Female SC2 Scene
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The female scene of StarCraft II is strongly affected by the actions of few individuals, be it organizers who create special tournaments to draw attention to female gamers or women breaking through as progamers. This article gives an overview of the events and players that have shaped the female scene.
Background: Brood War and other games
In Brood War, there was in fact a series of female only tournaments from 2003 to 2005, GameTV Female League, but ToSsGirL won them all and they were subsequently ended. ToSsGirL moved on to become the only female progamer in the Korean professional scene.
With other computer games, such as Warcraft III or Counter-Strike, there has too emerged a habit of having female-only tournaments, like there was with Brood War, and some of these scenes have survived and made a precedent for how such a scene could be brought over to StarCraft II.
StarCraft II female-only tournaments
First wave: ESL and NESL (Sep 2010 - Dec 2011)
ESL, Electronic Sports League, were the first to hold a female-only SC2 tournament. They did already have a women's section and so the tournament fit nicely into their existing setup. It became known as SC2goesFemale and the first tournament was held 23rd of September 2010, a little less than two months after the launch of SC2. It ran monthly for the rest of the year and December saw a special cup named 2on2 Ladies Choice in which a there could be mixed teams. The next year, though, Sc2goesFemale went on a sudden hiatus. The tournaments were held on the EU server, but open for anyone who could get access to an EU account.
November saw the introduction of a weekly women-only cup on the NA server, StarCraft II 1on1 Ladies Night Cup this time organized by ESL's American counterpart, National ESL (NESL). Although initially having a decent lineup of 22 players, interest seemed to be fading and by the fourth installment there were not enough players to continue the tournaments and so the women's cups went on hiatus for the beginning of 2011 in America as well.
Second wave: Branching out (May 2011 - Dec 2011)
The lack of female-only tournaments came to an end in May 2011 when SC2goesFemale announced their fifth cup, which drew 25 players. Although the cup marked the last installment of Sc2goesFemale (a sixth installment was announced to be held September 6th, but it was cancelled due to lack of participants), it also marked the beginning of a new interest in female-only tournaments.
In June 2011, NESL announced that it would begin a new series of female-only tournaments, under a new section called Iron Lady. In this section there would be a Champion Cup with a money prize pool and a Bunny Cup with a non-money prize pool, the first being a 2 lb chocolate bunny. Later, there was also a female-only cup specifically for Bronze to Gold players and Platinum to Diamond players, in which the winners could take home a special Iron Lady mouse pad. At the same time, a girls-only community, GoSc was formed by Tesla and VampireLady. Operating through Facebook, the group aimed to create a community in which one could hang out on Skype and talk about StarCraft with other girls. Also in June, a women-only team was established, Team Fem-FX. Iron Lady, GoSc and Fem-FX had some of the same people involved and would be working together, promoting each other's activities.
By the one-year mark of Wings of Liberty, some of the most well-known female players had been picked up into special female-only teams or female-only sections of existing teams, the two most notable being PMS, the female section of H2O featuring AuRora and at the time Flo, both ESL female Tournament cup winners, and Team Fem-FX, featuring Navi, another ESL female cup winner.. On the European scene, team Nuit Blanche from France built a lady roster in November 2010 including one of the best French female players, ChiXi, and one of the first girls in Masters, Milla.
In October, after a failed 6th installment of Sc2goesFemale, the European ESL held a female-only tournament titled StarCraft II Female Autumn League 2011, as part of a bigger, site-wide Autumn League campaign. The tournament only saw four competitors, but it continued to run on a quarterly basis and subsequent iterations managed to attract 13-16 players on a steady basis.
On October 21st 2011, the female-only tournaments reached a new level with the announcement of the ZOWIE DIVINA, with a 10.000 $ prize pool, similar to a major tournament. It featured six players from all over the world competing offline in Taican, China, and it was watched by 300,000 in China, but far fewer worldwide. It was won by Aphrodite with flo placing second.
In November, GoSc and sponsor Z33K began a new, weekly female-only cup called Athena's Arena. It ran four times, until mid-December, before being discontinued. Also, in November, another female community group, like GoSc, was started, namely Madmoizerg, which is a pun on the French word "mademoiselle", meaning young (and/or unmarried) lady. The group uses French as its language and aims to be a place for girls to connect and talk about StarCraft, much like GoSc.
In December, Nuit Blanche started its "Ladies for the win!" tournaments with a 50 € prize pool. It was the first tournament of what was going to be a long series to come. However, it was discontinued (or put on indefinite hiatus) after only its second iteration.
