Table of Contents
Round of 16 Recap
Back into the swing of things.
Round of 8 Preview
More on Liquipedia
With a little less than a month having passed since the itemBay SSL drew to a close, Sonic is getting back into the swing of things with the 14th installment of what has become SOSPA's bread and butter individual league, the SRT. With Movie out to defend his back to back titles, Killer participating in his first SRT of 2013 and featuring basically every other major player in the Afreeca scene, this promises to be one of the best editions of the SRT we've seen for some time.
Returning to the fold to provide a thorough recap of the round of 16 for this news update is LR thread creator and my personal favourite Norwegian, KristofferAG. This is followed by a preview of the four exciting Ro8 match-ups, written by yours truly and filled with the kind of inaccuracies and misjudgments that we've all come to expect.
The level of competition in this SRT is as high as any SOSPA tournament we've seen so far, with two former SSL finalists already eliminated. Tune in on Friday night at 9PM KST as the Ro8 kicks off with two time SRT champion Mong facing off against TeamLiquid member and SRT11 winner, Sea.
Round of 16 Recap
You'd think that people would be well aware of ZeLoT's infamous cheesy tactics by now, but Group A would prove otherwise. The 14th SRT kicked off with Group A, and the favorite to get out in first place would definitely be 2-time SRT champion, Mong. The question was whether newcomer SanTa would be able to surprise anyone, and if ZeLoT's cheese would be fended off easily, or succeed.
Well, Mong didn't disappoint and would take out SanTa 2-0 in the first match of the day, barely holding off an attack in game 1 while destroying SanTa's worker line, before rolling over SanTa. Though SanTa was able to play along with Mong for most of the second game, the Terran would ultimately overpower him, winning the series 2-0. Mong would then go on to defeat ZeLoT's mutalisk play in the Winners match. SanTa didn't surprise anyone as he went down clumsily to Tyson, even after he grabbed the economic lead and defended the early Zealot aggression.
Which brings us to Tyson v ZeLoT, who faced of in two Bo3 series. So everyone knows that ZeLoT loves to cheese by now, and you'd expect his opponents to know this as well. Still, ZeLoT took his first win with early zergling aggression. Tyson learned, and prepared sufficiently in the next game, which brought us to the first ever SOSPA game on Neo Medusa. Once again Tyson prepared for the inevitable zergling attack. Which didn't come, as ZeLoT rushed to Mutalisks, killed off Shuttles and Reavers, and dropped behind Tyson's cannon line.
ZeLoT on the receiving end.
Fast forward to the final match, and round 2 of ZeLoT v Tyson. Tyson quickly took the lead, denying ZeLoT's mutas with corsairs, and decided it was time for ZeLoT to taste some of his own cheese. The map was Match Point, and Tyson decided to wall ZeLoT into his main with cannons and a Gateway while also trying to cannon the third base of ZeLoT in the 11 o'clock position. The natural died, but ZeLoT simply relaxed, defended his third, built a handful of mutalisks, and as soon as they were revealed, Tyson called the gg. Once again we were brought to Neo Medusa, and ZeLoT went back to his roots. Realizing his zerglings wouldn't be able to do any damage to Tyson's front, he started taking out the stacked temples leading around the back of Tyson's base. Tyson scouted it, but failed to react, and seemed to panic. By the time the temple fell, ZeLoT had a big enough Hydra/ling army to just brute force his way through Tyson's meager natural defenses, and take the second spot in the Ro8.
With beast being replaced by the protoss amateur ErOs_Lucifer, Group B became somewhat easier to predict. It was no surprise to see sSak coming out first in the group, and the second spot would obviously be a fight between Larva and Shuttle. That is, unless Lucifer could bring out an upset.
As predicted, sSak would win in his match against ErOs_Lucifer, though his play was far from what you'd expect out of the Terran. Larva and Shuttle's matches were expected to be even, but it was obvious that Larva has been preparing for his opponent, and he ended up taking a clear victory by keeping control of the map with constant army movement.
sSak humbly accepts Larva's gift of Mutalisks.
