Firecake vs. MaNa: Longest Game in History

manafirecake

Firecake and MaNa broke the record of the longest game in Starcraft II yesterday in WCS Challenger League.

3 hours 4 minutes 54 seconds. Zerg Deathball vs.  Protoss Deathball stalemate.

The game was played on Akilon wastes. Both sides could not really engage each other as the one who chose to move forward would be at a disadvantage.

MaNa had Void Ray, Mothership, Tempest, High Templar and Colossus.

Firecake had Swarm Host, Broodlord, Viper, Infestor and Corrupter. Of course, spine crawler and spore crawler too.

I did not plan to watch this game. I was watching UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund (I’m a Gooner), and was reading twitter at the same time. The tweets about this game caught my eyes and I tuned in on my tablet. It was already 1 hour 39 minutes into the game at that time. I just left twitch on as I did not want to miss the epic ending of the game.

༼ ᕤºل͟º ༽ᕤ END THIS

༼ ᕤºل͟º ༽ᕤ END THIS

༼ ᕤºل͟º ༽ᕤ END THIS

༼ ᕤºل͟º ༽ᕤ END THIS

༼ ᕤºل͟º ༽ᕤ END THIS

The game ended when MaNa decided to just A forward and lost his army. 3 hours 4 minutes 54 seconds.

mana

The fans pointed out two things that caused the stalemate.

1. Map

Akilon Wastes is definitely a map that favors deathball play style as It is easy to defend three to four bases. Personally, I always mech on this map in TvT. Such stalemate is less likely to happen on other maps like Whirlwind since there is too much ground to cover for deathball. Thus, the map did play a part on the stalemate situation. Should the map be removed to prevent the same situation to happen in the future?

No.

Rather than saying it is “Akilon Wastes”, it is more appropriate to generalize it as “maps that favor deathball”. Should such type of maps not be in the map pool?

No. I am a strong believer in map variation. Different types of maps encourage different play styles, and that makes the game more enjoyable and less repetitive. In fact, racial balance has much to do with map variation. Imagine you have five maps in the map pool for a best of three series. Both players would veto the map that they deem to be unfavorable to them in the match up respectively. Therefore, the three leftover maps for the series are “most-balanced” for the match up. This indirectly balances the match up.

Should Akilon Wastes be removed?

Maybe. This question is different from the first. I do not support the rationale to remove Akilon Wastes because of the stalemate situation, but I am open to the idea of refreshing the map pool. In general, I feel that the maps in the map pool now are too similar in style, and Akilon Wastes is perhaps the “most different” map.

2. Swarm Host

Swarm Host was introduced to give Zerg a siege unit at lair tech. Way back in Wings of Liberty, I was thinking if Zerg really needed such a unit. Broodlord is a siege unit, although it is hive tech. Was the general play style of Zerg not require a siege unit, or was the play style developed in a way to accommodate that Zerg did not have a siege unit?

In some interviews, David Kim gave me the impression that he was quite satisfied with Swarm Host. Like he said, it is a siege unit that is very “zerg-like”. Based on the games played, I don’t really like Swarm host. But at the same time, I cannot think of a good way to improve it. Here is my train of thought.

Unlike Tank, Swarm host requires to reach a certain threshold number to have an impact. This means it requires the player to devote almost everything on the tech itself. This leads to the transition problem that many have brought up. This is one problem.

Another problem is the spawn style of siege attack. It indeed gives a Zerg feeling, but it has the balance problem. It is hard to get in range to attack the Swarm host because the Locusts create a wall. By the time you clear a wave of Locusts, the second wave has spawned. You would probably conclude that it is not wise to attack through Locusts. This then leads to approaches that do not require direct engagement with Swarm host, while the Locusts are constantly attacking you. Indirect approaches generally involve attacking locations away from Swarm host, and hence, Zerg needs to build static defense to go with Swarm host. In the end, you may notice the best way to deal with Swarm host is either to prevent it from happening to begin with, like how Terran constantly pressure Zerg, or get your own death ball, like how Protoss does. This results in deathball vs. deathball in ZvP. One of the best ways to deal with a deathball is to get your own deathball. There is no real counter measurement against Swarm host once they reach a certain amount.

How about nerfing Swarm host? It links back to the first problem: transition investment problem. If Swarm host is not that strong, then why risk everything on it? Therefore when you put everything together, it is really hard to fix the unit.

Carbot, please make a video based on this match. =)

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