The bracket churned throughout the day and quickly crowned 5 of our 6 qualified players – Probe, NXZ, Meomaika, Crimson and MightyKiwi. The crowd’s attention was then drawn to the final qualifying match: Ashley ‘Frustration’ Cox versus Craig ‘Azure’ MacKechnie.
On paper, Azure was favoured moving into the series. While both are veterans of tournament play in our region, Azure found the best form of his career this year and clinched 3rd place overall in Season 1. Frustration has been a villain of the scene since 2012 due to the poor behaviour which lead to him being disciplined and fined in Season 1.
Azure got off to a strong start in the best-of-three series, winning the first match on ‘Proxima Station’ with aggressive play dealing critical damage to Frustration’s economy.
Frustration didn’t let the loss get to him. He collected himself in the next game and played a calculated patient style allowing him to amass a huge army and equalise the series.
With the series tied, Azure tried reverting to the aggressive style that he had used in the first match, but Frustration was ready with blink stalkers and brilliant army positioning to easily deflect aggression. Frustration’s economy, upgrades, army composition and excellent micro-management were simply too much for Azure to handle.
And so our sixth finals contestant was crowned.
The full bracket was played out for seeds and bragging rights. The logic being the better placement you achieve in the bracket, the “easier” opponent you face first round in the main event, so the players fought on.
Tran ‘Meomaika’ Hong Phuc defeated Frustration with relentless hydralisk and zergling armies. Frustration put up a strong fight drawing the series out to three maps, but Meomaika’s unorthodox forward-expand strategy on Proxima Station proved to be too much to handle.
Ryan ‘NXZ’ Jones handed Meomaika a defeat in a short-but-sweet series and advanced to the Grand Final of the qualifying tournament where Sean ‘Probe’ Kempen was waiting.
They fought for over an hour, taking the series the distance. NXZ showed flair with creative usage of swarm hosts to halt Probe’s momentum. Probe seemed to struggle in the series but was eventually victorious. The series is definitely worth a watch. Full VoD here:
With our eight contestants now determined, stay tuned for additional coverage throughout Season 3 of WCS ANZ Challenger. Make sure you tune in live on Saturday from 11.00 am AEST, right here.