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Clubbin’: StarCraft Club

Clubbin’ profiles some of the more unusual and eclectic student clubs around, from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the Equestrian Club. This time we send Raph Debenedetti and Alison Herman, our noobiest of noobs when it comes to gaming, to battle beside and learn about the StarCraft Club.

Their facilities aren't as decked out as this, but one can dream

When you think of StarCraft, the enormously popular science-fiction strategy video game, you probably think of sun-deprived, junior high schoolers locked up for hours at a time in suburban basements. Ben Graif, GS ’14, Martin Li, SEAS ’12 and Charles Zhang, CC ’12, beg to differ. The three, known online as “Benji,” “TaylorSwift” and “The Red Comet,” respectively, have founded a group at Columbia dedicated to playing StarCraft at the competitive, collegiate level.

For the yet others who know next to nothing about StarCraft, the concept of the game is relatively simple. Explains Li, “Basically, it’s a real-time strategy game. You get money, you make shit, and you kill other people’s shit.” Gamers can choose to play as one of three races: Terran (humans), Zerg (“insectoid alien type things”) or Protoss (“kind of hard to explain but it involves psychic forces”). StarCraft players range from novices to professionals, with the heads of the Columbia group falling somewhere in between. Graif and Li are both members of the “Masters” division, which comprises the top two percent of players in North America.

As part of the Collegiate Star League (CSL), Columbia StarCraft, now 53 members strong, competes against schools such as NYU and Penn. Although the group isn’t quite official—they’re currently lobbying for ABC recognition—many of its members have been practicing together since the release of StarCraft 2 last July. Online practices take place every Saturday for a grueling three hours, and tournaments on Sunday, as team members are matched up against players from other schools in virtual tournaments broken into of fast-paced, twenty-minute games.

Graif praises StarCraft as an activity that includes “people from all over campus—medical school, GS, and CC.” Li urges Columbians to look beyond the stigma traditionally attached to video games: “The reason Koreans are generally better at StarCraft is that gaming is more mainstream there. I think StarCraft has the potential to be like poker, where you can turn on the TV and just tune it.” We may be far from mainstream reach, but Columbians can do their part by joining one of CU’s fastest-growing student groups. For those interested in trying their hand at StarCraft, the Columbia group can be contacted at or through their Facebook group.

Competition via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous the instectoid alien race is actually called “Zerg,” not “Zerd.”

    1. Ricky says:

      @Ricky I stand corrected. Live long and prosper, friend

      1. Karim says:

        @Karim Yes, and the less spooky (and more existent) version of Ben Grave is Ben Graif.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous How does this group feel about WoW arena?

    1. CU SC Member says:

      @CU SC Member If you enjoy it, awesome.

      Personally, I think it’s about as engaging as watching toddlers on a sugar high run around and throw sicks at each other.

  • CU SC Member says:

    @CU SC Member Corrections: I imagine you talked to Ben Graif.

    The team holds practices, internal matches etc, on Saturdays at 1. Anyone is welcome to join from home, we have a vent server for voice chat and a channel in SC2, “Columbia.”

    On Sundays at 4pm is when the Collegiate StarLeague matches are. Those are against other teams, and streamed live at You can also watch videos of previous matches there, with commentary and explanations.

    We’re also on facebook:

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous What is this group feelings on Battlefield 3 vs. COD, and why is BF3 the best thing ever whereas COD is a terrible piece of crap that nobody should ever play?

    1. CU Starcraft member says:

      @CU Starcraft member To be completely honest, the reason why we’re at a competitive level in Starcraft is because we ignore other games :P

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous You are correct in your assessment.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous For anyone who doesn’t really the feel of competitive gaming these days, check out these videos: (hype video for a big SC2 tournament) (documentary-ish)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Another little correction, the practice is Saturdays at 1pm and open to anyone interested in joining. Hop into SC2 and join the Columbia channel. We also have vent for voice chat.

    The CollegiateStarLeague matches are Sundays at 4pm, and they’re streamed live (and recorded) at

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous For anyone who doesn’t really know the feel of competitive gaming these days, check out these videos: (hype video for a big SC2 tournament) (documentary-ish)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous His name is Ben Graif, by the way. Thanks.

  • huh says:

    @huh i got ‘caught’ playing starcraft at home the other weekend and my parents came over and were like “JEEZE, HOW OLD ARE YOU?!”


    anyway i’m 22.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous cool story bro

  • glocks says:


    1. pudgewars says:

      @pudgewars awww yeahhh

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