Note: This is my first attempt at writing an editorial/column about ProGaming. It was really fun and easy to do, so hopefully look for similar content from me or other staff members in the near future!
With the new video streams and websites (Thanks ilovecats and SC2.org!), this OSL has likely been the best documented, most followed Starleague ever for foreign ProGaming fans.
Shinhan3 was quite memorable, with plenty of dramatic deciding games, “Holy Shit!” moments, and several compelling storylines and rivalries, most notably sAviOr’s Royal Road and NaDa’s quest for a fourth title, as well as the rise of IriS and Casy as potential replacements for army service Boxer and slumping XellOs and iloveoov.
Here are my Ten Memorable Moments from the Shinhan3 OSL, in reverse order:
10. “The Dragoons”
Much (P, CJ) > GoRush (Z, SKT1) Round of 16 Game 2 on Longinus II
No Templars necessary, newbie.
After a very ballsy one base, 3 Gate proxy Robo build to steal a win on Hitch Hiker, Much (who just turned 40 years old this year) fast expands on Longinus II and has to defend with Probes against a Hydra cannon break from GoRush. Four Dragoons pop out just in time to save his expo, and he counters for the win with an in-your-face mass Dragoon into +1 speed Zealots attack. He would successfully use the same strategy against Nal_KeKe in the Survivor League as well. Who said PvZ was his weakest matchup? It’s too bad that he ran into the ZvP wall that was sAviOr in the Quarters.
9. “The One Hatch Spire”
July (Z, MBCgame) > Casy (T, OGN) Round of 16 Game 2 on Longinus II
Gods of War don't need second hatcheries.
July had his back to the wall in this game, and did quite possibly the most daring strategy of the entire Starleague, a 9-pool into 1 Hatchery Spire micro-intensive harass build. Who else but the God of War would even think to attempt this against Casy, a Terran known for his amazing micro and 1-base play? It was bold, it was crazy, it was July at his best. Harassing with as few as his 3 initial Mutas, sneaking Lings into the Terran main, and forcing Casy to stay at home, July bought enough time for an expansion and a big lurker drop in Casy’s main that won him the game. July even upgraded drop first, so Casy suspected nothing, and would not even see a fast Overlord until they arrived full at his main CC.
8. “The Selection Mistake”
Midas (T, SKT1) selects sAviOr (Z, CJ) in the Round of 16 Bracket
UpMagic can't bear to watch Midas make the blunder of his career.
There’s a difference between being bold and being stupid, but Midas clearly does not understand the difference. I believed this would be the biggest mental mistake in the entire OSL, and possibly a turning point in Midas’ very promising career (so far). With July, Zergman, Casy, and Hwasin all in the Round of 16, there were plenty of threats to sAviOr. Midas threw out the possibility of never having to face the Maestro, and the chance to get a seed into the next OSL, all for some false confidence and hollow pride. This incident illustrated perfectly the difference between Midas and sAviOr: if sAviOr were to select the hardest player in the field as his Round of 16 opponent, sAviOr would WIN.
7. “The Muta Harass”
YellOw[Arnc] (Z, OGN) > iloveoov (T, SKT1) Round of 16 Game 2 on Hitch Hiker
See all that rubble? They used to be turrets.
There are those games that Muta harass does nothing, and then there are games like this one. Yarnc almost loses when oov stims a small group of marines past his sunkens, but ends the threat with a few Mutas. What came next can only be described as the most brutal Muta harass ever recorded in OSL history. Yarnc flew his Mutas around oov’s main and natural for four and a half minutes, harassing until his Lurkers were done morphing and ready to crush oov’s expansion. When the harass was over, Yarnc had killed 18 Marines, 2 Medics, 11 Turrets, and 31 SCVs. Yes, that’s over 3500 minerals worth of dead stuff, not even including the lost mining time for those SCVs.
6. “The Dismantling”
IriS (T, CJ) > Casy (T, OGN) 3-0 in the 3rd/4th Place Match
IriS fans never doubted.
