By Mystlord, riptide, tree.hugger, and Milkis
SKT’s practice house is absolutely pristine. That’s to be expected from a well funded team. There’s only one slight problem. That single empty space filled with cobwebs. Lean in to take a closer look, and you’ll see the words “Winners League, First Place.” on a dusty plaque.
It was the last trophy they needed to complete their collection. They already had first place trophies for Minor League, STX Masters, and Proleague. The only major team competition first place trophy that they didn’t have was Winners League. One more. Just one more. And it almost seemed possible…
Until the last two weeks of Round 4. SKT completely fell apart in front of the three teams that they would be facing in the playoffs. Movie and Leta stomped SKT’s best players in their match against Hite Entus. Then Stats all killed SKT. Then Jaedong almost reverse all killed SKT, until by the virtue of ZvZ, s2 pulled out a last minute save. SKT looked weaker than ever, and they had to face all three teams again to climb to the top.
But they kept the dream alive. Ssak and fantasy destroyed Hite Entus. Bisu crushed Jaedong. And then they arrived here. After a mediocre Winners League performance, they stood poised to take it all. And so they did. In a glorious fashion.
SKT T1 versus KT Rolster Recap
s2 vs. Action (Sub-game 3)
Well two "ppp"s in one game has never been encouraging, nor was the roughly 30 minute wait or so for the actual game to start. But there was actually a re-game. This was important primarily because in the first game, both Action and s2 both went 9 pool, but during the downtime, Manager Park actually told s2 to go 12 pool instead, realizing that s2 practiced a far greater variety of builds than Action, and that Action would likely stick with the 9 pool. So we ended up with a completely different game than what we would have seen originally, but ah well. So is life. SKT cooking up conspiracies to give them a 3-kill. In any case...
Action has never been particularly well known for his ZvZ. Neither really has s2. But at least s2 has taken down some big names, while Action just mills around in his relative mediocrity.
But where exactly did Action go wrong this game? Well, basically he was at a disadvantage from the beginning. s2 went 12 Pool to Action’s 9 pool, plus Action applied absolutely no pressure against s2’s natural Hatchery, so the economic advantage goes straight to s2.
But here’s the problem with a 9 pool on Bloody Ridge. The choke from the natural to the main is absolutely huge. This means that Action didn’t have a ramp to hold, nor did he have a somewhat manageable choke to hold. Considering that a 12 pooling Zerg can power Zerglings, Action had two choices: retreat into his main with Sunken Colonies, or attempt to somehow hold s2 at his choke. He chose the latter, and paid for it.
Normally, there’s no way that the economy of a 9 pool can hope to match up against a 12 pool. So Action pulled Drones off gas to get enough Zerglings to defend against 12 pool, and pumped primarily Zerglings off of his single Hatchery. He held, but his economy was shot, and he lost his gas advantage, one of the few advantages that a 9 pool has against a 12 pool.
Knowing that his economy was shot, Action made a desperate move. After getting 6 or so Mutas, he pulled all of his Drones off gas, and powered Zerglings to try to break through s2’s natural with Zerglings and Mutalisks. However, s2 was smart enough to continually pump Zerglings throughout that entire battle, so he held and suffered no Drone losses.
Failed to break, failed to win.
At this point in the game, only a miracle would be able to save Action from total annihilation. s2 probably matched or exceeded Action in terms of gas at this point, and with his stronger economy, would almost certainly be able to destroy Action’s Mutalisks. And that’s exactly what happened. He started +1 armor the moment his Spire finished, and attacked when he had the +1 armor, essentially guaranteeing him the win.
s2 vs. Crazy-Hydra
If you thought that ZvZ was a game of rock-paper-scissors, you’re wrong. Crazy-Hydra went 12 pool, s2 went 9 pool, and s2 won. What it came down to in this game was Crazy-Hydra’s rather questionable Zergling usage.
At least in the finals, this was a common theme among the two KT Zergs, in that they didn’t seem to know how to properly balance Drones, gas, and Zerglings. This is a very delicate balance that Jaedong most certainly has mastered, but that a lot of lesser Zergs lack. Crazy-Hydra is one of those lesser Zergs, and he never really built up enough Zerglings to actually threaten s2, but neither did he build up his economy enough early in the game.
