Mondragon

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki
[e][h]Zerg Mondragon
Mondragon.png
Player Information
Name:
Christoph Semke
Birth:
December 12, 1986 (1986-12-12) (age 30)
Country:
Race:
Team:
Alternate IDs:
Mondragon, welcometodying
Links
History

Christoph "Mondragon" Semke is a retired German Zerg player and leader of the Templars of Twilight.

Biography[edit]

Mondragon was born on the 12th December 1986 in Neumarkt, Germany. He finished the German Gymnasium in 2006 with the Abitur[1] and completed his civil service in 2007.[2] Afterwards he majored in Business at a university.[3]

Brood War[edit]

Mondragon began playing Brood War online in late 1999 after his brother introduced him to the game.[4] After leaving his first team, {BoK}, Mondragon joined Kalaschni's team Power Losers. The German Zerg was improving significantly from the more competitive atmosphere of the team, especially from Kalaschni's macro-oriented Sauron Zerg. At the time, Kalaschni was already a well-established player and had won several events in the German scene. After six months Mondragon left the team and joined the Templars of Twilight which was created and managed by his brother. Gradually he took over most of the leadership responsibilities and made the clan the most successful and prestigious in foreign history.[5]


In 2001 the Templars were a mostly German-speaking clan and only played in the bigger German clan leagues like BWCL or Stammkneipe. However, the dominant German players were mostly in pro Gaming's predecessor (DEF) (later (iDEF) ). Mondragon and the Templars were already a well known team, but couldn't compete with established players like Kosh, KoRn or FiSheYe. Despite playing in lower level leagues, Mondragon was already seen as one of the upcoming stars, a title he shared with Socke. In late 2001 the youngster and his team would win the fourth season of Brood War Clan League. In the following two years the Templars added ten more gold medals to their roster and thus completely dominated the German-only clan league. Between 2002 and 2004, the young Zerg was listed as the player with most wins and best record in both 1v1 and 2v2 in BWCL[6] and was able to win the third season team finale of the World Gaming Tour Ladder and finished third in the 1v1 version.[7] Mondragon was consequently invited to join the German National Team for his performance in these leagues. Between 2002 and 2010, the German Zerg would become the most valuable player of his team.[8]


After his second place finish in the WCG 2003 the Protoss FiSheYe was widely considered to be the best German player. However, since the Templars of Twilight began recruiting players from abroad, Mondragon improved further and gained experience from his matches in the German National team. After FiSheYe announced that he'd start to focus on Warcraft III in late 2003[9] the road was clear for Mondragon to take over the spot as strongest German player. A rivalry between the Protoss from Berlin and the Zerg from Southern Germany started in the third Giga Grandslam, which was the biggest tournament within the German scene. Mondragon, who introduced new macro-oriented strategies, easily made his way to the Semifinals where he met FiSheYe. He defeated the supposed bonjwa of Germany 2-0 and proceeded to win the finals against Hexer 2-1. A month later, Semke qualified for the German WCG Preliminaries in Düsseldorf for the first time. In the offline finals at the Giga Studios he went through the bracket stage and defeated experienced players Infinity and Dashwriter. Afterwards Mondragon basically destroyed the semi-active and less motivated FiSheYe with a clean 5-0 sweep. With his victory in Düsseldorf the era of FiSheYe as the most dominant player was over; he couldn't do a thing against Mondragon's impressive and perfectly-timed build orders. In the main event of the WCG in San Francisco Mondragon advanced from his group with only one loss against the Spanish Zerg Manza. He defeated the Chilean Protoss KNiF in the round after easily, but showed his nerves against the Russian Terran Advokate. Mondragon's weak Zerg vs. Terran, limited experience in prestigious offline tournaments, and the inherent imbalance of the air map Gorky Park eventually caused him to lose 1-2 against a player that he was expected to beat. Upon returning Germany, Mondragon won the Templar's very own Invite Tournament, once again killing the German elite.


