Code S Semi-Finals: Recap
Results from Live Report Thread by opterown.
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Rain or Shine, Mvp Always Delivers
– Mvp defeats Rain 3 – 2 to advance to the Code S finals, where he will attempt to win his fifth GSL championship.
The hype was incredible. The stakes were astronomical. And the ending? All too predictable. LG-IM_Mvp, the greatest StarCraft II player to date, made it to yet another GSL final to challenge for his fifth title. And as is becoming a trend in 2012, a rising star was told that he must wait his turn, that the age of Mvp has yet to pass.
Though SKTelecom_By.Rain fell here, he has nothing to regret. He has proved he is an elite player, the best of the KeSPA elephants, and can look forward to completing his Royal Road dreams in the OSL. And in the "lost to Mvp" club, he'll find some very respectable company.
Game One – Whirlwind
Mvp started the series off on the back foot, going down 0 - 1 early. Opening with a moderately successful hellion drop-expansion build on Whirlwind, Mvp committed a massive error in his defensive positioning as Rain struck with a two base immortal + gateway unit attack. Though Mvp managed to barely hold out against the attack, the damage turned out to be irreparable, and Mvp GG'd out few minutes later after a last ditch attack.
Game Two – Abyssal City
After taking a surprisingly easy victory in game one, Rain made an almost conciliatory gesture by offering Mvp a similar victory in game two. The build-up was fairly long, with both players prodding at each other but otherwise safely heading towards a 3-base vs. 3-base scenario on Abyssal City.
The key moment of the game came when Rain decided to go for one of his patented storm drops while Mvp moved out with a large force of infantry. While the storm drop killed a handful of SCVs, Rain found himself sorely missing the two extra storms on defense as Mvp charged in – especially after his defending force clumped together to eat a devastating EMP shower. With Rain lacking the splash damage to challenge the Terran army, the game came to a swift end, and the series was tied 1 – 1.
Game Three – Entombed Valley
Mvp decided he wanted to go all-in in game three, but Rain complicated matters by constantly denying him his timings. Opening up with a marine heavy variant of standard two-base infantry play, Mvp looked for an opening where he could attack together with a large amount of SCVs before Rain had his defenses set.
However, good observer coverage allowed Rain to keep up with Mvp's plans, and he wisely canceled his warping third Nexus and turtled up on two bases. This forced Mvp to retreat his SCVs back to his base and bide his time for an even later all-in, this time adding vikings to take on Rain's colossi. However, Rain simply used force-fields to delay Mvp until his storm research completed, after which he crushed Mvp's attack for an easy victory that sent him up 2 – 1.
Game Four – Antiga Shipyard
Facing elimination, and perhaps having caught on to a tendency to play safe from Rain, Mvp busted out a greedy triple-command center build for game four. It turned out to be the precisely right move for Mvp, as he forced a reaction from Rain where he tried to expand, tech, and get upgrades all at the same time. Having consolidated his third base first, this gave Mvp a window to attack before Rain switched back to producing combat units in earnest. Mvp busted through Rain's piecemeal defenses and dealt a him a heavy blow, though Rain did manage to survive.
From there on out, it was just a matter of picking up the pieces for Mvp, though the process became far messier than it needed to be. Some sloppy drops from Mvp gave Rain a glimmer of hope, but eventually Mvp brought the hammer down to send the series to the final map.
Game Five – Cloud Kingdom
With everything on the line, Rain opted to diverge from his totally safe, fast-expand + 3-gate-robo style of play for the first time in the series. Instead he went for a slightly riskier fast-expand with dark templars – a build he used to transition into a normal game against TaeJa previously in the tournament.
Unfortunately for Rain, he was countered hard by Mvp's strategy: another triple-orbital build, but this time with the addition of a perfectly timed missile turret (in an interview, Mvp would say that 'he had a feeling' Rain was up to something). Rain tried to keep Mvp busy with dark templars as he took a third base and transitioned into colossi, but it the invisible warriors couldn't get enough done. While Rain was able to force Mvp to waste a good number of scans, he couldn't stop Mvp from leveraging his economic advantage to jump ahead.
