Table of Contents
Round of 8 Recap
Who is the fairest of them all?
Round of 4 Preview
The real test.
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With two out of the three mirror match-ups in the Ro8 actually turning out pretty well, fans of the SOSPA scene only have to endure one more XvX before a guaranteed ZvP or ZvT final. With Movie's incredibly odd streak of 3-2 wins over Shuttle extended and Killer's return to SRT competition back on track, things are set for an incredibly competitive final stages of the 14th SOSPA Ranking Tournament.
Recapping this and last week's Ro8 match-ups is the real hero (sorry, by.hero) of SRT viewing in recent months, KristofferAG, who has also been preparing all our VODs and LR threads for the recent rounds. Then, we move on to a preview of the two semi-final match-ups, after last round's disastrous predictions, the only way is up!
With two SSL semi-finalsts, an SRT double champion and Sea-motherfucking-[Shield] in the Ro4, this SRT really is gold standard Brood War at a bargain bin price. Tune in tonight at 9PM KST to see who will advance to tomorrow night's final!
Round of 8 Recap
After drawing, and redrawing, and redrawing again, Sonic got the brackets all ready for us, with three mirror matchups and one TvZ. Mong would meet Sea in the first game of the Ro8, followed by sSak going up against by.hero on the same day. A couple days later we'd be treated to a ZvZ between infamous ZeLoT and multi-SSL winner Killer, as well as a game between the two Protoss rivals, Movie and Shuttle.
Let's not lie to ourselves, Sea definitely got out of his group with some luck. Two failed cheeses and one macro game was all it took for him to advance with a flawless record. And now he faces Mong in a TvT, which is a matchup he's definitely improved on over the last couple of months. Game 1 on Fighting Spirit ended up being a good start to the Ro8, with a 30-minute long macro game with drops, wraiths and vultures galore. Though the first fifteen minutes were pretty back and forth and somewhat passive, the game quickly picked up as Mong went for his patented doom drop style of TvT, and eventually secured the first game.
No, Mong, you can't proxy rax against Sea.
After this, the two Terrans would start trading blows. On Match Point, cheeky Mong tried to proxy a barracks only to have it instantly scouted. Sea went for a proxy of his own, as Mong went for a CC first. With constant pressure from marines and soon vultures, Mong's SCVs decided it was time for the GG. Game 3 on Medusa became another slow-paced game, as Mong defended Sea's initial pushes with wraiths before slow-pushing across the map to force Sea out of the game.
With just a single loss between Sea and elimination, the stakes were pretty high as the map rotation was reset, placing us back on Fighting Spirit for the fourth set. The map was split down the middle at the 15 minute mark, with a long yellow line going from 12 to 6. Mong started doing his drops to defend Sea's push on his 5 o'clock base, but its death was inevitable. Mong would persist in his drops, landing on in Sea's main for great damage, but eventually Sea decided it was time to take advantage of Mong's army being in dropships. As Sea's 11 o'clock got dropped, he rolled forward with his mech army and forced the GG from Mong.
New Wind and Cloud would be the final battlefield, and both players settled in for yet another macro game. Once again Sea's offensive was defended with Wraiths from Mong. The game stabilized as both players secured a third, with neither looking to go on the offensive. Sea was the first to get his fourth base built, but he was never allowed to mine from it. As Mong forced the CC to lift and fly away, Sea killed off all the workers at Mong's third, forcing him to react. And what did he do? He tried to doom drop, only to run straight into a very prepared Sea with turrets everywhere. GG was called instantly, sending Sea off to the Ro4.
sSak v by.hero was our second Bo5 of the day, and our only non-mirror matchup in the Ro8. Fighting Spirit started off with a bunker rush from sSak that succeeded in killing a couple of Drones, but ultimately left him very vulnerable, forcing him to pull SCVs to hold his ramp. When he later lost all of his Marines to zerglings right outside his front door it all looked very grim, but he managed to slowly claw himself back into the game. And this is where Sonic's computer decided to drop, and we were left with the players' POV for the rest of the game. As we moved into the lategame hero secured his half of the map, while sSak was stuck on three bases, unable to break the bottom left expansions of hero. Eventually sSak had to gg out.
Match Point was an odd map. First, sSak blocked hero's natural with an engineering eay, so hero just built his hatch next to it. Then, zerglings decided they'd just run through sSak's wall because there was a tiny opening in it. Eventually sSak would get his natural up, at the same time as hero's spire started, but he'd skipped a Bunker and was low on marines, so hero simply killed him with zerglings.
