MVP <Cloud Kingdom> Life
MVP <Entombed Valley> Life
MVP <Antiga Shipyard> Life
MVP <Whirlwind> Life
MVP <Abyssal City> Life
MVP <Ohana> Life
MVP <Daybreak> Life
Life wins 4-3 and is your 2012 Season 4 Code S Champion!
Life Walks the Royal Road
At the end of a battle with two competing, historic achievements on the line, ST_Life's quest for the Royal Road* trumped that of LG-IM_Mvp's for a fifth GSL championship. At the age of fifteen, Life becomes not only the first GSL Royal Roader, but the tournament's youngest champion as well. As a side benefit, Life's team Startale was able to win its first major title, ridding itself of a second place jinx that begun at the very first GSL tournament in 2010.
"Ugh, now you want me to kiss this thing."
While the series was a close, 4 - 3 victory for Life, the games themselves ended up being one-sided affairs. For Life, the recently controversial brood lord-infestor combination was key, as he won all four games where he was able to attain that composition uncontested. For Mvp, the key to success was blue-flame hellions, units well suited to countering Life's speedling heavy style of play in the early game. They seemed to be the answer to Life initially, allowing Mvp to go up 3 - 2 in the middle of the series. However, Life had it all worked out by the end of the series, and managed to wrangle Mvp's hellions en route to winning the final set.
*Winning the Code S championship in ones first Code S season
Game One - Cloud Kingdom
Life decided to change things up from what he had shown earlier in the tournament, giving up his usual fast speedlings to go for a greedier build with late gas. As an indirect result, Mvp's blue flame hellion build ended up paying dividends, as he roasted almost two dozen drones to take an early game lead. However, a second wave of hellions was easily caught and destroyed, making it ambiguous as to who had come out ahead.
In any case, Mvp transitioned into mech play, while Life went down the usual road to brood lords and infestors. Despite the early game shenanigans, the game ended up playing out in a fairly normal pattern, with Mvp looking to hit with a powerful mech army before Life could tech up to brood lords.
The scenario ended up playing out in Life's favor, thanks to both Life and Mvp. Life delayed Mvp's attack admirably, and only lost one base before his brood lords were out. Due to some inattention from Mvp, Life even managed to backstab one of Mvp's bases and kill it, an advantageous trade.
In addition, Mvp had invested too heavily in his pre-brood lord attack, and was left with woefully inadequate anti-air once Life's brood lords out. Combined with a bizarre decision to keep up with heavy tank production while pumping vikings off only one starport, it didn't take too long for Life to gather a brood lord task force powerful enough to force the GG from Mvp in the first game.
Life 1 - 0 Mvp
Game Two - Entombed Valley
While Mvp got in an early blow on Life in game one, he couldn't even dent his opponent in game two as Life put on a near perfect performance on Entombed Valley. With Mvp going for mech play once again, Life made it a point to put the pressure on hard and never let it up. Speedlings and infestors kept Mvp tied up on his side of the map for most of the game, and Life seemed perfectly content to give away minerals and energy as long as it meant he was buying time to tech up to brood lords.
Life was able to reach brood lords unscathed as he had planned, and Mvp was caught flat-flooted as he was in game one. While Mvp did get vikings out faster, it was still nowhere near enough to deal with the numbers of brood lords, corruptors, and infestors Life had out already. Mvp's first push out was easily gobbled up, and the rest of the game merely consisted of him being battered by Life (with one impressive hold) before he was forced to GG.
Life 2 - 0 Mvp
Game Three - Antiga Shipyard
With Life opting for a two base, fast mutalisk rush, Mvp again went for fast blue flame hellion to try to take the advantage early. The IM Terran was able to hold off an early zergling attack with relative ease, and then executed his plan while Life remained unaware.
Mvp moved out on the map with a seven hellions and three more on the way. He took control of the center with four, deflected the zerglings on the map, grouped up and attacked straight into a naked natural apart from three queens. The hellions killed 29 drones, and with Vikings being produced at the Terran base to counteract the mutalisks, Life surrendered a fast GG.
