World Cyber Games 2006
The World Cyber Games 2006 took place from 18th to 22nd October 2006 in Monza, Italy. The event featured various eSports titles, among them a StarCraft Brood War 1v1 tournament with more than $40,000 in prizes sponsored by Samsung. For Brood War 48 players from more than 20 countries participated.
Monza was the first city on the European Continent to host the official World Cyber Games main event. In the years before, the event was hosted three times in South Korea, once in Singapore and once in the United States. The actual event was taking place in the Autodromo, known from the Formula 1 races. However, all participants and visitors had to travel to the sight, as most stayed in hotels farther away. WCG's organization was criticized by various players for the remote location of the arena, as it made it harder for the audience to follow games and limited the players from meeting other country's participants outside of the arena.
Furthermore, the Autodromo itself was even considered boring, as little to no leisure activities were offered and the overall atmosphere was seen less attractive, compared to other locations of the previous years.
The Main Event of the World Cyber Games 2006 was split in two different phases. At first all participants were seeded into one out of eight different groups, depending on their performance in the National Qualifiers. In each group the players faced their opponents in a Best of One match, with a pre-selected map order. The first and second player of each group advanced to the second phase.
The second phase was a Single Elimination bracket, in which the surviving sixteen players were seeded into. Every match was played out as a Best of Three, including the overall finals. For each match the first map was set, afterwards the loser was able to pick from the official map pool. No map could be used twice.
|1st||$25,000||iloveoov||SK Telecom T1|
|3rd||$8,000||Midas||SK Telecom T1|
|4th||-||Legend||SK Telecom T1|
|Testie||Templars of Twilight|
The official WCG maps were announced in April 2006 in addition to the rule set. Three of the four maps of the previous year remained, while Estrella was removed for unstated reasons; in unofficial discussions rumors spread argueing about the semi-island's balance in general. Eventually the maps Gaia, Azalea and Paranoid Android were played, while no fourth map was added.
On all three maps, the central area was divided by narrow choke points. On Gaia and Azalea a limited space was accessible for ground units, which had to be trespassed in order to access other starting locations, while Paranoid Android had one small bridge, a larger one and a walkable ground in the bottom left corner. As a consequence longer games tended to be rather static, once the map was split in half. Gaia was the exception, as the map couldn't be divided into two parts if both players spawned on either the right or the left side of the map. Furthermore, Gaia and Paranoid Android offered more harassment options to fast ground units like Vultures or Speed Zerglings due to the ridges at the side of the map (Gaia) or the three ways separating the middle (Paranoid Android).
Before the WCG 2006 Main Event various fan pages reported in detail about the upcoming tournament. The following paragraphs summarize the expectations from a neutral stance and put them into a historical context.
Koreans were often seen as the favourites of the World Cyber Games. All previous tournaments had been won by Koreans, with Boxer being the most successful player. The training environment provided by KeSPA's infrastructure gave them a significant advantage over their international opponents. With every year the gap in the skill level between foreigners and Koreans grew larger. While the public had remote hopes to see an non Korean win in the early days of WCG Brood War, the expectations decreased over time.
Yun Sung "Iloveoov" Choi is widely considered to be one of the most influential South Korean Terrans of all time. He was added to the e-Sports Hall of Fame, won a total of three MSL and two OSL gold medals, as well as the WCG 2006 Main Event. Shortly before the Main Event was hosted in Monza, the Terran was seen as one of the favourites. He was most remembered for his very dominant play in South Korea's professional scene during late 2003 until end of 2004, in which he showed a stellar performance in individual and team leagues. This success granted him the title of a Bonjwa. In the year after the Terran lost the grip over his competitors. Until 2005 oov already collected three MSL and one OSL title. His temporary slump stopped in late 2005, when he was able to win his second OSL gold over July. He was seeded into the WCG 2006 Main Tournament as reigning WCG 2006 Korea champion. The WCG win marked the end of Iloveoov's long legacy. In the months after the famous Terran slowly started to fade, partially due to a lack of motivation, partially due to a wrist injury. In July 2007 Oov retired as player, but stayed as coach in his former team, SK Telecom T1. He continued to influence the Korean professional scene by developing strategies. A prime example of this would be the Fantasy Build, which introduced mechanical units in the Terran vs. Zerg match up.
