Table of Contents
Group B, Final Day
Team SCV Life vs LG-IM
LG-IM vs Fnatic RaidCall
Check out the GSTL on Liquipedia
History was made yesterday, with Symbol achieving the first reverse all-kill ever in the GSTL. TSL moved on, while LG-IM is now threatened with elimination.
FnaticRC will be hard pressed to defeat LG-IM in the final match, but a recently resurgent Moon could make the difference.
Recap: TSL vs LG-IM
– Symbol makes history with a reverse All-Kill over LG-IM
Match results from Live Report Thread by opterown.
+ Show Spoiler [Results] +
An incredible miracle occurred on Tuesday night, but it wasn't for the team named LG-IM. Behind 0 – 4 and with LG-IM_Losira looking invincible, TSL sent out Symbol in a desperate, last gasp move to salvage the series. No one in the studio, not the audience, not TSL, certainly not LG-IM, and perhaps not even Symbol himself could have ever expected what came next.
There's only one way to put it: Symbol owned LG-IM.
LG-IM sent out player after player to defeat Symbol and finish the match, and Symbol cut down each one in turn. Even seven combined GSL championships' worth were not enough on a night where the Starcraft II world learned that Symbol had truly arrived, with Mvp and Nestea falling alongside the rest of their teammates. When it was all said and done, the box score read TSL 5, LG-IM 4. Or more accurately, Symbol 5, LG-IM 0.
Unfortunately for Losira, his best performance in almost a year was overshadowed by the GSTL's historic, first reverse all-kill ever. He was absolutely incredible for LG-IM, able to defeat Revival, Inori, Hyun, and even Super Tournament champion Polt in his first four games.
The match against Polt was particularly memorable, with Losira barely eking out a victory against Polt's infuriatingly safe and slow, textbook Antiga Shipyard TvZ play. Losira looked like he would suffer a common Zerg death when he failed to provide his late-game ultralisk army with sufficient support, but he managed to pull off a clutch Zergling run-by combined with a brood lord switch that quickly swung the game back in his favor. Able to put Polt in a situation where he could not accumulate anti-air units quickly enough, Losira's brood lords managed to steal him a game on one of Zerg's most hated ZvT maps.
After Zerg players won all eight sets (including mirror matches) on Monday, the TSL vs LG-IM series provided nine more wins for the swarm. Besides the number of wins, the content of the games made this one of the best two day stretches for Zerg in the GSTL.
Besides Polt, none of the non-Zerg players were able to put up much of a fight, and even Polt had the advantage of being able to pick his preferred map. The LG-IM Terrans looked particularly toothless, as Symbol easily took down YoDa and Happy with consecutive roach-bane all-ins, while he was able to defeat a greedy, meching Mvp with a large speed-roach attack at the perfect timing.
In a marked change from times gone by, it was not TvZ but ZvZ that provided some truly great games. Losira and Symbol played a non-stop action game on Muspelheim, with the acid-dissolved remains of roach-hydra-infestor armies covering every square inch of the maps as the two players attempted to exploit all angles of attack. Nestea vs Symbol provided a different kind of excitement, as the two players split Metropolis in half and built their end game hive compositions. In one of the best base-trade ace matches ever seen, Symbol's brood lords ended up prevailing over Nestea's ultralisks.
TSL advance to round 2, LG-IM face FnaticRC in final match
With the victory, Team SCV Life advanced to Group B in the second round of the GSTL. They will join last season's runner-up team StartaleQ, FXOpen, and New Star HoSeo. LG-IM will receive one more chance to progress into the second round in a match against Fnatic RaidCall tonight.
Player of the match: TSL_Symbol
It's a shame that DongRaeGu just hasn't had more tournaments to play in, because Symbol is taking a serious shot at the Zerg throne. Not only that, Symbol will also usurp DongRaeGu as the GSTL's uber-ace if he continues on at this pace. Luckily, MLG Anaheim is coming up, and we'll get to see who's truly the Zerg king.
Games of the night: Game Nine – Symbol vs Nestea, Game Five – Symbol vs Losira
This series featured two of the best ZvZ's we've ever seen in the GSTL. The two games provided a nice contrast: Symbol vs Losira was a game that was great because of its non-stop action, while Symbol vs Nestea built up slowly to a fantastic end-game sequence involving hive-tech.
Overall, I think that if we had to judge the games independent of context, the Symbol vs Losira game was actually better. The two players almost never stopped fighting, and it was impossible to tell who was going to win with the momentum swinging back and forth so many times. But context is precisely what differentiates pro-gaming from random games on ladder, and the fact that Symbol completed an impossible reverse-all kill against one of the best ZvZ players of all-time makes game nine a true classic.
Where They Stand
So I mentioned yesterday that LG-IM is really overrated. That's to say, they're not some world-destroying demi-god triumvirate that will automatically win the GSTL.
FnaticRC is rather similar to Liquid if you think about it. They both have a Terran/Protoss duo that's high Code S quality (aLive & Oz // HerO & TaeJa), a good online foreigner who's never proven himself in the GSL booth (NightEnD // TLO), a foreigner who's very unlikely to win a GSTL game outside a really lucky snipe (ToD // HayprO), a Terran who was really good in early 2011 but hasn't been relevant since (Rain // Jinro), and a borderline Code S/Code A Zerg who's really good at times but is pretty unreliable (Moon // Zenio).
And this means that just like Liquid, FnaticRC's lack of depth really hurts its chances of getting into the next round.
