Hello SC fans, and welcome to an epic contest between one of the best schools in the East, and the best school period. Get out your fur coats, your caps, and your pennants -- it's time for an old fashioned Big Ten versus Ivy league match up...
First of all, perhaps a little back-story is in order, to explain how this epic match up came about. It seems that one of my non-SC playing roommates had a friend from the old days back in the Dutch country, and said friend evidently played a mean game of Starcraft. This friend discovered that there were SC players at NU just like at UPenn, and a challenge was issued. So it came to pass that several representative found themselves meeting on Bnet in the later hours of a fine May evening.
Myself, my (SC Playing) roommate greencrayon, and the youngster of the group Loae666 entered channel Penn, ready for action. Waiting our arrival was the trio of GenghisAlf, )(avier, and NudeArvydas. The opening banter was reserved yet friendly, and once everyone was comfortable with one another, we decided we might as well play.
The first game was a 3v3 on Hunters. The homosexuality of this game was only nearly equaled by the later conversation in the channel, and thus, despite BR.com's well-known approval of man-love, shall not be reported on here.
At this stage, one of Northwestern's representatives, Loae666 was forced by circumstances beyond his control to log off Bnet. We were fortunate enough to find a replacement in the form of our coed
She was not immediately available however, so it was decided to play a 2v2 in the interim. I said "nu/nu", and created the game. My choice of the map Avalanche left everyone complaining about imbalance, so it was decided to recreate. Deciding to try something different, I chose to recreate on Klondike, a Battle.net map of the week. Evidently not everyone is so hot on maps of the week, since GenghisAlf needed to download. He was hampered by not being connected to the campus network, and after waiting too long for a successful download, it was decided to try a new map. In deference to his shoddy internet connection, GenghisAlf was allowed to select the map. This time, a game was successfully created on Flooded Plains.
It might be appropriate, as convention dictates, to introduce the players at this point.
greencrayon: Has been playing SC since he was coerced into playing it by our floor last year. I've watched him progress from a player who would build only one barracks and didn't use hotkeys, to a mass production machine. Despite the fact that he plays on a Mac, we still like him. His favorite unit is the zergling. his blood type is... wtf, this isn't the beginning of some manga... Anyhow, an all around competent player.
sarah_f: A year younger than the rest of us, we also met last year while living in the same dorm. I was as surprised to find an actual female gamer as you are reading about one. Nevertheless, she is usually up for a game with myself and anyone else that can be rounded up. Her main weakness is Terran macro, but she is generally able to hold her own.
nu_soldier_402: This is me, funnymarx. I brought this alias out of retirement for use in this epic contest, as it was my original Bnet alias almost three years ago. I've kept it alive with the occasional game since then, but usually it's reserved for special events, such as Channel Sargent 4th floor reunions. If you've read my previous reports, you'll know that I represent the greatest strategic mind since Napoleon.... or something like that.
GenghisAlf: The catalyst for this tournament, being the friend of my roommate who issued the challenge. Ironically enough, he'll be switching sides next fall, when he comes to NU Med. I assume this means he is intelligent, and he certainly was personable. Along with his partners, has actually made money playing SC, by winning a local 3v3 tournament.
NudeArvydas: I established early on that this player was in fact, a giant gay white Korean man. If that doesn't suggest a natural proficiency for SC, I don't know what does. Anyhow, I know little else about him, other than that he has good taste in warm beverages.
)(avier: From what I'm told, he was the L337est amongst us all. Evidently he has played, and beaten, such names as intotherain, grrr..., soso, kain, testie, and tsu. I don't know the pro scene that well, but does the name 1st~evil ring any bells? Based on the pre and post game conversation, he seemed like one always ready for a confrontation or argument.
And now, to the games.
We all randomed with the exception of GenghisAlf who chose Protoss. Per convention, here are build orders up to 5:00, which nicely coincides with the beginning of real action.
The game started out peacefully enough. Greencrayon's overlord scouted northward, while nu_soldier_402 sent his to the west. Greencrayon was able to find an empty main, while I managed to misestimate the positions of both possible mains, and sent my overlord between the two enemy bases. GenghisAlf meanwhile, sent his 11th and 14th probes out to the north and to the east. His second probe quickly located greencrayon's base. Likewise, NudeArvydas' 16th SCV found my base with little problem. At four minutes into the game, team Penn had verified the positions of both their opponents, while team NU had only found out where their enemies were not.
