Reality Check – Reality becomes the first KeSPA player to advance in the winners bracket, beating YuGiOh 2 – 0.
You can hand out as many seeds as you like KeSPA, but at the moment there is only one man carrying the flag for your faction. Reality might be far less established than Jaedong or Soulkey in Brood War, but in Starcraft II, he's starting to make a case that their positions will be reversed.
Though it's easy to overreact to how dominating Reality was during his run through the qualifiers and now after his dominating Ro32 performance against YuGiOh, it's important to look at things in context. Yes, Reality was stunningly good and beat down the King of Code A, but you can't overlook the fact that most of his success fo far has been over Zergs. His 2 – 1 win over the now Code S Heart in the finals of his bracket in the WCS Korea qualifiers was impressive, but we need to see more of his TvT and TvZ before we sound the trumpets and start the stampede.
There are always two sides to a story. While Reality has been ramming his foot into everyone's face the past few weeks as the most impressive player from the KeSPA delegation, you have to note how his opponents faltered as well. He beat Shine and Symbol during the qualifiers, but Symbol was uncharacteristically poor in the series. As we saw from his collapse against Seed in Code S, Symbol's a player who still has problems dealing with intense pressure. Several of the winner interviews from Gom vs KeSPA games (from WCS, WCG, or anything else) show that the fear of getting embarrassed weighs extremely heavily on the shoulders of the more skittish Gom players, and it's definitely an advantage for the KeSPA player in some match-up. YuGiOh didn't play that well, either. We've seen Yugi play at his best ZvT when going up against MarineKing in Code A to qualify for Code S, and this was nowhere close to how well he can play.
Still, Reality is the most well put together KeSPA player we've seen. His infantry splitting, multi-tasking and overall macro are definitely the best we've seen from the Terran side of KeSPA, and he has an aura of silent confidence that oozes from him when he plays. Soulkey, Sun, and even Jaedong, strong players with loads of booth experience, have shown the past couple of nights that they can be shaken.
Reality? His expression in the booth doesn't change. While Soulkey was able to put on a great show yesterday against Gumiho, he had holes in his game that let the Towel Terran pull out the series win. Reality has done nothing revolutionary that we haven't seen the best Terran players do, but he doesn't have those tiny holes his peers have. He makes a mistake here or there, but he knows how to cover up for his faults and doesn't let that small hole turn into a gigantic tear.
So far, you can say that Reality's TvZ is at least high Code A level. At best, you can make an argument in a month or by even the end of the tournament, it might be Code S level. The one big knock on Reality is that he even admitted in his winner interview that he is bad in TvP. With his next round opponent being Puzzle, it will be the true test to see if this really happening, or if it's just fantasy.
The Nightmare Continues – DRG continues to free fall, suffering an unspectacular 1 – 2 loss to Creator
Alright, it might be time to get a little worried about our former GSL champion. Creator is a great player, primed to be one of the best Protoss or the next decade, but the way DRG lost was just disappointing. If this had been one of the best series we ever witnessed in the GSL, if DRG put on an amazing performance that was only topped by Creator's even more amazing showing, we could give DongRaeGu the benefit the doubt. Regrettably, that wasn't the case. DongRaeGu was able to pick up a win in the second set, but even then he didn't look close to being the incredible player we've come to know since his debut in the GSTL a year ago.
Since flying to that IPL's Hot Imports Night event, where he lost to HerO in the finals, DongRaeGu has been on the biggest slump of his career. He followed that loss with a 0 – 3 shellacking given to him by MC, followed by getting called out in the ace match of the GSTL semifinals and losing to Leenock, followed by getting eliminated from the WCG qualifiers 2 – 0 by Polt in his group finals. Now, after four big disappointments in a row, he has taken his fifth big loss in a row against Creator.
Hero, MC, Leenock, Polt, and Creator are no pushovers and are some of the best players at their races, but this is DongRaeGu. Not only has he been the best Zerg in the world for the entire year of 2012, but many have called him the best player in the world for months on end. Even against the toughest opponents, you would at least expect him to go 50% at the very worst.
Next up for him will be a match against Effort. Out of the opponents he's faced in the past two months, this is the one that he can't dare lose. Losing to MC or Polt? Fine, that's acceptable. Losing to a KeSPA pro that got trounced by Hero and shouldn't be anywhere near your current level? No, that would be the mark of something terribly going wrong in the world of DRG.
A Tale of Two Heroes – Liquid's Hero advances with a 2 – 0 win over Effort, while CJ's Hero shows glimpses of brilliance in a 1 – 2 against Puzzle.
In what might have been the most hyped match of the night, HerO vs. Effort turned out to be the dud of the night. Effort took fights he shouldn't have, got his army trapped in terrible positions and got simply outclassed by Hero. A lot of expectations were being put on Effort coming into his duel with Hero, and he wasn't able to deliver. Hero did what he has been doing in the GSL for quite some time now; showing solid, almost flawless play against Zerg to pick up victory after victory. The silver lining for Effort is that while his ZvP is disastrous, he has the comfort of knowing that he has his best match-up by far, ZvZ, to look forward to in the losers bracket against DongRaeGu.
