Code A Ro32: Day One Preview
MVP.Vampire vs. ST_PartinG
Vampire had a pretty good GSL campaign last season, winning two rounds of Code A and narrowly missing out on Code S after losing in Up/Down match tie-breakers. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to build on that this season, barely overcoming sSak in some games that served more as a showcase of the KeSPA player's greenness in the booth than Vampire's skill.
Against a fellow eSF player, you'd expect Vampire to put in a better performance, and if he brings his A-game, he has a legitimate chance of causing an upset. PvP is the greatest equalizer in StarCraft II, and barring a few exceptional players, everyone seems to compete on a level playing field. Stats wise, PartinG isn't looking so hot at 2 – 7 since September, although there's only a limited record for Vampire to compare that against. In the end, I flipped a coin, and it said Vampire.
Prediction: Vampire 2 – 1 PartinG
FXOasd vs MaruPrime
Following PartinG vs. Vampire is one more mirror match-up that's hard to call. While PvP seems random in a coin-flippy sort of way, TvT at the GSL level is hard to predict just because everyone seems to have become so good at it. Even the MVP > Polt > MMA > MVP counter relationship broke down this year, and you can expect a close, well played match between most Terran players who compete in the Mokdong studio.
Recent records aren't very telling, as both players have only played a limited amount of games. In Maru's case, he beat aLive and lost to YoDa, while asd traded some games against Dream and lost to Heart and TheStC at MLG (he beat a bunch of foreigners, too). In the end, Maru's killer instinct – which often includes ruthless cheesing – is enough for us to give him the slight edge.
Prediction: Maru 2 – 1 asd
TSL_HyuN vs. LG-IM_YoDa
Here's a match-up that could headline the finals of the Practice Games & Online-only StarCraft II League. In one corner, we have YoDa, the man called LG-IM's best Terran by Mvp himself, and someone who is frequently trusted over Mvp as the team's Terran Ace in the GSTL. In the other corner is HyuN, a player on the most destructive showmatch streaks in StarCraft II history, not just beating, but destroying players like Squirtle, Gumiho, aLive, Tear, and Crank in his rampage.
As with every good premise, there's a twist, as neither has been able to live up to the hype when playing in the GomTV studio. HyuN's been mired in Code A, while YoDa got knocked out of the Code S Ro32 this season after a long GSL drought. Both are decent, but largely unnoticeable players in the GSTL.
For the third series in a row, it's hard to call the result. We've actually seen what HyuN can do in IPL Fight Club, as opposed to having to go off the word of LG-IM players when trusting in YoDa's skill. On the other hand, at least YoDa proved he could do better in the GSL by making to the Code S Ro32 this season.
The end conclusion? We like HyuN by a small margin. We've seen him play at a higher level than YoDa so far, and he's said that he knows how to play in the GomTV booth now. Hey, if we're taking Mvp's word at face value, so we might as well extend the same courtesy to Hyun.
Prediction: HyuN 2 – 1 YoDa
MVP.finale vs ST_Hack
This one is the best match of the night for hipster fans. Finale has been team MVP's best team league Protoss in 2012, and won the last season of EWM to earn his Code A seed this season. He didn't squander the chance, taking out Jaedong 2 – 0 in the first round (albeit, with immortal-sentry all-ins) to earn at least a shot at the Up/Down matches. He's a player on the rise, worth investing in early for the sake of "I liked him before he was cool" rights later.
Hack was in finale's position earlier this year, performing well in online tournaments, making a pretty good Code A run, and even earning a few GSTL appearances over Bomber. However, his admittedly tiny bandwagon has stopped gaining speed over the past few months, as Hack stagnated into a borderline Code A/S player. He's entered the Keen-asd-sC zone, and he won't want to extend his stay there.
Since Hack is the more established power in the GSL, and there's no great PvT performances from finale recently, we'll give Hack the slight edge due to his experience.
Prediction: Hack 2 – 1 Finale
CJ_Bbyong vs SlayerS_Genius
Two ex-practice partners for CJ Entus face off in this match, although they went very different ways since the days when they trained together. Bbyong stayed the course and graduated into the pro-team proper, establishing himself as a rotation player for CJ in Brood War. Alongside the other elephants, he has migrated on to StarCraft II.
Genius decided to play his hand a little differently, switching to StarCraft II and taking advantage of his smarts to find success in the early days of the game by winning the 2010 Blizzcon invitational and entrenching himself in the Code S system. Since then, he's coasted along with remarkable consistency, participating in 10/11 of Code S tournaments, even making the finals once.
