For some reason, I thought Fantasy had more loses. TLPD tells me I'm wrong. In the last four months, Fantasy is 14-2, with his only two losses coming from Last and Leta (so these are understandable). But Fantasy doesn't finally clinch the number 1 rank on the Power Rank just due to his excellent record. Instead, he achieves this long-overdue distinction thanks to his fantastic play in the PL Grand Final against Flash. Bisu may have won the Ace match, but Fantasy won the game that propelled the KT-SKT final to the seventh set, and I don't think anybody is going to argue that Bisu played better in his game against Flash than Fantasy did.
In the past year, Fantasy has made great strides towards carving his name into the history books of Brood War. He won the 2010 Bacchus OSL, had one of the best (if not the best0 records in the 2011-2012 SK Planet Proleague, and helped SKT finally clinch the gold over KT.
The OSL is coming up. I hope Fantasy doesn't disappoint.
"Flash went 5-5 in the last round of Proleague and playoffs, losing both his games in the Grand Final."
In the previous sentence, replace Flash with Jaedong, Bisu, Stork, or any other professional BW player other than Fantasy. If it was somebody else but Flash, would he be getting the second slot on the Power Rank? In short, the answer is no. Despite the recent losses, Flash is still the player who led his team to three Proleague finals in a row (and each time, KT worked its way up in playoffs); Flash is still incredibly scary; Flash is still the best player in the world.
My broken record indicator is going off. I'll end with saying that I fully expect Flash to be back at the top slot next time around.
I wish Stork had won over Stats in the first day of KT-KHAN playoffs. In the end though, this is not the case, and even though Stork revenged himself against Chin(less)toss the next day, KT ended up triumphing over KHAN and Stork's season ended. 15-6 overall and 6-1 in the third round and playoffs isn't as good as Fantasy's record, but Stork actually has a better record than Flash. What I'm trying to say is, Stork's done pretty darn well this season, and it's a shame he couldn't help KHAN take a stab at gold. I still stick to saying that a KHAN-SKT final would have been more interesting than KT-SKT, since Stork would have definitely given us a good showing. He hasn't had that many wins over notable players this season (besides Bisu and ZerO, and ZerO is sucking it up as of late), though overall he's just been remarkably solid in planning and execution.
Even though his ODT group definitely won't be easy, I have faith that Stork will be able to 2-0 his group and move on to the Round of 16.
Woongjin Stars didn't make playoffs, but you can't blame Neo.G_Soulkey for that. True, he had a tough third round, ending with only a 3-3 record. Yet Soulkey had the toughest opposition overall, having to face off against Jaedong, Leta, Flash, and Bisu. And even though he lost to the first three listed, those games were all amazing--especially the game against Jaedong. Any other Zerg in Jaedong's spot would have probably lost, and that game is more a testament to (the shadow of) JvZ than it is an indicator of Soulkey's lack of ZvZ prowess (which is definitely not the case).
I wrote last time that I wanted to see Soulkey demonstrate cleaner play. This last round has shown us that he is indeed capable of doing so, and I believe that he'll be able to go far in this OSL.
Like Stork, Leta also lost to Stats in the first day of playoffs and revenged himself in the second day. In the third day of KT-CJ though, Leta (along with the rest of his team) got swept by KT, and Leta lost to playoffs Hoejja. Seeing as how this was against playoffs Hoejja (where playoffs = Super Saiyan apparently), I'm not going to fault Leta for this too much.
Pre-playoffs, even though CJ at times straight up failed, Leta maintained a pretty consistent showing. He's one of two people to beat Fantasy (and that url=http://www.teamliquid.net/tlpd/korean/games/102210_Fantasy_vs_Leta/vod]game[/url] was good, so go watch it if you haven't), and he also has convincing wins over other notable players such as Soulkey and Jaedong.
Leta's failure to make it out of OSL preliminaries hurts him quite a bit though (how did he lose to Princess...) so he's going to have to settle for fifth place.
Team 8 broke my heart this season (well, not really). It was like watching Jaedong on OZ, but worse. The difference is that I expected OZ to not do so well because of the lineup. Team 8 was supposed to have the talent--yet only Jaedong "consistently" pulled through. And even so, I have mixed feelings about Jaedong. He didn't make the PR last time due to my lack of confidence in his play, and I'm still not really certain he's got what it takes. Don't get me wrong, his highs are still wildly high; JvZ seems to be manifesting itself again in his play, and even though his competition for Round 3 has been mediocre, Jaedong himself has been more solid in the past two months.
Before Jaedong moves any higher, he needs to prove himself more. The ODT group is a good way to start, and I'm going to be watching Jaedong's play with particular interest. I want to see the fire, the passion, that I've associated with the fallen Tyrant.
It's relatively tough choosing between Bisu and Jaedong. On one hand, Bisu did win the ace match over Flash in the SPL Grand Final. Yet on the other, Bisu also failed to qualify for the OSL, losing in his best match-up to RorO.
Even though Bisu clinched gold for SKT (third time's the charm, eh?), I stand by what I said last PR: Bisu's play this season has been mediocre and does not inspire confidence. He's ended the 2011-2012 SPL season with a good record (12-7), though his opponents have mostly been mediocre.
But results do matter. Even though Bisu didn't have as strong of an impact in SKT taking first place in regular season this year, he still maintained a solidly positive record with a 2-0 showing in the grand Final. Bisu played a good game of micro/harass against Flash, and was definitely the more prepared of the two players. Yet due to some mediocrity and his inability (again) to qualify for the OSL, I cannot place Bisu any higher than he is right now.
Action was barely noteworthy during regular season and didn't really play that much during the third round, but stepped up his game heavily for playoffs, going 5-1 with only a loss to Shine. I don't know what KT feeds their zergs for playoffs; Action not only played much cleaner StarCraft in the post-season, but also took the aftereffects and qualified for OSL. Given his current state, I think he's the favorite to advance from his group.
I have no clue how HoeJJa does it, but yet again in playoffs a different monster appears. HoeJJa goes 2-6 in the regular season (with only one appearance in Round 3), and then come post-season, bam. Suddenly HoeJJa is 6-0 with wins over Hydra, EffOrt, Leta, RorO, Shine, and BeSt. Flash isn't KT's best player in the playoffs--somehow, HoeJJa is. And because the playoffs are so central to this Power Rank, this anomaly that HoeJJa demonstrates once per year is enough to snag him a lower end of the Power Rank. He didn't qualify for OSL preliminaries though, so I suppose all I can say is "see you next playoffs."
When I began writing this PR, I was prepared to place Horang2 relatively high up. And then I saw he was 7-7. However, the quality of his play has really ramped up in the past two months. In Round 3 and post-season, he's taken convincing wins off of Flash and Stats (I still actually don't know how he won that game against Flash), and he swept his way through OSL preliminaries. I actually think he's in one of the toughest ODT groups, but due to his recent play I think he's going to 2-0 Group D. Expect to see him move up on the Power Rank, should he advance into the OSL main.
I'm not going to say Flash looks unbeatable--his game against Stork is evidence that he can be stopped... should an opponent exert an unfathomable amount of effort.
11 matches played, and 11 wins attained in dominating fashion. No discernible weaknesses against any race. Jaedong fell in minutes. EffOrt defended valiantly, but his efforts were not enough to stop the slowly advancing Maginot Line. Dear learned that "one does not simply 12nexus God." And Light's proxy-into-wraith tactics proved fruitless against maphacksstarsense. Clutch play won't save you from Flash. Cheese won't save you from Flash. Impeccable standard play won't save you from Flash. So then, what will?
Answer: John Connor
Let's play a game. I say Flash won't lose in Proleague till Round 4. What say you?
As I've always stated, Fantasy is an enigma. Will he go on a ten-game winning streak? Or will he inexplicably lose to B-team rookies? You never know what's going to happen next, so sometimes it's best to just guess. After watching Fantasy's game against Skyhigh, I knew that the Crown Prince was in for a good round. I don't know how Fantasy did it, but somehow after saving that crucial Command Center at 11 o'clock he managed to claw his way back into the game, ultimately attaining his first ever victory against TvT menace Skyhigh. And after that, Fantasy continued the killing spree by going undefeated throughout Round 2 with good decision-making and excellent unit control. Despite the fact that SKT lost (again ahahaha) to STX, Fantasy helped SKT keep some of its pride by first destroying Classic's economy with vulturesterrorists on bikes and then meticulously grinding down the STX Terran in the endgame. Furthermore, just like in the first round when he played against ZerO, Fantasy was able to demonstrate some impressive bionic control.
In hindsight, I can assuredly say that (ignoring his most recent game against Leta) Fantasy's in pretty good form. But still, was that apparent at the start of the round? And how long will this form last?
Neo.G_Soulkey deserves this third slot in this month's Power Rank for two reasons: he's been Woongjin's most consistent player this season thus far and is by far, the best-performing Zerg of the season.
Though Stars at 7-7 sits in a middling fifth position, Soulkey at an impressive 9-3 personally is (record-wise) the third best-performing player in Proleague, a position he shares with KT Rolster's Stats. Guess who's been doing better than him? Oh right, Flash and Fantasy.
Though I believe Soulkey's strength lies in his macromanagement, lately his unit control and decision-making has impressed me. I'll put forth two prime examples. First, consider the game against Movie--despite being down, Soulkey kept his calm and essentially won the game with one carefully calculated observer snipe. Second, in his game against Sea, Soulkey's burrowed zergling tactics wiped Sea's bionic force out in a matter of seconds, forcing the GG. And as Soulkey demonstrated to us in his game against Piano, there's still nothing lacking in his monstrous macro.
I wrote last time that Soulkey's ZvZ was, for the most part, practical and uninspiring--it gets the job done. And seeing as he is 4-1 vZ this season (with one really boring loss to Hydra this round) I still stand by that statement. Game against Calm? Meh. Game against Killer? Ling massacre into economic destruction into GG. Game against RorO? Three bases! ...And then Soulkey wins with his massive economic advantage.
Still, Soulkey is winning. I have no qualms with that--I just want to see cleaner, more "awe-inspiring" play. But then again, that's the difference between "solid" and "excellent". And as Kim Min Chul claimed after his victory against Calm, he's going to let his results do the talking.
I don't have much to say about Stats that I didn't say last time. He's still doing quite well--9-3 is nothing to sneeze at, and he's still one of the main reasons that KT is first place. Decision-making is still solid--greedy RorO taking extremely fast fourth? Roll him with archon/zealot. Feeling pressured by sHy's assault? Defend expertly with shield battery and then roll with better storms. Engaging Kal's shuttle/reaver with only reaver? Roll him anyway (okay this was actually Kal being extremely sloppy).
Stats is still prone to game-losing sloppiness, which is somewhat disappointing. Lesson to be learned: despite being up more than 25 supply on Snow, if you choose to suicide all your reavers bad stuff is going to happen. Other than this, I can't really find anything reprehensible about Stats' play.
And once again, Bogus vs Stats (even though Stats lost this one) was my favorite game of the round. That rivalry is quickly manifesting itself as one of the best modern rivalries as well.
After falling into a three-game losing streak by being defeated by Movie, Stork looked like he was losing steam after his 5-0 start. But, like the stock markets, Stork is quite the hard fellow to predict--you cannot simply extrapolate based on such a small set of data. Over the past month, Stork has issued forth a medley of "meh" and "sexy" games: standard (and by that I mean Light sucks at TvP) wins over Light and Piano, "interesting" but slightly sloppy win against Jaehoon, awesome storm against Mini to seal the deal, and two close losses against Flash and Fantasy. Despite having an overall positive mix of games played, Stork is sort of in a quandary: he beats his lesser opponents like drums and comes close to beating some awesome opponents (à la Flash and Fantasy), but the crux of the matter is he doesn't beat them.
Against both Flash and Fantasy Stork had chances to win. Brood War is a game of "what ifs"--what if Stork hadn't decided to be silly and move his army around randomly against Flash? What if he hadn't rallied so many templar into Fantasy's vultures? We don't know the answer to that, but with rivalries as deep as Flash-Stork (14-13) and Fantasy-Stork (8-10), I feel confident in saying that next time, Stork will get themFantasy back.
I'm not going to lie, I'm highly uninspired by ranks 6-10. But since we have to fill ten a month, let's do this.
If I only had one phrase to use to describe Bisu's play for this past round, it would be "thoroughly uninspiring". What has Bisu done in Round 2?
Cannon rushed Wooki
Died to hOn_sin's fail 2fact -> 5fact push
Holy whoa Bisu this is what happens when you use high templar
There are two main things to glimpse from these two lists. First, Bisu's opponents (with the exception of Snow) have been mediocre. Second, Bisu's play has been somewhat mediocre (with the exception of games against Snow and Trap, though Trap's control was just awful). With no strong opponents and no exceptional play against these lesser opponents, I can't justify ranking Bisu any higher than 6.
TurN hasn't played many games this season, but the ones he has played have been quite entertaining. And he's won all four of his games. And they were all against quite good competition.
What's not to love? Well, for one thing TurN is very sloppy. Seeing as he's a rookie, I don't fault him too much for that, but it's something he can improve upon. The scary thing is cleaner play would win him games much faster. TurN's style favors aggressive play, and these games have delivered. Despite throwing away tons of units, TurN utilized +1 marines effectively in mowing down Hydra. Similarly, against BeSt TurN went for triple CC into some insane aggression (though he threw away most of his initial army due to poor positioning) that ended up winning him the game. TurN even makes TvT fast-paced and interesting. After characteristically throwing away vultures (to blow an early lead), TurN overruns Bogus by moving him out of his element and catching him out of position multiple times.
TurN may not play a clean game of StarCraft, but he definitely plays an entertaining one.
Jaehoon of Team 8 makes his Power Rank debut as rank 8. While I've always liked Jaehoon, it's still weird to have him on the Power Rank--as I said, I think 6-10 are all kind of meh this month. The scene in general just seems... sloppy right now. But nonetheless, Jaehoon is playing some nice games.
Despite Clam playing for Calm, Jaehoon's crisis management and storm usage were quite nice. Against Stork, had he built earlier cannons at his third he would have easily won (and the dark archon was pretty awesome). Jaehoon's game against hyvaa featured clutch shuttle micro, massive storm drops, and lots of invisible imbalanced units slicing up stuff.
I don't really have much more to say about this. Jaehoon's definitely been playing well, but I think this is more a commentary of "normal" Power Rank frequenters (Jaedong, Hydra, ZerO, etc.) playing poorly.
Leta gets this ninth spot because he's been one of CJ's only positively-performing players this round and because I can't really justify it for anybody else. He's only played four games this round, but I can't say I see anything wrong with his play. In fact, his unit control is still as phenomenal as always. His 2port wraith execution against ZerO pretty much sealed the game (13 kills on one wraith wow) and his vulture harass -> wraith play managed to outmicro Fantasy (handing Fantasy one of two losses this season). And against Tyson, Leta didn't micro poorly--it's more like Tyson decided to take a level in badass for that game.
I literally don't think there were ten good players in this round. One way or another, there was some deficiency that cost a player this tenth spot on the PR. So to choose "the best of the bad" is tough... Really, I'd just give it to nobody. But we'll give it to Brave since the slot must be filled. Despite being a one-map, one-matchup sniper, Brave has posted results. Others have not.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first Power Rank of the last year of our lives. I hope you are as excited to read [and debate over] this as I am to write it, and hopefully through proper nagging the mighty R1CH will place the Power Rank back on the right sidebar. Until then, comment here if you'd like, or in the discussion thread. Let's kick off the New Year right. To make up for the lack of Power Ranks in the past few months, this one will be a bit longer and [hopefully] more in-depth.
Oh, and one final note before I get started. Due to a combination of business and lack-of-Brood War, I am not as immersed in the current season as I would like to be. Should you see something glaringly wrong, please let me know - I am in no way averse to making changes.
Now, on to Flash. I admit, there are months where I just don't enjoy writing about him. This is one of them. There's not much real contention for the #1 spot this month. JangBi hasn't won an OSL this month [and hasn't really impressed me that much], Bisu is losing, Jaedong is looking a tad weak in ZvP, and Stork's losses at the end of the round hurt him a bit. Really, the only competition for the top slot comes from Fantasy and Stats, and Flash has the advantage over both of them in record. In terms of "intangibles" I'd say Fantasy is close to being on par with Flash, but Flash definitely trumps Stats in this division. As one of two notable undefeated players in the first round [with over two games played], Flash has been... himself. I don't see anything wrong with him, yet at the same time there has been nothing extraordinary. Of course, this is partially circumstantial. Due to SKT winning 3-1 over KT, we were denied a Flash-Fantasy match, and with the exception of Light, none of Flash's opponents have been exemplary. Of course, this in no way negatively affects Flash. I'm just glad his surgery went well, and hopefully he can start demonstrating what makes him the best in the upcoming OSL.
No chin, no problem. With the first round concluded, Stats proves he's the real deal. Excellent record, clean decision-making, and entertaining moves. His execution might have been a tad off, but when's the last time you saw such efficient use of Dark Archons in professional PvP? And what about mass Archon/Reaver against Zerg coupled with ridiculous amounts of storm? While we're working with relatively scant data here, I am not seeing any noticeable signs of weakness in any of Stats' matchups. Partially due to excellent storming, his PvZ is looking especially strong, his PvP is innovative [too little data to work with at the moment], and his PvT has produced exhilarating games. In my opinion, Stats vs Bogus is quite possibly the best game of the round. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you do so. Beautiful play from both players, and though the game swings back and forth the winner finishes with convincing execution. Furthermore, it is because of Stats that KT Rolster went from last place in the standings to a solid second, just after CJ. While KT is still struggling to find a consistent third win, Stats' play has gone a long way in helping out the team perhaps most adversely affected by the removal of the Ace match.
Of course, Stats isn't perfect--still far from it. For example, while his atmosphere-searing storms against soO's superior forces made the win well-deserved, Stats owes as much to soO's poor play after taking a strong early advantage as he does to his own good play. And against Sea, incredibly poor micro caused Stats to fall irreversibly behind in a relatively even game.
But it's okay guys. After all, this is but Stats' first year at Hogwarts.
Deciding between Fantasy and Stats for the #2 spot was incredibly tough, as in I spent two hours on this part alone. The two boast comparable stats, have played similarly exciting games and had similarly unexciting stomps, and both players still have their little foibles. In the end, what tipped the scales in Stat's favor is something I cannot fully explain. It's partially a question of "who contributed more to the team?" as well as "whose play did I respect more?" As for the first, Stats definitely helped KT more than Fantasy helped SKT. While this can be attributed to SKT having a deeper lineup, allowing Fantasy to be saved for the fifth slot (and oftentimes not appearing), what it boils down to is that Stats was able to prove more than Fantasy for this Power Rank. He was able to demonstrate that he can help carry KT. It is in no way a bad mark against Fantasy, only a positive check for Stats. Similarly, I give more props to Stats for his play because his opponents put up better fights. Against Fantasy, Movie and Canata just rolled over and died, and while ZerO's initial ling bust was pretty tricky he failed with mutalisks and lurkers afterward, allowing Fantasy to take an easy victory. Once again, this is not bad for Fantasy, only good for Stats.
Either way, four solid wins and one loss against a TvT-rampaging Last is a perfectably acceptable way to start the season out for Fantasy. Disregarding his decision to walk his army into Last's tank line [that drop did way more damage than it should have, but Fantasy was still behind], Fantasy has had very solid decision-making and has shown impressive crisis/micro management. Before the near-disconnect in the game against Reality it seemed that Fantasy had all but lost: he was 20 supply down and in a terrible position. Yet through careful positioning he was able to pick off enough of Reality's tanks in order to stabilize and eventually turn the game around. A slightly less notable but nonetheless impressive demonstration of micromanagement Fantasy executed in this opening round of SPL was his marine split against ZerO, where three lurkers gave their lives for only one marine.
As for the rest, it's hard to say based on this limited data. As we all know, Fantasy is prone to trolling and being a somewhat streaky player. I never like hyping Fantasy too much before he hits individual leagues, though I'd say he's in for a pretty good season. His TvT is still second-best after Flash's, his TvP is still top-notch, and from the looks of it [though we really only have that one game against ZerO to judge] his bionic control has improved during the off-season.
Preseason, there was a lot of hype flying about over the newly-formed Team 8, with a good amount of it focused upon the strong lineup that T8 would be fielding. Of these, it was my personal opinion at the start of the season that Killer would be the strongest/most reliable player on Team 8. After all, Jaedong's non-ZvT was still looking shaky, BaBy was playing okay but not excellently, and Sea was just "stable". It is not too much of a surprise to me that I was wrong; what's more surprising is the manner in which I was incorrect. As of right now, I believe it is BaBy, not Jaedong and not Killer, who is the strongest player on Team 8. It seems experience has granted him the ability to play more consistently at a higher level: last season BaBy [or should I get used to calling him Ty?] would one day demonstrate ridiculous multitasking, and the next would fall apart immediately upon being pressured. This season, the pressure is still there but BaBy's response is much better. In his game against Leta, I was under the impression that BaBy had lost after he lifted his barracks for some reason, allowing Leta's marines in his base. While he defended that well, Leta's transition into paper airplanes put Leta further ahead, until BaBy wiped out Leta's wraith fleet with valkyries. And then BaBy went to town capitalizing on that advantage, and Leta did not stand a chance. His hidden expos were scouted, drops terrorized Leta's main, and overhead an invisible fleet of death destroyed everything. Overall, quite an entertaining way for BaBy to get revenge against Leta for last season's mass starport shenanigans.
Of course, I still believe BaBy to be an offensively-geared player, one who would rather utilize his high APM and multitasking abilities to control the situation through aggression than manage crisis after crisis. His games against soO, Wooki, and Light emphasize BaBy's aggressive nature perfectly. Against n.Die_soO, BaBy was able to crush his Zerg opponent through perfectly-timed drops and impeccable army micro in massive battles. Speaking of perfect timing, against Wooki BaBy's perfect attack on the stargates came at the worst possible time for Wooki, prompting him to tap out. And against Light, BaBy's clutch move to block the construction of a comsat at Light's natural made his Wraith fleet even stronger when it started hitting Light's base.
As with Fantasy, the one blemish that mars Ty's otherwise perfect record comes from Last. And I'm not going to fault BaBy for that, as Last's build was obviously very well-prepared and razor-sharp. I give a similar prognosis to BaBy as I did to Fantasy: I think BaBy is in for an excellent season, and he will become a very reliable player for Team 8.
I really just wish T8 could pull together to find three wins at a time.
Is the king of Zerg back? Starting the season with a disappointing loss to BeSt [though BisuBeSt played quite well and at that time T8 had had virtually zero practice time] but quickly recovering, Jaedong has shown that he is at least at the same point he was at the end of last season.
...Though, that wasn't a very good place for Jaedong, was it? His ZvZ was shaky, his ZvP suspect. However, his ZvT was stronger than ever: lseason, Jaedong ended with an incredible 27-9 (75%) record over top-notch Terran competition. And while he has not yet had too many opportunities to demonstrate his prowess versus Terran this season, his single vT game hus far against Mind should be enough to remind you that the Dong does not mess around when it comes to slaughtering humans. In an absolutely dominating fashion, Jaedong easily held off Mind's MnM/valkyrie force [admittedly, Mind could have done much more] and wiped the floor with Terran blood after hive tech kicked in. And then he followed that up by walking over M18M, who still only is mediocre. His next game against free was also... sloppy. While Jaedong made some excellent templar and shuttle snipes, it still doesn't absolve him of his shortcomings. The initial corsair versus mutalisk/scourge battle was poorly fought; likewise, Jaedong microed poorly during the early hydralisk versus templar engagements. This resulted in Jaedong being down 30 supply at one point, but due to the aforementioned sniping as well as free having terrible army composition [though that's because he expected Jaedong to switch to lurkers instead of constantly mutalisk switching] Jaedong took the game. All in all, a very good comeback by Jaedong... though still very, very sloppy.
So after four games, at the very least I was assured that Jaedong had not slipped any further. But, like the rest of you, I was worried when it became apparent that Jaedong and RorO would be facing off. And when RorO started off with 9pool against Jaedong's 12hatch, my brow furrowed even more.
And then JvZ happened. Jaedong held off RorO's zergling assault with a well-placed sunken, and then after being forced to retreat into his main broke RorO's contain with a scintillating drone drill. RorO maintained the gas advantage, which translated into a mutalisk advantage...
But you can't beat JvZ. With 2009-esque micro, Jaedong won the air battle and went up in supply, and eventually RorO was forced out of the game. It seemed the magic was back! Following up on that spectacular ZvZ victory, in his game against Modesty, Jaedong managed to kill all of Modesty's drones with excellent zergling control before Modesty's mutalisk numbers became too strong.
I said it above but I'll reiterate here: thus far I believe BaBy has been a stronger force for T8 than Jaedong has. I would really like to see Jaedong step his game up in ZvP and ZvZ, and to continue dominating ZvT. His losses against free and Snow [though admittedly, that was a well-executed timing attack by Snow] as well as sloppy play against free show that he's stil not on top of vP, and there have been far too few games vZ for me to convince myself that JvZ is back. Looks like we'll just have to see.
'Twas tough choosing between Stork and Jaedong for the fifth and sixth spots due to their similar "statistics". They have the same record (5-2), seem weaker in one matchup [Stork in PvZ and Jaedong in ZvP], and demonstrate similarly impressive showings of micromangement. In the end, I placed Jaedong over Stork for two main reasons. First, in the same sense that Stats proved more than Fantasy this round, Jaedong proved more than Stork. He showed that JvZ could be possibly be making a resurgence and that his ZvT is still quite sharp. On the other hand, Stork has shown that he is good at capitalizing on build order advantages in PvP and landing good [lucky?] scarabs in order to further those advantages. Second, I am still thoroughly unimpressed by Stork's PvZ, which has traditionally been his weakest matchup. While he seemed to roll over ZerO with good storms and lurker field-breaking, I attribute that win more to ZerO's "coconut tree reaction time" and his seeming lack of a plan. And seriously, you'd think that after getting all-in'd so many times by Zerg Stork would shape up. But no, Crazy-Hydra channels his inner Kwanro and eats Stork with zerglings. Of course, Stork's PvZ is by no means terrible. He responded to hero's 3hatch hydra -> expand in the correct fashion, and by recognizing the bluff in a timely fashion was able to take hero's natural by storm [pun intended] with beautiful Templar usage.
I still feel it seems like I'm being irrationally harsh on Stork. True, he started the season out with a 5-0 and looked very impressive doing so, but if it weren't for the fact that he lost his two most crucial recent games [causing KHAN to get 0-3'd by both ACE and KT] he'd be quite a bit higher on this Power Rank. I talked about his PvZ briefly above and his PvT is, as of yet, untested this season, so let's go over his recent PvP games.
I attribute Stork's victory over Movie to a build order advantage coupled with a few lucky scarab shots. While that game was quite action-packed and entertaining [poor probes...] it was sloppy on Stork's part. Movie consistently made better engagements, yet because Stork did so much damage early [once again, partially thanks to luck and build order advantage] on Movie didn't have the economy to overpower Stork. Similarly, against Bisu, Stork had the build order advantage, choosing to go 3gate against Bisu's core-expand. Bisu fended off the attack quite well [despite randomly losing a dragoon] but still was not in an advantageous position. And just like against Movie, a few scarab daebaks helped to further Stork's advantage. He did an excellent job in stopping Bisu's reaver counter-drop. Bisu decided to be silly and try to break out of the contain without his reavers, which handed Stork the win.
Through this, I don't think Stork's PvP has been phenomenal. It's been "good enough" [which is still quite good] to make use of an advantage, yet when an opponent steps up his game as Kal did, Stork seems flustered. Granted, Kal played exceptionally well in his game against Stork with his famous red shuttle micromanagement, but I think this just goes to show that Stork is somewhat riding "coinflip" advantages and his opponent's mistakes.
Stork's micro is still solid though. In his game against Tyson he had amazing micromanagement during battles, and he had impressive storms against ZerO and hero [insert joke about Hercules and comment about storms in PvZ seeming way more epic this season] to seal the deal. And despite the negativity found in this post about Stork, I still think he has played fantastically this first round. After all, in the end winning the game is what matters; some ways may be more impressive or clean than others, but Stork got the job done.
I was talking with konadora last night about how I thought Soulkey had played well, but hadn't faced oponents of high enough caliber. Then I decided to actually look at TLPD, and realized how wrong I was. Soulkey has had some great games against tough opponents. RorO, Bogus, By.Sun, and Killer might not be "S-Class" but they are certainly recognizable names in the Proleague world. When I talked about Stats versus Bogus being my favorite game of the round thus far, Soulkey versus Bogus [I'm telling you, Bogus produces awesome games] is a close second. As far as ZvMech goes, you could write a textbook out of this game. Soulkey does everything right, from protecting drones early on from vultures to not making ultralisks [I'm looking at you, Kwanro] to sniping two spinning armories as Bogus is moving out. While Neo.G_Soulkey is often overlooked, do not forget that he is one of the top ZvT players in the scene. Furthermore, in his game against Sun Soulkey is down in supply but has a better economy come the midgame. He does a very nice job of neutralizing drops and prevents Sun from using his army advantage, allowing him to macro up and starve Sun to death with an incredibly deep lurker contain. Soulkey's zvP improved over the past season, and his match against Sun shows it was definitely not a fluke.
Soulkey still has his problems though. His ZvZ, despite being strong statistically (23-13), still seems weak. Of course, since I see Soulkey as a very macro-oriented player [prefers lategame] this fits perfectly. In the first round, Soulkey faced off against RorO, Killer, and Hydra. In all these games, Soulkey played poorly. Against RorO, he did very little damage with his zerglings and lost one of his free mutas, allowing RorO to supply block him and take a huge supply advantage. Of course, due to RorO flying his muta flock into a gaggle of scourge Soulkey was able to equalize supply and win the game. Against Hydra, Soulkey wasn't so lucky. Poor micro from Soulkey allowed Hydra to snipe drones with zerglings early on, and that snowballed out of control. In his win against Killer, I attribute it more to Killer failing [though Soulkey's hidden zerglings were put to great effect] than Soulkey doing something spectacular. Further fitting with my conception of Soulkey as a progamer that doesn't have exemplary micromanagement is the Soulkey vs firebathero game. It seemed Soulkey wanted to end the game early with a zergling bust, but after firebathero held it off Soulkey was in trouble--it didn't seem like he had a backup plan. firebathero continuallly destroying Soulkey's third meant that Soulkey was fighting a very uphill battle as firebathero teched. I still have to give Kim Min Chul props for breaking the initial contain, but when FBH pushed out with vessels and tanks while Soulkey was still on lair tech, the game was over.
Soulkey started out much like Stork. Very strong start [on paper], then took some losses as the round ended. His ZvT is excellent [even though he lost to firebathero, FBH was playing exceptionally well in that game], and his ZvP looks promising. As for his ZvZ, like I said above: if it gets the job done that's what matters. I think he has grounds for improvement especially in the mirror matchup, but I'm pretty satisfied with his Round 1 results.
It's weird. By no means is Bisu performing poorly. Yet, compared with past season's R1 performance I can't help but feel something is missing. Of course, the results he's posted are indicative of what I feel about Bisu "as a whole", though let's look a bit deeper.
Obviously, it doesn't get any more top-notch than Bisu's PvZ. Despite a poor start against Action [Action outmicros Bisu both on the ground and in the air] Bisu manages to equalize the situation [Action had four bases pretty much well-established and Bisu didn't even have a third] with strategically-timed attacks. Of course, Bisu's win is due in part to Action deciding to just not make any units for an impossibly long period of time, but it was still excellent decision-making by Bisu in an exciting, close game. Against great, Bisu correctly responded to great's aggression economic expansion by waiting for proper upgrade timing and then simply just killing him in one fell swoop. And against EffOrt, Bisu's micromanagement with zealots early on put him vastly ahead in supply (75-50), and that advantage snowballed. The pre-defiler timing attack was just icing on the cake. Sloppy play from EffOrt, but exceptional play from Bisu.
Now, when looking at Bisu's PvT there are fewer games to consider. And by "games" I mean "one game against Bogus". Whilst rewatching this game, I berated Bisu a bit for doing nothing to slow down Bogus' push and for messing up his zealot bombs, but Oystein says it best. Bisu was at a severe disadvantage from being blindly countered, and Bogus microed extremely well. Likewise, in his game against free Bisu found himself at a disadvantage. Bisu played safe, and free played to maximize economic potential, leading to a lopsided engagement that free took advantage of.
If there's anything reprehensible about Bisu's PvP, it occurred in his game against Stork. After being contained, Bisu simultaneously tried to break out while harassing with his shuttle/reaver. While I normally applaud multitasking attempts, in this case Bisu needed his forces concentrated in order to make a legitimate attempt at pushing Stork away. Instead, not only did he not break out but also he had his shuttle turned away. If it's any consolation, Bisu played really well against Jaehoon. Good dragoon micro and good game sense with observers to spot Dark Templar allowed him to outplay Jaehoon.