The Korean Terran Sang Wook "Midas" Jun started his Brood War career relatively late. In his early eSports career he focussed on other RTS titles, such as Three Kingdoms II and Kingdom under Fire. Midas had his breakthrough in the Stout MSL 2003 and shortly afterwards joined the professional team SUMA GO. In 2004 the Terran finished first in the WCG Korea 2004 with a 10-0 record. In the main event Midas qualified out of group stage rather easily and eventually fought his way to the finals, in which he was defeated by the Terran vs. Terran specialist Xellos. This was Midas' second World Cyber Games silver medal, after he missed to win the finals of WCG Challenge playing Three Kingdoms II in 2000. In 2006 Midas was the runner-up of the Korean WCG National Preliminaries. So far, the Terran was less known to be a strong player in individual leagues, rather than for his records in Proleague. Midas was one of SK Telecom T1's most solid performing players, able to take on even the new stars like sAviOr.. Even though Midas only won a Bronze medal in Monza, 2006 was considered to be his peak year.
Sung Joon "Julyzerg" Park or (July for short) started as into the World Cyber Games 2006 as bronze medallist of the Korean nationals. He started his career as player for the team Pirates of Space. He was the first Zerg in the KeSPA scene to win an OSL title - the Gillette OSL in 2004. His form peaked shortly afterwards. July was able to defend the first place of the KeSPA Ranking for eleven consecutive months, another record for his race which remains unmatched until today. Twelve months after his first big individual league finish, July was able to repeat his success by holding his second gold medal. Despite being named Bonjwa as first professional, July technically isn't among the players usually referred to by that title nowadays. However, he is one of the few players to have won a Golden Mouse; his last big title was his third OSL gold in 2008.
Andrey "Androide" Kukhianidze was already a well experienced WCG player in 2006. The Russian Terran qualified the first time for the main event in 2002, but lost to a group stage against a number of established players, among them the Korean legend Boxer. In the years later the young Russian improved steadily, until he was able to place high in several of the most prestigious offline tournaments featuring Brood War, such as the ASUS series. In 2004 he won the Russian WCG Grand Finals in Moscow for the first time and thus qualified for the Main Event in San Francisco. In this year he qualified out of group stage after beating the professionals Legionnaire and Grrrr.... His streak continued, up until he met Midas in the Semi Finals and eventually lost to the Bulgarian Terran Christian in the game for the third place. A year later, in Singapore Androide repeated his stellar performance. On his way to the Elimination Stage he advanced as first, after beating the upcoming Taiwanese Zerg SEn and caused a minor uproar, as he defeated Silent Control, a KeSPA professional, in the Semi Finals. Only fOru could stop him with a 2-0 in the finals. Soon after Androide announced to mainly focus on his studies. Despite his retirement statements, Androide continued to perform well in the biggest tournaments. In Summer 2005 the Terran qualified for the European Championship, a spin-off of the WCG Main Events. This tournament was considered to cement the reputation of the best European player. Androide placed second again and lost against one of his biggest rivals - Mondragon.
Christoph "Mondragon" Semke was a player of the second generation, despite him starting to play Brood War competitively in 1999. He was considered as one of Germany's biggest talents in the earlier years of his career, but constantly overtowered by the older elite, especially by his long term rival FiSheYe. Mondragon constantly improved after 2002 and soon turned into Germany's strongest player in amateur leagues and in Nation Wars. In early 2004 the Zerg and his clan Templars of Twilight started to finally separate themselves from the rest of the German scene by dominating the first seasons of the Brood War Clan League. Semke furthermore started to win in the big venues towards the end of 2004 and continued to show impressing streaks in various high class tournaments in 2005. He defeatd the reigning German WCG champion and Main Event runner-up FiSheYe in several events such as the WCG Germany 2004 and in the course of the several Giga Grandslams.
In 2005 Mondragon was already considered to be one of the strongest international players. The Zerg defeated his direct rival Androide in the European Championships with a convincing white wash. In addition to this tournament, Semke won over $12,000 in his peak year alone. Especially his Zerg vs. Protoss was considered to be almost better than an average Korean professional's level. This reputation was mainly based on his performance against Reach in the first official BlizzCon featuring a Brood War tournament.
Krzysztof "Draco" Nalepka entered the Main Event for a second time in 2005 after he won the Polish Preliminaries. The Protoss spend a long time in the shadows of his more known team mates, especially as member of the team pro Gaming. In his early career Nalepka was often praised for his potential, especially by players like FiSheYe. However, it took Draco until mid 2004 to finally show his talent in bigger venues. The Protoss first qualified for the WCG Main Event in 2004. He made it out of group stage, but eventually lost to the Russian veteran Advokate with 1-2 in the Round of 32 shortly afterwards. In the months afterwards Draco won several East European LAN Tournaments and the Swedish Dreamhack Summer 2006. The wins in these smaller tournaments, as well as his regular top finishes in events like the GGL Americup Season 2 added to his reputation as top level foreigner.
