GSL Code A Day 2
With 3 of 3 terrans in Code S so far, it's shaping up to be an interesting season in the GSL even after a single day. Day 2 ensures that there will be at least one more terran advancing, but will they make it 5 out of 6 after 2 days? With balance a hot topic right now, results from Code A and SSL offer a very unique take on what LotV may have to offer so far. The highest level of competition sometimes looks very different from ladder—and can even be very different from the foreigner meta—and this is our first taste of offline Korean competition in LotV. Will terrans continue to trend, or is this just coincidence?
Jin Air Trap
Of all the nightmare scenarios for a pro player, the worst has to be elimination by an amateur. Whether it’s MC or Stephano trucking through brackets post-”retirement”, or HeRoMaRinE’s near miss against Rotti at HomeStory Cup, it’s surely got to be pretty embarrassing to be beaten by a player who’s no longer paid to compete. So while Shine’s retirement was relatively recent, Trap’s surely feeling the fear going into Code A.
Neither player had too successful a 2014. A brilliant run at IEM Katowice was the sole shining light for Trap, making his way through the stacked qualifier bracket all the way to the finals of the main event. His individual league performances were nothing special, qualifying for a mere two SSLs, while he was rotated in and out of Jin Air’s Proleague four-man setup with middling results. Meanwhile, Shine’s opportunities were similarly limited—a mere five games in Proleague, alongside a single starleague appearance in SSL Season 3.
While the Jin Air protoss has traditionally been strong in the PvZ matchup throughout Heart of the Swarm, things are much more vague going forwards into Legacy. His results have been below par since the switch—with a 1-5 record in matches played. His sole win was an unstreamed 2-0 over TRUE in the GSL preliminaries; however, there were enough good signs in his 1-2 defeat to Armani in the same competition for his fans to come into this match with some hope. Methodical adept harass allowed him to take a game on Prion Terraces against a greedy opening from the Samsung zerg, and while he was overpowered in the next two games by strong roach/ravager play, hopefully it’ll have given him enough ideas to fix the flaws before this week’s crucial match.
Even though Shine can barely be considered a retiree so far, it’s hard not to predict a Trap victory. Even though the Jin Air man has been struggling for form recently, it’s been even longer since any notable results from the newly minted GSL observer. Legacy’s already shaken things up quite a bit though, and it wouldn’t be entirely surprising for one of Starcraft’s great anti-heroes to make one last favourite-smashing, soul-crushing run.
Trap 3 - 2 Shine
Stats (in Legacy of the Void vs other Koreans)
Forte vT 11-20 (35%) in maps 4-8 (33%) in series, overall 29-37 (44%) in maps 12-16 (42%) in series
(W Reality, FanTaSy, aLive, Guilty; L 2x ByuN, 2x Reality, aLive, MMA, TaeJa, KeeN)
BrAvO vT 4-5 (44%) in maps 1-2 (33%) in series, overall 12-15 (44%) in maps 3-6 (33%) in series
(W NaTuRal; L Reality, ByuN)
When KeSPA first switched to StarCraft 2 many players used the occasion to change their IDs and give themselves a new profile. Most nickname changes didn’t really mean anything however, and since then changing ID came out of trend again. Yet with the release of Legacy of the Void inbound, Forte seized the moment and revived this tradition, changing his ‘gamer name’. ‘Forte’ is an Italian word coming out of Latin, a word used in music to describe a stronger part of a play. Why change the nickname now though? Forte has been around since 2012 under his old ID, playing for the ever unfortunate New Star HoSeo, for StarTale, Prime and now MVP. He never found the way to success, despite showing strong play from time to time.
Maybe it was his attitude which was in the way. And maybe Forte took the promise of a new beginning with Legacy of the Void more seriously than others. ‘Salvation’ hadn’t come to him for roughly three and a half years of being a progamer. Changing his ID from ‘SalvatioN’ to ‘Forte’ means taking his fate in his own hands, instead of waiting for success to come to him by itself.
Forte has been a progamer more or less living in the shadows in the last years. He knows that Legacy of the Void is probably his last chance for glory and prizes. Everything depends on him doing well in the next few matches. He needs to play forte now or salvation may never come to him.
BrAvO is in a bit of a different situation. He’s playing for one of the most stable teams in Korea and is a critical part of his team’s future. Indeed the terran player managed to become one of the strongest and most valuable players on Samsung Galaxy in the last Proleague season. The team might not have been the most successful, but looking at the evolution of Samsung during the four PL rounds last year was a thing of pure joy. There was so much development, so much trust between players and coach, so much will to go ahead and progress. BrAvO is a product of Stork’s grand experiment of 2015.
