Why should I watch? It's all terrans! Ew!
No MC, Nada, MVP or Nestea? The finals are going to suck hardcore!
Nestea lost? I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
I've watched the whole GSL Super Tournament and I'm actually pretty pumped for the ending of this tournament. Yes, of course, there is a chance that the next set of matches might royally suck and prove that the Super Tournament didn't have enough stars at the end, but I don't think that will be the case.
Let's first start by me saying this: out of the seven GSL finals (counting the World Championship), most can agree that they've all pretty much sucked. Yeah, Nestea vs. MarineKing in the second GSL went to seven games and could be considered a match-up worthy of a final, but besides that, what else have we seen?
GSL Uno: FruitDealer rolls over Rainbow in a 4-1. Not the worst final, but wasn't that great considering it was only the first season; but it didn't matter, right? Cause the finals after this could only look up! People were going to get better and the finals would be amazing. Right? Right...?
GSL Dos: As before mentioned, Nestea wins in seven games after deflecting a MarineKing all-in. It did go to seven games, but even then, a lot of people thought Nestea was by-and-far the better player between the two. MarineKing used a lot of tricky/cheesy builds while Nestea showed a lot more experience and mechanics in his game.
GSL Tres: Rain makes it to the finals by heavily cheesing some of the favorites and has to meet MC, who at the time, could not be touched by anyone. Rain got a singular victory, but the rest of the final wasn't close. MC crushed him.
GSL Cuatro: MarineKing and MVP meet for the first time. MarineKing, for some reason, goes away from the style that made him who he was, and got absolutely destroyed by MVP. Even the commentators wanted it to end when they saw how tilted MarineKing was.
GSL Cinco: MC vs. July? Holy shit, this is going to be awesome! Hyped to the moon, two great players finally going to step on the Grand Final stage and show us a classic, right? Nope. MC crushed July, to the bewilderment of fans who thought this was finally going to be the great final they had hoped for. The games weren't terrible, but was as one-sided as the rest had been.
GSL World Championship: MarineKing vs. MVP Part 2: Electric Boogaloo. Here's a fun fact: out of the seven finals, only two have gone past the fifth game. This is the second. The series? Not terrible, but not a classic either. MarineKing got a few wins off his aggressive style, but MVP proved in the end that he still had MarineKing's number and knew how to crush his style.
GSL Seis: Do we really need to discuss this, guys? Nestea, a guy who was stomping every nerd in the galaxy's face, against Inca, a master of PvP, who had no clue to play PvZ against someone as good as Nestea.
This will be the first final since the GSL 1 where The Big Three (MVP, Nestea, MC) won't win. A lot of people see this is as a bad thing. Those three, arguably, are the three most popular players in the GSL. A lot of people look at the eight left, look at their names, and go, 'Who the hell is this?' and don't even bother watching. I'm not going to guarantee that the matches coming up are going to be awesome or if the Grand Finals will finally live up to the name and give us amazing games, but I will tell you a bit about these eight who have made it to the top. They might not be the most star studded names, but they do all have a story to tell.
The Son of the Emperor
Meet the hottest player in the world, and no ladies, I'm not talking about his looks. Hailed as the Son of Boxer and called one of the best young terrans in the entire world, this guy has been on a mission ever since our very own Huk denied him entrance into Code S a month ago.
What has his record been since he got beaten by Huk? Twenty six victories and only four losses. In the past month, he's only dropped four games out of thirty. He has not lost a match in that time. The only people to take a game off him have been SjoW, Losira, Supernova and Lyn - all of which he then beat right after to win the series between them. He's taken down the likes of July, MarineKing, Idra (or Idra took down himself, same thing), SC, DongRaeGu, and even Losira in a 4-1 match to win the finals at MLG Columbus.
For those who didn't follow Brood War, MMA was on Boxer's team called SKT1, the biggest and most successful of all the proteams in BW. He never really made it as an A-teamer from what I remember, but he showed a lot of promise, switched over to SC2 and Boxer took him under his wing once again on a little team called Slayers.