In 2006 Draco decided to go to Korea in order to obtain a KeSPA license and starting a career as professional player. In his first weeks Draco had to train on his own and missed to win the first courage tournament he entered. A few weeks later Nalepka was invited to play test games for OGN Sparkyz and was invited to stay with the team, as well as granted a pro-gaming license. In 2006 the international audience rated Draco as most valuable Protoss player in public Blizzard polls previous to the Sandlot Tournament.
Nick "Testie" Perentesis was a very controversial player. He was heavily critized throughout his career for his behaviour and him being caught map hacking in the early days of his career. As player he gained a better reputation for his skill, when he finished second in the Canadian WCG preliminaries and made it out of the group stage in the Main Event a few months later. In the following year, 2006, Testie repeated his strong performance in various bigger international tournaments. He finished twice as runner-up in the GGL Americup Season 2 and GosuGamer's The Ace; he lost to Mondragon in both, once due to walk over and one time with a 1-4. Additionally, he was known to be one of the strongest players in his teams, the Templars of Twilight and Meet Your Makers. In Blizzard's Sandlot Tournament the international audience rated him as second best Protoss player after Draco.
However, Testie wasn't actually focussing on one race. The Canadian was known to pick races depending on his opponent, the map and other factors. He combined his race picking and his strategical knowledge to maximize his advantage. This allowed him to literally abuse certain maps. In 2006 he won more than 100 games in the Match Up Protoss vs. Terran on the island map Forbidden Zone. In the course of the Main Event Testie played Protoss vs. Terran, Terran and Protoss vs. Zerg and Zerg vs. Protoss, depending on the situation.
Prior to the Main Event several rivalries were established in the international scene. The central figure of these was Mondragon, the champion of the biggest events. Androide, Testie, Draco and the Taiwanese SEn were his direct rivals. The five players usually met in the bigger tournaments, most recently in the GGL Americup Season 2 and GosuGamer's The Ace. A few weeks before the Main Event started the general consens was that Mondragon and Draco lead, with SEn and Testie being close behind. Androide was relatively inactive already and most times left out of discussions.
The Main Event
On the first two days of the main event the group stage games were played out. The maps of each round of the group games were determined by the WCG administration. On the third day the Quarter- and Semi Finals took place, the fourth day featured the overall finale and shortly after the game for place three.
The group stages were mostly equal in terms of the skill of the participants. Most of the fan pages favourites were seeded into different groups. The following paragraphs focus on the most surprising results and upsets.
- The Group of Death
Group B was labelled "Group of Death" by several community pages, once the groups were released by WCG. It featured three fan favourites: The Korean Midas, the German Mondragon and the Polish Draco, as well as the popular American player and commentator Artosis. The latter was seen as less skilled than the other three. However, only one of the foreign favourites could advance from the group stage, as the Korean professional was seen as almost unbeatable. The predictions of many fans seemed to be correct, as Mondragon was outplayed by Midas on Paranoid Android. The German Zerg opened with a Mutalisk build, but couldn't really do anything before he was killed with Midas' first serious Marine and Medic mid game attack.
In the following round Midas lost to Cobo on Azalea, after opening with an aggressive FD Push against a Two Gateway Range Dragoon build. Cobo directly hard countered the fast expanding Terran and ended the game in under ten minutes. Meanwhile the German won his next game and Draco was already up with 2-0, now leading the group.
In the third round the Draco faced Midas on Gaia. In retrospect, this match was considered to be one of the most memorable games between a foreigner and a Korean professional. The Protoss opened with a designed cheese Build Order. He faked a One Gateway Range Dragoon expand against the Siege Expanding Terran, while adding two more Gateways close to the Terran's Natural Expansion. He then proceeded to attack Midas' relatively weak defended Natural and could destroy his floating Command Center. While attacking, the Protoss took his own Natural Expansion to compensate for his low Probe count. By then the Protoss had a small advantage and defended well against the following Vulture harassment. The game stabilized as the Terran was able to take his own Natural Expansion and the Protoss expanded to a third base. In the mid game Midas expanded towards his middle Mineral Only, while Draco did the same. A few clashes followed, until Draco was able to recall small groups of units into Midas' main base. However, these attacks didn't decide the game, but bought enough time for the Protoss to switch to Carriers. Draco used his carriers to constantly harass and deny the Terran's army production and expansions. After half an hour the Korean was beaten by the superior strategy of the foreigner.
