Thanks Silversky for the banner!
With the Proleague Finals fading rapidly into the past, it is time to cast our eyes forward once again to the OSL. The OSL is, and always will be, the tournament every Progamer wants to win. Yes, on camera it’s all about Proleague, but at the heart of it – OSL titles define champions. Without one, your career means little more than any other progamers and you will be forgotten quickly. For instance, who remembers Midas? Midas was once the best Terran in the world and could go toe to toe with Savior in his prime. Midas never won an OSL and has faded into obscurity and his great skill gone unappreciated.
There are four players left in the OSL. Three of which have the opportunity to forge themselves an OSL legacy, and one which has the chance to become an OSL legend. In one semifinal we have Type-b vs YellOw[ArnC] where the victor will be the first HITE player in a final since Casy. In the other we have the best on-paper matchup all season; a rematch of last season’s final between Fantasy and Jaedong. This matchup is just oozing with drama and suspense – everyone is looking forward to Friday for this series.
But nevertheless, the players have made it this far into the tournament and deserve a proper biography to introduce them.
YellOw[ArnC], Yarnc, Fake Yellow, MS – whatever you want to call him – has been one of the top Zergs this year. Yarnc made his OSL debut in Shinhan 1 where he defeated OOv, last season’s champion, on 815 using out of this world Mutalisk harass off of one base. The game caused an incredible commotion about the young Zerg and he was hyped as one of the next big things. Winning that game against OOv placed him third in the group and got him a wildcard spot – where he defeated July to advance to the Ro16. He then beat sea in an incredible best of 3 series. Yarnc lost in the Ro8 to JJu but nevertheless, the kid’s ZvT was phenomenal.
Unfortunately, Yarnc faded away after that splendid display. While he was considered one of the better Zergs during this time he never really made an impact on the scene. It was not long before he was overshadowed by his twin brother Luxury. Luxury’s play was significantly more refined and polished than Yarnc, and indeed, assisted Jaedong in pioneering the “crazy zerg” ZvT style back in 2007/08. Another interesting fact is that Yarnc has never outperformed his brother when they played in the same league.
Yarnc’s play then took a large turn. Formerly, Yarnc’s ZvT and ZvZ were excellent but his ZvP was abysmal. With the rise of Destination and the 5 Hatch Spire-Hydra build Yarnc’s ZvP actually began to look solid. His play looked far more convincing than his brother’s, yet Luxury managed to win an MSL (yes, the calibre of players was terrible, but it still counts). Yarnc now has a chance to prove himself the dominant twin in Bacchus S2 OSL. The kid oozing potential 3 years ago has finally matured into a beast of a Zerg – and his performance in this tournament is a credit to his new found skills.
Honestly, Yarnc came through the most difficult group known to mankind. He had Effort, Flash and Jaedong to battle it out with – and he came out on top. Against every odd, Yarnc made it. He then crushed go.go with relative ease and has now made the semifinals. This performance is long overdue, and personally, I will be cheering my heart out for Yarnc.
Reporter - one of you will go to the final. Of course each of you wanna do that. But beside yourself, which player do you see going to the final?Translation thanks to sky_slasher
Type-b: beside yourself!
Leta (looking at Type-b): Type-b.
Type-b: be honest.
Leta: still Type-b.
Type-b: beside yourself!
Leta (looking at Type-b): Type-b.
Type-b: be honest.
Leta: still Type-b.
There is something peculiar about type-b. While there have been many gamers in SC's long history, none have behaved quite like type-b. Anyone who followed the Dragon Ball Z series will be familiar with Cell. Cell was an villain who defeated others and stole their strength by draining their energy with his tail. Every time he defeated someone he became more powerful, to the point where he was basically unstoppable.
Type-b is Starcraft's equivalent of Cell. He has been a progamer for about 3 years now and has done next to nothing in his career. His sole claim to fame is reaching the Ro32 in Arena MSL - where he lost 0-2 in his group in unnoticeable fashion. But this season, things have been going his way. In OSL Round 1 he defeated Pure and Best to advance from his group. His victories were marginal, but it was clear that each game he was improving his skills.
