Team Acer Tribute

On March 1st, 2016 my favourite SC2 team, Team Acer, disbanded (Source). Acer became my hands-down favourite team in 2012 when they signed Scarlett, who I had just watched get wrecked by the PartinG Soul Train at the 2012 World Championship.

I’ll be honest, I’m Canadian, I play Zerg, and I had an a great Acer laptop:

I became an instant Scarlett fan.

Putting bias aside, I soon had more reasons to cheer for Acer with the additions of MMA and InnoVation, the creation of the Acer TeamStory Cup, and getting the chance to see their players in almost every major event.

Team Acer was a mainstay in the StarCraft2 scene since July of 2011, here is a reminiscence of some of my favourite memories as a proud supporter in celebration of a great contributing organization to StarCraft2.


 

2011  IEM Guangzhou (Elfi v Idra)

It was 2011, Wings of Liberty still had that new game smell, and Team Acer made its first appearance in a major tournament finals thanks to Elfi. It wasn’t an easy task, being seeded into the group of death with Idra and Jinro, but the Finnish Protoss got through the group stage without dropping a map. Before long, Elfi made it to the finals for a rematch against Idra in a classic matchup of Idra Macro vs Elfi-builds. This tournament pretty much established Elfi’s reputation as the player we know and love today, and gave Team Acer it’s first shot at SC2 glory.


 

2012 DreamHack Bucharest Finals (Nerchio v Bly) 

It’s the best and worst possible situation for a team: two of your best players are playing against each other in an elimination match, but that match is the Finals, so the team is guaranteed a championship. This basically describes Nerchio versus Bly at DreamHack Bucharest. It would be Team Acer’s first title in a major tournament and established Acer as a force to be reckoned with in the foreign scene.


 

2013 DreamHack Bucharest (INnoVation vs MMA and Bucharest Title Defense)

Team Acer returned to Bucharest looking to defend their champion status from winning the event the year before, this time with even bigger guns. Acer had picked up  INnoVation  fresh off his 2013 GSL Championship, adding one of the best SC2 talents of all time to their roster. Acer had already acquired  MMA, another premier Korean Terran talent, and could now be considered one of the strongest teams outside of Korea.

MMA and InnoVation faced each other in the semi-finals to determine who would go on to defend Acer’s title as DreamHack Bucharest champion, which would be no easy task considering the challenger: Taeja.


 

The Rise of Scarlett

In June of 2012 Acer signed another foreign Zerg. Although somewhat overshadowed by Nerchio and Bly and later by the additions of the Korean Terrans,  Scarlett would soon carve out a place for herself as one of the best non-Korean players and would arguably become the face of Team Acer.

Her first impressive results came from Iron Squid II, where she advanced through a staked group stage that included MKP and TaeJa, taking out Symbol in three games ( G1, G2, G3 ) before eventually falling to NesTea ( G1, G2, G3, G4 ).

2013 would continue to be a defining year for Scarlett and Team Acer, Scarlet would eventually reach the Finals at ASUS ROG NorthCon 2013 which saw her defeat former teammate Elfi, StarDust and Life before meeting Jaedong in the Finals for an epic JvZ.

But all that came after Red Bull Battle Grounds, after Scarlett cemented her status as fan favourite and Queen of Blades, after one of, if not the, best games of SC2 ever played: Scarlett vs Bomber, Game 3.

The rivalry between these two was fostered by complementary play-styles and frequent pairings against each other, which made their series at this tournament spectacular from Game One. Game Two was nail biting. And Game Three was one for the ages.


2014 The Year of MMA

MMA brought Team Acer their first WCS Championship in 2013 from WCS EU Season 3 and had been performing very consistently since joining the team. But between his late-2013 WCS Championship and BlizzCon in 2014, the Korean Terran was about to shift into a higher gear. MMA would finish second in a rematch versus MC for the WCS EU 2014 Season 1 title, before winning the title again in Season 3:

Then came his DreamHack Moscow Title, featuring a TvT finals between him and jjakji (VoD)

But MMA wasn’t done yet! Not only had he made it to BlizzCon and the 2014 WCS Global Finals, but despite being considered a heavy underdog, his form would carry him all the way to the finals.

2014 wasn’t just a banner year for MMA, it was a banner year for Team Acer. They had arguably the best players outside of Korea, they had the best results of a non-Korean team, they had some of the most recognizable and beloved players to ever play the game. It was a good year to cheer for the Green and White.


 

The Slow Burn

Unfortunately the heights of 2014 would never quite be reached again. Not by any single member of Team Acer, or by the organization as a whole. INnoVation returned to Korea having never won the major championship title he had so long expected with Acer. MMA also returned to Korea, although still under the Team Acer banner. In his first season back in GSL in 2015 MMA made the semi-finals, extending his hot play from the previous year ( VoDs). Unfortunately this would be his peak.

MMA would win one last, well deserved, emotional SC2 Championship on the eve of his retirement: Homestory Cup XII. Although his journey through the entire tournament is worth watching, the finals and the celebration afterwards are especially touching.

It would be the last major title Team Acer would win.

But it would not be the last Finals that Team Acer would be represented in. With the release of Legacy of the Void, Bly saw a major resurgence in his style and brought Acer to the cusp of having won a major tournament title in every iteration of SC2. He took out Hydra ( VoD ), he took out viOLet ( VoD ), by all rights he had the tournament in the bag. But PtitDrogo had something to say about that…

By 2016 Team Acer had lost InnoVation to Korean teams, MMA to retirement, Scarlett to semi-retirement and Nerchio left the team in January. Bly was effectively the only truly active professional player when the team announced it’s disbandment on March 1st, 2016( Source ).

Team Acer’s StarCraft2 division won six major titles: two WCS Championships, two DreamHack Championships and two HomeStory Cups. The team was represented in a total of fifteen Finals and twenty seven semi-finals. Team Acer should be considered one of, if not the, most successful SC2 Team not based in Korea. ( Source ).

Acer picked up some of the best players in the world, both in terms of skills and personalities. They where an easy team to cheer for. Some of the best games of SC2 you can watch feature the Acer tag.

That Tuesday when Acer officially announced that their eSports division was being shut down, it felt like the arrival of something I knew had been coming.

Nothing had been done to refill the team roster, despite losing some of their biggest names and the release of Legacy of the Void.

But it was more than that. It wasn’t just Acer’s StarCraft team that was let go. It was their entire eSports division.

This isn’t really the place for discussion on the exact reasons for Team Acer’s closure. It’s a complex issue far beyound the scope of this article, but considering Acer’s financial situation over the last few years ( Source ) and the fact that it was their entire eSports division, not just the SC2 team, that was disbanded, strongly suggests that it had nothing to do with eSports performance, and more to do with far larger financial pressures.

It is a sad time to see such an important fixture in the StarCraft2 scene shuttered, but we should be thankful for all the GG’s throughout the years and the undeniable impact Team Acer has had on the players, fans and community of StarCraft2 and eSports overall.

Cheers, Acer. GG

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