Once More Into The Fray...
Hi, you probably don't know me, but I used to live here. Nowadays I just drop in from time to time to say hi to old friends, pick up my mail and check that you're still watering the plants. You must be the new tenants... Once upon a time I used to write battle reports, I posted my last one exactly three years ago in fact. Well, for the nostalgic value of it, and to remind myself how to use layers and formatting in photoshop, I've decided to try my hand once more. I don't get to play online very often, maybe once a month or so now. I've lost some of the skill I once had but gained perhaps a little perspective. However, I do like to put on the occasional replay to remind myself what I'm missing, and I still enjoy reading the news and watching VODs of the Pro-Gaming scene in Korea. Anyway, enough about that, let's get to the point... A Battle Report!
The players are Sakurai[Aegis] (playing Protoss) and Hoejja[WHITE] (Playing Zerg). They're both members of top Korean gaming clans, and they are exceptional players. The map is called R-Point. It's one of the maps from OnGameNet's 2005 ProLeague. The important points about this map are:
- It's a 4-player map
- You start in one of the corners on a plateau with one ramp.
- There is an expansion set back below your ramp.
- There is another identical expansion against the other flank of your plateau.
- There are four raised islands in the middle of the map. These have less resources per patch than other bases, and they are very hard to defend.
- All resource nodes have both minerals and vespene geysers.
This means that you have two resource nodes in easy reach of your main base and many more to choose from. OnGameNet clearly design their maps for long games now as people enjoy these more and so continue to watch the events. As you can see, it has 14 bases around the outside, so I'm going to use the clock times shown on the map to reference where bases are when I refer to them. All clear? Good. Ok, let's get started...
Sakurai gets orange Protoss in the bottom right position. Hoejja gets teal Zerg in the top right position, and send his scouting overlord in the right direction to find his opponent. Sakurai opens with pylon-gate-gas-core-pylon, and scouts his opponent making a second hatch on 12 control below his ramp, followed by a spawning pool.
Sakurai warps a pylon in at his opponent's natural at 1:00 to prevent him making a hatchery there, and after cancelling it at the last moment, warps another one in, again denying his opponent's expansion. Hoejja responds by placing his third hatchery at his other natural in the 2:30 position and, having scouted his opponent's tech build, makes almost pure drones knowing he won't be rushed. Once Sakurai stops off-pyloning his opponent's natural, he builds a robotics facility and a citadel of adun at home, while his opponent places his fourth hatch at his natural and upgrades the hatch below his ramp to a lair. Sakurai has seen all of this with a probe, and he warps in a templar archives and a forge while making a shuttle. Once it finishes he loads it up with three dark templar from his now 2 gates and heads towards his opponent's base while putting a cannon at his ramp to hold any sneaky counter-attacks.
Hoejja has been morphing a spire while upgrading Zergling speed, and has a lot of drones but only about 12 Zerglings in total. Sakurai heads straight for his opponent's main and arrives before the first group of mutalisks hatch. He has time to kill the spire and a few drones before his shuttle is scourged and the mutas scare his dark templar away from the buildings. It doesn't end there though, Sakurai sends one dark templar into his opponent's natural where it racks up a good number of drone kills, while hiding another in a corner of his opponent's main for later. Sakurai starts cannons at his natural at 5:00 during all of this to secure his expansion. Hoejja kills the dark templar at his natural, and then sends his Zerglings and mutalisks to stop the cannons from warping at his opponent's expansion. He can't touch the main base because of an archon and three cannons there. Sakurai is smart though, and uses the distraction to send that hidden dark templar back into action in his opponent's main where it kills every single drone. Hoejja realises too late but dispatches the cloaked assassin and re-stocks his drones while making more mutalisks, having made a new spire at his second natural.
Sakurai moves out with 2 archons and about 8 zealots, trying to warp new cannons in at his natural but again he is stopped by muta/ling. He instead warps a pylon and 3 cannons behind the minerals at the 7:00 base, hoping to start an expansion there instead. Hoejja has been teching to lurkers, but Sakurai brings three dragoons to strengthen his army, then attacks his opponent below his ramp where the lair is. With very few units for defence, Hoejja loses his lair and several sunkens before his lurkers arrive to see his opponent off. However, Sakurai sneaked both archons into his opponent's main and destroyed the pool during the fighting. When Hoejja sends troops to kill the archons, Sakurai sends his army back into his opponent's natural and causes havoc there while microing his archons. He is able to do this because Hoejja has countered at the Protoss main with lurker/ling and has not only stopped the cannons warping at the 5:00 base, but has destroyed the cannons on the ramp. With no detection and no units nearby, Sakurai cannot defend his gateways and they fall, however he manages to destroy the hatchery at his opponent's 1:00 natural and all of the drones there, and Hoejja hasn't found his hidden expansion yet. Eventually a group of lurkers are able to finish off the Protoss attack group.
