Published on 10/02/2016 13:40 PDT by ROOT Gaming
To say 2016 was a successful year for Hydra would be an understatement. He didn’t only face the top competitors of the Starcraft 2 scene, he was victorious on numerous occasions. After opening the year with a solid performance at Dreamhack Leipzig, Hydra has been able to keep his play up to an exceptional level.
The first major tournament of the year would see Hydra make a statement about his intentions for 2016. Hydra showed some dominant Zerg play throughout the tournament and opened up his first series versus Namshar. The Swedish Zerg player put up quite a fight, but Hydra’s form was stronger that his and Hydra took his first series of 2016 with a score of 3-2.
Next he faced another Swedish Zerg player in SortOf. Hydra was picking up steam and rolled over SortOf with a 3-0 clean sweep and advanced into the Round of 8.
In the Quarterfinals he met yet another Zerg in the top Zerg player for the Ukraine, Bly.
Bly has always been known for his unrelenting aggression and devious tactics. In an entertaining series we saw Hydra take a 2-0 lead, only to see Bly show some of his strong play. Eventually Bly would be the victor in this series and end Hydra’s run in Leipzig.
2016 WCS Circuit: Winter Circuit Championship
Hydra’s first big WCS event of 2016 saw him facing a very tough bracket. His first game would be versus one of Russia’s better Terran players Happy. Hydra started the series well, claiming victory on one of the most Terran favored maps in the map pool on Dusk Towers. The series would end up going back and forth and was decided in the 5th match on Central Protocol with Hydra claiming the 3-2 win over Happy.
His next opponent would be Neeb, the American Protoss prodigy. Hydra opened up with a 2-0 lead and although he was on matchpoint, Neeb would fight back and level the series at 2-2. The 5th match would be played on Ulrena, a very volatile map, especially with all the harass options both players would have. Hydra wouldn’t be denied and took the game, thus winning the series 3-2 and advancing to the Round of 8.
Elazer was Hydra’s next victim. The Polish Zerg took and early lead by taking the first map off of Hydra, but the ROOT-Gaming Zerg wasn’t impressed and turned on the afterburners. He quickly dispatched Elazer in a 3-1 victory.
In the Semi Finals Hydra met Snute, the Norwegian Zerg proved to be quite the challenge and eventually was too much for even Hydra to hold. The first games began with Hydra taking the map and the win. Throughout the next 3 games Hydra fought valiantly, but eventually fell to Snute 1-3 and ending his run in 3rd/4th place.
In the Dreamhack Austin tournament we would be able to finally witness a perfect storm for Hydra. His first tournament series started out against Guru, one of the better Polish Zerg players around and surely a worthy opponent for many. Hydra clearly didn’t belong to that category and he was able to open up a Zerg-clinic on Guru and take home his first 3-0 sweep in the tournament. Little did we know Hydra was just getting started.
Next up was Bly again. After getting knocked out in Leipzig, Hydra was looking for revenge. Hydra got just that as he shut down Bly in each game and took his second 3-0 victory in the tournament.
The next man up, facing the machine that was Hydra, would be yet another Zerg. Elazer got another shot at Hydra, but couldn’t close the deal as Hydra won 3-2.
MaSa, one of the better Terrans in the competitive scene, was the next opponent lining up to stop Hydra. MaSa has so far only lost 1 map in the tournament and was obviously on top of his game. All of this didn’t bother Hydra one bit and he took down one of the contenders of the tournament with his 3rd flawless victory and advanced to the finals of Dreamhack Austin.
In the finals he was destined to meet Neeb once again. Neeb had a very strong performance in the tournament and was eager to get his first major tournament win. Hydra was the only one standing in his way. The first game saw Neeb taking the lead over Hydra and stirred up some of the hype surrounding him. Hydra remained stoic in his play and quickly burst his way to a 3-1 lead.
The next map would be Prion Terraces and was a Zerg favored map mostly, Neeb however didn’t see it that way and fought back to make it 3-2. Determined as always, Hydra started out the next game with strong play and took the game on Invader. With the win he was able to put down the ROOT flag and took home his first major tournament win of 2016.
Hydra participated in yet another Dreamhack event at the Dreamhack Tours in France.
The opening match would be against uThermal, a very potent Terran in the Terran versus Zerg matchup. Hydra showed no hesitation in the series and made quick work of the terran. After going 1-1 in the first two games, Hydra closed the series in dominant fashion and ended the tournament for the Dutch Terran with a 3-1 score.
Next up was a well known opponent whom he already had beaten two times this year, Neeb. For Neeb it would be a chance to finally redeem himself against Hydra and he did just that. Hydra couldn’t hold on and was forced out of the tournament.
Montreal would prove to be the worst tournament in his Dreamhack-series. Hydra would lose the first series versus the Finnish Protoss player Welmu. The games were very back and forth, but Welmu closed it out with a win and a 3-2 victory.
Whereas the year has shown some great results, Hydra has proven over and over again to be a top contender in the competitive Starcraft 2 scene and one of the best Zerg players around.
With some exceptional training partners in ROOT’s team, he is sure to put on some strong performances in the future!
What’s next for Hydra ?
Hydra has been providing ROOT with an outstanding player and member of the team. Life however will catch up to anyone and Hydra’s future looks bright! He’ll be getting married soon and with his army service coming up, Hydra will be taking a step down from playing full-time Starcraft in 2017.
When we asked Hydra how he felt about his performance in 2016 he had the following to say:
'I was happy that I managed to win my win title in Austin this year for ROOT-gaming despite the fact I wasn't able to put up the same results in 2016 as good as 2015.
My gaming skill hasn't been the same as 2015 this year. I think I wouldn't manage to win Dreamhack Austin if there was no support by CatZ and my team mates.
There were/are a lot of things that I could've done better gaming-wise this year, but I don't look back with any regrets. Because I've done my best to play a better game.
Special thanks to Catz, Diego and other team mates!
About the writer:
Tom Peeters is a Starcraft 2 writer currently looking to provide in depth articles about Starcraft 2. He’ll be doing player interviews, guides and tournament reports.
Be sure to follow him on social media!