At the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series Global Finals today, two long-time StarCraft 2 players — Life and SoS — faced off for the prestigious top spot in Blizzard's biggest esport. SoS won the Global Finals in 2013, while Life took the Championship last year, so the two were also battling for the title of the first-ever two-time StarCraft World Champion. The two faced off in a best-of-seven series, with SoS taking an eventual, hard-fought victory.
Life played Zerg and focused on harassing his opponent, while SoS went with a more defensive Protoss game. SoS gained an early advantage in the first game by rushing Life's base and expansion with zealots. Life couldn't recover and conceded the game early.
Notably, this was the final StarCraft 2 tournament to use the Heart of the Swarm version of the game
Reacting to that speedy defeat in the first game, Life rushed out zerglings in game two. His maintained pressure led to a victory, though it was more hard-fought than SoS' from the first game.
Life attempted to rush with zerglings in game three as well, attacking the front and back of SoS' base simultaneously. However, SoS played a more defensive game this time around, blocking that early attack before Life could make progress and swinging the momentum in his favor. Life used that momentum to build up a huge army and quickly take the game.
For game four, SoS tried to play mind games with Life, but they were largely fruitless. Life was able to destroy SoS' expansion bases while his remained, taking a commanding lead that led to a swift victory thanks in part to a large air army of mutalisks.
Tied at two, tension was high headed into game five. With the two facing off on a map that included empty space on the edges, SoS used air units to harass Life's base in a way that Life had to counter by building corruptors. This left Life in a bad position to defend against SoS' next attack. The match progressed into a deadlock in the middle of the match, with two even armies going back and forth. Definitely the most intense match so far, SoS scored his third victory in the end.
Game six started a little slower and more traditional than most of the other games in this series. SoS built toward an early immortal push, building off a feinted immortal push from earlier in the series. This push was countered by Life in an incredible, surprising show of skill. Life managed to destroy SoS' nexus just as a colossus popped out, gaining him an advantage and forcing SoS to go all-in. The final push from SoS failed and Life tied the game up once more.
Everything came down to a deciding game seven. Life decided to for a full early-game rush with zerglins and banelings. This didn't win the game, but it did leave SoS' starter base devastated and Life with a huge advantage. In a second attack, Life took out SoS' nexus, but the former was forced back, normalizing the game somewhat. Despite the early lead, Life's economy was behind from rushing, leaving an opening for SoS to potentially turn things around. SoS saw that opening and pushed through with the help of a massive protoss army.
Notably, this was the final StarCraft 2 tournament to use the Heart of the Swarm version of the game. The game's next expansion, Legacy of the Void, comes out next week, complete with major changes to the multiplayer that should shake up the competitive scene.