Game one looked like anything but an upset, however. Infi went for a standard fast expansion on LT and teched straight to gryphons. Hong Won 'FarSeer' Ui kept the game close for the first 15 minutes or so, containing Infi's attempted expansions. But by the 20 minute mark the game was effectively over. With 3-3 upgraded gryphons and four sources of income, the human player simply made hit-and-run attacks on Farseer's expansions until he had such a huge air army that the orc was completely overwhelmed.
On Two Rivers Farseer traded his blademaster for his namesake hero and tried to harass Infi's creeping. Both players went for a fast tech and while Infi started to produce a rifle/caster army, the orc teched again while making a few wyverns. Infi made the first aggressive move when he pushed the orc's base with ivory towers. With no peasants to repair, the wyverns made quick work of the towers but Farseer was trapped in his base. Meanwhile Infi tried to sneak up an expansion at his natural but again the wyverns were able to stop it from going up.
It was another push into Farseer's fortified tower-defended base that proved to be Infi's undoing. The attack almost gave him time to sneak up an expansion but he lost so many units - including his mountain king - that he was almost defenseless when the orc counter-attacked. A combination of level five heroes and bloodlusted wyverns put pay to Infi shortly thereafter. The chain/wave decimated what was left of the human army while the wyverns took down Infi's archmage in seconds.
Game three started with the unusual sight of a trapped blademaster TP-ing in the first few minutes. The hero was forced out after what had previously been a decent harass on the human's lab creeping. Both players hit level three before their tech finished and went for a shadow hunter and beastmaster with the usual mix of units to back them up. Infi headed straight for Farseer's under construction buildings but only managed to trade a few resources for two footmen and a hero kill.
Infi came back with some ivory towers, peasants and a freshly resurrected beastmaster... which then proceeded to die once again. But crucially, the human got his first three towers up and the game turned strongly in his favour. By the time his BM returned with another collection of towers the game was essentially over.
Farseer reverted to his namesake again while Infi went for a fast expansion with his mountain king. The orc was granted pretty strong map control due to his faster tech and went for wyverns once again. But after losing a handful to the towers at Infi's expansion he swapped for raiders after putting up an unscouted expansion of his own. Infi's tech, on the other hand, was so delayed that he didn't hit tier two until the ten minute mark. This was due in part to losing a ton of peasants to chain/wave, thanks to the close proximity of a mana fountain.
The peasant slaughter (and believe me, that’s the right word) continued right up to the end of the game. Infi simply couldn’t match Farseer’s production since he kept having to spend his gold on new workers. All the while the orc heroes were creeping up to level five. The two armies only met head-on once during the whole game and a combination of bat AOE damage combined with chain/wave meant that the 0-1 gryphons were more like little packets of exp.
Farseer fans must have been fearing the worst when they saw a close spawn on this map. Infi even sent three militia straight to the orc base and cancelled his 2nd burrow. Fortunately, spectators were spared a super fast game when he pulled them back after the burrow kill.
The game continued in a similar fashion, always looking like a tower rush was on the cards. Infi built a lumber mill during his tech and even managed a farseer kill as the players hit tier two. But still he didn’t bring the peasants into the orc base. Instead, farseer seemed to take the initiative for a while, creeping his farseer and naga while harassing with wyverns again.
That initiative didn’t last long, however. Infi’s mass caster army, with a handful of dragonhawks, pushed into the Farseer’s base and kept him there for the remainder of the game. Once he got good positioning for his d-hawks the wyverns fell like flies and all Farseer could do was say “gg.”
A Fitting Finale
Since its original announcement, Shadowleague was one of the most anticipated tournaments WC3 has ever known. The chance to see old favourites go up against modern heroes was a mouth-watering one and the grand final was the perfect ending. It wasn’t the demolition that most people expected, nor was it quite an upset. Instead it was a well played series of entertaining games between two superb players.
Of course Farseer deserves more plaudits for making a game out of what might have been a massacre. But I would like to say thank-you to Infi for not degenerating the last game into a tower rush as he so easily could have done. A win for the human was probably the best result as well. After all, what state would the game be in if it hadn’t moved on since the likes of Farseer retired?
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