With multiple options in how to play out his advantageous situation, Mvp decided to go with the time-honored "just go kill him." While he didn't have a standing army large enough to 100% assure a victory, the enlistment of several SCVs easily remedied that problem. Mvp's combined forces kicked down the front door, and Rain was powerless to resist. The final GG of the night was given, and Mvp took the series 3 – 2.
After the matches, Mvp was understandably happy, but also far more outwardly confident than usual. He welcomed any challenger in the final, assured that he would be able to win his fifth championship regardless of his opponent. He did mention a slight preference for Life, for the sake of GomTV and their ratings, as well as wanting to defeat every single race in the finals. The plot would soon thicken...
Life Sentence Means Death
– Life crushes TaeJa 3 – 0 to advance to the finals in his debut GSL tournament.
You're only the next big thing until the next, bigger thing comes along. Liquid`TaeJa came into this tournament with all the momentum in the world behind him, needing only a Code S Championship to cap off a brilliant summer run. However, in the span of a few weeks, ST_Life came up even stronger and faster, and last night took all of TaeJa's momentum away. It wasn't just that Life beat TaeJa, he absolutely dismantled him. The bandwagon is here, the line forms to the right.
Game One – Abyssal City
The first game played out like a strange retro-game from 2011, with TaeJa opening fast expand directly into infantry, while Life opted to go for muta-ling-bane off two bases. As was the case in many games from that bygone era, the Zerg player went for a big backstab attack when the Terran player left his base with stim and medivacs. This particular game played out in an interesting way, with the pseudo-base race resulting in both players almost breaking even. Almost, until Life's speedlings caught up with a pack of SCVs that TaeJa had tried to evacuate in the chaos.
TaeJa did what he could from his economically disadvantaged position, but the damage was already too grave. Life deflected TaeJa's drop tactics with mutalisks and eventually built up a large enough force to overwhelm TaeJa and take the 1 – 0 series lead.
Game Two – Whirlwind
Within minutes, it looked like TaeJa was getting himself right back on track. He went for a command center-first build, but a slightly conservative one that formed a wall-in at his ramp alongside a depot and a barracks. It turned out that it was perfectly timed to stop Life's 9-pool rush, with the wall completing just as the zerglings arrived, and a marine not far behind.
Then, TaeJa lowered his depot. We don't yet know why or how, but in any case, it happened. With one immense mistake, TaeJa went from having a massive build order lead to being just on par with his opponent.
From there on out, the game went in standard Life style. Going up to three bases, Life amassed a huge amount of mutas, banelings, and zerglings to go for a mid-game bust. TaeJa knew it was coming, but it didn't matter. Life busted through marines, tanks, and bunkers until he hit paydirt in the SCV line. Continued strikes put TaeJa in an even deeper hole, and after he lost his third orbital command, he was forced into a desperation attack. However, Life had infestors out by then, and defended with ease to go up 2 – 0.
Game Three – Entombed Valley
After winning two games with lair compositions, Life showed he was more than comfortable playing with hive units to finish the 3 – 0 sweep. It was TaeJa's chance to play something that more closely resembled a 'standard' game, but even with Life acting more like an ordinary Zerg, TaeJa could not triumph. His pre-hive marine-tank push was easily crushed by Life's zerglings and infestors, and once brood lords and ultralisks hit the battlefield, it was all downhill. After a few minutes trying to hold out, TaeJa eventually accepted the inevitable and wished his opponent good luck in the final before GG'ing out of the game.
What would a Life series be without one of his comically blunt interviews? Life gave Mvp the absolute minimum amount of respect required, saying his macro play was 'not good' and that he was successful due to his ability to strategize in lengthy series. Not surprisingly, Life also predicted a 4 – 1 victory for himself in the finals. While Mvp had left the studio by that point, one can assume he was rather amused when he heard the news.