GSL Season Two
Code S Finals
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
Code S Finals: Classic vs soO
In the din of MLG Dallas 2012, the crowd roared with euphoria. Here were the titans of Brood War. Finally unleashed into the world of SC2. The greatest of the old game had come like a tidal wave crashing down onto the shores of the SC2 world. Their names reverberated through the entire hall, names like Fantasy, Stork, Bisu, Flash, Jaedong, and Leta had captured the imaginations of the fans and audiences. These were giants of Brood War. They had carried with them all of their experience, skills and legacies for all to see. They were to be the future of SC2 as the champions of Brood War fought the new champions of SC2 in a battle for supremacy.
It was a false prophecy. None of the old champions of Brood War beyond Jaedong and Flash have ever challenged for a title. Even with the Tyrant's modest success, he has yet to be considered among the best Zergs and his legacy in SC2 has reads more like a Kong's than a champion's. Flash's lone appearance in a final was at an MLG when HoTS was still in its infancy. Rather, it would be the 2013 Proleague Finals where many of the future Champions of SC2 arose. It was a desperate battle between STX_Soul and Woongjin Stars. Neither team had been to a final in ten years. Neither had ever won a Proleague title. Both teams were on the verge of disbanding. But both got to that finals on the strength of their skills alone. Those Kespa players that were invited to MLG were invited on their name value alone. But the players here earned their place in the finals by right of conquest. And after their climactic battle they dispersed.
And many of them went on to dominate the scene. Soulkey won WCS KR 1 and became the best Zerg of 2013. Innovation won WCS Season 1 Finals and was one of the most feared players of 2013. sOs became the Million Dollar Man. Dear walked back-to-back Royal Roads. Trap just won MLG Anaheim. And now it is Classic’s turn.
Classic. The heir to two legacies with the soul of STX and the training of an SKT player. He will now be the 4th player from the old STX line to challenge for a title, and the third to challenge for the hardest title in the world, the GSL. Before this season he was an invaluable member of the SKT lineup; a solid Proleague player that has earned his spot ahead of old timers like ParalyzE and FanTaSy. But that was all he was. Just one solid player amidst champions. On STX, it used to be Innovation before his other teammates started to come to the fore, like Dear and Trap. And all he could do was watch from afar as his ex-teammates took championship after championship after championship.
And his new team, SKT wasn’t any different. Rain to his left. Parting to his right. Soulkey behind him. For a player so often in the company of Champions, did Classic ever wonder when it would be his turn to rise, his turn to challenge for the title? For Classic, he has waited 6 years. He made his debut in Brood War as a Terran in Proleague. 4 years later he switched to SC2 before realizing that with his career on the line, switching races was the right thing to do. 1 year after that he went on to challenge for the PL Finals with STX. And now, here on SKT T1 he will finally have his chance to fight for the most prestigious title in SC2, the title of the strongest. And all he has to do is defeat soO one more time.
The Silver Lining
At this point in soO’s career, the question is no longer whether he is the best Zerg player in the world. The question is if any Zerg is within the same stratosphere of skill as he is right now. RorO is dead in Code A. Jaedong was gone in Ro32. Life went down in the ro16. Soulkey failed in the ro8. And soO? Back-to-back-to-back GSL Finals. There has never been a player in the history of SC2 to make it to three consecutive Code S finals, the hardest tournament in the world.
And in many ways, soO’s path to this finals was once again against all expectations and beliefs. On the other hand, Classic came from a team of Champions and then went on to join a team of Champions. Both teams were famed for their Protoss line-ups. He was a valuable member in Proleague and was consistently doing better and better and better in individual leagues. While many weren’t expecting him to reach a title challenge so soon, very few were surprised when he did.
When soO made his first ever finals, it was against everything every SKT fan had ever believed in. He was the heir to the line of the T1 Zerg, a line that was known for its mediocrity and disappointment. soO was supposed to fail. He was supposed to disappoint. Instead he was SKT’s last hope for a championship that season. So when he lost, his run was quickly forgotten as many jumped on the Dear bandwagon.
And then the season after that soO once again made it to the GSL finals. If making it to the GSL Finals once wasn’t enough to convince people he was one of the best zergs in the world, making it to the GSL finals twice forced them to pay attention. He was the second ever to make it to consecutive GSL finals (after Mvp) and had defeated the hardest the world had to field against him twice to make it this far.
And again, soO lost. And once again, soO clawed his way back to another GSL Finals. If reaching the pinnacle of the sport twice in succession still wasn't enough to convince us all that he was the best Zerg in the world, his third finals in a row should have banished all his doubters. soO has broken records and written a story of his own. He was no longer just a “T1 Zerg”. He was SKT1_soO. The best Zerg in the world. The first to ever reach three finals in a row. In a time when SC2 is at its most competitive, when players can go from top 2 at Blizzcon to out in the ro32 to 6 pylons, soO is making consistency look easy.
But with all stories, comes conflict, and now soO must fight the legacy he has inadvertently joined. The legacy that plagued MKP his entire career. The legacy that Yellow could never escape. The legacy of the Kong. If soO loses here, this will be the third time he will have lost a GSL finals. The third time he will have lost to a Protoss. And the fans are clamoring for it, demanding it, almost salivating for it. A gold after two silvers makes a nice story about hard work. But three silvers and you are MKP reborn. The Yellow of SC2. The man to inherit the silver stool of MKP. soO must fight with all his might to escape this destiny that seems almost inevitable in the eyes of his disbelievers.
Overall thoughts and predictions
PvZ has been one of Classic’s better matchups so far this year. He likes to play classic Collosus Void Ray macro styles and generally takes it to the late game. Or he likes to end it early with his cannon rushes. While many credit sOs as the king of the cannons in Korea, Classic has been just as prolific and possibly even more successful in cannon rushes than his Jin_Air counterpart.
As for soO, it should be noted that beyond Zest, he barely ever loses ZvPs. He made the muta-corruptor style famous and the only alternative to Swarm Hosts for late game macro ZvPs. The most notable thing about his run is that he beat Trap, herO and Parting fairly convincingly, but ended up losing his group stage games to Classic.
And to further complicate matters is how TRUE beat Zest. He used a completely new style of ZvP with mass queens, lings and corruptors. And soO has proven himself to be an adept learner of new styles before and can very well adopt TRUE’s style to beat any pre-emptive mass Stargate builds Classic might use to hard counter soO’s typical Muta-Corruptor style.
Another important factor to consider is the fact that they are both teammates and have probably seen everything that the other has to offer, making this finals an extremely mind-game intensive one. Because of that, I favor Classic slightly. He may be the more inexperienced player, but he doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of becoming MKP reborn if he loses. On top of that, soO’s openers are generally hatch first or 15 pool leaving Classic the choice to cannon rush or nexus first with impunity.
Classic 4 - 3
Classic <King Sejong Station>
soO Classic <Alterzim Stronghold> soO
soO Classic <Habitation Station> soO Classic <Overgrowth> soO
Classic <Merry Go Round>
Classic <King Sejong Station>
Classic <Merry Go Round>