IEM Shanghai 2016 Pt 2

IEM Shanghai 2016


The final stretch of the Intel Extreme Masters Shanghai was just as exciting as the first half if not more. We had Neeb vs Showtime in a very exciting PvP, while also having another TvZ between  uThermal and violet. Both series were looking to be very close and anyone could win and send themselves to the finals. Violet has not had a finals appearance in a few years, meanwhile uThermal has never had a Finals appearance in a Premiere event. Neeb and Showtime have both been in Finals recently with differing results as Neeb lost to Hydra at DreamHack Austin, while Showtime won WCS Spring.


To start out the Semifinals we had a PvP between Showtime and Neeb which are two of the highest thought of Protoss players at the moment. Neeb being the American hope and Showtime acting as the German Zest everyone knew that we were in for a good series. In game one Neeb was able to hold off Showtimes Stargate pressure and took an earlier third all while being able to put some pressure on Showtime himself with a Warpprism. After sitting on his economic lead for a while he amassed a scary Protoss army and moved across King Sejong Station and with excellent Force Fields takes Showtime out in the first game.The second game also starts pretty well for Neeb as he is able to hold off Showtime’s double adept opener with Stalkers and manages to get his natural expansion faster than Showtime. Showtime was able to cancel Neebs third which gave Showtime a way back into the game and Neeb took a slightly hidden third base. When the two armies finally clash Neeb is on 3-0 while Showtime is only at 2-0 and with more really well placed Force Fields wins the fight pushing Showtime out of game 2. The third game of the series would prove to be a game to remember with both players showing great play. The game  is an explosive back and forth until they have a massive base trade which settles down into both of them hiding one base and mining for a while with Neeb having a bigger army and bank while Showtime had more Probes left over. Neeb hid two stargates in the bottom right right beside the oracle of Showtime that was never spotted until about 5 Phoenix were already out and each player just continuously traded back and forth with Adept Archon until Neeb was finally able to get out too much for Showtime to handle sending Neeb to the Finals with another 3-0 victory.



The other match we have been waiting for is uThermal vs violet. Game one started as many people would expect with a quick Stim drop timing from uThermal while violet went for a quicker third and Lair. Things actually do not go too poorly for violet even though he had a relatively greedy opener with uThermal backing off and just clearing creep. The game turned into drops every direction from uThermal as well as violet dropping lings into uThermals’ main and running lings into the third forcing a lift. The trades do not go in uThermals favor as he gets farther and farther behind Hive finishes up for violet which starts the timer for Ultras to be out and finish the game with uThermal not having any Ghost’s on the field. After violet rounds out his composition with Ultra’s, Infestors, Lings, and Ravagers he was able to smash into uThermal killing uThermals’ fourth and he is able to crack the defenses and win the game. The second game started off with some classic Reaper shenanigans as uThermal went up to around 8 or so Reapers while transitioning behind it he was able to kill Drones and a few Ravagers over the course of the aggression. The follow up was another Stim drop he was able to send a big drop into the main of violet while sending his remaining Reapers into the natural which killed a lot of violets Drones and giving uThermal a huge lead. This springs uThermal into a huge full scale attack sieging into violets third and natural bases causing violet to gg out and tie the series 1-1. The third game was also opened with a new build out of uThermal as he went for a Reaper expand with a cloak Banshee follow up which kills off some Drones, meanwhile violet counter attacks with Roaches and Lings, while dropping some Lings into the main of uThermal. After the dust settles both players go back to macroing. uThermal breaks the silence and starts sending medivacs everywhere dropping the main and the fourth bases at the same time until he is able to cripple violet taking game three. The fourth game starts off fairly normal as the rrest have but around the five minute mark uThermal makes it nice and weird for everyone as he starts a bunker over by the third base of violet, unfortunately and overlord spotted this so it was swatted away before any tanks or other units could get over to it and start a siege. After that violet strikes back with baneling drops at each base killing off 30 SCV’s and killing off uThermals’ economy. Violet takes the fourth game keeping his hopes alive. Now it was all down to one last game to decide who would be going on to face Neeb in the finals. uThermal goes back to his tried and true double medivac Marine drop which gets way more done than it ever should killing four Queens and the third base and right from the start uThermal is in an amazing position. Violet restarts his third but the damage has been done and uThermal looks to keep putting on the pressure with Marines and Tanks sieging beside violets natural but violet holds with some good Baneling hits. Unfortunately for him the reinforcements arrive and push into the natural getting more and more damage but a few more bane hits save violet.After holding this time violet tries to get some counter damage done with Ling runbys unfortunately for him uThermal is in position everywhere and holds without any losses. At this point the Terran goes back into drop play sending drops to the natural and the fourth while the natural is held without and problems violet does lose his fourth base.  Eventually with all of the pressure mounting violet finally gets broken and leaves the game uThermal wins 3-2 to advance to the Grand Finals.



