Code S RO16, Group C Preview
Perhaps it's too early to declare a massive meta-game shift, or say that the match-up will never be the same again. Even so, super-greedy TvP double expand builds have been proliferating in GSL season one, causing new build order losses that seem absurd even for a match-up that was already being decried as a coin-flip. We've even seen players lose after going triple nexus with late robo against a cloak 1/1/1 (ForGG vs Core), and somehow it fell within the boundaries of being an acceptable risk. So at this point in TvP time, every possibility seems to be in play. It certainly makes previewing this group a bit trickier.
It's a particular rough environment for one SK.MC, for whom consistency has been the biggest recent concern. The ideal scenario for MC to repair his reputation would be to play macro PvT games against his opponents, and show the dominant side that took out Mvp 2 – 1 in a duel of pure strength at MLG (and not the side that went 0 – 3 to him a few hours later). To that end, however, MC's recent PvTs are not encouraging. The RO32 was fraught with some silly build order losses. ForGG roughed him up with an unscouted triple orbital build, then MC paid back the favor with a three-gate void ray all in. Against Supernova, MC's ability to correctly read which all-in Supernova was doing ended up being the primary determinant of the outcome (he was right once, wrong twice).
He should expect more of the same if he happens to face NSH_Jjakji, whose Code S November run showed that he was a player – who despite his ability to play a strong macro game – saw no reason to play normal when a well worked out strategy might net an easier win (a quality shared by the other successful Terran of recent times, SlayerS_MMA). Jjakji might be the best player in this group in that regard, as he has quite recently shown that he knows the right ratio of trickery and standard play to make a winning formula.
Though Jjakji will probably do well against the Protoss players of his group, SlayerS_GanZi presents a potential road block. Ganzi is simply a better TvT player, who was only really outclassed by an in-his-prime Mvp at that matchup. Ganzi proved as much in their RO32 meeting, where he trounced Jjakji 2 – 0 in straight up games. Jjakji will need to prepare the right strategies (cheesy, or not... probably cheesy) to have a shot.
While Ganzi will be more than happy to face Jjakji, his situation against the Protoss players looks rough. It's not that he's bad against Protoss, it's just that he's very middle of the road. Decent all-ins, decent macro-game – not something he wants to bet his tournament life on.
Due to the proclivity of
TerranSlayerS players to use each others' strats, we had a glimpse of what kind of SlayerS tactics Ganzi might use to attempt to overcome his disadvantage. Last week, SlayerS_MMA, another good-but-not-great TvPer used some interesting strategies that cut corners in order to try and secure a long-term lead – such as a quick double engineering bay build and fake 1/1/1 into triple orbitals (yeah, that didn't work). MMA was on the verge of getting eliminated, but managed squeeze through in the final match of the night. If Ganzi makes it through against his Protoss foes, it will probably be by a similarly narrow margin.
And finally, there's ST_Parting, a player who could be everything or nothing. Having watched OnGameNet (the greatest promoter in all of esports history. Think of some juggernaut combination of Don King, Vince McMachon, and Dana White without all of the evil), do their jig for over a decade, I know what the play is here. Hype the crap out of Parting as the next Protoss savior. Present him as an "intelligent" player – he had some strategies that worked in the previous round due to a combination of skill and luck, so make everyone forget the luck part of it. Sell his 4-kill against ZeNEX in IPL Team Arena like it meant the world, as if ZeNEX wasn't a team that was already half dead. Dig up enough nostalgia from the times when Squirtle was a top player to pass on the StarTale Protoss ace mantle to Parting, without contaminating it with any of present day Squirtle's troubles.
Ah well, that's not our job. The truth is, we've seen so much of these other three, and so very little of parting – especially at the Code S level. For this guy, all I can say is wait and see.
Today's predictions are sponsored by: very little confidence, and a grain of salt.
MC > Ganzi
Jjakji > Parting
Jjakji > MC
Parting > Ganzi
MC > Parting
MC and Jjakji advance