I heard that Daigomi caused Savior to slump after he crushed him Bo9 style
Welcome to the middle point of the Ever 2008 OSL. We have managed to eliminate half the competitors through the group phases which leaves us with the eight of the best gamers of today. On Friday, the OSL will move into single elimination meaning every game is a must win. The Ro8 is a funny part of the tournament. Some players get placed into an insane half bracket, while others get a nice stroll in the park. Also, this is the phase where monsters die and giants on their comeback fall. Jaedong was crushed here last season, as were the hopes of a Zerg four-peat. Throughout history, the likes of July, Nada and Boxer have all met similar fates in this round, which simply means expect the unexpected; because there's going to be some disappointed fan boys.
The middle of the OSL marks a landmark in the tournament. And its a point where i like to explore each player and get to know them a little bit better. After all, they have been providing us with top quality entertainment for the past 2 months and now the are on the home stretch to victory. In addition to a brief player history lesson we'll do the usual previews and reveal to you the awesome Ever 2008 Bracket for the first time. And it is, with great sadness, that Manifesto will no longer be writing for the OSL - he is off to write for that sham of a tournament known as the MSL. So this is Mani's last chance to get some final words in before he hands over the reigns.
But let's first explore each of our beloved Quarterfinalists.
'There ain't nothing you can do to stop me'
Flash - 이영호 - Lee Young Ho
Date of Birth: 1992-07-05
Team: KTF MagiNs
KeSPA Rank: #2
Claim to Fame: Youngest Major League Winner (Bacchus OSL)
Bio: Flash is known as the Ultimate Weapon - and for a very good reason. He seemed to be cursed when he was on the rise by running into the strongest competitors imaginable. In fact he ran into Jaedong in three separate quarterfinals in a matter of weeks. Flash overcame those setbacks and went on to win both Bacchus OSL and the GSI - the youngest person to do so. Since then he has lead the resurgence of KTF, which has resulted in KTF almost assured of making the playoffs for the first time in two years. Over the past 2 months he has gone 23-3 demonstrating that he is the real deal, and a threat to everyone.
'I've got a surprise for ya'
Luxury - 박찬수 - Park Chan Soo
Date of Birth: 1987-12-07
Team: OnGameNet SPARKYZ
KeSPA Rank: #7
Claim to Fame: 5-pooling Bisu on Troy
Bio: Luxury began his career in the shadow of his twin brother YellOw[ArnC] but as time went on Luxury came into his own as a lethal weapon. First noted for his ZvT, he went on to become the 2nd best ZvZ in the world (behind Jaedong) and a strong Starleague contended. In recent tournaments he has emerged from the shadow of his brother and shown that he is the best of the twins. He was a Bacchus OSL semifinalist and defeated Yarnc already in this tournament. Despite his success, like his brother, he still lacks a defining moment in his career, but taking down Flash in a quarterfinal series would definitely fill that void.
- The odds-on favorite for this matchup has to be Flash. The current Power Rank #1 has recently broke one of the longest standing records in BW, iloveoov's ELO ranking of 2329 pts from 2004. He has been on a magnificent tear and there is little reason to believe he will be stopped now. I really want to give Luxury a chance based on maps (Flash is undefeated vs Zerg on all of them in any tournament) or history (Flash is undefeated vs Luxury) but I can't. There is no reason why Flash should lose, except that Luxury is looking to define a solid but unspectacular career.
- This is an interesting match. Luxury is, despite what people think, one of the few players capable of taking out Flash in a bo3. The problem is, Flash has been unbeatable on Troy, and the map itself heavily favours Terran over Zerg. With Luxury essentially down 0-1 to start the series because of Troy, we're left with Andromeda and Hwarangdo to close the matches out. My prediction is that Flash will take Troy and Hwarango, and Luxury will take Andromeda. This ONLY applies is Luxury plays well, and as a progamer with one of the highest fluctuation in level of play, that can almost be called an unlikelihood. It's up to Luxury to lose 2-1 or 2-0, but he will most definitely lose.
- We certainly are an imaginative bunch as i too am calling Flash to take this. There are two ways he's going to lose this series; the first way is if Luxury pulls some nice cheese, the second is if Flash has a heart attack. One thing my colleagues seem to ignore is Luxury being a fairly creative Zerg, which certainly works to his advantage. He stirred up quite the controversy when he 5 pooled Bisu, and won, on Troy which in all honesty was a stroke of genius. So I don't doubt that Luxury is going to come at Flash with every trick in his arsenal. But when you're against the best, even the greatest magician will falter. Flash will swamp him and leave him gagging on the sidewalk as he progresses to the semis.
