Lone Star Clash Recap
The first Lone Star Clash sprung out of nowhere to be a very successful event, winning over member of the Starcraft scene with its small tournament feel. This past weekend, the Rosen brothers put on their second event with high expectations, and proved that their first effort was no fluke. In this recap, I'll hit on some major storylines from the event, and sprinkle in a little bit of my own opinions towards the end.
Stephano rolls on
It seems like EG.Stephano only knows how to win and entertain, and his journey to a victory in the second Lone Star Clash only reaffirms this idea. He created his own storyline, rolling to the finals without dropping a map, teasing at a clean sweep of the tournament. But, he then took his final match with Bomber to the very end, losing the first series in its last map and winning the tournament deciding series in the final set.
Stephano, not content with his first LSC win, took this one as well (Image Source: gosugamers.net)
His professionalism does leave something to be desired, and maybe EG can mitigate that a little bit, but there is not a more marketable player in Starcraft 2 than Stephano. He wins while seeming to not give a damn about it, yet he feeds the drama crowd in reddit and elsewhere with his antics. If he can keep himself out of trouble--and by that, I mean out of just enough trouble--Stephano will be around a long time. He is an RTS prodigy with an entertaining personality, and as a team you cannot ask for more.
Bomber in his element
If you are a frequent reader of my articles, you know how I feel about StarTale.Bomber; he is a tremendously skilled player with tremendously underwhelming results, apart from an MLG championship. At this LSC, he showed some of his best play in a rough situation, after being dropped down by viOLet early in the winner's bracket. This only turned on Bomber's man mode, and he defeated TheStC, NaNiwa, GanZi, viOLet, and CranK in succession without losing a map.
CranK and Bomber talking before their respective third/second place finishes (Image Credit: http://imgur.com/a/EyTsI; Henry Yang, TESPA)
Stephano obviously deserves a ton of credit for his win, but his run to the finals pales in comparison to Bomber's. If you had asked me if Bomber could make it through that gauntlet--never mind without dropping a map--I would have said no way, but the StarTale stud proved me wrong and showed his best play all the way up until the very end, losing in the final map to arguably the best foreign tournament player in Starcraft 2. Bomber earned his second place finish the hard way, and deserves recognition for that feat.
CranK and BabyKnight impress
Axiom eSports is looking pretty good if CranK can keep playing like this, defeating ThorZaIN, NaNiwa, and viOLet in close series on his way to a third place result. I don't really see him being a big time GSL/OSL star, but he performs well in the foreign event format, and a finish like this when he has been low on practice due to injury is quite impressive. Add new recruit Ryung's advance to the round of eight in Code S over DRG and Creator to this, and Axiom seems to be in great shape for a new team.
BabyKnight is a great recent addition to the SC2 competitive scene (Image Source: team-decerto.net)
FXO.BabyKnight also made a respectable run at the event, defeating a solid Terran in TheStC, the underrated Sheth, and a monster in Polt before losing to viOLet and falling out of the tournament. The Danish Protoss is making a bit of a splash in the scene, and we should look forward to more strong performances from him. Due to his result in the WCS Europe finals, BabyKnight will be attending the Battle.net World Championship, where I can see him escaping his first group along with Rain and maybe making a splash in the bracket stage.
Start-Up Events in SC2
The Lone Star Clash is an awesome example of how two men's passions can make something great happen. The Rosen brothers who run the Lone Star Clash decided they wanted to put on an event, recruiting sponsors without the backing of a company like IGN or the many years of experience of MLG, and have now run two successful tournaments with great player pools.
I would really like to see more events like this, motivated by passion for a game or just eSports in general. For these guys, it's not about money. It's about bettering the scene for everyone, making eSports a fun place for everyone. People complain about certain cities not having tournaments in the area, but the Rosens skipped the complaining and took matters into their own hands, taking eSports to a new location and a new audience. We need more people like them in this community, and I hope others will begin to follow this example.