Code A Ro48: Day 2 Preview
The Elephant Cup Continues
Going into the second night of the Code A Ro48, the present score in the ongoing Elephant Cup is 31 victories for the KeSPA faction to 28 for the rest of the world.* With a slew of Non-KeSPA vs. KeSPA matches on the slate tonight, either side could take a lead heading into the later rounds of Code A, Code S and OSL. Not only do we have Naniwa, the most successful foreigner in GSL history alongside Jinro, facing off against one of KeSPA's best rookies in mini, but we will see the GSL debut of Flash, going head-to-head against the GSL veteran Killer, trying to get his Korean career back on track - with a chance to make history on the side.
*Counting the major Korean tournaments including WCG Korea, WCS Korea, OSL, and GSL. Qualifiers and preliminaries excluded.
TSL_Shine vs. STX_Last
In the first ESF vs. KeSPA match of the night, we get one of the TSL Zerg Four, Shine, facing Last, a quarter-finalist in the current OSL, who also faces Flash tomorrow night in the Auction OSL. Shine hasn't done so hot in televised TvZ matches, losing to Polt in last season's Code A Ro24 by a 1-2 score, barely missing out on advancing straight into Code S. He came back strong in the match-up in the Up/Down matches, beating Maru and aLive, but was unable to make the top two in his group.
Last is 4 - 0 currently in TvZ, having victories over Code A players Nestea, by.hero, and Effort, proving he is one of the stronger KeSPA Terrans. This is a toss-up like most non-big name KeSPA/ESF clashes, but Last's play so far since transitioning to SC2 has been stellar enough to give him the nod against what we've seen from Shine's ZvT so far.
Prediction: Last 2 - 1 Shine
FnaticRCaLive vs. T8_by.hero
This match is pretty impossible to predict. aLive has been absolutely awful in TvZ lately, recently getting 5-0'ed by Hyun in the IPL Fight Club. However, you can't just write him off against by.hero, because the KeSPA player has had only two broadcast SC2 matches, losing both to Wooki and Last. by.hero, becoming the third Hero to appear in the GOM booth, will try to continue the success of CJ's Hero Liquid's Hero. Knowing how much KeSPA players have improved in the past two months, one might be tempted to pick by.hero over aLive's below average TvZ. However, aLive is a good enough player that he should be favored over a player who is an unknown.
Prediction: aLive 2 - 0 by.hero
CreatorPrime vs. MVPNoblesse
Creator is the current TSL and WCS Korea champion. On the other hand, people didn't remember Noblesse existed before reading this preview article. Noblesse did have a nice 2-0 victory over MMA in the recent MLG Fall online qualifiers, but that achievement was quickly diminished when dreamertt also 2-0'ed MMA in the same tournament. Out of all the players who didn't make Code S this season, Creator is the best of the bunch. Noblesse was a good player in the past, and who knows, he might still be good. But whatever the case, there is no reason to believe he won't get bopped by Creator.
Prediction: Creator 2 - 0 Noblesse
NSH_jjakji vs. Woongjin_sHy
This is it. HoSeo is now eliminated from GSTL, capturing the title of worst team in the league, and they have only one player left remaining in GSL. jjakji is on the ropes, at the edge of being knocked into Code B, and he has to go up against, the player with the best StarCraft 2 record in the hybrid Proleague in Woongjin Star's Shy. For this match-up's sake, Shy's record is little inflated by his 5-2 record in PvP, but he's 4 - 0 against Terran and Zerg opponents as well. He also has the honor of being the first player to beat a notable ESF player in SC2, defeating AcE in the Crossmatch series GOM put on a few months back.
jjakji might not be as strong as he used to in TvZ, but his TvP is still one of the best in the world. Shy is one of the toughest challenges he could have asked for in the first round, but HoSeo's hope should live on to see the second stage of Code A.
Prediction: jjakji 2 - 1 Shy
mouz.MaNa vs. FXOasd
Mana got humbled with his first dip in the Code S pool, getting BM'ed by Taeja in his first match and then getting run over by MMA in his second. Still, he qualified through the Up/Downs, took a game off Taeja (albeit it was a 4 gate), and has been improving since his travels to Korea. He did decently in the MLG Fall online qualifiers, taking out Shine and Avenge, making it surprisingly far before eventually getting knocked out. He did have a lot of trouble against Zergs at WCS Europe, getting knocked out by Bly and SortOf, but that's a problem he can worry about another day.
asd, we really haven't seen in a while, and he's probably most known for being the guy who was in the most Code S seasons without anyone knowing he existed (a paradox, I know). He is a solid Terran that is neither amazing nor terrible, but can play pretty well when he's on. Mana, with his recent success and strength in PvT match-up, is the favorite going in, but never count asd and his knack for slipping into Code S without anyone noticing.
Prediction: Mana 2 - 1 asd
MaruPrime vs. CJ_EffOrt
Maru is going to 2 rax, Effort. It's not a matter of if he is going to do it, it's just a matter of when. Maru is a lot like Life, but maybe a bit less refined. He loves to cheese and has no qualms about going for an all-in three straight games in a row, and he also has the talent to play a long game if needed. He might not be as strong as his young counterpart Life in the late-game, but his all-ins are just as deadly. Effort is one of fastest adapting transitioning KeSPA players, so he will be prepared for whatever Maru throws at him, but the Prime Prodigy is not going down to Code B without doing something cheesy to the former OSL champion.
Prediction: Effort 2 -1 Maru
NaNiwa vs. STX_Mini
If Naniwa loses: "He sucks! It's over, Naniwa is done. He has done terribly in foreign tournaments and now is out of GSL. I can't believe people actually thought he was good as Stephano."
If Naniwa wins: "Whatever, he won a PvP against a player no one has ever heard of. Just wait until he plays a Zerg or Terran and gets his ass kicked. He's so lucky that he got a coin flip in the first round!"
Just another day in the life of Naniwa.
Prediction: mini 2 - 1 Naniwa
KT_Flash vs. MVPKiller
Flash is arguably the greatest e-sports player of all-time. He's wired differently than 99.9999% of the people in the world, and still young enough to have ten years of dominating Starcraft 2 if he wants to. Killer is a player who did awfully when he moved to Complexity, had the dishonor of being the only second player in history to go 0-5 in Up/Down matches, and moved to MVP for a chance to get his career back on track. If Killer wins, it would be the biggest blow to KeSPA since they moved to SC2, having their star lose to a guy who just got embarrassed in the Up/Downs. Flash went 3-0 in OSL and didn't drop a map in Code A qualifiers, so it should be an easy 2-0 for Flash, but if he loses...Nah, it can't happen, right?
Prediction: Flash 2 - 0 Killer