Code S Ro32: Group A Preview
Group A: LG-IMSeed, ST_SuHoSin, ST_PartinG, FXOLeenock
So you are Seed, the newest champion on the block. With $50,000 in your bank account, your shampoo bottle shaped trophy thrown onto the heap with the rest of LG-IM's trophies, and a new golden badge pinned to your chest, what do you do next? Go to Disney World? Nah, pick SuHoSin to be your first opponent to start the campaign for the defense of your title.
No one really should be surprised that Seed picked SuHoSin. Out of the eight "tier 4" players to choose from (the bottom eight players in GSL performances this year), the obvious choice is the part-time progamer who was the first pick last season as well, getting picked by Mvp and going 0-2 in the group.
Let's look at who he could have chosen instead: Bomber, Heart, Life, YoDa, MaNa, Rain, or Jaedong. Seed has already been beat 0 - 2 by Rain in WCS Korea, knows that PvP is volatile, and all three Terrans are dangerous if yet unproven in Code S. Throw in the fact that PvZ is Seed's best match-up, and this becomes a more than obvious choice for the champion.
As talked about in the primer, ST_Suhoshin is a special case when looking over the players this season. He knows that he isn't as good as the other players in Code S, and he openly admits that the only reason he is in Code S this season is because Shine beat aLive when he had nothing to play for in the last game of their Up/Down group. If he has a side-job as it's alleged, then he has a serious disadvantage compared to the other thirty one players in the tournament. There's no doubt about it: he's the least likely to win the championship out of anyone in this season of Code S.
In his underdog run to the quarterfinals in last season's Super Tournament (when he was still pretty good), SuHoSin made lots of mutas every series and didn't diverge from that strategy. He was able to knock off top players in the first three rounds, and he was one game away from knocking out TOP in the quarters to make the semifinals. Last season, to get into Code S for the first time, he decided that mutas were old hat and just made lots and lots of roaches. This strategy surprisingly worked, somehow countering the complicated plans laid out by his opponents. He won his tiebreaker in his Up/Down group against Polt and Vines and advanced onward. His-all-in-80%-of-the-time strategy sadly didn't work out so well in the actual Code S tournament, thought he did manage to shock Mvp in one game before losing four straight to go back down to Code A.
The two other players in the group, PartinG and Leenock, are young players still searching for their first GSL championship. Both considered by most to be top five players of their race, you would have imagined they'd be among the first players to win titles and signal generation change in the GSL. So far, they've been kept well at bay by their seniors, as Jjakji's victory is fades further and further from our memories. Parting should be gunning for at least a finals appearance after a quarterfinal finish during season one, a semifinal loss in season two, and a bronze medal during WCS Korea. His form has been good of late, beating his new found 'rival' Baby in his first game of OSL, finishing it off with a ceremony and gaining new fans at the OGN studios. While his fan base might be growing, it won't matter if he can't improve from last season's disappointing result in the group stages.
Leenock, Parting's first opponent in the group, is no stranger to being in finals. Now with two major MLG championships and a silver medal during GSL November, Leenock might be the only top Zerg in Korea who currently isn't slumping. DongRaeGu is in the worst slump of his career, Nestea has been looking like a shell of his former self, and Symbol, the royal roader with the most hype last season, is not looking so dominant after losing to Seed in last season's quarterfinals. Since pulling himself out of a slump and getting himself back into Code S, Leenock has been on a fiery streak, grabbing the Summer MLG Championship and helping his team win their first GSTL title.
What could be a saving grace or a death sentence, PartinG and Leenock are going up against each other at their mutual worst match-ups. Leenock and Parting have never been very strong in the vP or vZ match-ups respectively, but they will need to overcome their weakness to get out of the group. Granted, Leenock did annihilate First 4 - 1 in the MLG grand finals, but a lot of that could be attributed to First's stage fright, and the fact that his PvZ looked very poor compared to his powerhouse PvT.
Overall thoughts and prediction:
Off the bat, it would be very easy to cross out SuHoSin and say it's a three man race. This might be the case, but due to Seed's recent 0 - 2 loss to Rain, and Parting having a sub 50% win percentage against Zerg, you can't say it's impossible for him to get out if he's well prepared AND very lucky. Following in the foot steps of SanZenith from over a year ago, Suho will try to prove everyone wrong and show that he truly belongs in this star-studded tournament.
Parting is an amazing PvT player and very good at the coin flipping match-up, but his games against Zerg have shown a lot to be desired. Leenock has been killing it recently against Protoss, and he is slowly turning his worst match-up into maybe his strongest. That's nothing a few good two-base all-ins can't fix, but PartinG will have to watch out for Leenock's patented (or licensed from July, if you want to say so) no-hive style. Against Seed, PartinG does have the nice boost of beating him recently in the winner semifinals of WCS Korea, but PvP is a match-up where past results mean the least.
All in all, Seed is the favorite, being the champion and all, but this won't be a cake walk. Beating SuHoSin might not be the hardest task if he doesn't fall to cheese or all-ins, but Leenock and Parting are formidable opponents. Losing to Parting and then Roro to get knocked out of WCS Korea must have been a bit of a shock for Seed, but with his high confidence and never say die attitude, you have to believe that he'll be over the disappointment by the time the first match starts.
Seed > SuHoSin
Leenock > Parting
Leenock > Seed
Parting > SuHoSin
Parting > Seed
Prediction: Leenock and PartinG advance.