Starting off with the names CchapSeungEu (I would have liked to see MLG Columbus chant this name) and JJob, MMA took off in the first GSTL, almost all-killing the ZeNex team before he got taken down by ZeNexNuclear in the final game; even though he lost and couldn't be the clutch player there, we would soon realize that would be the last time he would let someone knock out the Emperor's team.
From that point forth, he has only lost once in the last two GSTL's and that was to Bomber, who we all know has become one of the biggest monsters in the entire world. MMA has had to face off against the likes of MC, MVP, SC and Dongraegu in ace matches to win the match for his team. Each time, he took on those four aces of their team, and beat each and every one of them. The two most notable games, against MVP and DongRaeGu, were both ace matches in the finals of the GSTL. If he had lost, his team doesn't win the title. Both times, when it looked like MMA might fall to the aces of Incredible Miracle and MVP (the team, not the player), he came from behind in two amazing games and won for his team in amazing circumstances. If you haven't watched those VOD's, I recommend them highly.
I don't know if this guy can have a boring final. Even in MLG Columbus, against Losira, even though the final really only went two games, those two games were damn good. His play style is exciting and is becoming known for his drop ship play.
So, we need to ask, is he the real deal? Is he truly ready to enter the discussion of the best terran in the world? If he wins this tournament, we surely can add him to the mix. If he took MLG Columbus and then the Super Tournament only two weeks later, it would be absolutely amazing. After playing for three straight days in Columbus, he had to fly back and play against his own teammate, Ganzi, in the Round of 16 after only a day of rest. Was he feeling jetlagged? Maybe, but he didn't show it by picking apart his teammate (who beat MVP, by the way) and 2-0'ing him.
The Forgotten Son of the Emperor
Ryung must go, 'What about me?' when people talk about MMA. While MMA gets all the girls in the crowd, the parallels to Boxer, the invitations to MLG events, and the gigantic fanclub from the community, what does Ryung get? Nothing. Yeah, everyone knows this kid is good, but a lot of people already have MMA penciled into the semifinals over him. How can this guy beat the almighty Son of Boxer?
Yeah, his stats aren't as pretty as MMA, and he might not get his name chanted by a thousand people, but he's a damn good player. He's also wanted to play MMA for months. Ever since they both got into Code A, all Ryung has been talking about is getting his match against MMA. He's wanted this. Every time they would get close, though, one of them would lose and the match couldn't take place.
Finally, Ryung will get what he's wanted: a best of five series against MMA. Don't forget that Ryung actually got farther in the Code A tournament last season than his buddy MMA. He ended up losing to Bomber 3-1, but that's nothing to look down upon seeing as Bomber then went onto beat MVP 4-2 in the final. While MMA has always gotten the sweet glory of victory by winning in the ace match of the two past GSTL's, Ryung has always done the dirty work. He never got to be the one to seal the deal, but he's been put out in important times to snipe victories and get it to a place where MMA could come in and win it at the end.
Even if you don't like TvT, the story here is great. Both of these guys got recruited by Boxer, not just MMA. Ryung might be the forgotten one of the two, but MMA hasn't pulled so far ahead that Ryung can't overtake him. This is Ryung's chance to make a name for himself. People can talk about MMA and Alicia all they want, but maybe this guy is truly the diamond in the rough? Can he actually take down MMA and possibly be the first Slayers player to win a championship for Boxer? If he does, I'm sure no one will be forgetting him anymore.
The King of Silver
Is this the season? Is this finally, after seven seasons, the time for MarineKing to be a champion? Nestea is out. MVP is out. The two people that have made MarineKing's life a living hell are both gone. MC is gone. Nada is gone. July is gone. A lot of people would tell you that he should almost definitely win this championship. If not now, when? It won't be every season where all of the Big Three are eliminated before the quarterfinals.
He's shown some amazing domination this season. Out of the seven games he's played, he won six and only lost once to Revivial because of a lifted barracks that came at the worst time by letting Revival's strong aggressive early game attack flood into his base and basically end it. The other six games? All I can say is that MarineKing has had zero trouble. He's had such an easy time, that it became more interesting to know what kind of new ceremony he would be thinking up instead of wondering if he would beat his opponent.
