GSL Season One
The Boss Returns
Ro32 Group A: Rogue, FanTaSy, MC, PenguiN
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
GSL Ro32 Group A: The Return of the Boss
The GSL is back, and you couldn't ask for a better way to kick it off than with Group A. This group is a veritable melting pot of wacky styles, featuring old and new players of all races. Several players have been notably absent from televised games over the last few months, adding further instability to the group. All these elements combine to make this group a volatile concoction, capable of producing crazy games or the biggest facepalm moments.
The last time MC graced GSL with his presence he lost to RorO, who would become the champion of 2013 GSL Season 1. Back then, doubt was still eating away at the Boss Toss. He was stuck in the middle of a long championship drought, suffering from uncharacteristically early exits and upsets at every tournament. Many fans legitimately wondered if it wasn't time for MC to hang up his mouse once and for all. Yet despite all the hardships MC endured during that phase, he eventually pulled himself out of the nadir into new-found glory: MC won 2014 WCS EU Season 1 by defeating MMA 4-2, ending his 686 day drought. However, the wave of KeSPA gamers had finally started washing over the world and MC failed to capture another title during 2014, mostly earning several silvers and being denied a Ro8 Blizzcon spot by herO. Doubt started to pollute the minds of fans yet again. MC's winning record against foreigners was out of this world but against fellow Koreans, and specifically KeSPA players, it was average at best. With the announced changes to the WCS system, how would the Boss Toss cope? The answer came loud and clear when MC qualified for the GSL.
In terms of playstyle, MC brings the most aggressive and deadly brand of Protoss to the table. He is the original father and perfectionist of many all-ins, and those years of honing his craft have endowed him with razor sharp instincts. If the Boss Toss senses weakness you can be sure he will exploit it via some of the most lethal all-ins known to Zerg/Protoss/humankind. But don't let that aspect fool you. MC is also a capable player in long macro games...it's just that most players don't survive long enough to discover the other side.
The zerg Rogue, formerly known as Savage is a classic case of hardworking talent rising from obscurity. His initial results were terrible to say the least: an abysmal 8-17 record in 2012-2013 Proleague and repeated failures to make an impact in individual tournaments. However a transformation gradually occurred in 2014. He showed a marked improvement in the next season of Proleague, attaining a respectable 17-13 record. His qualifier results also started to catch people's eyes, most notably the IEM World Championship qualifier where he defeated Rain, Sacsri, Zest, Sora and Soulkey to advance to the main event. Unfortunately Rogue was unable to do much at IEM, quickly falling to Life in the Ro16. This didn't deter him from continuing to practice and work hard. As the year neared its end Rogue managed the impressive feat of qualifying for GSL and SSL, going on a winning streak that includes victims such as Hush, Soulkey, soO, Flash and Classic. To say Rogue is playing the best Starcraft 2 of his life right now would be an accurate statement.
After being on the same team with Maru, sOs and TRUE for the past year, Rogue's style has become quite savage. To the uninitiated it looks like Rogue prefers following a standard macro style. However that disguises his most deadly trait, an extreme and aggressive adaptability. When his back is pressed against the wall, Rogue manages to make the best of a bad situation and turns it into a win. The most unfortunate victim of this attribute has been Classic, once in the KeSPA Cup on Nimbus and most recently in Proleague on Deadwing. By subjecting his foes to so many doses of craziness, Rogue has also gained a keen eye for weaknesses. He is fond of finding and exploiting them, as Soulkey found out in SSL.
Oh, how things have changed for FanTaSy. Towards the end of Brood War he was considered one of, if not the best terran, in the illustrious history of the game. Meanwhile his switch to SC2 wasn't nearly as spectacular as that of Rain, Innovation, or Soulkey. However he was still a solid player. He racked up a respectable 29-25 record in Proleague and managed to qualify for a season of GSL and a OSL. Then the "power of Protoss" reared its ugly head and Fantasy, like many more Terrans, faded into obscurity. To make matters worse, with the signings of so many star players to SKT, FanTaSy saw very little play in Proleague. Shortly after the conclusion of the PL circuit, FanTaSy left SKT1, his home and family for 7 years. The former crown prince's fate was unclear. For the vast majority of players, leaving the established structure of a KeSPA team house forebode an inevitable decline in form. Therefore FanTaSy's best option was to practice and stream. Eventually he found a new team and his hard work landed him a spot in the GSL. His form in recent months has looked good, and if his momentum is strong he might even make it farther.
FanTaSy's style is what you could describe as standard but with a pinch of insanity. Despite being deprived of his favorite unit from BW, the terrorist terran has still found ways to adapt and cause mayhem. His precious vultures are now replaced by widow mines, hellions and marine drops. Unfortunately his fondness for multi-pronged harass has often lead to sub-par macro management, resulting in him frequently banking resources. Another of FanTaSy's positive traits is creativity, harnessing his inner BoxeR to devise clever solutions to seemingly complex problems, like countering Flash's BCs with mass widow mines.
It's been a long time since SKT1 has recruited someone with no previous achievements. However PenguiN has fully earned it, being the only amateur in recent years to have qualified for the GSL. Given how stacked these qualifiers have been and that great players like Zest, soO, MMA, HerO, sOs and Flash failed to qualify, the contrast makes PenguiN's feat look even more impressive.
Sadly, the GSL qualifiers were not streamed so we have little information regarding PenguiN's gameplay. However looking at his qualifier run and recent games we can deduce a couple of things. First, his ZvP must be really good given that he defeated Stats and HerO to qualify; his ZvT is at least decent, given that he defeated TOP and Hack but lost to YoDa. With Code B, his biggest obstacle, behind him, the sky is the limit for SKT1's newest player. It is thus fitting that he gets to leave his mark in the first group of the first GSL of this year.
Final thoughts and predictions.
Given his recent momentum and skill I expect Rogue to advance from his group in first place. MC is a different protoss than the kinds Rogue usually faces, however his wild adaptations should pull him trough. Next up, I expect MC to make it. His killer instinct and all-ins should be more than enough for this group. FanTaSy and PenguiN may have had some good results lately, but I don't think they are ready to face Rogue's momentum or MC's timings.
Rogue > FanTaSy
MC > PenguiN
Rogue > MC
FanTaSy > PenguiN
MC > FanTaSy
Rogue and MC to advance.