You couldn't have asked for a better grand final. WCS 2015—the last tournament before Heart of the Swarm gave way to Legacy of the Void—offered some of the best competitive StarCraft 2 seen for a long time. The matchup of Life, a young Zerg player with a veteran athlete's attitude, and the unshakeable Protoss pilot sOs made for an amazing seven rounds.
The road to sOs’ ultimate victory was littered with surprise traps, top-tier micromanagement—even a botched Zergling rush. This was an incredibly diverse main event: these six moments make for a good place to start, but be sure to watch the full games too.
A bad time for a bathroom break: Hydra vs. Rogue
The Zergling rush is incredibly frustrating. Just as you're settling in for a game of strategy some goon walks into your base with half a dozen Zerglings and his own resource gatherers to end the game before it has begun.
In this Zerg-on-Zerg match, Hydra was that goon. Rogue kept his calm even so. His horde of harvesters bought him plenty of time. Not to mention a Queen that made Hydra's minor swarm look like domestic cats by comparison.
The exchange hardly lasted longer than the gif above. Hydra—his failed gambit having crippled his economy—bowed out seconds after the four minute mark.
Don't feed the Banelings: Life vs. Classic
Life is known for a great many things, not least of which is his precise control over his units. In his second game against Protoss player Classic, however, we discovered that he's not the only one who can think on his feet.
With a nest of kamikaze Banelings secretly burrowed in his own base, you'd think Life would have no trouble defending it. Unfortunately, Classic spotted them out just as his squad mounted the ramp to Life's base. Without hesitation, Classic blinked his Stalkers back and behind a set of newly generated force fields faster than the human eye could follow.
Fast, cheap, and economical: Life vs. sOs
The first game of the grand finals between Life and sOs saw the two players testing each other. By sending four Zerglings to harass his opponent's harvesters, Life was basically just saying “hello”.
That kind of interruption, especially so early on in the game, could have been a problem for sOs. I say "could have" because the Protoss player didn't submit even one Probe to Life's aggressive inspection. Several of his harvesters were badly bruised, of course. Yet somehow the weakest of the herd always seemed to be one step ahead of Life's much faster units: until sOs dispatched them entirely, that is.
No Dark Templar left behind: Life vs. sOs
There's not much a Dark Templar can do against a swarm of Zerglings. On paper, the Protoss have the advantage. They do more damage, they have a lovely layer of shields, and of course they're invisible. But when surrounded on all sides, like sOs' roving band was after killing one of Life's Hatcheries, it's the numbers that matter.
The casters were already saying their prayers for sOs' comparatively costly units. They were too busy to see the aerial transport that came to ferry them over a cliff and out of reach. Sadly, it was too little too late. While his Templars reenacted Black Hawk Down he was losing the war on multiple other fronts.
Parry, thrust, riposte: Life vs. sOs
Great StarCraft micromanagement can look like magic. There are so many units moving at any given time that it's hard to think mortal hands alone could manage it.That's how it was between sOs and Life in game five of the grand finals.
With a bridge between them, the pair struck, withdrew, and countered without either seeming to make progress. sOs used his Stalkers' blink ability to rotate his shields, while Life relied on the Zerg's agility and numbers. Eventually, sOs found an opening. After that it was a short, bloody walk into Life's remaining bases—and after that, the championship.
They warned us that trophy was heavy: sOs is crowned champion
Throughout the tournament the casters repeatedly reminded viewers that the first-place weighed more than it looked like. Trapped in a soundproof booth, sOs may not have gotten the memo.
Look closely and you can see the exact moment the 22-year-old questions whether the award is bolted to the podium. Next you'll see him decide in real-time that holding it above his head is a bad idea. Finally, you'll wonder whether the undoubtedly exhausted young man might tip towards an impromptu body surfing session from the extra weight.
PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!