WCS Valencia Bearlights: Nice vs. Has

Hey folks,

I’m brownbear. This is Bearlights, a highlight series covering my favorite players in WCS 2017. Today I’ll be recapping the WCS Valencia Regional Challenger Final for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan. I noticed that this incredible match did not get any coverage on English-language community websites, probably because it was broadcast in Chinese. I figured I’d do some of that leg work to help support two very good players out of Taiwan.

If you’d prefer to watch the series yourself, here’s a timestamped link. Spoilers follow.

This recap takes a light-hearted tone and focuses on building hype for WCS 2017. Any jokes at the expense of either player should not be taken as serious comments on their play.

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Gimme That Cheddar Cheese

Has is infamous for his unorthodox and cheesy play. His six-pylon wall and cannon rush against Jaedong landed him the top spot on Team Liquid’s Cannon Rush Hall of Fame.  A couple years back, traipsing through the WCS Premier League, he handily void ray-stalker all-in’d MarineLorD, despite the fact that his opponent spent the entire game preparing for an all-in cheese.

Nice shows something more in the middle – a player lurching between a cheese-filled heart and a mind of macromanagement. Back in Nation Wars IV, he made a splash with aborted 2-base adept play and a planned Dark Shrine follow-up that was hurriedly switched into 3-bases. Against uThermal, he attempted a one-base proxy robo that ended in a draw, following up with semi-standard 2-base play in the rematch set.

At the outset of this series, Has was a known quantity, a connoisseur of the dark arts. Nice was the question mark – would he travel upward, on the enlightened path of the late-game Protoss, bravely battling it out with tech, finesse, and iron-clad decision making? Or would he descend, downward into the darkness, walking along the winding road of cheese blazed by his fellow countryman?

We were about to find out.

Game 1 (Abyssal Reef)

Both players opened 2-gates, as is standard in PvP. Nice went into a fast expansion while Has followed up with a proxy oracle.

2017-06-11_proxyOracle.png
Were you expecting something else?

Nice scouted the proxy Stargate and killed its Pylon, slowing the oracle considerably. Unfortunately, he failed to account for the 4-gate follow-up – his stalkers were ambushed as they walked across the map.

2017-06-11_stalkersAmbushed.png
Standard Gateway location for Has.

What happened next was some sort of funky base trade at the 5:00 mark. Has forced his way into Nice’s main and managed to kill more than 20 probes before he was pushed back. Meanwhile, Nice danced around Has’s base, unpowered two of his gateways, and killed some workers. With no army in sight and non-functioning production, Has looked dead. But he wasn’t out of tricks yet – to the surprise of the viewers at home, he used a pylon wall to trap Nice’s army and zap it to death with his probes.

2017-06-09_stalkersStuckSimCity.png

Taking an engagement that no player should ever reasonably win, Has managed to use drone drilling and a cleverly placed Pylon to knock down three stalkers with only a handful of probes. Sadly, he would go on to lose – down a base and with his proxy spotted, he was hopelessly behind.

Game 2 (Odyssey)

This time around, both players opened 2-gate expand. Not much happened – Nice once again used a proxy pylon to harass with Adepts. Has took a tempo win by pushing just as Nice’s defenses weren’t setup correctly.

Game 3 (Proxima)

Things started off simple enough. Proxima is a large, defensive macro map with an in-base natural and a narrowly defensible third base. It’s ideal for longer games and creates interesting points of contention around fourth bases, particularly if a player goes for the gold.

Both players opted to expand behind a gateway wall-off. Has transitioned into Phoenix tech while Nice went into a Robo and third base, preparing to do some drops. This left him unprepared for the Phoenix harass – between a delayed Blink and out of position Stalkers, Has wreaked havoc in his base. Worse still, Nice’s Dark Shrine follow-up was scouted almost immediately.

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Focus Goal: Avoid Dark Shrines to the face.

Most players would respond to this setback by changing tech. Nice – ever the optimist – decided to get some work done anyway. While he was successful at Has’s vulnerable third base, the king of cheese was otherwise well-prepared – cannons in his natural and an observer with his main army. Surely, the time of the DT had now passed.

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Nope.

Nice pushed into Has’s natural, this time with four more DTs, attempting to take down the two Photon Cannons. This produced a comedy of errors: Nice mismicro’d his prism and got it killed by a cannon, losing three DTs in the process. Meanwhile, Has screwed up his warp-in control and slow warped his defending forces.

2017-06-09_cannonPrismAndSlowWarpIn.png
Let’s call it a draw.