'Refer to my name. Any questions?'
Best - 도재욱 - Doh Jae Wook
Date of Birth: 1989-10-06
KeSPA Rank: #18
Claim to Fame:
Bio: Since Stork was disassembled in the last OSL, Best has really emerged as the top Protoss player of the day. Under the guidance of Kingdom, Best has led the SKT1 resurrection from last season's disappointing results. What is remarkable is that he has done so while also developing his individual game. His style is distinctive, unlike many other Protoss players. He boasts formidable macro and a love of Dark Templars and Arbiters. His ability to use both units to their full potential while macroing an army that Pusan would be proud of has sent him skyrocketing up the Power Rank and into our hearts. He stands as the deadliest Protoss threat to Flash having already defeated him in recent times.
'Back in my day...'
Much - 박영민 - Park Yeong Min
Date of Birth: 1984-01-13
KeSPA Rank: #12
Claim to Fame: Pylon Heart Designer.
Bio: Grandpa toss is always hot and cold, dropping five games and then rebounding to win five games. Unfortunately for him, he never manages to stay hot through an entire season. His trip through the qualifying stage took him through tough opponents in Mind and Bisu and he is lined up to play his best matchup.
- As in the previous series, there is not much to go on with these two. The maps have not been played enough, and the two have only faced off once, with Best taking the win. Taking momentum into consideration though, Best simply dominated a tough group to get where he is now, and he avoids the inconsistencies that plague Much. Look for Best to pull through.
- This is a no-brainer. Best is the strongest Protoss on the planet right now. AND, his best matchup is PvP. Best is going to walk all over Much in two swift games.
- Best is without a doubt my favorite player at the moment, and has been since January. His brilliance in PvP stems from his impeccable macro coupled with great timing. His recent game against Daezang showed a number of things; the kid is fast, he knows how to catch you with your pants down, and he knows how to micro. Best is the full package. Much on the other hand has been limping by somehow managing to continually qualify for the quarterfinals. Much will be working hard on his PvP for his upcoming Bo5 against Free, and for this series; so i don't doubt that he'll be at the peak of his game. Best is simply on another level at the moment, he only just lost out to an inform Stork (best PvP in the world) in Bacchus OSL - and this time he's going all the way.
'Sumo Zerg is going to deliver the oshidashi'
July - 박성준 - Park Sung Joon
Date of Birth: 1986-12-18
KeSPA Rank: #20
Claim to Fame: The only Zerg with two OSL wins and the last golden mouse contender left in this OSL
Bio: Is July becoming the zerg version of NaDa? He disappears for a while and then re-emerges to contend again. After a very rough beginning to 2008 with two team changes, July seems determined to set himself straight. He is a strong competitor who, if he can keep his ZvP straight, provides a major obstacle to all who face him.
'I'll go two base carriers vs ANYBODY.'
Rock - 안기효 - Ahn Gi Hyo
Date of Birth: 1986-02-01
Team: WeMade Fox
KeSPA Rank: #23
Claim to Fame: Master of the Carrier.
Bio: If we compare July to NaDa, let's compare Rock to MuMyung. Rock has qualified for about 23 major and minor leagues in his career, and in more than half he has failed to play more than the minimum number of games. This guy, quite simply, cannot elevate his game when it counts. The EVER OSL provides him with yet another chance to do so.
- It is hard not to cheer for a Golden Mouse candidate, so my heart is with July. The numbers also seem to support him as well, with July holding a 6-2 edge. The maps also tilt in zerg's favour, although they have not been played extensively enough to be labeled as such. Rock has the potential to bring an upset, but I cannot give an adequate reason why. So, July it is!
- This is the most interesting match of the OSL round of 8. July has been slumping for YEARS, but has finally qualified for another OSL. All we've seen from July so far is that his micro is once again absolutely top notch. Rock is the same old Rock. He qualifies for OSL all the fuckin' time, don't get excited. There's a famous gif that shows what happened the last time these two met in OSL round of 8, but July has become a total enigma. Still, I'm backing July to take this OSL and the second Golden Mouse in existence, so my prediction is a 2-0 rape, oldschool style.