Hoejja morphs a new expansion at the 11:00 position and sends 8 lurkers to scout out the bottom left main. He finds the Protoss encampment near there and attacks. Sakurai has replaced the gateways in his main and has cleared out the lurker/ling with observers and storm. Sakurai then uses dark templar to kill the remaining lurkers at his 7:00 expansion. Hoejja has replaced his pool and lair at his 2:30 base, and has morphed a new hatchery at his 1:00 natural while this was going on. He has also switched back to mutalisks to counter his opponent's zealot/DT combination. Again Sakurai decides to be sneaky and sends a DT into his opponent's 2:30 base, killing ALL of the drones there, and getting the spire down to 67 hitpoints before it the templar is killed. Sakurai also warps in an expansion at the 9:30 position. Sakurai suicides some speedy zealots to kill the spire at 2:30, but when he warps an assimilator in at his 9:30 base one of Hoejja's overlords sees it and it's not long before the mutalisks swoop in to deal with it. With only 2 cannons defending. Sakurai sends a zeal/archon/temp army to save his base but they arrive too late and get destroyed due to some good muta micro from Hoejja. Sakurai uses the distraction to warp several cannons in at his natural and although Hoejja expected this he couldn't get his lings there in time to stop it. Sakurai adds a nexus and transfers in some workers. Fortunately for Sakurai, he manages to storm several mutas while they return to finish off the buildings in the destroyed 9:30 expansion.
As things stand now, Hoejja has four running bases and a large mutalisk army with a few lurkers and lings. He has a hive and the crax upgrade, but no evolution chambers. Sakurai has two running bases (as his main has depleted) and a small zeal/archon/templar army with +2 attack upgrades.
Hoejja takes the top middle expansion while harassing his opponent with his mutas. Sakurai finally has enough and makes two stargates in his main to counter the fliers while expanding to the bottom middle base. Both players take a little time out to pad out their armies. Hoejja decided to abuse his mobility and sends 2 groups of mutas into his the Protoss main, killing the nexus there and a couple of corsairs. Sakurai gets back in time to save all the other buildings. Hoejja has switched tech to hydra/ultra now, and has started upgrading his ground troops. Sakurai sends his troops to attack the 12:00, but decides to retreat. Hoejja isn't having any of it, and cuts his opponent's army off with his hydra/ultra/ling. A huge battle breaks out as Sakurai tries to keep his archons alive and storm his opponent's troops, and Hoejja uses his weight of numbers to just keep throwing units into the fray until finally the four archons die and lurkers arrive to finish off what's left. Sakurai managed to sneak a few zeals into the top middle expansion during the battle and kill all of the drones and damage the hatchery there, but Hoejja sees this in time and stops the expansion falling with his mutalisks. With no ground troops to engage with, Sakurai sends out his 8 new corsairs to cause some havoc, and Hoejja engages with pure muta. Sakurai wins the fight against maybe twenty mutalisks, with two corsairs left over and then starts killing stray overlords with his new air superiority. Hoejja has switched to pure ground though, and has a strong hydra/ultra/ling army ready to go.
Sakurai has opted to use dark templar with his corsairs, and he goes for Hoejja's 2:30 expansion, where the hive and pool are located. Hoejja pulls back his huge army and defends the threat at the loss of a few sunken colonies. He secures the top left main and adds spore colonies to his expansions. Sakurai shrugs this off and attacks the new Zerg expansion at the top left with his dark templar while setting up his own new expansion at the bottom left main. Hoejja isn't messing around though, and he groups together his massive army and sends them down the map where he totally annihilates the 7:00 Protoss expansion and the new Protoss base in the bottom left main. His army rolls through crushing the three archons there and riding the waves of psionic storm and the cannon fire.