In the Winners match, sSak prepared a Valkyrie opening against Larva's Mutalisk play, which ended up working out so well that sSak had seemingly won the game from the start. Larva was able to claw his way back in as sSak lost his main army moving out, but sSak's Valks kept pressure up on the zerg player, killing Overlords and denying a lategame Muta switch, while slowly starving Larva and denying him his 12 o'clock base.
The Final match would be an extremely pleasant surprise to all the viewers. Larva's ZvP went up against a Shuttle that was obviously in shape, which made for some absolutely amazing, long games. It would be an intense, back and forth series, where Shuttle barely managed to take out Larva, and net himself the fourth spot in the Ro8.
With HiyA being swapped out for Pusan, group C became a whole lot easier to predict. Movie is looking to take his third consecutive SRT championship and by.hero is coming off a strong performance in the 8th SSL. It's no secret Pusan is capable of great things, but he's not been able to show off his skills as of late, and there was little chance newcomer ._.v could give us an upset.
So it boiled down to whether it would be Movie or by.hero that took the first place in their group. With the exception of game 2, hero was allowed to dominate ._.v with his Mutalisk play, while Pusan would surprise with a 2-0 victory over Movie, game 1 being fairly straight forward, and game 2 having a 27-kill DT in Movie's base.
The deciding Winners Match saw a 10-minute low econ game with constant action. Pusan would open with Zealot pressure, which was defended very nicely by hero. With the natural up, hero was able to go on the offensive, and in spite of a heroic defense, Pusan did have to gg out as Hydralisks and Zerglings overwhelmed his front. Meanwhile, Movie would keep his terran opponent contained on two bases long enough to build up an army containing Carriers, to save himself from elimination.
GG was called after a painful minute.
So the final match ended up being a rematch (third time so far this SRT), and Movie wasn't about to take any chances. Pusan's Zealot aggression in game 1 was easily defended, and he was unable to defend against the two Zealots and single Dragoon that countered for Movie. Game 2 was another short one, with Movie going for a double proxy gateway that went unscouted. Pusan threw down a Shield Battery, and Movie built two. Pusan didn't have a chance, which sent Movie to the Ro8 in second place.
D for Death. The fourth and last group of the Ro16 featured the top two finishers from the last SSL, Killer and HiyA, as well as Sea and Lazy. Knowing this, predicting the group shouldn't be an issue. Lazy was barely able to make it through the first round of SSL8, only to get demolished in the next, while Sea hasn't won anything since his first BW tournament after retiring from SC2, the 11th SRT.
Killer could only watch as his Spire slowly died.
So it was no surprise when Killer absolutely destroyed Lazy in their first set on Fighting Spirit. The surprise was that he seemed to struggle against the Protoss opponent in their next two sets. Lazy's Corsairs went uncontested, and after a Spire snipe he quickly took the game with DTs. Killer would come back on Neo Medusa, winning by throwing waves of Zerglings and Hydralisks into the Protoss army until Lazy tapped out.
Group D finally brought us the upset we were waiting for, as Sea managed to take out HiyA in a convincing fashion, 2-0. Game 1 was a long macro-game with Sea coming out on top after being on the defensive half the game. On Match Point he was able to scout HiyA's 2port Wraith coming early, but by the time HiyA had his Wraiths out, Sea's Vultures had taken out most of his economy, and he would be completely prepared for the air attack. He would then go on to defend an early ling rush from Killer in the Winners match, and take first place in his group with a map score of 3-0.
In the Losers match, HiyA and Lazy would meet up for one amazing half-hour game. Lazy managed to hold off HiyA's relentless pressure for quite some time, though he was mainly kept on the defensive, save a few drops. When he finally got a Carrier army it was too little too late, making Lazy the first to drop out, as HiyA prepared for an SSL8 finals rematch. What you'd expect to be an amazing rematch between two of the absolute best in the current SOSPA scene ended up being less than pleasing. In a long first game HiyA managed to lose a seemingly comfortable lead, even though he did suffer by Killer's mutalisk play early on. Match Point was no better, as HiyA went for a proxy Factory, which Killer defended nicely, and a follow-up proxy Starport, which would have been met by Hydralisks if it had even gotten to that point. GG was called as the first Wraith popped, leading Killer to a second place finish in the group.
