The Story Behind the WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger

Published on 06/20/2017 01:01 PDT by ROOT Gaming

The Story Behind the 

WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger by Lawrence "Law" Ho



Prelude

ACL Melbourne, 5th September 2015, was when the ANZ region (NOTE: the ANZ region includes Southeast Asia in competitive StarCraft 2 and can also be referred to as the SEA region) had its last local major offline tournament. Since then, we had witnessed the end of Heart of the Swarm (HotS), and the release of the final iteration of StarCraft 2; Legacy of the Void (LotV). Two years later, ESL announces that they will host the World Championship Series (WCS) Valencia ANZ Challenger live in the ESL Studios in Sydney, Australia, on 24 June; where the region’s top eight players will compete for two tickets to WCS Valencia, Spain.


The Challengers

iaguz The Last Titan

Seither Elusive Kingslayer

Probe The Reigning Champion

NXZ He Who Was Meant to be Great

MightyKiwi Heralding a New Generation of Zerg

Crimson New Zealand's Shadow

Frustration Seasoned Villain

MeomaikA Mad Scientist




OSC-ROOT Gaming

iaguz Terran

The Last of Titan

Dating back to the beta of StarCraft 2 in early 2010, there was one legendary king who stood above the rest of the ANZ region. At the end of 2013, his reign had ended, and the void he had left was filled by not one, but four titans; iaguz, Petraeus, PiG, and KingKong; who dominated the region until the release of LotV in November 2015. While all the other ANZ titans have since moved on from competitive play, iaguz has remained in the upper echelon and is the region’s most consistent performer.

Following the release of LotV, and the introduction of the current model of the WCS Circuit, iaguz has managed to qualify for six out of eleven main events; with his lowest finish being fourth place (NOTE: iaguz qualified for the 2016 WCS Summer Championship due to Seither's forfeit).

With the ANZ region being granted an extra seed in the WCS circuit this year (2 total), and having already qualified to represent the region in both Austin and Jönköping, the old titan has his eyes set on Valencia as well.


Rivalry Spotlight

The Titan’s Defense

vs Probe
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
14W 11L (56.00%)
16W 12L (57.14%)
Maps
36W 28L (56.25%)40W 31L (56.34%)
vs Seither
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
10W 10L (50.00%)
10W 10L (50.00%)
Maps
33W 35L (48.53%)
33W 35L (48.53%)

In the absence of the other titans, iaguz is now joined by Probe and Seither at the top of the ANZ region. While iaguz has set himself apart from the other two with his incredible consistency, he has at times looked weaker and performed worse; most recently at WCS Austin when he placed below teammate Probe.

With the WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger being held live at the ESL Studios in Sydney, iaguz will have a chance to remind everyone why he has remained the one constant in an ever-changing landscape.


Best Career Result
2016 WCS Copa Intercontinental Ro8
LotV Premier Events
Regional Qualifiers
2017 WCS Jönköping Ro32 
2017 WCS Jönköping 1st
2017 WCS Austin Ro32
2017 WCS Austin 2nd
2016 WCS Copa Intercontinental Ro8
2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 2nd
2016 WCS Summer Championship Ro32
2016 WCS Copa Intercontinental 1st
2016 WCS Spring Championship Ro16
2016 WCS Summer Championship 2nd
2016 DreamHack Austin Ro32
2016 IEM Shanghai 4th

2016 DreamHack Valencia 3rd

2016 WCS Spring Championship 1st

2016 DreamHack Austin 1st

2016 Gold Series International 4th

2016 WCS Winter Championship 2nd

2016 DreamHack Leipzig 3rd

2015 DreamHack LotV Championship 1st




Seither Terran

Elusive Kingslayer

Since the release of LotV, Seither has cemented his place at the top of the ANZ region’s food chain. Although Seither hasn’t had much exposure outside of the ANZ region, he has consistently performed at a high level within the region and is widely considered as one of ANZ's top three players.

Seither’s leap onto the international stage was meant to happen in August last year at the 2016 WCS Summer Championship, but he had declined his spot due to personal reasons.

Fast forward a year since then, the teamless Seither has finally made his first international appearance at the recent WCS Jönköping, and he will be looking at making WCS Valencia his second.


