.

At 3-4 o'clock in the afternoon we finally got into the huge hall with all the comps and all the freaky gamers :). It was crazy, ~600 comps in that enormous room.

Mr.X and DIDI8 wasted no time and started warming up as soon as the network was working. They played many games random vs random just to get used to the PCs and prepare for the tourney. Soon Nazgul and some other guy from the Netherlands, Smurf, arrived. Indeed I was curious to see how people outside my country play. The first interesting thing about Nazgul I noticed was that he is left handed :). Surprisingly he was significantly slower than DIDI8 and Mr.X, but nevertheless he was casting well aimed storms and macroing well with hotkeys. Later the Yugoslavian group arrived - Fenki(BH), Hico(BH) and Ins(BH). They happened to be the coolest guys we met at the lan party, and the next few days we had some nice moments together at the tourney, in a nearby restaurant and in Prague.

Later in the evening [OS]KurMur had three PvZ games with Nazgul, winning the first one and losing the next two. Then Mr.X took his place (without telling Nazgul it's not KurMur anymore, so bm ^^) and played TvP against Nazgul, but just as it got really complicated all over the map Nazgul left saying "gg" and not explaining why exactly he left. The next games Mr.X had with Nazgul again were under another person's nick - this time Hico(BH) wanted him to play from his comp. After losing the first game Nazgul sent some scouts and knew it was Mr.X, so the next game he played more seriously and managed to win :).

Mr.X was very tired already, very much like the rest of us, so we wondered where we were going to sleep. Paying for the hotel was a mistake as there was no good transport to Prague in the evening. Most people had brought their sleeping bags, and luckily the Serbs at least gave us two blankets. Somehow Mr.X, KurMur and DIDI8 had to find a way to sleep on those 2 blankets, and I slept on some chairs as I wasn't participating in the tourney and supposedly didn't need to sleep that much. Nazgul had his sleeping bag, and poor Smurf was sleeping right on the floor :O.

Day 2

In the morning I took over the two blankets when my friends got up and slept better a few hours. Meanwhile the tourney started, and when I woke up the first few rounds were over already. It was double elimination, and every match was 2 out of 3. I saw some faces I hadn't seen the previous day, as the [pG] guys had arrived from Sweden and Germany. Mr.X knew a few rounds later he had to play Nazgul on Jungle Story. That's why he was very interested when DIDI8 played some practice games against Naz on that map. Both DIDI8 and Nazgul seemed to be trying to fool each other, not playing at their best abilities and not showing their best strats... The last game they played Mr.X commanded DIDI8 to test a 3 factory pure vulture rush and it worked quite well, but maybe Nazgul was not trying hard. Anyway after seeing how Nazgul plays we all thought his main weakness is unit control and not being as fast as the Bulgarians.

Talking about speed, the biggest crowd was always behind Mr.X and DIDI8 because they were really fast, especially DIDI8 was probably the fastest player at the tournament. I'll include a small video of him playing, real fun to see ^^.

Most players were using very fast mouse settings, and mostly Logitech MouseMan mice. Almost everyone thought that optical mice aren't suitable for gaming yet, that's why most used ball mice. It's interesting to mention that the fastest player was using the slowest mouse settings by far - on DIDI8's comp I could hardly scroll from one end of the screen to the other without having to lift the mouse, real weird how he plays.

DIDI8's first serious opponent was MadFrog-pG. We hadn't really heard anything about him until then, but even though DIDI8 won he was impressed of his opponent's skill and complimented him after the games. Now I know Madfrog is one of Sweden's wcg players, and I think he really deserves it :).

Mr.X had a relatively easy bracket until he had to play against Fanatik[pG] on Legacy of Char. Fanatik won the first game TvZ (Mr.X as zerg) and the second game they had the same races... Fanatik was doing very well, expanding early and always keeping his army at the right spot, so Mr.X had a really hard time beating him after a long exhausting game. Then the third game was TvP and after Fanatik's reaver tech didn't work out well Mr.X continued to the next round where he had to play Nazgul. At that point Mr.X was only awake because of drinking energy drinks, and Nazgul agreed to play him the next day... so manner :).

[OS]KurMur was sadly out of the tournament at this point but as you will see on the pics he was having a lot of fun anyway :). DIDI8 and Mr.X found someone to drive them to Prague in order to sleep at the hotel this evening, me and KurMur stayed.

That was our favourite occupation - waiting for KurMur to fall asleep and set up such photos

Day 3

The next day Nazgul and Mr.X finally played their games, and it was the first BroodWar match shown on the big screen. Mr.X won it 2:1, but I was watching DIDI8 vs Saft at that point. Mr.X lost TvP but won ZvP and PvZ and went through, sending Nazgul to the losers bracket.

