by Arrian, Atrioc, motbob, pangshai and flamewheel
Clash of the Titans by flamewheel
No matter where you are in Greece, you can always look out and see a chain of mountains off in the distance, rising into the clouds. No matter how far you travel toward those mountains, you will never get any closer. As such, the mountains are protected from the prying eyes of mere mortals, and one can only wonder what transpires up at the peaks. Every so often, lightning bolts originate from the mountains, striking at each other and searing the sky as if the gods were arguing with one another. These mountains are the home of Mount Olympus, the resting place of the gods. Normally, besides the occasional lightning bolt, Olympus is serene. Recently though, more and more lightning storms have been emanating from the distant mountains—for some reason now, the gods seem to be constantly at odds with each other over something. And when even the gods are distressed, bad times are inbound for mankind…
Ominous lightning strikes portend ill omens to come...
These are dark days for Greece. You can feel it, can’t you? Something, something is wrong in the air. A palpable atmosphere of despair clouds the countryside, creating fear and dismay. Seedy gambling rings and other places of illegal activity have sprung up everywhere as corruption seeps into our cities. Even the natural disasters have become more prevalent and more dangerous, with terrifying earthquakes devastating the lands and monstrous tidal waves laying waste to the shores. Even prayer, our familiar source of comfort, is becoming another source of despair. As we look toward the nighttime skies to pray, we can see the stars disappearing, one by one—the constellations are fading. Grecians sleep fitfully at night, worried that when they wake up in the morning their world would be gone. Roving bands of mercenaries raid our towns and set fire to the fields. Cities have trembled and fallen, as hundreds of years of foundations crumble beneath the mayhem and anarchy that has been sweeping through Greece.
One city in particular, Seoulinete, has been going through very hard times. Once one of the most peaceful cities in Greece, over the past few years Seoulinete has been militarized, its once welcoming gates now shut to outsiders. The local government could not be trusted—so many officials had given in to avarice, to their basic wanton needs. There has been no law in this anarchic and chaotic Seoulinete but the rule of might: whoever has the strongest forces holds control of the city. The townspeople initially cowered in fear and kept quiet, but finally now they have decided that they have had enough. A message has been sent out all over the country, a summons calling for the strongest commanders of Greece to come to Seoulinete to bring order back to the lawless city.
Two such commanders have answered the call. The first is Flashius, a young general from a small city in the South. Over the past year, Flashius has used his highly trained and well-commanded armies to wrest control of several cities from ruthless and cruel rulers, bringing a semblance of order back to southern Greece. Through his innate charisma and leadership Flashius is able to muster up large armies in very short amounts of time, and can thus refresh and resupply his army very quickly. He can either overwhelm his opponents by mass, or he can use well-timed strikes to hit them while they are at their weakest.
Many Grecians considered this general a god, though saying so out loud is thought to be very controversial.
The other commander that has answered Seoulinete’s call is a distant ruler, Jaedos, known more commonly as the Tyrant. Like Flashius, he too has conquered and tamed large parts of Greece, and it is solely because Jaedos that the North had not yet fallen apart like Seoulinete. Flashius is known for his impeccable control over his troops, and Jaedos’ understanding of and command over his troops is on a level equal to or surpassing that of Flashius’. While he is fully capable of summoning swarms of troops to overwhelm his opponent, Jaedos is known more for being able to defeat vastly superior armies with his positioning and micromanagement on the battlefield.
Jaedos' keen understanding of the battlefield terrain makes even a small force a force to be reckoned with.
Because of Flashius and Jaedos, Greece has not yet fallen into absolute darkness. They are a pair unparalleled in all of Greece, and both of them are now looking to rule Seoulinete. However, neither of the two is willing to accept less than complete control, so to decide which one of them shall be the one to assume command, a battle is to take place at the Seoulinete Arena, the largest of its kind in all of Greece.
Tonight is the night before the fated showdown is scheduled to take place, and Greece is being pounded by the worst thunderstorm in two hundred years. The rain falls relentlessly, and the floodwaters have washed away some of the smaller towns completely. Lightning bolts race through the sky, scorching large patches of earth, and showers of hail devastate the forests. Tonight is a night that the people of Seoulinete take shelter and stay inside their homes, praying for the best and hoping that tomorrow, finally, the long nightmare ends.