With sSak's SRT run on the line, the two went on to Neo Medusa, where hero's 3 hatch muta opening was barely able to do any damage before sSak's cloaked Wraiths forced him to pull back. sSak proceeded to build up a marine/medic tank army with science vessels before pushing out to siege up on hero's third. Just as the third base fell, hero's defiler tech finished up, to which sSak's response was “build a bunch of firebats. With hero's Lurkers all dead, and his army now consisting of zerglings and defilers, the GG would be called, keeping sSak in the tournament for at least one more game.
On today's menu: Charred zerglings.
On a day riddled with technical difficulties, we joined the fourth game after both players had established their natural bases. Ssak was on marine/medic tech and was moving out to push on hero's natural, while by.hero was still on hydralisk tech. It really looked very bad for hero at this point, but with a nice flank of hydralisks he was barely able to defend after losing one of two sunkens. The follow-up push from sSak had a tank in the mix, and hit just before Lurkers finished morphing. There was no way hero was going to hold, and suddenly the match was tied up 2-2.
With everything on the line, it was kill or be killed for both players. Ssak, suspecting nothing, went for a CC first in his natural. Meanwhile, hero built his pool on 9 workers, before pulling an extractor trick to get up to 10. The second the zerglings arrived in sSak's natural, he called it, sending hero to the semifinals, to face Sea.
Movie and Shuttle have quickly become one of the bigger rivalries in the SOSPA scene. In the 16 games they've played against each other, it's an even split down the middle with both of them taking 8 wins each. Obviously, this would be a tough one to predict, with them both having similar winrates in PvP. The last time these two met was in the finals of the previous SRT, where Movie barely managed to grab the win with a 3-2 map score.
As per usual the first battlefield would be on Fighting Spirit, with Movie spawning in the 1 o'clock position and Shuttle in the 11 o'clock. Movie went for an early zealot pressure, while Shuttle opted for a dragoon opening. The zealot pressure was defended quite nicely with only a few Probes lost. As Shuttle expanded, Movie was hard pressed to do damage due to his delayed expansion. His Reaver drops were, however, unable to do much, as he lost two shuttles and multiple reavers for a handful of probes. As Shuttle got a contain on Movie's main, he started teching up, feeling safe, not knowing Movie had a hidden expansion in the bottom left. As a massive zealot flank came from the south, Shuttle's contain got pincered and destroyed. The following push couldn't be defended, in spite of Shuttle's DTs.
Match Point saw both players opening the same, 1gate into expansion, with Shuttle's manner pylon blocking in three Probes in Movie's main. The follow-up 4gate goon from Shuttle proved way too much for Movie, who had gone for a robo. Even with the reaver out, he was unable to defend, as Shuttle quickly sniped it, ending the game rather quickly. In game 3 both players went for very similar builds, Shuttle sending his first Zealot to harass along with a Probe that once again managed to trap 3 Probes with 2 Pylons. reaver drops were the follow-up for both players, and once again both players failed to impress, though this time the reavers were used in a heads-up battle. Without any reavers or shuttles left on the map, Movie was able to press on after killing Shuttle's army, and win the game with 4 dragoons.
From four fully saturated bases to 3 workers. Poor Movie.
In what could be the final game of the match, with Shuttle just one loss away from elimination, neither player wanted to try anything risky. Which resulted in a really slow start to what would be an amazing game. Movie once again snuck an expansion in the bottom right position, which went unscouted for almost the entire game, before taking his natural. Shuttle, assuming that Movie had just delayed his own natural, would sit back and relax, while teching up. Neither player was able to do much with reaver drops, and Shuttle's soft contain soon got breached by Movie.
The following push was however defended, as Shuttle had about 7-8 high templars ready to defend. Shuttle's storm drops would do massive damage to Movie's worker lines, while Movie was unsuccesful in wreaking the same amount of havoc while he was once again being contained. His hidden third and new fourth were soon discovered and taken out, at the same time as both players killed off pretty much every single worker left. Next up Movie would take a terrible engagement, and lose his entire army before saying gg. Luckily for Movie, Shuttle decided to be cheesy in the deciding, last game on New Wind and Cloud, by going a fast dark templar build before expanding. Movie had his observer out by the time the DT arrived, and his small goon army easily killed off Shuttle's still warping cannons and few units, leading him to his third SRT finals.
I don't think anyone expected very much from the final match of the Ro8. Infamous ZeLoT versus double SSL champion Killer in a ZvZ. No-one really expected anything but what actually happened. The only matchup ZeLoT has a winrate that isn't terrible in is ZvP, and I guess it doesn't need to be said that his infamy comes from his often cheesy play. And, on top of that, as someone who loves writing lengthy recaps, I hold a somewhat personal grudge against him.
