Naniwa Wins the Biggest SC2 Show Match In History
The battle of the two best foreigners playing StarCraft II took place this weekend. Canadian Zerg Scarlett and Swedish Protoss Naniwa did battle in a special one-off best of seven series in a battle to determine who is the best non-Korean in SC2. In an epic back-and-forth series, it was Naniwa taking the win in six games, 4 to 2.
Perhaps a bigger story than the match itself was the prize pool. The series, billed as the highest paying show match in SC2 history, featured the first major prize entirely in Bitcoins. Thanks to sponsors, the prize pool was 14 BTC or about $8,400.
The first match went to Naniwa thanks to some dark templar and skytoss play that mowed through the overseer-less zerg army. With the DTs softening up the zerg ground forces in the early game, Scarlett’s muta army couldn’t hold off the Protoss’ move to void rays and phoenixes to finish the game off.
Despite the fact that she had started the series on her infamous TossImba handle, Scarlett’s move back to her [Acer]Scarlett handle was met with immediate. She established map control early with zerglings and was able to keep Naniwa to two bases while she expanded and grew her army. With the economic advantage and the upgrade advantage, Scarlett’s ling-infestor army was able to make quick work in chewing through the Protoss wall and to victory.
The third game saw The King in the North go with the old standard four-gate to quickly march into Scarlett’s third and natural. Adding in an Oracle saw Scarlett’s army decimated before it was ever really produced and a quick GG by the zerg.
Game four saw another great display of Scarlett’s map control and creep spread. Once again, she used speedlings to put the Protoss onto the backfoot. However, Naniwa was able to turn the tide and put things square on this map. However, Scarlett had been busy expanding and taking control of the map. She basically had creep covering the whole of the map apart from Naniwa’s bases. As such, he couldn’t expand and was pinned down. He was able to build a decent army but was pulled into a base race scenario that could only go Scarlett’s way seeing as she controlled three-quarters of the map. The result was an evened series that made the show match a best-of-three.
While it wasn’t the prettiest game of Heart of the Swarm you’ll ever see, Naniwa’s DT into zealot/archon strategy was enough to slowly cripple the zerg forces. Early zealot/archon isn’t at all a common strategy in PvZ but Naniwa was able to use this to batter his way through Scarlett’s structures and with it her tech. On the counter, Scarlett completely destroyed Naniwa’s economy. With no economy from either end, the stronger Protoss army was able to give the Swede the 3-2 advantage in the series.
The sixth game may have been a bit anticlimactic but it was a solid PvZ game from Naniwa. He did another four-gate and quickly chewed through Scarlett just as he did with the four-gate in Game Three. It may not have been a marco marvel, you aren’t graded on style points in eSports but on victories and Naniwa scored best in this statistic on this day.
For his efforts, Naniwa picked up 80% of the prize pool which makes for a prize of 11.2 BTC or about $6,700 USD. Scarlett didn’t walk away empty-handed. She won 2.8 BTC or close to $1,700 USD.
The foreigner showcase was preceded by a 1 BTC best-of-three undercard match between caster and semi-retired Evil Geniuses Protoss iNcontroL and recently unretired Zerg Destiny. This was picked up by Destiny after sweeping the final two maps of the series.