Rivalry Spotlight

Fight for the Throne

vs iaguz
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
10W 10L (50.00%)
10W 10L (50.00%)
Maps
35W 33L (51.47%)
35W 33L (51.47%)
vs Probe
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
7W 9L (43.75%)
8W 10L (44.44%)
Maps
23W 25L (47.92%)
25W 27L (48.08%)

While iaguz and Probe have been competing for since the first iteration of StarCraft 2, Seither is a relative newcomer, having only been competing since April 2015, seven months before the end of HotS. Despite performing well in those final months and becoming one of the region’s strongest players outside of the four titans; it wasn’t until LotV when Seither started to unleash his potential and break into the ranks of the region’s elite. 

With the release of LotV, Seither immediately started producing strong results with a second place finish in the first WCS ANZ qualifier of 2016; taking down Petraeus, KingKong, and iaguz along the way before falling to Probe in the finals.

Seither may be the least experienced and have weakest results internationally out of the rival trio, but his recent experience on the global stage could be the catalyst for an even more terrifying Seither.


Best Career Result
2017 WCS Jönköping Ro32
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifiers
2017 WCS Jönköping Ro32 
2017 WCS Jönköping 2nd

2017 WCS Jönköping Open Qualifier 1st

2017 WCS Austin 12th

2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 8th

2016 WCS Summer Championship 1st

2016 WCS Spring Championship 3rd

2016 WCS Winter Championship 12th

2016 DreamHack Leipzig 2nd




OSC-ROOT Gaming

Probe Protoss

The Reigning Champion

In late 2015, the Australian Cyber League (ACL) had seen its final two offline tournaments before being acquired by ESL. In both of those tournaments, the unexpected happened and ACL had crowned Pigeon and Probe as their first ever Protoss Champions since ACL’s inclusion of StarCraft 2 in 2012. Although both of the 2015 ACLs were missing some of the region’s most notable players compared to preceding years, Probe proved that he belonged in the region's upper echelon as he immediately followed up his ACL victory with a qualification for the 2015 DreamHack LotV Championship (NOTE: Probe qualified due to iaguz’s forfeit) and a top sixteen finish at the 2016 DreamHack Leipzig.

There haven’t been any major offline tournaments in Australia since Probe’s victory at ACL Melbourne in 2015; making him still the reigning champion of major offline tournaments in Australia, and he will be aiming to make up for his defeat in the WCS Jönköping ANZ Challenger.


Rivalry Spotlight

Climbing to the Pinnacle

vs iaguz
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
11W 14L (44.44%)
12W 16L (42.86%)
Maps
28W 36L (43.75%)
31W 40L (43.66%)
vs Seither
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
9W 7L (46.25%)
10W 8L (55.56%)
Maps
25W 23L (52.08%)
27W 25L (51.92%)

Having been competing since 2012, Probe’s journey to the top has been long and arduous. He has witnessed the legends of the region’s old greats; from mOOnGLaDe's long period of dominance, to KingKong’s arrival in Australia, to the Era of the Four Titans. It took three years for Probe to cement himself as one of the region’s elite alongside iaguz and Seither; but the road to becoming the undisputed best player of ANZ may take even longer.

With iaguz and Seither both having less than a week to re-adjust from their expedition to Europe, Australia's reigning offline champion should be feeling confident heading into the WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger and will likely be viewed as the tournament favourite.


Best Career Result
2017 WCS Austin Ro16
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifiers
2017 WCS Austin Ro16
2017 WCS Valencia Open Qualifier 1st
2016 DreamHack Valencia Ro48
2017 WCS Jönköping 3rd
2016 DreamHack Leipzig Ro16
2017 WCS Austin 1st
2015 DreamHack LotV Championship Ro24
2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 1st

2016 WCS Copa Intercontinental 2nd

2016 WCS Summer Championship 8th

2016 IEM Shanghai 3rd

2016 DreamHack Valencia 2nd

2016 WCS Spring Championship 8th

2016 DreamHack Austin 3rd

2016 Gold Series International 6th

2016 WCS Winter Championship 4th

2016 DreamHack Leipzig 1st

2015 DreamHack LotV Championship 2nd




NXZ Zerg

He Who Was Meant to be Great

In the 2015 WCS Season 2 ANZ Challenger, the unprecedented had happened. An underdog had managed to upset one of the region's titans, PiG, in the WCS Challenger to initiate a changing of the guard and give the region a new representative in the WCS Premier League.

With KingKong opting to focus more on his studies and failing to defend his godlike status in the latter half of 2015, there was an opening for someone to take his place among the greats of the ANZ region. Probe and Seither have since taken up mantle and taken their place among ANZ’s elite, but NXZ was never able to cement his place at the top as he failed to live up to the untouchable reputation of the titans in the 2015 ACLs, and was given a rude awakening by a returning Petraeus, who had been training and competing in Europe for the majority of 2015.

