Ro8 Recap, Semi-Finals Preview by Vinyanyérë
Round of 8 Recap
snowww vs. diarouga - A usurped throne
At the top of the bracket stood snowww, the reigning champion of the Autumn 2018 tournament, and diarouga, a popular top player coming back to his first tournament since the Summer 2017’s TWC classic. Coming into the series, diarouga, who had locked into the Aztecs for this tournament, was not enthusiastic about his chances in the matchup against British. Even so, he evidently came prepared, managing to sweep the series 3-0 in an impressive display of skill.
In the first game, diarouga opted for a warpriest boom into an FF, with snowww following into Fortress shortly afterwards. After an unfortunate bug led to diarouga trading his WarChief for a longbowman instead of his intended falconets, the situation began to look dire. 13 minutes into the game, he took an engagement with a 13 military population and 40 score deficit against protected falconets, and it was starting to look like snowww would take a lead in the series. But suddenly, diarouga came out ahead in the battle, and won another major engagement 15 minutes in, and the game shortly afterwards. In game 2, diarouga showed us how dangerous Aztec water play can be, maintaining economic parity with snowww while using native dances to buy time with building HP or generate military advantage with a respawning WarChief. After snowww made a gamble to age into Imperial, diarouga pounced forward, eliminating the British army before snowww could make good use of his age up.
Kaiserklein vs. Mitoe - Edge of Tomorrow
A quirk in the seeding led to all three Chinese players of the tournament getting paired up in the same part of the bracket. Of the three, it was Mitoe who prevailed and made it to the quarterfinals slot. There, he met Kaiserklein, a player who he has shared a lengthy tournament history with. Since the Spring 2017 tournament, Kaiserklein and Mitoe had faced off against each in four tournaments (five if you count Time 2 Treaty), oftentimes in the Bronze or semifinals match. While Kaiserklein has picked up the first of these matches with a 4-1 victory in the Bronze match of the Spring 2017 tournament, Mitoe had taken vengeance with victories in The Warchiefs Classic and Autumn 2017.
This time, however, was Kaiser’s chance to shine. Although Mitoe managed to take the first game of the series, Kaiser fired back on Hudson bay with an excellent engagement with his three-unit German composition against Mitoe’s two-unit infantry composition. In the next game, Kaiser showed off his Colonial play, pulling off a clean two-pronged Uhlan attack against Mitoe’s slightly-too-Chu-Ko-Nu-heavy infantry composition, wiping out Mitoe’s army and giving him a safe window to age. A black rider timing took the final game for Kaiser, making for a comfortable 3-1 victory and evening these players’ head-to-head record out to 7-7.
Kynesie vs. SomppuKunkku - Like a Hotel on the Boardwalk
On the other half of the bracket, Autumn tournament silver medalist and walling master kynesie played against tournament veteran SomppuKunkku. Perhaps a little unexpectedly, Somppu chose the Iroquois for this tournament, it being a civilization we rarely see played in tournaments and on the ladder. However, his ladder stats show that he’s evidently been putting practice in, and the hard work paid off with a 3-1 score over our favorite waller.
As we’ve come to expect with matches involving kynesie, there were a lot of walls made during this series. At 88 minutes, it’s also the longest of our quarterfinals series (beating out Kaiserklein vs. Mitoe by about 10 mintues). Something that we did not quite expect, however, was that two of these matches ended with Somppu winning by trade monopoly. While trade monopolies are in some sense designed to be used against players who are heavily turtled, Somppu found an extra technique by using the Iroquois town dance ability to keep his trading posts protected until the monopoly timer expired.
Hazza54321 vs. Knuschelbär - All aboard the Spain Pain Train
The last series of the quarterfinals pitted Hazza54321 on Spanish against Knuschelbär on Portuguese. Among 8 players in the round of 8, we saw 7 civilizations represented in total. However, it was the repeated civ, the Portuguese, that failed to make it to the semifinals. Spanish is one of the harder matchups for the Ports, and Hazza ran an excellent demonstration of why it’s the case.
Right from the beginning, Hazza’s two caravel shipment as his first card in Colonial sniped Knuschelbär’s age up Town Center that he had attempted to place on water. From there, Hazza maintained a balance between water and land, keeping Knuschelbär’s water boom in check with just the right amount of water pressure while also establishing a dominating presence on the land.
After dying to a classic Spain train push in the second game, Knuschelbär tried to fight game 3 with a wall-heavy turtle. Unfortunately for him, a combined culverin-falconet push from Hazza melted Knuschelbär’s walls and defending artillery alike, and Hazza pulled off a clean 3-0 win.
With our quarterfinal matches completed, we’re now moving close to the last stages of our New Year’s tournament. There are four different civilizations represented in the top four, and, with slight exceptions presenting themselves in the form of SoldieR and Gibbthedurrty, each of these players is the sole player to represent their chosen civ from the onset of the upper bracket. We’ll be running coverage of both of the semifinals matches this weekend, with SomppuKunkku vs. Hazza54321 on Saturday at 17 GMT (casted from replays) and diarouga vs. Kaiserklein on Sunday at 16 GMT. Don’t miss either match at https://twitch.tv/esoctv!
LAN Events & EscapeTV Studio Coming 2019 by Interjection
Ladies and gentlemen, Interjection here…
With 2018 drawing to a close, I think it’s time to share some exciting news.
EscapeAoE is moving from the web to a brand new studio in Manchester (UK). I’ll be joining them full time. And we’ll be broadcasting everything Age of Empires.
Tune into the launch party stream Friday 18th January, 18:30 - 23:00 GMT.
On the days following (19th & 20th) we’ll also be hosting a live Age of Empires 2 LAN 1v1 invitational tournament (with some whacky rules for comedic value). It should be a lot of fun even if you’re not an AoC regular!
What does this mean for ESOC & the Age of Empires III community though?
Basically, just more AOE3 content! Later this year we'll also be organising an Age of Empires 3 LAN event, we’re still figuring out the details but we’ll keep you posted.
Which top 10 players do you wish to see listed?
Which forums do you wish to see listed?