Theoretically speaking the group wasn't decided until Mondragon and Draco played. The Korean and the German both had a 2-2 record, the Polish was up 3-0. If Mondragon defeated the Protoss and the Protoss would lose another game, the three of them would have been tied for the places 1, 2 and 3. Hence, the game between Mondragon and Draco still mattered. In 2006 Mondragon had a 5-0 record in major tournaments against Draco from their games in the finals stages of the GGL AmeriCup Season II and the EuroCup XIII. However, Draco dictated the game on Paranoid Android from the beginning. He opened with a One Gateway Corsair tech and denied Mondragon's Natural Expansion for a longer time. The Protoss follow up was an attack with three Zealots and Corsair harassment. Mondragon tried Zergling runbys, but only delayed the Protoss Natural Expansion for a few seconds. Mondragon was not able to expand a third time, due to Dark Templar harassment. As a last move Mondragon tried to transfer Lurkers and Zerglings with Overlords into the Protoss main base, but was thrown back in time. Draco eventually won in less than twenty minutes.
- Other Group Results
Group F featured relatively low skilled players. Prior to the Grand Finals, the German Protoss Selector caused a minor uproar, when he qualified a second time for the Main Event in the German Preliminaries. He was convicted of map hacking multiple times prior to the event.. Him failing with a 0-5 record in the group stage however was seen as surprise, given that he knocked out players like Schnibl0r and almost defeated the German WCG Silvermedallist FiSheYe in the qualifiers.
Even though Androide was seen as the clear favourite of Group H, he performed rather poorly and dropped out of the tournament, finishing third in his group. The Russian Terran played with his off race, Zerg, on Paranoid Android. The Chinese opened with an aggressive two Barracks Marine Rush, while the Zerg initially defended well with Speed Zerlings. Even though Androide definitely had an advantage, his Lurker mid game transition did not pay off. Phoenix66 was able to turn the game around with a single Dropship, which he used to attack Android's main base and third expansion.
Single Elimination Stage
The Knock Out Stage featured relatively uneven pairings in the Round of 16. The clear favourites advanced relatively easily.
- Quarter Finals
The Quarter Finals featured two matches between two foreign favourites and two Korean professionals. In the upper part of the bracket the Draco faced iloveoov, while the Canadian Testie played Midas in the lower part. The first upset was Draco taking a game off the dominant Korean Terran on Gaia, whom he defeated with Carriers, similar to the his game against Midas. Consequently Iloveoov had to win two games in a row to advance to the Semi Finals. In the following two sets the Terran stepped up his game and ended the hopes of the Polish to advance further.
Testie won the first game on Gaia as well, with the help of a Dark Templar drop. He was able to hit the Terran before he was able to build Turrets or ComSat stations to avoid losing too many SCVs. However, on Azalea Midas out-macroed the Canadian completely, ending the game with an ordinary mid game attack after fifteen minutes. The third game on Paranoid Android was a relatively standard macro game, in which the Canadian survived for a longer time. The battle for the expansion in the bottom left decided the game. Testie tried to win with Carriers, which Midas fought off easily. When Testie ran out of minerals after 30 minutes, the game was over and the Korean advanced.
- Semi Finals
In the Semi Finals for the first time in WCG history only four professional players remained - the Chinese SK Telecom T1 player Legend, Midas, iloveoov and JulyZerg. Oov defeated the Chinese professional relatively easily, whereas the series between July and Midas went over full distance.
All three sets between Midas and JulyZerg were somewhat similar. On Paranoid Android Zerg opened with a Spawning Pool and Speed Upgrade for Zerglings early on, while Terran tried to Fast Expand. As the Terran wasn't able to scout the massive amount of Zerglings, he couldn't help but surrender once July overwhelmed the few amount of Marines and Medics. The second set on Gaia featured almost the same opening of both players. This time Midas added a second Barracks before Fast Expanding and had a stronger defense in place, before the Zerglings could break through. JulyZerg suffered from a low economy the entire game and was only able to take out the initial early game attack of Terran. Afterwards Midas defended against JulyZerg's Mutalisk harassment without losing a significant amount of workers, Marines or Turrets. The following mid game attack tied the overall score after fifteen minutes. In the last set on Azalea the very same opening were used again. This time JulyZerg could deal more damage with his initial Zergling attack, as the Terran couldn't wall properly on the top right spawning position. The roles were reversed, Midas now suffered an economical disadvantage, as his Natural Expansion was delayed. Nonetheless, the game lasted twenty minutes before JulyZerg advanced after attacking the Terran expansion with Dark Swarm, Lurkers and Zerglings.