Since then, NXZ had been fairly quiet until recently when he surprised everyone with a second place finish in the Open Qualifier of the WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger. With a ticket to Valencia on the line, NXZ will have another chance to show that he isn’t just a flash in the pan.


Rivalry Spotlight

Stolen Glory

vs Probe
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
0W 4L (0.00%)
1W 6L (14.29%)
Maps
4W 9L (30.77%)
7W 12L (36.84%)
vs Seither
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
3W 6L (33.33%)
5W 6L (45.45%)
Maps
9W 16L (36.00%)
11W 16L (40.74%)

It wasn’t meant to just be iaguzProbe and Seither at the top. While NXZ was the first to pave the road into the ranks of the elite with his victory over PiG in the 2015 WCS Challenger, it was Probe and Seither who reaped the long-term benefits. While NXZ slowly fell into obscurity, Probe and Seither were challenging iaguz for the title of ANZ’s best player.

Two years ago, the odds were heavily against NXZ as he rose victorious. Now, he will have to repeat the miracle he had created back in 2015 if he is to make it to Valencia and once again represent the region on the global stage.


Best Career Result
2015 WCS Premier League Ro32
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifiers

2017 WCS Valencia Open Qualifier 2nd

2017 WCS Jönköping 6th

2017 WCS Jönköping Open Qualifier 8th

2016 WCS Copa Intercontinental 6th

2016 WCS Summer Championship 12th

2016 IEM Shanghai 6th

2016 WCS Spring Championship 12th

2016 Gold Series International 6th

2016 WCS Winter Championship 6th




SYF Gaming 

MightyKiwi Zerg

Heralding a New Generation of Zerg

Since the release of StarCraft 2, the ANZ region has always had a strong representation in Zerg players. This was also reflected in the region's upper echelon, with players such as mOOnGLaDe, MaFia, tgun, JazBas, PiG, Petraeus, and KingKong; who have all come and gone. For the first time since StarCraft 2’s inception, the ANZ region has been missing a Zerg player to represent the region on the global stage since PiG decided to take a step back from competition last year and transitioned more into a commentator and personality.

MightyKiwi has started the 2017 WCS year off well, with consecutive fourth place finishes in both the Austin and Jönköping Challengers, taking maps off iaguz, Probe and Seither in the process. As the best Zerg of the ANZ region, MightyKiwi has an immense legacy to live up to.


Rivalry Spotlight

Ascension

vs iaguz
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
1W 3L (25.00%)
1W 6L (14.29%)
Maps
3W 7L (30.00%)
4W 13L (23.53%)
vs Probe
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
0W 3L (0.00%)
8W 7L (53.33%)
Maps
3W 6L (33.33%)
21W 18L (53.85%)
vs Seither
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
3W 4L (42.86%)
4W 4L (50.00%)
Maps
11W 11L (50.00%)
13W 11L (53.17%)

While the ANZ region has been well-represented by Terran and Protoss on the global stage in the past year, there has been an absence of Zerg representation. As the current best performing Zerg in this year's WCS ANZ, MightyKiwi will need to carry his momentum even further if he is to become the first Zerg to represent the ANZ region on the global stage since PiG in the 2016 WCS Winter Championship.


Best Career Result
2017 WCS Jönköping ANZ Challenger 4th
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifiers

2017 WCS Valencia Open Qualifier 6th

2017 WCS Jönköping 4th

2017 WCS Austin 4th

2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 3rd

2016 Gold Series International 8th

2016 WCS Winter Championship 16th




SYF Gaming

Crimson Zerg

New Zealand's Shadow

Since Petraeus’ unofficial retirement in early 2016, Crimson has quietly been New Zealand’s undisputed second-best player. While the limelight has been on the finest New Zealand players of the past; Tileä, JazBas, Petraeus, and even MightyKiwi to a lesser extent during his term at the ROOT house; Crimson has always been overshadowed by the accomplishments of his compatriots.

Although recent times have shown New Zealand’s throne within reach for Crimson, teammate MightyKiwi is looking to distance himself further as he attempts to solidify his position as the region’s best Zerg player. Crimson has been a consistent second-tier player for a very long time now, but the WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger is Crimson’s opportunity to finally push himself into the spotlight and declare that he isn't just a sidekick.