Team Penn took the first offensive action, in the form of a concerted attack on me. About a half dozen each zealots and marines arrived on the west side of my base. The zealots originally rushed into my drone line, but after seeing the three sunkens, GenghisAlf decided discretion was the better part of valor, and they withdrew to the safety of sitting behind my minerals. NudeArvydas' marines found this location hospitable as well, and I was forced to halt mining or lose my drones. I chose to halt mining. A half dozen of greencrayon's zerglings attempted to intervene, but they were rather predictably cut to shreds.
To add insult to injury, before the blood of these valiant zerglings has dried, NudeArvydas brings up an SCV to build a bunker on top of their remains. While I pondered for a moment whether it might not be a monument constructed as a gesture of respect to a departed foe, that thought left me as soon as it was completed and four marines jumped inside.
I decided to write off my main as lost, and sent all my drones to my one operating expansion. I also began morphing my hatchery there into a lair. Greencrayon had already finished this transition, and was researching lurker tech and morphing hydras.
GenghisAlf continued to pump zealots while NudeArvydas pumped medic marine and began researching siege mode. I was personally quite worried that my expansion would be discovered and the game would be over at this point.
Take a look at the situation. Rest your eyes for a little while before you continue reading. Go get a cold beverage.
With my expansion lair up and running, I started researching lurker aspect, while greencrayon actually produced some half dozen. GenghisAlf, perhaps fearing masses of speedlings, had researched +1 ground attack, and was researching zealot leg enhancement. NudeArvydas had produced a nice combined arms force, including one tank with siege mode, and they were dispatched towards my base.
At my base, I had come to a startling realization -- sunkens outrange marines!! Who knew!? With this in mind, I built a colony in my mineral line, and soon had it upgraded to a sunken. GenghisAlf's zealots were spooked and withdrew, while I succeeded in destroying the second bunker that NudeArvydas had just constructed behind my mineral line. Thinking to capitalize on this small victory, I began another colony on the north side of my min line, hoping to take out the second bunker and allow me to return to mining.
As usually occurs in warfare, technology advanced, rendering my sunkens obsolete. NudeArvydas had brought up a tank, and proceeded to smash my sunkens from long range. The indignity continued, as shells began to fall on my hatchery, for the first time putting my gas production in danger.
While this conflict ravaged my main, the rest of map was not idle. GenghisAlf was attempting to make his min line safe from lurkers by installing a few cannons and getting observer tech. Likewise, NudeArvydas had secured his base with some well-placed turrets and a couple of seiged tanks. Greencrayon had morphed seven lurkers, and decided to go for hive tech. Meanwhile, I had established a second expansion hatchery, and was waiting for drones to populate it. I had also succeeded in morphing several lurkers on the east side of my base as soon as I finished researching the tech.
In spite of, or perhaps because my main being in the process of vaporization, I decided it was time to pressure the enemy a bit, so I marched my lurkers north through greencrayon's base, and then west, hoping to hit GenghisAlf's mineral line. They arrived on target, finding a cannon blocking away. The lead lurker, evidently the brains of the operation, thought boldness would be in order, and they rushed past the cannon, burrowing somewhere amongst the pylons and tech buildings that GenghisAlf had amassed. A timely scan enabled some nearby zealots to die attempting to kill one of my lurkers. I thought that I was in luck, but then I saw the observer pop out of the robotics facility and cloak up. GenghisAlf had evidently recalled the majority of his zealots to his base, and they were able to make short work of my lurkers. I had conveniently managed to leave all of the Protoss buildings damaged but intact.
Wishing to keep up the pressure, I shouted at greencrayon to go attack something. He sent out a few zerglings to "scout"... some attack.
The pressure on NudeArvydas and GenghisAlf was evidently so great that they were both able to expand almost simultaneously. GenghisAlf built a new nexus in the top left of the map, while NudeArvydas expanded to the position between his and his ally's main.
Now, if you were paying close attention to the last map update, you may have figure out what happened next. Those brave little lings whom greencrayon had dispatched caught GenghisAlf's probes en route to the new purple expansion. Genghis was unable to react until his probes had reached the expansion, and about half had died. Heartened by the nearness of the nexus, the little robots turned about, surrounded their erstwhile tormenters, and fried them.
