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INnoVation wins HomeStory Cup XVII

INnoVation, representing O'Gaming, grabbed a $4,000 cash prize after winning the HomeStory Cup XVII championship. Early on, the Korean terran player had some tough time and dropped down into the losers’ bracket after a 0-3 loss to Solar, but managed to fight through it to the very finals, where he claimed a 4-3 victory in a best-of-seven series against zerg SoO.

The final match started on Darkness Sanctuary as the first map, where INnoVation entered with a 0-1 deficit, coming from the losers’ bracket. He started with a quick hellion drop, and even though the zerg had queens and lings to defend, nine drones went down. No further harassment from INnoVation was successful and the terran was mostly contained in his base for the rest of the game.

SoO went into a ling-bane-muta composition and with an amazing creep spread asserted his control over the big map that Darkness Sanctuary is. INnoVation relied on bio with tanks, later transitioning into ghost-liberator, while SoO added ultras and brood lords to his army. SoO used his dominant position to establish a superior economy and quickly amassed a huge bank of over 10k minerals. The players kept respecting one another in the late game, making calculated moves, which led to relatively minor engagements with even trades. However, SoO's massive bank allowed him to remax faster than INnoVation.

In the 26th minute, SoO managed to catch INnoVation's main army off-guard, when a bunch of banelings suddenly turned all the ghosts into green acid. Realizing the advantage he had gained, SoO immediately pushed INnoVation out of the game.

The second map was Redshift. The game started without any early aggression. INnoVation tried to do some marine drops, but SoO was more than prepared with queens, roaches and some ravagers. The zerg continued to build a low-tier roach-ling-bane army, which was neither dealing economic damage, nor able to stand up to INnoVation's tank-bio force. Eventually, SoO started producing ultras, but all too late, as the terran was already snowballing with the ghost count, and snipes were abundant. Game 2 went to INnoVation for a 1-2 score.

Game 3 took place on Catalyst. SoO made the first move with an early ling-roach-ravager attack, which failed to pay for itself, as it was met by a well-positioned tank with the support of marines. After that convincing hold, INnoVation made a quick counter-attack with two medivacs, full of marines, which ended the game in his favor.

Game 4 was on Acid Plant. INnoVation tried putting some early pressure on with marines and medivacs, but SoO had plenty of roaches, ravagers, and queens to shut that down. However, INnoVation was relentless with his ever-growing bio army, which took efficient trades one after the other, until SoO decided he had had enough and tapped out.

Knowing he was on match point with a 3-2 lead, INnoVation tried proxying two barracks on map 5: Dreamcatcher. However, SoO's overlord scouted it immediately and the terran retreated to his base. That beginning put SoO at an advantage, which he further solidified by catching and killing four early hellions with a handful of lings. SoO decided to pressure INnoVation with seven fast mutas, and an instant ling-bane follow-up. As INnoVation’s marines were desperately trying to chase the mutas around, the ling-bane army caught them off-guard and that was gg for the terran.

The players entered the final Game 6 on 16-Bit tied at 3-3. INnoVation opened up with multiple hellbat attacks. SoO held convincingly with just queens, lings and good micro. INnoVation tried to keep up the pressure with following attacks, but with hydras joining the fight, the terran forces were unable to deal any significant damage.

At first, INnoVation's attacks managed to keep SoO on the defense, but as the zerg went into swarm hosts, he started doing counter-attacks. But then, while SoO was adding somewhat questionable banelings (against mech) to his composition, INnoVation made great use of liberators and blue flame hellions, killing over 30 drones with small attacks. SoO, probably very tired at this point, had difficulty keeping up with the constant harassment and continuously took economic damage.

On the other hand, the zerg kept winning engagements against the main terran army, as positioning was somehow always in favor of the swarm. Good baneling connections, as well as catching tanks, and thors out of position on multiple occasions, kept the zerg player in the game for a long time despite being at a major economic disadvantage.

Regardless, INnoVation was the one with money to spend, and no matter how amazing the trades that SoO took were, the terran army kept growing stronger and stronger. As INnoVation was maxing out on thors, liberators, hellions, tanks and vikings, hope was running low for the zerg player. The final blow came with a hellion attack managing to roast 40 drones, which really sealed the deal and a minute later SoO called the gg.

It was an exhausting four-day-long double-elimination tournament, taking place in Krefeld, Germany, from June 28 to July 1. The final match actually ended on July 2, 2:40 a.m. local time. The whole tournament included 32 players facing off in best-of-three matches, which became best-of-fives from the Round of 8 onwards. The players were competing for a prize pool of $10,000, but also had time to socialize and give interviews. It was indeed the opportunity for the community to gather and get to know the players from a more personal perspective, which was the whole point of the event’s lengthiness.