Rivalry Spotlight

Civil War

vs MightyKiwi
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
0W 8L (0.00%)
3W 12L (20.00%)
Maps
3W 17L (15.00%)
9W 25L (26.47%)

Even while Petraeus spent the majority of his final competitive year in Europe, away from his home region, it was MightyKiwi who kept the young titan's throne warm; with Crimson remaining as an after-thought of the New Zealand scene.

With a tied sixth place finish alongside MightyKiwi in the open qualifier leading up to Challenger, Crimson will be looking to prove that that he is capable of not only performing just as well as his teammate, but also surpassing him in the upcoming ANZ Challenger.


Best Career Result
2017 WCS Jönköping ANZ Challenger 6th
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifiers

2017 WCS Valencia Open Qualifier 6th

2017 WCS Jönköping 6th

2017 WCS Jönköping Open Qualifier 2nd

2017 WCS Austin 12th

2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 12th

2016 WCS Summer Championship 16th

2016 WCS Spring Championship 12th

2016 DreamHack Austin 8th

2016 Gold Series International 12th

2016 WCS Winter Championship 12th

2016 DreamHack Leipzig 24th




Frustration Protoss

Seasoned Villain

Frustration, the villain of the ANZ region and a veteran from the 2012 WCS Australia Nationals, hails Perth, Western Australia. Despite Australia’s western scene being isolated from the eastern scene where most of the country's strongest talent resides, Frustration has proven that he is capable of being a worthy representative of the west.

By already having delivered Seither an early elimination earlier this year in the WCS Austin ANZ Challenger, and denying the Austin Challenger's bronze medalist, Azure, from even attending the offline Valencia Challenger, Frustration has shown that he is a threat to cause upsets against anyone.


Rivalry Spotlight

Lost Opportunity

vs NXZ
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
0W 2L (0.00%)
0W 7L (0.00%)
Maps
1W 4L (20.00%)
5W 16L (23.81%)

In 2015, Frustration almost had the opportunity to prove himself against the region’s elite on the big stage in the WCS Challenger, but was denied in the qualifying match by NXZ; who went on and caused the biggest upset in the region’s history to qualify for the WCS Premier League.

After a period of inactivity in LotV, both Frustration and NXZ have recently returned to the competitive scene, and while Frustration has been close before, he will have to ensure that he won’t be haunted by his defeat two years ago if he is to make it to Valencia.


Best Career Result
2015 WCS Season 2 ANZ Challenger Qualifier 3rd
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifiers

2017 WCS Valencia Open Qualifier 4th

2017 WCS Austin 8th

2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 12th

2016 WCS Summer Championship 12th




1F Pro Gaming

MeomaikA Zerg

Mad Scientist

With Southeast Asia (SEA) being included as part of the ANZ region in competitive StarCraft 2, MeomaikA is the lone ‘foreign’ representative at the WCS Valencia ANZ Challenger. Despite having only been competing since 2016, the Vietnamese player has started making waves in the region’s online scene in 2017. 

With a respectable third place finish in the WCS Valencia ANZ Open Qualifier, falling only to a resurgent NXZ twice; he has won a chance to compete in a major offline tournament for the first time. It remains to be seen whether he will crack under the pressure of performing in front of a live audience, or if he will demonstrate nerves of steel.

Known for his unorthodox playstyle, MeomaikA will need to pull out every trick he has if he is to secure his ticket to Valencia and become the first ever Vietnamese player to qualify for a premier-tier StarCraft 2 tournament.


Rivalry Spotlight

Third Time’s the Charm

vs NXZ
LotV Record
Lifetime Record
Series
1W 3L (25.00%)
1W 3L (25.00%)
Maps
4W 8L (33.33%)
4W 8L (33.33%)

Two times, MeomaikA faced NXZ in the open qualifier leading up to Challenger, and two times was MeomaikA defeated. 

Although he was defeated twice in the open qualifier, both of the matches were only for seeding purposes for the main event. With no more safety net, MeomaikA will have to use his previous defeats to gather information on how to combat NXZ's playstyle as they will face each other once again in the first round of Challenger.


Best Career Result
2017 WCS Austin ANZ Challenger 6th
LotV Premier Events
LotV Regional Qualifier

2017 WCS Valencia Open Qualifier 3rd

2017 WCS Jönköping 12th

2017 WCS Jönköping Open Qualifier 4th

2017 WCS Austin 6th

2017 WCS Austin Open Qualifier 6th

2016 IEM Shanghai 16th




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