GenghisAlf had reassembled his zealot force after removing the threat of my lurkers, and decided that it was time to destroy my main once and for all. As they were covering the ground between his and my base, NudeArvydas moved a pair of tanks to GenghisAlf's mineral line as more lurker defense. This proved timely, as greencrayon, having satisfied himself with "scouting", was now moving half a dozen lurkers north of GenghisAlf's main. They moved to attack just as GenghisAlf's zealots hit my main. I was able to temporarily halt this zealot incursion with some newly morphed lurkers, just as GenghisAlf was able to nullify greencrayon's attack with some zealots, a tank, and an observer.
At this point, I was pretty nervous about Team NU's prospects for the game... after all, our most recent attacks had been beaten with little appreciable loss, while my main was on it's last legs, and while I had reproduced all of my tech, I was still struggling to come up with an appreciable defense for my expansions. I was concerned that my ally had used up his main attack force, and that at that very moment, I was struck with a vision of hordes of 1/1 marines and medics marching inexorably towards my expansions.
I hadn't looked at greencrayon's base in a while, and I assumed that he was about as defenseless as me. Well... it turns out that greencrayon thought that it would be a good time to attack.
Can you guess what those little green lines are? That's right...
Although I had thought it strange that my ally had gone for Lair tech so quickly, it turned out that he had been able to spawn two dozen 1/1 cracklings, with another two dozen in the oven. They were able to prevail over 1/1 Protoss infantry, photon cannons and tanks, and proceeded to ravage GenghisAlf's main. Despite recalling all of his zealots from my recently leveled starting position, GenghisAlf is unable to hold back the zergling tide, and he ends up losing nearly his entire standing army along with his main.
The fight had not yet left the UPenn team however, as NudeArvydas deployed a mixed force of tanks and infantry at greencrayon's main. Hydras and lings, freshly hatched, launched a poorly coordinated counterattack, but were cut down with few losses. NudeArvydas got a bit overconfident though, and moved his supporting infantry away from his tanks in an attempt to get behind greencrayon's mineral line. This time, zerglings were able to cover the ground between their egg sacks and the tanks and destroy them with their usual efficiency.
Meanwhile, you may have noticed the little yellow group moving across the top off the minimap animation. This was my five remaining lurkers preparing to attack GenghisAlf's expansion. Despite two photon cannons, I was able to get one lurker in position behind the mineral line, and the other four took shots at the nexus. Well... actually the other three... my micro was so good that I burrowed one of my lurkers right next to a photon cannon... you know... as a decoy.
I had regained my macro ability with the establishment of a third expansion by this point, and greencrayon likewise was working on a second expansion. NudeArvydas assembled another infantry plus tank force against greencrayon's recovering main, but this time, there was no medic support. Zergling after zergling sacrificed its body for the good of the swarm, and soon, due to shrapnel from friendly tank rounds and the occasional scratch from razor sharp claws, Human blood joined Zerg on the green grass.
As control groups of my hydras attacked NudeArvydas' expansion, and greencrayon's zerglings menaced his main, GenghisAlf chimed in that he was out of the game, his lurkered expansion in the northwest having been his last source of minerals.
Seeing no chance against two to one odds, Team UPenn conceded victory to Team NU. "GG"s were exchanged, and met back in channel Penn, some twenty minutes after we had left.
Your friend and mine, greencrayon was forced to log off at this point, leaving just myself and sarah_f to face the UPenn team. NudeArvydas decided to observe, allowing )(avier to play. Once again, it was to be a 2v2 on Flooded Plains.
Everyone tried something new this time, even me despite getting Zerg a second time.
Once again, as if we were on company time, the action broke out at the five minute mark. Xavier had scouted with a probe, and managed to discover my expansion hatchery without me noticing. His first zealot snuck around my main, and ended up killing one of the three drones that I had mining my expansion. I managed to get the other two morphing creep colonies while the zealot had fun with my hatchery. A pair of zerglings hatched, and poor Joe zealot ended up playing ring-around-the-hatchery while I morphed the creep colonies into sunkens.
Sarah_f, while producing marines, had sent a single marine on a reconnaissance mission. Reaching GenghisAlf's mineral line, and finding no defenses, said marine leveled his rifle and destroyed one SCV with a stream of bullets. Getting a bit over-confident, he found himself suddenly in the midst of the mining SCVs, and before he could get out, he was run down by two fusion cutter wielding miners.
"Why was GenghisAlf's base without defenses?" you may be asking yourself right now... well, his troops were going to attack me of course. A half dozen marines arrived at my expansion, but seeing the sunkens, had to content themselves with picking flowers and taking pot shots from behind the mineral patches. I started a control group of zerglings moving towards my expansion, in hopes of allowing mining to recommence.
