On July 14-15, an assemblage that included 32 of Canada’s best players gathered just outside of Toronto for the World Championship Series (WCS) Canada Nationals, hosted alongside the North American Star League Grand Finals. The best amateurs in the country went up against established pro-gamers, and after two days of hard-fought games a champion was revealed – in dominating fashion.
In the first round, there were few surprises as well-known pro-gamers triumphed over their opponents, advancing in the process. The second round would prove to be a very different story. Canadian eSports hero Chris “EG.HuK” Loranger and rising star Sasha “Acer.Scarlett” Hostyn, faced off in what was easily the most anticipated match of the event. In an upset that would go on to set the tone for the rest of the event, Scarlett seemed to effortlessly dispatch HuK – knocking him to the Lower Bracket 2-0.
Scarlett would meet her next challenger in Chris “GoSu.Ostojiy” Ostojic, also a rising star and veteran of several MLG events. Challenging her in his best match-up, zerg vs zerg, Ostojiy would give Scarlett her closest series so far. However, he too was unable to finish the job and fell 1-2, as Scarlett advanced to the Upper Bracket semifinals. There, she was met by the resurgent Drew “ROOTDrewbie” Moysey, terran hero and fan-favorite from the beta. But even Drewbie was unable to defeat the seemingly unstoppable Scarlett.
In the other half of the Upper Bracket, Moon “Quantic.DdoRo” Jung Ho was going on something of a tear. Dispatching Nezi, HyperDesi, and StalifeLighT all 2-0, DdoRo came into the next match with a lot of momentum. His opponent was Lee “GoSu.dde” Dong Yeon, a strong terran North American tournament mainstay. DdoRo’s momentum led him to a quick 2-0 over the terran player – placing him opposite Scarlett in the Upper Bracket Finals.
Down in the Lower Bracket, Ostojiy would pick himself up after his loss by dispatching TubbyTheFat, and dde, continuing his 2-0 streak to advance to the Lower Finals. Meanwhile, HuK, possibly shaken by a loss in the main NASL tournament, fell to TT1 in LR4, though he just barely qualified to advance to Raleigh and the North America Finals. TT1 then went on to take down both Stalife and Drewbie 2-1, earning the right to face Ostojiy in the Final Bracket.
The first match of Day 2 pitted Ostojiy against TT1. Both players had a good deal of success in their respective first day matchups, but Ostojiy’s momentum could not be stopped. He took a 2-1 victory over TT1 and advanced to await the results of the Upper Bracket Final.
Scarlett could scarcely have been more hyped going into the Upper Finals. It’s one thing to have a breakout performance at one tournament – but it’s another entirely to live up to the hype – and to do it in front of so many fans against the best competition. Once again, Scarlett proved more than equal to her rising legend, dismantling DdoRo 2-0 and advancing to the Grand Finals.
This left DdoRo facing Ostojiy: both looking for a chance at a rematch with Scarlett. DdoRo took the first game with aggressive play, but Ostojiy was able to parry his aggression in the subsequent games to bring back the series and claim a spot in the Grand Finals.
There, the two Canadian zerg players fought it out once again for the grand prize. This time, however, Ostojiy was completely outmatched and would be unable to claim even a single map. Scarlett’s confidence, skillful play, and overwhelming strength led her to a 2-0 victory over Ostojiy, earning her the prestigious title of Canadian National Champion and a seed in the Battle.net World Championships in November.
Congratulations to Scarlett on her victory, and to all of the other players who qualified for the North America Finals in August!
Ddoro and Ostojiy were good enough to answer some of our questions about their eSports careers, the competition at WCS Canada and more.
Chris "Ostojiy" Ostojic
Could you start out by introducing yourself?
Sure my name is Chris Ostojic and I play under the handle ostojiy. I'm a student at Western University in Canada, which makes balancing a growing progaming career more challenging! I play zerg.
What got you started as a pro-gamer, and why StarCraft II?