...But you'd expect that anyway, right? In any sense, to wrap up this part, Bisu had a "solid" round. It wasn't great [especially by his standards], but it wasn't terrible. Even though Brood War is a very developed game, there is still chance inherent in the build orders. For the most part, Bisu happened to be on the receiving end, so I can't fault him too much for that. However, even though he did nothing "wrong" others did things right, so I can't justify placing Bisu high. After all, Ma Jae Yoon proved to us that the truly elite will persevere and rise above all challenges.
Before I get started talking about Hydra, I want to say that this new season has not given us much to work with for him. His games have either been one-sided or silly/confusing [hello HoeJJa], and none of them have been too "high-level" yet. Consider Hydra's game against Brave. Though the KHAN rookie is touted as a "vZ specialist with 60% winrate" he simply died to hydras. Hydra didn't do anything special, and Brave just pretty much just killed himself.
And that is the one non-ZvZ game Hydra this round. The rest of the games... Well, last season it seemed we appointed Hydra as the new king of ZvZ. It seems that the CJ coach believes in that: five of six matches Hydra has played thus far have been vZ. Of those five, I see mixed results. Before I elaborate, I'll summarize: Hydra has the best mutalisk/scourge control in ZvZ and his zergling control is improving, though I find his strategic/tactical sense still lacking somewhat [not very good at being inventive]. in his games against ModestyMedesty and ggaemo, Hydra pulled off amazingly wicked mutalisk micro. In the game against Modesty where Hydra lost the first mutalisk battle and was hard-pressed to defend his control was sensational. Hydra was able to hold off Modesty's vastly superior mutalisk force in order to utilize his economy advantage to pull himself back into the game. Furthermore, Hydra's games against Soulkey and HoeJJa showcase that his zergling control is improving. Both games he was able to press an advantage through winning the zergling battles. In both games, the extra zerglings killed gas drones, leading to a better air force for Hydra. Against Soulkey, this was enough to end the game. And against HoeJJa... well, I'm still confused about that one. Poor micro on Hydra's side led to HoeJJa gaining the upper hand, and eventually after mutas were traded away HoeJJa was left with more zerglings. Said zerglings decimated Hydra's remaining drones, leading to a loss for Hydra. And against Killer, Hydra tried an interesting strategy (3hatch with burrow), but honestly I don't think it was the correct choice. Of course, credit has to be given to Killer for his excellent defense with the sunken, but still I disagree with Hydra's tactics in that game.Trying to draw one overall conclusion for Hydra based on Round 1 is hard. I still think he is the strongest in ZvZ right now in standard play--it's quite hard to best his control. However, his lack of ZvP and ZvT games [once again, the one against Brave is hard to judge because Brave just completely failed] makes it quite difficult to say where Hydra stands with his non-mirror matchups. Only time will tell.
I never like writing for the tenth slot, and I've been writing for far too long at this point. I'm going to give the last slot to JangBi this month, with the other competitors being EffOrt, Bogus, and BeSt. Last technically counts as one, but he has to demonstrate non-TvT prowess [or show some extremely good TvT results, such as beating Flash in convincing fashion] to make it past CBNC. Honestly, JangBi hasn't done anything that notable. He had some nice wins against BeSt and Shuttle, cheesed Sea [but who doesn't, eh?], failed at cheesing EffOrt, and randomly lost against Wooki and PianO. Like the other competitors, JangBi has brought in a mixed bag. Yet dropping the OSL champion from #1 to straight off the list feels wrong, so here's some "OSL cred" for you, JangBi. Play better okay?
There has never been a moment in the entirety of my Brood War-watching career where I have been as happy as I was to see JangBi take the fifth set of the Jin Air OSL final over Fantasy. Quite literally, that deciding game was the best comeback I have ever seen, and ostensibly ever will see. As I wrote in the live report thread, if you do not watch that game, you are actually hurting ESPORTS.
Despite not unleashing a single psionic storm throughout the entirety of the series, JangBi winning this OSL is important for a platitude of reasons. First and foremost, JangBi, for two years now one of the most unlikeliest candidates, has proven to us that the Legend of the Fall still lives on. This OSL gold marks the first time since ClubDay MSL in late 2008 that a Protoss has won a Starleague. JangBi's victory shows that the power of intense preparation and the power of teamwork cannot be beaten. I feel like the plot writer for Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh right now when I say this, but this final has shown us that when one's friends band together to truly help oneself, he or she can achieve greatness--with the help of his teammates, JangBi took down the best TvPer in the world, a solid ZvP sniper, and then the second-best TvPer in the world in highly convincing fashion. And with this non-silver medal, JangBi finally breaks free of the Kong line, leaving... actually, just YellOw.
I don't know how long Brood War has left as a professional ESPORT. I don't know if this OSL final will spur large corporations into sponsoring teams. With the history books slamming shut on three progaming teams, I don't know how many players are going to be forcibly retired in the coming months. I don't know if the MSL will continue. I do know this though: by winning the 2011 Jin Air OSL, JangBi has not only won a victory for himself, but for all of Brood War.
And not even considering any of the factors listed above, that alone is enough to slot JangBi in at this Power Rank's top spot. From Dragon to paewang and back again--JangBi's catastrohic slump and amazing recovery is one of the most powerful narratives in StarCraft, and will go down in the annals of Brood War history no matter what becomes of our beloved game.
In light of JangBi's amazing dash to the gold, I've totally forgotten about everything and everybody else in the Brood War universe relevant to the Power Rank. Actually, this is due to the lack of games played since the beginning of August. In the last six weeks, only OSL matches, a few Survivor groups, STX Masters' Cup games, and the Proleague Grand Final sets have been played. All in all, this is going to make the rest of the ranking, for the most part, very hard to do. Because of the paucity of hard data, I will take some liberties in the rankings based on extrapolating previous "power levels" of various players that I would normally not take. And since this is kind of a season recap, I will take into account a player's growth [or lack thereof] relative to his start at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season.
So onto Flash. In a statistically-driven world, Flash would still be #1 in the charts--who's going to argue that he's still the undisputed best in the world? Yes, he lost to JangBi after winning the first set in a best of three. However, had he won I definitely think that regardless of his hand injury, Flash would have taken yet another OSL. But that's all conjectural. What Flash did do in the past month in a half was trump BeSt twice in the Proleague Grand Finals, thus sealing KT's victory two years running--and let's not forget the part he played throughout KT's entire post-season run.
Be you a fan, a hater, or anything in between, let's all take the time to wish Flash a successful surgery. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing him back for the start of the next season.
There was almost no way Fantasy was going to be ranked first for this Power Rank, unless he had won the OSL final against JangBi in dominating fashion through close, epic games that showcased the best of both players' abilities. Basically, what I'm saying is that Fantasy winning the OSL would not be nearly as impressive as JangBi winning [for reasons stated above]. Even had Fantasy won the back-to-back following the conditions listed above, I wouldn't place him above Flash, though it would admittedly be pretty close. After all, Fantasy has almost nothing going against him. He won his match in the Grand Final, he wiped the floor with Hydra using some amazing bionic control [who knew he had it in him?], and he stretched JangBi to his absolute limit in the final.
My main question is: why was your macro so bad Fantasy? Watching the OSL resource counter told all: Fantasy floated so much money in multiple games during the final. Had he spent it more efficiently, I'd have no doubt he would have been the victor.
It's really hard to judge Fantasy's play though. I look at him as kind of the anti-Bisu. Because of the nature of Starleague matches, Fantasy is amazingly prepared for his games... and thus looks like an absolute champion. And then in Proleague, he'll randomly fluke out and lose. Personally, I've always thought that Fantasy was always just trolling everybody, but it's hard to say. We'll have to wait for the next season to start to be able to get a better angle on the Crown Prince.
I didn't expect Hydra to beat Fantasy, though I did think it was going to be close. Well, at least the Hydra-Fantasy series wasn't a completely one-sided mauling. Hydra and Fantasy both brought awesome play [mixed with some random failures] to their OSL semifinals match, though Fantasy proved the sharper. Still, look at Hydra this season. He went from being a relatively unknown player to dominant team Ace, ZvZ monster, indvidual league threat, and MSL champion. If I had to give an award for "most improved", it would go to Hydra. His growth and consistency throughout the year has impressed [though kind of bored] me to now end, and I think with a bit of toning-up on his ZvT, he'll be an even stronger threat for the year to come.
ZerO only played two games in the past six weeks, and both of them were for the STX Masters' Cup. This makes it extremely, extremely hard to place him--especially since ZerO is still, by precedence, a very shaky and streaky player, one capable of wickedly wild highs and baffling bad lows. Because of this, he gets slotted into the Power Rank below Hydra. Still though, as I am recapping ZerO's play accomplishments in the 2010-2011 season as a whole, I see improvement. From pulling his ZvZ up by a notch, to earning his first silver medal, to performing better in Ace matches, ZerO has shown growth in both technical and mental prowess. The trend is positive, the correlation to the imaginary regression line is low, but I do expect ZerO to continue to grow as a player and leader of Stars in the upcoming season.
Of course, if there's one player that is most heavily extrapolated for this Power Rank, it's ZerO. I may be completely wrong about how ZerO is going to play in the upcoming season, but I'm going to stand by my words. Also, I just can't resist that cute face.
The only game Bisu has played in the past month was in the Proleague Grand Final, against Crazy-Hydra [where Bisu won in typical BvZ fashion]. As usual, this makes it insanely hard to place him on the Power Rank. This time though, I'm not giving Bisu the benefit of the doubt. I placed him under Hydra and ZerO though because I flipped a cointhought long and hard about it. ELO isn't a tell-all, but you can't ignore Bisu's ELO. It's monstrously high, and if he wins a few more games in a row he'll come close to breaking his all-time peak. However, Bisu's ELO is artificially inflated because he hasn't encountered "serious" competition that one would find in the later rounds of Starleagues. Bisu has shown consistency above consistency in the 2010-2011 season of Proleague, but so have other players [to varying lesser degrees than Bisu], such as Hydra and ZerO, that have juggled both the responsibilities of being their team's stable Ace player as well as the task of practicing for preparation-heavy matches in Starleages. However, a very critical factor in placing Bisu below both Hydra and ZerO lies in the fact that Coach Park did not send him to play Ace against Flash. Was this because they had specifically trained BeSt to take Flash down on Circuit Breaker? Was it because SKT believed that Flash would have prepared for the Ace match expecting Bisu? Or was it because Park didn't have confidence in Bisu? Regardless of the reason, there is something definite I can draw from SKT's choice in sending BeSt instead of Bisu. When it comes down to the wire, a sniper in the Ace slot will work once in a while. But we come back over and over to the stable carry Ace player, the one that will be expected to play, and will play, and will still win despite whatever the opposing team throws at him. For the 2010-2011 Shinhan Bank Proleague Grand Final, Bisu was not that player, and the important, Power Rank-delaying question of "Flash or Bisu?" has been left unanswered.
Jaedong should be here. But through the last six weeks, I can't find a reason to place Jaedong here when somebody else deserves a slot. Stats hasn't won any major tournament [or even gotten far] recently, nor has he gone on some incredible streak--wait, I take that back. After going on a relatively bad losing streak during Round 6 of Proleague [Stats would also fail to qualify for both OSL and MSL as well], Stats pulled his game way, way up for the postseason. After losing all of his games in KT's first round match against STX, Stats rallied and went on to win every other game he was sent out in, taking out Zero, Hydra, and n.Die_soO [in a very important game] in highly convincing fashion. By no stretch is Stats the inimitable action hero of a good action movie. Instead, he is that sick sidekick, the one who sloughs on through with the hero, the one who has all the cool gadgets, the one who saves the main characters from perishing against overwhelming odds.
More and more, I find myself comparing Jaedong to Roger Federer, especially after the most recent OSL and US Open. For those of you that don't follow tennis, I can summarize it as such: Federer was the champion, and holds the most number of titles in Men's professional tennis. For the longest period of time, there wasn't a final that you wouldn't see Federer in. But since early 2010, he is no longer there in the deciding match. He's making it to the semifinals and quarterfinals, but is getting knocked out there. As a Federer fan, it's absolutely heartbreaking to watch--especially after his most recent US Open semifinal match against Novak Djokovic, where Federer threw away the match after being up two sets to zero and having multiple match points. In short, there's nothing wrong with Federer's play... it's just that he's no longer winning at the rate that the tennis world has grown used to him winning at. He's still #3 in the world after Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but it seems increasingly so that his best days are behind him.
I'm sure you can draw the parallel between Jaedong and Federer now. Jaedong is in a similar position: because of his ZvZ [the parallel is Federer's "weakness" to Djokovic and Nadal] he has failed to make it to the finals of a Starleague for quite some time now. Similarly, it's hard to find something positively trending about either Federer or Jaedong. For Federer, it's that he still beats mostly everybody else. For Jaedong, it's that his ZvT is impregnable right now...
So? Being merely "way above average" isn't enough in either professional tennis or Brood War anymore. With new superstars arising in both sports, the captains of the old guard have to be on their toes, or risk being swept aside and relegated to the history books.
Unfortunately, one big difference between Lee Jaedong and Roger Federer is that Federer has already attained his goal of having the most golds, of being the best. Sadly, just like how Flash denies Zerg's thirds, other players have denied Jaedong so many chances at tying [and surpassing] NaDa's medal count. And even more sadly, like Federer, I think Jaedong's best days are behind him, and that he'll be incredibly hard-pressed to make it to the final of another Starleague [especially with MBC shutting down], let alone win one.
It's interesting. Imagine if Killer hadn't been disqualified in his match against n.Die_soO. Presumably, he would have made it through to face JangBi, and in the form he is in Killer would have had a much better chance against JangBi than soO... Imagine Killer in a final? Of course, this is all conjectural [thank you, KeSPA]. However, Killer has shown tremendous growth throughout the 2010-2011 season, and is finally starting to look like a suitable second Ace for OZ.
I wrote in the last Power Rank that KT's chance at gold would depend heavily upon whether or not HoeJJa won his match in the Grand Final. And man, did HoeJJa's win matter. With SKT up 2-0, HoeJJa puts KT on the scoreboard by winning over s2. Yes, s2 isn't the best opponent, but that provided KT the boost it needed to start the proverbial rear-kicking engine.
And if HoeJJa hadn't won, I think By.Sun would have just wrapped up the final at 4-0. And that would be boring.
For the latter part of this season, HoeJJa has shown incredible growth. I hope he can keep it up.
I never actually realized just how many games are played in a month. And then I only watched two games live last month. Now that I'm back, there's a lot of catching up to do, and not a lot of time to do so. Please note that at this time I haven't watched every game that I'd have liked to watch, but I have watched the ones that matter. I'd like to thank Foolishness for taking time to aggregate raw data for me, since otherwise this post would have been delayed even further.
Speaking of games that matter, I always keep an eye out for Flash's losses. In a month where SPL matches matter more than ever [playoffs are always so exciting!] a team's Ace is going to be under even heavier scrutiny. Therefore, the first three VODs I watched were Flash's losses to Shuttle, ZerO, and Leta--all in playoffs. If for some reason you haven't watched the games versus Leta or versus ZerO, go check them out now, as they are ridiculously good.
Normally, we use losses to show weaknesses in a player, though in some cases losses are also used to convey that the losing player still played very well--his opponent just played better. I still don't know where Leta whipped that army up from, and I'm very happy to see ZerO's stop lurker tactics work to such great effect. In those cases [unlike in the game against Shuttle where Flash just simply didn't have mines] ZerO and Leta outplay Flash. That can happen to anybody, even if one is the best player in the world.
And now to talk about Flash's wins. Despite losing three games over the course of the playoffs, Flash has won the rest of them in pretty convincing fashion, including revenge against Shuttle [though Disruption Web play is seriously cool], two stomps over Really, and immaculate Wraith usage against Skyhigh. Outside of SPL, Flash went 3-0 in his OSL Round Robin group, taking out Hydra, Stork, and Shine in "dominating fashion".
Flash stays atop this Power Rank both because of his own prowess and because other players, through limiting circumstance and/or failure, haven't really been able to prove themselves. Of course, the SPL Grand Final would have rectified this problem a bit [cough cough Bisu], but Muifa, the true #1 of this Power Rank, decided to play a joke on KeSPA and the Chinese government. We can only wait till next time.
If the SPL Grand Final had been allowed to commence, this ranking would be a bit different. Most likely, Flash and Bisu would occupy the top two slots in some order, and ZerO would be bumped down to number three. But as it is stands, the "deciding factor" hasn't occurred yet, so I'm going to go with what we do have.
ZerO and Bisu have similar profiles: both are instrumental to team success, both played well during July, and both failed out of OSL prelims. Furthermore, other top contenders, namely Hydra and Jaedong, have not had the best months. It's unfair to Bisu due to circumstance [SKT being already in the final], but I have to give ZerO the #2 slot over Bisu because ZerO has actually played [many] games this month, and he's played them in a good fashion as well. Barring the loss to Crazy-Hydra in the first playoff match against KT [which ZerO made up for by trouncing Flash in the Ace match] and the loss to Killer in the STX Masters' Cup [which I don't really care for much], ZerO's play hasn't revealed much for me to complain about.
Actually, on paper the ZerO of July seems as standard as it comes for ZerO: loveable ZvT and ZvP and questionable ZvZ. But that's not exactly true. Despite getting 0-3ed by Flash in the ABCMart MSL Final and flopping out of OSL prelims, the Zero of these past two months has played some excellent Starcraft, what with the clutch Ace matches against TurN and Flash and a cool 10-game winstreak. Of course, results matter in the end. ZerO didn't win the crucial game against Stats in the third day of playoffs against KT [which would have given ZerO another crack with the Ace match], so Stars went home. Even though ZerO is #2, there was not even a slight chance that he would have overtaken Flash on this Power Rank.
Again, because of circumstance, Bisu didn't have a chance to shine this past month. With only three games played [but three games won as well], it's hard to place Bisu objectively, and even harder as soon as it becomes subjective [which Power Rank is]. As contentious as Brood War forum-goers get, I believe that as a topic, Bisu is the most debated-over. My stance: Bisu gets ranked above the rest this month not because of his dominating Starleague performance, but because of his consistent performance in the 2010-2011 season of Proleague. Because of Bisu, SKT went straight to the final. Bisu didn't have any playoff games to play this month, but that is in no way a negative mark against him--Bisu has no games to play because he's already won the games that mattered, scattered throughout the ten months of this season so far.
Bisu is not perfect. Yes, he is [again] out of the OSL, and for the past who-knows-how-long he hasn't demonstrated proficiency in the MSL either. But there is still the Proleague Grand Final to be played, and he's through to the main part of this current MSL. Bisu has shown a lot in this past year, but there is still much that he needs to prove.
Hydra's case is similar to Bisu's. Because CJ was seeded directly into the semifinals for SPL playoffs, he didn't get to play many matches this month. Unfortunately, the ones he did play he was not stellar in. Hydra, team Ace, went 1-1. Poor play against Stats lost CJ the day 1 match, and his game against Tempest wasn't exciting. Still, he advanced in OSL by defeating Stork [cute strategy, by the way] and Shine and is seeded straight into the MSL as a top seed due to two consecutive semifinals-or-better appearances.
I'm not hating on Hydra, though I seriously cannot ever find much to say about him. Yes, he's very consistent, though I wish he would go on "blazes of glory" more often instead of being hot-when-hot and not-when-not. Hydra gets bonus points for consistency throughout all leagues [especially MSL], and for having the best ZvZ in the scene right now.
Because OZ did not make playoffs, Jaedong didn't have many games to play this past month. He polished off his last Proleague game in an amazing match against JangBi, and then proceeded to win his first Round Robin match against Modesty to secure a 10-game winstreak as well. If that's not good momentum, I don't know what is.
But then Jaedong proceeded to, again, drop out of the OSL. His ZvZ is definitely not what it used to be, since his play against both hyvaa and Hyuk was... poor. And it's because of his ZvZ that Jaedong has lost his claim to the Zerg throne as well--he's no longer #1 Zerg by ELO or by KeSPA ranking, since Hydra and ZerO have overtaken him in both. No Zerg yet has lost the KeSPA throne and retaken it yet, and with Jaedong out of OSL and Hydra still in it that task has become even more arduous.
Still, I want to believe. Jaedong's ZvZ is looking poor, his ZvP isn't as stellar as it was in the glory days [though through limited sample size, it's hard to say], but his ZvT is looking better than it ever has: 27-9 for the season against a roster comprised of many excellent TvZers.
Jaedong is still in the MSL, perhaps the last MSL. He has been denied over and over now again, first by Flash and then by Zergs, but there is still a chance. Can we have another player take the sixth? Or has Jaedong's time finally come?
Killer and Jaedong had the same schedule. Since OZ didn't make playoffs, neither of them had Proleague games to play after the last regular season match against KHAN. However, unlike Jaedong Killer managed to advance, no, smash, his OSL group. Going 3-0 against Calm [a great ZvZer], a "reborn" JangBi, and super-spammer-multitasker BaBy is no small feat. As a bonus, he also beat both ZerO and Light in STX Masters'. Not even making it to the MST hurts him a bit, but I'd say Killer has been one of the most improved players of this past season. His record is impressive, his gameplay and decision-making look solid, and he's still ridiculously cute. Harem, find me some more pictures.
On my first runthrough in writing this Power Rank, I somehow forgot soO. For that, I apologize.
With only one loss this month [to Fantasy] and four wins, soO takes the I watched the MST game between HiyA and soO. And darn, that was entertaining--mass Valks is pretty funny. Still, soO played very well, what with catching HiyA unsieged all the time and whatnot. Also, it was a ZvT where a Zerg made guardians... and actually won! We have all talked about how soO is just a one-show [ZvP] matchup, but this month he showed us that he can fight Terran as well. And with style--guardians were used in the OSL match against Sea as well to pretty good effect. And if you haven't watched it yet, go watch the game against Fantasy. soO lost that game [unfortunately, Hydra masses suck versus sieged tanks], but his defense against vultures was amazing and... queens get me excited. For his demonstration that he can effectively and stylishly play against Terran [as well as Protoss--good defense against Snow allowed soO to take the game late], soO takes slot seven.
Bogus is still here, and is still silently chugging along without being noticed by too many. It's actually kind of unsettling. When did he become the third-highest Terran by ELO and seventh-highest overall? When did he break into the top 20 by KeSPA ranking? [Answer: this month] Ever since I put him on my anti-team at the beginning of the season, Bogus has been playing some great Starcraft. This month was no exception: he 2-0ed his Survivor group and beat Stats twice in the two KT-STX playoffs matches.
Bogus, like Light, is invisible. Unfortunately [if your name is Cheep or Mustaju] STX didn't advance in the playoffs despite Bogus' wins, so we won't see him play much more. Bogus is overshadowed by Calm and Kal in terms of name recognition, even when he performs better than both of them. In a similar vein, Bogus got unlucky with his ODT group [hello Flash and Jaedong], and failed to advance. Otherwise I think he would have made it to the quarterfinals.
In playoffs, Light has actually been very solid. He won all his matches against KT in his standard "hi, my name is Light and I kill Zergs" fashion, and only dropped one against Reality in the first match against KHAN. Light hasn't changed much: he still has his killer TvZ, good TvT, and suspect TvP. Despite not making it to the OSL [due to his TvP] and not 2-0ing his MST group [due to his TvP], Light hasn't let that stop him from having a good past month. Unfortunately, Stars couldn't edge out KT even with Light's three wins [let's blame Free and hOn_sin], so their post-season is over.
For Light, the goal now is to survive the MSL Round of 32 group. As long as he doesn't get grouped with a strong Protoss, he should be fine. And as long as he gets out of there, he should get pretty far if the past two MSLs of this season have anything to show for it: Zergs advance, Protoss get killed by Zergs, and then there's Flash. If Light can make it, he'll go far.
Soulkey has played an interesting month of Starcraft. He 2-0'd his Survivor group, showcasing that baller ZvT against firebathero and BByong. In terms of playoffs, he did fairly well as well. Soulkey won all his matches against KHAN pretty easily, but then against KT he couldn't hold up well enough, winning only one of three matches. I watched the game against Perfective, and darn that was such a silly set. Seriously, a-moving into a scourge cloud? Not a good idea.
I like Soulkey a lot but he hasn't been very awe-inspiring this month. Nor has he beaten anybody particularly "high-tier" either. Still, he's in the MSL. I'm going to hope for good games there.
I don't want to hear any whining about how Flash hasn't been performing in SPL and will likely not be playing in the upcoming weeks. I profusely urge all those who frequent these Power Ranks to mercilessly slap potential complainers with freshly caught haddock.
To the Storm Zerg, to KKONG, to one of the original KT Zergs, to a man constantly overshadowed, but never forgotten. To the "Best Man" of Starcraft. To YellOw--enjoy your retirement. You have earned it.
Carnivorous Sheep does much better justice to the passing of this legend than I do. If you haven't read his piece yet, you should.
If I have to spend one more month vacillating between "D:" and ":3" I will be very unhappy. Such was the case for the month of June, where Jaedong entered the month fresh from a drubbing at the hands of ZerO. And then proceeded to lose another three straight Proleague games, bringing him to an unprecedented 5-game losing streak. I don't want to compare Jaedong's play at the beginning of the month to the antics of a frightened salamander trying to drive a semi*, but to say the least it wasn't very inspiring. The 8-game winning streak that Jaedong is currently on lifts my spirits, yes, but his ZvZ still concerns me. The recent win against Calm is a start, but I still saw an element of sloppiness from Jaedong that I didn't like. On the bright side, Jaedong's ZvT is looking phenomenal, and that does make me happy. Overall, I placed Jaedong above Hydra for this month due to the caliber of opponents. They have similar win-loss ratios, but Jaedong's hitlist is just better. And even though his ZvZ is causing me dismay and his ZvP is looking [relatively] worse, his ZvT is making me cheer.
I can never really find too much to say about Hydra. Though for this month, I award him bonus points for playing with one eye. Seeing as Hydra is this season's definition of [awesome] consistency (not boring consistency like RorO), his lack of corneal focus hasn't seemed to affect his inner focus. Yes, his 0-3 shutout by Flash at the beginning of the month wasn't in the slightest awe-inspiring like ZerO's--at times, it seemed as if Hydra wasn't even well-prepared. However, Hydra's played a great month of Starcraft outside of MSL, cruising easily through his Dual Tournament group and losing only a single game in Proleague to Juni. So why is Hydra above Bisu? Answer: because unlike Bisu, Hydra actually has Starleague results. Also, I like this picture better than any of the Bisu pictures posted.
Move over Sea, Bisu is the new Proleague champion. Like Sea, Bisu has consistently been a failure in Starleagues for quite a while now (actually, Sea has been getting farther on average these days). And like Sea, Bisu carries his team very well in Proleague, even though his team is better than Sea's. And [unlike Sea], Bisu is most likely going to help his team carry home another Proleague gold trophy. Bisu's claim to fame this season [and to #1 ELO currently] comes from his remarkably steady play in Proleague.
But what Bisu can't do is win this OSL. And accordingly, he will probably be punished for that in the Power Ranking (though he's held on quite well this season so far). If Bisu doesn't do well in this upcoming MSL, expect to see him falling down this ladder.
Despite getting 0-3ed in the recent MSL finals, there are three things going for ZerO that makes the 0-3 seem not that bad. The first is that the score doesn't say everything: ZerO played very well, but I simply don't think Flash could have been beaten. Second, ZerO's run through the ABCMart MSL was much tougher than that of great's. ZerO took down Calm and Jaedong (both statistically very good at ZvZ) to make it to the final. Third, and lastly, it's a silver medal. Despite losing, ZerO still won silver--that means in the entirety of the ABCMart MSL, ZerO did the second best. Oh, hidden reason: ZerO is cute. Furthermore, ZerO only lost one Proleague match this month and was instrumental to his team's qualification for SPL playoffs. You really can't ask for much more than that.
JangBi broke my FPL anti-team and made me cry. Other than that though I really don't have anything negative to say about the mighty JangBang. On paper, his stats are monstrous: 24-3 in the last two months, with the losses coming from Hydra and n.Die_soO. Qualification for both MST and ODT through offline preliminaries, with a nice 2-0 out of his ODT group. Delving deeper though we see that even though JangBi's play has improved, JangBi's opponents haven't been of the highest caliber. And needless to say, many of the 24 wins have come from the offline preliminaries. Of course, in a season where most of the players are acting like bad lightbulbs (burn bright, burn out fast)...
I'm glad to see JangBi's playing better, but I wonder if this is another case where hopes get too high too fast.
soO is another that looks better on paper. I'm not devaluing his accomplishments for the past month--I'm just saying we should look further. In SPL, he's undefeated for the month, and has some clean wins over Protoss under his belt. Still though, the opponents he's played haven't been of the highest caliber--Stats is slumping, Stork is off playing WoW or something, Jaehoon is Jaehoon, Wooki is a rookie (albeit a good rookie)...
Though soO did survive his ODT group, edging out Mind for the 2-1. The games weren't pretty, but he made it out alive.
Still though, as I wrap up the text for this particular slot, a haunting whisper chills the air around me.
Movie again slots into a lower rung of the Power Rank again for consistency in Proleague. Once again, his opponent hitlist isn't that impressive (the best player Movie has beaten in Proleague this month is Tyson), but still--a win is a win, and Movie will definitely be playing an important role for CJ in the upcoming SPL playoffs. He's also qualified for the MST (but not ODT), which I can't count against him since most people will only qualify for one at a time.
HoeJJa has suddenly sprung up from nowhere to play some pretty darn good Starcraft. Actually, besides not qualifying for the ODT, there isn't much you can fault HoeJJa for. He's in the MST with a 2-1 victory over Shuttle, and has only lost to TurN and Peace so far this month in Proleague, with some pretty impressive wins over the likes of Sea, Kal and RorO. Keep it up, [Koh] Kang Min.
He's back on top of the KeSPA ranking, back in the final of another individual league, and back on top of the Power Rank. Ladies and gentlemen, it's 2010 all over again. From watching his games, Flash seems just the slightest tad sloppy--but obviously that isn't enough to stop him. One question remains: will Young Ho be able to stave off this supposed curse I place on people who top the PRs, or will he fall against the Prince of Queens in their upcoming showdown?
Something that I said last month (and that has always been said about ZerO) is that he needs to show consistency. As one of the best ZvP- and ZvT-ers on the scene right now, obviously he has the potential--he just hasn't shown it. Until now. Besides Realpenguin (where are you these days?), bearbuddy, and swanized who believed that ZerO would make it to the finals of this MSL? And here's the crucial thing--he did it almost entirely off his ZvZ. Despite Calm and Jaedong not playing their best games in those series, ZerO's advancement to the finals is definitely more a testament to his solid play rather than the mistakes of his opponents. And in the finals, his oft-touted ZvT will be put to the ultimate test against, well, the Ultimate Weapon. Regardless of who wins, I assure you now that it will definitely be the match to watch.
As a final note for this entry, check out ZerO's ZvZ statistics in standard games. As many people have pointed out in the past, his ZvZ unerringly hovers right at the 50% mark. In fact, if you removed the two ZvZ series he played against Calm and Jaedong... he'd be right at the midway point. Of course, winning those two series means he's now above the line. Is this the start of something?
As I see it, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Bisu's play recently. However, I can't place him above ZerO for this month. Since May was a month deprived of professional Brood War matches, Bisu hasn't been able to showcase his skill. And there's the kicker--individual leagues matter, whether you like it or not. Yes, Bisu was placed above Flash last month even though Flash was still in the MSL while Bisu wasn't (Flash was even the direct cause of Bisu's elimination), but they still played a similar number of games. With the lack of Proleague this month though, Bisu has played far less games than both Flash and ZerO, and as such I can't place him any higher than 3. Still though, him being this high is indicative of his remarkably consistent play over this year--and perhaps come next MSL, he'll be a bit... luckier in his group placement.
The easy rankings are done. The remainder of this Power Rank is filled with those who have played well but aren't in individual leagues and those who are (were) in individual leagues but haven't played well. The hardest decision for me this month is ranking Neo.G_Soulkey above Jaedong. On one hand, the most salient point for Jaedong occupying the fourth slot is that he made it to the semifinals, while Soulkey was eliminated in the octafinals. Yes, that is important--but I think that comparing Soulkey's and Jaedong's proleague records gives a better story. Soulkey was undefeated in Round 5 until Stars' last match, where he lost to Bogus in the Ace match after defeating him in the set beforehand. As for Jaedong... well, I'll talk about it below. As of right now, I would say that Soulkey is performing better than Jaedong is. Does that mean I think he's better than Jaedong? Of course not. He's simply playing the better game of Starcraft right now. It's a shame Soulkey didn't go further in the MSL, though there will be another one (as well as OSL) starting soon.
This hasn't been a good month for Jaedong, and I feel slightly guilty about it. Of course, immediately upon feeling guilt I tell myself that curses don't exist unless your name is Kim Carrier. Then I go eat until my pants don't fit anymore (Dilbert reference). No, but really--after an amazing April, Jaedong seems to have slipped during May. Despite making it to the semifinals of the ABCMart MSL, I haven't been impressed with Jaedong's play as a whole. Yes, he 2-0ed the Group of Death in stunning fashion, and managed to hold off Reality's wacky tactics. Still though, I think with better execution Reality could have won the series, and Jaedong's play against Grape did not impress me. As a Jaedong fan, this month has been slightly sad.
