The first-ever Red Bull Training Grounds got off to an action-packed start, with eight of the top StarCraft II athletes in the world competing in the first round of group play. We saw some intense games, close calls and edge-of-your-seat situations, but who came out on top? Let's find out.
Bae "Sound" Sang Hwan got the ball rolling today against none other than the legendary WarCraft 3 player, Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen. A quick win on Derelict Watcher with a quick bio-based push paved the way for the rest of the games, as we saw a quick GG from Grubby making the score 1-0 in favor of South Korea's 19-year-old upcoming player from StarTale. Grubby came back roaring in the second game with his classic gateway-unit composition with accents of oracle as he stormed into Sound's base on Neo Planet S to take the victory. Tied up going into the third and final game, we saw an aggressive push with tanks, marines and medivacs from Sound as he overwhelmed Grubby's low-tier single-fire units on Bel'Shir Vestige to come out on top 2-1 in the series.
It was a teamkill composition next, as ROOT's Sam "Kane" Morrissette would face ROOT's Dan "ViBE" Scherlong. ViBE easily took the first map with a baneling-heavy army, forcing Kane to GG after being caught off-guard with zerglings burying their heads in the soft sand of Bel'Shir Vestige. Kane would come back with vengeance in the second and third game, taking two quick GG's from ViBE with aggressive zergling-based and roach-based builds on Neo Planet S and Akilon Wastes, respectively.
Rounding out Group A, we saw Sound face off against ViBE once again. A tired and worn out ViBE was evident as we saw slow reactions, a less-than-normal micromanagement level and a seemingly slow-paced build from the ROOT player who's claim to fame includes a WCS USA Nationals title. Sound the terran used Raynor's own forces of marines and medivacs to quickly drop and pick up marines over and over, overwhelming the low-tier roach/zergling combination ViBE possessed. A quick 2-1 on both Frost and Akilon Wastes for Sound as Group A was over with.
Pushing Group B onto the stage and opening up the latter half of the day, Evil Geniuses' very own Benjamin "DeMusliM" Baker clashed against Jo "Golden" Myeong Hwan of StarTale in a mech-terran vs. turtle zerg matchup. Game 1 on Akilon Wastes caught DeMusliM off guard a bit, falling victim to run-by zerglings flooding into the base. Foolish mistakes would cost him a game, but his love for mechanical units and marines would take two quick games against Golden's melee-based units, forcing two GGs on Whirlwind and Neo Planet S.
Brandon "pucK" Qual of ROOT would be next on the list, facing off against Ryoo "SeleCT" Kyung Hyun, who created his alias after misreading a Samsung monitor's button while learning english (not even kidding). SeleCT, known to some for his incredibly high APM peaking near 400, would use this to his advantage as he would out-micro pucK and hit him with a timing attack, forcing a GG on Akilon Wastes. pucK, however, would have none of this, hurdling back with clever oracle play and relying on ground units, taking a victory on Bel'Shir Vestige and again on Derelict Watcher after exposing SeleCT's weak mech builds with ranged protoss units.
Overall, the matches were filled with intensity and nerdchills. Some lasting over 30 minutes with viewers sweating to find out who would come out on top in a wicked armageddon-like battle in the middle of the map. With plenty of action to come, check out day two of Red Bull Training Grounds starting at 2:00 p.m. PDT.
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