Creep over Cologne: IEM Gamescom after Day 4

General Radoslav “Nydra” Kolev

After four days of StarCraft 2 in Cologne the swarm is in command. The infestation is almost everywhere, except for one terran that yet has to prove himself on European ground.

What a day! We're not even in the finals yet and IEM Gamescom might yet stand out to be the best tournament of this year having in mind the games delivered on Saturday.

A prelude to the infestation

It all began with Kas vs MC - a game that developed to be the arguably the best PvT played in the last four days. Peaking at its third game, the series went bonkers on Atlantis Spaceship developing in a 40 minutes of unstopping action with never a moment where both players were maxed. Storm drops, EMPs, melting armies and colossus snipes... it was truly a feast for the eye and a worthy opener for the hours to come. It was only appropriate that it ended with a 2-base carrier rush, I suppose.

The first surprise of IEM also came in the Ro12 as Vortix ate ForGG alive, not giving him even a single set. Although every one of those games started with ForGG getting an early advantage by killing a hatchery, Vortix was always able to find a way to come back and make the terran pay for the early-game insults.

After this game, the level of excitement slowed down for a while as three more 3-0's were delivered in Slivko vs SortOf, Violet vs Bomber and Nerchio vs MC. Seeing two of the Korean favorites go out in that way was shocking but as it turned out, the madness would persist for a little more.

"Vortix, who the hell are you?!"

Often was that sentence on Tastosis' lips as the young Spaniard took on Supernova, the terran who after his group stage run was pronounced the player with the best chances to take it all.

In a series too grand for this small recap, Vortix did the unthinkable and recovered from a 1-2 disadvantage in two series that would become the bannermen of this IEM. Seemingly figured out stylistically, Vortix began the series outclassed in every sense of the word. Supernova was one step ahead, always, countering the muta tech preemptively and killing Vortix's thirds without transitioning into a game loss like ForGG. Even on Ohana - which was Vortix's first win in this series - the zerg had to fight tooth and nail to pull a sweaty victory.

The comeback began on Metropolis, although the early game didn't suggest one such deed. Vortix's weak early game almost costs him the game once more as a hellion/MM push kills more stuff than is legal, denies the spire, snipes two evo chambers and leaves the zerg base in ruins. Thanks to the large distances on Metropolis and a couple of overcommitments by Supernova, however, Vortix is able to claw his way back and push it to the late-game.

And everybody already knows how scary Vortix is past the 20th minute mark. The brood lord/ultralisk death ball ran absolutely uncontested no matter how hard Supernova tried to cook a miracle with four vikings and no production.

After pulling yet another theoretically impossible comeback, it looked like Antiga, Zerg's bane, might finally be the end of Vortix. Supernova played it by the book - he took a fourth, held it and kept denying Vortix's own fourth until the Spaniard was almost broke.

One does not simply scratch out Vortix, however, and with a couple of seemingly desperate ultra/baneling raids, he was able to snipe the center base and put Supernova on the ropes. By that time, the economy of the terran was scarce - he had no back up explansion plan should his fourth be taken down.

The area north of the center soon became the focal point of the conflict. Both players had minimalistic armies. Vortix was long-distance mining, trying to collect enough money for a hatchery while Supernova was flying CCs all over the place in a search for a base not blocked by a ling. There was none, however, and by some miracle Vortix delivered a comeback in large part unexplainable.

Zergs with M.U.L.E.s?

After the first three sets, the Mvp vs Slivko match looked everything but unusual. Mvp was making sure that Slivko does not secure his late-game economies and was slapping him around with relative ease and was now looking forward to close the series on Metropolis.

Yet, this is Metropolis, and nothing simply end there as another candidate for "Sickest game of IEM Gamescom" arrived.

The mid-game went relatively uneventful as it becomes this map with the exception of Mvp's multi-pronged drops that Slivko has troubles defending. On the other hand, the zerg shows his brood lords and gears for a ultralisk transition hoping to bait Mvp into a bad tech but Mvp does not fall for it and keeps turtling behind his planetary wall, harassing Slivko's bases every chance he gets.

As the game progresses even further, Mvp switches to sky terran and sends his SCVs to die, which would become the highlight of the series. Instead of just diligently slaughtering the SCV present, Slivko pulls out a chain neural... and builds a command center!

As chills are felt by many a nerd back, Mvp decides it's the time to move in before zerg gets MULEs... Yamato cannons, seeker missiles and fungal growths color the sky on Metropolis but the air of Mvp is too strong. Slivko gg's, ending a series much worthy of this whole playday.

Being exhausted from the action packed, emotional day, the IEM audience was left asking itself "What it God's name will day five bring us?"