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Round of 16 Day 3: Previews
JangBi vs MKP – Entombed Valley
JangBi vs MKP is a tough match to predict, and not just because of the standard KeSPA vs GSL mystique - both players are hungry and have plenty to prove.
Despite him being the most recent OSL winner and a solid Proleague performer, JangBi hasn’t quite stood out in SC2 thus far. He has taken victories in his last five Proleague appearances and didn’t look too awful vs DongRaeGu last week, but we especially have seen nothing from JangBi PvT-wise aside from an opening week victory vs Iris. JangBi will certainly be well-prepared for this match, and may be riding high with a little confidence due to his recent success, especially after seeing By.Rain defeat his very opponent last week.
MarineKing, however, will not go down quietly. After embarrassingly botching a sure win against Rain last week, more and more people have taken notice that MarineKing is on quite a downswing lately. After appearing to break out of his “very skilled but not champion” mold early in 2012, MarineKing has struggled to continue his success since the Zerg uprising. However, even though his game against Rain didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, it must be considered that he certainly looked like the superior player until he forgot how to control his army, and he was the best TvP player in the world through the first half of 2012. Albeit these pitfalls, MarineKing is still MarineKing, and has the potential to destroy anyone with outstanding play.
All things considered, MarineKing still has to be the favorite going into this match. JangBi’s PvT is completely unproven, he likely has less SC2 practice than everyone else due to taking part in the finals of the last Starleague, and it’s just hard to justify him being of the caliber to take down the best Terrans around. The map, Entombed Valley, could favor JangBi if he plays carefully and builds up a three base deathball without taking much damage, but MarineKing isn’t exactly one to stand by and let his opponent do such a thing. I’m going to have to pick MKP to take this one, and hope it’s the bounceback victory that gets him back in form.
NesTea vs Last – Ohana LE
Oh boy. With Last coming from a string of impressive KeSPA Terrans and NesTea showing quite a bit of ineptitude lately versus Terran, GSL fans may have much to fear for this match. Fantasy’s dismantling of the former three time GSL winner made him look even more mortal, but even so, a loss to Last would be a hard one to stomach. NesTea never quite seemed to ride the wave of success many Zergs had a couple months ago, and now that they’ve cooled down a bit, NesTea seems to have fallen harder than all. We can’t forget that NesTea is still the symbol of consistency in Korean SC2, but he’s looking shakier than ever nowadays.
However, at the same time, Last is not the scariest we’ve seen thus far from KeSPA, although a solid 3-0 TvZ track record against KeSPA Zergs is not something to ignore. Falling out to Life in the WCS prelims was not exactly a surprise, but KeSPA players have shown a strong willingness to learn at every opportunity, so Last could very well show a new face for this match. Coming from a relatively unexciting STX SouL team, Last is like those generic Korean Terrans that just seem to exist as their own separate race – always solid, always sticking around, always picking up some victories but not making a big splash.
With question marks around both these players, it’s hard to say what sort of game we’ll see, as KeSPA players have been looking more impressive by the day. A Bo1 on one of the better Terran maps nowadays certainly helps out Last, as there is very little research NesTea will be able to do while Last will be well-prepared. If Last brings his A-game, NesTea is both a vulnerable target and a valuable head for the trophy case – expect him to be firing on all cylinders
Mvp vs BaBy – Antiga Shipyard 1.2
When Mvp last was part of KeSPA teams, BaBy truly was a baby – a young prospect just breaking into the A-team level of competition. Now, Mvp is the defender of Korean SC2, and BaBy once again must prove his worth against a veteran.
The story complicates due to BaBy's solid 2-0 victory over Mvp in last week's WCG Korea, which struck fear into the hearts of GSL fans everywhere as the GSL king fell.
Mvp, despite all doubts and wrist problems, has time and time again shown that he can keep up with anyone with his rock-solid mech style. Already with a foreign tournament victory and a GSL victory this year, Mvp has done nothing but impress as of late, and with TvT always being a strong point for him, he should still be the favorite here. The loss to BaBy last week will only have made him take this match more seriously, although it's hard to guess Mvp's condition day to day - it's possible that he might have been suffering from his wrist injury a lot lately.
On the other side, BaBy has been fairly impressive in TvT thus far, with only losses to Flash and Sound on record. The 2-0 smash of Mvp only further served to help his case, but he'll still need to bring his best game to take down GSL's most storied player to date. While it was a convincing victory, WCG isn't exactly the cream of the crop in major tournaments, and an OSL match will certainly be something for both players to take seriously. I'd be surprised if BaBy can repeat the upset, but anything is truly possible in a Bo1 where both players have plenty of time to prepare.
MC vs San – Daybreak
MC vs San is the only Day 3 match that isn’t an inter-league clash, and being a Bo1 PvP on Daybreak, it’s a hard one to get excited about. Whoever gets the better end of the build order stick may cruise to an unceremonious victory, but we can hope someone has something interesting planned for this important game.
MC has looked as solid as ever lately despite his loss to Seed in the GSL finals a month ago, taking a victory over Best in week 1 and finishing a respectable top 4 at IEM Gamescom. MC is still MC, always one of the top 5 Protosses in the world, capable of destroying anyone with an arsenal of fearsome timing attacks. PvP has never been too much of a struggle for MC, and despite falling to Protoss players quite a few times in high-profile games, PvP is still his best matchup overall statistics-wise.
If you looked at the OSL Ro16 and thought “wtf, how’d San get here?”, you’re probably not alone. San did indeed somehow find his way through the stacked preliminaries and dual tournament tournament to end up in the Ro16, despite not really showing much promise in either GSL or GSTL as of late. Unsurprisingly, he fell to Flash in his first group stage match, and he seems well on his way out at this point, with a victory over MC unlikely. San is full of tricks, however, and in a Bo1 group environment like OSL, a couple of tricks can certainly be enough to pull you through to the next round. While SC2 fans may not have great things to say about this format, it does mean one thing: preparation is more important than ever.