Code S Ro8: Day 2 Recap
Results from Live Report Thread by opterown.
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The Problem With Young People Today
– Liquid`TaeJa overpowers FXOLeenock 3 – 1
TaeJa continued to roll on in his quest for a Code S championship to complete his trophy case, handily defeating former GSL finalist Leenock in the quarter-finals. Though the scoreline read 3 – 1 at the end of the day, it easily could have been a clean sweep for the young Terran star.
Leenock got his sole victory in the first match on Cloud Kingdom, where he spent most of the game getting harassed severely by the active TaeJa. While his economy was in tatters, Leenock left himself an ace in the hole by piecing together a powerful hive army. In a scene reminiscent of Leenock's games from the round of sixteen, one disastrous engagement from TaeJa was enough to turn the tide and give the FXO ace a comeback victory.
With a chance to continue building momentum in the second game, Leenock ended up on the road to ruin. Leenock gambled on a daring and creative burrowed roach timing, but paid the price when TaeJa glimpsed the unusual sight of double roach-warrens with a well placed scan. Passive play with marauders and siege tanks took care of the attack with ease, and the series was tied up. 1 – 1 then quickly became 1 – 2 as TaeJa added another win on Entombed Valley with a two-barracks all-in.
That put Leenock in a most unenviable spot going into game four, fighting to avoid elimination on one of TaeJa's best maps in Antiga Shipyard. Leenock showed admirable perseverance, much like in game one, by putting together a deadly final army despite being crippled economically. He was once again rewarded, as TaeJa committed to yet another overconfident engagement only to see his army get wiped out. This time, however, Leenock wasn't able to keep up his fine play to complete the comeback. A horrendous mis-rally sent four ultralisks to their deaths, giving TaeJa the breathing room to gather himself and finish Leenock off.
– Letting some air out
While the end result lived up to the expectations of most (84% of fans in the TL survey thought TaeJa would win), the game quality fell far behind. With TaeJa winning three foreign tournaments in three months, and Leenock having won MLG and crushed his Ro16 group, it seemed that a clash between the two would result in an epic series.
Instead, there was a fair amount of sloppy play, especially in the last game where TaeJa blew a lead with an awful attack, only to have Leenock gift the game right back with his ultralisk giveaway. Leenock's double-warren roach attack in game two was something that would have been brilliant had it worked, but because it failed so miserably, it contributed to making the series largely forgettable.
In terms of future implications, TaeJa's late-game play was particularly worrisome. He had a lot of trouble dealing with Leenock's late-game hive compositions, and it seemed certain that Leenock would have rolled him over had he ever reached the late-game in good shape. TaeJa's good early-mid game play saw him through, but one must wonder if that will be good enough against his next opponent.
ST_Life defeats MarineKingPrime 3 – 1
In the other quarter-final match, Life continued his march down the royal road with his most impressive victory yet, running circles around MarineKing in a 3 – 1 rout. It was a fine display of Life's aggressive style, dissecting MarineKing so clinically that it made the hive-rush styles of other Zergs seem outdated and inferior in comparison.
Like in the series before, the eventual loser took the first map before losing three straight. MarineKing opted to mix things up by going for the marine-marauder style of play abandoned by most Terrans, which ended up indirectly countering Life's own unorthodox play of mass zerglings and speed banelings off three bases. MarineKing was able to hold out and stabilize against Life's constant attacks, and then rode his advantage to a 1 – 0 lead.
The Life show started on the second map on Daybreak with yet another ling-baneling strategy. Life was able to disguise his delayed ling-baneling all-in as standard greedy play, easily crushing MarineKing before he could benefit from his three orbital command centers.
MarineKing decided he would bring his own cheese in game two, going for a proxy two-rax rush, only to be blind-countered by Life's decision to go for an early pool. The game ended up stabilizing and progressing in a fairly standard manner, but Life held the advantage from his better handling of the early game. Life turned that advantage into an overwhelming infestor-backed army, forcing MarineKing to tap out of yet another game.
Life applied the coup-de-grâce in game four with smart speedling play, which has quickly replaced creative all-ins as his signature strength. With MarineKing going for a typical hellion-banshee strategy, Life was able to take advantage of him by pumping out an unexpected number of speedlings early on. MarineKing continued to try and harass with his units, but he was punished for his attempts by constant backstabs attacks from Life. The situation quickly got out of hand for MarineKing, and mutas were soon in his base while he belatedly transition to mech with just a single thor for anti-air. As he is apt to do, MarineKing held out for as long as he could, but in the end he had to concede the series to the Royal Road candidate.
– The 'Best Zerg in the World' Hot Potato
With Symbol and Leenock eliminated, Life has been left as the only Zerg player in the GSL. With impressive players like Stephano, Vortix, Scarlett, and Nerchio doing well in the West, the best in Korea = best in World equation doesn't seem to apply to Zerg like it does for the other races, but you have to say that Life has a great case.
Much like his Protoss counterpart in Rain, Life doesn't have a large body of work yet, but the quality he has shown in his limited games has been enough to win many fans over. Next week he'll face his toughest challenge yet in TaeJa, a player who he has an abysmal head to head record against. If Life should prevail, then there should be no question as to who's the best Zerg – though if trends continue as they have so far, he'll have to work very hard to hang on to that title.