In March 2005 FiSheYe and Mondragon had to face each other again, this time online. Since both had been eliminated in the Round of 16 of the World Cyber Games in the previous year, they had to play a deciding match which would guarantee a spot in the European Championships for the winner. The match was highly anticipated, especially since Mondragon's team was now the direct rival of FiSheYe's team.[10] Both were seen as the symbol of their respective clans, with Mondragon being the archetype of a friendly player and the Protoss being the professional, money-seeking arch-enemy. This time the clash was intense and FiSheYe was better prepared. The match went the full distance, but Mondragon eventually defeated the Protoss with a final score of 4-3. The main event at CeBIT in Hannover featured a number of well-known Europeans, among them Beast, the bronze medalist of WCG 2004, and the Russian veteran Androide, who already had the reputation of being the strongest foreign Terran. The Russian was often seen as the next up-and-coming emperor of the foreign world because of his exceptional mechanical skill as well as his vast experience in offline events. Mondragon, on the other hand, showed a lot of flaws against Terran. However, Androide was defeated by the Hungarian Protoss Gorky in the Round of 8,a but still made his way through the lower bracket, not dropping a single game against some of the strongest participating players. By contrast, Mondragon had already lost a set to the Romanian Shaman, who wasn't a top-tier Terran. In the super finals Mondragon surprised the audience and won the gold with a 3-0 over the tournament favorite from Russia.


The Zerg continued his strong performance and easily qualified for the fourth Giga Grandslam, advanced from a group unchallenged and once again made his way to the overall finals without losing a single set. In the finals he faced FiSheYe again. Mondragon picked Terran in the first set, his weakest off race, to avoid going up with Zerg against Protoss on Parallel Lines. In the second set the Protoss seemed to gain confidence and opened with a Fast Expansion. Both played quite passively, until they entered the late-game with four expansions each. Mondragon's exceptional understanding of his race showed again, as he outmacroed FiSheYe in the long run and won the series with a clear 2-0. The Zerg then went inactive throughout the summer and passed up on his seed for the WCG Germany 2005.


In July 2005 pro Gaming's management announced that their entire roster would be replaced with the Templars' line-up. At first nobody could really believe that Mondragon would agree to give up his traditional clan for money and a controversy among the fans started.[11][12] However, Mondragon's decision was final; he stated that the decision was made after all of his players were promised a sponsorship from pro Gaming.[13] The confirmation of the merge left a stain on Mondragon's white collar in the German scene.[14]


The Zerg returned in August and qualified for the ESL Pro Series VII and the fifth Giga Grandslam. During his inactivity, which lasted a couple months, FiSheYe was able to regain his position as the strongest German player. Additionally, Schnibl0r and Breakdown both made a run for the position of strongest Zerg. Despite the lack of practice, Mondragon went on to win both events easily. He defeated Schnibl0r and GoOdy in the Giga Grandslam and repeated his 2-0 over Schnibl0r in the ESL Pro Series. For his performances Mondragon was invited to the Blizzcon Invitational in Anaheim in October 2005, where he was matched up against Nal_rA in the first round of the tournament.[15] The professional player defeated the foreigner quite easily, with one of the matches being decided after just five minutes, as the Protoss chose to build a very aggressive proxy Gateway rush. While this first encounter did not live up to the viewers' expectations, Mondragons match against Reach in the losers' bracket turned out to be one of the most intense series of the year. Mondragon lost the first set, but stepped up his play on Roads to Antiga Prime. He used his first Zerglings to make a runby and started to harass the Protoss, who opened with a Fast Expansion. The Korean chose a Reaver/Corsair heavy harassment strategy and tried to keep Mondragon from teching and macroing up with the help of Disruption Webs. The German used almost every unit he had and sniped incoming shuttles with burrowed Hydralisks. As the match entered the late-game it became a back-and-forth battle throughout the entire map. Eventually, Mondragon was able to overpower the Protoss army with a mix of Ultralisks, Queens and Zerglings. He couldn't perform as well in the third set and was therefore eliminated by Reach.