So, we kick it off on Fighting Spirit, with Killer opting for a Hatch first build. Against ZeLoT. In the other corner, there's a Spawning Pool and an Extractor building, as ZeLoT opts for early aggression with speedlings. However, ZeLoT has no idea where Killer is, and by the time he knows, Killer's more than ready. ZeLoT gets an expansion of his own while Killer techs to a mutalisks, which makes his opponent overreact with 2 spores at each base. So, naturally, Killer makes a bunch of zerglings and kills ZeLoT.
ZeLoT is up to no good... again.
Game two! We're on match Point, and ZeLoT does something that makes everyone happy and actually looks like it might work! Proxy hatchery that goes unscouted inside of Killer's base, while Killer himself seems to be teching to one-base mutalisk play. His zerglings scout the lack of stuff in ZeLoT's base, and he discovers the proxy a bit too late. It looks bad for Killer for a moment, but he quickly puts down a sunken, and even with the rapid reinforcement from ZeLoT, Killer easily holds the attack. Oh, and he had four zerglings killing all of ZeLoT's workers, so he had no income. GG!
Neo Medusa is up next, and neither player is looking to go on the offensive as they both tech up to Spire, ZeLoT on one base and Killer on two. Well aware that he can't get more mutalisks than ZeLoT, Killer opts for a bunch of Scourge. And it works out rather well, in spite of some decent mutalisk control from ZeLoT. So, with our infamous zerg unable to do any damage with his mutalisks, he evnetually tries to go for a breach of Killer's front, which is defended by 2 mutalisks, Scourge, and a bunch of zerglings. GG is called, putting Killer in the semifinals and ZeLoT out.
Round of 4 Preview
With a closely fought victory over the player who had completely outclassed him in the SSL third-place match, hero finds himself in his fourth consecutive SOSPA semi-final. Unfortunately for hero, his opponent Killer has a streak of his own which, following an easy 3-0 drubbing of people's champ ZeLoT, has now seen him not drop a single map in ZvZ for almost eight months.
Any doubts that existed about hero's credentials as a top five SOSPA competitor have been slowly eroded away over the last few months, with a series of strong and steady performances punctuated by important clutch victories over players like Movie and now sSak. For hero, a win in this series would represent his most significant SOSPA victory yet, as well as his first appearance in a final since his debut in 2012. Unfortunately for hero, his ZvZ has proven to be something of a weak link, and although his win-rate in the match-up is marginally lower than his ZvT, it's worth considering relative calibre of the Zergs he has lost to (beast, Larva, ZeLoT) compared to the Terrans that he has struggled against (HiyA, Sea, Mong).
For Killer, the SRT has barely even begun; with his loss to Sea in the group stages now ancient history after a good, if predictable, result in the Ro8, it does appear that a finals appearance is almost a formality for the former OZ Zerg. While hero's credibility seems to grow with each SOSPA tournament appearance, he's never shown anything to suggest that he can challenge Killer's long-lasting dominance in ZvZ. With a bit of luck and some good play, he could be the first Zerg to win a map against Killer in almost 9 months -- and that's a victory in itself.
Killer 3 - 0 by.hero
After an uncomfortably close Ro8 series versus Mong, Sea has finally made it back to the part of SOSPA tournaments where we expect him to be. Movie, gunning for his third consecutive SRT win, took his third 3-2 win over Shuttle in a row and if he wins this series will be playing in his fourth consecutive SRT final.
This series really is the moment of truth for Sea. In his debut tournament victory earlier this year, Sea found the first major challenge of his SOSPA career in the SRT11 semi-final and since that win has been constantly undone by Protoss match-ups which have seemingly never gone his way. If Sea is to win this series, he would be a strong favourite over whichever Zerg emerges from the other side of the bracket, with his victory over Killer earlier in the tournament further enhancing Sea's reputation as the most significant challenge that exists for the retired Hwaseung pro.
Unfortunately for Sea, Movie's PvT play since joining the Afreeca scene has been superlative. With a close to 70% overall win-rate and excellent head-to-head scores versus all of SOSPA's best Terrans, Movie's record would be even more impressive if it wasn't for a few bad losses shortly after he retired from SC2 late last year.
Given the almost uniform weakness of all top SOSPA Terrans against Protoss players, particularly Movie, it's hard to know how deep-rooted Sea's TvP struggles really are. For things to go well for Sea, he will need to match the form he showed against Movie earlier this year, while also hoping that Movie's incredible win-rate since that series is the result of poor opposition, rather than an upswing in form.
Movie 3 - 2 Sea