On a more positive note though, I can draw some happiness from the parallels of professional tennis. While Federer has been stymied in his attempts to win his 17th grand slam by Nadal and Djokovic over and over recently, one can never discount him or shove him aside, as he will always be a major threat. Such is the same with Jaedong--he's down for the count right now, but he's not truly out.
I hope the Tyrant will back up that last statement in the next set of individual leagues.
Credit will be given where credit is due. Hydra's sweeping of Mind after losing the first set was nothing short of spectacular, and because of that he did make the semifinals. In fact, part of the hype for the now-concluded semifinals match between Hydra and Flash was built off Hydra's series versus Mind. "Weak ZvT? Oh no you didn't!"
And Hydra failed to deliver. I don't care who you're against, for getting swept 3-0 is not redeemable. Set 2 was good, and the first set may be more attributed to Flash's marine split, but I was not impressed with Hydra's decision-making and micromanagement throughout the relatively short series. Apart from his series against Mind, the rest of Hydra's month has been nothing too impressive either.
I may be ragging on Hydra for the second month in a row, but I want to emphasize this: Hydra is not a fluke. You don't see Killer making it to two MSL semifinals in a row now, do you? And you don't see Killer taking out Lee and Bang either. As with many other progamers, Hydra needs consistency. TBLS didn't get to where they are quickly--it takes time, and it takes a prolonged period of dominance.
So what will become of Hydra in the future, especially with EffOrt's imminent return? I believe that Hydra will continue to become a stronger and stronger player, but only time will tell.
Amidst the more important matches and his elimination from the MSL Horang2 seems to have been largely ignored for the month. I actually didn't remember his wins over Bisu and Jaedong until I watched the games. Apart from that, he's 7-1 in Proleague for May. While his play is still a bit... quirky, there's no denying that it has been effective, and Horang2 can definitely say that he has played a pretty pivotal role for CJ in this past round.
When Calm and Kal weren't performing in the final round of last season, who stepped up to the plate? Bogus. Compare that to this past round, where Kal still wasn't performing and Calm was more focused on the MSL. Bogus stepped up again, and though he hasn't won everything, he's done a very good job of keeping some of STX's dignity. Just take a look at the players Bogus has faced for the past round, especially the most recent. Bogus is the reason Soulkey doesn't have a perfect record for the round. Bogus stopped Jaedong and Sea in Ace matches. Bogus can't do well in individual leagues to save his life (well, I can't really back up that statement since it's pretty hypothetical), but he can definitely save his team in Proleague. Obviously, he isn't playing perfect Starcraft--as his losses to Hydra, Bisu, and firebathero demonstrate. But had he won those he'd be ranked so much higher now, wouldn't he?
I love ACE players, yes I do. I love ACE players, and so do you. At least, you should. With Iris, ggaemo, and firebathero all stepping up their games, ACE has moved away from being the laughingstock of Proleague. Last month Iris stole firebathero's thunder, but this time around it is FBH's turn to shine. Seriously, he's 17-8 in the past three months. That's pretty sick.
The number ten slot always sucks to write, though it's easy this time around since there's only a few contestants, but Movie makes the strongest case (again). He hasn't had the hardest month, but 6-1 is more than most other progamers not in individual leagues could hope for this May.
There was a pernicious fear in the back of my mind at the beginning of March. Jaedong wasn't being... Jaedong. His play seemed sloppy, his execution wasn't stellar... I said that he'd lost his edge. And from that proclamation forward I've been eating my words. I don't know what's changed, but Jaedong's been turning back into the fearsome monster that we know and love. Jaedong is the Tyrant, and this past month-and-a-week has been a rewind to mid-2009. Multitasking. Decision-making. Micromanagement. What. A. Monster.
Remember, in no way is Jaedong playing perfectly--but in a season where it's harder to do well in liquibet than it is to score big on the lottery, this month belongs to Jaedong. Interestingly enough, Jaedong has won this month almost solely off his ridiculously impressive ZvT. However, with the MSL continuing on, and the OSL starting soon, I'm sure we'll be seeing the revival of JvZ and JvP as well.
Choosing between Bisu and Flash is like choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice cream. They're distinctly different, both have their supporting parties, and sometimes you just want both. Or at least, I do because I like the option where you can get the swirl. Anyway, for this Power Rank Bisu barely edges out Flash for the second slot. Both players are currently playing very well (with no obviously glaring faults or shortcomings), and given the paucity of games played in the past five weeks, the salient differences become even more profound. And what it really boils down to is the losses, seeing as both players have shown incredibly convincing wins.
Yes, Bisu did lose to Flash twice in the MSL Round of 32, but both games werethe final set was very close--to the point of a single obstacle being the deciding factor between Bisu winning and losing. Also, even though I like Jaedong more than I like Bisu, I believe that had Bisu gotten the chance to play Jaedong, he would have been advancing. Of course, that is a moot point, and it's one that I won't have to worry about for a while. Besides those two losses to Flash in the MSL, the only other loss was to ZerO in an Ace match--and by Jove that game was ridiculously close, even though Bisu was pretty much doomed when he couldn't deny zerO's expansions. Overall, I currently think Bisu is just playing a cleaner game of Starcraft than Flash is, though once again with sparse data it's really hard to definitively say so. I still think Bisu's PvP is suspect, but since he won the two PvPs he played this month (and what a comeback against Free, even if it was slightly lucky) I can't really fault him on that.
And now that I'm back, eating strawberry ice cream, let's continue with this Power Rank. As I said earlier, I think both Bisu and Flash are playing great Starcraft right now. Truth be told, the deciding factor in ranking Bisu over Flash was Flash's loss to Much. Yes, in the grand scheme of things that was nullified by his Ace win over ggaemo, but really... It wasn't as if Much used some baller sneaky build to win. Flash went for the push, didn't get the Nexus, and lost. In the same sense, Flash just kind of lost to BeSt. Now, I know that BeSt is 5-5 against Flash, but if you consider the form BeSt was in, I'm really surprised that Flash lost that. I'm not going to fault Flash for losing to Jaedong twice, seeing as how Jaedong decided he was going to start being all out of bubble gum again.
Now this may sound like I'm hating on Flash, but I'm not--I'm just trying to highlight the discrepancies between Flash's and Bisu's losses. In no way is he playing poorly--view the series against Really and the games against ggaemo and Hydra as evidence that Flash can still just straight up kill somebody. Still, the major thing that Flash has on Bisu is the fact that he is still in the MSL. And man, if he and Jaedong both make it to the finals again... You may be sick of FvJ, but when there's a golden badge appearing regardless of the winner, that's something that's... actually never happened before. While Flash did beat out Bisu in the Group of Death, and though he's still in the MSL by virtue of slapping Really out of it, this time around I'm going to say that Flash just isn't playing as solidly as I've grown used to. Still, skill manifests itself over time, and I'd expect Flash to overtake Bisu again come next Power Rank.
Are we seeing a resurgence from the Rommel Terran? While he's nowhere on the same level as the first three in this Power Rank, Mind's a clear fourth. The Scholar has played a fantastic month-plus of Starcraft. While I'm not a fan of Mind (I still think he's kind of boring), I can't deny that he's been playing very well recently. His comeback against Light following an amazing first game (even if you aren't a fan of TvT, watch this game--seriously) was nothing short of a smash, what with the star sense in game 2 defending against Light's cheese and then repaying it in kind in game 3. Furthermore, somewhere along the way, Mind seems to have gained the ability to TvP, stomping over all four of his Protoss opponents this month. And in his single TvZ of the month (played last night), Mind had some clutch defensive marine micro to take the game against Hydra. Granted, Hydra played sloppily, but I'm giving credit to Mind where credit is due.
Interestingly enough, with his win over Hydra Mind has set a new ELO peak for himself, breaking into the 2200 club, and is currently the fourth-highest Terran by ELO, after Flash, Fantasy, and BaBy. As if it weren't evident enough that Mind's been on a tear lately, it looks like he's might be breaking into KeSPA top 10 soon (he's 14 right now).
He still kind of scares me though! Does anybody else look at Mind when he's playing and see a serial killer?
The contestants for the next three rankings are all neck-and-neck with one another, and I'm probably going to take some fire for my ordering. In particular, tt seems odd that I'd be putting Soulkey over Leta (and Hydra), especially since Leta and Hydra are the two that have advanced to the quarterfinals in the MSL, but frankly, Neo.G_Soulkey has been more impressive to me than either of them. I'm not discounting the series between the two, though the games were very close--and with the slightest changes could have gone either way. Here's the thing though, outside of the MSL Soulkey has been much more impressive than Leta. Though he hasn't played any ZvP in over a month (his March game against Bisu really impressed me, though he really shouldn't have let Bisu expand), his ZvT is looking as sharp as ever, and his ZvZ is looking solid. Also, Queens. If I had to give accolades to somebody for a single game, it'd be to Soulkey for his stunning use of Queens against Fantasy in the final set of the Round of 32.
This season so far hasn't been Leta's best... though it's definitely getting better. After a disastrous January, Leta's been slowly but surely bouncing back. Though he's only 4-4 in this month-point-two-five, that doesn't tell us the entirety of the story. After an epic series against Neo.G_Soulkey, Leta overcame the scrappy Zerg to advance to the quarterfinals. Honestly though, despite his 3-1 head-to-head over Soulkey recently, Leta's not been holding his weight in Proleague, and his last-night loss to random Protoss P7GAB (Wooki!) shows that his TvP is still... alarmingly bad. Seeing as how Leta did overcome an in-form Soulkey three times this month, I do feel bad placing him below Soulkey--but since that's all that he has over him.
Despite beating Stork to make it to the quarterfinals of the MSL, Hydra has not been impressing me recently. I kind of feel guilty for not writing this a week ago, since if this had been done at the beginning of May Hydra would be rank 4. However, since the start of the month Hydra just has just not been playing well. His micro has been sloppy, and his decision-making slightly questionable. Last night's game against Mind sealed the deal in my mind for Hydra dropping from 4 to 7. That mutalisk micro was just... not good. The real difference between Soulkey, Leta, and Hydra wasn't the matches they played, but how they played them. Leta and Hydra have comparable win/loss ratios and have advanced to the quarterfinals of the MSL, but Soulkey has just shown much more impressive play, and has a better record to boot.
I like Hydra. I'm just sad that he's not playing as sharply as he should be. Luckily, he'll have a chance to redeem his ZvT in his MSL quarterfinals match against Mind, and I'm looking forward to that match..
ZerO is still ZerO. And that's why we love him, right? There are consistent players who are boring, defined by those like RorO... and then there are are players like ZerO. Wildly inconsistent, with wickedly wild highs and dastardly dismal lows. Beat Bisu, lose to Jaehoon--the epitome of ZerO. He does get points for taking a ZvZ series 2-0 to make it to the quarterfinals of the MSL, even if it is over hero. Seriously though, if ZerO ever wants to get back in to the upper tiers of the PR, he'll need to start demonstrating some much-needed consistency.
I love it when ACE players do well, and I'm very happy for Iris. While the players he's faced hasn't been the cream of the crop, they're still respectably good players. Here's to ACE sweeping the rest of the Proleague season. Seriously, if ggaemo, firebathero, and Iris could all simultaneously get their games together, think about just how strong Air Force ACE could be.
Oh the curse of the tenth spot, especially in a month where there weren't many games played. Other solid candidates for this slot included Fantasy, FBH, and BaBy... but out of four Movie's balance between looking good and being able to produce results is the best. He's got some solid wins over Midas, ggaemo, and ZerO and only one loss to boot. Granted, being as he didn't make it into the MSL, he didn't play that many games, but I'm liking Movie's form right now.
Okay, so that 'great post' went much better than I thought it would. And now that the first of April (in Korea, at least) has passed us by, let's get down to the real Power Rank.
And rest assured, Romaniansnetizens of teamliquid, Power Rank will not be abandoning Brood War for as long as I write it.
Oh yes--shout out to tree.hugger for his advice on how to write the "great post" PR.
Now then, down to business. With so much happening, this has turned out to be yet another interesting month to be writing PR.
Flash has been overtaken by Fantasy in KeSPA ranking for the month of April, and he's lost more this month than in previous months. So what? He's still the best player in the world. While I think he could have had better decision-making, especially in his matches against BaBy and Calm, there's nothing in his play that would indicate weakness. I'd still pick Flash over anybody in a BoX, where X is any odd positive integer.
Honestly, the precedent Flash has set for the Brood War proscene in the past year and a half has been so strong that it will take something completely monumental (such as getting knocked out of both MSL and OSL) to drop him. And while I don't think that's very likely, the individual leagues are coming back again now. Perhaps this season somebody will finally beat Flash in a series. Who knows?
Ladies and gentlemen, you're looking at KeSPA's new #1, and no, it is not a joke cooked up by KeSPA, despite the date of the thread. Fantasy has been playing some great Starcraft. I'm still not as impressed with his play compared to that of Flash's, but I guess that's why Flash is still #1 (de facto).
For these past two months since his OSL victory over Stork, Fantasy has been quietly showing us that it wasn't just a fluke. Did you know he was 12-4 for March? I sure didn't. We were all eager to jump on him for his random loss to Horang2 at the beginning of February, but in the following weeks Fantasy became something else. After the February 1st match where Hydra cleaned up SKT, Bisu started playing worse...
And Fantasy picked up the slack. For the past two months, he's been not his usually wacky self. Fantasy has become a very solid player again, reminiscent of the Ace that led SKT to Proleague gold in the 08-09 season.
Of course, "solid" doesn't always mean the same thing as "damn good". I'm not saying there's anything missing in his play: his vulture micro is as good as ever, and it does seem like his MnM control is improving. But, similar to Bisu in Proleague this season, Fantasy's had some trouble against better players--and this is something he'll have to get over if he wants to help his team take out OZ and KT on the way to WL gold. Truth be told, I don't think anybody this month played Starcraft on a phenomenal level (the top four come close), and Fantasy's case is the same. This second spot position is partly earned, partly given because Jaedong and Stats couldn't hold it up at the end.
Then again, had Fantasy won those crucial games against, say, Jaedong and Stats, he'd easily take the top spot this month. WL isn't over yet though, and he'll have his chance to get his revenge.
Finally beat an S-class player this month! And not just one, but two (interestingly enough, this month marked the first time Jaedong beat Stork in a PL game and is only the second time he's beaten Bisu in PL). Well, three, if you count Fantasy as an S-class player. So 2.5, maybe?
Either way, Jaedong has finally, finally started to play some better Starcraft. Yes, I'd like to see some more Hive-oriented macro play, but if you're Jaedong playing against Bisu and Bisu only makes one cannon, of course you're going to take the opportunity. It's the same deal as his game with Stork: the hydra bust certainly wasn't meant to be all-in as he was expanding; it just happened to work so well it won the game.
However, watch Jaedong's games versus TurN and Fantasy. Then tell me with a straight face that Jaedong's macro game is lacking. And if you can do that, I'll slap you and tell you that you're lying, since it is not. After months and months of worrying (from me and the rest of you Dong lovers out there), it seems that Jaedong's started to pull himself back up. It's depressing that he didn't finish the reverse-AK against SKT (at the end, s2 asked Jaedong if he was mad, y'know?), but Jaedong did pick up the AK on KHAN.
The aura is back. I feel it in the air. Jaedong's opponents feel it in the booth. Starleagues have returned, and I do hope for some Jaedong vs Flash in the finals.
2, 3, and 4 were very hard to rank, even with Stats losing 0-2 in the MST--each candidate had his own salient points and drawbacks. In actuality, if Stats hadn't been knocked out of the MSL he'd easily be sitting in the #2 spot, though ending the month on a less-than-awesome note does hurt, so that's why Stats is 4. Though I don't want to delve into it too far, let's take a look at his hit list for the month. Three-kill. All-kill. Consecutive All-kill. In his two all-kills, Stats demonstrated some damn good Starcraft in all three matchups. If Jangbi is known for his storms, I'd say that Stats is known for his baller stasises (what a plural! Should it be stases?) in PvT. If you don't agree with me, watch his games against Fantasy and Light--both are intense till the very end (sans Fantasy bad GG timing), featuring high-level play from both sides. In PvZ, one needn't look further than Stats' spectacular defense against ZerO's hydra bust--especially since Stats went for a goon rush, of all things. And in PvP, his army control (especially those reavers) and general baller status (assisted by Darchons) allowed him to score the back-to-back AKs.
In hindsight, I feel dumb for not having Stats on PR the month before... But I've made so many "off the list to #4" jumps already that one more can't hurt. I absolutely cannot wait to see Stats in action against either SKT or OZ in the WL Grand Finals.
Last time an ACE player made the PR was when Anytime was ballin' it up back in February of 2009.
And dear lord, FBH is killing it right now. He's 13-3 for March and qualified for MSL with a clean 2-0, and even though his list isn't that impressive that doesn't mean anything.
Before we continue on talking about FBH, I want to explain why he's 5 and BaBy is 6, and not the other way around. For one, Lee Sung Eun has brought his team back from the brink of despair, helping to clinch the final set against Hite and reverse-3killing (and nearly reverse-AKing) FOX. While this traditionally wouldn't mean too much for another team, the fact that FBH is an ACE player (and it's hard practicing on ACE without practice partners) and maintaining such a good record means quite a bit to me. Sure, he's not on the level of Flash or Fantasy, but his play has been impressive in its own right. Especially his TvP, once considered to be among the worst for progamers. And damn, is his MnM play sexy. Still, I think the pressure on FBH to perform is heavier than it is on BaBy--and this step up by FBH is much better than Baby, since we've seen that BaBy can step his game up when needed (but doesn't seem to do so all too often). Furthermore, this month shows that FBH isn't gone yet--he's definitely broken out of that terrible losing streak that had been plaguing him all till March. Being qualified for MSL while BaBy is knocked out in the prelims is a big factor in FBH's favor as well.
FBH if definitely nowhere as scary as the players above him, but scare isn't the only thing factored into this. Results matter, and, in this case, respect. I've always joked about FBH's play, and I've kind of ragged on him a bit in the past. But watching his games this past month, I've had nothing but respect for the man.
So welcome FBH back to the Power Rank, everybody. I want to say that he'll be here for a while, and I do hope that he will be. Let's see if he can bring the heat in the MSL and the upcoming OSL-remake.
BaBy is such a frustrating person to keep track of, in more than one sense of the phrase. On some days, he absolutely kills his opponents, going on random streaks of ownage. And on others, he gets wiped by random players. Consistency matters, but in a month where I don't really consider many people to be playing that well (really only the top five in this PR plus BaBy) BaBy's had a really good time. I'm not sure he'll be able to maintain this in the long run or Starleagues (especially since he got eliminated in the preliminaries of the MST by Dear), but BaBy provides a really good example of how scary fast hands and excellent multitasking can be when utilized properly.
I want to bring his game vs ZerO into question. While BaBy didn't win that game, he showcased such amazing lategame drop play. And I agree with swanized--had it been anybody but ZerO (and ZerO was playing quite a good game) BaBy's multitasking would have completely trashed his opponent. As it ended up, ZerO won that game, but it was a very close, very tense match until the very end.
One thing BaBy really has going for him is the high note he ended on, with pretty sick wins over Stork and Flash. Actually, against Stork he pulled something that I normally expect of D+ ICCup players: turrets under Ebays, anybody? His game against Flash also featured a pretty innovative (slightly silly, but still pretty original) contain strategy, but I feel that game was as much BaBy's win as it was Flash's loss--I don't understand why Flash would try to bust out so early when he had the higher production capability.
Overall though, still a good month for BaBy, especially compared to the rest of this season and the play of other progamers this month, but there are also quite a few random failures (the crushing in the MST by Dear and the absolute steamrolling by Leta in SWL come to mind). In the end, I'll say the same thing that everybody has been saying about Ty for the past year or so: high skill level, no consistency. If BaBy wants to break into the higher echelons of the PR, he'll have to step his game up another notch, both in PL and the upcoming "MyStarleague".
The next four slots killed me in writing them, since I honestly don't think people other than the six listed above played well in the month of March. Really, I'd be happy if this Power Rank was only six slots total...
Indeed, after not typing a line here for an hour almost, I'd say that this has become more difficult than trying to rank those five #1 candidates two months ago or so. Out of Stork, ZerO, Bisu, and Horang2 three of the four seem to be running on fumes with sporadic bursts of energy, and one has the results.
When nobody remaining to be talked about on the PR has much momentum (besides Horang2?), it's hard to decide, but after much pondering and VOD viewing, I have to give it to Stork. 5-6 is a terrible record, but everybody he's lost to is pretty notorious for being a vP killer, and his play against KT very much impressed me, what with the impressive comeback against Action's hive tech and the insane (yet ultimately useless) defense against Flash. Still, I think Stork is overall scarier right now than ZerO or Bisu (why can't you PvP these days?), and I'd still take him as the favorite over most people. Pick it up please, Stork--I wouldn't say that KHAN needs you to win in order to win matches (as evidenced by earlier rounds...), but as the Ace player, you've got to perform.
His PvZ is still perfect, his PvT is still good, and his PvP is seeming shaky. The same can be said about Bisu for this month as can be said about ZerO and Stork: none of them have really accomplished something, all are kind of letting the team down (Bisu more than the other two, but Fantasy's there), and they all seem slightly shaky in one aspect or another. It's been fanatically hard organizing these three. Luckily, in the upcoming months there will be more games to play...
ZerO is still ZerO. Fantastic ZvT (go watch his game against BaBy if you haven't yet--ZerO's defense is absolutely insane), great ZvP (now complete with five straight kills against Stork), and bad ZvZ. ELO-wise, ZerO is still second in the ZvT and ZvP category, though I suppose that speaks more of his consistency (which still matters here on the PR). Still, ZerO seems to be sputtering along, not really producing results. His frenetic highs are balanced out with a few defining lows, such as not pressing a Hydra bust home, and being unable to muta-micro against s2. With the MSL coming up, I hope that he decides to kick his game up a notch.
I think Oystein said it best. If I were going more off of results, I'd put Horang2 at 7 and shift Stork, ZerO, and Bisu down...
But Horang2's play doesn't impress me. When I watch him play I don't go "wow, Horang2!". It's just that in a month where even the star players aren't performing that well, you've got to fill the end of the PR with something, and I suppose a 2-0 in the MST over Afrotoss and Shine (as well as going 4-1 in SWL this month with a 3-kill against KHAN) counts for something.
Alright guys, let's be serious here. With the advent of new leagues (GSL is not the only tournament for us to judge the players now!) we now have enough information to objectively start an SCII Power Rank. So from this month forward PR is transitioning to SCII, and will no longer be covering Brood War. The transition won't be seamless though, so bear with us--we're still trying to get the SCII TLPDs linked up so we can get some actual pictures in here.
That being said, with this being the first SCII PR, there is quite a backlog of data available to us. As usual, recent events are going to factor most heavily into a player's ranking.
So for #1, we have Flash. That's right guys, Flash hasn't transitioned (offically) to SCII yet, but we here at Teamliquid are confident that the moment he switches over, he'll be just as unstoppable as he is in Brood War. Simply put, he's the best in the world, and everybody else will be quaking in their boots when Flash hits the stage. In fact, Flash will be so debilitating on everybody else's psyche that clearly the only solution will be for every other SCII progamer to retire.
This dude won two GSLs. That's 100% more than the each of the three other champions have won, and an infinite, I repeat, infinite, percentage more than any other SCII progamer. Wow!
That being said, it's really not that much of a surprise that somebody like MC would win two GSLs. After all, he has all the necessary ingredients, including but not limited to: 4gate, DT cheeses, and Void rushes. In this day and age, SCII is not a perfectly balanced game yet, and we all know it. Because of that, right now the people who win are those who can abuse the obvious superiorities in their race, and MC has done very well in doing that. That's not to say he isn't a good player--in fact, quite the contrary! He has to be an amazing player to accomplish what he's done. But this aggressive style makes you wonder...
If, say, BitByBit had gotten a bit luckier, would he also hold two golds?
I had to deliberate for a while about who to put in this third slot. And then it hit me like a solar flare. I felt as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.
Anyway, Supernova gets the bronze for this inaugural SCII Power Rank. After all, he took a silver Code A GSL. And might I mention that it's much, much harder to advance in Code A than in Code S? Remember what I said about aggressive players? Let's say that Code S is the cheese that accompanies a fine wine--delicate, refined, and oh so delicious. Well then, Code A is the entire cheese wheel, rampantly rolling down a hill at uncontrollable speeds. Yep, the GSL Code A is the home of the aggressive, cheesing players. 4gates, baneling busts, and 3rax all-ins thrive here, and the good ol' macro game that we Brood War viewers are so used to is like the dinosaur--extinct. Logically, since it's so hard to prepare and defend against cheese, it takes a really skilled player to get through not one, but four rounds of intense games.
Oh yeah, Supernova also won the recent FXOpen. Which, as you know, is not a Korean tournament. That means that the Koreans who play in it will suffer intense lag, and thus will lose because they can't micro their marines.
Clearly, with this long list of achievements, Supernova deserves his spot on the Power Rank. I'll be looking forward to watching him play in the future. He'll definitely be KT's next up-and-coming terran.
This spot on the Power Rank goes to a Protoss. And San plays Protoss. And Protoss is so hard to play. Oh yeah he got to the semifinals of a GSL Code S, which only two other Protoss (MC and HongUnPrime) have managed to do. Ample justification? I think so.
Try looking up DIMAGA in the SCII Korea TLPD. You won't find him. Now, go look up DIMAGA in the International Database. That's right. 28 achievements.
Does MC have this many? I think not. What about Fruitdealer? Nope. HyperDub? Are you smoking something?
Basically, DIMAGA is hot stuff. If he were in Korea, he'd be killing the GSL. I mean, take a look at his recent results. Not two days ago, he took out NesTea, former GSL champion, in the GSL World Championship. Extrapolate this, and you've got DIMAGA dominating the world.
He's faster (at microing) than a frantic Hyuk, more powerful than a bucket of chicken, and able to ski down snowy slopes at speeds too great for somebody to snap a photo of his red-and-green jumpsuit outfit. After two long years of consuming watermelon and zerglings, July is back on the Power Rank! Hear ye, hear ye all, and rejoice! If there's one thing SCII has been great for above all else, it's that it's allowed so many of the old BW champions to take to the skies again. While July didn't win the most recent GSL, he did get the silver. And everybody knows silver will be more valuable than gold one day.
Or so StorkYellOw hopes.
How many white people have made Code S? I don't know the exact number but I'm sure it's not many! And now our pillow-loving Huk has joined them, and he's here to stay. All you haters thought he was going to stay relegated to Code A, but no, Huk brought the PvP that day and took out Choya. Never mind the fact that he lost to InCa--InCa is pretty darn good at that matchup, mind you. Here at Teamliquid we like our own players, and we're especially happy when they do well. Here's to tearing up Code S, Huk!
Okay, Nada hasn't really won anything yet in Korea yet, but he did come really close to beating July in this last GSL. But when we look at the TSL3, it's a whole different story. NaDa is one of three (out of thirteen) Asian invitees left after the brutal first round. Going along on the same train of thought that we used for giving Supernova his spot, I think NaDa deserves this just for being able to combat such severe lag issues.
The only white person to have fully played in two Code S GSLs (Idra doesn't count because he forfeited and left!), Jinro is currently Liquid`'s star player. He's made two semifinals, and is definitely one of the strongest macro Terrans in this age of low-econ play. He'd be higher up on this ranking if only he hadn't lost in the first round of the TSL. Alas, nobody's perfect. Expect Jinro to climb once he wins the next GSL Code S over Huk. Or perhaps it'll be the other way around.
Two players--the best PvTer and the second-best ZvTer--in two months have beaten Flash. Stork won his game with quite the innovative attack, and ZerO triumphed over mech with queens. Other than that, eighteen other players have tried and failed to bring down Flash. Fantasy had a chance, Bisu came close, Mind came closer, but other than that, Winners League is Flash's domain. With the exception of Flash vs Leta, which I daresay is one of the worst professional TvTs I've ever seen, I can't say I've seen any "bad" games from Flash. Combining lethal cheeses with his trademark polished mechanics, Flash is the pinnacle of Starcraft.
Who saw this coming? Seriously. Who thought that this new season would showcase the outbreak of yet another amazing Zerg from CJHite? Hydra has literally gone from zero to hero in these three months, and the only reason he's not #1 on this Power Rank is those three random losses to Killer, Action, and Sea right after taking the MSL gold. Of course, I don't fault him for that--Champion's curse, you know? Move over JvZ, HvZ (27-13) is currently the new vogue--if you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, go watch the series against Jaedong. While his zerglings may not be as effective, Hydra's muta/scourge control is absolutely ridiculous. Furthermore, Hydra's vP is also quite the force to be reckoned with as well (13-3 this season), as evidenced by his win over Bisu (who's only lost to three Zerg players this season so far). Has Hydra figured out what it takes to beat the seemingly unstoppable zealot attacks coming from Protoss players as of late?
Though I'm giving him the praise he deserves, in no way is Hydra "perfect" yet. While his ZvZ and ZvP skills have increased by quite a bit, his ZvT is as of yet still pretty untested, though I'm sure he'll have the chance to prove himself in the upcoming months.
sAviOr, EffOrt, and now Hydra--the CJ Zerg line continues. While EffOrt was never really able to step out from under Jaedong's shadow, Hydra is looking like he's ready to be the next Zerg to sit atop the throne of the swarm.
Bisu and Jaedong are similar in the sense that both are having trouble against top-tier players (Jaedong a bit more than Bisu). And for that reason (and one more that I'll talk about a bit below), I'm hesitant to call Bisu truly S-class right now. On paper, he's got everything he needs--"BvZ" is perhaps one of the strongest forces to be reckoned with, his PvT is looking solid (there still seems to be something lacking from his games, but one can't argue with results), and his eight losses in PvP have come exclusively from Kal and Stork. However, Bisu is like an unmade cake. He's got all the necessary ingredients, it's just that they aren't mixed together and baked to perfection. And the frosting is missing--let's be honest here, when's the last time you've looked at an individual league and gone "wow, Bisu is dominating"?
What with this month having the New Year break and February already being the shortest of months, there's not a lot of data to go off of for most players--not Bisu, who's 10-4 in the month of February. While he's definitely looking strong, there's still a gap between "remarkably solid" and "wow I'm blinded by amazement" that Bisu needs to bridge. If he can keep his current form, I'm sure he'll do better in individual leagues this spring, but, as always, that's up in the air.
Stork - In my mind, the top ten for this month are all pretty clear, so in that respect it's a lot easier for me to write February's PR than to scribble stuff down for that accursed January edition. However, this month features a distinct difference in caliber--it was hard to rank players last month because everybody was doing so well. Now, for February it seems that outside of the top three, most others (remaining on the PR) are just playing not as well compared to how they were last month.
Choosing between Stork and Fantasy would have been tough if I were writing this PR yesterday, but luckily Fantasy's trademark "what are you doing Fantasy" loss to Reality in the KHAN vs SKT match yesterday was enough to push Stork past him. And it's not like Stork is doing that well either--he's 4-3 for the month of February. However, let's look past that number: Stork had few chances to pad his win count this month, since the KHAN rookies have really stepped up. Stork's been playing mop-up recently, and he's still doing a pretty good job with it. His wins have been pretty good, and his losses not too implausible (stop playing so greedily versus Terran?), but simply due to the lack of sample size it's very hard to justify placing Stork over Bisu this month.
There are three players in the proscene that make me instinctively want to "lol what's going to happen now", and Fantasy is one of them. Fantasy on his game is scary as hell, and Fantasy off his game is a facepalm waiting to happen. February is yet another great month for exhibiting that. Fantasy's 6-3 looks pretty respectable, especially with the AK against FOX, but if you've watched the games where he's played against Horang2, Calm, and Reality, if you're anything like me you find yourself going "what're you smoking, Jung Laden?" Out of all the progamers, I do believe Fantasy is the best example of one who can simultaneously makes wins look ridiculously convincing and losses look ridiculously silly. Mind comes close, but Fantasy is definitely the king of this.
Still, his standard play is looking quite solid right now. While I enjoy his random antics from time to time (man that playoff game against by.hero last season...), I kind of wish he would stick to strengthening his standard play, since I think that would bring him to a whole new level.
I dislike writing this, so I'm going to keep it short. As far as HiyA goes, I have just one short statement. One: there's no bigger troll in the proscene right now. Seriously? I'm happy for you and your 10-4 this month, HiyA, but why couldn't you have done this during the first two rounds where it actually mattered more? Make no mistake, HiyA's looking remarkably good this WL, and in terms of winrate he's holding the position of "OZ's best player". What?
This might just be a fluke. For the sake of ESPORTS (And OZ's chances at playoffs) I hope it's not. The remainder of Winners League and the next round of OSL/MSL will shed some light upon the conundrum that is Koosh.
