Finals before the Finals
LG-IM vs StartaleQ.
This should be the finals of this season. No offense to the Polt and the Swarm, our defending champions FXO,
Sadly, almost like they're teasing us, if we want to see a showdown between these two with their full rosters, we'll have to hope they meet in the finals. With Mvp and Nestea playing in China currently, LG-IM will be short two of their four GSL champions on their GSTL roster. So for anyone hoping to see a rematch of the GSL finals and see if Mvp can get a bit of revenge for Life denying him his G5L trophy, you'll have to cross your fingers for them to meet in the grand finals.
Still, even without two of their best players, LG-IM still has a line-up that can compete with anyone in the world. In the clash of the Korean titans, only one will get a direct seeding into the semifinals. The loser will have to then face MVP in the last match of Group A to see who will have to go up against the undefeated TSL squad who was the first team to book their ticket for the semis.
The Bench (LG-IM):
Terran: Depth for LG-IM in the Terran department will come from dreamertt. While he isn't expected to crack the roster even without Mvp there, he still has been important in online team matches when IM doesn't feel like using their A-team.
Zerg: True and Horror have seen some mild success in GSL, qualifying for Code A a few times, but never having a breakthrough performance. On a lot of teams these two could be fielded on a semi-regular basis, but with Losira on the roster, it'll be hard to see either of these two called out tonight.
Protoss: Is Ready ready for action? Is First ready to become number one? Yeah, probably not, but both have some of the best ID to team combos in SC2 history, so that's something, right? Kudos to them for their name picking skills. First is a very good player, but with his weak PvZ, it's hard to think he'll be picked over the top three Protoss on LG-IM.
The Bench (Startale):
Terran: Harrier, Sparta and Virus are the three back-up Terran players for Startale. Harrier showed a lot of potential on ZeNex, but didn't know how to close games he had big leads in. Sparta, also known as the Boy Who Killed the God of Zerg, didn't do so hot in the Up/Downs, but could be a good psychological weapon if these two teams meet in the final for a match against Nestea. Virus was once known as the player no one really knew how to keep out of Code S, but somehow they found the cure. Now out entirely of the GSL, we haven't seen or heard of him in a long while.
Zerg: July is somewhere off in the army trying to command an army to roll directly into the enemy's base a thousand times over until they did, and SuHoSin is still a part-time progamer that will probably play even less now that he is out of the GSL.
Protoss: Avenge, TREME, and AcE are the depth in the Protoss category. Isn't it crazy to think Ace was actually in Code S a few seasons ago by beating MarineKing in the Up/Downs? It looked like a resurgence of his career and finally putting himself on the same level as his comrades Parting and Squirtle, but it all came crashing down the very next season. All Ace can hope for now is that Mr. Chae feels a bit of pity and gives him the ceremony award again at this year's award ceremony.
The Core (LG-IM):
YoDa/Happy: Yoda and Happy are in the middle of the greatest back-up Terran battle of all-time. Neither will come close to being the top Terran on LG-IM until Mvp's body breaks down entirely or he quits SC2, so the two Code S players continue go back and forth with decent results. Both qualified for the fifth season's Code S with results in the Up/Down matches, so we'll have to see which one can win the title of Mvp's back-up in tonight's match.
LosirA: Remember when Losira was in the Code S finals? Yeah, that actually happened. Don't believe me? Go on Liquipedia. While he still hasn't made it back to GSL or had any singles success since that GSL July final, he is still the best Zerg on LG-IM when it comes to team league. Currently 4th on the Korean GM ladder, Losira appears to be in good shape, and is historically one of the best players in GSTL.
MC: Having his five straight season streak of being in Code S ended last night in a group that was pretty much made for him to dominate, the most successful Protoss in SC2 history will have to look at GSTL as his only chance to pick up some Korean hardware in 2012. We'll see if his falling from Code S will make him an angry, smashing MC bent on an all-kill, or if he'll revert into a sad, mopey slump mode that some players have gone through after tough losses.
