This past Saturday, third edition of MiA Invitational took place in Smlednik, Slovenia, where 10 players from 2 countries attended the MiA bootcamp and competed in an interesting tournament that was full of surprises.
The bootcamp started off on Thursday with CheeseKing and Starbuck canceling their participation, which hindered the level of play on display, but made it much more interesting, and that’s a fact. With 10 players ready on Saturday for MiA Invitational 3, frozz and CRODeny were chosen to start the group draft by picking a player to create the groups GSL style. Both groups ended up being quite even, and it was time to start the competition.
What have we learned
Although this was more of a practice bootcamp than a real cash-money competition, we learned a lot on MiA Invitational 3. First of all, Slovenian StarCraft2 community and it’s players in general are lacking devotion, determination and motivation to compete, show up for the events and .. well… play. However, those who showed up, left their mark – just ask frozz or check the results yourself: RaiN took a map from frozz, and so did DeLuxE, but the young Slovenian Protoss (DeLuxE) went on to lose to inactive but always dangerous Buzzkill. And that was just Group A. Group B was interesting just as much, with Killerfive beating Razbu but losing to VonComet and TheForte, while Razbu managed to beat VonComet. CRODeny didn’t drop a single map in the group stage and looked good enough to go far in the tournament.
We saw yet again that playing on LAN is very different than online, evident by results of players like Deumos, DeLuxE, frozz and Killerfive. Some of them lack the experience, and some were tired, while others just couldn’t perform as good as they can when playing from home. But that is just one side of the story, as the trio of CRODeny, Razbu and VonComet tells us the other part of the book with solid, good and even great performance on the way to the top4 placement on MiA Invitational 3. Meanwhile, all of the underdogs were able to take at least two maps throughout the tournament, so nobody went home completely empty-handed.
After two groups of five played out, six players were remaining in the battle for the gold, with CRODeny and frozz qualifying directly to the semi-finals. In the Round of 8, Razbu overcame the Slovenian Zerg Deumos with a close score of 1 to 2, while VonComet got his payback with a 2 to 0 victory against DeLuxE, who had some technical difficulties and had to switch computers between the games.
In the first semi’s, we saw a rematch from the group stage between CRODeny and VonComet, with the experienced Croatian Terran coming out on top yet again. In the other semi-finals match, Razbu lost to his fellow countryman frozz in an exciting and long TvT series.
As always, it all came down to the finals, where two friends and probably best Croatian Terran players ever went head to head in a best-of-three format. On one side, we had frozz, arguably one of the strongest and most talented players in Croatia, representing Team MiA. Not only is he one of the most active players and streamers around, but he also performs very well in solo and team tournaments. However, he has yet to win a notable event in an otherwise successful career as a gamer. His opponent, CRODeny, or just Deny, is a totally different type of player, although we can find some similarities between the two. While Deny, who plays for team SFC, does not particularly excel in mechanics or macro, his game sense, game knowledge, experience, mindset and a will to win makes him one of the deadliest players in the Balkans, as he has quite a few big tournament wins behind him and is a WCG and an ESWC veteran.
Be it the LAN settings, fatigue, lack of experience or anything in-between, but it happened: CRODeny went against the odds and reminded us about himself by beating frozz convincingly with a 2 to 0 score to secure the first place finish on MiA Invitational 3.
The final verdict
First of all, let’s start with saying thanks to Team MiA, Conn.Si crew and especially eLephaNt, who was the man behind the curtain, for making the bootcamp and MiA Invitational possible. Next off, a big thanks to all players and visitors, including fOrQQ, a leader of team PwS, his crew, and the yohan himself, who made his quick appearance on Friday. Also, thumbs up for CRODeny, frozz and Razbu for showing up from Croatia! And of course, thank you to all who followed the event and watched the stream as well! Last but not least, thanks to RaiN from team PwS, who came to visit and cast a bit, but ended up filling the last spot in Group A to make the tournament more exciting and even. All in all, MiA bootcamp and MiA Invitational 3 were both a big success!
Secondly, this was a great experience for the likes of Razbu, DeLuxE, Deumos, frozz and Killerfive, all of whom I believe can improve their game and take a step forward. Also, we saw how routine players can be, for example CRODeny, with his vast amount of experience, and VonComet, who always places well on live events. TheForte, RaiN and Buzzkill are three players that suffer from an sickness called inactivity, but are making their way back to the masters, slowly but surely, as long as they play.
“I came to have fun, enjoy in great environment, and to play a bit of StarCraft2,” said Deny, one of the fan favorites in the Balkans and a winner of MiA Invitational 3. When asked about his expectations prior to the event, he said: “since I’ve played Dota for the last 2 months, I didn’t have any expectations, but before the tournament, we geeeked for like 2 days, and I played more than 70 games, so I got back in shape a little bit. Second thing is that I don’t like to lose in any game, be it chess or football, and specially in StarCraft2, so I play as best as I can, and I always want to win.” Although he was not a favorite to win at first, his odds drastically increased when CheeseKing and Starbuck canceled their participation, and as frozz was the only Grandmaster left at the tournament, Deny instantly became a top2 candidate. frozz and Deny ended up meeting in the finals, and we all know what followed. “I went game by game, from group stages to the finals. I didn’t drop a map, but it could go the other way, specially in games vs VonComet, as he had a chance but he failed helion micro,” said the Croatian Terran, and added: “However, coming in to the finals, it is the moment when you understand that you are facing a better player than yourself. But that’s not a reason to quit. I knew my chances were slim, but there is always a possibility that he won’t play at his top level, or he will fail, or I will just use a better build, or just play better. There is a lot of mindgame, since we know each other wery well. There were a lot mine drops/all-ins/proxy marauders/reaper when we played in the past few years. So his mental aspect wasn’t easy, too. You face a player that is not in top shape, but he’s not a bronze either. At the end, it felt good to win, we had a great fun, and maybe I will play a bit more StarCraft again after this.” Meanwhile, it seems that frozz is suffering from either JD or EG (MiA) curse.
When asked if he will return to Slovenia for any StarCraft2 tournaments in the future, Deny said: “Of course. I always attend any tournament or LAN parties that I’m invited or qualified, if I have enough money for travel, food and drink. I would thank you once more for inviting me for this event, it was really really fun, great environment, nice tournament. I wish you best of luck in the future, with Conn.Si, Team MiA, and any other project you all launch.” See ya next time indeed! Oh, and if you are looking for VODs, check ’em out!
While I have your attention, let me use this opportunity to leak some information that might be of an interest to the Balkan community, particularly Slovenia and Croatia, but also regards other ex-Yugoslavian countries and Hungary to some extent. Conn.Si & co. are not only planning to prepare something big and exciting next year, but we plan to give to the community much faster, as fast as this week, by presenting something like this. Be sure to stay tuned on Conn.Si (Facebook) for more info about the upcoming big things!