This is the first month in who knows how long that Jaedong has not occupied a spot in the top five, and this is the firstsecond (thanks Cpadolf) time in history that another OZ player has ranked above Jaedong in the Power Rank. Yep, I'm so for these historical moments, but as a Jaedong fan, this isn't one of those happy ones. You know, this is also one of those months that I'll remember as one of those "Jaedong loses more than often" months. For the Tyrant, 6-6 is definitely not impressive, especially considering who he went up against. In February, considering his series against Hydra as a net loss, the best player Jaedong's beaten has been Sea. Mortality says it best--Jaedong is not playing like the S-class beast we know and love right now. Instead, he's being an S-class indicator--once again in February, Jaedong has failed to win against any other strong player. I mean, Light and Bisu just rolled him hard and Jaedong very nearly lost to Snow again. Last month I might have been being a bit sensationalist, but you can't argue that something is amiss with Jaedong. I'm just hoping that he's able to pick up the pieces he's dropped in the next few months.
Being an MSL finalist counts for something, and great gets his PR spot from that (it's definitely not from his shoddy WL record). But let's be honest here--despite making it to the finals, he had a decently easy road. Action's ZvZ is all sorts of mlah. Yes, taking Kal out in PvZ means something, but not that much considering the state that Kal's been in for the past two months now. And while we all fawn over hive tech, it doesn't make his ZvZ great (oh so punny). While great's ZvZ is oh-so-fun to watch, it's still not entirely awesome until he stitches it all together. That first game against Hydra in the finals was epic, but it was more due to Hydra's shortcomings (which he fixed in the second game). Once great patches up hivetech ZvZ (and cuts out the antics like mass burrowed zergling), then we'll take a better look at him.
And now we get down to the two ranks that are hard to fill. I don't know about you, but I think Killer's been playing really darn well. His list for February is pretty impressive, considering he's only lost to Sea and Bisu (both those games were silly, yes). But you know what really is the kicker? His last game against Sea wins him this spot from me. That death stare? The defiler control? Wee Jaedong?
Went back and rewatched some Snow games. Kid's looking strong. Though it wasn't in February, Snow notched a strong 3-kill against Stars and nearly managed to knock down Jaedong again this month. Still, small sample size makes it hard to determine how he's actually doing, but the games that he has played promise us much much more for the month to come.
There are quite a few viable candidates for #1. Five, to be exact. If that weren't bad enough, after the one slot has been taken, there are still four players vying for the second slot. And three for the third. The main problem with rating these fabulous five is that it's very tough to compare them impartially, and there are countless arguments for and against any given ordering.
Part of me just wants to go with permutated luck, and hope that that 1/120th chance strikes concordance with a majority of you PR readers.
Yeah, right. Honestly, if I were given the choice, I'd just list all these guys as #1. There's a perfectly good argument for each and every one, but that can't be the case. So, I guess I've got to get nitpicky.
There's a fine line between achievement and hotness, right? Power Rank has always sought to find and pinpoint where each progamer lies upon that line, and it's such an ever-shifting line. I mean, sometimes it's not even a line. For this month, Flash has no individual league achievements. Having been knocked out of OSL and MSL in mid-December, he's been relegated to Winner's League for now.
So really, in that sense Flash has no achievements. His play that got him knocked out of the OSL/MSL was not up to par, and we wondered if he would go into a slump.
But no, Flash (along with others, yes, but for the sake of this narrative!) has decided to make Winner's League his personal jungle gym--there's a reason KT is undefeated, you know. If you've been watching the games (as any informed PR frequenter should be), can you honestly tell me that the Flash of January is still demonstrating the lackluster play that got him eliminated from the leagues? No, you can't. As overpriced as he is in FPL, Flash is delivering. He's not had the chance to All-Kill yet, but you can't fault him--he doesn't get sent out first, and the other members on his team are more than capable of picking up a kill or two.
However, Flash hasn't failed the team in its time[s] of need. Starting off the season with a phenomenal reverse 3-kill against SKT (scalping Fantasy, Ssak, and Bisu), Flash continued with another 3-kill to take the 4-3 against Hite. And just last night, he did it again. With KT being down 3-1 to MBC, Flash took out Sea, Light, and Jaehoon in what the Live Report threads described (at least the latter two matches) as a "roflstomp". These aren't fluke wins--Flash is playing crazy good Starcraft. The one time Flash has lost in January was to ZerO, and that was in a game where Flash's build wasn't designed for lategame, and an on-fire ZerO took him down before losing to Action.
So there you have it. Flash lacks achievements, but has power. I normally don't like using this quantifier, but who can take Flash in a Bo5 right now? Stork, maybe? That's the problem inherent with this month--we have nothing to go off of. However, in this messed-up scene we're in right now, there's no constant between achievement and power. I mean, Modesty made a semifinal. And especially this month, where the Starleagues are winding down--how many people were left to stake their claim? While I predominantly would say that making the latter rounds of a Starleague signifies good player, sometimes this just isn't the case. Unlike normal Proleague, Winner's League really allows the stars to shine, and this particular star is still shining the brightest.
Let's open with an analogy that I'll run with further on down the PR as well. Let's say that the Brood War progaming scene for the top players is a class, and the only grades consist of random pop quizzes and tests.
Call the average Proleague game a pop quiz, and a BoX series a test. Obviously, it's much harder to prepare for a pop quiz--one can only rely on being up to speed in order to do well. On the other hand, tests are known far in advance, and performances can really differ based on performances. Yes, this is a slightly flawed analogy since not everybody has the "privilege" to take tests, but let's run with it.
So for this month, Fantasy is the kid in the class that doesn't do so well on these pop quizzes, but managed to study and study and study to ace the test. As such, what would his grade be? I wish I knew--if percentages were easy to assign, this Power Rank would be so much easier to write.
But this pretty much does sum up Fantasy's month. He won the big kahuna, taking the OSL gold with a crushing preparation-based victory over Stork. A+ on the test, definitely, even though his road to the final was relatively easy. However, he's been making C's on his pop quizzes, represented by a 6-5 in WL. Granted, his losses have come against people who are good vT [Stork, ZerO, Flash, and yes, Jaehoon (and ggaemo is doing well?)] If we extend this analogy, a "hot" player would be acing both the tests and the quizzes, though few players for the month of December have had the opportunity to take the tests. Nonetheless, I certainly wouldn't say that Fantasy is "hot" at the moment. He can certainly prepare, but his average Winner's League game is lacking. Some of you will say that Fantasy deserves #1 for his OSL title, and some may say that his "hotness" doesn't merit the second slot, but I say that Fantasy gets the benefit of the doubt since he had to divert practice time to the OSL. So at #2 Fantasy stays this month. I honestly don't think he'll be anywhere this high come next month, but I've been wrong so many times this season it's not even amusing anymore.
Also as an addendum I have a quote from Ver that helps this position:
Fantasy played quite well against Calm minus game 1. What's also really important is that Fantasy didn't blunder in the finals and give away a free win, because he did that in both his last two finals.
I don't think there's a single [sane] person on TL who still wants Stork as #1. It's ridiculous how fast somebody can "fall". Stork went from being in a very good position to win both leagues to exiting both hard with an 0-6 record. A week ago, he was on top of the world, flying high as #1. Nobody else was still in both leagues, and Stork had blazed hard into the 2300 club with an undefeated Winner's League record and a Reverse All-Kill to boot.
The MSL quarterfinals match did a number on Stork. During the first game, ZerO demolished Stork with a crafty build designed to abuse Stork's predictability. No problem, right? No--Stork ended up failing in the second and third games as well. Greedy protoss doesn't pay off, man.
Even after that debacle, I was still looking at Stork as the top candidate, seeing as he was favored to win over Fantasy in the OSL finals. But then it happened again. Stork brought nothing new or innovative to the finals, and instead tried to win by doing his tried-and-true. But Fantasy's ridiculous preparation was too much, and Stork was made to look silly with an 0-3 finish. Stork didn't even play poorly (sans game 2 against ZerO)--he was beaten by exacting preparation. While we can fault him for not preparing enough himself (not even attending WL to practice for MSL?), it's way more to his opponent's credit than his own discredit that he lost those series--and don't forget that Stork actually had the "chance" to fail, compared to others. Regardless of his individual league failures, Stork is still 10-1 in WL (getting revenge on Fantasy last night in the 7th set), comparable to that of the "only-WL people".
Stork is that kid that's naturally talented. He doesn't study, and does well on the pop quizzes. However, come test time, he can't deliver. Yes, I dropped Fantasy for his random failure at the end of December, but that was Fantasy failing across the board. I think Stork had way too strong of an earlier month (compared to everybody else), and even making it to a final (taking silver) and a quarterfinal means way more than to those who couldn't even get into the later rounds of even a single league.
I'm going to shield myself here real fast. Here's a disclaimer: remember that this isn't a "real" 4 placement. I honestly think of it more as a 1.3. SomeMany of you are going to rage at me and cry indignantly, "Why is Bisu this low?" I'm going to compare Bisu to Flash and Stork this month. Bisu is similar to Flash in that they're both out of both leagues but are stomping Winner's League to the ground. Bisu is 15-2 while Flash is 12-1. That's pretty comparable. Bisu has 3 All-Kills (in a row, no less), and Flash has numerous three-kills, but as stated above that's because Flash never had the chance to all-kill. On the other hand, Stork is also doing well in WL, as stated above. In that aspect, he's on par with Bisu, but he had the league runs, which pushes him over Bisu. wait, but Bisu isn't given the same treatment as Flash. Yes, one hundred percent correct. You know why? While Bisu has had a monster tear in WL this month, he's been mostly "pubstomping". While Bisu's beaten mostly everybody, he's been having trouble against the best players, and the head-to-head matters. Bisu couldn't stop Stork (0-2ed out of MSL and then later lost to him in PL) and he was unable to beat Flash. Without the league runs or the high-profile wins, I can't justify placing Bisu over any of the top three, though he's still looking ridiculously good right now.
I actually don't have much to say about the Tyrant this month. Statistically, he's performing at his normal levels, but I definitely think something's amiss--Jaedong still seems mortal. Yes, he's into the MSL Semifinals, but he barely squeaked past Snow to get there. There's two sides to this argument. One is that Jaedong is struggling. His ZvP doesn't seem as strong as it used to be (losing to Violet and just rolling over and dying to Stork?) and that he had a really rough time against Snow. I don't like that one. Instead, I say that Snow played a series far above his supposed level, a great series. If you haven't watched it, please go do so. As Harem says, "Bisu and Stork can only dream of that harass that Snow had [in that series]." In any case, what I think it boils down to is that Snow reinforced the opinion that Jaedong's current ZvP is beatable. Jaedong's still carrying his team in WL and is in the MSL semifinals, but if you had to compare Jaedong of now and Jaedong of a year ago, present Jaedong is not anywhere near as good, nor as scary. Still, Jaedong is Jaedong, and Jaedong is scary. I don't see anything too wrong or abnormal with his play--just that the edge is gone. And missing that, he just seems like a completely different person.
Hydra is EffOrt reincarnated. It's kind of refreshing. While he's not on the same kind of tear he was last month, Hydra is still a force to be reckoned with. He's still ELO peaking. Ridiculous. Hydra still doesn't "wow" me, but he's so solid (no jokes no jokes) that I can't help but be impressed with his gameplay (oh that sentence came out so wrong). His 3-0 over Calm in the MSL puts him into the semis against Jaedong hiimself, and this is definitely going to be a match to watch. At 8-5 his WL stats aren't so bad either, and while I can't say there's anything revolutionary or brilliant about his play (Hydra is the definition of "standard") he's winning. Style's nice, (firebathero!) but if you can win, isn't that better?
Let's go back to that analogy I made up way back when. So ZerO is like Fantasy--he's also one of those kids that can prepare well for tests but fails at pop quizzes. He's in the MSL semis by completely out-thinking and out-playing Stork (sick sick build game 1--go watch it if you haven't) but he's still not holding his own in WL. Granted, his ZvT is still looking really good (he's the only person to beat Flash in WL so far) but it seems his ZvZ has gone back to being shaky. I wish he'd start playing better in Winner's League, but then again it's funny watching swanized post.
Whoops I totally forgot Snow on my first run over this... No clue how that happened. Anyway, Snow makes his way onto the Power Rank this month not because he won a series, but because he played the series in question. Seriously, his five games against Jaedong were amazing--everybody expected Snow to just roll over and die, but Snow played brilliantly. He macroed well, harassed like a champion, and stretched the Tyrant to his limits. While he's not doing that well in WL, his sensational play in the MSL is enough to land him a spot on the Power Rank as well as a seed for the next MSL.
Bogus is being bogus, and destroying people's anti-teams. That's bogus. Surprisingly, Bogus has been doing very well in Winner's League (while the rest of STX seems to be slumping a bit?), and is playing some very solid games. With three-kills against KT and CJ under his belt and losses only to Flash, Jaedong, and Bisu, Bogus is looking pretty darn good right now, and is shaping up into the reliable terran that STX desperately needs.
It's sad we won't be able to see him play for a very long time, since the Violet of 2011 Winner's League was looking very strong indeed. He started out the round by straight up trashing Jaedong, then turned that into a three-kill against OZ (but was stopped from all-killing by Magikarp). Similarly, he nearly all-killed STX as well, but was stopped by Bogus. We here at teamliquid will miss you, Violet. Get better quickly!
Before I started writing this Power Rank, I happened to take a trip back in time, scrolling through Power Ranks of months and years past. The novelty of this New Year's Power Rank is definitely not lost on me. The last time a Protoss sat atop the highest rank was May 15th, 2009. Since then, with a few exceptions, it's been... Flash and Jaedong.
But not this month. Considering the few, ahem, mishaps Progamers F and J have had in December, it's high time that we elected a new king. And by elected, I mean I decided. And by king, I mean Stork. Being one of three left in both leagues, the time is now for Stork to take his second gold... or seventeenth million silver. And he's certainly playing at a championship level. Though I'm still hesitant to say that Stork would be favored over a good PvP player, his PvZ is definitely getting closer to SvJ (that is, Stork vs Jaedong) level. And need I even talk about his PvT? As Waxangel says, "Forget JvZ, Stork vs Terran is the new vogue". Look at it this way: the only Terran that Stork has lost to this season has been Flash. Sick. Whether it be with carriers (Storkriers? Storks? Some other bird name that sounds like Carrier that can be used to make a bad pun?) or arbiters, or even simply with ground-based armies, Stork has made mincemeat out of all the Terran opposition.
For this month at least, placing Stork in the top seat is pretty unquestionable. He's got the record--13 wins and 3 losses (with one loss against Shine made inconsequential by tiebreaker domination)--and he's showing the skill needed to back it up. With both leagues open to him, let's see if everybody's favorite dinosaur can keep it up. He's even said he's going to actually cut down on the cell phone games to practice for OSL.
A few more points of trivia: as mentioned above, it's been a very long time since a Protoss was #1, and almost that long since a Protoss has been in the top two (June 12th, 2009). But it has been an eternity since Protoss have occupied both the 1 and 2 slot in the Power Rank, and it's fitting that they were, well, Stork and Bisu.
So, for the first time since December 14th, 2008, two Protoss sit in the two highest slots. Stork sits at 1, and Bisu at 2 for a pretty stellar month. Despite starting off the month with his first two losses in Proleague (against Kal and Action) for the season, Bisu has made a point of taking down everybody else he has played. I guess you could call this Bisu's month of revenge, since he smashed Iris in Proleague and 2-0ed his way out of the MSL Group of death with some immaculateplay against Shine and Kal, his nemeses. While he's out of the OSL, Bisu is looking better and better for the MSL, considering that there are so many zergs left. His PvZ is looking scary indeed, since he took down ZerO and then Jaedong pretty easily, and he hasn't lost yet in PvT this season.
I'm sure some Bisu fans will be asking "well, why isn't Bisu #1 then?" Honestly, even though Bisu's had some very impressive wins, in some games I'm just not quite seeing it yet. He's definitely looking much stronger and more solid as of late, but he doesn't seem to have what Stork has right now. After all, I don't think Bisu can play cell phone games and dominate with carriers, now can he?
What, another Protoss? Yes yes, last time it happened was November 10th, 2008. Incidentally, there's only been one tripling (ranks 1, 2, and 3) of both Protoss and Terran (Flash, Light, Sea on April 4th, 2010) in Power Rank so far. And surprisingly, or not-so- for me, zerg have never had the same dominance. It's been pretty much Jaedong. Sometimes with Effort, once in a while Luxury, but it's always been just Jaedong. They really weren't kidding when they said only one sits on the zerg throne.
Anyway, I originally had Jaedong at three. But when I started writing, something in the back of my mind kept kidney-punching me (try and visualize that now), so I eventually swapped out Jaedong for Kal and my head stopped hurting.
If anybody exemplifies mixed results this month, it's Goojilla. If you look at his December record, it's a paltry 9-9, a flat 50%. However, let's look past this statistic. Kal is still in both leagues, beating Flash to make it into the OSL Ro8 (where he smashed Modesty in their first game today) and taking second prize from the MSL group of death with some incredibleplay over Really and Shine. Honestly, if Kal had lost either his OSL game or not played so well for MSL, he'd be dropped so many ranks. But as it is, there's no denying it--Kal is one of the people to beat in the individual leagues, and is in a good position to win gold.
Despite all the individual league dominance, the #3 Kal of this month is a far cry from that of last month. Last month Kal was steady--he won in MSL, OSL, and in Proleague. This month's Kal... is not so good. He's 4-7 in Proleague. Granted, he's won two Ace matches for the team against great and Bisu, but he's also dropped one to Hydra. With ignominous losses to players like Crazy-Hydra, firebathero, Brave, and Horang2, Kal is definitely letting his team down. Honestly, if Kal were able to perform in Proleague like he does for OSL/MSL, STX would be very hard to stop.
The next two in line on the Power Rank are Jaedong and Flash. After much deliberation, I decided to post Jaedong at 4 over Flash. Granted, the Tyrant hasn't been playing at his best--you could say that his loss against HoGiL that shoved him out of the OSL was one of the worst showcasings of ZvZ decision-making in a long time, but in this time of confusion Jaedong is still scary. Jaedong's place over Flash is definitely one of contention, but given Flash's little slipups in the individual leagues I don't think many people are going to argue with me. Make no mistake though, Jaedong's not had the best month. He's knocked out of OSL, and in Proleague he's letting his team down (wow, can one really say that about OZ?) by not winning the crucial Ace matches. In fact, Jaedong doesn't have a single win over a strong player yet--Bisu, Light, Hydra, ZerO, Stork, and Light again again have all bested Jaedong this season.
Even with all these shortcomings though, I do not feel that Jaedong's time has come. When the other great players started slumping, they pretty much just started losing. To every random scrub. Jaedong is still dominating and dismantling said scrubs. Jaedong still has his death stare. Jaedong still makes Protoss players not Bisu or Stork wettheir pants. Jaedong is still in MSL, and he is still the favorite to win. Even though I am very impressed by the play of those ranked above Jaedong this month, I believe that the Legend Killer will be back.
Flash is 18-2 in Proleague with his only losses coming at the hands of Light and BeSt. Sadly, for the next month or so, Proleague will be Flash's only bragging point. Flash's eliminatation in both the OSL and MSL has already been discussed to death by everybody still following Brood War, and since I've still got the rest of the PR, a long CBNC list, and a brand new shoutouts list to make, I'm going to save a few keystrokes by not talking about it too much. Simply put, Flash didn't play like Flash. I don't know if it's fatigue from overwork, overconfidence/arrogance, or perhaps a secret girlfriend (Nicole~) somewhere, or a combination of the three, but Flash's eliminations are still pretty shocking, and they're powerful enough to demote him down to #5. And the last time Flash wasn't 1 or 2 was October of 2009. Kid's been crazy.
There was speculation that Flash would go into some huge slump after MSL, and his near-loss to Really had people clamoring. However, Flash is still Flash. He took out Leta pretty easily, and even though there was a moment of doubt BackHo fell to the Little Monster as well. Honestly, if Flash continues to dominate, he will make his way back up the Power Rank. I wonder if this is going to help KT at all?
Oh, and since I haven't mentioned it anywhere else: bonjwa. That is all.
Statistically, it's preposterous that Hydra is six. Mirroring Bisu's performance in Round 1, Hydra is undefeated in Proleague for Round 2 with three Ace wins for a nice overall record of 10-0. He smashed through his MSL group by crushing Calm and eating Killer, and even though he's out of the OSL it's not much of his own fault--after all, Modesty is good at ZvZ and Fantasy is, uh, silly. After those two losses, you'd have to travel back to Kwanro to find the last time Hydra lost. And even that was in a Best of 3. Hydra's definitely a different player than the one we all think about. Seriously, if you'd ask me what I remember most about Hydra, it's his 38 drones getting carved up by BeSt's single dark templar in playoffs last year. This Hydra seems more like the EffOrt of old, but his games are still uninspiring. Solid, yes, very solid (Hydra pretty much doesn't cheese? Except for that one game against Fantasy...), but nothing exceptional. Will Hydra continue to power up? I think we're all hesitant to call him truly "great" just yet, but given his currently meteoric rise, I wouldn't be surprised if Hydra became one of the best in the scene in a short period of time.
I'm going to admit, I had Calm here at 7 even before his loss to Mind today in the OSL. That loss made me happy, since it's now much easier to justify this position. Calm's also had a pretty good month. He's still in both leagues (albeit down 0-1 in the OSL now) and is doing well in Proleague (6-1 for the month), but there is nothing there that makes me fear Calm. For the most part, his inability to win against tough opponents (Mind, Hydra, Jaedong, Light, Flash and Bisu) shows that while he's better than the rest, he's still not in the same league as the strong.
I could be totally wrong about Calm though. In the next month, he could smash Mind in the remaining two games with some incredible cerebral play, and I do think he will win against Ssak's subpar TvZ... though one can never forget iloveoov lurking in the shadowsbanana trees. But will that happen? I don't think so. To me, and hopefully to you, Calm is where he belongs, at lucky number 7.
Here's where some of you may disagree with me, as is always the case with the enigmatic Shine. Shine's huge momentum from the earlier part of the season seems to have mostly fizzled out. After riding a huge winstreak all the way into the middle of December, he lost his chance at tying/breaking GoRush's record-setting streak by losing to teammate Mind. Since then, he's gone 4-6--not the best way to finish out the year. In those six losses, Shine finds himself out of both leagues. Though he did play verywell in his MSL group, he just didn't play well enough to beat a very prepared Bisu (that defense was perfect) and his lategame couldn't stand up to Kal's storms. Perhaps this Power rank shall be the last to have Shine on it for a while, though with the scene today who can say what's going to happen. Shine's still done very well for himself and the team by going 12-3 in Proleague (6-1 in December), and now that he's out of the leagues perhaps he'll shift his attention over there now. Expect to see more well-timed rushes against hapless Protoss in the future.
In all the confusion of these past few months, a few players have been kind of forgotten. One of them was by.great, but no longer. While he hasn't been a Proleague star (11-9 isn't an exemplary score by any means) nor a feared individual league champion, he's been slowly and steadily putting together wins. In December, he's started to pull his Proleague score up, going 6-3 (arguably should be 7-2 but he got a bit arrogant against Midas... I blame the map), losing to only the toughest competition. Yes, he's out of OSL because of random 1-hit wonder Afrotoss, but he caused the second-biggest sensation in the MSL with his lategame ZvZ dismantling of Neo.G_Soulkey. Since I'm shameless, read about it here if you already haven't. While I don't see great getting too far in MSL or becoming a Proleague superstar, his solid (and inspiring) play this month earns him a low slot on the Power Rank.
The tenth slot on any Power Rank is hard to choose, though this one wasn't as bad as the others. HoGiL really isn't a "powerful" player, nor does he inspire fear (instead, sounds of "wut" echo through the Live Report threads as Hite_Zerg takes to the stage), but he's generated results far beyond his supposed talent. He made it to the OSL Round of 16, knocking out Stats and ZerO to get there, and even though he didn't make it to the Round of 8 he managed to take down the Tyrant with him. In the MSL, even though fOrGG retired HoGiL still played well enough to beat Midas' 8rax, allowing him the 2-0 out of the group into the Round of 16, where he will most likely beat his teammate Snow. Jaedong fanboys may hate HoGiL, but he still deserves respect for what he's done for the month, and so he deserves the 10th spot. Honestly, it was a really tough choice between RorO, Modesty, Action, Mind and HoGiL--HoGiL won over the other two partially because he's the only one with a winning record in Proleague and partially because he's made it furthest in both leagues on top of that.
In my official position as PR Writer, I will be making a fiat: until there's actually a worthy challenger capable of dethroning Flash, there's really no point in "discussing" what Flash has done. Instead, as long as Flash remains the dominant number one on the Power Rank, I'm going to use this spot to log what new records and achievements he has attained since the last PR. For this month, Flash has set a new vZ ELO Peak of 2346, supplanting Jaedong's 2341. After that, is there anything that Flash has done that really turns heads anymore? I think it says something when Flash's 15-2 record in Proleague doesn't even make me bat an eye, but when he loses two games in a row (make sure to check out his game against Kal in the OSL if you haven't)...
Either way, just another month for our friendly neighborhood bonjwa.
Honestly, at one point Jaedong was very close to losing his spot at #2. Although he was last season's undisputed Ace match master, this time around he's lost more Ace matches than he's won, and his wins have come from the likes of Modesty and Piano, while against the tougher opponents (Stork, ZerO, and now even Hydra), Jaedong has fallen short. After losing to HiyA in the OSL, I was ready to demote Jaedong a rank. However, for Jaedong, something fortuitous occurred. Fantasy, riding a 12-game winstreak (with the most recent victory against ZerO in a sick, sick game), was looking ridiculously strong, but he failed in his OSL match as well, against Modesty no less. Really, Fantasy was currently the only person that could have been a challenger for the #2 spot, and he fell just short.
All in all, Jaedong's 15-5 is still ridiculously strong, and given how everybody else has performed, Jaedong is still a clear-cut choice for #2, but not by as much as before. Jaedong has to step up his game, both against his individual league opponents in the OSL and MSL, but also in Proleague matches. Though really, if OZ keeps getting 4-1ed what does it matter?
As a closing word in Jaedong's section, I'd like to say that a good Power Rank isn't written just with results. The scare factor still plays a huge part in determining a player's position on the list. With that being said, Flash is definitely the player I'd be most scared to play in a match. However, Jaedong by far is still the person I'd be most scared to run afoul of after a match.
Kal may not have the winstreaks like some other players this month, but he's definitely posting the results. On paper, Kal's record of 15-7 since season's start seems slightly worse than that of some others', but if you look closely you can see a very obvious fact: Kal wins when he needs to win. He won against Flash in the OSL. He lost the regular match to Bisu, but took the Ace game in the match against SKT. In the same sense, in the two Best of 3's Kal has played (against Bisu and BaBy), he's gone 2-1 over his opponents to move on. Honestly, I don't have too much to say about Kal, but results and ELO can back up this rank. As the world's best Protoss in terms of KeSPA points and ELO, Kal sits at spot three for this Power Rank.
Shine? Four? What? Where's Fantasy? How many questions have been asked now? Two days ago Fantasy was definitely a lock for 3, even after his failure to Modesty. However, Shine's unprecedented (for him, at least) performance, combined with Kal's dominance and Fantasy's failing, definitely begets a ridiculously high spot on the Power Rank. And so, Shine edges out the Terrorist for spot 4. With a 14-game winstreak under his belt (and still riding it), Shine has bested some of Brood War's top players (Sea and Bisu) multiple times, defeated the rest, and all-ined his way to victory... and relief in the men's room. Currently the player with the fifth highest ELO (second highest Zerg after Jaedong), Shine is ELO peaking in all matchups except for vP, where he is three points shy of doing so.
To put this all in perspective, the longest winstreak in progaming history was GoRush's 16. Shine plays his teammate Mind next, and FOX's next match is against STX. If Shine can win both of those upcoming matches, he'll be in a position to set a record that Flash hasn't yet. Yep, that's right. Shine.
Love him, hate him, whatever. Shine's performance may instir both derision and hate, but his results cannot ignored. And to those of you who read this and feel the urge to flame me, you've fallen into my trap. Pad that comment count!
Fantasy - As noted above, before his OSL match against Modesty, Fantasy was in a position to take the #2 spot from Jaedong. After displaying ridiculous skill in the PL match against Stars where he manhandled Flying and then ZerO in the Ace match, Fantasy was looking scary. He'd rejoined the 2300 club with a new ELO peak, and it seemed the Terrorist was going to continue, well, terrorizing. And then Fantasy decided to lose to Modesty. And Movie. And Violet. Granted, Violet played well and it's not like Movie and Modesty were too terrible, but in the same sense, Violet, Movie and Modesty aren't exactly the strongest opponents, and the records (even from this season) back up that claim. And so, Fantasy went straight from a 12 game winstreak to a 3 game losing streak, dropping his ELO by almost 50 points in the process. The Crown Prince definitely is still streaky, and I'm very sad I couldn't give him the 3 rank for this month. Still though, Fantasy is still a very good player, and 13-6 is nothing to be sad about. Here's hoping he blasts his next two OSL opponents into the ground with his vultures.
Stork is nuts. Seriously. Who else is baller enough to play cell phone games and still dominate Starcraft? Dinotoss is on a roll, going 10-1 since the last PR. Stork has won matches and Ace matches against strong opponents such as Jaedong, stomped through his MST group easily, and pretty much qualified for the OSL Ro8 already by destroying Mind and Sea. By watching his games, you can definitely see that Stork is playing at a very high level right now, and especially his PvT. Normally, a performance like this would merit a much higher rank, it's just that this month has seen anomalous streaks from Shine and Fantasy. One wonders though: if January actually stopped trolling, how dominant would Stork be right now? However, since January is, in fact, trolling right now, Stork will get the sixth spot this time around. As he progresses deeper in the indvidual leagues though, we can only hope to see Song Byung Goo rise in the ranks.
I know I'm going to get raged at for this placement, but this is the spot Bisu deserves. He started the month very strong, by 2-0ing his MST group and keeping SKT on its monstrous winstreak, and it looked like Bisu would be nigh unstoppable. However, all good things must come to an end, and Bisu's overall win streak came to an end at the hands of his nemesis, Shine. Shortly afterward, his Proleague streak(and SKT's) came to an end thanks to Kal. While he's still won a good majority of his games since the last Power Rank, Bisu just isn't dominating like he was the previous month, and this can be seen by SKT sending Fantasy for the recent Ace matches. Regardless, Bisu still has it in him to be great, and he's got quite the MSL Ro32 group to work through. Only time can tell, but we'll have to see if Bisu can put down the Yong-Taek summoner and regain his Taek Shin status.
It's really weird. I wish Hydra had won that game against Modesty in the OSL, but it seems it wasn't meant to be. Still though, this loss is the first (meaningful) one Hydra's had in the past month, seeing as his last loss was to Kwanro in a Bo3 that Hydra won. Hydra debuts on the Power Rank with a new ELO peak, an eight game win streak, and wins--Ace matches no less--over players like Jaedong, Free, and TvZ sniper RuBy. Furthermore, Hydra is still in both leagues, since he is 1-1 in OSL and in a mostly-zerg group for MSL. It may be too early to say yet, but it seems like Entus has found its replacement for EffOrt in the form of Hydra.
Ah, Sea. While you've definitely pulled off some very impressive wins (and won Ace matches for your team), I really can't justify having you very high on the Power Rank. Out of last month's Power Rankers (besides Snow), it seems you're the one who keeps getting beaten on now. True, losing to the likes of Soulkey and BaBy is okay, since the matches were fierce. However, in your OSL match against Stork you simply just... died. Not to mention that you've been beaten twice by Shine now. Not to worry though, you still have your salient points! You've won Ace matches for your team, and you've beaten plenty of big names like Kal (rage Sea is really scary...) and Free, but you're going to have to do better than this if you want to stay on the Power Rank next month. Regardless, you're still the king of Proleague, so keep that up. Just make sure not to fail your MSL group, since you do have a decently tough one coming up...
Light - honestly, you're here on the Power Rank because I'm really not sure who else to put. However, I'm going to try to justify your placement now. Really, I was going to consider everybody that was placed on the CBNC list (ZerO, BaBy, Soulkey, and Leta), but the fact is you're actually showing us your skill by virtue of playing the strongest opponents. I don't know what it is about you, but you seem to attract competition, while Leta, for instance, has managed to not have to play many strong opponents. Since season's start, you've fought against, in chronological order, Fantasy, Stork, Jaedong, Kal, Free, ZerO, Flash, ZerO again, Flash again, Calm, and BaBy, and you've won about half of those encounters. You started off the season poorly, losing a lot of matches and getting knocked out of OSL in the prelims by Horang2, but you're looking scarier as of late. I'm looking forward to some invisible Terran action in the MSL, and bring your girl with you please.
Yeah, yeah I know Power Rank has been severely delayed since last time. Don't blame me! You may be surprised/unhappy at some of the rankings, but since we started a new season I thought it'd be nice to approach the Power Rank with a clean slate view, and I think it turned out pretty nicely. Either way, feel free to rip this apart. Hopefully the next Power Rank update will take less time than this one.
