Starcraft 2 Overseer » Eric Dykstra

's Articles:

Why haven’t more Korean StarCraft 1 progamers switched over to StarCraft 2?

The top Korean players are salaried and on teams backed by big companies (such as Samsung). If you’re Flash or Jaedong and making $300,000 salary, plus easily another $100,000 plus from tournament winnings and endorsements, there’s really no reason to switch to Starcraft 2, where almost no players are salaried and prize money is hard to get at.

Another thing is how long it would take to get to the top. Even if one of the top Brood War players switched today, it would take, at the very least, two or three months just to get good enough to compete among the best. Then they would have to qualify for GSL Code A, which only pays $1,400 to the champion, and after that qualify for GSL Code S, which pays $46,000 for the champion, but only $18,000 for runner up. A few months to prepare, maybe they would qualify for Code A in July (the next GSL after May), then Code S in September. That’s 5 months at the very least, just to get a shot at what they make in a month currently. Even the lower-end A-teamers in Brood War make enough salary for Starcraft to be a primary source of income, and moving from that to a wildly variable income based mostly on tournament winnings isn’t very attractive.

Brood War is still far more popular in Korea, and a far more developed game. I personally love Starcraft 2, watching and playing, but Brood War is more mature, and that makes for better games in general. Whether or not Starcraft 2 will take over Brood War as the preeminent Korean e-Sport is up in the air, but it’s certainly rising in popularity worldwide.

Starcraft 2 Evolving: Timing Attacks, Untiming Attacks, and Metagame Shifts

Alright, so while after watching the GSL, listening to some pros talk about the game, and thinking about Starcraft 2 strategy while in the shower (it’s my pondering time), I came up with some ideas about timing attacks and metagame shifts.

Timing attacks are when you time your attack to hit at a specific moment, usually when a certain unit or tech completes. Early in the Starcraft 2 beta, a very popular Protoss build was an Immortal timing push. Just as the first or second immortal would pop, a Protoss would take all his gateway units and immortal(s) and attack his opponent. If the opponent is unprepared, the push will succeed because you are attacking at the exact timing that you complete your tech, no wasted time or resources. Timing attacks are very pro-active, but usually easily defended if scouted. They are very powerful at all levels, but especially lower levels.

What I’m calling here an “untiming” attack is when you attack based on what your opponent is doing. You attack when an opponent has spent time/resources that can’t be put to work yet. This is a pretty high level move to execute well. The most common example is attacking an expansion just as it completes. The opponent has spend a lot of resources and time into putting up that expansion, and if you attack just when it goes up, they will have an inferior army compared to if they had focused on attacking units instead.

So if you’ve been watching the GSL at all, or playing at high level games, you’ve noticed a trend of 2-4 barracks marine/SCV all-ins by Terran against Zerg, on almost any map. The marine/SCV all-in is really just a timing attack meant to crush the recently popular Zerg hatchery-before-pool builds. Before this trend, the Zerg vs Terran (ZvT) matchup had evolved into something like Terran opening either fast factory, banshee tech, or early expand builds (off of as little as one barracks). Meanwhile almost all Zergs had been opting for hatchery on 14 or 15 food with a spawning pool immediately or soon after.

Terran players have realized that Zergs with an early expansion are very hard to stop, and most were getting good about scouting hellion and banshee harasses so that they couldn’t do enough damage to make up for the economic lead of a hatchery first expansion. The solution was this marine/SCV all-in play, where a Terran player gets up a number of quick barracks (usually two, sometimes it can be more) and attacks just when the Zerg wants to be building drones. To go hatchery first and counter this, the Zerg player must either get an extremely fast blind baneling nest, pump lings continuously after the pool is up or use many drones to battle and try to defend with queen/zergling/drone.

Even when the marine/SCV all-in fails to kill the Zerg outright, usually enough economic damage has been done to the point that the Zerg cannot be ahead at the end of the first encounter. Terran can use MULEs to keep up resource count and re-build workers quickly, while the Zerg not only likely sacrificed drones in battle, but also had to spend all his larvae on zerglings to defend.

Let’s review quickly how this all comes together. The metagame shift to hatch first versus Terran meant that Zerg was very vulnerable at an early timing, soon after the expansion hatchery is up and when neither base has close to drone saturation (and thus the Zerg wants to be building drones). Since this timing to attack the Zerg was so easy to guess every game, Terran players came up with a timing attack that hit that window precisely. This timing attack absolutely punishes hatch first Zerg, and thus we will soon see the metagame shift again to earlier pool strategies from Zerg. Eventually, I believe it will balance out, and Zergs will sometimes do hatchery first to get an economic advantage, but it will not become the standard that it has been since patch 1.1.2.