Seed: Seed is still crafting his legacy. Some people still believe he could end up like jjakji, but Seed was able to power through his Up/Down matches and clinch his fourth straight season in Code S. He is a reliable player that can be counted on in any match-up, and he'll have to come up big if this shorthanded LG-IM team wants to topple a fully loaded Startale behemoth.
The Core (Startale):
Bomber/Hack What's this? Could this be an actual passing of the torch moment in the Startale team? Bomber, Startale's unquestioned #1 Terran since he came out of nowhere and took the title from Rainbow's hands, is finally not the highest placing Terran in Startale's roster. With his disappointing performance in the Up/Down matches, Hack is now the Code S Terran for the Startale team. Bomber has still been Startale's hero again and again in team league, so the torch isn't passed completely, but Hack is right in Bomber's rear-view mirror and waiting for his chance to shine.
Curious: The hero for their series against MVP, Curious is someone that can be counted on to put a good performance any time he is put out in team league. While Life has become Startale's savior with his recent GSL title victory, Curious is still the backbone that keeps Startale standing. He'll never be the most talked about member on a team of uber personalities, but you can't have Startale without Curious. Stone faced, quiet, and reliable, he is one of the scariest pieces to this puzzle.
PartinG: Always entertaining, Parting seemed to be in position to become the face of Startale. With Curious' silent personality, Bomber's slumping, and Squirtle's quiet confidence, it all seemed like the perfect team for Parting to become the personality of. He was a strong player, had an engaging personality, and was becoming one of the most popular players after his hilarious interviews at the OSL group selections. Then in came Life, a younger, cockier and better player, someone who would conquer Code S in his first try. At least Parting has more silver medals than he does.
Squirtle: Speaking of silver medals, you have Squirtle. Ever since losing to Hero in Code S last season, Squirtle has been in a slump. Yeah, he was able to get through the third stage of Code A, but he's done terribly in the past two foreign tournaments he attended. With how stacked his team is, Squirtle doesn't need to do it all himself, but it'd be a good sign for the fifth season if he can get back on track against LG-IM.
The Ace (LG-IM)
YongHwa: Yonghwa is on the verge of breaking GSTL records tonight. Coming in with two straight all-kills, Yonghwa only needs one more win to surpass DongRaeGu in terms of longestwin streak in GSTL history with 11. He can also surpass DRG in the most wins in GSTL history with that win, putting him at 22 to DRG's 21. Yonghwa has been on a mission this season, slaying nerd left and right, putting him one win away from the biggest streak in history. He might not be called out last for LG-IM, but he is their ace. As a team that hadn't done very well in team league since the very first season, Yonghwa has come in and taken it into his own hands to make LG-IM a champion. We'll either see history tonight with Yonghwa, or we'll see him go down in flames like he has done so many times in Code A qualifiers as the king of Code B.
The Ace (Startale)
Life: Startale had gone to three GSL finals and two GSTL finals. All five times they came out with a silver medal. Startale then decided to absorb ZeNex, Life came on board, and won Code S in his first try, breaking all Kongtale curses and becoming the hero of his new team. Having made his first breakthrough last season with ZeNex, having a long win streak of his very own before getting stopped by Puzzle, Life is no stranger to the GSTL or being an ace of a team at the age of 15-years-old. With a GSL title already in one hand, he wants a GSTL championship to put in the other. Already qualified for IPL5 and MLG Dallas, Life has a chance to make history in the month of November.
Even if Nestea and Mvp were here, Startale is the best team in the world. Life just won the GSL, Hack is finally realizing his Code S potential, and the rest are good enough to beat anyone in the world at their very best. LG-IM is a team filled with stars, but they got through the first two rounds with Yonghwa destroying everyone. If Yonghwa can continue his streak of terror or at least pick up a game or two, LG-IM has a chance, but Startale are the odds on favorite to take this season with the addition of Life and the added depth ZeNex gives them.
Startale 5 - 3 LG-IM