I played Starcraft: Brood War fairly competitively so when Starcraft II came out I was already at a semi-pro level. As I started to get better I began going to events and making money off the game and that's when it became more than a hobby. I'd say that the MLG Winter Championships, I made Pool Play was a turning point in my career in the sense that I gained a lot of exposure from that event. I'm hoping that WCS Canada (my first major LAN success) is another one!
What kind of preparations did you make going into this tournament?
Playing in a 32 player bracket makes it pretty difficult to prepare as you aren't always sure of who you will be facing and on what maps. I was most worried about Protoss as that has been my weakest matchup for a while so I definitely concentrated on this matchup. I practiced a bit with some zergs like viOlet and Golden on maps what I wasn't comfortable with, but as ZvZ is my strongest matchup I was not overly concerned of anyone in the tournament. Obviously this was a mistake, I wish I had prepared better for playing against Scarlett as I got pretty stumped playing against her style and did not put much thought into what builds I should do against her. That being said, I don't think preparing specific builds for somebody that I have a small chance of playing against is the best use of my time as I was looking to be really solid. I'm confident playing solid, straight up games against any North American players.
You started out very strong, but ran into Scarlett in the third round – where you gave her her closest series of the tournament. What went wrong for you in that series?
I was a bit jittery as it was early in the tournament and accordingly I missed a few of my timings. The biggest problem I had was the inability to commit to my attacks and as a result I ended up failing to bust her spine crawler defenses in Game 2, thereby allowing her to come back and win the series 2-1. I think the desire to give her a rematch was one of the factors that led me all the way through the losers bracket. I remember Scarlett saying that she was uneasy going up against me before the finals and I hope to rebuild that reputation by Raleigh.
Then, you dropped to the losers’ bracket where you quickly ran your way back through to the Losers’ Finals. What games for you stood out in particular along the way?
I had a lot of pretty exciting series despite most of them being 2-0s. My games against my teammate DDE were very exciting, and while a bit sloppy (it was late in the day) I would recommend them to viewers for sure! My second game against Attero was a little bit interesting as he almost made a huge comeback with some warp prism harrass, but ended up losing his mothership to a corruptor run-in.
You played a close series with Ddoro there, where you edged him out 2-1. How did those games go for you? Did they feel as close as the score implied?
This series was pretty interesting as Ddoro and I are good friends. We talk about ZvP and practice the matchup a lot. We were also roommates at WCS and discussed what builds would be good to use against Scarlett. When we faced off, neither of us were comfortable with the fact that we both knew each other's style very well. It ended up going well for me, I lost the first game to a timing push before my broodlords popped out and played a bit sloppy at the end. In game 2 I countered his blink stalker push with an overwhelming force of roaches/zerglings and ended up counterattacking him into a GG. Game 3 was fairly exciting, despite the fact that I guessed his DT build from our earlier conversations. After taking an early lead by countering his harass we ended up having some back and forth engagements but eventually I came out on top.
What was it like playing on the main stage, in front of the massive Canadian crowd?
Awesome. I think we made more noise than MLG events, and it was great having support from fellow Canadians. The enthusiasm and passion that everyone there had for the game in combination with the presence of friends and family made this my favorite event so far!
How did the Grand Finals games go from your perspective?
I was quite disappointed in the finals as I played a bit too stubborn. I have a lot of success with roach/ling/baneling timings against Scarlett on ladder so I was originally confident in this strategy, but she adapted by making more spine crawlers. I should have adapted by playing more greedy but instead I ended up losing. Hopefully I will have a chance to play her in the finals at Raleigh so I can redeem myself in my most comfortable matchup.
You originally told us that “anything less than the top 3 will be disappointing.” You ended up with second place – are you satisfied with your performance, or does the loss to Scarlett sting?
I can't say I am ever satisfied with a loss as I am an incredibly competitive person by nature. That being said I honestly believe that Scarlett outplayed me this time around and probably deserved the win. Fighting my way through the losers bracket was no easy feat and despite the bittersweet taste of knocking my friends out it was an amazing accomplishment for me as I have struggled a lot at LANs.
Meanwhile, your college team – the University of Western Ontario – took the CSL Canadian Championship. Did claiming the collegiate title help make up a bit for your loss in the finals, and did having your team there alongside you help support you through the bracket?
