Shinhan Proleague 2008/2009 Allstar Match Coverage by Riptide, Heyoka and Pangshai
This weekend, we're all going to the circus. Please note that by circus we don't mean a small town clown and cream pie kind of affair. We mean the Shanghai Circus, with a seemingly unlimited amount of gymnasts crawling out of a four foot barrel, and eight motorcycles going full speed inside a metal sphere. We mean The Circus, with fire eaters and lion tamers - the full monty, for only that could even begin to describe what we're going to have on our hands this weekend.
As modern Starcraft fans, we are treated on and off to two very different styles of play. For most of the year, we get to watch the likes of Jaedong, Bisu, Fantasy and Calm go for it at the very top. Then, once a season or two, we get to see the legends step up and face each other like they did in Heritage. What is rare, however, is to see the likes of Lim Yo Hwan and Hong Jin Ho walk across the silver stage with Lee Jaedong and Kim Taek Yong.
This is one event you're going to want front row tickets for. Even if it's just for the lol factor.
It is always a very exciting time when a tournament hosts a combined group of top players, perennial fan favourites, and up-and-coming stars, duking it out for pride and glory. Yes folks, prepare the popcorn and start warming up those seats, as KeSPA is treating us to another round of Proleague all stars, bringing an end to the slump of September, as well as starting off the 09/10 season on a high. With the conclusion of fan voting and a subsequent nomination of 1 player by each team, 18 players have been singled out to compete in this event, which will consist of 1v1s, a 3v3 and a unique new game: The Relay Match.
There are those who will try to downplay this event of course - calling it an exhibition match or a mere publicity stunt. Certainly, this isn't the OSL finals, or a Proleague playoff match. What it is, though, is a chance to see our favourite players have some fun. No in game chat bans, no KeSPA rules, just game after game of friendly banter and good mannered trashtalk. Thus, as we step through the scheduled games and talk about what we can expect, don't forget to keep a sense of humour about you. Yes, we know ESPORTS is usually srs bznz. This weekend in Seoul though, it's just going to be a lot of fun.
Coach vs CoachWhen Park / Cho met at the PL finals, the SKT T1 coach set the stage with some stellar trash talk. Challenging his counterpart to a bet by saying that the losing coach should shave his head, Park put his team on their way to victory with his verbal skills.
When these ring masters met before, there was certainly no love loss between them.
Now, at Allstars, they meet again leading two equally balanced teams, and one has to wonder whether Coach Cho has anything planned in return. To be on the safe side though, make sure you have a translator on hand if you plan on watching these games live - if there are any pre-match interviews, things could prove quite interesting.
A class act, the opener of this time's Allstars clearly draws inspiration from US EAST. With the team of Boxer, Baby, and Iris up against Calm, Upmagic, and Yellow, going head to head on The Hunters in a classic 3v3, you'd be foolish to miss this showdown. Since pro 3v3s usually end after an early game clash of tier 1 units, it's hard to think of a better way to start off Allstars with a bang than to put 3 Terrans vs 2 Zerg and a Terran in a match in which rushes are all but guaranteed.
One of the few 3v3 games of recent years ended with Firebathero trying to form a heart with depots and SCVs as marines and lings rampaged into his base. We're predicting a similarly short, fast-paced game filled with early action, although with Boxer at the helm of the triple Terran team, you can never know what's coming. Get out the crackers boys and girls, because this just might turn into a cheese buffet.
If the first 3v3 was general gymnastics, this set is easily the trapeze event. Run as a Relay War, it begins as a standard 1v1 on Andromeda, except at 4 minute intervals, players will be switched, and thereby take turns playing it. It will be interesting to see what race each team picks, and how players will fare with their offraces.
TL's favourite Sea, seen here practising hard for the Relay War.
KeSPA seems to be really trying its best to spice things up for the fans with these unique game styles, we must say we're looking forward to this set. While the teams which are set as Reach / Luxury / Sea and Free / Leta / Great should make for some interesting games, the match format alone is sure to be a crowd puller.