Meanwhile DIDI8 was fighting Saft on Valhalla - the Swede won the first game as Terran against DIDI8's toss, but the Bulgarian came back winning PvP and PvZ. The last game, the PvZ, was very interesting and had DIDI8 finishing off Saft with carriers and corsairs with D-web...

Then Mr.X beat I think Janis[pG] on Valhalla and had to play DIDI8 in the semi finals of the winners bracket. In the other half of the bracket there were so many empty slots that Jesse[pG] reached the final of the winners bracket after playing just 3-4 matches or less. DIDI8 vs Mr.X on Dire Straits was the second match we saw on the big screen, and the spectators really enjoyed it. Mr.X won the first game very fast, but then he lost the second game even faster T_T. The final game was classic - long and exciting PvP. DIDI8 won in the end with a sexy mass reaver/scout combination, and the crowd applauded.

Meanwhile in losers bracket Nazgul had a funny game against someone, again PvP @ Dire. After some nasty reaver action both players were out of minerals, but Nazgul's opponent at least had probes, shuttles and a Nexus at his main. Theoretically he could shuttle his probes to other islands and mine until he had money to start an expansion, but for some reason he just left the game and let Nazgul win. Later he explained he was nervous and didn't realize he was winning.

This girl wanted KurMur to pose with herAs you can see on the pic to the left, [OS]KurMur wasn't wasting his time meanwhile ^^. That evening we all went to the hotel and I finally took a so needed bath. DIDI8 and Mr.X were both concerned about their next matches as the map for the next round was Jim Raynor's Memory - they didn't know it at all as it is a non-wcg map.

Day 4

That day was the disaster for my friends. When we arrived at the tournament location, Mr.X and DIDI8 played two fast warm up games on JR's memory as Mr.X didn't even know the shape of the map. Mr.X expected that he would have to play against Nazgul but it turned out Saft had eliminated him. I watched a replay of Saft vs. Nazgul, it was a great display by Saft on the same map he was going to play against Mr.X.

Actually Saft lost the first game PvZ, but the next two games he used the map's characteristics very well as terran and won them both after some long battles.

This way Mr.X was out of the tournament, finishing in 5th place. We both went to check out how DIDI8 is doing against Jesse[pG] in the winners bracket final, but he was already losing a second game in a row. DIDI8 tried to use a weird trick he had seen in a replay on that map, but it failed pathetically and actually screwed him up pretty bad. Me and Mr.X went to the nearby village to eat something, and on the way we discussed how close it is nowadays in those tourneys, with everyone being good and how important map experience is.

While going back to see what's happening at the tourney, we both suspected that DIDI8 has lost against Saft in the losers bracket final, as our friend always plays bad after losing in winners bracket. Sadly (not for the Swedish fans though, heh) we were right and all of us just watched a bit of the actual final that was Jesse vs Saft ZvP. Jesse won that, and the award of 1200 USD belonged to him :). I wish I knew in advance that he was so good, I saw just his last few games in the tourney.

Congrats to the Swedes, they were really strong and took 1st and 2nd and also MadFrog took 4th place!

So, the final result:

1. Jesse[pG] 1200 USD
2. Saft[pG] 500 USD
3. nL8)DIDI8[BG] 250 USD
4. Mad´Frog[pG]  
5. [o]Mr.X  
6. [I'm]Radu  
7. Liquid`Nazgul  

There was a cool ceremony at the end of the LAN party, with top 3 finishers from every game getting to a winners podium, getting interviewed, kissed by Czech girls etc ^^. 6 of the players in top 7 (Radu is the exception) are in Korea for WCG right now, I wish luck to all of them :).

Photo taken by Mr.X, I should have let him use the camera more

Some small AVI files (no sound). You might need DivX

Running from the cold rain :(
Didi yelling at Mr.X to play his games faster so we can go to sleep
Nazgul watching something on his screen
Nazgul and Smurf
Jesse interviewed
Saft interviewed
DIDI8 interviewed
Mr.X shaking hands with Nazgul after winning
Amazing multitasking and speed by Didi ( thanks for webspace Testo! ) HOT!
Mirror file of Didi playing if the above doesn't work ( thanks to SCV~007 )
Mr.X and Didi warming up
Nazgul practicing (thanks to SCV~007)
All those sexy Bulgarians ^^
[OS]KurMur using the video camera to annoy Didi :)

Sorry for not adding any replays yet - I haven't asked Mr.X and DIDI8 for permission.


B O N U S ! ! !

I wanted to keep that pic for personal use but oh well

Take care! :)




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