Code A Ro48: Day One Preview
TSL_HyuN vs Sleep
Non-Korean pros will be watching this match wondering if there is any way both of these two players can lose, and perhaps even hope for an accident involving a falling studio light. Sleep joined a foreign team and lived in America to take many cold hard dollars back to Korea, while HyuN has been pillaging foreign tournament from the comfort of his home country by playing in 98% of online tournaments.
On paper, Hyun should be the favorite, as he has defeated far more accomplished opponents, and has been on an impressive hot streak as of late (five straight victories in IPL Fight Club). However, it's worth noting that Sleep was always pretty decent against his fellow Koreans in ZvZ, so there's some hope for him yet.
Prediction: Hyun 2 – 1 Sleep
SlayerS_Ryung vs TSL_RagnaroK
It's a surprise to see Ryung in Code A so soon, the regular Code S fixture he is. He crushed a tough Up/Down group including Life, TheStC, and Oz to make it into Code S, only to be instantly knocked out by HerO and YoDa. What can we say? Life in Code S is f***ing hard.
While you'd expect Ryung to bounce straight back up into Code S, or at least the Up/Down matches, he's facing a sneakily dangerous opponent. Ragnarok is either TSL's 3rd or 4th string Zerg, and has pretty much zero notable tournament results. However, his name has been sneaking into interview shout-outs in the past few weeks, making one wonder if he's another SlayerS_Miya – great online, crap in the studio. Hey, Miya only needed to half-figure it out to beat aLive and Polt in WCS Korea, so maybe Ragnarok can do it too?
Prediction: Ryung 2 – 0 Ragnarok
MVP.Vampire vs SKT_sSak
SSak has played in exactly one Proleague game, losing to Guemchi in a TvP. This was also back in June, when KeSPA players were pretty bad and couldn't figure out how to win against Protoss. In the Code A prelims, he defeated one notable player in sC, and that being a TvT, it doesn't really help us figure out how he's going to play here.
On the other hand, Vampire is a player we've seen much more of lately, as he played eight game in his tie breaker-requiring Up/Down group. In those matches, Vampire looked pretty solid – our go-to word for players without that many distinguishing features. To be fair, that's how an awful lot of Korean Protoss players seem these days, doing the same strats with a similarly degree of efficient, precise execution. With so little info on Ssak and Vampire being so generic, this one is a toss up.
Prediction: Vampire 2 - 1 Ssak.
SlayerS_Genius vs MVP.Dream
With other pros tweeting at Genius joking about his 2000 rated League of Legends account (equiv to high masters or so), you have to think he's reverted completely to "coast" mode. Even so, his last place finish in his Code S group was a bit deceptive, as he gave Happy and ByuN some serious trouble, losing both his series 1 – 2. He looked very much like a player determined to stay in the Ro32 of Code S and cash that $2,000 check every season.
Dream is one of the tougher opponents Genius could have hoped for in the first round. Dream fought his way through some very difficult online qualifiers to make it into two MLG Arenas and a Championship, an impressive achievement despite his fairly average results once there. However, Genius has truly uncanny knack for staying around in Code S, and he has to be favored here.
Prediction: Genius 2 – 1 Dream
ST_AcE vs SAMSUNG_RorO
Ace made one tremendous run through the Up/Down matches a few seasons ago, but now GomTV seems to be determined to get rid of him as soon as possible. Instead of getting one of the KeSPA players with just a handful of games played in the Proleague, AcE has to play one of their best, the WCS Asia-qualified Roro.
It gets even worse for AcE, as PvZ is his own worst match-up, while Roro showed some excellent ZvP ability at WCS Korea. In the upset of that tournament, Roro defeated Seed 2 – 0, and only lost to Squirtle and Creator by narrow 1 – 2 scorelines. Seeing that AcE is not as good a PvZ player as any of those three it's hard to give him a chance in this match.
Prediction: RorO 2 – 0 AcE
ST_Hack vs CJ_rare
Rare comes into this tournament not having played a single match in the Proleague (he doesn't even have an SC2 TLPD), but given that he's on the relatively StarCraft II capable CJ-Entus, it's not that big a knock on his skill. His Code A preliminary run saw him defeat a string of entirely forgettable opponents, which gives us something approaching ZERO information on him before the match.
Hack might not be the most glamorous player, and he has choked under the pressure of playing KeSPA players in the past. But against a player who has never played in a televised game (not even Brood War), is there any chance that he could lose?
Prediction: Hack 2 – 0 Rare
LG-IM_First vs CJ_Bbyong
First is far too good to be left out of Code A, and he predictably made it back after getting cheesed out by aLive in the first round last season. While his PvZ has shown to be lacking in recent tournaments (MLG Raleigh was particularly brutal), his PvP and PvT games have been undeniably Code S class.
His opponent is BByong, one of the lesser known KeSPA players who has only received limited play time in the Proleague so far. While Bbyong has lost his only two Proleague TvPs, he did manage to defeat the OSL Ro8-qualified Flying in the last round of the Code A preliminaries. However, that hardly matches up to First, who is casually trading games with TaeJa in recent tournaments.
One point of interest going in is that Bbyong used mechanic Terran in his most recent Proleague TvP. While no one has really made mech TvP work in major tournaments, we've seen players like Illusion and Hack at least produce some unique and interesting games by utilizing the unorthodox strategy. Even if BByong loses as predicted, he could definitely make an impact if he plays entertaining games.
Prediction: First 2 – 1 Bbyong
8_Jaedong vs MVP.finale
The tyrant will get his first taste of Code A action tonight, and it won't be an easy challenge. Finale is the de facto Protoss ace of team MVP, and while he hasn't exactly carried the team on his back, he's been more than adequate at filling a much needed role on the team.
Jaedong comes into the match still looking like a total work in progress, bound together by prodigious mechanics and the occasional burst of brilliance. You can tell why he says he likes Stephano's play, as the European champ seems to be able to free-style all of his games and win anyway. When Jaedong tries that, he's headed toward disaster half the time, but it is an interesting mess to watch.
On a good night, when things are clicking, there's no doubt that Jaedong could beat finale. But if finale comes well prepared and Jaedong gets caught trying to adapt on the fly, then it could be a quick elimination for the tyrant.
Prediction: Jaedong 2 - 1 Finale
Graphics and Art: Meko.