Stork is 21-3 PvT in 2007. Let me repeat that. Stork is 21-3 PvT in 2007. That's a staggering achievement, and there's no question that Stork is the favorite to take this series. So does Iris have a chance? Can he even hope to win three games in a single night when it took Stork six months to lose that many?
Well, yeah. Here’s why:
OSL Semifinal #1
Stork (P) vs. Iris (T)
Thanks for the images, KizZBG!
Game 1 – Monty Hall
I discussed Monty Hall's TvP balance last week, but it really comes down to this: the longer the game, the better the chance that the Terran will win. The large amount of gas gives Terran players the ability to have a high tank count and get early upgrades, and cliffs overlook all of the late game expansions, giving the Terran excellent late-game resource control. It's no surprise that so many Protoss players have employed proxy builds; they're looking to win the game early. I'm expecting Stork, however, to play safely at the beginning of the game with the objective of getting carriers before things drag on for too long. Iris' challenge will be to use his (presumably many) comsat stations to spot those carriers before they reach a critical mass and time his push accordingly.
Game 2 – Hitchhiker
Hitchhiker is a tough PvT map, and it's not hard to see why: the narrow, narrow path running down the middle of the map is like something out of a Terran player's wet dream. The typical Protoss strategy on maps like Hitchhiker—maps where one really doesn't want to fight with a ground army—is to use reavers to delay the Terran push until carriers. But Stork varied that strategy a bit in one of his games on Hitchhiker by going double-nexus, using a reaver to force turrets and scatter the Terran army, and finally using his brief economic advantage (from the double-nexus) to crack the Terran natural with a lot of zealots. Iris' goal should be to get to the late game; it's almost impossible to halt a massive Terran push in such thin passages. Stork is 2-0 PvT on Hitchhiker, but the map favors Terran 8-6 in the matchup.
Game 3 – Fantasy
There's no question that Fantasy is an excellent PvT map. With its long push distances and relatively open middle, Protoss players are able to do what they do best: form a big, perpendicular line of dragoons and send them into the fray with zealots charging in from behind. Current statistics favor Protoss 3-0 against Terran on Fantasy. I honestly have no idea what Iris can do to win this game, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he's prepared!
Game 4 – Python
Python, along with Arcadia and Tau Cross, is one of the most balanced maps ever created, but it does feature some positional, well, difficulties, especially when it comes to TvP. The normally-simple Terran act of setting up a push and securing that crucial third mineral line is obscenely difficult if the Protoss player is fortunate enough to have cross positions. Conversely, positions of 12/3 or 6/9 give the Terran player the option of slowly but surely creeping up the side of his main while securing the mineral-only expansion and putting himself in only minimal danger. Or the Terran can use a dropship or two to push directly into the Protoss main while supporting those troops with tanks from the available island expansion. I'm not sure which tactic is more difficult to combat, but neither is pleasant. Python's balance is most-evident when the positions are 12/9 or 3/6; Terran players are left with a shorter push and the option of taking the corner gas expansion, but they are unable to abuse the islands or support their push from their elevated main base.
Game 5 – Monty Hall
Though I doubt too many people are expecting it, I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see the series make it this far, which would be a huge treat for fans. Stork hasn't had nearly the amount of practice time that Iris has, and although I don't give Iris much of a chance to win on Fantasy, he can win on Monty, Hitchhiker, and Python (assuming that he gets a positional "boost"). The only real note about the final game of a Bo5 is that players tend to come prepared with an ace strategy that they've saved for that final, "if necessary" game. This series has the potential to be great!
Here's what the rest of Team Liquid had to say:
SuperJongMan: "Stork's PvT is so ridiculous, if he grabs an advantage, he does not let it go. Period. Iris is strong, but no terran is stopping Stork, don't be silly."
HonestTea: "This series will be decided by one aspect alone: Build Orders. The Two-Fac, 1-Fac, Obs-Goon, Reaver, FD, FE, DT dance."
Manifesto7: "Iris only has one matchup left to prove; his TvP. Stork is the perfect guy to do it against because he is a protoss suitable for Iris' steady style. Someone like rA or Pusan might be too funky for him, but vs Stork Iris knows he can play his own game."