By the end of the year, it was obvious that having female-only tournaments had paid off, despite them often being discontinued or canceled. Several teams had added female players to their rosters, comfortably stating that they wanted someone to represent them in female-only tournaments. Among the additions were JongMi to oGs, MaddeLisk to eSahara and Flo to Quantic. This time around, there was no special section for the female players and they were recruited as any other player on the team.
Second wave: Shining bright and burning out (Jan 2012 - Nov 2012)
January 2012 saw a first for female gaming when Iron Lady set up a showmatch between Aphrodite and Flo, showing that the female players themselves had become sufficiently well known to warrant a show match. BenQ, who had been a driving force behind the Zowie Divina tournament in 2011, continued their push for female gaming with a showmatch of their own in March, this time between Colagirl and Miss. Moreover, as part of their BenQ E-Sports LCD Tournaments, which was a promotional team tournament, they ruled that the third round of every match was to be played with female players. Moreover, after Scarlett's very successful run at IPL4, ChanmanV organized a showmatch between her and AuRora and it took place April 22nd and was won by Scarlett (Thread on TL.net).
In April, the Iron Lady Leetgion Tournament marked the beginning of a new hiatus for NESL's female division despite its promising last installment, featuring a bigger prize pool, stellar lineup and the most participants since the first Iron Lady cup.
Summer 2012 saw a host of various female-only tournaments. GoSc held a First Year Anniversary Tournament and The Norwegian team Team GamersLeague organized Femme Fatale StarCraft 2 Cup with 11 players, both won by MaddeLisk. (The European) ESL, continued its now quarterly female-only cups with 16 players and (this time around won by Nattkatt) and a new series of female-only tournaments hosted by Millenium, namely MTV Tournoi Girls Arena Summer, started. It ran for two iterations, with MaddeLisk winning the first (Brackets) and Veralynn/DeathAngel winning the second (although it was later revealed they should never have entered, seeing as DeathAngel, a male player, was playing) (Brackets). Also, during the summer, Zowie held a second showmatch between Colagirl and MisS
After a stacked summer of tournaments, the female-only tournaments went on a decline without the regular installments that Iron Lady had provided for almost a year from summer 2011. A couple of small-scale installment of established series would mark the beginning of a new hiatus for the female-only tournaments: In September, IeSF 2012 World Championship had a special women invitational as part of their championship. It was won by Aphrodite but did also gain some attention for having 15-year-old Gabriella Issacs from South Africa taking second place (out of only two participants, as not all of the planned players were able to get there). Lastly, In November, a second installment of ZOWIE DIVINA took place, the ZOWIE DIVINA Asian Invitational. It was a best of 7 match between previous year's ZOWIE DIVINA winner Aphrodite and the China Invitational's winner MisS. The prize pool was 1000$, there was a stream in English and the tournament was ultimately won by Aphrodite. The final ZOWIE DIVINA was the last female-only tournament before a new hiatus began.
A third wave? (June 2013 - Present)
The number of active female-only cups had been declining steadily since summer 2012 and by the beginning of 2013, there were no female-only cups on the horizon. Iron Lady was on a break since the Leetgion tournament in April the year before and ESL's quarterly female-only cups had not had an installment since its Summer Cup in July 2012. This absence of female-only cups was ongoing and come summer 2013, no new tournaments had been held, in stark contrast to the year before. IeSF, however, announced that their SC2 tournament for 2013 would be a female-only tournament, so the break in female-only cups would definitely end after summer. Although the IeSF qualifiers had sparse coverage in some countries, the French qualifiers managed to draw a lot of competitors, becoming the biggest female-only bracket since the first Iron Lady tournament over two years earlier. The Swedish qualifiers featured two series between MaddeLisk and QueenE, with MaddeLisk winning both series without dropping a map. If one were to see all the national qualifiers and the finals in Bucarest as one, IeSF became the biggest female-only SC2 tournament to date, showing that the interest for female-only cups was there, even though the tournaments themselves were not. The finals for IeSF 2013 World Championship are scheduled to take place October 31st to November 4th.
In August, a new female-only league was announced; WSL, Woman StarCraft II League [sic]. Produced by ESTV and sponsored by AfreecaTV in coordination with and/or further sponsorship by Blizzard, eSF, SGATE and Joygear, the WSL was meant as the spiritual successor of GhemTV (or GameTV) Female League for Brood War, which ceased in 2006. It promised to air every week-end for the rest of the year, beginning August 9th. The first season featured eleven players and Aphrodite won it convincingly without losing a single map along the way. It is unclear if there were any restrictions on nationality for this league, but it's worth to note that all official information was in Korean, only, and that StarTale's other female player, the Chinese MisS, was not participating.