Those that are intrepid enough to peer outside of their windows on this dark and stormy night may have noticed the massive tornado touching down near the outskirts of the city, heading toward the Olympian mountains. Those who are watching from behind their windows know that this tornado is an omen, but of what they only guess at as the swirling vortex draws closer to the mountains.
Could this be the harbinger of much, much more?
As the wind howls and the hail pours, Flashius and Jaedos sit in their respective parts of the Arena, readying their troops and making last minute battle plan changes. Both of them are alert and battle-ready, and come the following day only one of them can be declared the victor and the next ruler of Seoulinute.
The lightning flashes, the sky rumbles, and the awaited showdown is about to begin. One way or the other, Greece will never be the same.
Fan Faceoff by Atrioc and motbob
The 3 1/2 games of last year's MSL Finals were some of the best TvZs of 2010 so far. Is there any reason why this year's finals won't deliver the same quality as last season?
motbob: The games are going to be even better this time around. Triathlon is being played twice, and that alone should get fans excited for this final match. Not only that, but the power won't go out, and Flash will have a heater in his booth. Whether the games are long or short, we'll see something great; if either Flash or Jaedong end it early, it will be through brilliant timing attacks with impeccable unit control, since that's the only way to win early against such solid a solid opponent. If the game gets to late game, that automatically means it's one of the best TvZs ever.
Atrioc: That's a pretty low bar: these games aren't going to be the same quality as last season - they are going to be even better. There has only been one finals rematch in the history of Starcraft, and it was Boxer vs Yellow way back in the early days of OSL/MSL - and now, poetically, at the possible end of those two leagues (if GOM/Blizzard has their way) we have the modern day version of that epic rivalry with all the improvements in skill that comes from 10 years of evolution. With both players getting absolutely everything accommodated and the chance of any power outage type shenanigans being close to 0%, theres really nothing to expect but the best Starcraft we've ever seen.
Psychologically, how well do you think Flash will handle the dual pressures of both being the challenger to the MSL throne and having just lost a TvZ finals?
motbob: The events of last week have been incredibly helpful to Flash because those events took away Jaedong's challenger mentality. Jaedong's big BoX losses have almost all come from underdogs like fOrGG, free, and Calm. Conversely, the best zerg ever is even more dominant than usual in the underdog role -- just ask Stork, Flash (GOM Season 1), or... Flash again (NATE MSL). Flash gains the challenger mentality that Jaedong lost, which should help his mental state in the finals. As for any loss of confidence that Flash suffered after the OSL finals, one week of bashing on Firefist and Hoejja will clear that right up!
Atrioc: To players like Jaedong and Flash, losing is not a "pressure" its a catalyst for further success - nothing scares me more as a Jaedong fan than seeing Flash lose the OSL because its only going to make him evolve and fix his mistakes for when this finals rolls around. Like motbob said, the "challenger/underdog" mentality is so much more powerful than the mentality of the "defending champion" attempting to hold on to his title. Flash, psychologically, will be just fine - whether he takes this final, or loses to Jaedong, will come down entirely to skill at Starcraft.
Triathlon, a 4-1 TvZ map, is being played twice. For the Flash fan: how can Flash exploit this map to his advantage? For the Jaedong fan: how can Jaedong survive it?
motbob: Triathlon is a mech map, and Jaedong is notoriously bad at late game vs mech. He stubbornly builds ultras to fight mines and tanks. As long as Flash can get to the late game, he'll have a decided advantage.
Atrioc: I'm so much less worried about the maps this season than I was last time - Jaedong has proven that he's fully capable of coming up with builds that can win a game on maps that seem impossible - his builds on Odd-Eye and Ultimatum last season were phenomenal - and unlike Flash he hasn't had to show very much of his ZvT lately, so he has room to be unpredictable. I'm confident in Jaedong's ability to find a solution for Triathlon, and consider him the favorite on both Match Point and Fighting Spirit.
Why is/isn't Flash's loss to EffOrt indicative of his future performance vs Jaedong?
motbob: Jaedong doesn't like to all-in in the early/mid game, and that's what Flash is weakest against. After games 4 of both this OSL and last MSL Finals, I think Flash is likely to stop his trend of going early rax at least once per series. What I'm trying to say is that the way Flash lost his OSL games won't happen again. Flash will be able to easily get to the midgame, and if he's learned to build turrets, he'll be able to easily get to lategame.
