2020 GSL Code S Season 2 - Round of 24by Orlok
The round of 24 comes to a close with Group F, which we could fairly call one of the less hyped groups of the GSL. the combined skill of the four players certainly isn't lacking, but somehow they just haven't captured the imagination and attention of fans at large.
So, instead of our usual previewing approach, I've decided to treat this as more of storytelling session steeped in nostalgia. I’d like to take a personal trip down memory lane and think back on when I first really noticed these players. Maybe it will help the fans remember who these players are, and the moments in which they made us truly care about StarCraft II.
Group F Preview: Trap, Patience, Bunny, RagnaroKStart time: Wednesday, Jul 08 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
Patience: Coming out of nowhere to take third at DreamHack Winter 2013
We typically think of Patience as a one-dimensional player, whose cheese-or-bust approach makes him a dangerous player to make predictions about. However, I'll never forget the first time he showed up on the foreign scene, and how different he played from his latter day stereotype.
While I was watching the grainy footage of the Dreamhack Winter 2013 stream on my phone at two in the morning, I saw this no-name player from Azubu came out of nowhere, blitz through his group stage and upset veteran after veteran including sOs, MMA, Polt and INnoVation. These weren’t simply “good” players, they were some of the best players in Korea at the time, all four having gone to BlizzCon 2013. And he did it all showcasing surprisingly strong macro play! Nary an all-in was thrown in and I remember grudgingly thinking this guy would become a legit title contender one day.
It still befuddles me to this day how Patience started so strong, but somehow turned into a living caricature of a cheesy Protoss who lives to enrage the fans of more popular players. He even had a mid-HotS phase where he was more of a solid macro player, right after he was forced back to Korea from Europe following the region lock (one of the few players to actually get better after returning from farming the unlocked WCS Circuit). And then, for whatever reason, he went right back to perpetuating that pernicious Protoss prototype. What gives, Patience? Are you just counting the days until military service? Are you vainly waiting for that elusive Protoss patch? Remind us that you're more than just a cheesy player!
Bunny: The last guy to be on the receiving end of a Maru beatdown before I started my military service.
Whenever I hear Bunny being touted as a "mid-tier" or "solid" Terran player, my mind shifts to mid 2016. After being amazed at the sheer quantity and quality Starcraft during 2015, I was determined to enjoy as much StarCraft II as possible before I had to begin my mandatory Korean military service in May of 2016. I actually visited the SpoTV arena to take in what would be my last civilian viewing of Proleague on May 3rd, and what a show it was! Jin Air committed the hubris-filled error of pitting their bench-warmers in Creator and Hyun against herO and ByuL, and predictably went down two to nothing.
Proleague loser's photos were awesome.
Enter Maru and Bunny, where everyone, myself included, just thought Bunny would get beat down. However, a twist of fate had Bunny potentially on the verge of victory when he seemed to get away with a fast expansion against Maru's 1-1-1. I braced myself for a potential three zero for CJ, but then, Maru micro magic happened. Despite Bunny seemingly having enough Hellions to overpower Maru's push, it was instead Maru who defeated Bunny's forces and slowly closed out for a win. While times have changed and Bunny IS a more complete player, I'm still left with similar questions about his skill. Is he actually good, or overachieving in a thinned out Code S field?
RagnaroK: Coming out of nowhere to place top 6 at MLG Anaheim 2014.
Most fans probably remember MLG Anaheim 2014 for something other than RagnaroK's underdog run. Zerg fans might point to this tournament as proof that HotS Protoss was broken, with Scarlett off-racing her way to victory against DongRaegu. Trap fans will remember this as his first major championship, even if the Korean fans are trying to scrub it from the history books akin to soO’s KeSPA Cup victory ("it was a tier-2 tournament" they'll say).
But for for me, I've always loved it when a player who has no expectations on his shoulders, no hype at all, comes out of nowhere and commands the spotlight. At MLG Anaheim, that player was RagnaroK. He was a teamless player who had never qualified for Code S, but still decided to fly to Anaheim and try and compete in the MLG open bracket. It was the ultimate example of betting on yourself.
As it turned out, his confidence was not unfounded, as he powered through the open bracket (defeating a number of Koreans), and earned a completely unexpected second place finish in a difficult round-robin group. Yes, this performance came to an anti-climactic end when he lost back-to-back ZvZ's against viOLet and Scarlett in the playoffs, but it was still good for a sixth place finish. Moreover, the fact that he got any kind of result at all after such a non-descript career in Korea was refreshing and inspiring. I made a mental note to keep an eye on him, and was quite pleased when he joined CJ Entus in 2015.
Though he still hasn’t graduated from the "talented but can’t quite beat the best players" category, the memory of that moment keeps me holding out hope for another deep run.
Trap: The man who eliminated sOs from Code S Season 3 in 2013.
Trap might be the best all-around Protoss in Korea now, but a part of me will always think of him as that insolent upstart who dumped cold water on my budding fandom of sOs. I had just gotten around to being a fan of StarCraft II around this time in 2013, and attached myself pretty emotionally to my favorite players and their results. One such player was the master trickster sOs, who had lived up to his reputation in the RO32 by taking out Dear with a brilliant offensive gas strategy (this was when Dear was nearing the peak of his powers). With a relatively easy group in the RO16, I hoped to see sOs progress in his quest for his first championship.
Instead, he ended up getting eliminated by a first time Code S contestant in Trap in the final series of the day, which made eighteen-year-old me rather emotional. Who was this noob to come into the way of my favorite player? Who was this non-descript Protoss player whose uniform looked worse than my own? [Editor's note: Good thing young Orlok wasn't around to see Trap's STX Soul defeat sOs' Woongjin Stars in the Proleague finals, or he might have quit StarCraft II for good]. I harbored an intense dislike of Trap from this point on, and he inadvertently became my first villain.
While I wasn't a biased Trap-hater for too long (with Trap and sOs joining forces on Jin Air and all), you still have to think of Trap as the player who will ruin your day. Yes, YOU, fan of [popular player X].
All jokes aside, this group is a crapshoot to predict, if only because no one looks particularly better than the other. Trap is the best out of all of them, but hasn’t played at the same level as last year. Patience is at best streaky and at worst just bad. Bunny is permanently stuck in good-but-not-great limbo. RagnaroK recently joined a team only to have it shut down in a week—this shouldn't really affect his form, but it's still a funny detail that meshes well with the overall instability of this group.
Trap 2-1 Patience
Bunny 2-1 RagnaroK
Trap 2-0 Bunny
Patience 0-2 RagnaroK
Bunny 1-2 RagnaroK
Trap and RagnaroK advance.