For our Fake Hero, Fero, of CJ Entus, he put on one hell of a show. If it wasn't for Reality beating up YuGiOh and making him look like a Code B player, he would be the story of the night. While was predictable and didn't veer away from expected KeSPA Protoss trends – making a ton of warp prsms and doing drops ranging from zealots, to stalkers, to a freaking colossi – he showed strong mechanics and was able to completely thrash Puzzle in the second set on Daybreak.
With a few better decisions and a bit more luck, the series could have been his. All the games were close, and he made a good impression to anyone watching. He took lots of risks in the series, doing drops that separated pieces of his army before big laser battles, but you have to respect his moxie. From watching PvP in Proleage and GSL, you can tell that they are on two different wavelengths. Instead of conforming to the style most GSL players go for, Fero tried to win with his warp prism harass and other unorthodox methods.
Even in a close defeat, you have to take your hat off to a guy who went for a colossi drop on the final map of the series.
The WCS Korea Nationals have provided some great opportunities for lesser known players, and so far they've had some added luck in having to face each other and not Code S caliber opposition. Miya took on horror, TAiLS beat Happy, and Reality defeated YuGiOh to make their way to the winners Ro16. Unfortunately for dreamertt, he gets no such welfare, having to go up against one of the most consistent Code S players, and former finalist in Genius.
You can't help but be reminded of the Happy vs TAiLS match that happened just a few days ago, and that bodes poorly for Dreamertt. Then, another third string LG-IM Terran in Happy was defeated by an MVP Protoss in TAiLS, at the end of a series where sloppy play and micro mistakes were the most notable points. It's actually an even worse situation for Dreamertt, as he's even lower on the LG-IM depth charts than Happy, and has almost no broadcast game experience compared to a fair amount for Happy. His opponent is far better as well, with Genius having played in nine Code S tournaments and having finished finished second place in one of them.
Dreamertt's preliminary run was okay, as he took out a capable Protoss players Hwangsin and Inori along the way. But those results are hardly impressive enough to predict a victory in his first match, unlike how some expected preliminary wins over Shine and Symbol were enough to convince some (rightfully so) that Reality would overcome YuGiOh in the Ro32. Additionally, Genius' best match-up is PvT, and he's beat two other LG-IM Terrans in Happy and Mvp in the last few months.
In the end, there only appears to be one logical result: Genius crushing Dreamertt, and making Team Liquid wonder why they don't have this guy on their team for the upcoming IPL TAC finals.
In another match that looks to be a beatdown, the former Code S finalist and IPL4 moral victory award winner Squirtle takes on the ZvP impaired, now Code B player BBoongBBoongPrime.
We all know Squirtle, and we don't need to explain much about him. Still, since we'll never get tired of touting this stat, Squirtle is a player who was so good he won around 49 games in three days to come within a hair of winning IPL4. Also, since this is a story that will follow him around for the rest of his life, he's a player who had a Code S title 90% in the bag after stopping Mvp's proxy-rax all-in in game seven of the grand finals, only to (literally) make the worst decisions in Code S history and lose the championship to a desperation follow-up all-in. Basically, you should feel free to leave Squirtle in the oven and forget about him, go do some yard work or watch some TV, and check back when he's just about done.
B4 can't hold a candle to Squirtle's achievements, but we maintain that he's a bit underrated. Sure, there's a bit of a Zerg talent gap on the Prime team, but he's managed to play fairly well for them as often their only Zerg option in Team Leagues. Also, his ZvT is actually really, really good, with a 13 – 4 record this year including wins over MMA, Gumiho, Heart and YoDa.
The only reason he's in Code B now after making Code S twice this year is because of his horrendously bad ZvP, which may supplant JYP's PvT as the new, universally acknowledged joke match-up. He's 12 – 22 this year for a 35.29% win rate. Two of those wins were pretty much gifted to him when he got matched up against the walkover wonder uRGGandDol – a masters player who made it into Code A due to an incredible combination of luck and multiple walkovers – and B4 still managed to lose a map against him.
It's a terribly unlucky draw for B4, who would have struggled to defeat even the weakest Protoss player in this WCS pool, but would have had a fighting chance against even the best Terrans. Luckily, he's likely to play Dreamertt in the losers round, so can keep his tournament hopes alive.
We're going to quietly ignore fake-hero's PvP coin-flip win yesterday (something that was inevitably going to happen, sooner or later), and say that the seeded KeSPA players have shown they have a very poor chance at making the ten-man Korean representative list. Only Reality has truly won us over, being the only KeSPA player to actually make it through the preliminaries, and backing up those strong preliminary performances with an equally good one in the studio.
