Zergs are becoming an endangered species in Korea, and the last survivors are being hunted down one by one. This season has truly not been kind to the swarm: None of the zerg representatives from the first half of the Ro.32 manged to progress, and the odds are not exactly getting more favourable as time goes on. In Group F, Jin Air’s Sexy Boy Zerg will have to use all of his charm and brains to escape a similar fate, as he’s being chased by three dangerous terran opponents. Can Rogue trick himself out of this one, or will he be eliminated like the rest of his zerg colleagues?
His recent ZvT games suggest that he’ll face some serious troubles along the way. Any other match-up wouldn’t be a problem since Rogue has played some excellent ZvP and ZvZ in recent weeks, but there’s something about ZvT that Rogue seems to find hard (E/N: As indeed, do most other zergs in KR). His last game against a terran—a duel against Bunny in the SPL Round 3 Playoffs—shows that this weakness might be a lack of judgment when it comes to splitting his army.
Rogue opened with ling / roach / ravager pressure, killing off 20 of Bunny’s SCVs and gaining the economic advantage early on. The CJ player countered with some marine/medivac attacks, only ever on two fronts at the same time. Rogue had some real issues with these two-pronged attacks: He was never able to judge correctly how many units he would need to defend one location while also holding the other one, resulting in costly losses against small bio forces—he even missed a cancel on his fourth base, losing 300 minerals. His speedling counters were mostly ineffective as well, so overall his playstyle was too cost-inefficient. Without mutalisks splitting up the ground forces in the right manner is essential to defend, and Rogue definitely showed some weakness here.
Counting his games from June and July Rogue is 1-3 in series against terran, 2-5 in maps. He lost to aLive (whom he faces first in this group), ByuN and Bunny, winning only against jjakji. Rogue’s a surprising player by nature. He designs and executes clever builds in opportune moments and is such an important asset for his team in Proleague. But he needs to recreate this greatness for his own sake now, in a match-up, which lacks innovation and freshness from the zerg side at the moment. Maybe it’s time for Rogue to show his fellow zergs how it’s done—trying it the standard way clearly doesn’t work.
For the zerg players, that is. A terran such as aLive—long held in high regard as the textbook player of terran and the paragon of standard play—is faring quite well with regular macro styles. The Afreeca terran has been on a roll in the last months, getting some very impressive results in the SSL Challenge and in Proleague. Just last week though the hype train has somewhat slowed down; elimination from the SSL and a loss in the SPL Round 3 Playoffs, as well as some lost TvT series in Leifeng Cup, have stripped much of the momentum behind aLive for now. While his TvZ still sports some ridiculously good stats—the last series he lost offline was last Code S season, back in March—his mirror match-up has taken a hit. Most importantly, Ryung seems to have aLive’s number and has defeated him several times in the last weeks. So even though he should be favoured against the lone zerg of the group, the TvTs he certainly will have to play are going to be challenging.
Speaking of Ryung, the MVP player had very solid results in both TvZ and TvT lately. While his TvZ stats are surely inflated by the amount of online cups he plays, the TvT stats from both online and offline games are quite telling. And the story they tell is that the former mirror match expert is regaining some of that status. With wins over players such as GuMiho and aLive, Ryung does not need to hide himself from anyone in this group. His oftentimes unpredictable aggression, paired with his huge amount of experience, is a deadly combination indeed—as aLive well knows by now. With TvT being in a steady flux at the moment, such a flexible approach to the match-up is very beneficial. We’ve seen bio/tank drop play, we’ve seen mass hellion, cyclone and banshee openers, mass reaper cheeses and many other things in the last weeks. On-the-fly improvisation will be a critical skill in this group. And Ryung has proven to be a crafty player when it comes to that.
The last of Rogue’s pursuers is Dream, who has not seen a huge amount of action in the last weeks. In fact, his last TvZ is actually a lost Bo3 against Rogue from two months ago, making us practically blind to his current form in that particular match-up. His TvT on the other hand has been proven to be quite solid recently: His last two SPL wins come from games against Bomber and Forte. In the latter game Dream defended against a crazy mass cyclone build by his opponent, showing that he’s prepared for anything his opponents might throw at him. Traditionally the mirror match-up hasn’t been his strongest feat (the historical stats still are in the negative), but for the moment the SKT players’ TvT should be strong enough to compete against the others in the group. Mechanically he’s probably the best in the group.
This is a hard group to predict: Rogue’s ZvT doesn’t give much hope to his fans at the moment, aLive’s momentum was shut down hard in the last days, Ryung isn’t a very stable player and could easily make critical mistakes and Dream hasn’t played much at all, limiting our knowledge of his current abilities. He’s a better player than Ryung, while aLive’s TvZ should carry him against Rogue, which should give us a TvT between Dream and aLive to decide the first place. Ryung’s TvZ on paper is better than Rogue’s, but there are a lot of online games to inflate the MVP players’ stats, so Rogue should survive to the last game. Will he beat aLive in a rematch, or will he beat Dream? The latter is more improbable, the first might happen. Might.
Dream > Ryung
aLive > Rogue
Dream > aLive
Ryung < Rogue
aLive > Rogue
Dream and aLive advance to the Ro16.