Now the moment we have all been waiting for, the moment to see who will be crowned IEM Shanghai Champion. Will it be Neeb, the player who has been a rising star ever since the release of Legacy of the Void, or will it be uThermal who has always been considered a strong aggressive Terran but has just not put together the results that the fans expect. The Finals match starts off quite rough for Neeb as he proxies a pylon which is found and killed by uThermal as well as Neeb losing his initial Adept. On top of this uThermal mine drops into Neebs main and kills off the Mothership Core without it casting any overcharges as well as a few probes. All the while Hellions ran into the natural getting a few kills and then sieges a Liberator on top of that. Neeb restarted the pylon that was killed off in an attempt to still get some damage in with Blink Stalkers unfortunately uThermal has plenty at home staying completely safe. uThermal follows up with a huge bio push which ends up being enough to kill Neeb securing the first map win for uThermal, as well as the first loss for Neeb throughout the entire tournament thus far. The second game starts a little more in Neebs favor as he killed an SCV with his scouting Probe. uThermal follows up with a quick drop while Neeb is going for a DT drop and it is not seen by uThermals’ drop and as soon as uThermal drops a Mule the DTs fly into the main of uThermal and can never be killed which gives Neeb his first game of the series. Game three of the series starts a little bit more passive from the Terran but Neeb opens with an Oracle which is held with relative ease by uThermal. uThermal gets a pretty big drop that kills a good bit of infrastructure and some workers, Neeb answers this by sending some Adepts around to the third and shades back and forth killing a little over 20 SCVs before being killed off. Neeb started going for Blink Disruptor composition while uThermal was going for the standard bio Lib composition. Neeb starts building up bigger and bigger as well as getting out Tempest to start dealing with the Liberators which allows Neeb to take another game setting the series 2-1. The third game is opened super safe by uThermal with a Cyclone before expanding while Neeb opened with a Stargate. This was followed up by a proxied double cloaked Banshee which only killed a few probes, which was not really worth the investment. The game is a pretty standard back and forth until uThermal makes a big move by attacking into the natural and knocking down the rocks to the gold on Apotheosis and separates Neebs army. Neeb recalls the bit of his army at the gold to his natural so uThermal lifts over to the gold kills it and then sieges a ton of Liberators over Neebs main ramp and drops into the main forcing Neeb to tapout losing way too much infrastructure and never being able to take back his main. The fifth game was on King Sejong Station and we had normal looking builds from both players, until uThermal proxied his Factory and Starport above Neebs main. Neeb was going for the DT drop build again and had no Pylons in his main mineral line while uThermal drops 2 mines into the base of Neeb which scouts everything and unfortunately gets no real damage in. This was followed up by a Liberator which was able to deny the gas and kill a handful of probes, while the DT drop hits in uThermals base which is held well. A second Liberator sieges on the natural which kills a few probes and then thanks to some mis micro also kills 5 Stalkers before falling. A little down the road the Mine drop returns and is able to get a 10 probe shot off which secures uThermals’ lead even more than before. Unfortunately behind all of this uThermal was macroing phenomenally getting his units and upgrades and upon seeing the army moving across the map Neeb knows he cannot hold and just ggs out of the game putting uThermal on match point. Dasan station is the destination of the potential last game for the tournament with the current map score at 3-2 in favor of uThermal. uThermal is able to hold off all aggression in the final game and used heavy amounts of Liberators. Liberators sieged the main ramp pushing neeb back and he kept leapfrogging them further and further until Neeb is forced to leave the game securing uThermals first ever tournament victory!



uThermal started the tournament as a last minute replacement, and he took his opportunity as it came and was able to win his first Major tournament. He did so by beating some of the biggest foreign names in Starcraft at the moment starting with Snute, Elazer, Violet, and then topped it all off with Neeb in the finals. uThermals’ excitement radiated off of him as he embraced his hard earned trophy for the first time, finally all of his hard work has payed off. Congratulations to uThermal and good luck to having many more in the future.

Did you miss Part1? Check it out HERE

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