Atrioc: It's just further reinforcement of a pretty obvious truth: Lee Young Ho is a weak Bo5 player. He wins plenty of them, sure, because hes so fucking good at Starcraft, but look through Flash's history and you'll find that in high pressure Bo5's the kid does not elevate his game. Hes out there playing with the exact same fire as a pro league match like some kind of machine. Thats why this kid who can go on 90% win streaks and break ELO records constantly still finds himself with only 2 gold medals after 2 years of proving hes fully capable of winning them. The only time I've ever seen Flash truly control a series psychologically and not just with the brute force of his mechanics was against Stork in Bacchus - and lets be honest, Stork is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Bo5 ability. Against Effort, Flash showed razor sharp late game and timings (even from a disadvantageous beginning in Game 2) and threw away a Golden mouse with amateurish attempts to throw Effort off - Jaedong will see tricks like that from a mile away and maintain complete control of the series (even in games he loses - see Bisu/Jaedong GOM special match), as he has done in every other Bo5 they have played.
In short, who will win this series? Why?
motbob: Flash will win. He won't have the psychological disadvantages under which he suffered last MSL, and he won't have the playstyle disadvantage that he suffered in the OSL Finals. I expect to see five standard games in this finals, unless Jaedong prepares like he did against Calm and changes up his playstyle to fit his opponent. If we do get standard games, Flash absolutely has the advantage. His macro and gamesense are the best in the business, and that's enough to win him the series in five games.
Atrioc: This series is Kasparov vs Deep Blue - a brilliant, passionate competitor vs a calculating machine. Jaedong's ability to improvise, adapt, and exploit on the fly, combined with his excellent series preparation and steel nerves under pressure, gives him the edge over any amount of practice on Flash's part, and I expect him to ride those advantages to victory as he has done time and time again in the past. With this win, Jaedong will match Nada for the player with the most titles - and, if you include events such as GOM or WCG, far exceed it. Prepare to witness history.
Map Analysis by Arrian and KwarK
Set 1: Triathlon
Arrian's take: Triathlon is our opener. There have only been five TvZ's on the map, but Terran is decisively the victorious race here. There has been only one victory by the Swarm in this matchup, which coincidentally is owned by Jaedong. Triathlon has been favorable to a passive/expand style of play, especially with the protected expansion along with the traditional natural and the easy fourth gas. This is a very mechable map, and Flash might favor that play in the opening set here (or in the closer if it gets there) not only because he scored his one win on this map against Action with mech, but also because Jaedong lost to Baby's mech play here.
KwarK's take: Triathlon is an interesting map and I think that'll favour JD. Last MSL finals we saw Flash practicing for two finals at the same time while JD was coming up with innovative builds designed to abuse Flash and the maps. If there's any map JD is going to do something cool on, it's this map. Plus if he just makes some speedlings he'll probably win. Yeah, I'm bitter.
Seriously though, Flash has been playing under his best for about three weeks now and it's a testament to how good his fundamentals are that his current play is still worthy of a finalist. Don't count him out but I see JD taking this map.
Set 2: Odd Eye 2
Arrian's take:The series will continue with Odd Eye 2. You might remember Odd Eye as the scene of last MSL's crime, the power outage. Never forget that Jaedong likes to incorporate 4/5 pools into his series play, and the first 2 player map in the pool might be the most attractive site for any sort of early pool or zergling-heavy play. On the flip side, a bunker rush is a constant threat when playing Flash, so there is the definite possibility of early aggression or cheese on this map. By all accounts Odd Eye 2 and its predecessor are not disposed towards favoring either race to the extreme in this matchup, so if neither player opts for some early aggression or cheese this will likely play out like a standard TvZ, though the corner double gas expansions, like their game from the last finals, might prove too attractive for Jaedong to pass up.
KwarK's take:This has always been a macro map that rewards Flash's style. The stats say it's Z>T over a tiny sample but I'm gonna go out on a limb with Flash here. I think JD is playing overall better Starcraft but Flash's weaknesses in the past few weeks have been strategic rather than macro based. When it comes down to just making an awful lot of units I'll still take Flash.
