The Starcraft 2 WCS Winter 2019 tournament is just around the corner. Many players have prepared themselves for this event during the long break and are now ready to compete in one of the first tournaments in 2019. From players, characters and strategies to watch, we’ll break down what you can expect.
What is the WCS Winter 2019?
This upcoming tournament is a prelude for the whole World Championship Series Circuit of 2019, leading up to BlizzCon. It’s the biggest Starcraft 2 tournament in the world. With a first place prize of 12,000$ and 1600 WCS points. It’s an excellent opportunity for American players to test the waters with the New balance changes which were introduced at the end of last year in a more serious environment. They will also have the chance to obtain prestige, money and valuable points to qualify for BlizzCon.
Twelve of the 32 spots for the WCS Winter 2019 will be taken from players on the first places of the ranked ladder, who will play matches between themselves to decide the final cut. The rest will be disputed online by players across America and Asia, on the 15th and 20th for America, and 19th for Asia.
Finally on January 31st will begin the final round of 32, and the final 8 players will play a round robin. The first six will be seeded and placed in a series of win-to-advance matches from the lowest seed to the highest. So as you can see we will not be lacking in games to talk about.
What Strategies can we expect?
Last balance changes brought a lot of different units to play. Some more common units were nerfed, and some were completely revamped. Professional players had had a couple of months to test strategies and cement what works and what doesn’t. Here’s a list of units and play-styles you’ll probably see in the upcoming match.
Being a Terran user, I’m pretty excited about this changes. There used to be two marked play-styles with Terran: bio and mech. Mech used to be the go-to a year ago but in 2018 bio arrasment with siege tank and ghost support became a lot more common. However, a new style called the mobile-mech has started to appear, with the changes of 3 different units: Battlecruiser’s damage was buffed since they now can shoot while moving. Early Battlecruiser harrass with tactical jump became popular, since they are beefy and can be repaired. This alongside the new and fast Cyclone, going together with Helions to gain map control. The cost reduction of the movement speed upgrade for the Banshee, made for a mech army with the mobility to travel and have map presence.
The Hydralisk attack speed nerf made it so it’s no longer the best choice for every game. Zerg players have been transitioning from a Hydra-Ling-Bane style, to a Muta-Ling-Bane one, replacing the Hydralisk Den with a Spire. Even so, it is not rare to see mass Mutalisk now, since they work so great for map control and aggression. As well, the buffs to the Infestor might make them return to the meta, since they are smaller, move through units while burrowed. They also now have Fungal Growth which prevents blink effects, and getting into transports.
Although there are a lot of changes that can be used for cheap strategies, especially the Dark Templar buffs, the most consistent adaptation of Protoss users is the incorporation of the new Tempest to the early-mid game. Now faster but with less health, the Tempest is a much more micro-able unit. They can be used alongside Oracle’s Revelation to decimate the enemy’s army from a safe distance. The Tempest used to be used only as a Broodlord counter in ZvP. They now can be used early to keep the enemy at bay. This helps secure your bases and max out your army with those cost-efficient Protoss units.
Pros to Watch
If you are a Protoss lover, you might want to check out Neeb and Ninja. They are players from the United States. Neeb has been a consistent player for years with an all-round strategy. He even won a championship against Korean opposition in 2016. While Ninja is a much newer talent. He has a lot of room for improvement, but has the potential to face the best of the circuit.
If you like Terran however, I can assure you that watching SpeCial’s games will be a delight. This Mexican player is one of the most recognizable faces of the American Starcraft 2 scene since it began. He has maintained a high enough level to be one of the best every year. He also runs multiple strategies, so probably will surprise you during a best-of series.
Finally, you cannot play with Zerg without knowing about Scarlett. This canadian player has been one of the most succesfull non-korean players of Starcraf 2. |She is known for her excellent macro and creepspread. But, she is also capable to win games with timely Zerling and Roach/Ravager attacks. Watching Scarlett’s game will always teach you to be better at the game.