Life 2 - 1 Mvp
Game Four - Whirlwind
Life decided to go with his kinda-early pool build on Whirlwind, similar to how he played the map against TaeJa in the semi-finals. While he forced a command center cancel on Mvp, the game ended up in a relatively even state nonetheless.
As Life went for quick three bases with heavy ling production, Mvp figured he would take his blue flame hellions for another spin. While Life wasn't all-in like he was in the previous game, Mvp still ended up getting marvelous results with his hellions as he scorched dozens of drones for a modest investment. Mvp followed up with mech yet again, but this time he had accrued such an early advantage it didn't really matter what kind of army he wanted. After massing a decent amount of units he moved out to crush Life and tie up the series.
Life 2 - 2 Mvp
Game Five - Abyssal City
With the series tied 2 - 2, we saw the two players start with what might be their 'signature' openers, Mvp going hellion-banshee into mech while Life went for fast zergling speed while getting three basis. Both players poked and prodded at each other with their early hellions and zerglings, but neither player could take an advantage as they macroed up and headed to the mid-late game.
Whether by choice or due to pressure from Mvp, Life went for a later hive than he had in previous games, and his choice of units was ultralisks at that. It was exactly the kind of composition Mvp wanted to see after getting mauled by brood lords earlier in the series, and his tank-heavy mech push was finally allowed to thrive. Life's troops were torn apart, and after some futile attempts to recover with backdoor attacks, he GG'd out.
Life 2 - 3 Mvp
Game Six - Ohana
Though the score was now 2 - 3 with Life facing elimination, game six played out very similarly to game five, with both players choosing to go standard. However, this time around Mvp was unable to duel evenly with Life's speedlings, and allowed Life to take an advantage by killing hellions and forcing a cancel on a greedily placed third command center.
It was this kind of buffer that allowed Life to go directly into his preferred play, securing a fourth base while teching up to hive and brood lord tech as he had games one and two. During the three games he won, Mvp hadn't come up with an answer for how to deal with Life's brood lord tech, and found himself facing the same kind of slow, certain doom. Mvp's tank heavy composition wasn't able to get anything done before Life had his end game units, and belatedly produced vikings did pitifully little against the well-prepared Life. Mvp conceded the game, and sent the series to the final map.
Life 3 - 3 Mvp
Game Seven - Daybreak
Not surprisingly, Mvp went with blue flame hellions in the last set, having relied on them for most of his success in the series. On the other hand, Life made the slightly puzzling move of going for an early pool, with which he succeeded at forcing an annoying command center cancel on Mvp.
From his early pool opener, Life pretended to transition into normal three base play, but actually plotted to rush up to mutalisks to catch his opponent off guard. With Mvp going blue-flame hellions, Life faced a similar disaster as the one he faced on Antiga Shipyard, where his drones would be roasted before his mutalisks were out. But this time, Life caught whiff of Mvp's plans in time. Though it wasn't the most efficient defense in the world, Life managed to pump out enough lings to keep Mvp's hellions at bay and keep his drone losses at a manageable level.
An easily thwarted muta-ling counter attack allowed Mvp to settle into a position where he could comfortably take four bases on his half of the map while Life was left to figure out what to do with his respectable economy but useless mutalisks tech. Unable to rush for hive in a more direct way, Life decided he would play a roach-ling-infestor mid game before moving on. With Mvp comfortably producing off four bases, it looked like Life would have to handle a dangerous attack with just lair units if he was to transition to hive.
That dangerous timing turned into a brilliant turning point for Life, as he used one of his trademark backstab attacks to retake the lead when Mvp moved out. Giving up one of his expendable bases, Life initiated a backstab attack that forced Mvp to split his army into attacking and defending parts. Life then used roaches and zerglings to crush the attacking portion of Mvp's army, which was exactly what he needed for a safe transition into brood lords.
The story of the game after brood lords were out was the same as the previous three losses for Mvp. Mvp could not get sufficient anti-air up in time, and could only delay his demise as Life chipped away with his perfectly supported brood lords. With the series and championship on the line, Mvp stuck in for a few more desperation minutes than usual, but in the end he had no choice but to make way for Life on the Royal Road.
Life 4 - 3 Mvp