This match happened quietly, because everyone was so excited about and preoccupied with the Finals, but it provided a bit of insight. Many viewed IriS as a weak player whose extremely close showing against sAviOr meant that the Maestro could be defeated by a “better” TvZ Terran (NaDa). Even during the match fans were proclaiming “NaDa wouldn’t lose this many vessels, NaDa would control these units better, etc.” However, IriS proved he was the real deal by absolutely crushing Casy in the Third Place match. There was a seed on the line, but from the games you wouldn’t have known it. It was utter, horrific, one-sided TvT rape, often with IriS somehow having better economy, unit count, and strategy simultaneously. It was eye-opening, and I have no doubt that if IriS won that epic Game 5 against sAviOr, he’d be the OSL champ right now.
5. “The Hero Lurker”
sAviOr (Z, CJ) > Midas (T, SKT1) Round of 16 Game 1 on Reverse Temple
Unfortunately this Lurker was burrowed. It'd be no problem if the Lurker isn't under land.
There was so much build up and anticipation for this match between “rivals,” since Midas chose sAviOr to be his opponent. Midas played very well, anticipating and defending sAviOr’s drop, attacking right before sAviOr reached Hive, and macroing like he usually does. Midas had the game won, until he let 1 Lurker kill 7 tanks. It was a very huge micro blunder, especially with a Vessel so close by. Midas’ confidence, momentum, and chance at winning his first Starleague died with those 7 tanks. You simply cannot give sAviOr a freewin on a map that favors Terran.
4. “The Fourth Goes Here”
NaDa (T, Pantech) points to his OSL victory pins after Quarterfinals
Fuck that s2 s2 shit, I'm getting my Fourth, bitches.
This simple gesture symbolized a new NaDa. He is no longer one of the young, happy-go-lucky Pro’s, he is a veteran and wants to destroy you. Earlier in his career he’d make cute heart signs or hand gestures, but the Fourth Pin thing was pure attitude, 100% “Fuck You, I have 3 OSLs and there’s no way you can beat me.” When NaDa plays with that fire, that killer instinct, that confidence, he can take on anyone. You saw it in Game 1 of the Finals, and you saw what happened when he lost his confidence after that Game 1. The "Four Pins" gesture was a rare and thrilling combination of pride and arrogance, rarely seen from NaDa.
3. “The Lost Scanner”
sAviOr (Z, CJ) > NaDa (T, Pantech) Finals Game 3 on Reverse Temple
0+S+click. 0+S+click. 0+S+click. WTF??
This was the turning point of the Finals. The series was even at 1-1, and Nada was advancing to sAviOr’s natural well before the Maestro had Defiler. However, a Mutaling counter into NaDa’s base destroyed a critical scanner that NaDa needed to kill three lurkers, and by the time NaDa realized his scanner was gone he had lost a full control group of MM and two tanks. If you were a Zerg backstabbing a Terran base, would you go after the scanner? Amazing play by sAviOr and more proof that StarCraft can come down to just a few seconds or a misclick.
2. “The Fake Expo”
Casy (T, OGN) > July (Z, MBCgame) Round of 16 Game 3 on Reverse Temple
Casy! You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Zerg and bring balance to the OSL, not lose in the semis!
It’s easy to forget how brilliant Casy was early on. This move had never been done before, and won him the game against an S-class Zerg user. It was a move worthy of comparisons with the Emperor himself, and had Casy went on to win this OSL, he and his fake FE move would have been immortalized. I don’t know what would be more impressive, if Casy practiced the maneuver or if he did it on the fly. Either way, it was a moment that was so special it made everyone (even July fans watching) believe that this was the Neo-Emperor’s OSL.
1. “The SCV Drop”
sAviOr (Z, CJ) > IriS (T, CJ) Semifinals Game 5 on Neo Arkanoid
Blind expo to 7:00 gogo. Oh shit.
It was like straight from a movie. In the deciding Game 5, IriS did a brilliant build and crippled sAviOr so badly that we were expecting a GG from the Maestro at any moment. But sAviOr fought and clawed his way back into the game, imposing his will and making a comeback for the ages, mainly due to a hidden southwest expansion, the same place he secretly expanded against NaDa in Superfight3. When two of IriS’ Dropships headed in that direction, all sAviOr fans held their breath—until the Dropships unloaded several SCVs in a very comical moment. Iris had discovered the expansion, but it was too late. When he moved to destroy it a minute later, it was swarming with Defilers and Lurkers, and sAviOr was one step closer to the Finals.