Not to say Squirtle, Ace or Revival are bad players. They're not, but MarineKing has just looked unstoppable so far this tournament. It doesn't matter if there is a proxy pylon in his own base or if the other guy is trying to play a macro game, MKP has walked over them one-by-one to get to his place here in the quarterfinals.
Ever since he appeared out of nowhere in GSL2, you've seen his face every single GSL. Out of the six GSL's he has competed in, he has been in the finals three times. That's 50% of the time for all the people who don't like to do math. Do you know how hard that is? With how the game has changed over the past year for one guy, especially a young guy like him, to make the finals three times is a pretty out-of-this-world feat. Nestea, MC and MVP have only made it respectively twice.
But then we have to get to the downside of our king of marines. The guy is the total opposite of MMA when it comes to big matches. They are completely and utterly polar opposites when it comes to the spotlight moment. While MMA has won two GSTL's in a row for his team and won a title at MLG Columbus, MarineKing's team, PRIME, is embarrassingly the only team in GSTL history to never win a match. Yeah, even ZeNex has won more matches than PRIME.
First GSTL? Called in to save his team against TSL by beating Alive. Does not win.
Second GSTL? Called in to save his team against Startale by beating Rainbow? Does not win.
Third GSTL? Beats GunieaPig, gets to the ace match against MVP, and has to face their ace DongRaeGu. The result? DongRaeGu rolling over MarineKing, and MarineKing putting his head down on the table for seemingly forever while DoneRaeGu finished off the game by blowing up MarineKing's leftover buildings. As you already know, later on in that tournament, MMA faced DongRaeGu in a game to decide the entire tournament, and MMA won in a comeback fashion.
Then you can look at the three finals MarineKing has been in. The first chance, against Nestea, he got off to a big lead early and looked like he was going to win a championship in his first season. Nope. Nestea came back, MarineKing tilted, and then tried to all-in the seventh game that ended up with Nestea defending. Second chance? Against Nestea's teammate MVP. This was probably the lowest point of MKP's career as he got embarrassed. For some reason, MarineKing, tried to change his entire style for the final and just got hammered 4-0. If it wasn't for Inca (thanks Inca), MarineKing would currently have the honor of being in the most lopsided GSL final of all-time. Finally, he had a rematch against MVP at the World Championship, after finally showing some truly clutch play by coming back from a 0-2 whole to beat MC in the semifinals. It all looked like this was the time for him to win the championship. He was finally going to overcome the nerves of the spotlight and win!
Nope. Won two games off MVP, but that was it. MVP outplayed him for large parts of the series and it never really felt in doubt that he would take the series. MarineKing fought hard, but it wasn't enough to beat him.
Now we are here. The quarterfinals. MVP? Gone. Nestea? Gone. Everyone who has bested him in the finals is out. This should be his time, right? He's looked deadly so far and the two guys who have defeated him atop the mountain are gone. You have to ask, if he can't win here, will he ever win? There are new stars popping up at every turn and getting to the finals will just get more and more difficult. If he makes the final and loses? That would be four silver medals in the matter of one year in the span of eight tournaments. Even Yellow would feel sorry for this guy.
Every good story needs a villain. A guy that is the foil to the heroes. Someone who most people want to see get their comeuppance at the end. Luckily for this tournament, we have one. Meet TheBest.
He's not in Code S. He's not even in Code A. I'm not even sure if he's in Code B. He could be in Code C or D by now at the rate he was going before this tournament. With an amazing record of 16-24, TheBest has made it to the Round of Eight. Out of the eight games he's played so far, in the Live Report threads, only one of his games has been recommended and that was the game against Min where he all-inned, should have lost twelve different times, but Min for some reason forgot how to play the game and lost.
This guy shouldn't be here. I don't know how he got here. Tastosis don't know how he got here. Wolf and his Dark Templar casters don't know how he got here. Most people are still wondering how the hell this guy even qualified for the tournament. Also, what a perfect ID for the villain of this tournament. Who names himself TheBest? Not even Best. He went as far as to go to make his ID tell everyone in the whole freaking world that he is TheBest. A guy does not lack in confidence when he makes up a name like that.
