Long ago, the 3rd place match didn't matter much. Two defeated players, their dreams already crushed in the semifinals, would halfheartedly duke it out for a vague sense of pride and a little bit of money, but in the end, no one, including the fans, really cared.
One day, however, all that changed, and that day was [note to self: look up this date before posting]. Yes, on that fateful day, OGN decided to award a seed in the next OSL to the winner of the 3rd place match. Thus did this previously-insignificant match turn into a fight for survival, a desperate bid by both players to avoid the Dual Tournament and keep their dreams of an OSL win alive for another season. Before OGN changed over to the 24-man format, the 3rd place match was nearly as anticipated as the final. Now that OGN has returned to the 16-man format of yore, we are once again being treated to a 3rd place match of meaning and consequence.
As the new Terran golden boy, Flash has a lot to prove. Being endorsed by Reach and having a stellar 17-7 career record is impressive, but Flash is currently in a 2-5 losing skid. Further, Flash's 9-1 TvP record coincides, for the most part, with a string of weak opponents, cheese builds, and/or advantageous maps. Still, wins are wins, and Flash showed stunning macro against GGPlay. Does the golden boy have the skill to take down Stork, the most-feared PvT player in the game today?
Having already discussed the PvT balance of these four maps in-depth last week, I'm going to keep my analysis brief. Although I will state the favorite for each map, my real prediction is that this series, one way or the other, will end 3-2. And for the fans, that's always a good thing.
OSL 3rd Place Match
Game 1 – Python
Python's PvT balance depends entirely on positions. But regardless of the positions, Python is a map that necessitates a lightning push from the Terran. Turtling and going for 3/3 upgrades, such as is common on maps like R-Point and Peaks, just doesn't cut it on Python; it's too hard for Terran players to secure bases beyond their natural, and the gas count is too low. Flash needs to look for ways to push the pace at every opportunity if he hopes to put the squeeze on the big bird.
Game 2 – Hitchhiker
PvT on Hitchhiker is too difficult for Stork to win without some sort of all-in or cheese strategy. So my prediction goes thusly: if Stork doesn't win within the 10-minute mark, he will lose.
Game 3 – Monty Hall
With Stork's dragoon-heavy PvT style and Flash's strong macro, I don't see Stork pulling out the win unless he changes his style to something more aggressive or passive; his standard play won't work. Though a fast expansion into a timing attack could work, I'm expecting Stork to play passively and attempt to build a “critical mass” of carriers.
Game 4 – Fantasy
I like Stork's odds here due to the long push distances, but as Iris showed last week, depending upon positions, the push distances can seem very, very short.
Game 5 – Python
As I said above, I'm expecting the series to get to this point. Stork is my pick to win due to his generally superior timing—PvT on Python is all about timing—but if Flash manages to secure an expansion beyond his natural, Stork could be in trouble. You'd better believe I'll be watching this series live; I expect it to be one of the best this year.