To be honest, while I thought that Liquid getting eliminated was the most likely scenario, they still had an outside chance of making it through if their streaky players had a good day. TaeJa had all killed in the past for SlayerS, while HerO was one of the best Protoss players in the world. Combined with any surprise contribution from Zenio or TLO, they had what it took to score an upset over any team.
That's pretty much what happened to FnaticRC in Monday's match: They got an unexpected three-win boost from Moon, which put Oz and aLive in a great position to close out the game against the remainder of TSL's line-up. Unfortunately for FnaticRC, they were going up against a streaky Zerg player who was really, really feeling it that day. Wait, that seems familiar... Can we make it official already? FnaticRC is alternate universe Liquid.
The same scenario is also possible for alternate-Liquid on Wednesday against LG-IM. It was really unfortunate for them that Moon's great day coincided with Symbol's better day, and also a day when Oz and aLive decided to misfire. The probability that everything falls into place perfectly for FnaticRC is pretty low, but they do have enough firepower to defeat LG-IM if the stars should align.
Players of Interest
LG-IM: MC (because he's not there), LosirA
It's pretty crappy for LG-IM that MC still won't be available. With Mvp and Nestea on the team, they could have used MC as some kind of super overqualified luxury sniper. Typically, you don't hire Michael Schumacher as your chauffeur, but if you have the means, why the f*** not?
It's unfortunate for Happy and Yoda that they happened to go up against an absolutely unstoppable Symbol yesterday, right after Losira robbed everyone of the 'easy' kills. I have pretty much the same expectations of them today: they'll be able to contribute in clearing away the first three to force out Oz and aLive, but they will have a lot of trouble actually defeating those two.
If yesterday's performance is any indicator, Losira can be safely relied upon to crush the weaker players on FnaticRC and draw out their aces. Losira's had a really rough stretch since losing to Nestea in the GSL July finals, but he's making a nice comeback lately. His online performances have been on spot, he's made it back into Code A, and yesterday's four-kill shows that he's more than capable of getting it done at the GomTV studio. Maintaining consistency is always key for a player making a comeback, but on the strength of last night's performances, I think Losira will continue to do well against FnaticRC.
FnaticRC: NightEnD, Moon
NightEnD finally got a taste of what it's like to play in the GSTL booth. His last outing was a mixed bag: he looked fairly solid as he macroed up and almost hit a strong deathball timing, but he also allowed Shine to deny any further expansions to a ridiculous degree, preventing him from moving on to the late-game. NightEnD looked like he had the potential to win a game or two in the GSTL, so hopefully he learned what he needed to learn about the GomTV environment from that first game and will adjust accordingly.
Moon's three kill against TSL was a really pleasant surprise for FnaticRC and Warcraft III fans everywhere. He looked god-awful at Assembly Winter 2012, when he had just switched back to playing Starcraft II full-time. It was particularly disappointing compared to the quality of play he showed during his silver-medal run at DreamHack Summer 2011, when he was technically active in both Warcraft III AND Starcraft II. It looks like he's had the time to return to a high level of SC II form, though it's unknown as to what his ceiling might be. If Moon can beat players who are better than Shine, Inori, and Hyun, then this match might end up being a lot closer than anyone expected.
LG-IM: Mvp and NesTea
Ah, so LG-IM do really care! Both Mvp and Nestea played yesterday, coming out as their team's fourth and fifth players respectively. Nestea was the real measure of "how much does LG-IM want to win this league?" as he had appeared in only four of LG-IM's prior GSTL games.
The pair disappointed in their first outing of the tournament, but you can hardly blame them since Symbol had activated the god-mode cheat. Now, how do they match-up against aLive?
If we recall, aLive famously out-Mvp'd Mvp in their Code S Season One RO16 group, showing fantastic mech Terran play that looked pretty much invincible. That proved to be a one-off, and his TvT has been fairly up and down since. Mvp hasn't had to play much TvT, but he did destroy TvT specialist Ryung last Code S in a very important elimination match. Overall, either player seems capable of beating the other, making this one close to a wash until you invoke the "never doubt Mvp" clause (which I broke yesterday and escaped unpunished).
On the other hand, aLive coulnd't win a TvZ to save his life in the past few months, and he even lost the third/fourth place match to Nestea at Iron Squid. You can make some kind of excuse for aLive by saying all his losses came to excellent ZvT players like Curious, Symbol, and Leenock, but those are the players aLive has to be able to beat if he is to be the ace FnaticRC needs. Realistically, he might even end up losing to Losira in his current form.
All in all, LG-IM should be fairly happy with the Mvp/Nestea duo playing against pretty much anyone on the FnaticRC line-up. For FnaticRC, they might need to play some line-up chess so they can put Oz on Nestea and generally protect aLive from having to play any of the opposing Zergs.
There's a perfect world scenario where all the alternate-Liquid players avoid their bad match-ups, chip in for a few wins a piece, and manage to pull of a major upset. Unfortunately, they're likely to more like to suffer the fate of actual-Liquid (or is it alternate-Fnatic?), where one or more of their players just couldn't play their part, and the team summarily collapsed after putting up a minor fight.
FnaticRC has good players, but none of them are particularly streaky guys who could swing this thing alone. aLive had that potential in the past, but his TvZ is holding him down right now. Barring another huge explosion from Moon, LG-IM's depth will be enough to batter FnaticRC down.
LG-IM 5 - 3 FnaticRC