In the Round of 16 he was placed in a tough group comprising Backho, Stork and Fantasy. Type-b was not expected to advance from this group. But his improved ZvP was able to defeat Stork and Backho. He couldn't beat fantasy, but that is to be expected. In the Round of 8 he was paired up against Leta and was the major underdog. However, type-b showed that he isn't a machine and that he can think on his feet and defeated Leta in impressive fashion. Thus earning himself a spot in the semifinals.
In a way, type-b's Bacchus S2 run is reminiscent of Flash's Bacchus S1 run where Flash lost to Stork in the group stage, but advanced anyway. He met Jaedong in the Round of 8, whom he defeated. Both have been the underdogs during their run, and now type-b's skill is coming to light. After defeating Leta his confidence will be high, and he will be able to give his semifinal match his all since he has no Proleague commitments.
Type-b is also a candidate for walking the Royal Road. While this is incredibly unlikely given the competition on the other side of the bracket, these unknown rookies have shown us time and time again that anything can happen on the big stage.
I do want the title, but what I desire the most is the Royal Roader. I can win a title later, but the Royal Roader comes once. Considering that, I wanna win even if my opponent Leta is the best at the team. What I consider important as a progamer is not money but reputation. So I do want the glory of the Royal Roader that I’ve always considered is prestigious.Translation thanks to sky_slasher
I'll be honest, last week I thought that having to write something about Jaedong would be difficult because, well, we've heard it all before. Jaedong is a two time OSL champ, candidate for the Golden Mouse, #1 Ranked on KeSPA, destroyer of worlds, souls and kittens, and the backbone of the Hwaseung OZ team. This man has climbed almost every Progaming mountain there is to climb. He's won the Proleague, OSL, MSL, GOM, Korean e-sports Festival, and Korean WCG. Yet this week will be the hardest week of his career. This week, there is more to write about Jaedong than I could have ever dreamed of.
Jaedong doesn't like losing. This is painfully true in from the his games. For instance, when he lost to Flash in Bacchus OSL - he crushed him in the MSL in a Best of 5 the week later. When Effort defeated Jaedong in ZvZ and the world began to doubt, Jaedong picked him for his OSL group and crushed him mercilessly. And then again in Proleague. And then again in the super ace match between Oz and CJ - crushing Effort's spirit in the process. Revenge for Jaedong has never eluded him - and there are few reasons to doubt why he would not take revenge this time.
For, you see, Jaedong has carried Hwaseung the entire season. However, against SKT1 Jaedong lost three times - singlehandedly causing his team to lose the final. For instance, if he had won his game against Hyuk then Oz would have made it to the super ace match. If he had won his game against Fantasy in the Ace match, then Oz would have made it to the super ace match. While his fans will try and come to his aid and say that is unfair to blame the team's loss squarely on Jaedong; but in reality that's what Jaedong is doing to himself.
Rewatch the moments after Fantasy's rush crushed Jaedong. I have never seen Jaedong look like that before. His face has an expression of utter depression, like he had been totally crushed. Not even when he lost to fOrGG did he have that expression on his face.
This week will be the ultimate test for Jaedong. He must literally pick himself up out of the gutter and play his hardest once again to take revenge for his losses on the weekend. After months of being over-booked and the talk about Jaedong not being able to handle the pressure, this is the last thing he needs. Could this culmination of pressures finally break Jaedong? This writer thinks that the time has come for Jaedong to take a rest.
Fantasy must be feeling good after such an amazing weekend. He took down his OSL semifinal opponent, twice, on a stage larger than the one for the OSL final. He finally got a true revenge on Jaedong after his loss in Batoo - and now it's time for him to hammer the message home. Fantasy has not lost to Jaedong since Batoo - and there is no reason to suggest why he would start losing this week.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, iloveoov realises that the OSL is incredibly important for Fantasy. He noted in his Proleague Finals interview that the next SKT goal is to win a league - and with Fantasy in such good position and team morale on an all time high, they will be powering everything they can into this Terran genius. With SKT's support (since they literally have nothing else to do) Fantasy should be well prepared for every possible situation that could arise (while Jaedong still has to prepare for the MSL as well).
