For the last 20 years, the World Cyber Games has stood as the pinnacle esports events for a diverse pool of video games and genres. The crisp air of a super AC’ed stadium filled to the brim with passionate esports diehards – the echoing anthem of WCG’s theme song — undeniably catchy, if not a little cheesy — Beyond The Game. These are the notes of an unforgettable experience that decades of esports fans still fondly remember.
You and I we have met before
Through the magic of the moment in cyberspace
Driven by a passion to win
Playing heart to heart and face to face
The challenge of a lifetime
Stands before us now
Beyond the game
Through the portal into cyberspace
We have come to decide our fate
We're here to celebrate
Beyond the game!
Now, as WCG celebrates its 20th anniversary, I’m bringing you the most iconic World Cyber Games moments, featuring Starcraft, Warcraft 3, Counter Strike, Age of Empires II, and Unreal Tournament. When you bring together world class players, each with unrivaled dedication to their game, the resulting clash is epic. When the talents of the world's greatest gamers are put to the test and neither player backs down — this is the stuff of iconic esports moments.
Jaedong vs Flash, WCG 2010, Starcraft Korea grand final
Starcraft Korea Final, terran vs. zerg, neither player shows any signs of weakness as the first match goes to a whopping 51 minutes long. Each player used the full gambit of their selected race’s strengths and, after what seemed like the knock-down-drag-out Starcraft of the year, the winning play was a floating Command Center scouting the final Zerg expansions.
Within milliseconds, both players GG’ed. They both knew exactly what state the game was in, even after 51 minutes of massive RTS battles. Iconic!
fnatic vs AGAiN, WCG 2009, Counter Strike grand final
In 2009, Counter Strike had a blessed team and their name was fnatic. They were favorites to win WCG that year and their all-Polish opponents, team AGAiN, weren’t surprised when the crowd began to boo them throughout the match. Keep in mind, there were an estimated 10,000 people in that arena and the roar in Chengdu, China, must have been deafening.
In fact, it appeared that the jeers and taunts had the opposite effect. Poland looked battle-hardened and focused. When fight or flight kicked in, they chose the prior. The now-legendary quadruple overtime match is often regarded as one of the best CS matches ever played.
Mandatory esports iconic moments viewing!
Moon vs Grubby, WCG 2008 | Warcraft III grand final
The enthusiasm of the German commentary during the WCG 2008 Warcraft 3 Grand Finals in Cologne matched the intensity of Moon’s agile night elf vs. Grubby’s unrelenting orc. Fans of Warcraft 3 often mention this series in GOAT discussions as both players are microing units at unprecedented levels.
When the match ended, it even spawned an immortal WC3 esports meme: Da Keepa! Da Keepa! With this win, Grubby secured his second WCG victory and a spot in the WCG hall of fame. The Moon vs. Grubby rivalry would only deepen after this match.
Grubby vs ReMinD, WCG 2010, Warcraft 3 grand final
Considering Grubby’s win over Korea in 2008, the aggressive playstyle and decisive strikes ReMinD used to overcome the orc in 2010 as a clear message that Korean esports will not let go of their RTS champion pride. In fact, when the final GG was called, ReMinD was quick to show off the Korean emblem on his jacket.
It wasn’t just ReMinD showing off either. Even the Korean commentators began to tear up, overwhelmed by the national pride and intense set they had just witnessed. This was, after all, the first South Korean gold medal in Warcraft 3 after years of losing to Europe and China. Still, Grubby’s stall tactics were truly a sight to behold, pushing the orc race to the limit as he is most known for. A truly defining moment in Warcraft 3 esports.
Day9 vs Yosh, WCG USA 2005, Starcraft grand final
Day 9 and Tasteless are two brothers that really love Starcraft. Day9’s skill as a competitor shines with his micro-intensive zerg play and it is heartwarming to hear his brother’s obvious bias and excitement while commentating the match. That day turned out to launch both brothers' esports careers.
As the story goes, the tournament's initial caster was sorely lacking in-game knowledge and Tasteless volunteered to cast after he fell out of the bracket. His enthusiasm and talent for casting was so apparent that he stayed for the remainder of the event!
GitzZz vs. Pain, WCG 2001, Unreal Tournament grand final
Unreal Tournament is not a game for the faint of heart. In an era when games were a lot easier to exploit, the movement techniques in Unreal Tournament make competitive gameplay fast and deadly.
Putting on a show of this lethality is GitzZz, the player most would now agree was the best competitive Unreal Tournament player of all time. There is still something marvelous about this predictive mid-air kill, you have to see it to appreciate it. At the time GitzZz was feared as the most intelligent 1v1 player in the game and this grand final shows why.
Parfait vs. iamgrunt_01, WCG 2007, Age of Empires III grand final
From 2001 to 2011, Grunt dominated a decade’s worth of Age of Empires competition with superior macro and an uncanny ability to manage several areas of the map at once. During the WCG 2007 AoE grand finals, his opponent Parfait deployed a surprising strategy: the Dutch 3 bank, fast fortress build. Now, this is a known strategy that many players use, but at the time it was considered off meta. It almost caught Grunt off guard.
However, thanks to timely raids of Parfaits economy and a staunch defense of his own resources, Grunt was able to come back from what looked like a lost match. Grunt is considered by many to be the best AoE player of all time thanks to his ability to adapt even on the largest of stages.
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.