Moving on in to 1v1 land, we're presented with a showdown between Savior and Flash on Outsider. Having been in usage for most of the 08/09 proleague season and a couple of starleagues, Outsider has played host a huge to a number of matches, including some great TvZ games like Jaedong vs Fantasy in day 1 of the proleague finals. With a double gas expansion safely tucked behind the mineral expansions, zerg can play a standard macro game, powering hive tech off of 4 gas, although drop play is also not out of the question, as we've seen Jaedong demonstrate. More interestingly, is what Flash will opt for -- 2 port wraith, mech, mm, are all options that have been successfully performed by terrans previously. Given the form of both players, we anticipate Flash taking the game, but counting Savior out prematurely would be rather silly as he has a propensity for performing well in showmatches.
Mystery Match - Because everybody loves surprises.
? <Heartbreak Ridge> ?
? <Heartbreak Ridge> ?
Being rabid fans of oldschool rivalries, we're hoping that Boxer and Yellow get to play. Hopefully Coach Park and Coach Cho will indulge the fans and just pit these two long time foes against each other. It's what you want to see, it's what we want to see, let's just admit it, and move along.
In all seriousness though, this is probably the coolest part about the event. If KeSPA doesn't bungle it by bringing out CuteAngel and Lomo, and to be fair with their track record they just might, this game could turn out to be pretty awesome.
Moving on, we have Fantasy vs Stork on Neo Medusa, a rematch of ro8 of WCG korea. After the release of the Neo version of the old TvP imbalanced Medusa, Terrans have seen a significantly improved win ratio against Protoss. While Fantasy's dropship play has been successful for him in the past, we're personally hoping that he'll spice things up with something unorthodox like a mid game marine medic/tank attack that catches Stork with his pants down. The coverage team imagines Stork will choose either an aggressive build like 10/15 gate or try to get away with a 12 nexus, both strategies possibly leading to a very promising micro showdown between the two. We're going to go out on a limb here and say that Fantasy is going to take this game, having returned to practise from the post proleague victory celebrations and eager to pay Stork back in kind for stealing his spot as a representative in WCG Korea.
The next match is probably what everyone is looking forward to. Mr. Hoon has done an excellent translation of the fomos report here, and you should definely take a look at it. With Jaedong and Bisu featuring in the top 5 of power rank, and playing at peak form, this match is, indeed, a clash of progaming giants, as the top players of each respective matchup face off on Destination, the proverbial impenetrable shield meeting the unstoppable spear.
We predict a heavy chance of nerd rage with mild scatterings of Bonjwa calls.
The last time they met was in a rather unfortunate game on Heartbreak Ridge where Jaedong accidentally cancelled his spire and subsequently lost in a one sided game due to this tragic error, but given the history between the two, both players are going to be giving a 100%, and this game is expected to be fantastic. Not even going to try predicting a victor for this one, but for sure, the fans will be treated to a good PvZ show. And by fans we mean rabid sand monkeys from outer space, for with the fan base of these two players that's exactly what you should expect.
Now, on to some complaints. While seeing Boxer vs Yellow in a 3v3 is fun, we'd have much preferred them in a 1v1. Here's hoping they make the mystery match. Also, while seeing Luxury and Leta in team games is alright, the PL coverage team feels that pushing Calm to a 3v3 slot was a little uncalled for. Those are minor gripes though, and all in all we're pretty psyched about seeing these games go down.
In under two weeks, a gruelling, year long, five days a week Proleague season is going to start. The players are going to be tired, the fans are going to be tired, and history tells us that we, as the coverage team, are going to be plenty exhausted ourselves. Allstars, in a way, is last chance hotel for us to ride the off season lull and have a laugh and see Broodwar's best have a great time themselves. Whether you're tuning into watch an old favourite play, or are eagerly awaiting the penultimate or final game, we hope that this weekend you'll be rewarded with some really fun Starcraft. On the other hand, if you're unsure of whether to catch these matches, we'd encourage you to give them a go. After all, thanks to our dedicated streamers, and the awesome new VOD page, getting ringside tickets has never been this easy. Good games, everyone!