Does RorO have a chance to change anything? The record isn't particularly good for RorO at 7 – 5, but it's not dismal either. The real problem here is that he's only played one single televised ZvT game (a victory against Flash), which makes it extremely hard to draw any conclusions. Basically, you have to trust KeSPA's judgment here, which is not easy to do with an organization that once defined "free agency" as a policy where teams have to pay compensation fees to acquire "free" agents at the end of their contracts. Even with players they practically hand-picked, KeSPA could go zero for six.
At least RorO gets to play Hack, the least established of all the KeSPA players' opponents. However, it might very well be fool's gold, as Hack's thin resume obscures the fact that he's been quickly rising up as a Terran to look out for. From near obscurity in 2011, Hack is knocking on the door of Code S two seasons in a row now, and might very well make it through in the upcoming Up/Downs. Coupled with good-but-not-great performances in various online qualifiers, Hack could be seen as a player on the verge of making a breakthrough.
We'd love to see Roro win to keep up the intrigue in the great KeSPA vs Gom storyline at the WCS, but it's far more likely that the only KeSPA gloating there will be tomorrow is Reality's, as he confirms he's the best SC2 player on Samsung Khan, and maybe in all of KeSPA.
Through some excellent stroke of luck, the WCS Korea Nationals have managed to have one marquee match per day in the Ro32. Started with Jaedong vs aLive, we've also seen Polt take on Mvp, and then Creator go up against DongRaegu. Tonight is no exception, with MC facing Leenock in the match-up that might be the best of them all in terms of present skill.
At this point, MC is just a name that speaks for itself, with almost no introduction needed. Well, except to maybe say that while his defeat to Seed stops him from being the undisputed best Protoss player in the world, he's still #2 at the very worst. He comes into this tournament off winning a cool $6.5k at ASUS ROG Summer, though he's won so many tournaments he could consider that to be cheap change.
On the other hand, Leenock is a player that's far harder to place. From once being a candidate for best Zerg in the world, he fell off considerably after reaching his peak at MLG Providence where he won the 2011 MLG Pro Circuit Championship. However, he's been rising fast in the last month, scarily fast at that. He was showing some painfully poor games as near back as June this year when he flopped out of Code S, but he turned everything around in July as he went on a furious run. After getting his groove back against easier opponents like TAiLS and Dream, he's added wins over Code S class players like DongRaeGu and Ryung in his most recent games.
His momentum has been a slowed a bit as he hasn't had a tournament game to play in a few weeks now, but it's frightening to think how much more he might have improved with that much time to focus on preparing for this tournament. Leenock's downfall was one of the most disappointing stories of 2012, and this match could be his chance to turn things around for good.
On paper, this match should favor MC, as one of Leenock's biggest weaknesses even when he was at his peak was his susceptibility to Protoss all-ins. As we all know very well, MC is the pioneer and godfather in that field of strategy, and his 5 – 2 record against Leenock goes to show he's completely willing to leverage that advantage. However, the way Leenock has improved in July (especially when you look at the before and after of his ZvT when he played Ryung twice) makes you think he's in a special zone right now, where he's motivated enough to shore up any facet of his game. Whatever the result, MC will definitely not be facing the Leenock of the past.
Prediction: Leenock 2 – 1 MC
Writers: Fionn and Waxangel Graphics: HawaiianPig and shiroiusagi. Editor: Waxangel
Last edit: 2012-08-09 10:44:34
CeriseCherries United States. August 09 2012 10:43. Posts 4706
Great write-up as always. It is painful seeing DRG slump like this, I just hope he improves his condition. Anything short of a 2-0 for Genius, Squirtle and Hack will shock me. Leenock vs MC should be an amazing set though.
Last edit: 2012-08-09 10:58:42
Bagration United States. August 09 2012 10:56. Posts 10834
DongRaeGu has been on the biggest slump of his career
Surely not the biggest? He's still in Code S and hasn't been eliminated yet from WCS.
Also, I'd put MC over Leenock. MC's PvZ is sick, and Leenock's ZvP has always been weak.
DRG really has never slumped. The worst I can remember is when JYP eliminated him from Code A, but then he just got into Code S by kicking ass at MLG. DRG hasn't really had a bad stretch since he debuted in the GSTL a year ago. He had that terrible Ro32 in the second season of the year, losing to Taeja and TheStC, but he bounced right back. This is the first time where he has pretty much lost big match after big match after big match.
Antisocialmunky United States. August 09 2012 11:03. Posts 5071
Im not sure how it was determined that Leenock will beat MC considering MC is the top PvZ player in the world and will be using his A1 strategies in this non-foreign tournament, but other than that a good write up
opterown Australia. August 09 2012 11:32. Posts 27710
On August 09 2012 11:32 opterown wrote: wow effort is 5-0 zvz, drg could be upset big time...
I'm not sure 5-0 versus kespa zergs has much merit. He could be 1-4 with win/losses to the best zergs in gom and I'd be more impressed to be honest. The quality of the opponent matters just as much as the record.
Last edit: 2012-08-09 12:50:09
I'll always be your shadow and veil your eyes from states of ain soph aur.
Porcelina United Kingdom. August 09 2012 12:49. Posts 3247