Every time you look at him, he's smirking. Not smiling, but smirking. That cocky and arrogant smirk. If I had to guess on what he is thinking during the times in the booth where he is smirking, it would probably go something like:
YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T GOING TO ALL-IN YOU? HAHA, TEAMLIQUID. I JUST TOOK OUT TESTER. HAHA, I JUST TOOK OUT MIN. I WILL TAKE OUT EVERY SINGLE PLAYER YOU LOVE BY ALL-INNING THEM EVERY SINGLE GAME UNTIL I REIGN SUPREME! I WILL DEFEAT WHATEVER PRECIOUS HERO IN THE FINALS, WIN THE BIGGEST PRIZE IN GSL HISTORY, AND LAUGH IN ALL YOUR FACES! I WILL THEN RETIRE FROM ESPORTS AND BUY A GIGANTIC BOAT. I WILL THEN LAUGH ALL DAY ON MY BOAT WITH CHOYA WHILE WE THINK ABOUT HOW I ALL-INNED SEVEN STRAIGHT GAMES IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP TO BECOME CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ha. Ha.
Or maybe, just maybe, he is just smirking naturally and not thinking any of that, but I think it's more fun thinking he and Choya are on a mission to all-in every single player in the GSL until they win the championship and destroy esports forever.
Realistically, he shouldn't make the finals. Tester and Min are good players, but next up he has MarineKing. Can he really all-in MarineKing for five straight games and hope to win three times? Even if he does somehow, in a miracle fashion, accomplish that, he would then have to face Ryung or MMA in another five game series. It just doesn't seem very likely he will advance from the quarterfinals, but I thought he wouldn't even win a single game this tournament, so can you really bet against him?
If he does make the finals, I can assure you that there will have not been a better villain yet in SC2. Who wouldn't root against him? The guy has all-inned his way into this position and I just can't see him getting there without using the same tactics. Rain from GSL3? Yeah, he did cheese his way to the top, but he also has shown he can play solid games. TheBest? Before this tournament, most people didn't even know he existed.
To put him over the top as the ultimate villain, he really needs a mustache that he can twirl, though. That really would make him the best antagonist.
The Real Optimus Prime?
Remember Polt? Yeah, he used to be not so good. I remember a lot of people saying he would drop out of Code S, Code A, and then into an abyss of nothing that is Code B and beyond. But Polt didn't like this story and changed how it went. Remember that GSL when Polt called out Jinro by saying he thought Jinro got lucky by getting into the two straight semifinals? That is when people turned on Polt and wanted him to get crushed. Luckily to the fans on TeamLiquid, Polt did get crushed embarrassingly and then had to fight his way back into Code S.
Here's a fun fact: ever since Polt got crushed by Jinro, his record has been 35-12. Yes, PoltPrime has gone 35-12 ever since Jinro destroyed him on that faithful night in the GSL. He's beaten people such as TheSTC, Supernova, MC and Losira in that timeframe. A lot of people might not have realized it, but Polt is really good.
Maybe Polt has been sucking the talent from Jinro's body ever since their encounter and that's why their two records have been radically different ever since that game. All I know is that ever since Jinro pushed his face into the sand, he's gotten up, brushed himself off and kicked some ass.
No longer is he a joke. He's a legitimate contender to win this whole tournament. Remember when MarineKing talked about how he was going to change his name to OptimusPrime when he finally won his first title, naming himself that as the clear best player on Prime? Well, maybe that title isn't MarineKing's to have anymore. MarineKing has had his chance at the glory. Who is to say that Polt isn't the one destined to be the champion for Prime?
Polt has used MarineKing's medivac/marine aggressive style lately, and guess what, he might be just as good as his teammate and friend in that category. He defeated one of the best zergs in Losira, then beat Huk in TvP and then beat his own teammate and friend, Maka, to make it to the quarterfinals. He's faced every race so far and has looked strong in each one.