So the result? s2 never really got threatened, and CH decided to try to recover a bit by having essentially no Spore Colony coverage. And so s2 got somewhere around 5 Drone kills, which is a game ender in ZvZ. And so what do you think happened?
A very specific white man!
s2 vs. Stats
You know what the problem for Zerg is? They have always been too predictable and passive. But there’s little one can do about that. That’s just how Zerg plays. Terran players basically know what build Zerg players will go for (12 Hatch), and so they can get away most of the time with a 14 CC or a 1 Rax CC. Protoss players know that all Zerg players will go 3 Hatch Spire to 5 Hatch Hydra, and so they are now adapting their play to be more Zealot based.
So it’s good to see s2 mixing it up a little and going for the cheesy play. And Stats walks right into this trap. Expecting s2 to go for standard ZvP play, he pokes in the main, sees a morphing lair, pokes right out. Meanwhile, s2 cancels the Lair and places a Hydra Den instead. About a year ago, it was very common for Protoss players to actually send out a second scouting Probe, just to ensure that the Zerg wasn’t going for something strange like 3 Hatch Mutas or 3 Hatch Hydras. But modern PvZ has evolved to the point where Protoss players feel like they can rely on their first Corsair as a scout instead.
But Stats chooses to ignore that as well, and goes straight for the greedy Protoss play, characterized by choosing to kill the Overlord by his base instead of scouting Zerg with the Corsair. Not a smart idea, as he completely misses the Hydras moving out from s2’s main and towards his natural.
But for every bad decision Stats makes, s2 makes a good one. Instead of going straight up 3 Hatch Hydra, he goes for mass Zerglings. This was important for 2 reasons. First speed Zerglings don’t take forever to cross the map. But secondly, it was a clever mind game on s2’s part. Normally, the counter to mass Zerglings is pulling Probes to stall for your Cannons. However, pulling Probes against Hydralisks is a pretty futile exercise and generally just leads to Protoss not having any money to place additional cannons if necessary, plus if Zerg snipes Protoss’s Probes, he will come out ahead. But by going Zerglings and not showing them until the last second, s2 ensured that no Probes would be out in front of the Cannons, and that he could go straight for the kill instead of being satisfied with coming out equal or possibly slightly better.
And SKT goes wild!
Except for only one problem. See Manager Park and his expression there? He knows that even though SKT has 3 kills, it really means nothing. KT Rolster? Lol. More like KTFlash.
s2 vs. Flash
And here he is. God. And s2 shat his pants.
But to be fair, s2 went for a pretty bold strategy. 2 Hatch Mutas. I think it’s pretty clear that in order to play 2 Hatch Mutas well, you need to have good Mutalisk micro. And unfortunately, s2 didn’t show the level of Mutalisk micro that he needed to beat God. He did put up a good showing though.
But ultimately Flash saw through s2’s plan. After scouting s2’s main and seeing the 2 Hatch and Lair, he immediately changed his build around. In particular, he cut SCVs from gas, and began to prepare for Mutalisks. He got a few initial Turrets to fend off the Mutalisk harass, and then immediately began switching to mass MnM play. More or less foregoing any tech, he got 4 Rax and began to pressure s2 once he got enough MnM.
s2 got a Hydralisk Den to try to make Flash worry about Lurkers, but Flash wasn’t fazed one bit. He continued to pump his MnM, knowing that the number of Mutalisks excluded the possibility of a Lurker switch. Once Flash was out on the field with his MnM, s2 was in a lot of trouble. He didn’t get any Zerglings, so it would be tough for him to deal with MnM out on open ground. Thus he lost his third, while Flash Turreted up at home to stop any Mutalisk harass cold. s2’s economy was shot, and Flash just continued playing a solid game. Soon s2 realized that his mass Muta gambit had failed, and tapped out. Nobody beats God.
Bisu vs. Flash
Unless maybe you’re Bisu. This was, of course, the game of the night. And of course, once Flash lost, a thread was devoted to it, as per custom.