Women in mixed gender tournaments
An absence underscored by the occasional presence (July 2010 - Feb 2012)
The launch of SC2 and the official GSL tournament saw many new players and some players who switched from Brood War and Warcraft III to SC2, but none of them were women (ToSsGirL continued to be an active Brood War player) and it would take more than two years before the first female progamer played a game in the GOMTV Leagues.
Although some female gamers had participated in mixed gender tournaments, there hadn't been too many encouraging results. Somewhat notable is EffkA's win in CraftCup Lite #27 in January 2011, but apart from that, males had been dominating the top spots of the SC2 scene. Still, there was some spotlight on the girls who had tried to qualify to tournaments such as MLG, even though they ultimately had not been able to advance from the Open Brackets.
July 14th 2011, Eve, who had been picked up by the SlayerS team, made the first appearance on GSL as a female progamer, although she didn't play any games, but just sat with the team on the bench. Her appearance made a big uproar among the community, some being delighted, but many being angry because they did not accept an unknown girl to be picked up by SlayerS. Regardless, it proved to bring much attention to the participation (or lack thereof) of girls in professional StarCraft II.
July 30th, luway played and beat mOOnGLaDe in SEA Nation Wars 2, a tournament on the SEA server where national teams competed against each other. She played again August 13th, losing to Flaunt and August 20th, she played in the semi-finals, but lost to nirvAnA, although her team ultimately advanced and finished second in the tournament.
September 3rd and 4th 2011, the China 1st 3D Electronic Games tournament was held. Among popular names such as NaDa, MC and Moon, three women were also invited, namely maRie, MisS and ToSsGirL, making her SC2 debut, although they were only going to play exhibition matches and not participate in the actual tournament. The tournament was rumoured to be broadcasted on OGN, but it wasn't, nor were there any streams, so the promotional result internationally of having three women in exhibition matches was somewhat limited.
The middle of November saw a new upturn for the female progamers. One of the participants in Zowie Divina, Aphrodite, was RainBOw's girlfriend, so he and the coach of StarTale went to Beijing with her. By the time she reached the finals, the coach was so impressed with her play that he announced that she would be a member of StarTale and thus the second woman to be picked up by a Korean team. A couple of days later, oGs announced that they, too, had picked up a female progamer, the Brood War veteran maRie who changed her nick to JongMi, and that she would try to qualify for the next GSL.
Meanwhile, in November, luway got to play for her team, StorM, in TCL4, Taiwan Clan League. She played a total of five matches from November to January, beating Light, ConAn and 榮榮 2-0, losing 1-2 to Sader and finally losing 0-2 to 榮榮 in early January.
A few women breaking through (Mar 2012 - Feb 2013)
In March 2012, Scarlett won Playhem's "Sponsor Me!" tournament, a mixed-gender tournament for teamless players. The prize was a trip to Las Vegas to compete in IPL4, and it was there that she definitely started turning heads, when she beat Terius and later DdoRo, as well as DeMuslim although her run through the open bracket was ended by Golden. She immediately got a huge fan club on Teamliquid.net.
In July, Scarlett made history, being the first woman to win a major mixed gender championship as she won the Canadian national finals for the 2012 StarCraft II World Championship. A week later, Aphrodite, too, made history being the first woman to have a broadcasted game in GOMTV's SC2 production (albeit not as part of GSL) when her match against Stork in the prelimineries of South Korea's nationals for WCS was casted both in Korean and English (VOD Part 1, VOD Part 2). Scarlett continued making history in August, when she won the North American finals of WCS, securing a spot in the 2012 World Championship in November.
Another woman thought to be making success among male gamers was Veralynn who did well in several showmatches as well as in AGL-August Invitational. She quickly got a fanclub on TeamLiquid.net, but it was later revealed that DeathAngel, a guy, had been playing her games all along and the respect she had garnered from male and female players alike was all the more lost and turned to contempt as she was revealed to be a fraud.
A female player legitimately making success, however, was luway. She got picked up by Gama Bears and got fielded in xGTL from June to October, playing four times and winning 2-0 against delete, RedArchon and Radiant, only losing to TJ 1-2. She also played in Asia Starcraft League, beating Smirk and Wan and losing to Slam, all in all getting past the first group stage. In the second group stage, however, she only managed to beat Stallion and lost to Creator and XiGua, being knocked out of the tournament.
