Code S RO16 Group C Preview:by Orlok and Wax
Trap, SpeCial, Impact, herO
Start time: Tuesday, May 28 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00)
If you asked Jin Air fans who they wanted to represent the team in Code S, Trap probably wouldn't be their first choice. Most would likely pick one of the big three—Maru, Rogue, or sOs. But lo and behold, the steadfast Trap stands as Jin Air's sole survivor. We often mocked his perennial RO16 status in the past—now, that cursed consistency has finally become a benefit.
Trap broke free of his years-long group stage imprisonment by reaching the quarterfinals in the previous of Code S, and now he looks to repeat that feat. While Trap was ultimately 4-0'd by Maru in last season's semifinals, he looks to be in good position to move out of this group and make another playoff run. In many RO16 groups in the past, Trap was an unfortunately casualty in a stacked group. This time around, he's actually the favorite. He had herO’s number in their recent RO32 encounter, SpeCial hasn’t ever made it to this stage of Code S before, and Impact has only recently began to compete at a RO16 level. After toiling in mediocrity for so many years, Trap might finally win easy passage to the Code S playoffs.
But let's not write off the other three players just yet. In a some ways, SpeCial could be seen as another version of Trap. He was always capable of playing championship-caliber StarCraft in his best moments, but just lacked the consistency of the truly elite players. Despite winning huge upsets against far more illustrious opponents in major tournaments, an invisible barrier seemed to prevent SpeCial from advancing beyond the top four.
However, that demon has been partially exorcised, with SpeCial having reached the finals of WCS Spring. Like Trap, this momentary triumph was marred by a quick 4-0 loss to an overpowering champion—in this case, Serral. However, SpeCial still deserves a lot of credit for passing that important milestone.
SpeCial has been setting personal records in GSL as well. His focus on preparation finally saw him advance past the RO32, defeating the adept foreigner-killer sOs twice in the process (his losing effort against RagnaroK was also notable for his breadth of strategies). The textbook advancement scenario for SpeCial sees him getting the better of his opponents with more well-prepared strategies—but he might still find himself out-executed by the more seasoned Code S RO16 players.
For the longest time, Impact was a player who struggled to make it past the first group stage of Code S—if he managed to qualify at all. However, he seems to have definitively hurdled that wall, as he's reached his third consecutive Code S RO16 in a row.
Hipster fans will say they always saw it coming. Those online-bonjwa skills are finally getting some shine in the AfreecaTV studio, and he thoroughly thrashed Zest and Trust in this season's RO32. Like his groupmates, Impact should be looking around at this group and thinking 'this is doable.' While Protoss timing-attacks have looked especially dangerous in the current meta, Impact has shown he is a skilled all-in user himself. SpeCial is an enigma—he could bring any number of Terran compositions to bear—but Impact is a strong enough mid-game player to take SpeCial out before he reaches his late-game comfort zone.
Finally we haveherO, a player who we still find difficult to rate. Compared to his days as one of the Protoss elite, he's become prone to making mistakes and letting his micro slip. We saw that in the RO32, where he advanced with two ugly wins against a weak TvP player in KeeN. But while herO is much diminished from his peak, there's still a bit of the old smiling assassin in him. Winning ugly is still winning—just ask Trap and Dear, who were vexed by herO's risky plays at IEM Katowice. Furthermore, herO was picked second-to-last during the group nominations, suggesting that no one wants to let him drag them down into the mud.
Trap 2 - 1 SpeCial
Impact 2 - 0 herO
Trap 2 - 1 Impact
SpeCial 2 - 0 herO
Impact 2 - 1 SpeCial
Trap and Impact to advance.
Credits and acknowledgements
Writers: Orlok and Wax
Writers: Orlok and Wax