- The Finals
The final Terran vs. Zerg between Oov and JulyZerg was opened on the map Paranoid Android. Just like in his games before, the Zerg opened with a Pool first build order, but this time did not research the Zergling Speed Upgrade right away. In the meantime Oov tried to fast expand off one Barracks. He could defend the first waves of Zerglings with the help of SCVs and got his expansion up in time. JulyZerg proceeded to play with a low economy build and went for a Three Hatchery Lurker strategy, staying relatively long on one gas. He used his first two Hydralisks to morph Lurkers at the Terran's mineral only, hidden from any Scans. He then used the Lurkers to deny the SCVs at Oov's Natural. Without expanding July added Mutalisks to his army and continued the harassment, picking up building SCVs and stray Marines. Oov cleaned his Natural Expansion off the initial Lurkers and prepared a larger attack with Marines and Medics. After ten minutes JulyZerg ran around Oov's army and headed directly for his undefended main base. The Terran's last attempt to break July's Natural Expansion with his left over army failed and the Zerg went up 1-0.
The second game on Azalea was the shortest in the game. Like in his Semi Finale against Midas, July tried to open with a Pool first and Speedlings against the cross spawning Terran. However, Oov denied any aggression and was able to mass Marines, Medics and a lot of Firebats, which he consequently used to contain the Zerg. July already expanded to his Natural and his Mineral Only, while teching on a low Drone count towards a Spire. Instead of defending with Sunken Colonies more than two control groups of Speedzerglings were used to counter the bio force of Terran. After seven minutes JulyZerg tried to run past the contain, but lost many Zerglings. Oov, now down to less Marines, three Firebats and two Medics decided to run past July's Sunken Colonies himself. His remaining units were able to kill the morphing Spire and easily destroyed the remaining Zerglings of JulyZerg. The score was tied.
Gaia was used for the decider. Both players spawned on cross positions again. JulyZerg opened with a Hatchery first build, which got countered by Oov via Bunker Rush. The Bunker went up in time and killed a number of Drones and Zerglings, before it was eventually destroyed by an overwhelming number of Zerglings. JulyZerg tried to hard counter the Terran's Natural Expansion with his two groups of Zerglings and almost succeeded. In the following minutes Oov had to build up to six Firebats to secure his new expansion. JulyZerg transitioned into the mid game with a high count of Mutalisks and harassment, which Oov defended well. The Terran's economy kicked in after twelve minutes and enabled him to mass a great number of Siege Tanks, three Science Vessels and almost three control groups of Marines, Medics and Firebats. After fifteen minutes the massive armies of both clashed for the first and final time. JulyZerg almost took the upper hand, as he was able to snipe all Vessels and almost all Marines, leaving only Medics and Siege Tanks over. However, since JulyZerg only had three Hatcheries and no expansions, Oov's freshly trained units decided the game instantly.
- Androide was punished with a yellow card for being late after his stage matches 
- The WCG 2006 was the first year in which all three medals went to South Korea in Brood War. Furthermore, it was the first year to feature only professional Brood War players in the Semi Finals.
- Highlight Clip Part 1
- Highlight Clip Part 2
- Theme Song: Beyond the Game
- Racial Distribution
|Round of 16||
|Round of 8||
|Round of 4||
- Regional Distribution
|Round of 16||
|Round of 8||
|Round of 4||
- America = North America + South America
- Europe = Western Europe + Eastern Europe + Russia
- Other = Asia minus Korea + Pacific + Africa
- General Information at WCG.com
- Mondragon, Dashwriter and Selector on the location (Audio)
- re-post of the original rule announce
- Teamliquid Map discussion
- Broodwar.de on the players
- GosuGamers on favourite Foreigners
- TLPD on oov's record in between 2003 and 2004
- message about oov's retirement
- Midas Proleague Record
- GosuGamers News on Androide after WCG
- Mondragon's BWCL statistics (Archive.org)
- WGTour Season Results (Archive.org)
- Mondragon's Nation War statistics
- FiSheYe about Draco in 2005(Archive.org)
- Draco goes to Korea
- Interview about Draco's Korea trip
- Draco obtains a KeSPA license
- Teamliquid discussion about Testie
- GosuGamers about Testie
- Teamliquid Topic on Testie's Forbidden Zone record
- TL Thread
- BWCL Thread
- BWCL Thread II
- Yellow card incident