Mondragon continued to dominate the foreign world in January 2006. In the second season of the Americup he was able to defeat his clan mate and close friend Testie with a 6-1 score in the Semi- and Grandfinals. He didn't lose a single set on his way to the finals, despite facing his new rival for the spot of best foreign player - Draco. In March, the finale should've been repeated in GosuGamer's The ACE tournament, but Testie forfeited and Mondragon won another tournament without showing any weakness. The Polish Protoss Draco and the German Zerg should continue their rivalry in April 2006 in the EuroCup XIII overall finale. Semke outplayed the Protoss again and won his third event of the year. After winning the ESL Pro Series VIII over Schnibl0r, Mondragon won WCG Germany 2006 in Soltau over Dashwriter and defeated FiSheYe one last time. In Monza the Zerg was grouped together with his new rival Draco and the Korean professional Midas. Mondragon was defeated in the best of one against the Polish player and lost his game against Midas in this veritable group of death.


Mondragon caused another uproar in the German community in June 2006 when he announced that he would leave the German National team. The reason for his departure was his lack of motivation as a result of being the only strong player in the roster and their recent series of losses against weaker nations. He argued that Selector, a player with a long record of using maphacks,[16][17][18][19] should still be part of the team. The dispute between broodwar.de, the host of the German National Team, the strongest player Mondragon, as well as several other members of the team eventually escalated and the roster completely left the German fan page.[20] Selector was caught hacking in 2007 once again and was consequently kicked out of the Templars.[21]


After his early loss in the World Cyber Games, Mondragon's dominance over the foreign scene began to wane. He started dropping more and more games against new elite players like SEn and Draco. In March he still managed to finish third in the last season of the Brood War Kerrigan Cups, but had basically no chance against the Taiwanese Zerg. In September, Mondragon was able to win WCG Germany 2007 in Berlin and qualified for the main event in Seattle. He had bad luck with the groups for a second year in a row: he was again in the group of death together with sAviOr, Testie, and the strongest South American player, Reason. Despite his rather mediocre performance in the first half of 2007, he was able to beat both the Canadian and the South American in a convincing fashion. The biggest upset of the year however was his mirror match against the Korean. The game started on Paranoid Android, where Mondragon ended up playing with his back against the wall because he initially lost a couple of Drones against sAviOr's Mutalisk harassment. However, during a big Zergling fight Mondragon was able to turn around the game and could eventually outmicro the Korean in the long run. Having finished first in the group stage, he had a comparatively easy grid to look forward to. He defeated both jamesfoo and GoOdy without any problems. In his Semifinal matches against Stork, Mondragon couldn't maintain his strong performance. The first set on Azalea ended with the Protoss outmicroing him with only a handful of Zealots; the second set lasted only a few minutes longer before Mondragon was forced to surrender. In the third place match, the German faced White-Ra. The Protoss was not a serious opponent for Mondragon at that time and lost 0-2.


MondiCheerful1.jpg
After 2008, Mondragon started to focus on poker and his university career more and more. He consequently entered less tournaments and his reign over the foreign scene was over. He was invited to the Blizzard WWI in Paris in June, but lost to Sea and Dreiven. However, Mondragon qualified for the WCG in Cologne, winning his third national WCG Preliminaries in a row. He advanced relatively easily from the group stage of the main event, but was destroyed by the Chinese Protoss LoveTT in the early stages of the knock-out tournament. In winter 2008, Mondragon finished second in the Gamestar League, losing twice to Strelok. In December, Mondragon once more focused on competitive play and qualified for the first Teamliquid Starleague by finishing first in the ladder stage. His training helped him to prepare for the finals of the ESL Major Series Season 3, in which he defeated White-Ra with a clean 4-0 sweep. However, his success did not spill over into early 2009. He was knocked out in the elimination stage of the TSL, losing again to the Polish player Dreiven. In the following years Mondragon very rarely entered prestigious events.