Set 3: Match Point
Arrian's take: The next contest is set to take place on Match Point. Flash and Jaedong have played twice on Match Point, splitting the games, though Jaedong won when it mattered. Match Point is one of the more entertaining maps in terms of strategic diversity, so anything from 9 pool speedling pressure to 3 hatch lurker is possible from Zerg, though I doubt Flash will be disposed towards anything other than the extremely strong 1 rax FE or possibly mech as this is the other map in the pool that favors it. The map owns a slight Terran bias in the matchup, probably because it is difficult to secure and hold the extremely important third gas as Zerg. Still, Jaedong is an astonishing 12-2 on Match Point, and 3-1 in ZvT. Of course, as it always seems to be with these two, his loss is to Flash.
KwarK's take: On Match Point JD will have the distinct advantage of having seen Flash play three games on it last week. It's possible Flash used less than optimal builds against Effort (man I hope so) to keep something in reserve for some kind of crazy pride vendetta against JD but to be honest I doubt it. Flash isn't going to completely reinvent his Match Point play and JD will probably just make some speedlings and win because apparently Flash can't defend against that.
Set 4: Fighting Spirit
Arrian's take: Both players own win percentages above 70% on Fighting Spirit, and it is Flash's strongest map in the pool. As with the other maps, it has a slight favoring to the Terran, but Jaedong can usually be counted on to be the exception. Flash plays almost exclusively bio on this map, so any mech would be highly unusual. As for Jaedong, the close third gas ought to please him, but otherwise any muta opening will probably see a quick transition to lurkers to take advantage of the bridges and ramp at the third. There is a high chance for a macro game here, something which both players are typically content to do. If the series gets this far, the history of success on this map for both players along with the design of the map itself and the disposition of both players to go for the late game could lead to an epic fourth set.
Kwark's take: Fighting Spirit will be interesting. I said I favoured Flash's macro and it's definitely a macro map. However it's also a map with a lot of potential for strategic play (unlike Odd Eye which is small and 2 player and simple). I expect this to go to the late game and be the game of the series but I think JD will take it with some very standard, very high quality, lategame ZvT. Four gas defiler into five gas defiler ultra orgasm style against Flash two base then four base camping another main with tanks.
Set 5: Triathlon
Arrian's take: Our reprise for the series. For what it's worth, I don't expect too much to be different from the first time around. I'm guessing the series gets here, and I never, ever, bet against Jaedong in the clutch. Flash, as superior a mental player as he can be, might fear both the reprise of the first set if he lost it and the reprise of the last final he played. If we see mass speedlings here, expect Flash to walk out of that stadium and never come back.
KwarK's take: If it goes to a fifth game I'm predicting JD to take it again because I still think his strategic play is simply stronger than Flash's, especially recently. If Flash plays at his best he'd be a contender but he's not playing at his best right now and his failings are in the area most important on Triathalon. JD takes a fifth.
We also asked the PL and OSL writers to give us their opinions, as well as a few other members of the staff.
This map is 4-1 TvZ, and Jaedong was able to win a game against Midas because his mind game worked. Midas self-contained himself, preparing for heavy mutalisk harass, and Jaedong simply took the whole map. Flash is not going to let that happen to him. Jaedong probably prayed that this map would not be played twice when he decided to thumb down Odd-Eye
This map is easier for Z than Odd-Eye, and Jaedong took down (almost) Flash in the last MSL finals on Odd-Eye. He also had a very good game against Midas, and this is the game I'm most confident in that Jaedong will win.
Hmm Jaedong can also do early aggression though, even though we haven't seen it too much lately? If it gets to late game, I think Flash has an advantage, though Jaedong has been brilliant with execution. His multitasking is just as good as Flash's, and so at most I'd give Flash a very slight endgame advantage due to Terran > Zerg these days.
While Flash thumbing down Match Point is no surprise (the 7:00 spawn curse got him in the fifth game of OSL!), it piques my curiosity that Jaedong didn't thumbs-down Triathlon, which is 4-1 TvZ, with the lone 1 coming from Jaedong defeating Midas. Earlier in the MSL, BaBy had solidly defeated Jaedong on Triathlon, since the extra gas on the map begs for mech. However, against Midas, who also went mech, Jaedong simply contained Midas and expanded all over the place. Given this map's propensity for having nonstandard games (HiyA vs Free anyone?) and the fact that it's going to be played twice, Jaedong probably will have some sort of very tricky build for this first set, and a more standard game for the 5th set Ace, if it gets there.
