After the tumultuous twists and turns of Season 3, which culminated in a frenetic finals series between Sean ‘Probe’ Kempen and Ethan ‘iaguz’ Zugai, players set their sights on glory once again and turned their attention towards Season 4.
Season 4 of WCS ANZ provided the opportunity for eight players to test their mettle and qualify for a live finals in Sydney on August 26 where fame and glory awaits. A qualifying tournament held on August 5 was the only obstacle for the top six players to overcome.
As Probe and iaguz were Season 3’s finalists, they enjoyed a well-earned rest on the qualifying weekend as they automatically qualified for the live event.
Each of the six other finalists from Season 3’s event were signed up and raring to go, alongside some new faces and returning veterans.
Missing in action at the previous event, Varun ‘Demi’ Immanuel and Hayden ‘Wally’ Bell were welcome additions to the qualifying bracket. Both players have had significant experience in online events and have been mainstays of the scene for several years.
Motivated by the opportunities presented in the new WCS ANZ format, Demi was out for blood. Immediately matched against one of the Season 3 finalists, Ryan ‘NXZ’ Jones, he was presented with the first challenge of the tournament.
NXZ has always been a formidable opponent and his wealth of ZvZ experience shone
through in the first game. Identifying Demi’s tendency to focus on his economy at key points in the game, NXZ hit a critical timing attack and secured a win in the first game.
Game 2 seemed like history may have repeated itself as NXZ attacked relentlessly. Demi seemed ready to capitulate under the pressure but held his nerve and defended each attack with calm and calculated positioning. Eventually, his economy and army proved too much for NXZ to handle.
The final game of the best-of-three was the longest of the series. The players were content to focus on securing a large economy and rely on their late-game experience. Demi was able to secure a fourth base while constantly harassing NXZ’s economy and denying expansions.
The economic disparity - especially Vespene Gas (which unlocks the expensive units Ravagers and Infestors) became apparent towards the end and Demi was able to lock down the series with one final, glorious engagement.
Elsewhere in the bracket, previous season finalists David ‘MightyKiwi’ Gore, Ben ‘Crimson’ Macdonald, Tran ‘Meomaika’ Hong Phuc, and Sheldon ‘Seither’ Barrow made short work of their opponents. Some surprises emerged - most notable of which was Ashley ‘Frustration’ Cox being knocked into the lower bracket by returning veteran Cameron ‘Yours’ Foster.
In Part Two we recap the rest of this qualifying tournaments progress and highlight the top six qualified players. Stay tuned for continued coverage of StarCraft II WCS ANZ Season 4 here at AusGamers. We'll be bringing you player interviews, analysis and more - brought to you by McDonald’s.