This is how Starcraft 2 evolves as a game. Right now you may be disappointed with these very similar games, but it’s only a matter of time before the metagame switches, and with so much money on the line in the GSL tournament I would count on it turning sooner rather than later.

Seattle Starcraft 2 Tournament Preliminary Information

I’m working on putting together a Starcraft 2 hybrid open online qualifier / invitational LAN tournament for those people who can make a day trip to Seattle.

As soon as a few more things are figured out, there will be a thread on TL and more info posted here.

MLG DC 10/15-10/16 Preview

The second SC2 MLG event will take place in Washington D.C. This Weekend. You can see the schedules here. You can watch the event online here.

If you follow the SC2 scene, you’re going to recognize a lot of names from the playerlist, but I think there are a few players that definitely need to be watched:

IdrA, the American Zerg, made an ok showing in the first GSL, and already qualified for the second. This is a smaller tournament, however, and the expectations him at MLG are high. He is a defense-oriented Zerg player, but can do solid earlier game pushes if his opponent doesn’t watch out. He is probably the favorite to win the entire thing, but he has enough strong competition that he won’t just roll over everyone. Making the long trip half-way around the world will take a toll on his mental and physical state, but his level is so high it shouldn’t make a huge difference.

HuK, the Canadian Protoss and winner of the first MLG SC2 event in Raleigh, is another player expected to make it far. His tournament life was never in jeopardy last time, but this time around there are some much stronger opponents. His play has “grown up” and improved steadily since beta, meaning he has a bigger variety of playstyles than he did when he used solid timing pushes and micro to beat his opponents.

SeleCT, the Korean-American Terran, has been near the top of the ladder and performed really well in online tournaments. He has lots of games played, and has earned a certain amount of respect from other top players that he has played on ladder and in these online tournaments. With less LAN experience, there’s always the possibility that he underperforms, but if he can get in the same zone that he does when he plays otherwise he could take it all.

These three, I believe, have the best chance of winning the tournament. I would think that the chance of one of these players taking it all is over 50%.
There are a decent number of players that have an outside shot at winning it all, and should finish in the money:
TTOne is a really strong Protoss player with some recent success against some very good players.
Kiwikaki finished second in the last MLG, losing the mirror finale to HuK, and although the competition is stiffer this time, he is still a stellar player.
KawaiiRice hasn’t had the results that he’s wanted recently, but he isn’t a player to count out. With LAN experience and solid mechanics he is a good darkhorse contender to win it all.
qxc has a ridiculous ladder record and really innovative plays; only his mechanical deficiency keeps him from being one of my three favorites to take the crown.

Depending on how much White-Ra, Ret, and Tyler (NoNy) have been practicing, they could all take it all, but without the recent appearances it’s impossible to guess how they will perform.

There are a number of other players that I really respect and like their play, but those that I have mentioned have the strongest recent play. Good luck to everyone, and I’m looking forward to seeing some amazing games over the next days!

GSL Round of 16 Day One Preview

Just a quick preview, as I’m still learning about some of these top Korean players. This is more of a recap of the first two rounds more than anything else.
If you haven’t been watching the GSL, this is the biggest and best SC2 tournament so far, and the rest of the tournament should be very exciting.

You can watch these games bright and early in 3 hours at If you aren’t willing to wake up at 2:00AM PDT or 5:00AM EDT, you can find VODs around on the internet. The legal way to do it, however, is to spend $20 on a GOMTV season pass, which gives you high quality live stream, and high quality VODs. I did this and recommend it, as it’s a great way to support what is by FAR the best live Starcraft 2 tournament (in terms of prize money, players, coverage, EVERYTHING, I may do a post on what the MLG and ESL can learn from the GSL soon).

Anyway, previews!

LotzePrime (P) vs NEXLiveForever (T)

LotzePrime took out Golmgh and IdrA in the first two rounds of the tournament, showing just how strong he was in those matchups. Both of those games went the full three, however showing that Lotze is not immune to losses. He is facing a Terran in this round, which he didn’t in the first two, and it will be interesting to see how his play translates to that matchup.

NEXLiveForever took down NesTea and AugustWeRRa in the first two rounds, August being a very strong opponent. Like Lotze, he has not yet played TvP in this tournament, so we don’t quite know how he will fare.