After Nice unsuccessfully attempted to harass with warped in Zealots, Has steamrolled his army with a carrier-void ray comp. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: Has was rushing to carriers.

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What a god.

Game 4 (Defender’s Landing)

Both players went into a 2-gate expand, with Has once again opening Stargate while Nice went for a Robo.

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Oh nice! Finally, a macro game!

Knocking down his wall as though he was preparing for a longer game, Nice instead went for the jugular almost immediately. Dropping four sentries into Has’s main, he forcefielded out Has’s army and elevatored in his stalkers. He leveraged impressive warp prism micro to take down Has’s 2 oracles, forcing a worker pull. By the time it was over, 12 probes were dead.

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Oh, were you using that ramp?

Nice wasn’t done yet. Recollecting his forces, he swooped around the left of Has’s base and went for a sentry drop onto his main mineral line. Has reacted swiftly, but he failed to see the bait and switch coming. Picking up his forces and dropping into Has’s natural, Nice once again forcefielded off Has’s army, this time in the opposite direction. After another warp-in, the game was over.

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Game 5 (Ascension to Aiur)

While Nice went for another 2-gate expand, Has delayed his natural to get down an earlier Stargate. While defending against Has’s oracle harass, Nice proxied a Dark Shrine but was unable to find much damage.

2017-06-11_niceDtKilledInNatural.png
Darn.

Nice continued his pattern of using slow warp-ins to harass, preferring to use his prism for moving units around and microing in battles. After a few scuffles, it was Nice’s turn to take revenge – as Has macro’d up to three bases, Nice caught him off-guard with a devastating two-base all-in and just killed him.

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Never underestimate the pay-to-win Stalker skin.

Game 6 (Sequencer)

Sequencer is a massive map. In theory, that makes it ideal for a long macro game; in practice, it’s the allthingsprotoss third most vetoed map this season, likely due to its 1-gas safe third. Given how late this map appeared in the series, it’s likely neither player wanted to play it very much.

Has opened 2-gate expand, opting for a twilight before putting down his Nexus to be safe against cheese. Up 3 games to 2, Nice was ready to deliver the killing blow – he opted for a classic 4-gate, proxying next to Has’s 2-gas third.

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Nice surprised Has with his proxy location, preventing him from controlling the ramp and buying himself time. This forced Has to retreat to his main base and gave Nice a window to attack into the natural. You could cut the tension with a knife as each player carefully micro’d their Stalkers, well aware that even one errant misclick could send the game in their opponent’s direction. Has – his tournament life on the line – pulled workers and forced himself down the ramp.

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The Chinese word for Immortal is 不朽, literally “immortal”. It’s common among Chinese-speaking gamers to suffix this with 爸爸, literally “father”. The idea is that the Immortal is a powerful unit that can quickly shift momentum as soon as it comes out. Personally I’d guess that this also pairs nicely with the “mother” nomenclature associated with the Mothership Core.

It’s hard to describe how funny and impactful this sounds in practice, so I recommend you give it a watch yourself. I think the point comes across even for a non-Chinese speaker.

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With an immortal at his side, Has put down the 4-gate once and for all and tied up the series 3-3.

Game 7 (Blood Boil)

It all came down to Blood Boil. Has opted for a 2-gate expand onto the Gold base, because of course he took the Gold base.

Nice, six games into a brutal series, opted for yet another 4-gate, this time with a Robo to use a Warp Prism for micro. Has unluckily failed to scout this with his Mothership Core and was once again forced off of his natural.

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Has: why is my natural so far from my main? Mapmakers smh…

The last engagement of the game was incredible to watch. Both players micro’d their hearts out, knowing the winner of this Stalker duel would likely deliver the killing blow immediately after.

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Has’s blink triumphed over Nice’s Warp Prism micro – he took the game, and the series.

Final Thoughts

This was one of the best series I’ve seen all year – action-packed, lots of variety, and a nail biter all the way to the end. I hope this small write-up was able to capture at least some of that!

We haven’t seen the last of Has and Nice – both will attend WCS Valencia. Sadly, I couldn’t find either player’s social media – if anyone has more information, please let me know so I can update this piece. I did manage to find Has’s Twitch – be sure to give him a follow!

The Chinese cast for this series was also very good. Hopefully, we get to see these guys at the main event, too. Hui in particular has an awesome Twitch stream that I try to catch as often as I can. Be sure to give both guys a follow:

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this piece, I’d love it if you followed me on Twitter and Facebook and checked out my game-design focused YouTube and Twitch channels. Thank you and all the best!

Disclaimer: The title card of this article comes from an unrelated PvP.

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