Smooth Sailing: NASL 3 W2D3 recap

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 25 April 2012 17:29

Text by: procyonlotor
Scrimmage report

Mana 2-1 Axslav
VODs: Game 1 on Belshir Beach /// Game 2 on Shattered Temple /// Game 3 on Antiga Shipyard

With four gate openings of every kind each game one player invariably ended up fighting from behind. This translated into a three game series decided, of course, by colossus wars. The final game fell to MaNa, whose double colossus production allowed him to overwhelm Axslav’s otherwise brilliant defense.


Strelok 2-1 Vibe
VODs: Game 1 on Belshir Beach /// Game 2 on Daybreak /// Game 3 on Antiga Shipyard

Another zerg falls to tank/marine. ViBe’s success depended on his ability to protect his third and threaten Strelok at home, winning the game where he achieved this advantage, but losing the two in which Strelok was free to exercise control of ViBe’s side of the map..

SEn 2-1 TLO
VODs: Game 1 on Belshir Beach /// Game 2 on Antiga Shipyard /// Game 3 on Shakuras Plateau

Knifefight! Aside from game one, taken by TLO with a decisive two base push made up of roaches, hydras and infestors, Sen managed to secure inch-length advantages through the entire series, reaching a position from where he could simply smother TLO with superior macro.

Ganzi 2-0 Rain
VODs: Game 1 on Belshir Beach /// Game 2 on Shattered Temple

Too many mistakes from Rain allow GanZi to pick him apart in a 2 - 0 victory that needn’t have gone unopposed, which just goes to show, you don’t proxy your entire tech tree lightly.


Smooth sailing

Well, so far so good. It’s been a smooth ride for NASL3 and we have no reason to believe it will continue differently. There’s little to say based on the continuing evidence that, really, everything will be alright, so time has come to discuss some of the plays we’ve been seeing.

For instance, when did Axslav become so solid? There was a time when he was one of many middling protoss players who had established a pattern of unremarkable play, but his games versus ViBe and MaNa, while being losses, showed an ability to manage difficult situations under pressure that would have killed other players. There might yet be some hope for Axslav.

Leaving Evil Geniuses didn’t improve this reputation, but his play in NASL has lead this writer to believe it was really his non-marketability that hurt most. White-Ra himself thrives on popularity rather than results, which have eluded him for so long that a player without that amount of charisma would have simply faded among the ranks of anonymous ladder grinders. And Incontrol, a protoss with as many results as Axslav himself, is a brand unto his own, and therefore valuable property. Axslav, with as much international identity as Minigun and CrunCher, would have a hard time measuring up to either of them.

This is why his play in NASL may be a blessing. He has shown brilliance, though remaining on a lower plateau, but if he can manage to go that extra mile and punch through to the higher leagues, it’ll have been a worthwhile cruise through purgatory.

Division overview and standings

Division 2 after week two
Ukraine Strelok
Korea Ganzi2-0+3
Poland Mana2-0+2
United States Axslav1-1+1
Taiwan SEn1-10
Korea Rain0-1-2
Canada HuK0-1-2
United States Vibe0-2-2
Germany TLO0-2-3

It’s still too early to say anything, but everything seems to be going according to plan for GanZi, whose SlayerS legacy will probably carry him all the way into playoffs. Whether Strelok and MaNa can continue to build on their early advantages remains to be seen, but their ownership of the second and third spots respectively is not unexpected, though it comes at the cost of those players piling at the bottom. Still, it’s not too late for a reversal. Sudden wins from lower half of the division could easily balance the standings again.

Barely clairvoyant: Week 3 on April 27th

Division 3 Week 3 matches
Ukraine StrelokVSUnited States Axslav
Germany TLOVSPoland Mana
Korea RainVSTaiwan SEn
Canada HuKVSKorea Ganzi

This is where we see if Strelok can turn his two victories into an actual win streak by defeating Axslav. The same goes for MaNa, whose PvZ is likely, but by no means certain, to overcome TLO. GanZi always seems to overcome HuK when it matters, and with Canadian’s recent series of lackluster performances, the bout may turn into a clean 3 - 0 for GanZi. A two win advantage in the standings doesn’t mean much in the long run, but extending your lead into three games is a significantly stronger safeguard. This week we may just end up taking a good look at the top finishers of this division.

For Rain and TLO, the matches have the opposite significance, as they would end up at the very bottom of the group, a position that would mount great pressure for better performance in the weeks to come. Meanwhile, Sen’s match against Rain will determine whether the scales tip up or down for the taiwanese zerg.