Code A really heated up last week with all series on Day 5 ending in close 3-2 victories. HerO triumphed over Pet and his own nerves, securing another appearance in Code S. Seed once again proved to be one of the dirtiest players in the game by eliminating Sorry in typical cold-blooded fashion. And in the duel of the SKT titans Dark managed to overcome his colleague INnoVation, who is now eliminated from individual play in Korea for the rest of this year.
The last full week of Code A begins now; there are still nine Code S spots waiting to be filled.
An Afreeca team kill opens up the day. It is known that such series oftentimes get rather crazy, as both players are pretty well acquainted with each others’ styles and preferences, and even their philosophy. The question is, who will this favour more? aLive certainly is the more solid player, he has more experience under his belt and his year has been a lot better than Billowy’s so far. The protoss is a clever player however, and it might be easy for him to use his knowledge about aLive to his own advantage. Thinking this further it might be still aLive, who profits most from the situation though: Billowy is smart and can play dirty, but aLive might know all his tricks from practicing together. And in standard play the terran should have the advantage.
Both players had some good online results recently, proving they are well practiced and feeling comfortable. Of course another piece of commonly-held wisdom of StarCraft is that online matches don’t count for anything when it comes to an offline duel—still, it is a nice indicator of standing for the moment, as we have no better results at hand. Billowy seems to be lagging behind a bit when it comes to the PvT match-up, which is by far his weakest at the moment. aLive has had moderate success in the match-up, such as beating Super in a Bo5. Since the bulk of both players’ games is made up by the other match-ups we can’t say much more however.
Team kills are always hard to predict, as they can spiral into craziness at fast rate, especially with such a dirty protoss involved. Looking at recent results aLive seems to be in better match-up form than his team mate—but he’s also the more successful of the two (this year and overall), he has more experience and he’s regarded as the better standard player. All the advantages lie with the terran.
aLive 3 - 1 Billowy
Another pair of online warriors duke it out in the second match of the day. And even though it’s not a team kill between DeParture and Armani a prediction will be hard—ZvZ is a tough mistress indeed. Both have mostly played online cups in the past few weeks, providing a great amount of games to study for the opponent. Both seem to be doing rather well in ZvZ against similar adversaries overall, but a few results stand out: Over a month ago both met in Douyu Cup with Armani taking a 2-1 win over DeParture. The MVP player has the better offline references though, taking a decisive ZvZ win over Curious in Proleague. And then there is the fact that Armani lost two series to Canadian player NoRegreT—among them even a Best of 5. NoRegreT is practicing in the MVP team house of course, and is thus to be considered kind of a team mate of DeParture.
Having the victorious foreigner at hand to show him all of Armani’s weak points might prove to be a critical advantage for the MVP zerg. ZvZ still has so many aspects to consider though: The games can be super short, with early ling/baneling attacks being a common sight, or they go on for a bit longer with the typical roach/ravager chess game ensuing. Control and decision making are key in both scenarios, and DeParture—although far from perfect at these aspects—should ace out Armani in them.
DeParture is overall the more successful player and he has shown steady improvement over the last years in which we have seen him struggle in Proleague and the individual tournaments. Armani has a similar reputation as an online warrior, but he hasn’t shown the same development as his MVP counterpart. That said, we’re still talking about ZvZ, a harsh and unforgiving match-up, which can be decided in the blink of an eye. DeParture should be the slight favourite, we don’t count Armani out though.
DeParture 3 - 2 Armani
Poor BrAvO certainly hasn’t drawn the best lot for himself, facing a resurging titan in Classic. The protoss has basically every advantage one can have over another player: He’s more successful, has the superior practice partners (E/N: Though with the current state of the SKT terrans, this is debatable...), the better form overall and by match-up, and the momentum from qualifying for the group stages of the SSL behind him. The SKT player's bad form earlier this year is forgotten by now, as his last performances made up for it already. Indeed, one could call him a title favourite in both leagues again.
BrAvO did play solidly in Proleague’s last round, being a valuable asset for his team, but ‘solid’ won’t be enough to even touch Classic. The terran had to put in huge effort to beat SGW and MC in the GSL and SSL qualifiers, and they are nowhere near the level Classic is residing at.
You really have to feel for BrAvO: He didn’t have the best start into this year and struggled for a long time in Legacy of the Void, and now that he starts to win games again and has the chance to go to Code S, he meets Classic in Code A. A sad fate, especially with this being the last chance of the year for him to play any individual tournament at all. But as things stand it would take a miracle for BrAvO to take the series—taking a game might already be considered a surprise and a good bargain for the Samsung player.
Classic 3 - 0 BrAvO