Lotze appears to be the stronger player, just from watching the few games from each player this tournament. It could turn out that LiveForever loves TvP and Lotze isn’t so strong against Terran, though, this should be quite an interesting series.

MakaPrime (T) vs LegalMind (P)

MakaPrime took down Focus and JookToJung in the first two rounds, Focus being a Protoss just like his current opponent LegalMind. Maka looked very strong, 2-0ing two skilled players, and is currently one of the favorites to win this tournament. He seems to do everything well relative to the other players in the tournament.

LegalMind won over a Terran in the round of 32, TankboyPrime, and will see if he can take down another member of Prime in day one of the round of 16. That matchup went 2-1, though, and Maka is much stronger than Tankboy.

This may be the most one-sided Round of 16 game, as Maka is one of the favorites, and LegalMind one of the more surprising round of 16 players.

CoolTSL (Z) vs oGsTOP(T)

CoolTSL aka Fruitseller 2-0′d both NEXTaeja and EternalPrime the first two rounds, Taeja being a Terran just like his RO16 opponent. A fan favorite, Cool is one of the very few Zerg players left in this tournament. He is extremely creative and extremely fun to watch, but also an amazingly good player. I love his infestor usage, and hope to see some infestor play this game.

oGsTOP took down a couple of the weaker Prime players with relative ease, but looked very strong in doing so. TOP didn’t play any Zerg in the first two rounds, but there is no reason to believe he won’t be good at this matchup.

I’m looking forward to a pretty close series, hopefully seeing three games. The current state of the metagame would put Cool at a slight disadvantage, but his creativity can negate that. This is my most anticipated matchup of the day for sure.

SanZenith (P) vs oGsInCa (P)

SanZenith aka SlayerS took down the foreigner TorcH and the 13 year old MaruPrime in the first two rounds. San probably had the easiest path to the round of 16, but was not given an easy matchup this round. We haven’t seen San’s PvP so far, so it could be interesting.

oGsInCa is 2-0′d ReXZanDarke and SengCunWeRRa in the first two rounds, showing that he can completely dominate the Protoss mirror matchup. His creative and solid play are very fun to watch, and he looks to be the favorite in this round.

InCa going 4-0 in this matchup in this tournament doesn’t bode well for San. Both are good players, but InCa has a bit of a stronger SC2 reputation and seemingly the matchup advantage. Protoss mirror can get boring at times, but with InCa around things could turn quite interesting.

I hope we get to see some great games! See you for a short recap tomorrow!

Coming up soon on Starcraft 2 Overseer

Over the next few days I will be writing a lot about the GSL, and I’ll try to find a way to cover it that is fresh and exciting without being too long-winded. There are a few smaller tournaments going on, and I’ll also start covering some of the weekly ITL showmatches, as they are pretty exciting.

I’ve been working to make This Week in Starcraft more and more organized and interesting. I have a couple of great guests lined up for the next two episodes, as well, including a live in-person interview!

I really love Starcraft 2 and the great community surrounding it, and am looking forward to bringing all of you tons of interesting content.

This Week in Starcraft Episode 2: Interview with HuK

TWiSC interview #2 right here. You can go straight to the TWiSC homepage by visiting, isn’t that easy?

In other news, I’ve been really busy the past week so there haven’t been many updates, but i resolve to post something quality every day from here on out.

This Week in Starcraft Episode 1: Interview with ThisIsJimmy

Watch and enjoy! Future episodes will be more polished, I’m new to this. I already got a better mic for the next interview and I’m working on a cool intro and some more stuff. Stay tuned!

IEM American Challenge Day 1 Recap, Day 2 Preview.

The last round of the group stages will start Sunday at 11:00AM PDT and complete in around four hours.
There will be at least two streams here at iCCupTV and here at

I’ll briefly go through each of the groups again and tell the state of the group and what I expect to happen. Click here for the previous post with some more information on each of the players in the tournament.

Onto the analysis after the jump!

IEM American Challenge Group Stage Preview

Sixteen North American players who have shown their worth will duke it to advance to the Intel Extreme Masters LAN Finals in New York City.
The event will start tomorrow, Saturday, at 11:00AM PDT with the first two rounds completing around six and a half hours later. The last round will start Sunday at the same time and complete in around four hours.
There will be at least two streams here at iCCupTV and here at

Here’s a quick breakdown of the rules:
– Round-robin format.
– Two games per match against each opponent; each map considered a win or loss (six games total).
– Top two in each group will advance to the Intel Extreme Masters LAN Finals in NYC.

We’ll get to the group-by-group analysis after the jump!

Next Page »