You'd think Genius would have a huge advantage as an established StarCraft II player, but Bbyong made a strong statement when he took out elite PvT player and pre-elephant (mastodon?) First in the Ro48. Bbyong played solid macro games and looked very good all around, and Genius would be mistaken to take this match lightly – even though he said he expected an easy match in an interview.
While we think Bbyong can give Genius a run for his money, we'll take Genius' experience factor to carry him in the end. Also, he has a pretty good knack for all-inning in PvT.
Prediction: Genius 2 – 1 Bbyong
CreatorPrime vs ByuNPrime
Alas, there's bound to be a team kill or two in every tournament, and this time the Prime team must suffer the consequences. The winner of this match faces the winner of the aLive vs. MC match-up below, making this the "mini-bracket of death" in Code A. All four players would look very much at home in Code S, and it's unfortunate that only one of them will get a direct seed. Well, at least there's Up/Downs!
ByuN vs. Creator presents a great contrasting match-up of styles. Creator isn't as flashy as other Protoss players, but he might be the finest defender in PvT. He uses those defensive skills to build up a solid economic base, overrunning his opponents with superior numbers in the mid-late game. ByuN is a Terran who enjoys throwing curveballs, possessing a wide variety of builds and all-ins that are tough for any Protoss player to prepare for. That doesn't mean he's solely an all-in based player; ByuN can play a macro game very well, but he enjoys setting them up with builds other than rax-CC-3rax-2gas.
Creator will have more knowledge than anyone about his teammate's wide array of strategies, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's at an advantage. Byun knows that Creator knows, which sets up an even deeper layer of mind games accessible only to opponents who are very familiar with each other. Like we saw in his match against Polt in the GSTL, Creator can be mislead into preparing for the wrong Terran attack by a particularly clever player, and Byun is certainly very clever.
It's a close call (are we sensing a trend here?), but we'll give Creator the edge here due to maps. With the map order being Whirlwind - Daybreak - Ohana, there's even a 2 - 0 scenario in play for Creator here.
Prediction: Creator 2 - 0 Byun
FnaticRC aLive vs SK_MC
MC is slowly approaching Mvp territory in being able to use his "knows how to win" factor to pull wins out of nowhere. However, he hasn't reached that hallowed ground yet, and until then, we'll pick at some holes in his game. Well, there's really only one major hole to pick at, and that's the fact that his late game PvT isn't that great. Not that it's bad, but he's shown trouble fighting in the late game against Terrans with great ghost control like TaeJa, and even the foreign Terran Kas gave him a surprising amount of at IEM Cologne. aLive hasn't been doing well lately, particularly against Zerg, but his late game TvP is still very good when he gets to play it.
Of course, we have to keep in mind that this is MC playing here, and he doesn't have to play to the late game unless he really wants to. MC's the best PvT all-in player in the world, and with the maps being drawn as Antiga - Cloud Kingdom - Daybreak, it seems all the more likely that he'll try to finish off aLive in the early-mid game.
Prediction: MC 2 - 0 aLive
Samsung_RorO vs SlayerS_Ryung
With Rain on track to make history with dual OSL/GSL wins, the spotlight has shifted away from a different racial ace on the KeSPA side in Samsung's Roro. Akin to Rain in this GSL, Roro put in some legit "holy f*** he's good" performances back in WCS Korea, where he beat Hack, Leenock, Miya, and Seed, while only narrowly losing series to Creator and Squirtle. As expected, he ripped through AcE in the first round of Code A, looking a class above. Right now, we can say RorO is top level ZvP player. However, we can't say that about his ZvT just yet.
The fact is we don't really know much about Roro's ZvT, with his last live series being a decent win over Hack in WCS Korea. Aside from that, he's only played a couple of games in the MLG MvP tournament, where he's beat qxc 2 - 0, but surprisingly only went 1 - 1 against both MajOr and SeleCT (surprising given the absolute beating NA players are taking in that tournament).
If you keep that in mind, Roro might not be the favorite after all. Ryung is a solid Code S player who has always been very good at TvT and TvZ, with only TvP to hold him back from making it deep into tournaments. The maps have come up Entombed - WW - Abyssal, and Ryung has shown before that he's excellent at playing late-game TvZ and abusing Zerg's lack of mobility. Like all KeSPA players, you never know how Roro has grown since we last saw him, but he's definitely in for a tough match against Ryung.
Prediction: Roro 2 - 1 Ryung