SPOTV Starleague 2015 Season 1
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
Tuesday, Dec 25 3:32pm GMT (GMT+00:00)
Day 5 Preview: Oops! An late-early Day 5 Preview
The first season of the Starcraft II Starleague has thus far been decorated with potentially amazing matchups. The RO32 for this tournament pit numerous pairs of a strong fan favorite and an extremely talented player, such as PartinG/Dark and Scarlett/TY, against each other, or combined two players of presently unknown quality to create matches such as Patience vs Dear and Rogue vs Soulkey. Interest in these matches was partly fueled by how well the players playing fit together. However, while the games had the potential to be interesting, many were disappointed as the first two weeks have been filled with a significant number of matches that featured perfectly good players simply getting demolished. The first match of the challenger league format showcased two dark horses in Rogue and Soulkey, but the former won 3-0 in one of the shortest BO5s on record. TaeJa stomped Terminator in the first two games of their series before completely crumbling in order to get reverse swept. Flash initially looked good enough to challenge Life despite the latter’s recent record against top Terran players, but fell apart in every game and looked like a shadow of his form from earlier this year.
Like many of the previous series, the final one for today has the potential to be extremely interesting, but could easily turn out to be another one-sided match. FanTaSy faces MarineKing in what is expected to be simultaneously the most infuriating yet one of the most fun series of the year. Additionally, this could be the turning point for both players. MarineKing is finally returning to form after a long hiatus and needs to prove that he is able to overcome his weaknesses to follow up on his recent results, while FanTaSy has to show that he has the ability and consistency to make a deep tournament run. Both players are best known for refusing to leave lost games, and while this trait has almost come to define the two and make them seem similar, their similarities mostly end there.
DeadPixels.FanTaSy is an enigma, as always. Although FanTaSy was never a terrible SC2 player, and can definitely win in perfectly normal games, he has some strange ability to make the result of games extremely messy, often to the point of nonsensical. Who can forget his explosive games against TRUE from early 2013 and 2014? FanTaSy managed to qualify for the S2SL by defeating the normally capable DRG and herO, who have both coincidentally recently looked weaker than normal against Terran, after nearly losing to TerrOr before getting 2-0’d by Stats in the Hot6iX cup qualifiers. FanTaSy’s results in the recent Conn.Si Christmas League are a full display of this strange discrepancy in his ability. Immediately after beating Solar 2-0, he lost 0-2 to Starbuck before coming back the next day and beating Life 3-2 in a very poorly played series, a sequence of events that can hardly be explained. The huge variance in both his play and his opponents’ makes it almost impossible to determine his actual skill level.
On the other hand, it’s pretty clear how good MVP_MarineKing can be. After returning from LoL, he jumped straight into Proleague and traded BO1 wins against everyone that KeSPA had to offer, and although he lost a few more than he won, he showed that he still had some skill to work with. Although he remained quiet for half a year after Proleague ended, MarineKing completed his resurgence upon joining MVP by tearing through the Hot6iX cup, finishing second place. However, despite the events MarineKing has experienced in the last year, he has still not managed to fix his inability to deal with perfectly simple early attacks. sOs repeatedly crushed him in the Hot6iX finals with early, greed-punishing attacks, an action which completely exposed the weakness in the matchup he had just defeated nearly all of the other top protoss players with.
This matchup is the least variable and fragile one for both players. While it’s not MarineKing’s most powerful matchup, he does seem to have the ability to defeat some moderately skilled players. Meanwhile, FanTaSy has managed to win his last ten TvT matches. He doesn’t seem to show the inconsistency in this matchup that he has displayed in the other two, and should continue this trend in one of the most important matches of his career.
Starting off the final day of Challenger is another match two more unknown players, this time taking place in a PvZ. Invasion.Super has been lurking in the background, occasionally making code S and playing in occasional international tournaments, but never making a deep run. As a notable player for team MVP for years, he achieved modest results in team leagues and occasionally appeared in the spotlight as a key component for his team’s victory. Super does show up with a surprising performance on occasion, such as his recent upset of soO and nearly Flash in the KeSPA cup, suggesting that he could have the ability to upset some of the best players. Meanwhile, CJ_ByuL has had a similar lack of success other than his WCS America run last year, making it hard to determine which player is currently in better form. Although he qualified for the KeSPA cup in addition to this, his run in the former was immediately stopped by San, and he was nearly eliminated by Stats before he took two quick series off of First and Dynamite (who eliminated Bomber). Unlike Super, ByuL failed to qualify for the GSL, as he was defeated twice by the rising protoss player Terminator. This could be an advantage in a match that is difficult to call, as Super’s GSL group requires him to focus some of his concentration towards terran players.
herO versus Bbyong will be the second match today. The two players have represented the core of CJ Entus for the past year, as they secured 46 of the team’s 82 wins during the 2014 installment of Proleague to lead CJ to a 3rd/4th place overall. While CJ_herO has been extremely well known for his solid PvT to back up his prowess against Zerg, he has almost looked like two different players in the matchup. His form seemed to randomly break against MarineKing and INnoVation in the Hot6iX cup, a tournament that should have helped showcase some of his best play. This, combined with a somewhat sloppy loss to Dear during the opening day of Proleague, raises some question marks about herO’s current skill level despite his recent IEM win, which included a convincing victory over Bomber. On the other hand, CJ_Bbyong is rising to the ace position on CJ. While herO looked crushed upon getting eliminated from the RO16 of the Hot6iX cup, Bbyong topped a similar group against strong Protoss players without losing a map and then still looked sharp in defeat against his teammate sKyHigh. Although Bbyong lost by being unnecessarily greedy in TvT to mark his opening game of Proleague, he was trusted to immediately bounce back to take the ace match for his team. As this is a team kill, Bbyong may additionally know enough of herO's weaknesses to exploit them.
The third series of the night will feature MVP_YongHwa against YFW_Leenock. YongHwa made a surprising run to this tournament, claiming the wildcard spot over soO and DRG after initially being knocked out by Cure. However, Leenock also had a difficult run to the qualification spot, as he had to go through Zest, meaning that both of these players have already been tested in this matchup. Additionally, both were fielded in the same matchup for Proleague, but YongHwa didn’t get to play his game. Leenock, on the other hand, showed a fairly distinctive style against Creator, which means YongHwa could have an information advantage going into this series.
Super 2-3 ByuL
herO 1-3 Bbyong
YongHwa 3-2 Leenock
FanTaSy 3-1 MarineKing