Can you imagine a MarineKing vs. Polt final? Yeah, yeah, TvT haters gonna hate, but I think it would be a great final. What if MarineKing loss? A guy who has made the finals by that point four times got beat by his own teammate. Would Polt change his ID to OptimusPrime? How would MarineKing, who has been the ace for his team forever (well, BitByBit gave him a run for his money), react to someone else from his team capturing a title first? What a great story that could be and it's definitely possible.
Oh, and he also went to and graduated from one of the best colleges in the world at Seoul National University while also playing Starcraft 2 professionally. Now that he has finished school and can focus all time on gaming, how good can he truly get? Being one of the smartest players in the tournament, what kind of builds will he show us in his match against Alicia? Does he have anything special up his sleeve if he faces MarineKing in the final?
P.S: He has the third highest ELO currently in Korea. Only behind two guys named Nestea an Bomber.
The Chosen One
If you love protoss and hate the other two races, well, here's your hero: Alicia. Starting the tournament by beating arguably the best Toss in the world MC and then going on to beat Byun and Leenock, this guy is someone worthy to wear the crown for Protoss. Artosis' man crush has shown he has some sick PvT, maybe the best in the world, and has a winning percentage in all his other match-ups.
When he first appeared on the scene, no one really knew anything else except his name. Alicia? A lot of people thought he was actually a girl progamer that Boxer recruited. Sadly, for the guys who wanted Tossgirl 2.0, they got a kid who looks like he should be John's younger brother.
Alicia, out of all the Slayers people, currently has the best claim to say he's the best player. Unlike Ryung and MMA, he's actually in Code S and he did that a season ago. He took down MVP in the Up-and-Down matches and made a name for himself. Instead of being the guy with the girl name, he became one of the biggest rising stars in GSL with his strong timing pushes.
His quarterfinal match is against Polt and I'm telling you right now, this series will be great. This is the series I'm most excited about by far out of the four quarterfinals. Polt has shown some of the best TvP in the entire world and Alicia has shown that he might have some of the deadliest PvT in the world. They might not be the two biggest names in the world if you haven't followed for a while, but I think these two will be around for a long time to come. He's beaten MVP, MarineKing and Nada, but can he take down Polt? I'm really excited to find out and so should you!
There is also the possible storyline that he might face one of his Slayers teammates in the final. Can you imagine an Alicia vs. MMA/Ryung final? Those would be great final matches. Just think about Boxer in the crowd with Ga-yeon and the rest of Slayers, watching his two proud recruits battling it out to be the first one from his team to win a singles GSL title. Boxer coming up on stage and handing one of his students his very first championship like he once got a decade ago in the OSL for Brood War. Alicia, very well, could do this feat.
Who the hell is this guy? Really, ZeNexLine? He qualified once for GSL 2, beat a guy named Sage, and then quickly got destroyed by Leenock. After that, he vanished, until he popped up at the first season of Code A. He got 2-0'd by YuGiOh in the first round and then vanished once more. After a season where he was out of sight, he qualified once more for the third season of Code A by beating Slayers Taeja in the final round. Again, for the third straight time, he got 2-0'ed out of the tournament by Hyperdub.
Amazingly, due to some of the foreigners declining their invites to the Super Tournament, this guy, whose only victory in GSL history was against a guy who has never been seen again since GSL 2, was invited to compete.
Seriously, who the fuck was this guy? No one expected anything from him. Against Jinro, a guy who had made the semifinals twice, who was this kid? He had been embarrassed all the other times he was in the booth, so why would this be any different?
Then, just like that, he 2-0'd Jinro and sent him packing. A lot of people appointed the win to Jinro slumping and some mistakes he made. At that time, it was just that Line got lucky to be playing a player not at his best and he would be taken out in the next round without problem.
Guess what happens next? He faces his teammate, and Code S participant, Kyrix and 2-1's him in the Round of 32. Well, uh, that was surprising. Maybe Line just knew Kyrix really well and could plan for him? Yeah, that had to be it. No way in hell this random dude who got 2-0'd every time he made the GSL was anything special. Look, he plays Nada next. Nada, the guy who ALWAYS makes the quarterfinals, is going to run over this nerd like breakfast and face Nestea. Right?