Mondragon's last big tournament entry was the Teamliquid Starleague 2. He qualified rather easily and defeated two of the strongest foreigner Terrans, Brat_ok and Fenix, as well as SEn on his way to the finals where he faced Nony. This was seen as a bit of a surprise, especially because the new generation of players like kolll described Mondragon as slow and having a poor grasp of relatively new techniques like Mutalisk micro.[22][23] However, his intensive preparation proved fruitful as he earned a 2-0 lead against the American, who was also coming back from a period of inactivity. Despite Mondragon's huge knowledge of the Zerg vs. Protoss match-up, Nony eventually turned the game upside down and outplayed the German in the next four sets to secure the win.

In June 2010, Mondragon announced that Templars of Twilight would disband after dominating the foreign scene for more than ten years.[24] After this news Mondragon competed in various StarCraft II tournaments, but could not replicate the dominance he enjoyed in Brood War. In June 2012, the German announced that he'd focus on his Master studies and retire completely from eSports.[25]

Style[edit]

TSLcheer rusbrainmond.jpg
Mondragon's deep understanding of the match up Protoss vs. Zerg was well-known. He abused the strengths of his race and adapted to his opponents' strategies in an almost flawless manner. His trademark in the early days of his career was an extremely early Carapace upgrade to render the Protoss Melee Weapon upgrade useless. With his first victory over FiSheYe in WCG Germany 2004, he made Lurker contains very popular within the German scene. Mondragon usually went for a rather conservative style and forced the Protoss to stay on two bases, rendering the standard Zealot/High Templar useless until Observers were built. As soon as Protoss had detection, the Zerg sniped the Observers with Scourge or a few Hydralisks and thus forced the Protoss to mount a larger force to break out. In the meantime, the Zerg expanded aggressively. Usually the lower-skilled Protoss starved before they could finally move out of their base. Even if the opponent was finally able to break out of the contain, Mondragon denied any expansions with either Mutalisks or a smaller force of Zerglings. This kind of strategy was by no means new or very innovative, but the timings and build orders Mondragon used were executed on a level that could be compared to Korea's professional play. He furthermore controlled most Protoss opponents during the entire game, always having the correct counter to an army composition or having slightly more units. He was a master of back-stab and flanking maneuvers. He usually baited his opponents with smaller forces and then sacrificed a number of cheap units to take out reinforcements, expansions or even the main base. In bigger battles after the mid-game, Mondragon used to calculate the outcomes with an uncanny level of foresight and therefore made cost-effective engagements. Ironically, the German was never as good as other top class foreigners when it came to Mutalisk micro, but was able to deny even the most exotic strategies even on unusual maps.

The unit that most players and viewers associate with Mondragon is the Zergling. In the Teamliquid Starleague 2 Mondragon went 47-1 in the ladder stage against Protoss, mostly winning with only a handful of these units. In most matches the German used to run through misplaced wall-ins and won the game shortly thereafter because nobody could deal with his harassment effectively. In his games against sAviOr Mondragon displayed superior Zergling micro in mirror matches, which allowed him to take down the tyrant.

Mondragon's weak spot has always been his Zerg vs. Terran. He usually compensated his comparatively bad mechanics in this match up with his experience and overall knowledge of his race. However, his strong contains and good Zergling control couldn't entirely allow him to dictate the course of a game like he does to in the other match-ups. As a consequence the strongest foreign Terrans like ret, Idra, Fenix and Androide had more opportunities to slow down Mondragon's timings and avoid playing him in the late-game. At his prime the German still could beat the best Terrans and fight them as equals, but he started to lose his edge ever since the Mutalisk micro became a pivotal part in the match-up. He was still above average in terms of mechanics, but couldn't keep up with the high-class defense that the Mutalisk era forced Terrans to adopt. Usually, Mondragon tried his best to bring his matches to the late-game where he could once again profit from his cost-efficient usage of units like Defilers. A prime example of this strategy was his game against Fenix on Tornado during the Teamliquid Starleague 2.

Mondragon was also able to play Protoss as an off-race on a high level. He showed this primarily on the Templar of Twilight live stream, where he would face players like ret, Squall or Gosia. During the early season of BWCL, WGTCL or in tournaments like the Giga Grandslam IV he often picked either Protoss or Terran as his off-race to avoid playing Zerg vs. Protoss on air maps like Gorky Park, Parallel Lines, Estrella or Hall of Valhalla. In the Protoss mirror match-up he was able to beat players like Socke due to his superior control and FiSheYe in Terran vs. Protoss due to better strategies.