Surprisingly enough, this map is actually Z favoured, with a 4-5 TvZ, and Flash has never played a televised game on this map. Combine that with the fact that Jaedong thumbed this map down, I think it's likely we'll be seeing the series tied 1-1.
Ah, Match Point. You're solidly TvZ favoured with a 75-60 TvZ record, but Flash... you're 4-5 against Zergs here. If you spawn at 7, it's an instant Jaedong win... and if you spawn at 1, well I still think Jaedong has this.
T-favoured. Go figure. Flash is 7-3 on this map, and last season against Calm he demonstrated just how damn hard it is to break a Terran that has split map. Both Flash and Jaedong have good stats on this map, 7-3 and 7-2, respectively, so it's hard to call from this. The victor of this map shall be decided on how long the game runs: an early to mid-game finish will favour Jaedong, but Flash is going to be looking to take this to the late game, where he can turtle tank it up.
I'm not even going to bother making a power outage joke. Simply put, if it gets down to this, Jaedong doesn't lose Bo5s, and something's lacking in Flash's TvZ. As I said earlier, the fact that Jaedong wants this map played twice means he definitely has something planned. Jaedong for the win, back-to-back MSL gold, and a golden badge to go with his golden mouse, tying NaDa.
Flash will win. Effort defeating Flash was necessary to avoid the Brood War Gods from being angered at Flash winning both finals. Random players like this who have screwed up past bonjwas have always existed - Bisu, July etc. who took out the super favored player and ended up winning the whole thing. I'm not overly concerned that losing to Effort shook Flash even an ounce. He will have gone back, seen why he lost and will play a stronger series this weekend.
Jaedong was able to beat Flash last time because he out prepared Flash at every turn. Do I expect Jaedong to be able to repeat this? No I do not. These maps plain suck for Zerg and Jaedong's builds last time were absolutely amazing. Reproducing builds of similar standard for these maps (knowing that Flash will probably be checking for different builds) is going to be really tough. Hell, agianst Midas Jaedong was going all out with awesome builds - how many more can he have tucked away?
I expect 3-2 Flash, with Jaedong winning Match Point and Fighting Spirit.
This title is Flash's. Yes, he just lost OSL to EffOrt, but he lost because EffOrt played like a newbie. The complete randomness of EffOrt's play caused Flash to lose, not Flash slumping or burning out. Flash has to be insanely upset at this loss to a much inferior player. I believe he will bring everything he has to the MSL finals, and even Jaedong will be hard pressed to stand up to that.
Set 1: Flash < Triathlon > Jaedong Tank imba. Set 2: Flash < Odd-Eye 2 > Jaedong What last time would have been without the power outage Set 3: Flash < Match Point > Jaedong 12pool lair management to destroy Flash with mootabals while being safe from proxies Set 4: Flash < Fighting Spirit > Jaedong Most comfortable zvt map for the dong Set 5: Flash < Triathlon > Jaedong 4pool if it gets here.
equipment failure = flash loss. otherwise he's gonna win ez
Waxangel: Flash wins 3-2
IntoTheWow: Jaedong wins 3-1 or 3-2
I'm not sure what else I can say about this finals, only that it's going to be freaking epic. Forget your finals, forget those plans you have that night/day, definitely forget sleep. The games tonight will most definitely be of the highest caliber, and it is on nights like these that we remember why we are all Starcraft fans. Get your popcorn, get your sodas, call up your friends, be ready. This MSL finals, we see history in the making.
Thanks to Hot_Bid, l10f, Waxangel, GTR, heyoka, IntoTheWow, Plexa, Harem, Artosis, riptide, Kwark, and any others that have been involved with this! I (being flamewheel) would like to extend a special thank you to disciple, who inspired me to write the hype post. Major shoutout to keit for the most ballin' graphics, seriously!
Last edit: 2010-05-29 19:40:32
flamewheel FREEAGLELAND. May 28 2010 13:41. Posts 21677