King of the Desert 3, hosted by MembTV and sponsored by Pinztec and Microsoft, is the biggest Age of Empires II tournament of the year till now with a prize pool of $50,000. The tournament, which has been long awaited, finally began its initial round on the 17th of September, kicking off the event with the best-of-3 single elimination round of 64. The format for the tournament is two rounds of elimination (first bo3 and second bo5) which will bring down the players from 64 to 16. That will be followed by a GSL double elimination group stage (four groups of four people). The top two from each group (a total of eight) will then fight it out in a final single elimination series.
From Septemeber 17th to September 20th, a total of 32 games were played with the equivalent number of players being eliminated from the tournament. They will receive no prize money, whereas the ones who secured a place in the round of 32 are assured at least $125. First round games are bound to be the most one sided ones, but there were a lot of enthralling series with a few of the contests going down to the wire.
Best contests of the round of 64
Some of the matchups worth noting in this round were:
LaaaaaN vs Goku (Goku won 2-1)
Daniel vs JorDan (Daniel won 2-1)
Hoand vs Lyx (Lyx won 2-0)
Capoch vs Zuppi (Zuppi won 2-0)
The biggest upsets of the round involved two Brazilians – F1re (19th seed) lost to chart (46th seed). This was an unexpected loss for F1re, who lost the series 2-0. But his fellow Brazilian, GoKu (54th seed) took out the Spaniard LaaaaaN (11th seed), which again, not a lot of people might have predicted.
Returning crowd favorite JorDan gave Daniel a run for his money, but Daniel pulled off some unforseen laming tricks in the last game to make the game messy and unsettle JorDan and win it 2-1. Another crowd favorite, Hoang, seemed like he was headed to the next round to face TheViper as he had a commanding lead in game 3 against Lyx, but could not manage to close out the game. Both these series, although not the highest level of AoE, had a lot of edge-of-the-seat moments.
The last major upset came in the final match of the round – Capoch (16th seed) against Zuppi (49th seed). There were a lot of expectations on Capoch after his recent showing in Red Bull Wololo 2, in which he defeated MbL 3-2. But Zuppi, a part of team Suomi and a very experienced player himself, had other plans. Even though Zuppi won 2-0, both games had a lot of ebbs and flows and in the end, Zuppi emerged a deserved winner.
The top eight seeds didn’t have to break a sweat with all of them winning comfortably with a 2-0 scoreline. The next round, which will feature best-of-5-games, will be played from the 24th-27th of September, with four matches being played per day. The games to look out for in the round of 32 are:
Zuppi vs BacT
TheMax vs RiuT
Vinchester vs slam
ACCM vs chart
The action is just starting to heat up and if the first round had such amazing games to display, one can only imagine the competitiveness of the games as the tournament advances. As each week goes on, we will get closer to crowing a new King of the Desert!