One of the many nice things about Heart of the Swarm has been how it’s made the Zerg a much more flexible and interesting faction to watch. That really hit home for me yesterday watching the first group of the WCS America round of 16, where Norwegian Zerg Jens “Snute” Aasgaard showed off the variety of play with Heart of the Swarm Zerg, and his own resilience as a player.
You can watch last night’s play over on Twitch: his series against NesTea starts at 9:30, and his series against Alicia (highly recommended) starts at 2:15:30. The MLG-operated WCS America continues tonight (and every night this week save Friday) at 11 PM UK / 6PM Eastern. Tonight, however, the WCS America broadcast is preceded by the first-ever SHOUTcraft America Grand Finals, between Sam “Kane” Morrissette and Ryan “State” Visbeck. It starts at 8 PM UK / 3 PM Eastern and streams via TotalBiscuit’s Twitch channel.
SHOUTcraft America is an independent tournament operated and sponsored by the eSports team of Genna Bain and John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, and is only open to players from the Americas in order to name a regional champion. This is useful, because WCS America’s Round of 16 is down to only two North Americans, Suppy and Scarlett.
Still, if WCS America keeps having series like Snute’s battles with NesTea and Alicia, I probably won’t mind the lack of proper regional representation. What was particularly striking about last night’s WCS play, however, was how it showed the different ways these players have adapted to Heart of the Swarm. Snute has wholeheartedly-embraced it, employing vipers to deadly effect and experimenting with swarm hosts to try and stand-off scary armies (to mixed results, illustrating some of the reason why the swarm host remains my least favorite unit of the expansion), and then dominating the next game with speed-upgraded Zerglings to harry his opponent at every base. It was a sharp contrast to NesTea’s seemingly more Wings of Liberty-style play, with its commitment to mutalisks and roaches in every situation.