Scarlett Stumbles In WCS America

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn at the WCS America Finals
© Randy Ly

Another WCS upset as North America's hero gets KO'd in the round of 32.

The WCS season is less than a week old and its already blowing up expectations right and left. First, Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi threw it all away against Patrick "Bunny" Brix in WCS EU, and now Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn has made a shocking exit in the first round of WCS America. Season 1 is not shaping up to be the season for big-name foreign stars.

Taken to Heart

The first sign of trouble for Scarlett came in the winner's match against Kim "Heart" Min Hyuk. She was simply outplayed and out-hustled by the Axiom Terran. From the outset, he kept her on the defensive with light pressure on her third base. Scarlett also seemed to struggle all night with the Frost map, with its stark division into two halves and a bunch of crossover points and end-arounds making map control a nightmare.

Heart danced rings around her in their first game, and in the second game he caught her with two proxy barracks while she was going for a fast second hatchery. When his Marines and SCVs came knocking, she had no army to answer the door.

The Big Upset

The real shocker, however, came when Scarlett played Huang "TooDming" Hui Ming, a Chinese Zerg. Scarlett's Zerg vs. Zerg match has been very good in the last several months, but in two blistering games against Scarlett, TooDming showed why he might be one of the most exciting Zerg players in the WCS America this season.

In the first game, he made the unusual decision of taking down Scarlett’s Mutalisk build with a surprise Nydus attack. With a solid wall-off denying Scarlett any clue as to his intentions, it was down to her sluggish Overlord scout to figure out what was happening. The tension was unbearable as Scarlett continued into a normal Mutalisk build while TooDming waited for his moment.

Game of the Night

Their second game, however, was the game of the night, as Scarlett fought back with everything she had to keep her WCS hopes alive. The two players battled back and forth trading heavy losses. Once again, Scarlett seemed to have trouble with Frost, losing an early army to a brutal surround from TooDming.

The game culminated with a cat-and-mouse Roach battle between their bases. Scarlett was looking to engage, especially since she was backed up by some Infestors that had the power to devastate TooDming's army. But his map sense was too uncanny, and Scarlett ended up walking into a fatal trap as TooDming got another massive surround and cut her army off from its Hydralisk reinforcements.

Scarlett's exit is a surprise, but considering TooDming's strength, it's perhaps not as shocking as it first appears. TooDming played brilliant games, and Heart is always a good player. Moreover, Scarlett is still battling some of the wrist issues that hampered her last year, and she kept a grueling tournament schedule for the last few months.

But perhaps the bigger trend from this first week of WCS EU is that the up-and-coming talents are feeding on the stars, who they've had such ample time to study. NaNiwa and Scarlett are two of the most popular players in the world, and they were both caught out by players that they did not show quite enough respect.

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