Redbull presents the Starcraft II Xel’Naga tournament. The Xel’Naga isa unique tournament in that it pairs pro Starcraft II players, accustom to playing one v one, with an amateur chosen via online drawing in a team format. There is also an audience participation element that can swing a game in favor of one team or the other. The home audience watching online and the live audience at PAX are given a chance to vote every few minutes on whether or not to help or hinder one of the competing teams. The Xel’Naga is a tournament unlike any other, skill and daring will only get you so far, the affection of a fickle audience is a necessary component of victory.
Day Three: This is it, the final day of the Xel’Naga. Three matches are to be played tonight culminating in the championship round. The theme of day three is Storm. With the new theme comes new game elements for the audience to vote on. You probably already knew that… if you’ve been following along that is. Basic Blink adds the blink ability to tier one units and is the least interesting (and least destructive) option the audience has. Run to the Safe Zone, Random Vortex, and Storm Catastrophe are the only three elements that directly follow the Storm theme of day three. Run to the Safe Zone creates a maelstrom that encompasses the whole map leaving limited space in a few safe zones that are the only hope of survival for everyone’s unites. Random Vortex and Storm Catastrophe generate random destructive storms across the map, with one only creating vortexes and the other unleashing maximum storm chaos. The Planet Cracker carves a deadly swath across the map killing anything unlucky enough to be caught in its path while the Seeker Missile is a more precise measure targeting and tracking specific units. One defense buff has been thrown in for good measure. Mega Sentries give the favored player access to giant forcefields and shields.
Match One: Team Illusion take on Team Nony with pros Illusion and NonY (respectively) at the helms. Game one saw some well used Mega Sentries and Basic Blink but in the end Run for the Safe Zone was the deciding factor leading to Team Nony’s victory. In Game Two Team Illusion was gifted some Mega Sentries just after the threat to his base had left allowing them to go on the offensive. The crowd then voted to kill all the units giving the advantage to the Protos playing NonY. Despite the disadvantage Team Illusion would pull out the win forcing a game three. At the start of Game Three host Day9 threatened/promised to spice things up, offering random vortexes either twenty at a time or just a few every thirty seconds starting at a pre determined start time. At the six minute mark Day9 made good dropping twenty random vortexes on the map. Back to back Planet Crackers caused a fair amount of chaos near the end of the game. A Storm Catastrophe lead to begging for Mega Sentries, which were quickly swallowed by some vortexes. In the end Team Nony limped to victory.
Match Two: Team Incontrol takes on Team Bling once again headed by pros iNcontroL and BlinG. Game one was mostly straight forward with little audience intrusion until the eleven minute mark when two Planet Crackers were unleashed on the players. Mixing things up a bit the online audience voted for another Planet Cracker to immediately follow. After the devastation wrought by those Planet Crackers Mega Sentries came into heavy play on both sides with Team Bling eventually taking the win. Early in game two BlinG found himself behind the eight ball having to destroy one of his own building due to trapped units. With three of the four players on the same side of the map Run for the Safe Zone caused some contention. Team Bling was in desperate need of heal… and the audience denied that help leading to Team Incontrol taking game two forcing yet another game three. Game three clocked in at about 45 minutes long with Team Bling falling behind early due to a couple Random Vortexes. Four Planet Crackers were the final straw, forcing Team Bling to concede giving the game and match to Team Incontrol.
Match Three: The finals have arrived. For the finals the amateur players have been dropped in favor of defeated pros. Team Nony picking up Bomber vs. Team Incontrol who picked up WhiteRa. The players return to the Fire map for game one. Moving Minerals forced the first large scale battle of the game and bolstered the income of all the players. Seven nuke drops mid way through the game oddly did almost no damage. After both sides were gifted invincible demons Team Nony made the decisive strike winning the game. Game two takes the players back to the Jungle map. In a relatively short and low econ game it was a final push by Team Incontrol that decided it forcing another game three. Game three sees the players back on the Storm map. Team Nony was given some Mega Sentries just before Run to the Safe Zone was called by the audience. In probably the most awesome play of the tournament Team Nony used their Mega Sentries to wall off one of the safe zones with forcefields keeping Team Incontrol out to face the impending storm. This play was of course undone by Day9 who dropped a Planet Cracker on top of those Mega Sentries. In a hilarious show of unsporting conduct iNcontroL got up from his station to unplug the mouse and keyboard of one of his opponents. An act that was for naught. Team Incontrol was behind and losing the game. Shortly after the hardware tampering WhiteRa waved the white flag crowning Team Nony as grand champion.