Not Just a Sniper – MvP's Sniper shoots down four in 5 – 2 victory over FnaticRC
When MvPSniper came out to cut FnaticRC aLive's win streak short at two games, he had already lived up to his namesake. No one expected that he would refuse to stop there, shooting the lights out in a four-kill performance that ended in a 5 - 2 victory for MvP. After a slow start in the GSTL, FnaticRC's ace had come through big in the previous match against Prime, closing out the series in a 5 – 4 victory by defeating Creator and BBoongBBoong. The momentum continued for aLive early on against MvP, when he came out to take out both finale and Monster, making it four straight victories in the GSTL.
Sniper set his sights with his team at a 1 – 2 disadvantage, and chose the ZvT favorite Metropolis as the battleground. aLive tried to set the tone early with continued aggression, but Sniper was able to swat aside aLive's attacks and take a small lead as both players aimed to take their respective halves of the map. aLive continued to send forces out to attack while Sniper was still on lair tech, but good use of banelings, mutalisks, and zerglings made sure Sniper came out on the winning end. Though aLive eventually secured three bases and maxed out, he was ill prepared when Sniper busted out the hive units. aLive had only barely gotten a handle on the brood lord situation when Sniper switched craftily into ultralisks and infestors, with which he was able to close out the game.
It didn't just end there for Sniper. Almost as if he had absorbed all of aLive's momentum and made it his own, he went on his own four-kill rampage. After outplaying Moon and Rain in macro games, Sniper ended the series by using a cheeky early pool followed by roaches to finish off ByuL.
– aLive shows survival instincts in hot start
aLive saved face by being the only member of FnaticRC to score any wins in the 2 – 5 loss, and he also impressed the viewers with some unusual comeback wins. aLive invited a colossus push upon himself by picking Cloud Kingdom against finale, and he was only barely able to weather the storm. Though aLive counter dropped during the attack, finale came out with a significant supply advantage. However, aLive almost instantly came back by exploiting his tech advantage, using infantry drops to pick apart a gateway army without any twilight council upgrades, and supported only by a few lumbering colossi.
aLive's second win against Monster had about as much to do with Monster's mistakes as aLive's own prowess, but it was a solid comeback win nonetheless. Monster held his ground against aLive's attacks and secured enough bases to pump out a huge ultralisk army in the late game. However, Monster fell into the trap of overestimating their power when not supported by a sufficient number of infestors, and especially when fighting in congested areas. aLive was able to annihilate an expensive army virtually for free, while simultaneous drops to cripple Monster's economy forced the GG.
These awards are pretty easy to give out when it's all-kill format, since there's usually one guy who really sticks out on the night. Sniper's four kills on Wednesday easily outshone the opposition, and he showed serious skills that proved he belonged in the Code S RO32 this season. Though he has a dangerous, ZvZ fraught path in Code A, you get the feeling he'll be back in Code S soon enough.
Game of the Night: Game Two – aLive vs finale
Monster vs aLive, aLive vs Sniper, and Rain vs Sniper were all fairly long TvZ macro games, but somehow they failed to be particularly captivating. Instead, the short and sweet PvT between and aLive and finale gets our pick for game of the night. The game followed and a simple and sweet storyline: player gets behind, player makes comeback. Finale's play wasn't the best after he had taken a small lead with his colossus play, but it was still entertaining to see aLive fight his way back with good use of medivac mobility.
New Star HoSeo
Team SCV Life
How They Got There
We warned our readers about New Star HoSeo's roller coaster nature at the beginning of the season, but at least for now, they've been on the fast part of their ride. They wrote over a poor start against SlayerS-EG with three consecutive, crushing victories over Team Liquid, ZeNEX, and StartaleQ. Wins against the first two teams might have been given, considering the amount of talent on the NSH roster, but the 5 – 1 victory over StartaleQ was a fantastic display of NSH at their best. With so many inconsistent yet skilled players at their disposable, NSH only really need a couple of them to go off to beat any team in the world. It was Sculp and Jjakji vs StartaleQ, but it could be anyone on any given night. The downside, which we haven't seen yet, is that it could also be no one, making NSH an extremely hard team to predict.