KT may not be doing as well as it was around this time last year, but Flash is definitely still on top of the game. Having the second-most wins as well as the second-best differential in Proleague (after Bisu) thus far, even without individual leagues Flash shows us that he can, in short, dominate like no other. With a single loss to an on-fire BeSt, Flash has pretty much destroyed the rest of the competition with ease. From obliterating Stork's carriers to displaying Boxer-esque micro against Soulkey's lurkers, Flash's games have been pretty one-sided. Once again, the best player in the world sits at the highest spot in the Power Rank and sets a new vZ ELO peak as well. I mean, who else can scare their opponent so much that he exits the game before it even starts?
Everybody knows it. Brood War is pretty much dominated by two players. Take a look at the ELO and KeSPA rankings and you can easily tell why. Even though Flash is still substantially above Jaedong, Jaedong is still way ahead of the rest of the pack. With his two losses this time around coming at the hands of Light and Stork in very, uh, silly games, the rest of Jaedong's games have been dominations. JvZ is as strong as ever, as shown in his manhandling of RorO, Modesty, hero, Hydra, and former captain ggaemo, and JvP (and who disagrees with me?) sent Jangbi into a slump and killed Stats. Interestingly enough, Stats has never won against Jaedong. I wonder if he's destined to be the new Kal... Anyway, if this were Bleach, Jaedong would be Barragan, the Segunda Espada. But this isn't Bleach, so Jaedong gets the equivalent spot on the Power Rank. Progamers tremble in fear as they know that Jaedong is soon to be unleashed upon them in the individual leagues.
You know, after writing about Jaedong I started thinking about how the Espada in Bleach correlate to the ten progamers in the Power Rank. And for #3, Bisu is a perfect fit in terms of uh... good looks. I guess if you read Bleach you'll know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, don't think of me as a loony. Regardless, Bisu shoots up the Power Rank this time around due to his amazing Proleague record. 8-0 is nothing to be laughed at, and Bisu has been instrumental in maintaining SKT's perfect record throughout Round 1 thus far. There's definitely going to be some debate about whether or not Bisu should have been higher, but in my eyes he gets #3 because, well, he still looks mortal. Even though his record is perfect, quite a few of the games he has won have been difficult, while Jaedong and Flash destroyed the opposition with ease. However, if Bisu can keep this up and do well in the individual leagues as well, then perhaps we'll soon be seeing Kim Taek Shin climbing even higher. Oh yeah, new vZ ELO peak for Bisu as well!
You do not know how ridiculously happy I am to write this. Congratulations to Neo.G_Bonjwa for making it into the Power Rank, and with a very high rank to start out with! Even though his Proleague record isn't as good as those of some others, his 5-3 record has produced some amazing games. If you haven't already, watch his game against Sea. Seriously, his ZvT is ridiculous, and it makes me insanely happy to watch it in action. Even against Flash, Soulkey was just caught out of position for a second, but I guess that's all Flash needs. Really, the only bad game Soulkey has played is that Ace match against Bisu, but that is so marginal compared to everything else Soulkey has accomplished this season thus far. He's in both leagues and nearly took the wildcard spot in the OSL from Calm, and he absolutely demolished his MST group to make it to the MSL Round of 32. Next week, we'll be seeing if he lives up to this hype when he goes up against Dreamleague Bonjwa Snow. Here's hoping to a long run on the Power Rank for Neo.G_Soulkey!
Really, it's very tough for me to make a decision between 4 and 5, and I think that Soulkey and Kal could be switched easily. Kal's had a pretty good season so far: he's made it in to the OSL Round of 16 after kind of cheesing using strategic play on BaBy, won the MST wildcard tournament, and is 4-1 in Proleague. Overall, Kal's just been playing very well recently. I, for one, hope he continues doing such... until he runs into Flash or Jaedong.
Snow gets back on the Power Rank after a pretty good season so far. No longer just labeled as a "vT sniper", Snow has racked up six kills in Proleague over all three races in pretty convincing fashion and is in both leagues after qualifying for OSL. Snow's been hyped up for a while, and either has periods when he completely dominates or falls apart, but that can be attributed to his relative newness. Don't forget that this kid was the Dream League bonjwa last season, and he's definitely doing well in Proleague this time around. However, Snow's true test is going to be coming up in the individual leagues. With a death match against the other up-and-coming Neo.G_Bonjwa and a decently tough MST group, if Snow lives up to his hype he will go far indeed.
Kim Myung Woon is such a cutie pie, and for this season he's been a cutie pie that can play ZvZ. Last season, the way to kill ZerO was simply to have any Zerg player snipe him in a ZvZ. Now, that's not so simple. With a 6-2 record in Proleague that includes some very nice ZvZs (check out that game against Hoejja) and two beatdowns over Light and Leta, it can easily be seen that ZerO is in form and ready to take apart the individual leagues.
Yum Bo Sung picks up the Power Rank number equal to his high in individual leagues. Even though he's at a very respectable 5-2 in Proleague right now, his wins have for the most part been pretty easy, though I do give him massive props for breaking BeSt's monstrous vT streak. However, two tough losses to Soulkey and ggaemo (though, despite those, lategame mech is still imba) and a tense series against Killer in the OSL (which Sea very nearly could have lost early in the second game) show us that Sea definitely has more he can offer, and we'll have to wait till next month to see.
Fantasy's 4-3 record in PL is deceiving, since his three losses have come as a result of Soulkey's ZvT, Snow's PvT, and Stats' PvT, all of which are top-notch. Even though he's had a relatively slow start in Proleague this season around, his wins are still pretty solid, such as his epic cheese defense against M18M and his systematic demolition of Pure. Just a few hours prior to this Power Rank coming out, Fantasy displayed some better-than-usual (by his standards) bio micro against Hyun. Even though Hyun kind of fails, Fantasy still did well for himself. The Terrorist drops a few spots this time around, but with both leagues still open to him (plus Proleague) who knows what's going to happen next month.
Choosing a rank 10 is ridiculously hard for this month. Everybody thus far on the PR is still in both leagues and has done well enough in PL, so following in the same vein I'd choose a player exhibiting both characteristics. Stats, Stork, free and Calm all come to mind, though since I'm a tad bit biased I'm going to give it to Stork (in essence you can consider all of them tied for rank 10?) just because of that game against Jaedong. If you haven't seen it already, check it out; Dinotoss shows us the fruits of his cellphone-gameplaying labor.
As the new PR writer, it’s my responsibility to explain my ranking criteria as it always differs slightly from writer to writer. In rough order of importance – 1: Performance in major tournaments (PL/OSL/MSL) in the last period. The month of August will be considered, allowing a few days overlap into late July and a special inclusion for the OSL final. Performance in the later stages of these tournaments will be weighed more heavily. 2: Performance in minor tournaments (WCG preliminaries). The STX Masters Cup will be given no consideration as it is very much a series of exhibition games (I don’t deny their entertainment value). 3: Variety of race matchups played. 4: There will be small amount of credit given to players for extraordinary displays in the past.
I fully expect to get ripped apart by the TL readers as is tradition for Power Rank writers, but at least I got some beginner’s luck with clear cut picks for #1 and #2.
The Lee-ssang pair was deadlocked in terms of skill in the recent past, but there were many trophies up for grabs in August and September that could settle the dispute. While the level of play displayed by the two players was fairly close, Flash won medals and broke records, while Jaedong did not.
Flash became the first player to win the OSL and MSL in the same season, and tied Jaedong at five 1st place finishes, just behind Nada who has six. If the B-word hadn’t gone out of fashion a few months ago, people would certainly be clamoring to award Flash the title. Instead, the most recent Korean community trend is to give Flash a more appropriate surname and call him “God Young-ho”.
Flash also won the deciding game for KT at the Proleague finals, but his contribution was surprisingly small due to the nature of team competition. Still, he deserves no small amount of credit for winning on the biggest stage of the year.
Overall, Flash is the obvious pick for best player in the world.
It was another solid month for Jaedong, where his play was consistently in the great to awesome range. It was marked with a variety of tough TvZ tests, where Jaedong faced capable opponents in Light and Flash. Jaedong played well in all of these series, with some spectacular play in drawn out games against Light and Flash. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep Flash out of his head and complicated mind-games caused him to lose some one-sided but intriguing matches.
JD’s only real fault this month was losing to Flash, which seems to be a precondition of being a progamer. He certainly showed he’s capable of beating Flash in a series, but for now he’ll have to live with the fact that Flash’s overall match strategy was vastly superior. If it’s any consolation, Jaedong is clearly the greatest #2 we’ve had at any point in time.
There’s a large gulf between the top two and the rest of the field. Cracking a 0.500 win ratio was a real feat this month, because Jaedong and Flash played a combined six multi-game series (more if you count WCG) and won every single one of them. Simply speaking, there were a lot of losses to go around. Since no one actually beat Starcraft’s dominant duo, the quality of play in these defeats was a key factor in the rankings.
Fantasy barely edged out Stork and Light to take the #3 spot this month. Although Fantasy’s heads up loss against Stork led to his OSL elimination, he had a slightly stronger showing against his Leessang opponent. Although Fantasy displayed some lapses in concentration and decision making as the games wore on, he showed a lot of determination and grit to take Flash to a fifth game in the MSL.
In addition, Fantasy had the boost of playing well in the Proleague post-season. He won his match at Kwang-an-ri for the second year running, although this time it could not help his team win a championship. Even so, winning at such an important event counts for a lot.
Combined with some solid wins over a variety of decent players such Calm, Shuttle, and Kal, Fantasy showed that he’s the best of the rest.
Stork was having a very pleasant late summer, dominating good TvP players with his laughably predictable two base carrier strategy. It was reminiscent of Jaedong’s mutalisk stacking or Bisu’s sair/DT when they first appeared, where opponents would struggle even though they knew exactly what was coming. At least those builds lost effectiveness later in the game; Carriers just get scarier.
The addition of a surprising 2-3 PvZ loss to Jaedong shot Stork up the rankings, but he did not perform as well as Fantasy despite recording the same score. The Jaedong versus Stork series was very poor overall, with every loss attributable to terrible play by the loser rather than any merit from the winner. In particular, Stork failed to perform a very basic Starcraft tactic by not ling-proofing his wall, which directly led to two of his losses.
Even so, 2-3 against Jaedong in PvZ is better than most have been able to record in several seasons (although Jaedong had the benefit of playing his personal punching bag Kal two seasons in a row). Together with his total mastery of PvT, Stork is worthy to be #2 amongst #2’s (you can’t escape the kong-line).
Light is the final semifinalist to record a 2-3 against the Lee-ssang, barely losing to Jaedong in the MSL. Of the three players to go five games, Light’s performance was actually the best. In typical Light style, poor early game defense gave some very soft wins to Jaedong. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that when TvZ goes late and long, Light is even better than Flash.
There was only a small sample size, but consider the two late game wins Light took against Jaedong against the one Jaedong took from Flash. Light’s ability to be constantly aggressive and stay one step ahead of Jaedong to important strategic locations was just incredible.
So why isn’t Light #3 then? There was a lack of variety, in both matchups and tournaments. Light lucked into playing only TvZ for the entire month of August, which is his best matchup by a large measure. Stork was strong in both PvZ and PvT, and was at least decent in PvP. Fantasy had to play every matchup, and had the aforementioned PL final boost.
So while it was an excellent month for Light, he was just too one-dimensional to deserve a higher rank. It was very close between ranks 3~5, and Light is just barely missing out on a higher rank.
Free is the last of the non Lee-ssang semifinalists, but he is on a slightly lower level than the other three. Free was on a OSL joyride, going undefeated on his royal road tour before Flash gave him a heavy dose of reality.
Besides his win with a slightly lucky (but still well executed) proxy gate rush, Free suffered a terrible thrashing at Flash’s hands. There was a clear gulf in class on display, as Free failed to put up any meaningful resistance. Even besides the 1-3 score, his skill level never suggested the threat of an upset like the above three players.
With solid statistical production but no realistic capacity to challenge for a championship, Free provides a solid buffer between the real contenders above him and the murky depths of inconsistency below.
The silliness of the Power Rank in a world with no proleague becomes very apparent starting at the #7 spot. With the Lee-ssang taking up two spots in both the MSL and OSL quarterfinals, that left 11 players left in competitions to vie for eight PR spots. Basically, as long as you actually played a handful of games this month, and managed to win a few of them, you were getting into the PR.
And so we introduce Sea at the #7 spot, for a spectacularly adequate month. It was a month of personal accomplishments for Sea, who improved his plateau from RO16 to RO8 in both leagues. Sea cleared his OSL RO16 group 3-0, which included a surprise win over Jaedong. A good streak of wins culminated with a steal of a win against Jaedong in the first game of their MSL quarterfinal series. Sea then found himself playing in important quarterfinal games, and inevitably ended the month by going a combined 0-5 against Jaedong and Stork.
Since everyone from here on down got outclassed by their quarterfinal opponents as well (or didn’t even make a quarterfinal in one case), Sea’s two surprise wins against Jaedong and dual top eight finish secures him a respectable #7.
For the most part, it was a month of miserable failure for Kal. He was a disappointment for STX Soul in the Proleague playoffs, playing as the team’s Ace and losing two crucial games. His OSL run was awful as well, dropping right out with a 0-3 record.
But… Then there was WCG Korea. Nope, I didn’t forget about that tournament! It’s just that with Leessang at #1 and #2 this month, there wasn’t much need to account for that tournament until now. Even though he was a god-awful player in every other tournament, Kal must have really wanted to vacation in LA and get some tanning in before the end of summer. His WCG run to #3 included series wins over Kwanro, Bisu, and Effort, plus a single game taken against Flash. With such slim pickings this month, a single win against the Leessang in addition to beating some mediocre players will get you this far.
Effort was another mediocre player this month, making it to the MSL quarter-finals and dropping out of the OSL as the champion’s jinx predicted. Highlights included a decent series against TvZ specialist Light in the MSL, and a victory against Bisu in his only good matchup.
Effort also had a decent WCG Korea run, having a fairly easy path until the semi-finals where he was beaten by Jaedong, and then by Kal in the 3rd/4th place games.
For his average and utterly featureless performances, Effort takes #9.
Leta barely made it into the power rank this month, with only wins against Bisu and Effort to his credit. Twenty minutes of fantastic Starcraft in a game that was ultimately lost were the clincher for Leta at #10.
For the first 23 minutes of Leta and Flash’s first OSL game, we were in some bizarre alternate reality where Leta was abusing Flash like Flash abuses Hiya. For 23 minutes, Leta constantly attacked Flash at a frenetic pace, with his attacks suffering no dullness despite their incredible speed. Even the turtle-king was bewildered, and soon gave up at a 6 to 3 base advantage.
However, Leta then made a possibly career defining error, one so costly that it defeated his spirit and allowed Flash to slowly but surely grind out a win.
Prepare the anti-fanboy shields because we might hit 1k posts again. I've always said I'll give credit where it's due, and Jaedong deserves his credit this month. The separation between Jaedong and Flash is razor thin at the moment - with so little games played it's really difficult to assess their skills. On the whole, Jaedong played a better month, and a better June.
Just like I said with Flash, you can tell a lot about a player by how he loses. Jaedong's losses this month were not bad losses at all - his loss to Bisu is one of the greatest PvZ's all year, his loss to Kal was in a 2-1 series and he played amazing throughout the whole thing, his loss to Sea was incredibly close and after how Jaedong toyed with Sea in their last encounter I'm not going to read too much into it. The fact is, Jaedong's losses still exhibit the traits of the Tyrant - Falsh's losses this month (i.e. to Light) did not resemble anything of an Ultimate Weapon.
The last test for #1 PR in my opinion is who is the scariest player in the world at the moment. With the dual finals quickly fading in our minds, and Jaedong ravaging every opponent (and still a favorite to make it out of his OSL group) I can resoundingly say that I am more scared of Jaedong than Flash at the moment.
This isn't a backdown, this isn't a "oh no Plexa was wrong in June!", this is me being consistent and giving Jaedong credit for back to back months of outstanding play.
One of the key reasons why Flash got dropped this month is because he's been solved. We saw a string of TvT losses in June which was very uncharacteristic of Flash. While Flash was still playing well, it appeared as though other Terrans knew how to beat Flash. But we still held out faith that Flash's TvZ and TvT were untouchable. Sadly, Flash's TvZ let him down.
I say that in light of the recent game against Zero which is being hailed as the defining reason why Flash should be number one. True, it was an impressive game and Flash's mechanics were top notch. It was a superb game in every way. But then I think to myself, what if Effort were playing in this position and not Zero? Well the answer is, and was, that Effort would win (see their clash on Fighting Spirit). Effort has Flashes number and knows how to defeat his late-game turtle style, and given Jaedongs history no doubt he will have taken note and incorporated that into his repertoire. That makes Flash not the scariest player in the world, and not #1 on the PR.
Call it controversial, but in a month where Flash played 7 games and Jaedong was playing twice as many and playing absolutely impressively for 2 months - Flash really had to demonstrate that he was untouchable. He couldn't. And so, Flash loses #1 for the first time in I don't know.
What do I expect to happen from here? I expect Flash to make the finals of both leagues, again. He's still the undisputed best Terran player on Earth, and we all know he's capable of destroying anyone. Similarly, I expect Jaedong to make the finals of both leagues as well - assuming brackets don't pair them earlier (talking about the OSL here). And hopefully, by the end of September, we'll be able to definitively answer the question - who is the greater player?
Deciding between Fantasy and Effort was difficult, but at the same time fairly straight forward. Both are incredibly skilled at the moment and both are key members in their respective teams. Both are still alive in both leagues, both 0-1 down in the OSL but still favorites to take their groups. But the key separator was the deciding ace match between the two.
It was the ultimate test for them - if fantasy lost SKT would be going home, if Effort won he would send CJ to the next round, you couldn't ask for a better way to separate two good players. Fantasy was able to triumph when it mattered most, and thus he defends his #3 position.
Effort is a ridiculously scary opponent at the moment. As alluded to above, Effort knows how to beat Flash - he has solved his late game strategy meaning Flash needs to change it up to remain competitive against Jaedong/Effort. But further, he went 8-3 this month and was critical in CJ's playoffs hopes.
If Effort had won that ace match against Fantasy, then he would be sitting at #3 right now. But obviously, he didn't and the game was admittedly really bad. But when the stakes are the highest, you've gotta give it your best. If you can't do that, you don't deserve to be #3.
Sea had a monster month and FINALLY looks to break his Ro16 curse. So let's run through what he did this month: beat the scariest player in the world on a imbalanced map? Check. Beat the second coming of the beesuit? Check. Be the carry horse for his proleague team? Check... well mostly.
Actually, the last point is why I didn't even consider him for a higher position. When the cards were down, and MBC were one game away from making the next round - Sea crumbled against Pure (and then Light did the same following night). Nevertheless, despite not being able to pull through when it matter most - he just tore apart some of the best names in BW and looks to be a hot favorite to reach the semifinals of either league for the first time.
Bisu has always been unusual when it comes to his strengths. When all other Protoss are amazing at PvT, Bisu excels at PvZ and crumbles against Terran. As PoP has pointed out time and time and time again in various Live Report threads, Bisu's PvT is just so uninspired. It's the same old 3 base arbiter try to beat the Terran with mass units garbage. There's no flare, no inspiration, no spirit - unlike his PvZ.
So why is Bisu placed so highly despite just being eliminated from the MSL? Well, because he's doing amazingly well in Proleague at the moment and he is the best PvZ player in the world hands down. His games are really impressive and his PvP is still amazingly solid. I can overlook a weakness to Terrans temporarily, assuming Bisu keeps delivering when it matters.
That really speaks for itself. But let's add a little more substance. So Stork came out of left field this month and completely obliterated everyone he touched. He manhandled skyhigh something terrible, although we all kinda expected that. But then he went on to take out eSTRO, quite literally. He all killed them, including a win over Really and Action. But then, on the same day, he dismantled Fantasy in the OSL. You can't fault his performance!! The only reason he isn't higher is because he was eliminated from the MSL and his opponents haven't been S-Class (aside from Fantasy). But if this keeps up, big bird is back in town.
Despite his massive fail against Pure in the MBC-WeMade ace match (it was painful...) Light did play a very good month of Starcraft. He just made the MSL Ro8 by defeating Roro in convincing fashion, but he isn't in the OSL. Like Sea, Light carried MBC into the playoffs and he did so admirably and with a record of 8-4 for the month, you'd be hard to argue otherwise.
It's unfortunate that Woongjin are no in the playoffs since free and zero are both playing really well at the moment. I suppose free is getting dropped partially for not playing enough games this month, but the underlying reason for that is that he isn't in the MSL (he lost 1-2). But on the other side, he just took out Kal in the OSL and looks like he's going to make it out of his group okay. We all know free is capable of delivering, and I'm sure he'll deliver over the next month. Hopefully with WCG and STX Masters coming up he'll have a chance to shine.
BeSt isn't in any leagues, but he's been essential to the SKT Proleague run. He's playing incredible PvT (particularly against WeMade, where his MnM defence was superb) and he's holding his own in the other matchups. The point is, despite not being in any leagues he's delivering consistently and has become a pivotal part of the SKT lineup. For that, he gets a low spot in the PR. Funny, I remember Sea was in this position around this time last year as well for the exact same reason...
If this were a monthly statistics ranking then Flash probably wouldn't even make the top 10 (and Bisu would probably be ranked 3rd or 2nd). Thankfully, this isn't a comparison of winrates over a period of 30 days but instead is an attempt to gauge the strength of the top players of Brood War today. Placing Flash first after a month where he has gone exactly 50/50 is surely to be a controversial decision but hopefully by the end of this you will agree that it is the right decision.
I have a strong belief that the games a player loses tells you a lot more about his skill level than the games where he wins. Flash's losses indicate that he has no single weakness in his game - with one or two exceptions, every single one of Flash's losses has been a hard fought battle into the late game. Why the game was hard fought typically was due to a build order disadvantage or the other player played exceptionally well. Indeed, it is almost impossible to determine what Flash's weakness is, or explain why he has been losing more often lately since Flash's play is still as beautiful as ever. I suspect that with the immanent release of SC2 all Progamers are giving this season their all in hopes to get as much money as possible out this (potentially) last season of Brood War and hence the overall skill level of the proscene has risen, thus making Flash's games closer.
Another factor which must be taken into account is who Flash is losing to. Every single one of Flash's losses has come to a player who excels at the vT matchup. Further, Flash's ace match losses are to teams who have excellent Zerg aces who weren't sent for the ace match. The jist of it is, Flash has been playing really good opponents - a good winrate against these guys would make any player happy with their results.
The last thing which is important is Flash's force at the moment. Let's not forget too hastily that Flash made consecutive double finals for the first time in history just last month. Sure, this is the monthly ranking, but you do not simply forget outstanding achievements like this (or a Golden Mouse) over night. Flash is still very much the player to beat at the moment and it shows in how the other teams are responding to the threat of Flash in proleague.
I'll admit that Flash is getting the easy treatment after a average month, and if Flash wants to maintain #1 next month he's going to have to step up since by then my memory of his back to back dual finals will have faded. I think the only way to properly conclude this is what Flash thinks about his recent performance:
-Your recent results has been inconsistent. ▲ I don't mind, I can take it. I have been searching for my form in my recent matches, and now I've already regained the feel I had last season.
Jaedong had a good month, but it's not quite as good as people are trying to make out. He went 8-1 this month, one of which was foru's retirement match (i.e. essentially a free win). So in reality, Jaedong went 7-1 against opponents of varying skill level. It is true that Jaedong passed his OSL prelim group without losing a game, but then again Rush and Juni you'd expect as much. In the OSL seeding tournament, Jaedong was not the winner, and instead lost out to great in a rather one sided ZvZ.
It's still not a bad record by any means, so please do not interpret what I'm saying that way. Jaedong performed well this month and has been rewarded accordingly, but did he perform well enough to overcome Flash's monumental dual final which included him losing to Flash 0-3? I don't think a 7-1 (or 7-2) record really justifies that, especially given his set of opponents. Some of you may want to cite that Jaedong recently went on a 14-0 Proleague streak. That's all very well and good, but if you want to consider that then you have to extrapolate Flash back an equivalent amount of time and Flash resoundingly has Jaedong beat on that time frame.
With all that said and done, the last thing to consider is Jaedong's force. And I think you will all agree with me when I say Jaedong has looked untouchable lately. His games have been dominant and his one major loss has become a generation defining ZvZ. But it is important to remember that it is easy to look untouchable against A-level players but still not be unbeatable. I simply need to cite Bisu's recent games here as proof of this claim. Thus I think it is important to keep in mind that Jaedong really hasn't run many any major opponents this month and how that might have affected the appearance of his gameplay.
In summary, Jaedong had a really good month and another month like this (with Flash performing as he did this month) will surely be enough to vault him into #1, but at this stage it is too early for Jaedong to reclaim #1 from Flash.
The next 4 or so players are all about the same level. You could almost jumble them around in any old order and get a respectable rank. Fantasy, however, deserves this spot moreso than the others. After a solid month last month, he built upon those successes and went 10-2, qualifying for both the OSL and MSL in the process. It is a fair point that Fantasy's match list isn't as impressive as others, but there are two reasons why Fantasy still gets #3 despite this. Firstly, his performance in those games was sublime (see his complete destruct of Brave to see what I'm talking about) and secondly his strong games against S-Class opponents from the past 2 months is a clear indication that Fantasy does have the skills to do business at the moment. Sure, he's a long way away from Jaedong at the moment - but so is everyone else at the moment. Further, his performance this month was pivotal to SKT's rapid rise in PL and has given them a legitimate chance to take the title (again...). All of this means Fantasy gets #3 and looks to be on the way to making a splash in the individual leagues this season.
I'm hesitant to drop Effort any further than this for a few reasons. Effort is playing like the neo-JulyZerg in style as well as 'historically'. As I mentioned last month, Flash is much like Oov in many ways at the moment and Effort is much like July. Oov was never able to beat July in a bo5 series (or at all for that matter) until well after his prime - we can see the same pattern emerging here as well. Further, Effort's freestyle coupled with aggression and tactics fits July's style so well. July was also quite inconsistent around the time he wont his first Starleague, and we can also see that around Effort. The important thing about both July and Effort is that they were able to turn on the skill when it mattered - and that's what Effort is still able to do. I am completely confident that Effort will do well in both individual leagues and remain a potent threat in the CJ lineup. I wouldn't be counting him out just yet.
Baby had a rough end of the month, which includes going 0-3 against Protoss recently. Outside of his vP loss streak, Baby has looked just as sharp as he did last month. In particular, his win over Flash showcased impressive multitasking which few would be able to replicate. I would put his recent string of losses (and his subsequent elimination in the MSL) down to inexperience as opposed to lack of skill. As far as skill level goes he still is one of the most fearsome opponents on the planet and for that he retains a respectable rank on the PR.
Stats has looked very good for a while now, but it is this month when he finally breaks into the PR. Stats has good in all three matchups - maybe not 'excellent' in all of them - but solid across the board. When all other Protoss are struggling against Zerg Stats has been able to post some wins (i.e. against Effort) and his ability to be good across the board outshines other Protoss being excellent at 2/3 and terrible at 1/3. Together with Flash, Stats was integral in KT attaining 1st place in PL this season. His consistency has been appreciated, although I do wish he would win more often, and he has been rewarded with #6 this month.
free really stepped up this month and dominated the limited number of games that he played. Sure, he took a loss to Pusan (who's been playing pretty well lately) but on the whole free has been playing outstandingly. Firstly, he's seeded into the MSL so you can't count that against him. Secondly, he blitzed his OSL group 4-0 including dismantling Calm in impressive fashion. Lastly, he defeated Flash in a very impressive performance on Match Point. Free has checked all the boxes this month and in on track to have another good season in the individual leagues. Thus, free earns #7 this month.
Once again, Sea is performing really well. Of course, we haven't reached the Ro8 yet so this is nothing new to Sea fans. But really, Sea has done everything you could ask of someone; he won his OSL seed group, he won his OSL group, he made it into the MSL and he's put up a decent record in Proleague. Impressive across the board, but I'm hesitant to place Sea any higher because there has been a hint of inconsistency in his play and well, I would love to see Sea actually get a seed in the individual leagues for a change. We'll see how things go though...
great has also had an amazing month. He finished runner up to sea in the OSL seed matches and then lost to sea in his OSL group in a ridiculously tight series. It's pretty hard to hold that against him when really it's not his fault the OSL bracket makers suck. Great is the highest scorer in FPL at the moment AND he defeated Jaedong this month as well. He's playing well across the board and it's a real shame that he's up against Sea in the MSL as well. It's honestly quite ridiculous. Anyway, I hope he does well because he really does deserve to do well again this season.
Bisu resurges into the PR by having an excellent month. But more importantly, he dominated all his opponents this month - except for Pusan and Stats. Bisu seems to have lost a bit of his spark for PvP at the moment, but with the way he's recovering I doubt that will be an issue for much longer. His complete and utter destruction of both hyvaa and mind was very reassuring to see and while it may be a tad premature, Bisu's force is certainly returning to him.
Being the champ is tough. Lose focus for a second and some guy will be clipping at your heels trying to take your crown. That's what happened to Flash in the OSL Final, and that's why he walked away with only one gold this month - and not two. Nevertheless, his resolve and determination to demolish Jaedong shone through strongly and the MSL Final was a ridiculous beat down.
Anyone calling the Bonjwa debate over at this point is sorely mistaken. It is still too early to tell whether Flash will exert completely and utter dominance like Oov, Nada and Boxer did - but I will say we're getting close. This upcoming season will be the one where the debate is settled once and for all. Oh and Effort beating Flash doesn't disprove the Bonjwa theory one bit - iloveoov lost to July twice, both in the Gillette semis and the iTv Final - and he's still remembered as a bonjwa.
Flash had another amazing May, despite dropping more games than we have become accustomed to. He's still the firm favorite to take out anyone on this ranking and that means he's still #1 in the world.
If you read my blog, just forget it. Nothing written in there is factual in the least - except perhaps the comparison between Effort and July. Indeed, Effort is walking a path very similar to July at this point. Coming out of nowhere, defeating the best Terran in the world with smart aggressive play and winning his first Starleague in the process. Even though it is difficult to say Flash didn't make huge mistakes in the Final, Effort's style is such that any mistake like that will be punished.
What I love most about Effort's games this month, particularly against Terran, is that his style is an annoying style. You try to move out and Effort goes in to harass with Mutalisks. You shut down one of Efforts expansion (That's in a corner somewhere) and he rushes in with masses of Zerglings. I would hate to be playing against this guy right now because he will just drive you insane. But as a spectator, its just such good viewing!
So what did Effort do this month to be better than Jaedong? Lose to no one but Flash and win his games in better style (just watch his game against Fantasy for crying out loud). And for the record, if Flash had won Game 3 in a similar manner to the first two, Effort would still be getting #2 this month - he completely deserves it.
Jaedong is still playing well, very well in fact, but some of the magic spark is missing. In Effort you can see a spark of a revived player bursting for action whereas in Jaedong all I see is a battle worn veteran desperate for a break. After being so dominant for so long it is difficult to stay at the top and look as good, Jaedong has done an incredible job to last this long. But honestly I think Jaedong's at the point where he needs to take a trip to Thailand or something and recharge - that will probably be best for his long term career.
Nevertheless, he's still scary as all hell to come up against. No Protoss would willingly take him on in Bo5 for their tournament life, no Zerg would revel at that either. Flash and Baby may like to take a crack at him, but still, 99.7% of all players still fear him and worship the ground he walks on. That is beyond sufficient for #3 - and it is nice to have three really really good players in the top three slots for a change.
Despite stumbling against MVP, Baby still looks really scary. Indeed after a mini-slump (by which I mean losing to MVP, Flash and Guemchi) he hasn't lost a game and completely dominated Kal in ruthless fashion. I mean, this kid is a monster. If you had these four players in the semifinals of a league how excited would you be right now?
There isn't much else to say about Baby, other than that he's playing phenomenally. But perhaps this is an appropriate moment to talk about how with the rise of SC2 and decline of Taek-Bang we're seeing a new era ushered in. New players are coming forth and this is the season where they're going to leave their mark. Both Baby and the #5 for this month both show incredible promise and look to be some of the scariest gamers in this new era - if they keep performing to their potential of course!
Perhaps #5 is a bit too high for someone who could very well turn out to be a 'flavor of the month', but the quality of Snow's games this month pushed him here. Firstly, Snow's PvT is sublime (one of the few things SuperArc is correct about) and you just immediately watch all of his recent PvT's to verify this for yourself (particularly his game against Flash). However, as with all Protoss at the moment, Zergs seem to be getting the better of him. His game against Hyuk wasn't all that impressive for instance. Nevertheless, with a super strong PvT and PvP I can overlook some shortcomings in the PvZ department for the time being. Snow, welcome to the PR - please enjoy your stay.