Round of 8 Preview
By way of a slightly fortunate route through what was a very difficult group, Sea has successfully avoided playing TvP something that has become apparently essential to his progress in SOSPA tournaments this year. Mong finds himself in the Ro8 having been handed one of the cushiest Ro16 groups you’re ever likely to see, needing only to beat Protoss newcomer SanTa 2-0 before taking down ZeLoT in the winners final to advance.
Right off the bat, things don’t look good for Mong. While Sea’s TvP has prevented him from becoming the kind of dominant force we had expected after his debut late last year, his form in TvT and TvZ has been exceptional, most recently shown by his relatively comfortable 2-0 and 1-0 victories versus SSL8 finalists HiyA and Killer. Mong’s TvT remains decent against mid-tier Terran players but has continually been found wanting when up against SOSPA’s elite, as demonstrated by his SSL8 elimination at the hands of sSak and HiyA.
After having been incredibly lucky to have been given the Ro16 group he was, Mong now feels the full weight of karma, being handed a Ro8 opponent he simply has no chance of beating.
Sea 3 - 0 Mong
With sSak and hero both having played well to advance in first place from what looked like tricky groups, they find themselves now in a re-match of the SSL8 third place play-off from less than a month ago. While hero profited slightly from Pusan’s upset win over Movie, sSak simply steamrolled his group and continues to look like a growing threat in SOSPA tournaments.
Having played quite well against lesser known terran ._.v, hero finds himself faced with a challenge that has marked the end of any number of his SOSPA tournament runs. Although he surprised us all by actually managing to win a game against sSak in SSL8’s third place playoff, hero still doesn’t really appear to be a threat to top level Terran players. For sSak the series against hero earlier this month was more about regaining the pride lost in a heavy defeat to Killer in the Ro4 and while it appears that sSak isn’t quite at the level of Sea or HiyA in TvZ, he is quite clearly among SOSPA’s Terran elite and should again prove to be too good for hero.
sSak will be looking to improve on the 2-1 scoreline of their last meeting in what seems like a series with an inevitable outcome. Hero doesn’t often lose series without taking at least one game for himself, but all his recent clean sweep defeats have come against good Terran opponents.
sSak 3 - 1 by.hero
The people’s champion ZeLoT simply refuses to go away, progressing to the Ro8 this time at the expense of established ex-progamer Tyson. Killer, meanwhile, ended up in a group with Sea, probably the only player in the tournament against whom he is not overwhelming favourite. Killer’s bad luck is balanced out by Sonic’s now world famous random drawing system, which has seen him matched up with another second place getter and old-foe ZeLoT.
While ZeLoT has continued to build on the form that has seen him rise to prominence in the last six months, his ability to beat Killer remains relatively unchanged from when they last met, earlier this year in the SSL8 Ro8. Killer doesn’t actually play a lot of ZvZ so judging his true strength in the match-up is difficult, but it’s probably easiest to repeat a stat used in the preview for his last ZvZ series against ZeLoT; it has now been more than six months since Killer lost a single ZvZ map in SOSPA competition, with that loss coming against Larva in the SSL7 final.
Sorry ZeLoT, keep trying!
Killer 3 - 0 ZeLoT
In a match-up which is quickly becoming one of SOSPA’s all-time classic rivalries, the two best Protoss players on Afreeca meet to decide who will be the last representative of their race in this SRT. Neither Movie nor Shuttle made things easy for themselves in the Ro16, losing their opening series before fighting back from the losers’ match to eventually progress over the player the had lost to an hour or two earlier.
While an upset loss to hero in the Ro8 kept him from making the kind of impact expected in the SSL8, Movie consoled himself by quietly taking a second SRT victory in late May, becoming only the second player to take back to back wins in Sonic’s second-tier individual competition. As Movie’s finals opponent in the last SRT, Shuttle has proven to be one of the former CJ Protoss’ major obstacles in SOSPA competition with Movie winning their last two SRT meetings by only a single map.
Movie has had the upper hand in recent SRT meetings but Shuttle is clearly a match for him and the series could go either way. Any carelessness from Movie, like that he showed against Pusan in the Ro16, will almost certainly see his hopes of a record third consecutive SRT victory go out the window.
Shuttle 3 - 2 Movie