I was really proud of my CSL team and how far we have come this season. Beating out UBC, Waterloo and UofT in a LAN is an amazing accomplishment, and I know it meant a lot for the guys on the team to have had the opportunity to win on such a major stage. Winning the CSL Canadian Championship made losing WCS hurt even more as I was so close to taking two championships in a single weekend but I'm glad my team was able to pull through and snag the win against UofT in the finals.
Do you think you can get your revenge at Raleigh?
Raleigh will be tough, but I think I stand a really good chance of winning it all and going to China. If I can play as well as I am capable of playing, I think the qualifier players will be forced to view me as a serious threat.
What kind of adjustments do you plan to make between now and then?
I need to smooth out a lot of edges in my play. Losing two ZvZ series is something that I am not okay with and will definitely hit the drawing board for different strategies that I can implement against infestor+spine play. I think ZvP and ZvT I need to practice making better engagements and multitasking better in the lategame. Overall I know I have a lot to do if I'm going to stand a chance in China!
Do you have any words for your fans?
Thanks so much for everyone that has supported me. I've been improving a lot and plan on becoming a serious contender in more major tournaments. Becoming one of the best in Canada is just a stepping stone into the future!
Jungho "DdoRo" Moon
Could you start out by introducing yourself?
Hello everyone, I'm Jungho "DdoRo" Moon from Toronto, Canada. I'm a Korean-Canadian protoss playing for Quantic Gaming.
What got you started as a pro-gamer, and why StarCraft II?
Starcaft II came naturally to me, as I had been playing Starcraft Broodwar ever since I was a little kid. I bought Starcraft II on the day of its release, and I've been playing ever since, eventually becoming good enough to become a pro-gamer.
Going into this event, how did you expect to do?
After seeing the bracket, I was confident in placing well. My only worry was the semi-finals, where I would likely face a really good player, such as Slush, DDE, or TT1.
What kind of preparations did you make ahead of time?
My first opponent was Nezi, who I had no information on at all. To compensate, I just focused on playing ladder games prior to the event.
You went through the winners’ bracket without dropping a map. Was your run as easy as it looked?
Yes, it was as easy as I expected, until I had to play DDE, a very solid Terran player. Fortunately, I managed to win the series 2-0.
You then met Scarlett in the Winners Bracket finals. What did you expect, and what ended causing them to turn out how they did?
I wasn't too confident playing her in the Winners Bracket Finals, because I was very nervous playing on the main stage. However, I thought I had a decent chance of winning the series, as I have won against her on the ladder several times.
After that, in the losers’ finals, you had a close series with Ostojiy. What was it that allowed him to get the better of you in the end?
Ostojiy and I are good friends, and we discuss strategies together a lot. In fact, just before the event we discussed PvZ strategies, not thinking we'd end up meeting eachother in the tournament since we were on opposite sides of the bracket. In our first game, I won a game that I shouldn't have won, due to Ostojiy's mistake. Game two, I lost a game that I should have won due to pure micro brought on by nerves. Finally, in game three, I used a Dark Templar build that we've discussed in the past, so he must've expected it and I ended up losing. It was silly of me to use a build he would have expected to come from me.
What was it like playing on the main stage in front of the crowd like that? Did your previous experience at MLGs prepare you for that experience?
It was an awesome experience, having to play in front of the huge crowd, but at the same time I got very nervous. The previous experience at MLG helped a little bit, but not by much, as the atmosphere at WCS and MLG was slightly different.
So now, you’ve earned a spot at the WCS North America finals. How are you going to prepare for the event, and what do you expect?
Since the bracket has not been released yet, I can't really prepare specifically for any opponent, so for now I'm focusing on practicing on ladder. I'm looking forward to get really far in the tournament, and I think I can as long as I'm able to avoid players like Scarlett and Huk. Currently, my goal is to place in the top 3.
Do you have any words for your fans?
Thanks to everyone who supports me, it was a pleasure to meet you guys at the event. Also thanks to our sponsors, Razer, ASUS ROG, Machinima Vs, Twitch, and DB Vision and our partner StarTale.