I've had my eye on a certain progamer for awhile now. Ever since the return from the off-season, Tempest has put together a solid season, a respectable start for a rising progamer. His amateur replays are well known for their unbelievable macro. Last season, he beat Pure on Katrina in one of the more impressive moments of micro that made GARIMTO and Nal_rA nudge each other in glee (he also lost to Zeus in a pretty good timing proxy). He has been 4-3 since this August, losing to RuBy, FrOzean and Pure.
Tempest versus Pure, 4th Set, Proleague 2007
Some of the best zealot versus zealot micro since Garmito at 5:30, and Garmito acknowledging it at 6:50
The lack of Protoss on KTF's bench is clear after Reach and Nal_rA left. LuCifer and Violet aren't the type of Protoss needed to carry KTF through Proleague or its subsequent playoffs. Flash and Luxury can only carry the KTF so far. Tempest has the opportunity to fill the void left by Kang Min and Park Jung Suk and carry on the legacy of KTF.
Although the amount of games Tempest has played this season is small, his games indicate that he's going to be an exciting player to watch. Excluding his PvP against Pure (which, I'm not sure of, because I haven't seen the VOD yet), Tempest has shown that his play, at least at the mid-tier level, is superior.
Tempest has had a mixed bag of wins. The thing most striking about them are their unorthodoxy. The closes thing to a standard game was Luxury, who ended up trying a largely ineffective run-by. In Tempest's second most standard game, DarkElf chokes, loses his first tank in the FD against 2 goons and a zeal. then Tempest cleans up the game, following up his quick nexus with two 10+ kill DT and again, rushes tech. Tempest 12 nexus'ed against Fantasy, fending off the bunker rush and rushing straight into DT after that. Finally, he cannon rushes RuBy, Nal_rA style, winning the game in an exciting manner as he proxy DT techs behind RuBy's main to finish him off.
Tempest versus Luxury, MSL Survivor
Tempest versus Darkelf, MSL Survivor
Tempest versus Fantasy, MSL Group Stage
Tempest versus Ruby, MSL Group Stage
I cannot ignore the losses the games that Tempest has lost. Or his single proleague game, where he apparently sucked (and lost). But past that, his loses are as elucidating as his wins and indicate where his game is weak and where he must improve if he is to be the player that he can be.
Tempest versus Ruby, MSL Group Stage
In his game against RuBy, Tempest shows that he is still a macro player. He delays his Arbiter tech until after he's taken his fourth base. He builds ninety supply worth of pylons at his natural. He eventually loses because of solid vulture harass from RuBy and, although he breaks RuBy's army the first time, Tempest fails to shut down any of RuBy's expos and RuBy's macro and grades kick in. Although Tempest's army is up to par, his tech isn't. Tempest's army melts beneath RuBy's push.
Tempest versus Frozean. MSL Survivor
Against FrOzean, Tempest again loses to vulture harass. Tempest again goes for an early nexus-dt build. In potentially the biggest what-the-fuck moment of the year (the obs don't even catch it), DarkElf sneaks vultures into Tempest's main and kills many probes and scouts the dark templar tech. Tempest sprint techs into Arbiter but can't fend off the vulture harass that caps his macro and eventually is crushed against FrOzean's push.
The vulture harass indicate some of the biggest weaknesses in Tempest's style. It could indicate many things, weak mini-map eyes, slow hands, poor multitasking, or the inability to close the seams in his builds. Tempest also shows he's vulnerable to big army pushes without tech, which he has a tendency to delay in favor of more expos. He also doesn't like harassing, another skill that Tempest must be willing to incorporate into his game play to become a championship caliber player.
At the same time, Tempest shows his mechanics are solid. In both his games versus Fantasy and DarkElf, he shows that his micro is solid, taking out the FD with minimal units and both of Fantasy's bunkers without batting an eye. In all games, Tempest ends the games with an unheard of number of gateways in his main. Tempest's macro and micro should not be the limiting factor of his game play.
Tempest plays with flair that is instrumental in any good player. He is pioneering a new Protoss build which ultimately might become the norm: A Reach-esque 1 zeal before gas and core, a nexus plant after the 2nd goon, into a sprint toward DT drop that diverges into more expos or Arbiter tech. It seems to be a strong build, weak to vulture harass (note that in Tempest's game against DarkElf, Tempest fends off the vulture harass with one good and a pylon wall) and it has the potential to be the next development in PvT of the on going developments in PvT.
It is too early to see if Tempest will restore the glory of KTF Protosses. Tempest has shown he has been influenced by the KTF Protoss of yore– the cannon rush screamed rA and the way he charged Fantasy's natural was like something out of a Reach highlight video. Tempest may yet fill the shoes of Nal_rA and Reach, or he may just turn into just another Protoss. He could be a champion or a flop. His play to scrape himself out of his MSL groups seems to dictate his desire to innovate and be part of the former rather than the latter.