But what about the game itself? If you ask me, it was the golden opportunity that fell right into Bisu’s lap. The stars aligned and the best conditions possible for Bisu’s strategy fell into place. Now first, is a forward Gateway with Zealot pressure a hard counter to Rax Expand? No. But it is a soft counter in so far as Terran will have difficulty holding any sort of aggressive play off. So already, Flash was at a disadvantage.
But most importantly, Flash did not scout Bisu at all during the entire game. Not even with an SCV. This had two consequences. First, Flash didn’t see Bisu’s first Zealot heading that way. This wasn’t that big of a deal, but Flash didn’t see that Bisu had a forward Gateway. He didn’t know that Zealots arrive a few seconds faster, which is extremely crucial in the early game. Secondly, Flash was completely in the dark as to what Bisu’s follow up plan was. Most importantly, he did not see that Bisu got his natural gas relatively early, before his first Dragoon. This indicates a fast tech as opposed to a quick 3rd base.
So yes, I would pin a large part of Flash’s loss on his complete lack of an SCV scout into Bisu’s main. But on a more direct level, Flash doesn’t have the greatest of mechanics. I don’t think that’s a mystery to anyone. Bisu’s aggressive play hit Flash where it hurts. Right in the wrists. Bisu’s greatest strength, without a doubt, is his incredible multi-tasking capability. He exploited Flash’s early game weakness, and prevented Flash from gaining the momentum that he needs to power towards a late game. Flash’s weakness came out even more because he didn’t get an early Bunker. I’m not exactly sure why he didn’t get an early Bunker, as he was more or less pumping SCVs non-stop. This led to him taking far too many Marine losses, and was just disappointing play on Flash’s part.
Flash took heavy economic damage, but the game wasn’t unwinnable for him. It would be an uphill climb, certainly, but it wouldn’t be impossible. The game settled down for a while as both players licked their wounds, Bisu tried to sneak DTs straight through Flash’s front door, which almost worked. Almost. Flash scanned, took those out, and then scanned and saw that Bisu was using his lack of detection as an excuse to take two additional expansions.
And at this point, Flash tried to pull off a contain to stay alive. I’m still very much questioning this move. The biggest burning question? Why would you even consider trying to contain a 4 base Protoss when you have no capacity to threaten any of those four bases? Furthermore, Flash’s force was far too paltry to take on a 4 base Protoss on anything less than vastly superior ground (aka above his ramp). A push, sure; an expansion, sure. But a contain just seems to be a tactically unsound decision given his situation.
A 6 Tank contain against a 4 base Protoss. That’ll pan out well.
But that’s the point about Flash’s strategy. It was only unwise given his situation. I can’t help but feel like Flash came up with this strategy before the match, but continued with it anyway despite having his early game completely messed up. And it’s actually a pretty smart strategy on Aztec. One problem on Aztec for Terran is just how easily Protoss can hold and consolidate 4+ bases, while how hard it is for Terran to do the same. Consider the ease at which Arbiters can fly into Terran’s main. Consider how long the distance is from Terran’s general staging area back to his main, and consider just how easily Protoss can bounce between his bases, while Terran has to set up his Siege Tanks in a rather haphazard manner to even begin to cover all of his defensive holes.
So what does a contain do? It keeps Protoss stuck on 4 bases, and it limits his attack options. Suddenly, Terran’s fourth is no longer a liability, and the small ramp leading up to Terran’s natural is no longer a liability. Arbiters in particular have only a few possible vectors of attack. And the reason why Flash got Science Vessels so quickly was to shut down any recall attempts that Protoss would attempt while his contain was set up. While it’s not the ideal Terran strategy, it’s certainly one that adapts better to Aztec than the standard 3 or 4 base turtle that seems to dominate TvP nowadays.
So while Flash had a pretty good strategy in his head, it didn’t pan out as he wanted it to. Bisu just rolled over Flash’s contain with Zealots. A rather anticlimactic end, yes, but look at the bright side! Bisu won! :D
Thank God I put those last two sentences in! I just saw this alert:
URGENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Department of Team Liquid Security has released a new update to its regularly updated fanboy alert. These changes were made in response to the recently completed Winners League Finals.