Kal... what can I say... Kal is playing some of the best Starcraft of his career yet he's just not delivering when it counts. For instance, his game against Shine epitomizes everything wrong with Kal at the moment. He worked so so so hard in that game to win, but just couldn't come up with the goods. Kal is still playing good games, even though he's losing, which makes be believe he's in a bit of a rut at the moment (perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions after a few too many frustrating games this month). Nevertheless, Kal looks good and I would still favor him over everyone below him. I hope that Kal stops choking at the last moment and can finally realize his potential in both the individual leagues and the proleague.
Fantasy returns the PR and well, he earned it. Jung-laden's hit list this month included a win over Flash as well as a hard fought loss against Effort. His only other losses have come at the hands of the PR elite - so who can really blame him? Despite SKT fielding all Zerg lineups lately, Fantasy has recovered enough of his former skill to make me believe again (after being heartbroken in the KAIR OSL tiebreaker night). I sincerely hope his form doesn't decline since Fantasy's games are always amazing to watch.
The tail end of this PR aren't your most solid candidates, but May was a harsh month for the PR veterans. Shuttle makes it onto the PR this month for some of the scariest macro in PvP and PvT (but again, can't PvZ). With everyone else struggling, two really solid matchups speak volumes. Players don't just fluke 80% PvP winrates after all. So shuttle, prove me wrong - earn your keep in June so you can stay on this ranking.
Midas played very few games last month, and most of them were losses. Nevertheless, I'm not quite prepared to give up on him just yet. Again, with everyone else struggling, his MSL quarterfinal appearance with such a strong performance in PL backing that up (before his recent loss streak) earns him enough leeway to stay on the rank. Here's hoping that Midas will be kicking ass once again in June (because we know where he's headed if he doesn't).
If there was a "lucky streak" of the month, it certainly wasn't Effort. Shine had a really good May sporting a 5-1 record. Indeed, he's become a Judgement Day specialist and his performance against Kal should be commended. Yes his play wasn't perfect, but he was under continual harass and under those circumstances it is easy to lose focus and miss and round of production. Shine has been difficult to fault otherwise, and given how other players have really struggled this month, 5-1 really doesn't look that bad.
It's going to take a lot more to knock Flash from his #1 spot than a couple freak losses to random Terrans. Let's face it, Flash's games are still jaw dropping. The very fact he can out play the very best gamers in the world and (virtually) stage a comeback no matter how far behind he is is really an incredibly feat. Flash might be running low on gas, but he still looks as mean as ever.
With that said, Flash's play has not been perfect. Flash's TvT is like an arm wrestle - at the start his opponent gets an advantage and pushes him down almost to the point of breaking - but then Flash's resilience causes them to tire and then Flash is able to push all the way back and take the victory. I could do a comprehensive analysis of why this is the case with Flash's TvT, but this isn't the place for that. In essence, I believe this unique facet of his gameplay stems from the fact that other players can prepare extensive early games to counter Flash while Flash just has to take whats coming to him. Then once the game progresses into midgame he is able to exploit the fact he can macro and micro better than any other progamer at the moment and overcome any initial disadvantages. One thing though, Flash just need to be a little bit more careful to avoid losing any more games.
With a TvP against Pure looming (and hopefully against Kal as well), please keep an eye out for how Flash uses his mines. Because quite frankly, his use of mines is bad. Well, bad for Flash. They're often out of position or poorly positioned causing him unnecessary losses. Of course Flash doesn't care about losing a few extra units due to his god mode macro, but these little mistake may just pile up and surprise him in the semifinals and/or finals. Anyway, another solid month from Flash overall.
Jaedong climbs back into second place - simply put - you can't argue with results. Sure, his skill level right now is arguably worse than when he was #2 before - but overall only Flash has a legitimate shot at beating him in a Bo5.
Jaedong had a few freak losses, again, this month (hi Ruby) but overall he played solidly. Particularly, in his MSL quarter final against Midas. Despite the imbalance of the map he was able to play a really really good game with an absolutely brilliant build (3hatch -> evo -> 4th hatch) which, while subtle, was extremely effective. This game showed that he is still a potent threat to Flash and he can still prepare excellent builds for high pressure situations (just like he did in NATE MSL against Flash). Assuming he doesn't tire, chances are he'll make the final again.
Good job for bouncing back Jaedong - enjoy your #2, you earned it.
What? Kal?! Yes. Despite boasting a very mediocre record in April I do not believe anyone other than Flash or Jaedong has a legitimate shot at taking him out. The games Kal loses are either quite silly - like doing bizarre late DT drops against Terran, or losing to a timing push after 14nex - or hard fought amazing games - like against Flash. Indeed, the only real final we can see from the OSL now is Kal vs Flash - which should be amazing. With that said, his PvZ has gone quite untested, but with his history, I have no doubt he will step up to the plate and deliver once again. Kal's over-reliance on 14nex in PvT is a bit of a worry, but overall he has backed himself up with solid games throughout the whole month. Remember, this isn't the "who had the best record in April" rank - it's the Power rank.
Midas had a scorching April and I literally do not know where all this skill has come from. I had my eye on him in March as he was playing some great games, but in April he took things to a new level and really demonstrated a glimpse of his former glory. However, there are some pretty glaring weaknesses with his play - the most distressing is his inability to keep up anymore. Against Jaedong it was painfully clear that Midas lost the end game because he lacked the APM to control everything properly whereas Jaedong could. Hence, he lost the game (despite a really cool build - bio/vult? that's just sick!). There are other weaknesses in his game, but overall he has boasted excellent results and he looked good too. Does he have a shot at beating Jaedong? I like to think so, but realistically, if Jaedong prepares like he did in Game 1 (and factoring in the Midas Game 4 curse) I don't think he can pull it off - but I'm sure we're all hoping he does.
Okay, Sea lost to free. Big deal. Free simply played really well and Sea made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Other than losing to Free and Flash, his only other loss was to Chavi - other than that he's demolished everyone he's fought. And the games that he is losing are really damn close. Sea has terrible luck when it comes to the individual leagues, but with the way he's been playing recently I still think he is a force to be reckoned with.
Baby had a hard end of the month and suffered a number of losses - but in TvT and TvP. I'm worried that his confidence has been shaken, if it has then well, it might be a while before we see Baby again. If he can pull himself back together, then he's going to become a real force. Despite losing two really dumb games to MVP, he has looked very very good in April and looks to become one of the deadliest forces in progaming. That is why Baby gets a #6 this month.
The tail end of this ranking are somewhat annoying in that they are quite inconsistent. Nevertheless, free has shown some great games over April - notably his win over Sea. And then free has shown some not so great games, like imploding against Hiya. Free is a better player than Hiya, and on less forgiving turtle maps I'm sure this fact will ring through. Otherwise he's had a very solid month!
Great makes his debut in the Power Rank and well, he deserves it. In April great went 7-3, with his only real losses coming from Calm and Leta. Otherwise he has destroyed a number of good gamers this month (like Kal and Hiya). Whether or not his ZvZ is up to par or not is another question, but with the way great has been playing recently I'm sure he will raise his game and give Calm everything he's got - and I'm confident he will come out the victor. Good job great, you really earned this spot this month.
It pains me to put MVP this high on the ranking because he really does not deserve it. I don't think MVP is that good, he has been getting quite lucky with his wins but he has had an impressive hit list this month. He took out Stork and Flash amongst others, and that does deserve some credit. But honestly, I don't think MVP will be hanging around for very long next season. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Hiya makes the rank not because he's playing well, rather because he is playing like a robot. Indeed, it appears as if Hiya only has one TvP mode - just compare and contrast his style against Violet and Free to verify this. With a 7-4 record in April, Hiya has done very well for himself - but to rise up in the rankings he's going to need to show some personality, some flare, or just something different... Until then, he will be confined to the bottom three ranks.
One of the most memorable Savior moments for me was the Superfight Ace Match Tournament. For those of you too young to remember it, it was simply an event where each team sent out their Ace to do battle and the winner progressed into the next round. Before the tournament, everyone expected Savior to destroy it. Indeed, CJ sent out Savior in all three rounds and won with relative ease. It was not just the expectation that Savior would win, it was the Savior did actually win, and he won no matter what anyone threw at him.
Jump back into 2010, and that's what happened last night. The WL Finals was the perfect venue for Flash to demonstrate that he is a cut above everyone else at the moment and indeed the expectation was that Flash would deliver. MBC threw everything they could at him - Sea, DT cheese, Carrier cheese - it all failed. Flash was indestructible and now KT finally have a gold medal for the Team Leagues.
The domination Flash is showcasing at the moment is surreal. It really is. Not since Savior have I felt the same way I do about Flash now. Flash just will not stop winning and even when he is at a huge disadvantage he somehow finds a way back into the game and wins. It's down right sickening.
Flash is accomplishing what Jaedong could not - he is removing any doubt what so ever that he is the best. Flash stands alone at the top of a very tall mountain with no other Progamer in sight. The future of Brood War is being dictated by Flash's every move and where he goes, we go with him.
To be brutally honest, no one deserves 2nd place this month. They've all had their faults and their weaknesses. Ranks 2-4 are all very close at the moment and really Jaedong should be here, not Light. I'll explain why Jaedong fell in Jaedong's box so please be thoughtful and don't dismiss this as Plexa being a rabid MBC fan. Light has had an impressive run as MBC's front man. Indeed, with a record of 15-5 you'd be hard pressed to argue otherwise.
That is, until you watch his games against Protoss recently. If Light had performed I had expected him to in the WL finals I would feel more confident in placing him here, however, the WL finals highlighted that Light does in fact have a weakness to Protoss. While the game against Violet did have virtually everything go wrong for Light (free 12 Nex, pushing out too early and losing lots of forces, SCVs not being able to kill Protoss buildings fast enough), the next time he comes up against a Protoss I can't be sure that he's going to win. Indeed we won't be seeing Light in the OSL because he lost to Perfectman of all players (who also went Carriers in one of the games incidentally).
Just because Light is here this month doesn't mean he's going to be here next month. To stay put at #2, which really should be reserved for players who can at least compete with #1, Light's going to have to demonstrate that him losing in the OSL was a fluke by ripping up the MSL. If he slips up, expect him to drop back down to the lower half of the ranking.
Okay, putting Sea here is completely unexpected for most of you. And yes, Sea didn't even feature in last months ranking. But a funny thing happened last month, Sea retook the ace position in MBC. Let's be realistic here, if Light was not on MBC, Sea would have had a lot more game time in March and, based off his most recent games, he would have won those just like Light did. Indeed, Sea's TvT is still really really good, and his TvP shows no signs of weakness unlike Light.
So why is Sea above Jaedong? Well, again, I'll talk about that in Jaedong's box. As it stands though, Sea has been shafted this WL by Light's form picking up. Where (most) other team Aces got their fair share of pick-up-the-pieces wins, Sea was rarely ever needed. But when he was - he delivered. Just see MBC vs Stars from the WL playoffs for instance. Just see how Sea went 3-0 against KT in the regular season (before Flash) and then went 2-0 in the finals before putting up another good fight against Flash.
However, as with Light, Sea needs to post results in the MSL for him to retain this ranking. The fact he isn't in the OSL should hurt him, but since no one else has been able to convincingly demonstrate skill while making both leagues he gets lucky this month. All in all this is an undeserved third place, but that's what happens when everyone else drops the ball.
Jaedong had an uncharacteristically bad month. Unfortunately, his February wasn't too bright either. Jaedong's game is simply developing more and more holes, particularly in his ZvT. While he was able to just scrape through his MSL group, he failed to make the OSL for the first time since I dont know when. Additionally, he lost to Darkelf, Light and Baby (x3). 11-6 over the course of the month is still a respectable result, but not the result of a #2.
The final nail in the coffin for Jaedong was his deteriorating health. Enteritis sucks, and it can't be having a good effect on his play. However, Jaedong is so good that the lack of practice hasn't caught up with him yet. But it will. I don't expect good things from Jaedong over the course of April as he gets treated, and I will try to stay sympathetic to him because of it, but that does mean he can't retain a #2 placing.
Let me make this very clear. If Jaedong had not run into health problems returning him to #2 would not have been an issue for me this month given how poor everyone else performed. However, that is not the case. I beleive both Sea and Light would be able to take on Jaedong in his current form and win convincingly. When Jaedong recovers, I expect him to rise back to #2 and bring the challenge back to Flash (because he sure needs one).
In a month full of players not meeting expectations and showing more weaknesses than I would like, Baby is the lone exception. I placed him in the CBNC last month because I wasn't sure whether he was the real deal or not (he trashed both of his prelim groups and made the MSL). March confirmed that yes, Baby has finally matured into a player which poses a threat to the top tier of gamers. Baby has demonstrated very impressive play against Jaedong (x3) and Stork which earns him this spot. The only thing stopping him from placing high is a lack of presence in the WL. Expect big things from this kid in the future.
Stork is much like Sea in that as the Ace for his team he is just picking up the pieces rather than scoring multiple wins. With that said, it's difficult to be confident that Stork still has the same skill as we think he does. After all, he went a dismal 3-3 in March (but is in both the OSL and MSL). There really isn't much to say about Stork, other than he's just very lucky that he did make both leagues (even though he lost to Baby) and that along has managed to secure him a spot on the ranking. Yes, it really has been a poor month.
Kal would have placed higher on this ranking if he had been able to deliver for STX against Woonjgin. Given that Kal is in both leagues by virtue of having an MSL seed, he really needed to demonstrate in the WL that he was a force to contend with. Kal somewhat accomplished that, but there is still sufficient doubt lingering.
For Kal fans, there is hope! Kal is placed in one of the toughest OSL groups and if he manages to advance then he certainly is going to rise in the rankings. Furthermore, he also has a relatively easy MSL group (for him) and thus he should go far in the MSL as well. I would love to place Kal higher, but as it stands he just doesn't deserve it. He's going to have to do a lot better than 6-5 to break into the top 5 in April!
As the core powerhouse of Woonjgin over the past month and a dual leaguer, Kwanro sticks around for another month. Until he drops the ball somewhere, you really can't fault him. (Plus he almost beat Flash, cmon, that game was sick even if Kwanro failed)
free barely scrapes into the PR through a convincing performance in the WL playoffs coupled with the fact that he is in the MSL. While Kwanro was the wrecking ball for Woonjgin, free was the demo guy with tons of explosives ready to go to task on the building should Kwanro fail. Okay, crap metaphor. Point is, free played well in March and I hope it continues in April (although I suspect it won't).
Leta gets the last spot on this rank for one reason. He is the reason KT went 10-1 and not 11-0 in the regular season of WL. Yup, Leta managed to beat Flash in a tense encounter. The most impressive thing about the game was that Leta managed to win, since so many players had gotten to the point where they had the advantage over Flash but then failed to turn the advantage into a win. With all the goodness from WL aside, the score card looks pretty bleak for Leta. He's not in either major league this season and thus he's going to be hanging around the bottom of the ranking for the next few months (if that).
Jaedong didn't have the brightest February statistics wise, but that doesn't detract anything from the skill that this man boasts. In particular, his loss against Stork was only a loss because Match Point is a small map - if that game was on a four player map the chances are Jaedong would not have run out of minerals and taken the game. Jaedong is also still in both leagues, and combine this with a strong history and there is no where that Jaedong can be placed but 2nd.
It feels good being able to place Stork high in the rankings once again. By the end of February, Stork had eliminated most of the qualms I had with his play. He was able to stop Jaedong's ZvP win streak and convincingly defeat Sea last night. Nevertheless, as with last month, there is still a massive gap between 2nd and 3rd. To retain this ranking Stork needs to show consistency, as the players who are able to demonstrate some form of consistency are going to place very well on the rankings.
Kal had a fairly quiet month, but he was able to demonstrate why he holds a seed for the upcoming MSL. He qualified for the OSL right from the offline qualifiers - not an impressive feat, but a necessary one for placing well on the rankings. Furthermore, I am confident that Kal would have played more games if he had not had the OSL to prepare for and that the Luna New Year stalled WL for a week. Lastly, his game play has been very solid recently. Thus Kal is checking all the boxes and secures #4
Welcome back Fantasy, we missed you at the top. He has had an amazing month which included an eSTRO all-kill, WeMade 3-kill, qualifying for the MSL 2-0 and OSL 2-0. Arguably, based on pure statistics Fantasy had a better month than Kal. However, Fantasy has been playing the role of a 'sweeper' in his team - as in sweeping out all the weak players clearing the way for the rest of SKT to take out the Aces. His wins aren't against the best players in the universe and thus Kal narrowly edges him out this month. If Fantasy keeps up his consistent performance he will continue to rise.
Aside from a few freak losses, you can't criticise Zero's performance in February. Unlike the vast majority of other Zergs in WL - Zero is holding his ground and holding his ground admirably. His kill list in February includes the likes of Jaedong (and an almost reverse all kill of Hwaseung) and he went 2-0 in his MST group. Consistency earns you a strong placing, and Zero has fulfilled that this month.
Light is playing very good Starcrat at the moment but unfortunately has had a weaker match list than others. While an all-kill is always impressive, all-killing ACE is the least impressive way to get one. However, couple this with a good closing week in January, a strong performance in the first half of February, qualifying for the OSL Rnd 1 and having a seed for the MSL and you have a performance worth of #7.
You can almost shuffle the following 6 players in any order and get some kind of respectable list. The truth is, after the first 7 you lose all sense of consistency and you end up with a bunch of hit and miss players. Hiya gets to the top of this pack by being the most consistent of the bunch. Yes, Hiya lost to Notice in the very first round of the OSL prelims, but his TV games have been good. He's had wins over Fantasy, Jangbi, and TvT beast Skyhigh - and couple this with a good January and that equals Hiya getting 8th this month.
Leta has basically run out of gas at this point. After a blazing January, his performance in February steeply dropped off. Leta did, however, get an all-kill against WeMade AND qualify for the OSL. On the other hand, he went 1-2 in the MST in some... well.. interesting games (mostly thanks to Hydra). He also managed to lose to YellOw - go watch it here if you haven't already - but that was probably more to Yellow's credit. Leta has also been dropped out of use in WL - making my life more difficult in trying to assess where his skill currently lies. For Leta to stay on the ranking he needs to get back into WL and qualify for the OSL, otherwise I don't think he'll be around next month.
It's almost painful to keep putting Kwarno on the Power Rank. I am a huge Kwanro fan, but I recognize that Kwanro's game is not as solid as the likes of Bisu and what not. The problem is no one is stepping up to knock him off! Kwanro's result sheet is good - he has a seed for the MSL and he just re-qualified for the OSL making him one of the very few players to be dual leaguing this season.
It's very telling how dominant a player is when (almost) every other player on the power rank got destroyed that player over the course of the month. Flash fits into that 'dominant' spot very well. January was a great month for Flash - he picked up an OSL win and an MSL second. Yes, Jaedong beat him in the finals but we'll discuss that a bit later. Flash continued to break records in January including becoming the first person to break 2400 elo, not an easy feat by any means!
The one blip on his record is the fact that he lost the (controversial) MSL finals to Jaedong. But let's put this into perspective. The only person in Starcraft's history to win a double title is Nada, and that was way back when MSL was still the KPGA Tour. The only other players to come close are Savior, and Nada again during IOPS OSL/YATGK MSL. The fact Flash even made it to two finals is impressive enough on its own. As a consequence, Flash did not prepare as well for the finals as Jaedong did and paid the price. However, I still firmly beleive that Flash is the better player and given the opportunity I would vote Flash again. This can be seen in Flash's winning record over Jaedong recently (4-3) including a win on Match Point after the finals. There can be little doubt that Flash is still #1 in the world.
Before the Jaedong fanboys tear me to shreds, I must give credit where it's due. Jaedong played the MSL finals superbly. Right from the opening set it was clear that Jaedong had a very clear game plan and knew exactly where to go looking for holes in Flash's game plan. From that moment, I knew Jaedong was going to take the finals. In a pm to Atrioc before the MSL finals I told him for Jaedong to win the MSL he would have to revolutionize ZvT the same way Flash has done for TvZ recently - sure enough he stepped up to the task and showed everyone that 3hatch before pool is viable. Personally, I feel that the build is unsound but given the right opponent and right context it is an exceptionally good build (so much so that he used it against Flash in their 2nd game on Match Point, and Killer used it against fOrGG on the same map). Over time we will tell if this build is actually a safe choice for Zergs. Oh and by the way, in the fourth set Flash played the same build against Kwanro meaning either he didn't prepare very well at all (freestyle finals, what?) or he really really doesn't like Fighting Spirit (he did thumb it down twice). Jaedong knowing this, knew he would play aggressive and end the map quickly and viola! Jaedong's superior preparation lead to a victory.
I don't beleive Jaedong's skills at the moment are good enough to beat Flash in an impromptu best of 5. Everyone of those games in the finals was a calculated masterpiece, but I'm not sure Jaedong could repeat those exact builds again and get the same result. Nevertheless, Jaedong has ruthlessly dominated every other player on the planet and is only #2 by a mere smidgen.
I'm not much for jokes, but there is a legitimate reason why Power Outage earns #3. It's not all the controversy it generate, but the fact that Jaedong and Flash are so far ahead of everyone else at the moment that it's sickening. These two are carrying on the great legacy of TvZ rivalries which include the likes of Boxer/Yellow, Nada/Gorush, Nada/Chojja, iloveoov/July, Midas/Savior and Nada/Savior. They are both revolutionizing TvZ every time they meet and that is nothing to scoff at. Take this moment to think about just how blessed we are to have two amazing players showing us some of the most beautiful Starcraft we have ever witnessed.
Really has been slowly creeping up my ranking all through January. It all started right at the start of the month when he became the person to break Flash's TvT streak. It was an impressive game to say the least. He followed that up quickly by taking out fantasy in another dominating game. Then, he lost to Baby - and dropped right into CBNC territory. Throughout the rest of the month he played excellent Starcraft and shot right back up into the ranks. The thing that sealed Really's high rank this month was his performance against Khan - notably his thoroughly impressive game against Jangbi on Match Point. Even though he lost the subsequent game to Stork, I would be inclined to put that down to lack of proper preparation for Judgment Day since his positioning was less than optimal throughout and he let Stork's build get away unpunished. It looked as if he didn't know Stork could 12nexus on that map! Nevertheless, Really had an amazing January and has earned every little bit of this rank. Oh and on a personal note, Really became the first player on eSTRO to get a positive career winrate this month! congrats~
Leta is a very talented gamer who over the past month hasn't dropped a game to a player outside of the December PR. Leta is very good at beating lesser players, and has been able to do so consistently over the past month. His routine dismantling of Saint is a very example of this (I love Leta's wraith control). The only players to take games off of Leta are Kal and Sea. These players certainly were his toughest competition over the month, and it is certainly true that Kal completely outplayed him. But the fact remains that over January, Leta played better than Kal. The problem with Leta is that he hasn't really come up against any exceptionally strong competition so for him to keep this spot next month he will need to make sure continues to beat those A Class gamers and start taking games off of S Class gamers. But of course, that will depend on Leta's draw over the next month, so we'll see how things pan out.
Forget everything you know about Kal, because this isn't the Kal that was rocking our worlds back in Arena MSL, this is neo-Kal. For one, Kal seems incapable of playing solid PvZ - traditionally his best matchup. Even though he lost 0-4 to Jaedong over the month, every one of those games was painful. Yes Jaedong is really good, but I simply expect more from Kal in that department. Furthermore, his games against Hoejja and Shine indicate that Kal's PvZ just isn't clicking at the moment. However, Kal's PvT is stronger than ever. He dominated Hwasin at the start of the month and then outplayed Leta from a disadvantage, on a bad PvT map, to finish off the month. Every game in between is just filler since they all look similar - Kal dominating a Terran and making him look worthless.
Kal stepped up in January, as expected. But to keep moving up we need to see what his PvP looks like, and to see that he can recapture some of his former glory in PvZ. Until then he'll have to be content sitting under Leta.
If we forget about Kwanro vs Flash for a moment, Kwanro played, and beat, a whole lot of terrible opponents this month. As impressive as a 7-1 record is over January, when your opponents are players like Soo and Hydra it really makes that 7-1 stat a whole lot less impressive. Against Flash, Kwanro looked pretty helpless. He didn't even put up that good of a fight, and the one game he won was a result of early game Zerglings. It just leaves me with a giant 'meh' feeling in my mouth. So why is Kwanro still here then? Because I can't penalize Kwanro for an easy draw given he wins all his games (as he has done, except when he got sunken broken by Casy). Kwanro hasn't shown any glaring weaknesses in his games, other than his series against Flash, which further makes dropping Kwanro difficult. In the end Kwanro sits at number 7 for consistency and an MSL semifinal placing. However, if Kwanro starts to falter in February, expect him to drop right back into CBNC territory.
Despite going 0-2, firebathero didn't have a terrible start to the month. His game against Flash was one of the few games where Flash looked troubled in TvT over the past few months. That deserves a ton of credit right there, but due to a poor December he was rather overlooked. The rest of the month was very very impressive from the Khan veteran. Since the start of the Winner's League he has gone 6-2; 3-1 against SKT (including very impressive wins of BeSt and Bisu) and 3-1 against eSTRO. It's hard to blame firebathero for losing to Really and Fantasy at the end of all of that, because he played so damn well. Look out, because firebathero is in great shape at the moment (so trade him into your FPL team if you don't have him already).
How does the Samsung Khan Ace end up below the third best player from Khan? Easy, you play bad for a whole month. Stork's record is better than the games reflect. For instance, take Stork vs Stats on Outsider. Stats was winning for pretty much the entire game, then Stork got some lucky scarabs off which killed both of Stats' Reavers winning Stork the decisive battle. Sure, Stork won, but it was nowhere near convincing. Hence why his subsequent loss to Pure came as no surprise to me. After beating Flash on Heartbreak, you would expect that Stork would give Flash a good game right? Wrong. Stork was crushed by the first push, it was pathetic. He also took a bad beat from Hiya as well. To Stork's credit his play towards the end of the month picked up, and that's why he's still on this months ranking. Unfortunately, I don't feel that we've seen enough to give a proper assessment of how good Stork's three matchups are since firebathero has been dominating so hard. Thus Stork has been playing cleanup duty, but he's been doing it well! To stay on this ranking Stork's going to need to prove his worth if firebathero starts failing - and I really hope he can do that.
The #10 spot was actually fought over quite hard this month. In the end it came down to Hiya vs Calm - and Hiya just managed to nudge ahead. Hiya really doesn't receive enough credit on these forums. He was the most popular anti-team pick for last seasons FPL and consequently he screwed a lot of people over. In January Hiya played some impressive games and took some impressive scalps - like Stork, Jangbi and Violet. Since Jaedong was preparing so hard for the MSL Finals, Hiya took over Ace duty for Hwaseung, and did a very respectable job. Sure he lost to Zero, but due to both sides playing aggressive it was a very very intense game and a hard fought loss on his behalf. You also can't really blame him for losing to Hoejja the other day either - all in Drone counters are an unexpected (but surprisingly viable) to 8rax scv all-ins. That was not a conventional game of Starcraft by any measure. Thus for a solid performance over January Hiya breaks into the PR, just.
Honestly, if it were possible I would rank Flash at #1 and #2. Sadly, that's impossible. The reality is, Flash is simply so far ahead of everyone else at the moment that he looks indestructible. In December he set a new TvT streak record and is probably going to break the streak record for any matchup very soon. His TvZ is so far ahead of other Terrans, so much so that when you watch him play you are watching trend setting TvZ; from his unconventional timing pushes, persistent denial and pressure on a Zerg's third base, the masterful late game play which includes resetting tanks as an essential part of a late game Terran army - all of these things are monumental.
Critics may complain that his TvP is "weak" - this is absolute nonsense. Amongst a field of Protoss friendly maps (at least against Terran anyway), he is pushing Protoss players to the limit. Indeed, his losses to Best and Stork are to his opponents credit, rather than Flash's discredit. If we take his game against Stork as an example of what it takes for a Protoss to beat Flash at the moment, this is what you need: Protoss favoured map, hidden expansion, unconventional late game play and ridiculously solid game conduct under heavy pressure. This doesn't sound anything like a player who is 'struggling' with TvP.
Flash is the complete package - a true ultimate weapon.
I suspect this is going to upset some people, but really, Stork completely deserves this position. Throughout December Stork demonstrated that he is the best Protoss in the world. While a poor finish in November kept him from progressing any further in the MSL, he was able to stay alive in the OSL by 3-0'ing his group (which contained Flash). This is an impressive feat no matter how you look at it. In the Round of 8 in the OSL he lost to one of the most dangerous ZvP snipers on the planet on a set of favourable Zerg maps. But with that said, those games were very close with a semi-cheese in the third set.
In Proleague Stork is the sole reason why Khan has experienced a revival this season. He is a reliable ace against the best from opposing teams. His scalps in December include both the SKT Ace (Bisu) and the Woongjion Ace (Zero). Not only has he been posting the results, but his games are beautiful to watch and on the whole the games are never close (unless Stork loses).
As with any Protoss, Stork's weakness is his PvZ. In December he showcased some decisive victories over Zero and showed extremely clean play against other Zergs. Sure he took some hard hits from Shine and Effort - but overall there isn't another player who's PvZ has looked better than Storks. Stork is the reigning Protoss king and he thoroughly deserves #2.
Yes, Jaedong takes a fall this month despite having a killer record in December. That is because his play simple has not looked as strong as Storks. Take a deeeeeep breath, and before you rage out finish reading this. Let's break this down by matchup firstly. It has been clear for a few months now that "JvZ" is over. Yes he is still probably the best in the world in this matchup at the moment - but too many Zerg's hvae shown that they can take him out in important situations. There has been nothing to indicate that this has changed in December, mostly because Jaedong's opponents have been so lackluster (except for Roro). Ultimately, at the moment I have more faith in Stork's PvP than Jaedong's ZvZ based off of what happened in December.
Jaedong's ZvP is still without doubt the best in the world. Every Protoss's heart sinks upon hearing that their next opponent is Jaedong. While his opponents in December were very mediocre, Jaedong clearly demonstrated in those games that he was on another level entirely to those players. His ZvP is very much comparable to Stork's PvT at the moment - as in I would liquibet those two without thinking if they had those matchups.
Now we come to the deciding factor for why Jaedong took a fall in December - his ZvT. Flash has been killing Zergs left right and center, and as such how Zergs perform against him is very telling about their ZvT condition. Three important series were played in over the past month - Flash vs Zero, Flash vs Jaedong and Flash vs Calm. Flash vs Jaedong Game 1 and Flash vs Zero Game 1 are very similar. Flash employed the same strategy in each game (denial of the Zerg's 3rd). Now go rewatch those two games and tell me who played better? (clue: Zero did). Review the second match in Jaedong's series against Flash, can you tell me that Jaedong reacted as good as he could have? (clue: you can't). Review the series that Calm played with Flash. Ask yourself, did Jaedong or Calm play the better series against him? (clue: it's Calm). At the end of the day, Jaedond's ZvT is but a shadow of it's former self. Through Batoo and Bacchus his ZvT was a work of art and something to be revered. Now a number of lesser Zergs are able to post better games than him. Don't get me wrong, overall Jaedong is still the best Zerg in the world, but his ZvT condition was simply worse than Stork's PvZ last month, and that is why Jaedong barely slips to #3.
The top three on this ranking all exhibit two key traits - consistency and reliability across the board. Now we enter the parts where these traits become almost nonexistent, and unreliability and unrefined gameplay run rampant. When Shine shows up to play he is a force to be reckoned with. He is the most deadly ZvP sniper in progaming, his ZvZ can take out any Zerg and his ZvT is pretty good too. And then when Shine doesn't show up to play... well let's just say it's not pretty. In December, however, Shine was 'hitting' more than 'missing' and as such makes a grand resurgence into the rankings. His OSL run hasn't been easy - he had to deal with fantasy and calm in his group and then Stork in the Round of 8. Yet somehow, he's come out on top. He thoroughly deserves his semifinal position, but I can't help that feel if the map pool was any different he would have really struggled to get this far. Nevertheless, in ZvP Shine has an ability to exploit any sign of weakness in his opponents play - often leading him to victory. Indeed, with Movie's rough, unpolished style it's highly likely that Shine will have a field day with him in their upcoming semifinal. The reason Shine is below Stork, despite beating him, is that you are never sure about whether Shine is going to turn up to play or not - with Stork you never have that question. As such, he gets #4 for now. But expect him to go up should his good play continue.
Movie is like a diamond in the rough. He is unsculpted raw talent and is bringing home the results. His play isn't refined and beautiful to watch like an in form Bisu's, but he doesn't need this extra layer of finesse to be an effective weapon. His awkward timing attacks against Zergs have proven to be highly effective, however better players would have been able to end those games much faster than Movie did (specifically his series against Zero). Even Movie's losses to Jaedong don't do him very much discredit (losing vs semi-cheese on Heartbreak is unfortunate, but a consequence of his lack of refinement). Movie's play in December has looked very strong, and his losses can typically be attributed to trivial error rather than an inherent problem in his game. The moment Movie works out those last few kinks he's going to be a true force to be reckoned with - expect Movie to be one of the titans of 2010.
