Code S RO32 - Group H Preview:by Ziggy
Zest, Patience, aLive, Rogue
Tensions are high as players are set to contend for the two remaining spots in the Code S RO16.
If recent results are to be believed, Zest and Rogue should have no trouble advancing to the next round of the GSL. All four contenders in Group H took part in the recent TeamLiquid Map Contest Tournament, but it was Zest and Rogue who reached the grand finals to slug it out in a best-of-nine slobber-knocker. The $1,200 grand prize ended up going to Zest, who triumphed by a narrow 5-4 scoreline (VOD on Twitch). Though neither finalist had a particular clean run—both dropped maps left and right—they were considerably better showings than groupmates Patience (top 16) and aLive (top 12) who were eliminated much earlier in the tourney.
Looking back at Zest's career, he hasn't quite returned to his peak form of being considered the best Protoss—if not best player regardless of race—in the world both in 2014 and in 2016. Despite a semi-final finish and an appearance in one of the GSL finals in 2018, we know that he's capable of being a better player than one who gets thrashed 0-4 in the finals. A return to glory would undoubtedly by received warmly by old and new StarCraft II fans alike. Given his form so far in 2019, another high finish is certainly on the table for Zest. Well, as long as he doesn't end up facing Maru.
A member of Jin Air Green Wings—the last remaining KeSPA team still investing in StarCraft II—Rogue is under a lot of pressure to perform well at any given time. With any lapse in consistency heavily scrutinized by the community, Rogue's competitive pedigree leaves very little room for error. After a strong 2017 where the Jin Air player rose to stardom by winning BlizzCon, Rogue backed up his Global Champion billing by winning IEM Katowice early in 2018. However, despite that fantastic result, Rogue received just as much criticism as praise in 2018. Most importantly, he was unable to end his GSL jinx, failing to advance past the quarterfinals of any Korean event.
Foreign Terrans would have us believe that their race has once again been targeted by a slew of nerfs, playing the martyr card any time Terran representatives fail to deliver in tournaments. No one seems to have let the Koreans know, however, as the Round of 16 of the current season of the GSL is dominated by Terrans (albeit, ever so slightly). Six of the RO16 spots have been claimed by Terrans, and aLive has a chance to make it seven. Although his level of play can't necessarily be equated to that of TY, Maru, or INnoVation, Korean Terran blood does run in his veins. Having said that, it is worth mentioning aLive historically has a negative head-to-head scoreline against each and every potential opponent in Group H: 49-25 in favour of Zest, 32-20 with Rogue in the lead, and even Patience holding an 18-15 lead.
Patience hasn't played in a major live event since last June, when he traveled to Krefeld to partake in the consumption of alcoholic beverages, eat some late-night kebab, and possibly to enjoy a bit of classic computer gaming at HomeStory Cup. Relatively active in sundry online cups, he hasn't quite found much success in domestic competitions. Flashes of brilliance abroad have allowed him to stay somewhat relevant on the Korean scene, although more often than not he's regarded as nothing more than a punching bag. And yet, he was indeed brilliant to start the year, beating the likes of Dear, Trap and soO to qualify for IEM Katowice. With no notable placements in premier tournaments since late 2016, a deep run in the Code S would be a welcome change of course.
Zest > Patience
aLive < Rogue
Zest > Rogue
Patience > aLive
Rogue > Patience
Zest and Rogue to advance to the Round of 16.