In his early days Mondragon used to play with Lazer for the Templars of Twilight and the German National Team in 2v2. The double Zerg team profited a lot from Mondragon's experience and had a high success rate. Usually one player would open with a Fast Expansion and mass Zerglings while the other would tech up. This way both could take map control early on and consequently outplay their opponents in the long run. After 2005, Mondragon played 2on2 with the Canadian random player Testie. Even though the 2v2 matches were not that important anymore, both had a very high win rate against even the strongest and most experienced of teams. The Canadian and German could switch races whenever they chose to and were the arguably the strongest players of their respective areas. In their prime, they were nearly untouchable.

Accomplishments[edit]

In Premier Tournaments
Date Place Event Team Result Winnings
2007-10-07 A33rd World Cyber Games WCG 2007 2 : 0 Ukraine Picon small bw.png White-Ra $4,000
In Major Tournaments
Date Place Event Team Result Winnings
2004-09-19 A11st Transparent icon.png WCG Germany 2004 Totlogo1.png 3 : 0 Germany Picon small bw.png Fisheye
Complete Results in any Tournament


In Major Tournaments
Date Place Event Result Winnings
2009-02-28 A22nd Pokerstrategy.com TSL 2 : 4 Picon small bw.png Nony $5,000
2009 A11st Zotac Cup 16 2 : 4 Ricon small bw.png TBA € 100
2008-12-26 A11st ESL Major Series Season 3 4 : 0 Picon small bw.png White-Ra €450
2008-08-24 A11st WCG Germany 2008 2 : 0 Ticon small bw.png HoRRoR.T N/A
2007-?-? A11st WCG Germany 2007 3 : 0 Zicon small bw.png Breakdown N/A
2006-?-? A11st WCG Germany 2006 3 : 0 Zicon small bw.png Dashwriter N/A
2006-06-20 A11st ESL Pro Series VIII W : L Zicon small bw.png Schnibl0r €2,000
2006-04-? A11st EuroCup XIII 3 : 0 Picon small bw.png Draco $600
2006-01-24 A11st GGL Americup Season 2 4 : 1 Ricon small bw.png Testie $800
2005-12-02 A11st ESL Pro Series VII 2 : 0 Zicon small bw.png Schnibl0r €2,000
2005-08-? A11st Giga Grandslam V 2 : 0 Ticon small bw.png GoOdy €2,000
2005-06-04 A11st Giga Grandslam IV 2 : 0 Picon small bw.png FiSheYe €2,000
2005-03-13 A11st European Samsung Championship 3 : 0 Ticon small bw.png Androide €5,000
2004-08-21 A11st Giga Grandslam III 2 : 1 Picon small bw.png Hexer €2,000
Complete results in every tournament


Notable Games[edit]

Notable Game
Antiga Prime Germany Zicon small bw.png Mondragon The win against Reach at Blizzcon.
South Korea Picon small bw.png Reach
Date:
Patch: 1.09 VOD


Notable Game
paranoid android Germany Zicon small bw.png Mondragon Mondragon wins against sAviOr in WCG 2007
South Korea Zicon small bw.png sAviOr
Date:
Patch: 1.15.3 VOD


Notable Game
Tornado Germany Zicon small bw.png Mondragon Mondragon displaying his defiler usage
Peru Ticon small bw.png Fenix
Date:
Patch: 1.15.3 VOD


Notable Game
Outsider Germany Zicon small bw.png Mondragon Mondragon displaying his defiler usage
Romania Ticon small bw.png Shaman
Date:
Patch: 1.15.3 VOD


Trivia[edit]

  • The German World Cyber Game Qualifiers often offered non-money prizes for the winner. Mondragon won three TVs, all of which he apparently used.[26]

Additional Media[edit]

Interviews[edit]

References[edit]