Sakurai takes one look at the size of the army and lets his bases fall, keeping his ground army back at his 5:00 natural. His sair/DT combo are still reaping havoc on Hoejja's supply and expansions. The top left main falls and all the drones and sunkens at the 11:00 base are killed. Hoejja tried to continue his assault again at the 6:00 Protoss base, but excellent building placement and two templar made a real mess of his army. With a pylon blocking each side of the vespene geyseur, and the threat of the Protoss army swinging round and trapping his units as soon as they enter the base, Hoejja thinks twice about the whole affair and decides to give it a rest for a while. Sakurai has taken the 3:30 expansion just above his main, securing it with his ground army and fortifying it with some cannons. After harassing the new expansion with some Zerglings, Hoejja decides that he wants to force his opponent into a decisive showdown. He hatches a full set of hydra/ultra/ling and brings his army down to the left side of the Protoss natural at 5:00. After a brief pause he charges in. Both armies engage in a huge battle, with the high templar getting caught up initially and suffering heavily, but there are a good number of archons in the Protoss ranks and with the help of some outstanding storming, they come out marginally on top. Sadly for Sakurai he stormed his own corsairs twice during the fighting, and lost the lot. As soon as the last Zerg troops leave he merges his high templar into archons.
Hoejja isn't finished yet though, and having a new expansion finishing at the 9:30 position, a second army is available almost immediately, and he takes them down the map hoping to capitalise on the situation. The result is a second battle in the same place only moments after the first had finished, Sakurai's archons hadn't even finished merging when it started. The second battle looks like a replay of the first, but this time it's the dark templar who turn the tide, seeing how Hoejja's overlords are too far out of range to help out. When it is clear his opponent has won, Hoejja pulls his remaining troops out of the fray and beats a hasty retreat.
As things stand now, Sakurai only has five gateways, and his army consists mostly of archons merged from the depleted templar of the last battle. He has two working bases and has just completed a third. His ground upgrades are +3 attack and +2 armour. Hoejja has three fully working bases and a few mineral patches at his main and natural still being mined. His army of hydra/ultra/ling has +3 armour upgrades.
Sakurai now decides that he needs more firepower, and starts building carriers in his main. He sends his army up to the Zerg 11:00 base and Hoejja responds by sending all his troops to meet them. Sakurai manages to kill the spore colony just before the Zerg troops arrive, allowing his dark templar to get several free hits before detection arrives, but Hoejja still wins the battle decisively with 5 ultras to spare, and Sakurai pulls his re-enforcements back to his main. Hoejja takes this lull to re-expand to the top left main and bolster his army. Ever the aggressor, Sakurai brings an impressive new army up to the top left bases, but Hoejja again has the ground advantage and despatches them with surprising ease, prompting his opponent to run his zealots home. Sakurai knows he's up against the wall now, and morphs two dark archons while researching maelstrom. Hoejja knows that he has his opponent on the run after two suicidal attacks, and chooses to use his advantage now to attack the heavily cannoned new Protoss base at 3:30, His army make short work of both the base and the reinforcing zealots. Sakurai shows his carriers in a last ditch attempt to save the base, giving away his tech even as the nexus falls.
With his secret out, and with his 5:00 natural now empty of resources, Sakurai moves out once again. He accompanies his six carriers with corsairs, zealots, dark templar and dark archons, and heads up towards the top left bases once again. Knowing that he can't hurt the carriers without a good number of hydras in his army, Hoejja decides to counter instead, hoping that his opponent will retreat. It takes no time at all before the Protoss main and natural are completely flattened, while Sakurai kills all three of the top left bases.
As things stand now, Hoejja is mining from only the top middle base, but he has the better army and has added defilers to his troops now too. Sakurai has only the bottom middle base and he has no tech or production buildings at all.
Sakurai sends his troops down the top left ramp to kill a few buildings there, and Hoejja takes the opportunity to engage him with hydra/ultra/defiler, and he manages to get a good plague on the carriers. With dark swarm, plague and maelstrom being thrown around it looks like Hoejja has it won, but the corsairs keep any detection away and at the loss of one carrier and all his ground troops apart from his DTs, Sakurai wins the battle. Hoejja retreats his hydras back to his bases (he still has several ultras in the Protoss main too). Sakurai has been sneaky during all this, he knows Hoejja has the rest of the map well scouted, but he has sneaked a probe into the top left main and has started gateways there while blocking the ramp with his DTs. He uses his advantage to kill Hoejja's last mining base at the top middle. Hoejja takes a brief look at the 6:00 base but the good building placement make it impossible to win a fight there, and it's basically depleted anyway. He starts long-distance mining from the minerals at the empty 3:30 base and moves his troops up to engage the carriers again. Sakurai uses the terrain well to kill the 1:00 hatchery and the queen's nest there, but hydras stop him going any further. He now gives the game away by transferring his ~24 probes from the 6:00 base to the top left main where his new nexus has just finished. He fortifies the ramp with ten cannons and his dark templar, and sets off to do more damage with his carriers in the Zerg main. Hoejja knows that he can't let this base survive, and he brings his whole army to the bottom of the ramp and starts his attack. Ten cannons may seem like a fair lot, but when dark swarm comes into play they dissolve harmlessly. Hoejja's troops raze the entire base, although Sakurai manages to hide about 12 probes in one of the corners.