The rating for Bisu fanboys has been upgraded to Rampaging and an argument advisory has been issued for an indefinite period. It is strongly urged that anyone engaged in an argument with a Bisu fanboy to take cover immediately, or break into tears in a desperate attempt to gain their trust.
The rating for Flash fans has been upgraded to Thwarted and an argument advisory has been issued for the immediate period until Flash flattens his next opponent, after which the advisory will stay in place, but for different reasons. It is strongly urged that anyone engaged in an argument with a Flash fan take cover immediately, or to lie prone at the lowest possible point if caught in an open field.
The rating for Jaedong fans has been downgraded to Inflammation of the small intestine and the previous indefinite argument advisory has been lifted temporarily until someone else from Oz starts to actually win games of starcraft. If you have been shunning the Jaedong fans in your life, now is a great time to re-establish contact.
+ The rating for Air Force ACE fans has been upgraded to No more Winners League! ACE fans are remembering that in Round 2, ACE completed their best ever Round performance in history, going 5-4 and achieving fourth place. ACE will resume winning games and entertaining, rather than depressing, their fans shortly.
+ The rating for Hite Entus fans has been shifted sideways to Disappointed, yet cautiously optimistic? The perpetual cheeriness and optimism of HEntus fans was sapped by their usual loss to SKT1 in the Winners League playoffs, but the return of EffOrt, the continued progress of Snow, Movie, Hydra, and the solid league performance from HEnuts has many fans excited again.
+ The rating for Hwaseung OZ fans has been downgraded to Making Perfectman's perfect, perfect body their wallpaper. After OZ's highly predictable loss to SKT1 in the Winners League playoffs, there were fears that OZ fans could get out of hand. However, the timely leak of Perfectman pictures relaxed the tension.
+ The rating for KT Rolster fans is Thwarted. This is the same as the rating for Flash fans. And you thought KT had more than one player.
+ The rating for MBC fans remains unchanged at Depressed. The reasons for this rating remain unchanged.
+ The rating for Samsung KHAN fans has been upgraded to I hear protoss is overpowered in Sc2? The desperate hopes and dreams of BW fans that Jangbi will admit the obvious and switch to Sc2 remain unrealized. Assuming that great and TurN are solid performers continues to be a problematic proposition.
+ The rating for SKT T1 fans has been upgraded to Celebratory. SKT1 fans have been relatively docile in comparison with their oft-confused counterparts in the Bisu camp. However, given a strong overall performance from every SKT1 player except BeSt, SKT1 fans are excited and pleased with their team's success. Isolated instances of excessive gloating have been reported. Proceed with caution.
+ The rating for STX Soul fans has been downgraded to Blue. While in playoff position, STX fans and their team have had difficulty connecting this year, and their troubles seem likely to continue until FrOzean's mom brings Campbell's Chucky Soup back into the locker room. STX fans are only a threat to themselves. Interaction is encouraged.
+ The rating for Wemade FOX fans has been downgraded to Depressed, but in a cute way. Wemade maintains a healthy lead above ACE at the basement of the proleague table, but their poor match record has last year's playoff contenders holding their teddy bears tightly, and holding back adorable, adorable tears.
+ The rating for Woongjin Stars fans has been upgraded to Rampaging?, because Woongjin Stars fans have every right to be furious with their team, but they haven't been public about it. This may be because there are no Woongjin Stars fans, or possibly because they're just waiting in the shadows, biding their time. Proceed with caution.
As an addendum to the above report, it seems as though the SKT fans have rallied and have dispatched an enjoy with the following information:
Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
Two of these men specialise in silver. One forges pure gold.
Forged by Broodwar deities like Lim Yo Hwan and Choi Yun Sung, Orion leapt into the night sky nearly a decade ago. Since then, none has shone brighter. Other teams come and go, but SKT remains, as was evident to anyone who watched last week's Winners League finals.
