[box]James “Obscurica” Chen covered the finals of the Curse Invitational live from their San Francisco offices this weekend. Please see below for his post-game interviews of Curse and Dignitas, as well as his exclusive impressions from this event!
“What? No, group A-“
“A $2,000 grand finals-“
I don’t give good interviews.
The Curse Invitational Grand Finals, really a showcase match between the winner of the actual tournament and Curse’s own team, was a remarkable event in an unremarkable locale. San Francisco’s scent of salt sprays and unwashed hobos was a lingering miasma upon its vertically angled streets, but Curse’s headquarters was a lofty fourteen floors above it all, all beige walls and randomly strewn furniture – this show match is perhaps the last time they’ll have their eSports team all in this one place, as our contact claimed that they planned to move soon.
Where to, I know not – perhaps somewhere far from the schizophrenic dichotomy of San Francisco’s streets, where too-poised women stalk past the sea-leathered voices of the muttering homeless. This city puts me in the oddest moods – I can never find my rhythm nor balance when on its inclined streets. But that’s no excuse for the embarrassingly amateur interview I conducted on behalf of ggChronicle.
No helping it. At least the match was good. A hard stomping by Dignitas was met, in karmic echo of their match with Counterlogic Gaming, by a resurgent Curse on the second round. But unlike the finals of the original tournament, there was no turnabout. In a memorable hour-long match that left ColbyCheeze looking like a dead, lifeless fish at the end, Dignitas and Curse had the Battle of AP Carries – fight after fight that boiled down to whether Veigar would catch just one person in Event Horizon long enough to have his team tear their throats out, or if Morgana’s Soul Shackles would consign Curse to a hellish fate. Sixty and one fiendish, nailbiting minutes as Curse howled for vengeance and wounded pride – they would not simply relinquish $20,000 of their sponsor’s money to a bunch of kids still in school, sacrificing practice time for midterms and finals. It would not be a free paycheck to Dignitas.
Their efforts weren’t enough. After a long, grueling hour that left Dignitas with all towers and all inhibitors down, left them with nothing more than the Nexus, their collective use of Guardian Angel, foiling Veigar’s attempts to reduce fights to 4v5, won them the final Baron Nashor of the game, allowing them one decisive strike in the heart of Curse’s base.
I called Colby a dead, lifeless fish above, but that’s not looking down on the man – well, in light of my previous column, not this time. What’s truly noteworthy is that he kept his energy up until the very end. Nobody was getting out of that match unscathed, not even the casters. In this instance, whatever else he might have done wrong, he at least did a professional job of it to the very end. And I don’t envy him for it, or anybody else in the casting business.
In an internal document being circulated amongst ggChronicle’s staff, MonteCristo had asserted that doing shoutcasting right, especially after a best-of-three match, should leave you tired. Exhausted might be a better description. And that’s for an average of an hour for both matches, possibly a total of three. The emotional investment and quick mental work required to optimally cast a monster of a match like the second game between Dignitas and Curse would leave anybody staggered – and the fact that none of you’d know it by watching the stream is proof enough of the man’s capabilities.
Of course, I still prefer Optimus Tom and Pwnophobia’s casting, even if all they’re covering at the moment’s in-house games and amateur events. The Casting Kill Lane, as they call themselves, has the right mix of humor, chemistry and assertive confidence – enough to make up for any lapses in professionalism and shortages of insight. They’re not 2,000+ Elo pro players, but they uphold the number one most important duty of a caster: keep the listener informatively entertained.
Not that I could say the same about the interview. No mic, lots of background noise, and we actually needed to edit out the worst of the bloopers – or, rather, I insisted out of mortified embarrassment. But I think we managed to at least capture something of the essence of both teams. Curse, visibly deflated after a brutal loss, but still cocky about their odds in Hannover; Dignitas elated and relieved, also looking onward towards Germany’s CeBIT expo. And perhaps it speaks of something of the fickle nature of the game’s professional scene that it was the winners of this tournament that were actually worried of the outcome in Hannover.
I won’t shy from saying it – I’m rooting more for Dignitas. It feels as if they’re taking fewer things for granted, whether it’d be the streak of their recent successes, or their own capabilities as players. Though I question Imaqtpie’s outright declaration that he’ll be useless if Corki’s banned, it at least speaks well of their mindstates that victory is immediately beset by critical self-analysis of weaknesses and inefficiencies.
I wish I could’ve interviewed them longer, especially to pick apart Scarra’s brains for insights on how pro gaming teams function among themselves, for the general trends of eSports, for whatever. But with Dignitas’s appointment with IGN Entertainment and IPL4 rounds, the Curse Invitational Grand Finals ended for us as soon as it had begun.
They will, with luck, meet again upon the fields of Germany.