Code S RO32 - Group C & D Previewsby Mizenhauer
Everyone's predictions went to hell on the first day of Code S Season 2 as Maru suffered a shocking RO32 elimination. Now, the championship is anyone's for the taking. Renaissance, indeed!
Group C: Classic, TRUE, Solar, HurricaneStart time: Wednesday, May 01 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00)
If you thought last season’s Code S had a compressed schedule, hold on tight this time around. A mere ten days removed from winning his second consecutive Super Tournament title, Classic returns to GSL, this time hoping to one up his performance from last season of Code S where he fell to Maru in the finals. Classic may be Korea’s most recent champion, but he’s been hard to get a read on as of late. In his Super Tournament matches against soO and GuMiho, he looked like an imperious, championship-class player. But in his narrow win against Patience, you couldn't help but be reminded of the bloodied, battered player who had just barely enough guile to beat Dark in the Code S semifinals. Still, one must concede that Classic is one of the best players in the world—his victories prove that, whether they're ugly or magnificent. He’s managed to win 10 of his last 11 matches in GSL (even Maru is only 7-2 in GSL over the same period). However, the close, hard-fought nature of some of Classic's series makes one wonder how wide the gap really is between Classic and his competitors.
Old hands beat towel hands
He will, however, be the heavy favorite to extend his winning streak in the opening match, with his opponent being TRUE. After TRUE shocked the western world by winning WCS Summer, he’s only won two offline matches on Korean soil since his return in 2018: a 3-2 win over the constantly fangless Trust in the first Super Tournament of 2018 and a 2-1 victory over equally tame Losira in Season 2 of Code S last year. Still, Classic had to give TRUE some credit after beating him 2-1 in the RO32 of the previous Code S season, mentioning that TRUE used builds no one else would think of in Korea (some interesting queen-roach-ravager timings). If TRUE is still such a novelty for Korea-based pros, perhaps he could cobble together a win or two against the rest of the players in this group.
Facing off in the second match is a pair of once upon a time teammates, Solar and Hurricane. Solar has been up and down over the past couple of years, with quarterfinal appearances in the last two IEM Katowices and three Round of 32 exits in Code S confirming his status as one whose breath alternates between magma and rime. Meanwhile, Hurricane is like Solar without quite the upside. His cunning and opportunism earned him a 3-1 victory over Rogue at the Super Tournament (Rogue seemed befuddled at how he kept dying to seemingly 'random' mid-game attacks). On one hand, one might find a weakness in how he avoided standard games like the plague. On the other hand, a win is a win, even if they all come before the 13 minute mark. More concerning is what Hurricane achieved after his victory against Rogue. Instead of building upon his momentum, Hurricane was taken out behind the woodshed by PartinG and summarily put out of his misery.
Hurricane’s victory over Rogue will give him some hope against Solar, and Solar’s poor performances in Code S could hypothetically further bolster Hurricane’s confidence, but the most likely scenario is that Solar doesn’t fall for Hurricane’s gimmicks and wins the match with assured ease. Of course people have been saying such things about Solar for quite some time, and this particular writer refuses to consider a guy who actually scored negative points in a round of Fantasy Proleague a sure thing, even four years later (Solar’s 0-3 mark in ace matches during Round 1 of 2015 Proleague is the worst ace match record ever recorded in any round of StarCraft II Proleague. It just goes to show how catastrophically Samsung’s chances at Proleague glory cratered when RorO retired and Solar became the ace).
Behold, the greatest anti-team player of all time!
Classic > TRUE
Solar > Hurricane
Classic > Solar
TRUE > Hurricane
Solar > TRUE
Classic and Solar to advance
Group D: Dear, Creator, aLive, soOStart time: Saturday, May 04 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
While Group C boasts one of the game’s most eminent players at the moment, Group D has to settle for soO and Dear. soO is about two months removed from winning IEM Katowice, an immeasurably inspiring moment nearly everybody hoped would spark a winning streak which would be talked about for time evermore. Instead, the StarCraft gods welcomed soO to the hall of champions by hitting him with a rough championship hangover. His victory over GuMiho in his last season’s Code S Round of 16 was a mild surprise given his ZvT woes, but it couldn’t save him from elimination as he proceeded to go winless against Rogue over the course of two series. As for the latest Super Tournament, soO continued to have the worst of bracket luck—his opening round match against Classic marked the second time in that he was paired against a finalist from the previous season of GSL. In 2018, he lost to Maru 3-1—the same score by which he lost to Classic this time around.
Sadly history has a way of repeating itself
How about Dear then? He’s had some nice moments in 2019. He topped his group at IEM Katowice and quietly posted the second best map differential of the 24 players. However, he was abruptly jettisoned from the event by herO in the quarterfinals in a flatly 'clown fiesta' match. He gave himself an opportunity to redeem himself in Code S after 4-0’ing his Round of 16 group, but, as is the theme of things with Dear, everything went catastrophically wrong in in the quarterfinals against Maru (granted, playing against Maru in Code S has been a death sentence between January 31, 2018 and April 29, 2019). Dear barely looked competitive against the four time champ, save a fantastic late-game performance on King’s Cove (some may argue that Maru was uncharacteristically vulnerable in the late game). Alas, that late-game prowess didn't mean much when Dear was getting totally overwhelmed by widow mine drops.
That being said, Dear and soO remain the favorites to advance from Group D. Though one could argue they've stumbled lately, their opposition haven't exactly shown great quality in Code S. The fact that Creator is still being playing StarCraft II eight years after his Code S debut is a testament to his perseverance. During that time he’s qualified for Korea’s premier league nine times, but he’s only scraped together seven victories (and 18 losses!). Artosis may have tried to trick you into believing he was some sleeping giant when he dismantled TY in last year’s second Super Tournament, but we're sure you knew better. Given that Creator hasn’t escaped the Round of 32 in the last seven tries, the most likely result of Code S Season 2 is another brief stay.
Don’t think I forgot about aLive, even if we've made many a joke out of his lack of notability. [I personally prefer the Korean community's Invisible Man meme which applies to none other than herO, a player cursed to have the majority of his career landmarks occur on days when everyone was distracted by historic sporting achievements by the Republic of Korea. The next time herO wins a tournament, it will inevitably be the day Son Heung-Min signs a record contract with Real Madrid]. Anyway, what does one say about aLive? Our preview writing algorithm says we should mention his last notable result: a run to the finals of Super Tournament 1 in 2017 where he lost to herO in the finals. It's funny—no one talks about that tournament anymore. It's almost as if it never happened... aLive may have more upside than Creator, but his three consecutive Ro32 eliminations from Code S leave things looking rather cut and dry.
HEY! Remember me!?!?!
Dear > Creator
aLive > soO
Dear > aLive
soO > Creator
soO > aLive
Dear and soO to advance