Red Bull Wololo IV did not disappoint
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Esports

Red Bull Wololo IV delivers a truly historic final

The Age of Empires 2 tournament final was one for the ages alright. Here’s what went down as contenders new and old faced off.
Written by Ben Sillis
5 min readPublished on
Red Bull Wololo always delivers when it comes to in-game action, partly thanks to the epic custom empire wars game mode that is used for the event, but Red Bull Wololo IV took things to another level, with the best grand final we've seen in any event so far. We were blessed with a seven-game thriller that went back and forth right until the final GG call, instantly creating an iconic moment in the long history of competitive Age of Empires II.
But before the grand final got underway there was a whole competition to get through, with 16 of the best players in the world all fighting it out for a share of the massive US$30,000 prize pool. Eight were directly invited, with the other eight had to battle it out in the stacked open qualifiers, where a number of big names missed out on even making it to the event.
The competition did not disappoint: we saw crazy comebacks, close matches and players holding on until the bitter end to try every possible way of pulling off an unlikely win. But after two weekends of matches and finally having casters together in person, we were left with just two players who battled it out to become Red Bull Wololo IV champion.

Kai ‘Liereyy’ Kallinger

The Red Bull Wololo II champion and Wololo III runner-up was always a favourite going into the event, given his impressive performances in previous outings. But with the most stacked field yet in a Red Bull Wololo competition, his place in the final was by no means guaranteed. He was placed into Group B – which some would say was one of the easier groups in the competition – and he dominated throughout the opening weekend of play. Two relatively simple victories saw him enter the knockout stage as the group winner, setting up a quarter-final matchup against Morten ‘MbL’ Levernes.
As far as quarter-final opponents go, they don’t come much tougher than MbL – one of the best Age of Empires 2 players of all time – but Liereyy made short work of him. A 3-1 victory showed that once again he was in form for the final weekend of a Red Bull Wololo event and put the rest of the field on notice that he was looking to make his third final in a row.
In the semi-finals, he was matched against Dmitriy ‘Vinchester’ Smirnov, who was coming off the back of a mammoth 3-2 win over former Wololo champion Gan ‘Mr_Yo’ Yangfan. Despite the massive confidence boost Vinchester had after such a big victory, he too fell to Liereyy 3-1. But a weakness was becoming clear; in both his quarter-final and semi-final match Liereyy lost on Ring Fortress, proving that he was beatable on this particular map.

Hamzah ‘Hera’ El-Baher

Hera was the other finalist at Red Bull Wololo IV and just like Liereyy, he had a tough field to get through to make it there. His group featured both MbL and Ville ‘Villese’ Jämsä, two players who could have easily progressed, but Hera managed to make it out in first place, with two convincing wins.
However, it was his knockout stage run that really shocked people. His quarter-final opponent was Darko ‘DauT’ Dautovic, of DauT castle fame, which on paper looked to be a tough matchup. But Hera was in form, destroying him 3-0 in a quick match that really showed how good he can be.
But one tough match wasn’t enough for Hera, as his semi-final opponent was arguably the greatest AoE II player of all time, Ørjan ‘TheViper’ Larsen. Despite a poor, for his standards at least, record in Wololo events, TheViper was looking good this time around and looked to be on track to take his first Wololo event win. But then Hera got in the way and destroyed him 3-0, in one of the more surprising results of the competition. This set up a rematch of the Red Bull Wololo II final against Liereyy – and it did not disappoint.

The final

With two top players – who both put in dominant performances across the knockout stage– matching up in the final we knew it was going to be a tight match, but no one expected it to be as close as it was.
The two traded wins over the first four maps, with Liereyy getting the first win on the board and then Hera answering back just as quickly. It wasn’t until map five on Acclivity that a player managed to gain a two map advantage, with Hera taking the win to go up 3-2 and crucially putting him on match point.
Being in the tough position of needing to win back-to-back games, Liereyy stepped up his performance and took a big win on Eruption to send things to a seventh and final game. The winner would walk away with first place and US$8,000, while the loser would take home US$5,000 and second place. Just as you thought the stakes couldn’t get higher, people remembered that the final map was Ring Fortress, the map that Liereyy had lost in both the semi and quarter-final.
Liereyy entered the final map with Franks, while Hera opted for the Chinese. The stage was set for one of the biggest single maps in Age of Empires history and the battle didn't disappoint. While the whole final is worth a watch, if you just have time for one map make it this one, as the stakes added so much to it.
Eventually, it was Liereyy who pulled out the clutch win, coming back from 3-2 down to win 4-3. This showed that when the pressure is really on and the odds are stacked against him – especially on a map that he'd done so poorly on previously in the event – he can perform at the top level.
Liereyy is now a two-time Red Bull Wololo champion and undoubtedly the best player in the world when it comes to the Wololo game mode. Now we'll just have to wait and see if anyone can unseat him as champion in the future.