In October, Scarlett was still going strong, having been invited to MSI Pro Cup Worldwide: American Qualifier as one of only eight players and not losing a single game until the finals, where she lost 3-2 to goswser. That second place, however, did qualify her for the finals in December.
November 3rd 2012, Eve had the honour of making history again when she became the first female progamer to play in GSTL when she played for SlayerS before the team disbanded the same day. In the middle of November, Scarlett participated in 2012 Battle.net World Championship as the only female progamer out of 32 players. She got out of the group stage by beating mOOnGLaDe and Nerchio, but her run in the brackets were ended short in the round of 16 by PartinG who subsequently won the entire tournament. She ended 5th in Iron Squid – Chapter II, beating Brown, MarineKing and Symbol, but losing to NesTea. She also ended 21st in MLG Fall after beating 7 other progamers, only losing to HwangSin along the way and ultimately getting knocked out by Heart. However, in December, she had a great run on the MSI Pro Cup Worldwide, where she managed to take second place after beating the very famous players ForGG, Stephano and LucifroN before she lost 3-0 to HyuN.
Scarlett also played the 2012 IPTL Season 1, and after losing once each to GuMiho and goswser in September and October, she did a comeback in November, all-killing Team Dignitas in the Up and Downs, becoming the first female progamer to all-kill another team in a team league. She did it again against Fnatic in December in the next season.
In February, MaddeLisk won University Star League, a StarCraft II e-sports tournament for university students and alumni in the Stockholm area. It had been ongoing for some months and MaddeLisk placed first out of the 64 competitors. This marked the first non-Scarlett win by a woman in a mixed (albeit not open) tournament in over two years.
With the release of Heart of the Swarm imminent, GSTL opted for a short pre-season instead of a regular season. The very first game of this season was Aphrodite vs Eve on February 16th. Aphrodite won, becoming the first female pro-gamer to win a game in GSTL. She lost to SuperNova in the next game, however, and the rest of the pre-season was played by males.
Scarlett leading the way (Mar 2013 - Present)
For the regular season, however, Axiom and Acer had started a partnership, Axiom-Acer, meaning that Acer's Scarlett would be able to compete in the GSTL. Her first match was on April 5th where she beat Mvp, becoming the first female progamer to beat a male opponent in GSTL. However, she lost to YoDa in the next game. She next played on May 18th against AZUBU, where she beat BBoongBBoong and GanZi, but lost to SuperNova. She lost to jjakji the next time she played, on June 29th against NS Hoseo. In the playoffs, she was a victim to LG-IM YongHwa's all-kill of Axiom-Acer July 19th.
In Acer TeamStory Cup, Scarlett was fielded like any other player and defeated a number of progamers along the way, ending the group stage with a record of 13 wins and 10 losses.
Scarlett played in the Premier League of WCS Season 1 America getting out of her group ahead of State and Oz, qualifying for the round of 16, but losing to Revival and HerO, and getting knocked down to challenger league. There she beat Jim and qualified for next season's Premier League. Another female player, Tilea, qualified for Challenger League and managed to place sufficiently high to qualify for next season's Challenger League as well.
Scarlett played in the 2013 Ritmix Russian StarCraft II League Season 5, which ran from June 8th to July 28th, 2013. She defeated Polt, Symbol, Jim, and Strelok to reach the semifinals, where she lost to Life. She took 3rd place due to a default from HyuN.
In the Challenger League of WCS America Season 2, Tilea beat mOOnGLaDe 2-1 in the round of 40 and advanced to the round of 24 where she lost to ByuL. In Premier League, Scarlett beat ViBE and HerO in group stage 1, Revival and MacSed in Group Stage 2, and went on to the bracket stage. She swept aLive 3-0 before falling to Jaedong 2-3 in the semifinals. At the Season Finals, Scarlett defeated MMA and Maru in the group stage before being defeated by Bomber in the quarterfinals.
Notable female SC2 gamers
Scarlett is the first woman to win a major mixed-gender tournament and the only female player to win a national finals in WCS, not to mention winning a continental finals and participating in the world finals. She competes regularly in GSTL and has beaten a number of top tier progamers.
Aphrodite is a Terran playing for StarTale and she was the girlfriend of RainBOw. She first found success by winning ZOWIE DIVINA, and then later won Iron Lady Champion Cup #6. She was the first female progamer to have a broadcasted match under GOM TV's SC2 production and she has tried to qualify for GSL a number of times.