Zero got a rough month, but his record firmly does not do his skill justice. While other players this month got served a main of Turn with a side of Firefist - Zero got the bets players in the world all at the same time (Flash, Stork, Movie etc). Zero played very close games with each of these players and despite losing, this shows that he is just below their skill level. As already mentioned, his series vs Flash was more impressive than Jaedong's and his 0-2 to Stork is no shame what so ever. Zero is still one of the most skilled gamers there is today, no matter what his record says. When a player gets served the toughest draw in progaming and still manages to have a winrate better than 50% for the month you know this guy is good. Zero sits here for now, but expect him to climb as he runs into other players in Proleague and proceeds to eliminate them.
Sea is the only anomaly on this ranking. He, like the top three, is exhibiting those two key traits of consistency and reliability (barring an embarrassing loss to GosI[flying]). Unfortunately, Sea is only able to demonstrate his good condition in the Proleague and that's keeping him low in the rankings. Sea has absolutely ridiculous TvT. In all seriousness, if Flash weren't dominating this matchup so hard right now we would all be talking about how amazing Sea's TvT is. His TvZ really connected in December and he was able to scalp Jaedong. While his TvP is questionable, his TvT-esque victory over Stork at the very very end of November still is lingering in the back of my mind and gives me faith that his TvP is actually up to scratch. As usual, Sea is bubbling with talent and promise but is absent from both leagues. One day he'll break into a league and win it all... one day...
Ah Kwanro... You are one of the most annoying figures in progaming to accurate rank. Your play varies so much during the month that it's near impossible to tell what's going on. Kwanro really hit his stride in the last half of December though going 7-1 with wins over Kal and Light. He managed to salvage his MSL run after being embarrassed by Bogus in the first game of their Round of 16 confrontation. He's also looking to make the semifinals there as well, once again making him a strong dark horse contender for the title. Additionally, Kwanro has been fielding decent results in Proleague. For Kwanro to climb this ranking he needs to consolidate his play and show that he can consistently show impressive games, not just in the last half of every month. Thus, Kwanro sits here at #8.
Don't let Calm's last minute dash fool you! Calm's play throughout the month was very very disappointing. Indeed, Calm's play is not nearly good as his record suggests. Yes I will acknowledge that his most recent series against Flash was impressive, well at least Games 2 and 3 were. But Games 1 and 4 had Clam rear his ugly head. Furthermore, his 2-0 win over Pure was perhaps the weakest series win all year. He was only able to win (on excellent ZvP maps mind you) by resorting to two hatch muta twice (only being forced to do so in game 1). The games were sad, and not in the least bit impressive. Yes he picked up a number of notable Zerg scalps this month, but it's ZvZ - anything can happen in the right circumstances. Ultimately, Calm got a field of dud players and played just better than them and got some wins. Indeed, the only reason he made this rank is because of his recent series with Flash and his semi-good ZvZ. He's really going to need to step up to stay on the rank next month.
Kal had a fairly silent December with practically no notable games. But that's more to do with him crushing the majority of his opponents without any worries. Nevertheless, as usual Kal is leading the charge in PvZ trying out various openers like Dark Archons and quick Zealot pressure (all to be revealed in a FE due out soon!). Kal is also currently undefeated in the MSL (yes, he's 5-0). Ultimately Kal is doing the best he can with the draw he's been given, and since he hasn't been able to demonstrate just how good he is against better players he has to be content with #10 for now. It's unfortunate that he gets penalized for something that isn't his fault, but as it stands there isn't enough evidence to suggest that Kal should be any higher than #10.
Yes, Flash is still here at the top. Despite an embarrassing loss to Best in Proleague, the Little Monster kept batting for KT and stomped his OSL group in style with his now infamous FvZ, which is quickly becoming a matchup in itself. He is 5 - 1 this month, but that record says nothing about his play at the moment. It's simply top notch, and there's not a player in the world who can touch him right now. As the individual leagues warm up and Proleague goes into its second round, you can rest assured that Flash is going to be all up in everyone's grill. Watch out progaming, watch out.
Anything naysayers have to say about Jaedong for the time being can be put to rest. He had a bit of an off month last time, and almost dropped down to three. This month, he sits safe at two not only due to his WCG massacre of Bisu and Stork, but also because Calm's performance dropped significantly, and to be fair, he did beat this month's #3 in a bo3. Complain all you like, but in November Jaedong showed us that he was nowhere near done with progaming and as the individual leagues get going we're sure we're going to see more and more of him. His PL loss to Savior? Well, that just goes to show that he's not up there with Flash at the moment. But then, who is?
Anti-fans are going to rage hard about this entry, but the truth is Bisu is clearly #3 on the scene at the moment. While certainly below Jaedong's standard in most matchups right now, he is still playing great Starcraft. Despite a loss to Luxury early on, Bisu delivered the results needed for SKT T1, and though now out of the OSL, is still by far one of the strongest contenders for a MSL title this season. Simply put, Bisu just didn't play enough this month to justify putting him lower. His games haven't been spectacular, sure, but remember, that's all relative. This guy is still one of progaming's most consistent performers, and it shows.
CJ fans are going to be pleased. Yes, Effort is once again in possession of a decent PR spot, and rightly so. However, though 7 - 2 is a great record to have this month, Darkelf, Frozean, Light, Jangbi and Free are not exactly top calibre caps to have. With a win over Zero and a loss to Shine, he's shown us that he's about fifty-fifty with players at his skill level this month. Though that's good enough for #4 in November, in a month with more games he'd have found it harder to get this high up. Of course, he definitely has the potential to step up his game, and as the leagues progress we'll get to see if he manages to or not.
Stork performed well at WCG. He played a fantastic series against Jaedong and took a win on Colosseum 2 in what can only be described as a game worth telling your grandkids about. Then, he dropped his MSL group and that sucked. Despite all that, he was destined for a higher rank than this, and then, as I penned these words, he crashed and burned in Proleague. Sea, fine, it's Sea, and to be fair he has been playing well. Then, Hyun? Sorry Dinotoss, but, no way. No way.
I can feel the hype bubbling as I write this. ZERO! Indeed sports fans, indeed, this Woongjin Zerg has had a fantastic month. Currently leading the PL individual rankings and going a stellar 9 - 1 in November, Zero moves quickly from CBNC to #6 this month. In fact, if his win list included a few bigger names he'd have most certainly broken into the top four. As it stands though his biggest caps are Pure, Hwasin and Savior, and that, coupled with his loss to EffOrt makes him stop short here. Can Zero go higher in December? Well, we'll have to wait and see, won't we?
Let's face it, Calm has had an awful couple of days. Losing to Best, Light, Fantasy and Justin, his 2 - 6 record this month wouldn't even qualify him for CBNC. His loss to Justin in particular was shocking, but to be fair, the Hite Terran did play spectacular Starcraft that day. Thankfully, the PR has never been only about results. Calm is a great player. As I've mentioned time and time again, it is his versatility that makes him stand out - from 2 hatch lurker to 5 hatch hydra, he can play the gamut of Zerg builds and do so in style. While a bad record this month does make him drop towards the bottom of the rank, it's difficult to think of many players who can beat him in a bo5 at the moment. Calm had a terrible month, but a terrible month alone is not going to push a former #3 completely off the chart.
Hello Sea! Good to have you back. Truth be told, I really wanted to put you higher than this. However, despite your fantastic Proleague run, I just couldn't justify a top position because nearly all your games have been TvT. Don't get me wrong, going 7 - 1 and destroying half the Terran population of Proleague is fantastic, and you are anything but a one matchup wonder. Also, your TvT style dismantlement of Stork was a treat to say the least. However, what's really messing with your rank here is the fact that you're out of both individual leagues. Having said that, I'm certain that you're going to go into PL R2 swinging, and if you do, and in doing so dispatch some big Z/P names, I will very gladly push you up further when I put the rank together next time. Do it, Sea. Do it.
Fantasy hasn't had a great month. Of course, he hasn't had a terrible month either. From nuking Hoejja into submission in what can only be described as an crazy game in Proleague, he went on to lose to Flash's TvT, which to be fair is Flash's TvT, and some might say there's no shame in that. He returned of course to dispatch Calm on two separate occasions. In fact, the only reason he's here below Calm is that his play has been dropping the last few months and continued to dip slightly in November. Don't get me wrong, Fantasy is a great player. If he wants to stay on the PR though he's going to have to put up results, but more importantly, show in his games that he is truly playing at the level we expect our power rankers to play at. At the moment, he's nearing the bottom of the barrel and we all know that he's capable of much more than that.
Our darkhorse MSL finalist, Kwanro is a curious character. Despite a lacklustre Proleague run after his move to Woongjin, the former CJ Zerg is in the Ro16 of both individual leagues and this month dispatched Shine, Movie and Hwasin in style. While his play is nothing close to stellar at the moment, I'm going to be watching his OSL/MSL bid closely and have to say that there is a good chance that he'll move up the PR next month, especially if he continues to be more consistent in PL.
Lee Young Ho has been at top form lately, going 10 - 0 in October and sweeping through both his MST and OSL groups. Of course, he's also led KT in stellar Proleague R1 opener and while hero is the only really big name he toppled, it's difficult to argue with stats like that. Having gone through some off time due to KT not making the PL playoffs last season, Flash used October to show that the rest has done him good and that he's back with a better TvZ than ever before.
For once, I predict there will be a ruckus about how high Jaedong is on the PR. The truth is, The Tyrant was clearly not at his best in October. Dropping ZvZs to Zero, Hyuk and 815, he looked pretty bad. Having said that, no one except Flash looked really good this month either, and while going 2 - 3 will drop him down one slot to make way for the marauding KT Terran, it's not going to make him drop to Calm. Of course, he's going to have to seriously pull his weight in November if he wants to stay in the top three for long.
Dear Calm, I really wanted to put you higher this month. I mean seriously, your play against Backho was amazing, and truth be told you have been on a monster streak lately. To say I was pushing for you for #1 this month would be an understatement. I was positively giddy with excitement after your OSL group and to be fair, you are 9 - 2 this month, and in second place for PL wins. The problem is obviously not in your wins then, but in how you won some of those games. Your ZvP, it needs some fine tuning, as the game you almost lost vs Sangho showed. Dude, I really, really, really want to put you at #1, and I'm confident that in this next month I'll be able to. Please do it. DO IT. Your fan, riptide.
The Fall or not and map imbalances aside, Dinotoss is here dishing out the dirt. Going 5 - 1 this month and crushing both his individual league groups, Stork is looking good once again. Call him neo-Yellow, the silversmith, call him what you like, but it's hard to argue with a Protoss who is just so consistent. While I don't rule out the possibility of him failing in a final, if he continues to play the way he has this month, the road to one is most definitely open for the KHAN player.
He lost to Shine, yes, and yes, it was bad. Yet, despite his OSL failings, he has been pulling SK Telecom 1 along like always, going 4 - 0 in Proleague with a PvP that is looking positively stunning. As much as anti-fans would be delighted with me dropping him further down the list, the fact remains that Bisu would need to lose a lot more to give up #5. Along with Stork, he is currently at the top of the Protoss hierarchy, and one bo3 loss isn't going to change that.
Fantasy started off the month with a really bad game against Stats on Destination. I'd like to say his form improved thereafter, but truth be told it didn't, and his two position drop is clearly indicative of this. With that said however, Fantasy is still 3 - 1 in Proleague, and due to his OSL seed hasn't got a chance to play any games there. His MST loss, though disappointing, is not enough to push him down further than this. Like Jaedong however, his position on the PR is pretty precarious as we head into what is likely to be an action packed November.
If anything, this entry is going to be the cause of a tempest in a teacup. Effort above Hyuk, but he beat him, amirite? Well, it doesn't work that way.While both Zerg players are looking very strong at the moment, Hyuk needs more all round form before he can climb higher on the rank, especially against the names that grace the top half of this list. Effort on the other hand has been consistent on all fronts for some time now, and crawls up one spot from last time due to getting more play time. As we head into November, the CJ Zerg certainly has the opportunity to make up for the brief vacation he had as a result of his team dropping out of the PL playoffs, and if he continues to show his current form in the month to come, the top half of the next PR may well be his for the taking.
Broodwar is full of unlikely heroes, and out of them, Shine is perhaps the unlikeliest. Yet, from eliminating none other than Kim Taek Yong from the OSL earlier in the month, to the awesome game vs Violet on Destination later on, the Wemade Zerg has been raising eyebrows up and down the proscene. Queens and ensnare aside though, if he continues to pull his weight in PL and rip through the individual leagues as he did in October, he will climb at least a couple of notches in the months to come. At the moment he sits below Effort purely because has yet to establish himself as a big name sniper. I enjoy his play immensely, and as much as I'd like to push him up further than this, knocking Bisu out in a bo3 isn't enough to give him an edge over Effort right now.
Sniping Jaedong, Effort and Stork and snagging wins over Hoejja and Kwanro as well, Hyuk has been on the rampage this October. However, the PR has never been kind to flashes in the pan, and this SKT Zerg is going to need to hold it together for longer if he wants to take positions against the big names that sit here above him. In particular, his ZvT needs to be established as worthy of a PR-ranked player, and at present, it simply isn't, as his disastrous loss to Sea showed. Though he definitely has the potential to be a future top 3 contender if he continues his present form, Hyuk is going no higher than #9 in October. Also, before you begin to scream about Shine being above him, ask yourself this question - who is the more well rounded player at the moment? It's a no brainer.
What's the deal with Kal? You hear about him for a while, then he goes on hiatus and returns to rock the leagues here and there again. It's weird, but he's back this season for sure. Going 5 - 2 in October, with one of those losses being to Jaedong, he moved through his MST group with ease, and was Calm's right hand in PL to boot, netting 3 - 2, STX's second highest win/loss ratio so far. While Movie has looked equally good in the individual leagues, the STX player's Proleague run easily gives him the edge, especially seeing how his CJ counterpart is 1 - 3, a near reverse of his own stats.
September was not a good month for the Power Rank. Firstly, virtually no games were played, and the games that did go down were of hardly any consequence. Therefore, with nothing for or against Jaedong this September, The Tyrant heads up this list for the 4th consecutive month. Before anyone asks, no, his loss to Bisu in Allstars is not going to nudge him down enough to drop a spot. LJD is the current OSL champion, and it's going to take more than a loss in a showmatch to dislodge him from the pinnacle of Starcraft.
The reigning MSL champion, this STX Zerg moves up a spot this September not so much for anything he did. Yet, with Fantasy dropping down the rank due to an overall dip in his standard of play, Calm steps up to take what is rightfully his. Going 2-0 in UPC in the only two games he played this month, he showed us that he is still very much at the top of his game, and there is absolutely no reason to push him further down than this. Finishing August with a MSL victory, Inter.Calm sits pretty at #2 this September, and with good reason too.
I'm telling ya, The Revolutionist was hard to peg this month. Succumbing to the power of assonance and losing two games to Zero and Hero, SKT T1's powerhouse came back with a flawlessly executed, and as we're told slightly modified build that threw the greatest Zerg in the world off his game. If he had done that in a game that anyone really cared about, he'd be moving up this rank at least a little further. As it stands though, it was just an Allstars showdown, and a victory there, albeit a good one, can only be weighed so much. Though Bisu played really well in WCG last month, he doesn't move up a notch here because he did so in September - he's here at #3 because Fantasy's play that was dropping towards the end of August continued on its downward path in September.
As I just mentioned above, the end of August was not kind to this Terran, and September, as it turns out was no better. With no real games being played this month though, Jung Myung Hoon manages to drop down just two notches and balance precariously at #4. Though his Protoss compatriot didn't have such a hot month either, Bisu's play was at least marginally above him during the last thirty days, and let's not even argue about Calm - Fantasy drops down the rank this month because the PL finals are now a distant memory, and there hasn't been much going for our hero since then.
Although Flash lost to Sea earlier on this month, in the last week of September he salvaged the situation by nuking himself. Seriously though, the current GOM champion is more than deserving of a #5 spot, and not because of his really fun play against Savior in Allstars. If there were any games worth watching this month, Flash would most certainly have been at top form. Despite a WCG loss, and that to none less than Bisu, the Little Monster stomped through GOM in the last serious games he had, and there is no reason to believe that his form at present deserves anything less than #5.
The Berseker does not move this month, and understandably so - he played zero games. As CJ heads into R1 of Proleague though, you can be sure that he's going to have some heavy lifting to do. His individual league performance last season was solid, and even though he didn't walk away with any titles, making the Ro4 in both of them, and taking a fantastic five game series off Bisu in the process nets him a place on this PR as it did on the last.
With results being a moot point this month, it's needless to say that play itself was weighed more heavily in this PR, and by that measure Stork certainly climbs a notch up. Although he did lose to Leta on Outsider in the first week of September, his jawdropping Goon-Shuttle micro in his Allstars encounter vs Fantasy is more than deserving of a slightly inflated rank. Beautifully executing a modified Bulldog build, Dinotoss completely neutralised the SKT T1 Terran's harassment heavy play and brought smiles to the faces of Protoss players everywhere. For leading Starcraft's R&D Department this month, Stork manages to move up a rank on which others have remained largely stationary.
Kwanro is the kind of Zerg you love to watch play. Uber aggressive, and always keeping his opponents guessing, when this pocket rocket delivers, he does so in style. Despite getting stomped by Calm in the MSL finals, the CJ Zerg made last month's PR, and he remains on this month's list, though moving a slot down thanks to a very solid looking Stork.
Like Iris, Effort has played no games this month. He moves up the rank by one then not by his doing, but via the undoing of Yarnc. Kim Jung Woo has not been at his best lately, and following his PL and WCG losses in August I wouldn't dare push him up further than this. The fact remains however that he doesn't deserve to go any lower either. In the recent past he led CJ through a good playoff run, and despite a disappointing performance in GOM wrestled 3rd place from July, and well, the truth is he's done nothing in September that negates any of that. Effort stays.
So Yarnc did tear through his MST qualifier, but to be fair he did so beating the likes of Wrath, foru and ggaemo. Even if we were to weigh these games at all, his performance during the rest of September is average at best, with five losses in a row during eval and map testing games, and his one win coming courtesy of none other than failbathero. He drops down to ten this month, and at present it doesn't look at all like he'll be around the next time I write these up.
If this PR was written after the first week of August, Lee Jaedong would certainly not be at the top of it. While beginning the month with two wins against his nemesis EffOrt, Jaedong also lost to Orion in the same semi final, and then went on to get stomped by a SKT led by frontman Fantasy in the Proleague Grand Finals, letting down his team, and as his fans would say, himself. From being up in his first game on day one, to dying to a well timed tech switch and tank push in the same and crumbling to a perfectly executed bunker rush in the ace match on day two, The Tyrant lost to Hyuk of all people in the process, and as darkness fell in Pusan on 8/8/9, appeared to be all but conquered.
Indeed, facing Calm in his MSL Semi Final just five days later, and going up against him in no less than his most proficient matchup, the OZ workhorse typed out sooner than anyone ever expected. For most players, a week like that would have meant only one thing, a beginning of a long, excruciatingly bad slump.
Why then is Lee Jaedong at PR #1 today? Because, sports fans, the kid came back the very next day, yes that's right, he came back just 24 hours later to completely obliterate the same Terran who had schooled him so thoroughly less than a week before. From a humbling 3 -1 against Calm, the OZ Zerg recovered well to reverse the scores and go 3 - 1 against Fantasy in the OSL Semi Final, thereby securing a back to back OSL Finals spot, an opportunity he would turn into a back to back OSL win, the first since Lim Yo Hwan himself, and as we all know thanks to the gushing of a million fanboys, the third Golden Mouse in Starcraft history. Indeed, his OSL feats quickly outshine everything else this month, and it must be said, far outweigh his disappointing WCG loss to Stork. As billions of babbling fans bicker and beg for the B word to be used, I'm just here to tactfully avoid that discussion but say that JD, having borne the brunt of many beatings, is now by and large back and ready to bashfully agree that the baton is still very much in his possession.
Jung Myung Hoon started off this month with a bang, and a big one at that. Thoroughly schooling the best player in the world in a game that would prove to be one of the most discussed and debated of the year, Fantasy went out against Jaedong on Outsider in the PL Grand Finals opener and despite some mistakes early on played smart and strong to finally overcome the swarm with a great timing push.
Of course, he didn't stop there. Rolling Hiya as expected, he built on his day one victory over his Zerg rival to deliver in the day two ace match what can only be described as a stellar performance. Showing strategy, timing and micro that has been described as Boxer-esque, the young T1 Terran went crazy on the crazy Zerg, and emerged from the booth carrying not only himself, but his entire team. Now, he did crumble less than a week later to go 1-3 against the same Zerg, and for this reason he does not get #1 this month. Losing 0-2 to Stork in WCG didn't help his cause either, though to put things in perspective the Protoss did also take out Jaedong just three days later.
When all is said and done though, it does take a lot of attitude to proxy rax the best Zerg in the world in the biggest game of your life. It also, however, takes skill, determination, and a lot of belief in yourself and your abilities. Call him the Hope of Terran, or a flash in the pan, call him what you like. The truth is that this kid gave us what is easily the best finals of this season, and in doing so also treated us to what was one of the best games of the year. We haven't seen this combination of panache, charisma and pure, unadulterated guts in a while, and for bringing it to our screens this August, Fantasy is #2.
This guy really should be at #2 this month, and if not for the Proleague finals, he would be. Netting his first inidividual title and destroying the king of ZvZ on his way there, August was certainly kinder to STX than July was.
Calm, a darkhorse on a darkhorse team, a player who led his outfit throughout Proleague R5 finally stepped up this month to deliver a series we would not soon forget. Playing against the highest ZvZ win ratio of all time, Kim Yoon Hwan played the series of his career. From perfect ling surrounds to beautiful mutalisk timing and scourge snipes, Calm matched Jaedong in terms of mechanics, and indeed, outsmarted him clearly in every game that he won. Jaedong is a believer that having superior hand-speed is the key to victory in ZvZ; Calm proved him dead wrong and used his mind to defeat him. If his tears after the game were indication, the STX Zerg had put a lot of thought and preparation into this game, and it paid off. He was for the first time about to enter the biggest of arenas, and indeed, do so in style.
If the series vs Jaedong helped Calm establish his ZvZ prowess once and for all, it was using the MSL Finals that Calm really rubbed it in. From defending a 5pool with ease in the first game, to performing some magnificent scourge snipes and ling harassment in the other three the STX Zerg showed that he was top dog, and a vicious one at that. For taking down the world's best ZvZ, and then going on to ezmode the MSL finals, Calm sits pretty at #3 this August.
Bisu slips out of the top three this PR for the first time in months, almost single-handedly brought down from a podium position by the Berserker himself. Granted, it's perhaps a little unfair to peg a month's performance on one series, but having trounced his Terran team mate in the same tournament, Kim Taek Yong certainly had the ability to prepare for a perfect PvT bo5. Indeed, one could almost say he delivered. Almost.
Play consistently the whole season and lead your team to the PL finals? Check. Miss the Proleague MVP title by one game? Check. Lose to Iris in a series in which he was the clear favourite? Yup that too.
Realistically, if not for his destruction of WCG Korea, and the dispatch of our #5 in the process, Bisu would be hard pressed to find a spot on this month's PR. Needless to say, if he had actually won one of the regular individual leagues, he'd be safely in the top three. He did however lay waste to the likes of Flash, Luxury and Stork in a KeSPA ranking seeded WCG, 2-0ing the last two in the process, and therefore secures his place right here at #4.
It's been a rough few weeks for Flash. From KT's disappointing exit from the PL playoffs, to the many names they have gone through these past few weeks, Flash cant be happy that despite being the Proleague MVP along with Jaedong he had to sit around in the post season and just practice for GOM and WCG.
The practice time however obviously paid off. Flash is 8-4 in August, and his caps include the likes of Effort and Iris, the latter being defeated as he stepped up to take the his second individual league title. If KT had made the PL playoffs, both July and August could have been very different for the wonderkid. For what it's worth though, the Terran is back on the PR after slipping down to CBNC last time around, and that's certainly something.
Yes, Kwanro beat Iris in MSL Semi, and yes, Flash beat Iris in the GOM finals. The fact of the matter is, however, that the CJ Terran has been playing some pretty decent Starcraft this month. He may have not bagged a title this time around, and I'm sure there are people who are sorry about that, but when all is said and done Byun Hyung Tae really did perform in August.
Called the Ro4 champion by some, it was truly a treat to see a remnant of the last era of Broodwar make it to the top again. Though his 3-2 loss to Kwanro would have brought back nasty flashbacks of DAUM 07 vs GGPlay, his fans no doubt hope that he will be back next season to avenge this loss and make amends.
In terms of titles, Iris is still very much a silver medalist. When it comes to play though, he is truly worthy of a PR spot this month, especially given his 3-2 against none other than Bisu, a series that has been called the best bo5 of the year, and included what by all accounts was simply a fantastic game on Byzantium 3. In fact, that series was good enough to overshadow embarrassing defeats to Kwanro and Flash, and puts Iris on the PR at #6 this month.
Kwanro is a crazy kid. Losing twice to Miracle in the PL Quarter Finals, it looked as if the Zerg was spending far too much time playing pokemon. Fortunately for him though, both those games were in July. Maybe the water supply at the CJ house changed at the end of the month, or maybe someone just hit b. Whatever it was though, Kwanro evolved, and tore through pretty much everything this month.
Destroying Zero in both the MSL and WCG, this pocket rocket went on to play the series of his life against his team mate Iris, and come back from 0-2 to take the Semi Final. It's worthwhile to note of course that though his comeback was certainly commendable, the bo5 itself was nowhere near the Bisu-Iris tell your grandkids about kind of Starcraft we were privileged enough to see in the previous round.
If he hadn't got stomped by Calm in the finals, he'd have certainly been a little higher in this PR, but the fact that he was says a lot about his current state of play. All in all though, August has been a good month for this little dude, and from nowhere he jumps onto the PR at #7.
Makers of fine silverware rejoiced once again this August as dinotoss tore through the likes of Upmagic, Fantasy and Jaedong to get stopped short of a gold by his PvP nemesis. I don't know who got a smack down in the KHAN house that night, but some newbie was sore for weeks after.
YellOw jokes aside though, the KHAN frontman is back, and representing his country at that. While he hasn't played enough Starcraft this month to warrant him going any higher on the list, he sits well above the rest of the tail enders for taking down our #1 and #2 in two convincing bo3s.
Looking ahead, it's worthwhile to speculate that September could be an exciting month for Stork as we hear his Warlock is nearing Lvl 80, and the offseason is no doubt giving him plenty of time to raid with his guild.
Modern Broodwar's tragic hero, the OSL finals was the perfect stage for him to display his fatal flaw - the inability to perform under pressure. He was of course playing against the best of the best, but it goes without saying that someone like Calm would have performed much better in the same situation.
Having said that, Yarnc is someone we instinctively want to root for. He's played long and hard for Sparkyz, and is certainly deserving of a title. As we all know though, in Broodwar you don't always get what you deserve. Though he trounced type-b 3-0 in a rather one-sided OSL Semi Final and then went on to beat Sea and Jangbi in WCG Korea, he fell once again in a ZvZ to none other than his twin, and for that loses any chance of going any higher in this PR.
The CJ Zerg didn't really put much of himself into playing these few weeks, and it shows. Beginning the month by letting his team down with dual losses to Jaedong, he did bounce back to take the GOM bronze medal in a convincing 3-1 of July.
With regards to his PR position though, it was his eventual loss to Flash in WCG that sealed the deal. It's been a while since the CJ Zerg has been below #5, but I'm sorry kids, a Blizzcon win isn't going to push him any further than this.
The August Power Rank's number one slot is by far its easiest to award. In July Jaedong delivered yet another inhumanly strong monthly performance — he cruised past Kal 2-0 in the Avalon MSL's Ro16, topped Canata 3-2 in its Ro8 (after losing the 1set, as is his custom in BoX series), made me look foolish for even suggesting that Zero could challenge him in the OSL, and punched Hwaseung's ticket to Pusan for the 08-09 Proleague Grand Finals.
The Legend Killer's recent wins are brilliant enough to cast a positive light on even his 0-2 loss to Effort in the quarterfinals of GOM. Given Jaedong followed up his promise to "work on [his] weakness that is ZvP" with comfortable wins over Kal on July 11and 16, his GOM exit on the 12th now looks more like evidence of intelligent practice priorities than some vulnerability in his ZvZ. Of course, Jaedong recovered to 2-0 Effort in the Proleague's semifinal — punishing Effort's favorite ZvZ opening with a 9-pool in the 2set of match 1 and then sending CJ home with a stunning display of simultaneous muta and ling micro in the super ace.
Now blatantly obvious: Proleague has usurped the OSL's position as StarCraft's most prestigious contest. The 08-09 PL's massive season and suitably epic new playoff format have garnered an unprecedented level of attention from from fans, media, sponsors, coaches, and players; the Power Rank ought follow suit. Individual league best-ofs can no longer be the litmus test for PR placement. Even ignoring his OSL and MSL victories but considering his loss in GOM, Jaedong deserves this rank's top spot for carrying Hwaseung with two crucial single-set wins on BW's new biggest stage.
SK Telecom T1's Grand Finals seed is obviously cushy for its players — who, without playoff games to prepare for, have been able to focus on beating the snot out of each other in the MSL and OSL — but somewhat problematic for power ranking. Proleague's absence from T1's schedule means Fantasy and Bisu have played just five games since July's rank, and two of those were against each other in the MSL Ro16. Bisu won both, but the match was hardly decisive — especially its 2set. Holding off and almost recovering from an un-scouted proxy 2-gate at his back door, Fantasy looked at least as impressive as KTY. Thus it's no surprise that in his post-1set interview Bisu confessed "I lost to [Fantasy] a lot in practice" and named Fantasy "greatest amongst Terrans".
What seals Fantasy's position in this rank are his July OSL games: a harass-crazy, group-clinching comeback vs. Stork on Outsider, and two seemingly effortless wins over Canata in the Ro8. Fantasy abused Canata's passivity with clever vulture and dropship play, advancing one step closer to a third consecutive OSL Finals appearance and scoring a well-deserved pat on the back from Coach Oov.
Though Bisu is down 0-1 in the MSL quarterfinals after (quite foolishly) allowing Iris's 2-fac push to catch six dragoons deep in his natural, he is in a much less precarious position than Jaedong was against Canata. When the conclusion of his match with Iris finally rolls around on August 4, Bisu will be playing on almost two weeks' undisturbed practice time — a horrifying prospect for Berserker, given that KTY bested Fantasy just one day after his last OSL appearance. Bisu's win vs. Fantasy was a demonstration of his impeccable game sense ("rather than using a specific build I tried to adjust to the given situation") and easily convincing enough to maintain the the Power Rank's third slot.
Fans who tuned in to the conclusion of Effort's MSL Ro8 match expecting to see him mimic Jaedong's Day 2 comeback were sorely disappointed. Using smarter builds and sick micro, Calm won twosets in less than ten minutes of game time — completing his 3-0 sweep of Effort and thus making a strong case for his advancement up the Power Rank.
Including a wild 2-0 Ro16 victory over Forgg earlier in July, Calm's Avalon MSL record is now 7-0. Even considering this, however, ranking Calm above Effort would be untenable without a competent showing in PL playoffs — a standard that Calm just barely met over his four appearances in STX's first-round match vs. KHAN. Calm's two losses (uncharacteristically poor muta micro against Great in Match 1's ace and to Jangbi's +1 speedlot timing in the super ace) ended STX's season and kept him awake at night, but neither game would have been played had Calm also lost to FBH in the 4set of Match 1. Including an ultimately inconsequential, but fail-face inducing, win over Juni in Match 2, Calm's July PL record was 2-2: far inferior to Effort's, yet not quite inferior enough to justify placing him lower than Effort given the one-sidedness of their MSL series.
Inspired by Jaedong's example, Zerg-happy maps, and the return of ZvZ Starleague series, Korea's premier Zerg players are pushing advances in ZvZ tactics and micro that demand changes in our perception of the matchup's metagame. With Jaedong winning a greater portion of his ZvZs than any other player in any other matchup and S-class Zergs regularly overcoming what were once considered insurmountable build order disadvantages in ZvZ, "BO loss" has never been a less satisfying explanation for the outcome of a Zerg versus Zerg game. To discount Calm's defeat of Effort based on build order choices is to egregiously undervalue his perfect execution and superior tactics. Calm's post-1set thoughts on the conclusion of his match with Effort betray the skill involved in contemporary ZvZ BO choice: "I’ll have to prepare mindgames, and in doing so I will have to put a lot more thought into it. I will win by using a build that will be better than today’s".
On July 26 Effort devastated Samsung KHAN with one of the greatest single-player performances in Proleague history. His ace games against Greatand Stork were a tour de force mind-blowing enough make me forget he also carried CJ past Hite with Match 2 wins over Type-band Yarnc. But I think the most impressive moment in Effort's 3-0 day vs. KHAN, and the highlight of the PL playoffs thus far, was defending his 12-hatch from Great's 9-pool in the 3set. If you've seen it already, watch it again.