As things stand now, Hoejja has a large ground army, but he is fast losing his buildings to the carriers. He has no income and very few drones left alive. Sakurai has 5 carriers and 6 corsairs, and a few templar running around, but he only has the 6:00 base and that's depleted.
Both players know that this has become a battle for elimination. Hoejja uses the last of his money to make extractors at the 12:00 base, the 3:30 base and at the 8:30 base. The carriers find and kill the 12:00 extractor, as Sakurai builds a pylon in the corner of the top left main where he has hidden his probes. Hoejja splits his army in two, sending the ultras to the 6:00 Protoss base, and the hydras to defend his extractors. Using dark swarm, the ultras are able to flatten the 6:00 base despite the storm from the two temps there. Hoejja has a bit of a surprise when his opponent is still in the game after the nexus falls, he doesn't know about the pylon and the probes at the top left. Sakurai uses his DTs to scout the map well, and he destroys the extractor at 3:30, leaving Hoejja to defend only one building now. Sakurai adds a nexus in the corner of the top left main now, hoping to get a stronger grip on the game but still avoid being scouted. Sakurai kills all the stray overlords on the map with his corsairs, and starts trying to harass the 13 defending hydra with his carriers, but Hoejja has a defiler and he uses dark swarm smartly and manages to kill two of the carriers before they can retreat to the island. He is searching the map with his ultras, looking for Sakurai's last buildings, with a DT chasing them around. Sakurai can't get near the extractor due to the hydras, and his attempts keep getting shield points removed from his already-plagued carriers. He is mining though, so long as the ultras don't find his buildings.
Then it happens... In a totally inspired move, Sakurai uses the interceptors from his carriers to take hits so that he can send in his corsairs against the two remaining overlords covering Hoejja's hydras. The corsairs would have died verses that many hydras without the distraction. Both Overlords die, along with all of the corsairs. Now it is only a moment before unseen blades from one of the dark templar start slicing at the extractor, Hoejja's last building.
But don't go yet... there's but a further twist to this tale...
These players are smart, seriously smart... Hoejja used his defiler to consume one of his ultras to get the energy for his last possible chance, because if he plagues the area the dark templar is in, it will be detected by the red acid... Sakurai knows this, and at the last second he pulls his DT out from by the extractor, and the plague... well...
But that's what consume is for, and Hoejja starts consuming his hydra to get the energy for a second cast. Sakurai is right in there though, and it takes only two hits for the invisible blade of the dark templar to kill the wretched defiler...
Then it is only seconds before the extractor falls and Hoejja is eliminated.
An outstanding game by both players, right down to the wire. Here are the scores:
I guess you'll be wanting the replay too so that you can point out all of my mistakes.
Right, Shout-outs... I don't even know who looks at this site anymore but lets go with |]agomar, Keanu_Reaver, nA.Inky and Mep for now. I'd like to add Uncle~Jam, [ScV]., ..Disturbed and a few others, but I doubt there's much point really. If anyone's still in touch with ..Disturbed (aka DeonPeon, -Deon etc), please let me know. I'll thank JV and Mark4 while I'm here. I used to take this opportunity to link websites I liked, like BroodWar High, but most of them are now down as the game moves on. Sadly TL.net is deteriorating rapidly, but I think maybe YaoYuan.com is one of the better sites for VODs, and YGclan.com for replays.
I won't be writing another report, although I did enjoy doing this one. It took maybe 10 hours, so about the same time as the others. I don't think my writing, HTML or image manipulation skills are really up to what they may have been.
Leave a comment to say Hi. Don't bother advising me how to improve my reporting, there's not much point. So for the last time (and it has been a very long time since I used this name)... It's been a pleasure.