Meanwhile, TSL is a team rapidly on the rise, and they will be a regular fixture in the upper echelons of the team leagues in the near future. They were already a strong team when they followed the two-ace + whatever-we-can-get-from-the-rest formula, but now that their rotation players are showing that they're far more than dead weight, this has become a legitimately scary team. Shine, Ragnarok, and Hyun scored all the wins against FXOpen last week, finally cashing in on the wave of Zerg imba repaying their coach's continued faith in deploying them. This takes the load off Symbol to do all the work, and is especially a relief as Polt is having a bad stretch in the GSTL.
Zerg on Antiga... One must wonder if TSL simply out-thought themselves here. Perhaps they thought NSH would find Terran on Antiga too obvious a choice and would try to go for a tricky selection instead, who in turn Shine would be able to counter. While in reality, NSH actually just went with the most simplistic thinking. That, or maybe Shine is one of those freaks like Stephano who think Antiga is a decent ZvT map.
In any case – and no matter what Shine might think – this one favors Jjakji. Antiga's the map where we still see Terrans beat Zergs the most, and Jjakji showed his TvZ ability is still very respectable coming off a convincing victory against MvP's Monster in Code A earlier this week week. Besides a victory against Gumiho last week, Shine hasn't had a chance to really impress us in ZvT yet, so he better be pretty damn prepared for this match.
Key Players: NS HoSeo: Jjakji, Tassadar, San
If NSH can win here, it will be because of their Protoss players. While it was NSH's Terrans that ran wild against StartaleQ last week, I can't help but feel it was heavily influenced by StartaleQ's thin Zerg line. TSL is a ridiculously Zerg heavy team, and Protoss can be a great way to clear out an infestation. the famously cheesy (but not entirely) Tassadar is surely worth a win or two, while San could take out a big chunk of the TSL line-up if he plays as well as he does online. It's true I've developed a soft spot for Sting after watching him plow through Zergs with relentless attacks in the TSL4 qualifier he eventually won, but you can only tell so much from one run. It will suffice to say that anyone can get hot on NSH, but it's much less likely when they're playing TvZ.
Also, we have to wonder what will happen to Jjakji now that he has been thrown to the wolves. Getting Jjakji out on Antiga since he never plays the anchor role anyway seems like a good move, and it makes even more sense when you consider the fact that Symbol has only played as an anchor. If Jjakji can win his first match, and then beat Polt as well, then victory will be halfway in the bag for NSH.
TSL: Symbol, Polt, Any Zerg, forGG??
So, Shine, Ragnarok, and Hyun picked up the slack last week. We must see more.
Every good team seems to get that occasional win where random guys step up out of nowhere and play their minds out, but usually those are just flash in the pan performances. Just ask NSH, who are just hoping that this run of sustained, great performances from their bench is something that will last.
I mentioned early in the season that if the three TSL players after Polt and Symbol can average just around a 50% win ratio this season, then TSL should be able to make the playoffs. So far they're a just a little shy of that mark, and one win away from making the playoffs. NSH is the easiest opponent they could have hoped for, and if no one from the bench steps up to contribute, it will be a major disappointment.
Symbol is Symbol, a beast, a monster, and destroyer of worlds. We know he's going to bring the pain, so let's leave it at that for him. The real problem is the other ace in Polt, who has made virtually zero impact for TSL this in this GSTL. It coincides with a minor slump he's been having after having a very strong first five months in 2012, a very unfortunate development for a team that's desperately lacking in the non-Zerg departments. aLive eventually found his form after a bad start, and Polt will have to as well if his team wants to be avoid being totally one-dimensional.
Now, if this TSL-Millenium thing actually happening, TSL could have some serious relief ready in the Terran department, as they could deploy Millenium's new acquisition in fOrGG. Not only does he give TSL some semblance of Terran depth, but he is probably the third best player on the joint team. That's one hell of a pick-up, one that I would be complaining about non-stop if I were a GSTL coach. But, considering the fact that no one seemed to care about SlayerS randomly getting ThorZaIN, JYP, and PuMa to use, or oGs having Zenio, HerO, and TaeJa available, I guess this passes for normal in Korea.
Stuff will happen, then Symbol will win.
Alright, fine, more detail. If Polt plays like the Polt we know, and if fOrGG is available, there's a near zero chance that NSH will win this match, barring an 'accident' with Symbol where he loses all of his fingers. However, that's not the situation TSL is in right now, and when they're at their worst, they're a one man team. That's the the situation NSH can hope for as they aim to score the upset.