"I heard Woongjin and SK are the hardest teams. Hwaseung was hard a long time ago, but not recently. It feels like Woongjin is always playing.” –Hiya (taken from the Hiya streaming thread)
Having finally returned to the playoffs last year, Stars are looking to build on that mild success and bring in our first gold since our win in the inception of Proleague. Though we didn’t acquire veterans in the off-season, we managed to snap up a promising rookie to rebuild our Protoss line. The formula is quite different from last year, where we acquired Really and Light, who were sent in pretty much every match. Consequently, we left our rookies little experience for playoffs. Now, we have had an extended off-season to evaluate and train our players.
I will not boast that we have the strongest lineup on paper, but Stars are the dark horse of the league. Not many people are giving us a chance, and they'll regret taking us too lightly. We are now in a different season, and I’m here to shed light on how we’ve matured to a better team and are coming in vying for the championship.
Our Big Three
This is the anchor of our team, and last season has shown just how formidable these players can be. Yet, they are still growing and improving. ZerO has finally reached an individual league final last season and rose quite a bit above the .500 ZvZ plane. He has recently reached his new Elo and KeSPA ranking peaks. His ace record in Proleague has improved substantially, and he’s getting more and more accustomed to the high pressure environment. Though he has good mechanics and late-game management, a considerable number of his losses comes from timed attacks and unorthodox plays. However, his game sense has improved, and each loss can only make him stronger. Gone are the days where he lose to Leta from dropping into his main and in are the days where he blocks BaBy’s harassment with impeccable awareness. Indeed, Zero can become a monster if he continues to improve.
Likewise, Soulkey’s stock continues to rise at an astounding pace. He continues to break barriers in the individual league and almost had a perfect round in Proleague. He punishes mech Terran with great management plays, and he overruns Protoss with monstrous macro of waves after waves of units. But, even more than Zero, he is greatly susceptible to timing attacks. His play style is more severely limiting than Zero’s, often opting to turtle at 4 bases and break out in hive tech, using the strength of his management to beat his opponent. Yet, he has begun improving on other facilities of his games, and with sound fundamentals, he can become better with time. The extended break has provided just this. With other teams either just forming or vacationing, the extra practice that Soulkey puts in will be rewarded greatly.
Light is a veteran of the scene with spectacular TvZ and not so spectacular TvP. It’s difficult to gauge where he is at his career, but his TvP hasn’t been terrible in Proleague since joining Woongjin, boasting a 5-3 record, two losses coming from Winner’s League format. While it’s a reaching claim to say that his TvP has improved, he has been quite good overall, reaching 7th place in Elo rank and closing in on his Elo peak. More importantly, it solves the problem of Woongjin having no zerg sniper, and complements the team quite well. No longer is he invisible, both in the literal and figurative sense. He stands taller than other Woongjin players by a head, and whips them to donate blood to his not so secret and beautiful admirer. In a K-drama setting, he has now received the main character plot device, and will decimate anyone once he shows an ounce of anger... if his expression changes in game.
Big thanks to Hyde, who found these images for me
Now this is where our skill falls off last season. However, they will come back stronger this year. These players do not lack talent and have decent fundamentals; they lack experience more than anything. Woon was only an amateur a year ago, and played Effort in WCG Korea ’10. Happy Zerg certainly has come a long way since then, and will contribute to the team even more as time goes by.
sin got a lot of flak for his 0-5 performance in the playoffs. Indeed, this abysmal performance is unacceptable. However, he’s only had 7 games in the proleague prior to that. In a sense, he is the antithesis of Perfective, and responded poorly to the new environment. Though he has good mechanics, he isn’t making the proper adjustments during games, and is somewhat reminiscent of Really in his early days. If that’s so, he is due to breakout sooner or later. When the day comes, Stars would have a solid Terran to field.
sHy is the new acquisition for Woongjin Stars, and a very good one at that. Last season, I had hoped Woongjin would acquire Grape and Classic, and had a mixed feeling about Really and Flying. This time, however, I’m fairly optimistic about Shy, as he’s shown to be quite a talented player. With the Protoss line reeling, Shy will get plenty of opportunity to prove himself. Where Sin had to play behind Really and Light, Shy can very well be the top Protoss for WJN by the end of the first round.
It is only appropriate to call free the enigma. Even during the time that he was the top toss in the league along with Kal, I wonder to myself how he’s winning without the aura of dominance. Stork and Bisu seem to mirror my thoughts when they felt disconcerted that Free was the top toss during that time. Right now, he is sloppy and his han bangs are not very well timed. The fall itself was just as enigmatic as the player itself, and it made no sense that he became so terrible in such a short time. Recently, he has received surgery on his hand that may have attributed to his slump. If that’s the case, then Free will return to form, making him a very dangerous 4th player on the Stars lineup. Regardless, Pretty[BM] is too much of a Stars staple to fade away into obscurity, and he’ll be back with recalled scouts and mind controlled SCV’s.
Oh, and our resident Bonjwa
The few, the proud, the Stars fans. Seems like our voices are being drowned out by the hype machines out there. Make some noise-- we'll come back with a vengeance.