- Not being a betting man myself, I'm not bound to pick the winner who is likely to win; rather the winner that would please me more if he won. This is one of those hard decisions between the fairytale come true, and the cold hard facts. The facts are that Rock is looking better than ever. For the first time in his career he played a perfect PvZ game (against GGPlay), a feat which did not go unnoticed by yours truly. The fact is, fairy tales don't come true and no matter how many times you clutch to your dreams of a Golden Mouse it won't just appear in front of you. July is yet to play a solid ZvP, he's looked unstable in the matchup for a long time. Yes, he can pull off some pretty cheese (July vs Bisu hello!) but he can't tango like he used to. I want July to win, and I'm pulling for him to win. But Rock is where the safe money is. Atleast i can take solace in the thought that I dont bet, because this is one game where I'd lose some money.
'Looking to make a name for myself.'
BackHo - 손찬웅 - Son Chan Woong
Date of Birth: 1989-05-09
Team: Lecaf OZ
KeSPA Rank: -
Claim to Fame: Knocking out Jaedong, Casy and Bisu.
Bio: Backho is formerly an intern for Lecaf who snuck onto the Proleague roster by doing some questionable acts. Since making the roster he has done nothing but disappoint people. Fortunately in recent times he hasn't been disappointing his fans. The kid that nobody believed in walked over Jaedong and Casy to qualify for the OSL - then defeated Much and Bisu to qualify as D1. Something somewhere inside BackHo clicked, and now he's looking like a serious candidate for the OSL. With a number of high profile names under his belt the only thing left is a title.
'I'm a protoss ChoJJa!'
JangBi - 허영무 - Heo Yeong Moo
Date of Birth: 1989-05-03
KeSPA Rank: #16
Claim to Fame: Made a strong case for the electric chair in his storming of Nada recently.
Bio: JangBi has been forever known as the best player on Samsung Khan. In just about every question about JangBi his fellow players say what a monster his is. Unfortunately, JangBi has a major problem with his nerves and never lives up to his ability. A small glimpse of this skills was evident in the Game Festival last year where he reached the finals of a 256 man tournament (losing to Jaedong in the finals). In recent times JangBi has turned this image around by making the Semifinals of GomTV S4 and honoring Thor in his decimation of Nada. For once JangBi looks like a huge threat. In qualifying for the Ro8 he defeated Nada and Stork in straight sets showing that this may just be the time that JangBi shows the world what he's got hidden under his sleeve.
- It's hard for me to like either of these players, as neither has much in the way of personality or signature moments. Backho enters after defeating Bisu and Much in the group stages, while JangBi required a tie-breaker and handled himself well against Stork. The two have played only once, with Jangbi taking a win on Nemesis. Flip a coin here.
- BackHo is fortunate. Jangbi is essentially the only player in the round of 8 he has a shot against. Jangbi has looked decent lately to an untrained eye, but there are aspects of his game that make him less reliable than appearances would indicate. Jangbi's last PvP adventure was a pair of games against Stork, which he won. But Stork sucks, so who cares? Jangbi is in for a hellacious time with BackHo, simply because if BackHo's builds counter Jangbi's in any way, he is dead. BackHo will never ever EVER deviate from his battle plan, and his mechanics are pretty good. This round will come down to build orders 100%. I don't see any room for Jangbi to outclass BackHo. Still, BackHo is untested and inexperienced, and I don't think his builds will be very good. Jangbi will take this 2-1, dropping the game on Troy if any.
- This is a difficult call, as neither are really that impressive. JangBi has a history of faltering when the stakes are high - notably in PvP of all matchups. Backho looked pretty good against Much and Bisu; even if those games weren't top notch. He's not doing anything special, he's just winning. And winning is what gets you to the next round. The moment Backho takes a set off JangBi, JangBi will become flustered and lose his composure (as always). Backho should take this 2-1 if not 2-0.
Of course no OSL is complete without a genuine official TL bracket! And here is this seasons bracket!!!
Thanks to Atroic for the great bracket!
That wraps up the Round of 8 Preview, stay tuned for some great games. Just as a small reminder, game one of the Bo3 series will be played Friday 13 at 18:30 KST and the remaining games will be played on Friday 20 at 18:30 KST. As always, a big thanks goes to those who contribute, FakeSteve for the writeup, GrandInquisitor for the R&S threads, pachi for the calendar, and Bob for the TLPD.