Wrong. Line lost the fist game, but the next two games, well, outplayed Nada. His mutalisk control was some of the best seen in the GSL and made some great decisions to beat one of the best players in the entire tournament. With that win, I think we can finally start saying that this guy might actually be something good. If you're a zerg fan, this is your hero. The true underdog story for the ages, really. SanZenith from GSL 5 has nothing on Line.
If it wasn't for the likes of TT1, Idra and White Ra declining, Line would not have been in this tournament. If they had come with some of the other foreigners, we might have never seen Line again. He still has to qualify through the Code A qualifiers after this tournament and that isn't an easy feat.
So, he's taken down a foreign hero, his own teammate, and the man with the most titles in Brood War history. What's next? Can he really get to the finals? Can he win the whole thing? Could this kid, who no one thought was anything, be the one to win the biggest prize so far in SC2 history?
Hey, this isn't a movie, but we could see an ending worthy of one.
How many terrans are left? Six? Well, hey, look at that, this Top guy has a 48-27 record against terran. His overall record percentage is 64%. If you forgot, he was our first ever Code A champion by beating Byun in a great TvT final. If you never watched that series, it's a great watch that I highly recommend.
So why is he so overlooked? Is it because his team also has two great terrans in Nada and Supernova? Is it because there are already so many freaking terrans that TOP gets lost in the shuffle? Whatever it is, TOP is often overlooked when people talk about the best terrans in the world.
Showing consistent play in every GSL tournament he's been in, TOP is making a case to be called oGs best terran. He started the tournament beating August and Choya, not the greatest of challenges, but then had to meet the man himself in the Round of 16: Professor Tea; The God of Zerg; Defending GSL Champion himself, Nestea. A lot of people wrote off TOP even before the match started.
Tastosis were talking about how Nestea was going to grab a third title before MC or MVP. It was all looking like Nestea, after beating Bomber, was going to have a walk to the finals if he could just beat Nada in the next round.
Well, TOP didn't like such talk and bunker rushed Nestea in the first game. Nestea couldn't defend it and got taken out. After that, the second game was another overwhelming advantage for TOP until burrowed banelings turned the tide and Nestea made one of the best comebacks in GSL history. After that, you had to think TOP was done, right? The guy looked shaken. I wouldn't have been shocked if he had just left the booth altogether and went home after what just happened.
A lot of people would have tilted and folded. After giving up such a big lead, there is zero chance that he could win. Nestea is freaking Nestea. The guy is the best player in the world. He just won against a terran on Crossfire! Freaking Crossfire! No way TOP is winning this.
And then TOP won. He played safe, smart and overwhelmed Nestea until he couldn't fight anymore. Now, TOP is getting a lot of crap for knocking out the favorite of the tournament and one of the most loved players in Korea, but he played well. I think a lot of people don't think TOP is any good and thought he got lucky. Maybe TOP did get lucky, but he is surely not a bad player. Look at his record. Look at the games he's played.
Can he win the championship? Yeah he can. In a tournament that could come down to TvT, this is the guy that can deliver you a crushing victory. He'll have to beat the last zerg hope in Line next round, and I think he should be favored, but after seeing what he did to Nada, TOP will have to play as well as he did against Nestea to take down the gigantic underdog.
One thing is for sure: if he wins the championship, pretty sure no one will overlook this guy anymore.
You have a guy looking for his first title after three silvers. An unknown who has appeared from nowhere to take down one of the most legendary players in Starcraft history. A kid who has the whole hope for protoss on his shoulders. A guy who studies at a top Korean university and plays Starcraft 2 professionally at the same time. Someone who is overlooked and wants to prove his win against Nestea wasn't a fluke. A villain who will smirk arrogantly while all-inning you over and over. A rising star who hasn't lost a match in a month, who everyone praises and fawns over, while a guy on the same team wants to prove that he isn't just as good, but better.
They might not be the biggest names, but they are who they are. They're your final eight.
Poll: Who do you want to be champion?
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2599 total votes
Your vote: Who do you want to be champion?