The games were a treat to watch, not just because Starcraft's best and brightest were on show, but because, KT fan map imbalance qq not withstanding, it was a a great finals in itself. In typical SKT style, we delivered the unexpected. A SKT Zerg went on stage and
Everyone but Bisu, that is. You know, Kim Taek Yong, protector of all that is good and right in Broodwar? He stepped out, and not a single #%$#$ was given that evening in Seoul as he dispatched the undisputed king of progaming, breaking a contain and dashing the hopes of KT fans everywhere. The qq that followed threatened to blot out the sun.
KT fans called on their gods to punish Bisu for his insolence. IMBA, IMBA - the cry rang out far and wide.
The truth though, is that Aztec statistics aside, SKT won the game because they are a team. Apart from Boxer's retirement, the SKT support structure is well in place. Coach Park and Iloveoov are fantastic leaders and they have reliable aces in the form of Fantasy and Bisu.
This is not to say that KT doesn't get it together on occasion. They did, after all, perform consistently in PL last year and beat us in the finals no less. Having said that, and veering quickly away from using words like depth, let's just say that their lineup, their gameplan and their attitude in general is hold it together till we send Flash out. Last year, they did. This month, they didn't, and our best beat their best.
This wasn't SKT vs KT. It was SKT vs Flash. And SKT won. We collected KT tears. It was glorious. Playing us is like driving into a brick wall. Sometimes you'll hit the right spot and the wall will crumble. Most of the time though you'll just end up with a concussion.
Rest up, KT. We'll see you in Pusan this August. Bring Flash, and get over Aztec. We'll be waiting.
In order to avoid a riot caused by raging SKT fanboys, the executives up high have declared a policy of avoidance or appeasement, at least until the security alert is called off.
So then, how about we focus our attention on something hopefully not SKT related then?
The All Star Game
It's hard to preview anything of this nature, of course. It is after all, a event that is designed to be a treat -- in more of a UMS way rather than a serious, competitive way. While it is not a real competition between the players, it is however, an opportunity for progamers to bond, show off their quirks, and to use their honed game sense to do something that makes us all laugh rather than turtle and split the map.
We're not sure what kind of games to expect, of course. But I will use this column to talk about what kind of stuff I would like to see from this All Star games.
The players are divided into two teams -- Team Challenge, run by Coach Park of SKT T1 and Team Passion, run by Coach Lee of KT Rolster. Team Challenge is composed of Flash, ToSsGirL, Sea, Midas, Jaedong, YellOw, Reach, Stork -- while Team Passion consists of FBH, Fantasy, Leta, ZerO, Calm, Bisu, BeSt, Anytime.
The roster list is interesting -- we do miss out on a possibilities of a Lee-Ssang Rok -- and before anyone tells me that their games are boring, Lee-Ssang Roks have been rather amazing when played when there is less on the line -- as we can saw in the amazing matches during the WCG prelims and the WCG itself. Jaedong and Flash are on the same team this time around, and personally I want to see them 2 vs 2 against a team like Fantasy and Bisu.
We do miss out on Lim Jin Rok, a tradition fan service game that were played on all star games on the past. Simply put, there isn't any big special matches that they will pull off, so I assume that they will have something special planned -- whether it be more team games, or relay matches, to even UMS matches. The relay matches during the All Star games during the PL finals was extremely fun to watch -- much more fun than the actual All Star games that took place later. Perhaps they did realize that, since many of the players seemed to play rather seriously during the All Star games last time, leading to a kind of disappointment. It would be nice if KeSPA organized a more relaxed, fun environment for the progamers to compete for fun in to avoid that this time around.
Winner's League may have ended with SKT taking the gold, but that's only a small blip on our radar. Starting on the 23rd, Proleague will return for the final two rounds before we head to the playoffs. The pressure is on for all those teams with a poor record relative to KT, SKT, and hite to compete for the playoff spots, but what we as an audience will be thirsting for is a comeback. A comeback from a negative win-loss ratio to one that has the potential to compete with the top 3 teams. The pressure is on.
Writeup brought to you by the Proleague Writing Team. Thanks to disciple for keeping us constantly hyped with amazing posters. Make sure to check out our recruitment thread if you're interested in contributing in the future! We are currently looking for someone who has an indepth knowledge of builds and trends in Brood War -- if you meet this qualifications, please apply!