After leaving SK Telecom T1, where he only rarely got his chance to play and develop on stage, the move to Samsung proved to be a fortunate one. BrAvO began to show excellent macro play against both zerg and terran, even pushing a full-form Life to the edge of defeat. Even more impressive were his abilities in TvT. He became one of the best snipers in the match-up, feared by most other terrans in the league, and beat players such as Maru with his methodical and patient mech play.
BrAvO hasn’t shown a lot of games in Legacy of the Void yet, while other players such as Forte tested their skills in many online tournaments. And even in the games BrAvO has played, he haven't really told us a lot. Losing to Reality and ByuN, two of the best terrans in early-stage Legacy, isn’t really a shameful result. Indeed having Reality and BrAvO on the same team is quite scary for Forte and any other terran, since both of them can work together to find ways and solutions to victory in this new, chaotic game.
BrAvO is probably the higher calibre of player, has the better infrastructure and security behind him. As such he is the favourite in this match. The underdog has nowhere to run however, so he’ll stand and fight until the end.
Forte 1 - 3 BrAvO
SKT T1 Dark
MVP Chickenmaru GuMiho vs SK Telecom T1 Dark
Stats (in Legacy of the Void vs other Koreans)
GuMiho vZ 9-13 (41%) in maps 3-6 (33%) in series,overall 28-42 (40%) in maps 10-16 (38%) in series
(W Solar, Armani, Mamuri; L 2x Solar, Gamja, Impact, Losira, TRUE)
Dark vT 6-2 (75%) in maps 3-1 (75%) in series, overall 18-9 (66%) in maps 8-4 (66%) in series
(W Journey, Ryung, Bbyong; L Bbyong)
The last time a new StarCraft 2 expansion was released, GuMiho was widely expected to be one of the players most profiting from the changes. The higher tempo that speedier medivacs enabled for the terran race in Heart of the Swarm was supposed to be perfect for his multitasking style, one of the fastest in all of Wings of Liberty. Interestingly enough, when everyone was allowed to be special, GuMiho almost immediately fell off. Instead of flourishing in HotS, the terran vanished. Instead of wallowing in pity, however, in his time of absence from the elite level of competition GuMiho redefined himself and his playstyle.
Not wholly, as his multitasking is still one of the scariest in the entire world. But his usage of mech combined with his old strengths really allowed him to once again rise to more prominent ranks. Additionally, GuMiho played in a ton of online competitions, really seeking the grind. To build up knowledge about opponents and weird gameplay situations? To gain more confidence? Or simply to earn a nice amount of prizemoney on the side? We don’t really know, but it seems that it certainly helped GuMiho to replenish his strength.
Now another expansion has been released and as at the end of WoL, GuMiho was one of the top terrans at the end of HotS—feared for a great range of abilities. Unfortunately for the MVP terran history seems to repeat itself so far: GuMiho's stats aren’t very good. It appears he’s slow to adapt to the new, ever changing metagame, despite Legacy of the Void being once again perfect for a fast player like himself. He’s still competing online, he’s really trying to get into the flow. But will he be ready in time to face a player such as Dark?
The zerg, SlayerS BoxeR’s last present to SK Telecom T1 in a way, did not follow GuMiho’s approach of grinding out online tournaments, probably preferring inhouse and ladder practice to get into LotV. Dark, one of the rising superstars of T1 and SPL Rookie of the Year in 2015, shouldn’t have many problems adapting to the expansion, as he was already fond of stretching the limits of the metagame in HotS.
His usage of corrupters instead of mutalisks in ZvT comes to mind, a strategy he successfully employed in Proleague as well as individual tournaments. His will to simply kill a careless opponent with roach-baneling-busts also fits into LotV, where one scouting mistake can very well enable a quick win… and roaches can even be upgraded to something deadlier. Dark’s ability to both play a perfect macro game and pull off a short cheesy trickery will certainly come in handy in this phase of LotV, where so much unexplored terrain is still lying before us.
Citing GuMiho’s rather unpleasant stats and Dark’s general advantages, he’s probably the favourite to win this series and advance to Code S. Of course there is a chance that GuMiho has figured everything out just in time, but that’s the danger of predicting a match in a new expansion.
GuMiho 1 - 3 Dark