Fantasy showcased a new element of his play over the weekend. This element was that of Boxer. Boxer influence on Fantasy is now apparent - and Boxer is one of the greatest TvZ players of all time. Not only does Fantasy have the genius of oov at his disposal, but he also has the infinite wisdom of Boxer. Indeed, it was Boxer's strategy that allowed Fantasy to take the Proleague Ace so easily. With so many weapons at Fantasy's disposal there isn't a Zerg alive that wouldn't be scared of him.
Furthermore, with his recent success, Fantasy has momentum. And momentum is an excellent thing to have in SC. When you have momentum you just keep winning games regardless of whether you deserved to or not. Combine this with the fact that he just destroyed Jaedong twice on the weekend and you have one confident player.
I could rave on about Fantasy and his brilliance for hours. But I'll leave you with this. No Terran has influenced the modern strategy of Starcraft moreso than Fantasy. He changed the way TvZ was played at a fundamental level. If there is any justice in the universe, he will be rewarded with an OSL victory.
Semifinal A - Yarnc vs Type-b
There isn't much you can say about an intra-team ZvZ, and similarly there isn't much the players can do about it either. With all the practice they do against each other, their ZvZ styles are known so well to their opponent. In addition to this, ZvZ is just a linear matchup that really, there can't be any surprises. Whoever the dominant player is in practice will take this series.
From interviews it seems like Yarnc is that dominant player. This isn't really surprising seeing as he is the more experienced player and has a pretty wicked ZvZ when he needs it. Thus we should expect Yarnc to run away with this series. Can we dismiss type-b entirely though? Of course not. There is so little known about him, and he is so modest in his interviews, that it's impossible to tell if the Yarnc > Type-b claim is true. I would be fairly certain, though, that Yarnc will take this series.
Semifinal B - Fantasy vs Jaedong
Ah, and now for the main event. Fantasy has to be happy with this map pool. Heartbreak is a great map for Terran vs Zerg and indeed, is one of the maps that Fantasy has beaten Jaedong on post-Batoo OSL. This is followed up by Outsider - where Fantasy just recently beat Jaedong in Proleague. Holy World is a bit of a wild ard match, but RotK is a great map for Terran. The pool is capped off by Heartbreak; an excellent map for fantasy to seal the series.
It is going to be interesting to note how Fantasy uses his 2rax/1forward strategy that he used in both games this weekend. The build is excellent at countering Jaedong's 2hatch muta since it force the Zerg to invest heavily in defenses leaving the Zerg's economy in wrecks. The two rax pressure seems to be working quite well for other Terrans as well. In addition to this, Fantasy has his classic mech build up his sleeve, and we all know how good that is. Jaedong really needs to change things up to win this series. He can't simply rely on 2hatch muta for him to get by. Fantasy has every counter to that build burned into his memory after losing to in in Game 5 of the Batoo Finals. Can Jaedong change it up with all the added pressure this week? We'll find out on Friday.
There is also lots of history to be made in this semifinal. Should fantasy win he will be the second person ever to reach three consecutive OSL finals. The other player to accomplish this feat was Boxer. Fantasy is already a member of the exclusive back-to-back silvers club (along with Stork) so losing a third time in the finals is simply not an option. Should Jaedong win the finals he will be the third player ever to have won an OSL, then make the finals of the next one. The two other players are Boxer and Nada. Also, if Jaedong wins it will be the first ever ZvZ OSL final. In addition to that, if Jaedong wins the finals then he and Boxer will be the only two people to win back-to-back OSL golds.
Yes, this semifinal match is going to be great
So with some amazing semifinal lineups this weekend, be sure to tune into the OSL this week. Since there were no OSL games last week due tot he Proleague Grand Finals, both semifinals are being played this week. Semifinal A - Yarnc vs Type-b will be played at 18:30 KST on Wednesday while Semifinal B - Fantasy vs Jaedong will be played at 18:30 KST on Friday. Be sure not to miss these games because they do have the potential to be some of the defining series of this generation of gamers.
If you missed Bisu vs Iris, this is your chance for redemption!
Thanks to sky_slasher for his interviews; excerpts taken from http://koreanprosc.com/?p=494
Thanks to Silversky for all the art. He's a beast!