Xavier, meanwhile, in what was to be without doubt, the most annoying move of the game, had produced a corsair, and proceeded to annihilate my innocent overlord, which had been doing sight seeing in the neighborhood of his base. Perhaps overreacting a teensy bit, I start both a hydra den and an evolution chamber morphing, the former in my main, the latter at my expansion.
At least my zerglings were able to kill all the marines hiding behind the minerals at my expansion, and I was able to start my drones mining once again.
Looking at the map at this point would have revealed...
What does the ellipsis in the graphic above signify? Besides the obvious pretensions of the artist who created it? What could go with corsairs better than...
One of these dreaded denizens of the dismal darkness had arrived at my expansion, along with his corsair compatriot. My sunken colonies didn't really stand a chance, seeing as I couldn't target them at the corsair no matter how hard I tried... The zerglings I had sitting around my expansion I quickly dispatched to sarah_f's base, hoping to aid with an upcoming attack on GenghisAlf.
Interestingly, both sarah_f and GenghisAlf sent their attacking forces off at the same time, and both marched almost within visibility range of each other, but not quite. Both commanders had their troops headed towards different targets however... sarah_f was intent on demolishing GenghisAlf's main, while GenghisAlf was set on finishing off my natural. Meanwhile, my troops were also in motion, as I sent a mixed force of hydras and zerglings to try to save my expansion.
Everyone seemed to reach their destination at the same time. Sarah_f's infantry and tank started firing on GenghisAlf's main, as my zerglings (with medic support) ran around killing SCVs and marines as they left their barracks. Meanwhile, my hydra/zergling force was able to dispatch the DT at my expansion, only to be forced into a quick withdrawal by the arrival of GenghisAlf's marine plus medic combo.
Sarah_f's troops in GenghisAlf's base were unable to do much damage to buildings, as they kept shooting at the random marines and SCVs that populate such a thriving Terran settlement. However, GenghisAlf was forced to halt mining at his main, and additionally had to recall his troops after razing the hatchery at my expansion. My zerglings and sarah_f's combined arms were only stopped when Xavier brought up a DT, which was able to kill several zerglings and the tank before sarah_f got a scan off.
At this point, all players had exhausted most of their combat ready troops. Team UPenn though was in a much healthier position, resource wise, and were able to build up a new batch of troops much faster than Team NU. As a result of this phenomenon, I had only a few hydras on hand at my main, when a dozen speed upgraded zealots rushed in. Doing my best to get my drones into the action with free hits, I did a bit of hydra dancing, but found it remarkably ineffective against the speedy zealots. I managed to kill the last zealot with my drones, all my other troops and my sunken colony having been destroyed. This was of course an ideal time for GenghisAlf to attack me, and so he did. Marines and medics flooded into my main from the north, pursued by a similar group from sarah_f's base. The cavalry was coming, but was it going to get there on time?
Sarah_f's infantry traded shots and casualties with GenghisAlf's troops, with the tank tipping the balance in favor or sarah_f. At the last moment however, two psi storms from Xavier's newly arrived high templars destroyed sarah_f's last troops.
I attempted to reform my defenses, but Xavier, evidently using 693802985 gateways at this point, threw another wave of zealots at my base before I was able to present any sort of resistance.
Finding myself with only an evolution chamber, an ursadon, and my memories, I quit the game... defeat with honor.
Unfortunately, my leaving the game prevented me from observing the last phase of the game. Thankfully, due to modern science, I was able to piece together what happened after my departure.
Marines and cloaked wraiths killing said carriers...
Saturating sarah_f's defenses...
Yeah, that's how it happened.
After such spectacular games, both sides couldn't help but admire the martial prowess of the other. As comrades united by struggle, we had a lot to talk about.
I think sarah_f was a bit intimidated by the conversation, as she decided to take off.
I was particularly impressed by NudeArvydas...
And while we were chatting, some other folks came in, and I discovered the answer to one of Bnet's age-old questions...
All in all, the match up had been an enjoyable one, and edifying for all involved. While inconclusive as to the relative abilities of Northwestern versus U Penn Starcraft players, both sides could claim a victory. And if you think that your playing ability is greater than that of any of the competitors in this battlereport, remember this: Every one of them will end up as an independent consultant making six times your income. So there.
Thanks is due to all the players involved in these games for consenting to let me report on their exploits. Thanks is also do to certain musicians. Go purchase this disk, and this one as well.
And now, as a special treat... I present you with a preview of my next groundbreaking report.
This has been a Viaduct production.