Flo is a Master level Terran, who is playing StarCraft II full-time. She has had international success at the ZOWIE DIVINA tournament as well as winning several female-only tournaments. She has attended all MLG's since August 2011 and lived in Quantic Gaming's progaming house until the team disbanded.
MaddeLisk may be the most well-known European female progamer. She has won several female-only tournament as well as a mixed gender university league. She has appeared in a Coca-Cola commercial on Swedish television and casted some tournaments as well as having stayed at the Millenium traning house in France.
- Pikachu is the handle of the Taiwanese actress/singer/model Linda Liao. She brought some attention to female gamers when she won Sc2goesFemale #2 and gave an interview about it (thread). She was also sponsored by Razer and had her own  page on their site, but in June 2012, Razer confirmed that they were no longer sponsoring her because she was focusing on other parts of her career
- KellyMILKIES is a gamer and professional caster from Singapore. She casted GSL in March 2011 and she was also featured in FHM Magazine as a Gamer Girl the same year. Later she moved back to Singapore and continued to work with E-Sports there.
- Eve was the first woman to make an appearance as a SC2 player on GOM when she sat with the SlayerS team in GSTL on July 14th 2011, although she did not play any games that day. She did, however, become the first female progamer to play in GSTL when she played in November 2012. She continued her progaming career with AZUBU after SlayerS was disbanded, but retired in August 2013.
List of Female Participants
|Aphrodite||Kim Ga Young|
|Barbie||Lee Yoo Ra||Prime|
|JongMi||Lee Jong Mi|
|MisS||Han Yi Ying|
|SsQ||Chi Hui Chun|
|ToSsGirL||Seo Ji Soo||Retired|
|BabyToss||Jana Otahalova||London Conspiracy|
|Ailuj||Julia Childress||Team Infused|
|Flo||Florence Yao||Personal Sponsorship|
|MsSpyte||Coryn Briere||ROOT Gaming|
|Livinpink||Geneviève Forget||Eternity Gaming|
|Scarlett||Sasha Hostyn||Team expert|
- Category:Female Players
- Category:Female-Only Tournaments
- GoSc (Girls of Starcraft)
- Zowie Divina
- Team Fem-Fx (SC2 Girls Team)
- Team Nuit Blanche
- "PMS|H2O Introduces Starcraft 2 Pro Team" TeamLiquid.net, 6 July 2011.
- Team Fem-FX introduction post TeamLiquid.net, 8 August 2011.
- "ZOWIE DIVINA All Female SC2 Invitational recap" ESFIWorld.com, 15 November 2011
- "JongMi join oGs" TeamLiquid.net, 16 November 2011.
- "eSahara adds MaddeLisk!" TeamLiquid.net, 14 December 2011.
- "Flo joins Quantic" TeamLiquid.net, 22 December 2011.
- "ST_Miss vs Colagirl - Best in China showmatch". TeamLiquid.net, 18 March 2012
- MaddeLisk wins the GoSc First Year Anniversary Tournament Twitter.com, 30 June 2012.
- "ZOWIE DIVINA China Starcraft II Queen tournament" TeamLiquid.net, 19 July 2012.
- Interview with Aphrodite and Gabriella Issacs after having played in IeSF female invitational TeamLiquid.net, 4 October 2012.
- ZOWIE DIVINA Asian Invitational TeamLiquid.net, 19 November 2012.
- "Official Announcement for Titles of IeSF 2013 World Championship". IeSF homepage, 03 June 2013.
- WSL (Women Starcraft II League) about to start. TeamLiquid.net, 31 July 2013.
- Eve joins SlayerS. TeamLiquid.net, 14 July 2011.
- "Aphrodite joins StarTale" TeamLiquid.net, 14 November 2011.
- "JongMi joins oGs" TeamLiquid.net, 16 November 2011.
- Scarlett's Fan Club on TeamLiquid.net
- Veralynn's fanclub on TeamLiquid.net
- "VeraLynn; GM fraud". TeamLiquid.net, 24 September 2012.
- "Toronto gamers aim for e-sports big leagues". TheStar.com, 19 August 2013.
- "Dela en Coke med MaddeLisk" Coca-Cola commercial on YouTube], YouTube.com, 14 June 2013.
- "Living in a gaming house" MaddeLisk's blog, Blogspot.com, 27 July 2013.
- "StarCraft II: Razer confirms SlayerS, Linda Liao sponsorships dropped" No Game No Talk, 19 June 2012.
- "kellyMILKIES featured in FHM Singapore" SK-Gaming, 16 May 2011.