So without taking too much away from the fact that Stephano won, i'll address a lot of the comments about Taeja and Hero's performance/making mistakes. These two games were played between 2:30 and 3:30am korean time - hero had just played his code s matches (at around 5pm) then came home to wait for this. Scheduling matches internationally fucking sucks - its pretty common that you can be in worse or better condition that your opponent just based on scheduling (it was about 9pm EU, 3pm US when stephano/taeja played, and probably 230pm US/130am KR when Sheth played). Iirc we had basically hit the limit for delaying this set, so delaying the games wasn't really an option.
Robin (our player manager), disagrees with me that the timing affected either Taeja or Hero's performance (that they are on odd sleeping patterns), but i think there has to be some value to the idea that if your physical and mental condition isn't at it's peak, you aren't going to play as well as you can.
An interesting side note to this is that at the IPL TAC 3 final, taeja didn't eat breakfast and refused to have anything besides water (and some coke) during the first set where he destroyed IM. He had a sandwich and coke between the two sets, but i think that was pretty much it.
At MLGs i yell at HerO when i see him drinking Dr. Pepper and ask him to eat a banana instead (he ignores me ;_;).
JYP and Puma both had to play under the same conditions so it's possible that we could have lost earlier (5-2/5-3) if it was in their favor (Sheth played from US). Teams play with the idea that whatever time you agree on is the time, and you just deal with the unfortunate consequences of having your players spread all around the world. It's kind of like in the MMA world where you never really come into a fight without some bumps, bruises,dehydration - i think a lot of fans just assume everyone is always at 100%.
Because of the IPTL winner-stays format, you cant just schedule certain matches for better timing. There's not an optimal solution for timings right now. Ideally your players are in the best possible mental condition when they play hard matches due to the cerebral nature of SC2...it's just not as feasible as we'd like.
Until we have all players in central locations or some better solution you just have to factor in more variance in performance/decision making for all your favorite players.
It leads me to question if a winner-stays format is really the best for players in the long run considering they are all spread around. EGMC is a 4xBo3 with a Bo3 Ace match which is a different dynamic for predicting and sniping, but also allows for scheduling that is a bit more forgiving (robin can probably give better details on this).
I'm interested to know if you think an all-kill format where more play variance exists is more "fun" or "interesting" to watch than a 4xBo3 that players can prep/schedule for.