Whether by overpractice, overexcitement, or inexperience, this heroic PL performance also devastated Effort himself. Now, just nine days after he made a strong case for world's best player vs. KHAN, Effort is out of every league and twice victim to Jaedong's ZvZ. Ultimately July was a gut-wrenching, man-making month for Effort: 25 games (across all four leagues), one OSL Ro16 exit, one MSL quarterfinals loss, four ace games, and one third-place title later, he's moved just one slot in the Power Rank. "Roller coaster" is a vast understatement.
Canata's Bacchus OSL 2009 and Avalon MSL runs are now fresh in their graves, but he nevertheless deserves to climb two spots in the PR. In the excitement of his MSL quarterfinal series against Jaedong — where Canata played well enough to put himself just one stupid mistake away from the upset of his career — you may have forgotten that Ko Inkyu began this month by qualifying for both the OSL Ro8 and MSL Ro8 (a feat matched only by JD and Zero). Actually, describing Canata's MSL Ro16 win over Piano as a "qualification" is a travesty; in truth it was a brutally one-sided dismantling that left the poor Woongjin Terran looking totally out of place.
This StarCraft season has easily been the best of Canata's career, but I wouldn't blame him for remembering it bitterly. Simultaneous series against Jaedong and Fantasy was an unfortunately painful way for it to end.
Berserker went bonkers in July: Iris is 11-4 since last month's Power Rank and comfortably past Hwasin to the MSL quarterfinals, where he leads Bisu 1-0 after yet another successful 2-factory rush. Iris's "hard preparation" for his GOM quarterfinal meeting with Effort paid off in a 3-0 sweep, but to use this result as a basis for ranking him above his overworked Zerg teammate would be to punish Effort for being CJ's ace (especially unacceptable considering that, just hours before their GOM match, Effort proved himself manifestly worthy of the role).
Iris's Proleague playoff performance was uncharacteristically inconsistent — he went 1-1 against each team CJ faced — but not underwhelming. With CJ one loss away from a season-ending defeat to Samsung and his opponent Firebathero in total command of their set on Neo Harmony, Iris met his reputation as a cool veteran player. With a perfectly-timed switch to wraiths, he broke FBH's tank line and began a huge comeback that would set up Effort to close out the match. Clutch.
Yellow[arnc]'s stock has skyrocketed since he won the OSL Ro16's group of death, and rightfully so. Fake Yellow's top-class ZvT and ZvZ have him looking like a legitimate title threat in this Protoss-less OSL, and served Hite well in their playoff match with CJ: Yarnc narrowly lost Match 2's ace (a thriller!) to Effort, but only after soundly beating both himand Kwanro in earlier games.
For evidence that Yarnc means business in the Bacchus 2009 OSL, look no further than the 1set of his quarterfinal match with Go.go. Yarnc claimed an easy win by scouting both Go.go's proxy 8-rax and proxy factory — an impressive demonstration of star sense, map savvy, and hours upon hours of practice.
Effort dominated headlines for his gutsy performance against Samsung, but Skyhigh was an equally important contributor to CJ's momentous playoff run. Were it not for both of his huge wins over Leta in the playoffs' first round, Entus and their (–_–) faces wouldn't have made it as far as the super ace vs. Hite — nevermind the quarterfinal match vs. KHAN (to say "I figured that if I beat [Leta] both times, the rest of the matches would go well" was an especially polite understatement). And while the rest of his team turned in disappointing results against Hwaseung, Skyhigh quietly went 2-0 with commanding victories over Lomoand Hiya. Skyhigh earns the nıne-spot as the 08-09 Proleague playoffs' (once-?) unsung hero.
Type-b was solid in Hite's Proleague match with CJ — taking advantage of a sadly typical lapse in micro to overpower Savior and even holding his own against Effort — but it's his play against Leta's feared TvZ in the OSL Ro8 that necessitates his inclusion in this rank. In the 1set on Outsider Type-b dominated by keeping Leta's vessel count low and completely shutting down any drop attempts, and in the 3set he clinched the series with a well-executed, impromptu slow lurker drop. Now up against Yarnc in the OSL semis, Type-b will once again be a massive underdog — at least this is a position he's obviously comfortable playing from.
In his post-MSL Ro16 qualification interview, a very tired-looking Lee Jaedong lamented "My schedule has been so packed lately, it feels as though I'm playing a (broadcasted) match every day." Close: from June 22 to July 4 (13 days) JD played 10 games, or .77 games per day. He led Hwaseung to a sweep of KT, advanced to the GOM Ro8, climbed out of an 0-1 hole (as usual) to make the MSL Ro16, and earned a very comfortable lead in the OSL's group of death. Jaedong's opponents over this stretch — including Zero, Effort, Violet, Leta, Flash, and Stork — would make a pretty decent Power Rank. And he stomped all but one of them (Stork, who had the luxury of facing JD last).
In short, Jaedong just played a stupidly strong month of StarCraft. Neutralizing Flash's bunker rush while losing just one drone, holding Movie's zealot-archon aggression with the bare minimum in defenses, outmicroing Leta's feared 2port while building a fearsome economy — Jaedong did it all this month, and without even flinching from his ruthless game face. How can JD make such an impossibly tough schedule look so easy? I'm with Leta: "I sometimes watch [Jaedong's] games in total awe. I can think nothing but that he's amazing."
Fantasy hasn't had a schedule near as tough as Jaedong's, but he's posted similar results: eight solid wins and one narrow loss since the June PR. Fantasy made short work of the Avalon MSL's group of death with two spectacular performances against Letaand Movie, and has command of the OSL's Group B after easy wins over BackHo and Type-b. As part of a string of PL victories that helped T1 nab first place from Hwaseung, Fantasy reinforced his immunity to cheese by making GuemChi's cannon rush into proxy robo Protoss's worst fail since Horang2's proxy everything in the 2009 MST.
I probably shouldn't come down so hard on GuemChi — trapping a proxying probe is actually a relatively painless way to escape a PvT vs. Fantasy. Iloveoov's prodigy just owns this matchup (he's 10-1 vs. Protoss this season), and rode it to three of his most compelling wins this month (against Kal, Movie, and Backho). Fantasy has recently taken his unparalleled mid-game TvP harassment to new levels with a curious combination of vulture and dropship play. By airlifting tanks in and out of enemy bases to support his vulture raids, Fantasy executes particularly deadly hit-and-run attacks without compromising his late-game tank count. This clever tactic (see it in action here, here, and here) is yet more evidence that Fantasy is StarCraft's premier strategist — hell, even his spider mines are crafty.
Kim Taekyong claims third in this rank by a tiny margin, and primarily because of his massively clutch MSL Ro16 qualification. Playing from 0-1 after failing a 4gate against JangBi in his Avalon debut, on June 25 Bisu edged Free and overwhelmed Jangbi with composure that defied both his opponents' skills and his dangerous proximity to yet another disappointing MSL Ro32 exit. Dismantlings of Leta (courtesy of a clever hidden pylon), Hwasin, and Snow are indication that Bisu has fully recovered from the three-game slide capped by his momentous loss to Yellow on June 20.
Although Effort is hanging on to his reputation as one of BW's hottest players, he has actually put up fairly mediocre results over the past month: five wins in eight games, and two of them over Guemchi and Cloud. His GOM Ro16-concluding series with Violet was supposed to be a defining showcase of high-level PvZ, but instead turned into a sloppy cheese-fest that only proved GOM is still last priority for top gamers (a fact confirmed by Violet in his interview with TL — KT's desperate push for the PL's last playoff spot limited his practice time to "a little bit the day of the [GOM] match" and thus prevented him from giving Effort a decent series).
Effort's immediate future holds two chances for him to finally prove himself against BW's elite: a potentially critical OSL Ro16 set versus Flash on Friday, and a GOM quarterfinal series with Jaedong next week. At least until then, he belongs just out of the Power Rank's top three.
After watching Flash's two most recent games (the 3set and 5set of KT's must-win against STX yesterday) I'm almost disgusted to rank him fifth. Flash blew leads against both Calm and Kal in the same utterly pathetic fashion: by foregoing turrets. Flash's boneheadedness spoiled his birthday and dashed KT's playoff hopes, but it shouldn't eclipse his mind-blowing performance against Firebathero just six days earlier — a game Flash called "the greatest game I have ever played" and the only reason KT was still in the playoff hunt come their match with STX.
Flash proved his TvP is still S-class by outlasting (quite literally, in the epic 1set) Shuttle in the GOM Ro16, but the Ultimate Weapon's sloppy TvZ has him up against a wall in the OSL Ro16 — where he needs to beat Effort just to force a tiebreak (but is out if Jaedong throws his game vs. Yarnc...interesting). Flash fans: try to relax, Youngho's birthday is only once a year (I expect it'll be at least another 363 days before he plays as poorly as he did vs. STX).
Over the past month Leta faced each of this rank's top three players, and thus had three opportunities to finally end his entrenchment in the PR's middle slots. Leta seized none: against Bisu, Fantasy, and Jaedong he lost straight up (but exciting!) encounters by a margin substantial enough to keep him out of this rank's top five. Despite his flair for flashy, micro-intense strategies, Leta suffers from a robotic stubbornness that is holding him back against anyone who can match his mechanics: by consistently facing StarCraft's S-class without specially-designed builds or clever tactics, Leta is playing under a unique self-imposed handicap.
With STX absolutely demolishing Round 5 of the 08-09 PL, it should be no surprise to see their most reliable contributor in this rank. Calm capped last month's PR period by riding two ingeniousstrategies to one of the MSL's cleanest Ro32 runs ever, and, his Ro16 berth already secure, spent the remainder of June and July racking up five more PL wins to pad his sixth-best 08-09 Proleague record. Calm's latest outing (vs. Flash) was rather pathetic, but his games against Mindand Upmagic are entertaining glimpses of that certain tenacity which characterizes every great Zerg player.
Your eyes do not deceive you: after five years and 141 televised appearances as a professonal gamer, Canata has finally cracked his first Power Rank. As one of the most consistently mediocre BW players of all time — always good enough to make the MSL, never good enough to break past its Ro16 — Canata needed a particularly remarkable month to place himself on this rank. In June he delivered, destroying Savior twice to reach the MSL Ro16 and holding his own in OSL Group D. The Survivor King looked solid in wins over Kwanro and Anytime, but his hard-fought loss to Leta is by far the most significant item on his June résumé. If Canata plays by.hero like he played Leta, he'll find himself in elimination stages of both major individual leagues — and, perhaps, in an even more unlikely position on the August Power Rank.
Like his teammate Calm, Kal executed an impressive MSL Ro32 run in early June and so spent the last month fueling STX's Proleague domination. Considering he's only played four games since the June PR, Kal's presence here is as much due to a lack of other suitable candidates as it is to his apparent emergence from an awful spring funk that included particularly ugly losses to Zeroand Shine[kal].
Up against Jaedong in the MSL Ro16, Kal faces his most important test since their GOMTV MSL S4 Finals. Playing with plenty of practice and a dash of confidence, Kal has a legitimate shot at revitalizing his once-mighty PvZ to capitalize on JD's busy schedule and upset his way into the Avalon MSL's quarterfinals.
Garbage June performances from Stork, Jangbi, and Violet mean that the Power Rank's 10-slot is once again open to the King of CBNC, Light[aLive]. Light belongs here not primarily for busting Jaedong's sunkens or even out-wraith-ing Leta, but for consistently turning in respectable Proleague results despite playing for the trainwreck that is MBCGame HERO. Light is now 8-2 in his last 10 — a mark that looks almost as out of place on MBC's statsheet as Tossgirl does in the StarCraft Heritage League. So, cheers to Light: the only reason FakeSteve can still be proud to wear his MBC hoodie.
Deliberation on the June Power Rank's number one spot should begin and end with this simple rhetorical: if Effort's performance over the past month isn't enough for PR #1, what is?
In case you haven't visited Brood War lately: Effort's record in the current SC season (PL R5, GOM S3, Avalon MSL, Bacchus OSL) is 25-3 — a ridiculous mark that is by far the best in progaming and amongst the most impressive hot streaks of all time. Since May's Power Rank, Effort has lost one game while reaching the Ro16 in all three Starleagues and averaging more than one win per CJ Entus Proleague match. Wait, what?
In the past month Effort has edged both of last season's most feared ZvZers, completed July's precipitous fall from OSL grace, and made everyone who picked a certain seven-point T1 player for their by.Fantasy Proleague team look pathetically uninformed. Though (unlike most other members of this rank) he's thus far avoided all four of the world's most-feared Terrans, satisfyingly straight-up wins over both Stork and Jaedong should be enough to convince even TL's most vicious skeptics that Effort is capable of destroying well-established members of StarCraft's elite. Given that he is dismantling every A-class player he faces with a perfect combination of surgical precision and Maestro-esque flair, Effort's eventual Starleague series opponents should desperately hope he's lying when he says "I think my games turn out better when I face top-class players".
HiyA, Jaedong, Stork, JangBi, and JangBi again is a week so hellish that I find it impossible to come down hard on Bisu for (perhaps foolishly) trying to 4-gate his way past JB from cross positions in the MSL last night. As for his four Proleague outings: though Bisu looked totally unprepared for unfavorable spawn positions on Shades of Twilight and displayed some uncharacteristically sloppy shuttle micro against JangBi, he pulled off just enough clutch play to manufacture two critical ace game wins. If watching Bisu struggle a bit on two days' practice versus KHAN makes you suspect KTY isn't sufficiently invincible for this rank, it's time for a reality check: Stork and JangBi are at very least the third- and fourth-best Protosses in the world. And if you're not convinced of the massive distance between Bisu and anyone outside of StarCraft's S-class, amuse yourself by watching him embarrass HiyA's "Dragon-slaying" PvT on Destination.
Bisu is playing well enough to turn a 30-second delay in spire timing into a one-sided victory over Lee Jaedong — in other words, easily well enough for this rank's number two spot.
Jaedong is the only man with a list of recently-defeated Proleague opponents to rival Bisu's, and fresh off reinforcing his entitlement to every Hwaseung ace game appearance with a sick macro-powered win over sKyHigh. The Legend Killer is fast running out of weaknesses; games since May 15 ought to eliminate Jaedong's (mech-induced) reputation as a player who has difficulty adapting to unorthodox play. Against both Leta (whose cowardly SCVs would rather hide inside bunkers than repair them) and jjonga in GOM, Jaedong flawlessly adjusted his play in response to early pressure on Heartbreak Ridge.
Is Jaedong's accidental spire cancel a major reason he's not immediately below Effort in this rank? Absolutely, and especially because it cost him a game to Bisu. Furthermore, anyone who refuses to judge Jaedong based on that mistake is committing an equally crucial one. JD had a chance to defeat his PvZ rival, hand T1 a crushing loss, and climb the Power Rank. He blew it. Jaedong's loss to Bisu is just a reminder that even to a god like JD, StarCraft is still a mouse-and-keyboard game. Several thousand proper clicks and keystrokes stand between me and a win over Bisu — for Jaedong, the tally may be just 1.
If you haven't seen the 3set of KT-Hite (the best regular season Proleague match of all time?), a) you're either insane or too busy ogling at Liquipedia b) go watch itbefore reading another word here you may now continue reading. Looking on in awe as Flash desperately tried to hold on to his bases at 3 o'clock against Leta's much superior ground army, I thought "If Flash wins this game, it will be by sheer force of will". I don't think Flash's talent has ever been in doubt; what has been, at least in my mind, is his command of the Art of StarCraft — that certain elusive quality that separates Champions from robots. Flash's comeback against Leta was made of that stuff, and, if he can bring it with him to the Avalon MSL and Bacchus OSL S2, it may yield a second Starleague title.
I got a kick out of the KT-Hite crowdhacking episode not only for KeSPA's usual bumbling, but because Leta probably could have beaten Forgg blindfolded (à la Boxer). Instead of another shot at Flash (and his spot in this rank), Leta picked up his sixth win since last month's PR. However because his most notable win in this stretch was probably versus Calm (who Leta 2-port wraithed to death, in style), it's actually his two losses — to Flash and Jaedong — which are the best evidence he deserves to remain at number five. Considering how far back failure to repair that bunker set him against Jaedong, both of these games were extremely competitive and thus excellent expositions of Leta's skill.
With only a few weeks of Proleague play, a handful of GOM matches, and three MSL games to consider, ordering the bottom half of this month's rank is tough. These players are each clearly a cut below the top five, but extremely difficult to differentiate.
Violet's 13-2 record this season is obvious indication he belongs somewhere in this rank, but his wicked play versus Luxury, Bisu, HyuN, and HoGiL is what makes him worthy of the 6-slot. Playing from 6:00 on Neo Medusa, the position KTY himself said "sucks" relative to "any [other] location", Violet outperformed Bisu in every way to take a hard-fought win and help keep T1 from their 9-2 goal for R4. This set remains the most convincing defeat of Bisu since Fantasy's 3-0 shocker almost three months ago. Games with Luxury, HyuN (especially), and HoGiL were wildly impressive PvZs which showcased Violet's solid game management. I'd love to give Violet another crack at this season's OSL and MSL offlines — with the way he's stepped up his game of late, is there any doubt he'd qualify?
Skyhigh maintains his rank mostly because of how the players around him performed this month. While he remains a serious threat in the Avalon MSL (especially in a group with an aggregate skill level which proves at least 33 people misclicked when voting in the current poll) and continued his dominant play in GOM by sweeping both index and the somewhat over-hyped BaBy, losses to Really and Jaedong demonstrate that Skyhigh's game still needs polish before he will be an S-class BoX threat. Pursuing a FE despite a gas steal and zero scouting information is typical Skyhigh...typical Skyhigh lost to BackHo.
Fantasy has had a disappointing month. He fell to Flash's superior micro early in the game that was supposed to make up for their WL Roshambo, and then went on to suggest Flash would've crushed him in a macro war anyway by playing a pretty uninspired game against Lomo. Fantasy's saving grace is his harass-driven PvT, which did exactly as a pet matchup should by giving him a much-needed win over JangBi last night. Because his strength is tactics, Fantasy shines in series play. I expect him to return to the Power Rank's top half once he battles through group stages in the OSL and MSL.
JangBi began this PR period by riding his ever-impressive PvT to a solid win over Flash on Destination, but he's 1-4 in his last five — so what the hell is he doing here? Loss one was to some well-executed cheese from Fantasy PL phenomenon Much, and loss four to fast DTs from Kal (fair enough). Losses two and three are the reason JangBi is on this rank. He fell just a hair short of victories over both T1's titans, and was probably one poor attack at Bisu's choke from handing KTY his ninth loss on Medusa (in 29 games). JB's recent performances don't quite have that mechanical precision which characterized the early stages of his Lost Saga MSL run, but they're solid enough for #9.
Stork has played just fifteen games since his 0-3 loss to JangBi in the Lost Saga MSL Ro8, and just five games since the last PR. Of those, he's won four — but two of those were against BackHo, who threw away his first reaver-laden shuttle, and free, who is throwing away all of his recent games. Because Stork's image as "a pretty damn good player who posted pretty damn good results last season" is shared by several players above and below him in this rank, his position basically comes down to two games: wins over Flashand Bisu. In both outings Stork did an excellent job at abusing map features to impressive victories — in particular, making Shades of Twilight's positional imbalances for PvP look as brutal as Katrina's.
However, to put it simply: over the last two months Stork has done nothing that JangBi couldn't. This is the reason JangBi was Coach January's choice for both of Samsung's recent ace games (a crucial point), and the reason Stork must be below JangBi in this rank.
Power Ranking in Starleague offseason is usually a messy affair. The absence of best-of series is perfect camouflage for boys amongst men and streaky flukes amongst legitimate contenders. Fortunately for me, Bisu exists.
Unlike other gamers in this rank, Bisu only needs eight Proleague and two MST games to firmly re-establish his position as StarCraft's main man and most legitimate contender. Since losing to Fantasy in the Batoo OSL Ro4 (a result which is looking more and more out of place in Bisu's recent match history), Bisu has gone 9-1 while cracking the Avalon MSL and leading SK Telecom T1 to PL R4's best record. "On another level" isn't really sufficient to explain Bisu's dominance over these 10 sets. He's climbed out of massive holes to beat Light and BackHo, comfortably cheesed his way past Leta for his 40th PL win, and utterly embarrassed Calm, Zero, and Effort.
Yeah, have you watched a Bisu PvZ lately? The guy is making this matchup look so cut and dry that OGN has started bribing him into cute tricks like attacking his own zealots, just to maintain a minimum entertainment level for non-Bisu fans. Slaying Zergs is what Kim Taekyong does, and a skill that will take him far in today's Zerg-friendly map pool — but Bisu's other matchups are looking beyond monstrous as well. How to survive this juggernaut? In his most recent interview, Bisu says: "practice longer than me, have faster hands, and understand Protoss well". You wouldn't suspect it given the confidence pervading his in- and post-game statements, but Bisu is trying hard to seem humble. A more accurate answer would have been "you just can't", and he knows it.
Fantasy 2-0d his MST group (he's apparently immune to cheese) and he's 5-2 in R4 of PL including that ridiculous win over Jaedong on Heartbreak Ridge...blah blah blah we all know Fantasy is a monster. Instead of harping on his beastliness, I'm going to use this space to dispel some myths about Fantasy with this simple truth: Fantasy's strongest matchup is and always has been Terran versus Protoss.
Fantasy has always been most confident in his TvP — and with good reason. From the beginning of his Proleague career with T1, when his coaches sent him out on Protoss-friendly maps Katrina, Andromeda, and Colosseum, right through to his lip-smacking-good whomping of Movie last night, Fantasy's vs. Protoss play has been just a cut above his other matchups. As he said in his post-match interview two days ago, "Whether it is practice or live, I am always calm when I play against Protoss. I don't really feel as though I will lose. It's just easy."
That Fantasy's forte is clearly TvP — even given his revolutionary TvZ and his much-touted TvT — is strong support for Fantasy as the world's most formidable Terran all-arounder.
It's official: for the first time since December 2007, Jaedong is not the Power Rank's highest-ranked Zerg (holy crap, December 2007). Why?
Have you visited Zero's TLPD page lately? Things are beginning to look a bit crazy in there. Aside from 4-0ing his OSL group with infested Terrans for style, over the past month Zero has unleashed a ferocious beatdown on his fellow Zergs to prove that his Lost Saga MSL practice hours have made him a premier ZvZ player to rival even the Legend Killer. Zero's position over Jaedong may be short-lived, but he's earned it: 12-2 since the last PR (losses to Bisu and Leta), rock-solid ZvZ and ZvP play, and a dash of un-before seen confidence could mean Zero is setting up to have a field day with this Starleague season's Zerg-heavy field.
Jaedong's teammates at Hwaseung aren't helping his image much — they'll highlight each of his losses by throwing the match instead of bailing him out. Image issues aside, all it takes is a few VODs of Jaedong's recent games to conclude he has actually slipped a bit since his brilliant Batoo OSL victory. JD just seems to be pushing his favorite strategies too hard and playing far too riskily for his skill level (nowhere was this more apparent than in his PL loss to Fantasy). However, I don't think Jaedong fans should be too worried: the Starleague offseason is an ideal time for a reality check (and as I wrote this bit, JD emerged from the loser's game of his MST group to qualify, 2-1).
With Yarnc channeling his brother's sucktasticness in Proleague, Leta has enjoyed a smooth return to his role as Hite's undisputed ace. He's had perhaps the toughest April-May schedule of any player in this rank, yet emerged with nine wins and a fearsome new level of two-port wraith which has Zergs everywhere squirming uncomfortably. Leta makes this immensely fragile build look nigh-invulnerable — impressive, even for a player who's seeded into the MSL Ro32 and just qualified for the OSL Ro16.
CJ fans rejoice: Effort is ready to assume Savior's mantle. Since his rather pathetic loss to Jaedong in WL Finals, Effort has been on a tear that's landed him amongst R4's top performers, a slot in the Avalon MSL's Ro32, and an upcoming OSL Ro36 appearance. With a few more legitimate opponents in his last month's schedule or a better performance against Bisu on Heartbreak Ridge two days ago, I might consider Effort above even Jaedong — but as it stands, MJY's prodigy will have to prove his mettle in Starleague play before he can vault further up the Power Rank.
Skyhigh is raw talent run amok, on an unprecedented scale. To understand what I mean, you need only watch three of his recent games: vs. BeSt2 on May 13, vs. Yarnc on May 2, and vs. Flash on April 16 (they're all good, promise). On one hand, Skyhigh is toying — toying — with the game's biggest names. On the other, he's making outrageous mistakes: consistently losing tanks unnecessarily to Flash (and smirking it off), figuring "ahh, screw anti-air" against a Zerg with mutas spawning.
Despite a boldness bordering on recklessness, Skyhigh has put up massive results over the past month. He's comfortably through to the Avalon MSL, alive in GOM, and propelling CJ in PL (filling Iris's shoes somewhat). Beware: Skyhigh is about to shake up the Avalon MSL.
The KTF MagicNs are a sinking ship in Proleague, but, like any captain who isn't a dumbass epic-movie hero, Flash is not about to go down with them. He's 5-3 thus far in R4, but each of his losses should be attributed to immaculate play from his opponent (Effort, Hiya, and Battle Royal OversKy). Although an abysmal record versus his S-classmates has lost Flash much of his Ultimate Weapon luster, he remains one of the game's most reliable, mechanically sound, and consistent players.
Considering his impressive OSL qualification run — including a clean, macro-powered 2-0 win over Iris — and ACE's recent Proleague success, I was strongly considering GoRush for this slot. However, GoRush's sloppy OSL Ro36 performance left him victim to a far more powerful force within the Korean StarCraft scene — a force now so formidable it is unquestionably more deserving of an appearance in this Power Rank. Yes, KeSPA.
The Korean eSports Players Association has been simply dominant over the last month — claiming more games (4) since April 16 than either Lost Saga MSL finalist Luxury (3) or JangBi (2). After kicking off its remarkable April-May run with a brutal destruction of RuBy in MST play, KeSPA solidified its position as one of BW's rising stars by upsetting Leta in the 2set of April 28th's STX-Hite match — a game that played a crucial role in STX's eventual victory. KeSPA's 2-0 dismantling of GoRush in the OSL Ro36, the latest in its undefeated streak, only demonstrated what astute SC fans have known for some time now: KeSPA is a veritable menace, tearing through professional BW and leaving distraught (but powerless) gamers and outraged fanboys in its wake. If KeSPA keeps up this frantic pace, it will easily claim a top 30 position in its own June rank.
A truism that's even truer in between Starleagues: the PR's tenth slot is damn hard to fill. Especially this month, I feel the world's top nine BW players are a hefty cut above the rest. That's why I decided to use this spot to throw a bone to the guy I think is far and away the PL R4's most improved player, and a key contributor to its top team. Yay, it's Thezerg!
Thezerg reminds me of Kramer's horse — he loves the slop. Thezerg's play has been far from pretty, but it's produced results: 5-1 in PL (with wins over Hiya and Jangbi, before we figured out he's awful now) and a very respectable OSL Ro36 appearance. Enjoy your month in the sun Thezerg, and kudos for proving T1 is aware there are more than two races in StarCraft.
Bisu who? We all knew this was coming, there is no need for debate.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to name ANYONE "Bonjwa" in these chaotic times, this is the ticket. Jaedong has no weak matchups. Jaedong is 80% in his mirror matchup. Jaedong is the beginning and end of every criteria Zerg is currently measured by. The fact that he just won an OSL is small potatoes in comparison to actually watching his games. What a fucking MONSTER. I wouldn't call him the best at all three Zerg matchups, though, because the best ZvP player on earth right now is someone else. Read on~
YES, LUXURY IS NUMBER TWO. This guy right here is the best ZvP player on earth, a title held by Jaedong for the last year and a half. Luxury's reformed ZvP is smarter, more aggressive, and more effective than Jaedong's, and with comparable-sometimes-better mutalisk control, his other matchups ain't too shabby either.
Besides a shaky Luxury in ProLeague, which we are all accustomed to by now - it's no secret that Luxury plays like ass every other week for long stretches - where has Luxury been anything but S-class? His series against Leta seemed to be a Zerg trying as hard as he can to lose, but then staging a disgusting comeback out of NOWHERE in the three games he won. The level of play involved in his victories in that series was unreal, and his complete dismantling of Jangbi was more of the same.
It looks wierd having two Zerg players in the top two, but you Zerg players can start smiling and doing whatever it is you do when you're happy. There are two kings right now, and they are both Zerg. Stand up, hats off, give some credit to a guy playing some beautiful StarCraft.
Let me say one thing before I get started on this: I am a huge, huge, huge, HUGE Fantasy fan. Bisu, I could take or leave. So I don't want to see anyone bitching in the comments about "bias" this or "fanboy" that.
Now, Bisu is above Fantasy for two reasons. The first should be obvious - Bisu's average game has been astounding lately, whereas Fantasy has only excelled in series where he has a lot of time to prepare.
Second, let's have a look at Bisu vs Fantasy from the OSL Semifinal. Now, this was a 3-0 drubbing of the highest order. Usually, this would be a strong indicator of who is better. In this specific instance, that's not the case. It shows that Bisu vastly underestimated Fantasy, and shows that his preparation went in completely the wrong direction. That's bad, but given Bisu's long history of success, we KNOW this is not the norm, and we KNOW this is not going to happen so simply again.
Fantasy's abilities lie in his excellent preparation, and his exceedingly flexible, air-tight TvP style. This was not a series that would be won 3-2, and if Fantasy was anywhere as good as he is now during the last OSL final, Stork would be taking as many sleeping pills as he could just to end his miserable existence.
But, it goes back to the first point. I can recognize an oversight in preparation for what it is. It doesn't mean Bisu is a bad player. It doesn't mean he is off-form. Bisu is a wrecking crew, overshadowed by two Zergs vying for the best-in-race crown. The level of games Bisu has played recently is simply higher than the level of games Fantasy has played. We aren't always going to be in the best-of-5 stage of a major league, and being a successful pro requires a broader skill set. Fantasy still needs work in other areas. He just isn't as good as Bisu yet.
He is, however, a shitload better than everyone else.
Fantasy is the best Terran on earth, all his flaws included. Second OSL final in a row, second heartbreaking 2-3 loss. iloveoov is building a mechanical titan, but construction is not yet complete. He's well ahead of schedule, though.
What seperates Fantasy from other Terrans right now is his game sense - his TvP is a thing of beauty; not nearly as mechanically impressive as Flash, but wholly more devastating all the same. Fantasy brings intelligence and flexibility against Protoss to an entirely new level, similar to what Sea[Shield] was doing two years ago. I'm sure Protoss pros will eventually figure this out and begin cheesing him endlessly, but I think Fantasy is capable of shrugging it all off. When you watch Fantasy play, you aren't watching an SKT T1 Terran. You are watching the next inevitable step in the evolution of StarCraft. The fish has grown legs, but the lungs ain't done yet.
I fucking love Fantasy because he teaches me more about StarCraft than anyone else - even when he loses. He is just losing too often at this stage of his development to hold a candle to Bisu right now. If you disagree, watch all of the games they've played this month and tell me Bisu doesn't look like the better player.
What is the deal with Jangbi? He looked invincible during MSL. Yet again, he couldn't elevate his level of play to match that of his opponent - Bisu twice before, and now Luxury. Is Jangbi destined to follow Stork? Time will tell, but it certainly seems so. Samsung players seem to lack the ability to improve a great deal in a short amount of time, despite whatever goal they have in mind. This is a stark contrast to the development of Fantasy, and the improvements Luxury has made since his move to KTF.
Still, Jangbi is a savage motherfucker. Where he goes from here, I can't honestly even guess. He had a great month, another final under his belt. We shall see.
I thought more people would catch this - when I posted the order in the last Power Rank's comments I was sure some people would look at Flash and Stork and tell me how wrong I am.
Here's the deal: If you looked at Flash being above Stork and thought, "What is FakeSteve smoking?", you are a clever man. Yes, Stork is above Flash, and for good reason. Maybe everyone's too used to how erratic and opinionated I am.
Stork got bounced outta OSL by Jaedong, but won the first game in the best of 3. Stork got trounced outta MSL by his teammate and perennial canemaster, Jangbi. Stork is never gonna win a series against Jangbi, folks. Get used to it!
Other than that Stork's been all right. He still looks lazy. He is still cheesing. He is still winning. As up-and-down as Stork always seems to be, it appears that this trip downtown is just a little window shopping, not a six-week stay in a five-star hotel doing blow and buying hookers (which is obviously why he plays so bad sometimes).
In an alarming turn of the tables, KTF carried Flash through the WL playoffs. Flash didn't win a single game - sniped by Much with a brilliant build and patient defense in the last match of the season (the match that determined who was auto-seeded into the finals), obliterated by Fantasy against T1, and slaughtered by Jaedong during Jaedong's playoff all-kill of KTF.
GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER FLASH! How much longer can he expect to coast on his mechanics? Flash's play need a serious overhaul if he is going to get back to where he was six months ago.
Yeah, by.hero is pretty good it seems! I was pleasantly surprised watching his games this month, and I'm sure I'm not alone. He shows a great deal of promise, but more importantly, the games he won this month were strong performances full of very strong, unconvential play. I still think Zero is the next big Zerg (Zero is absent from this Rank because ZvZ does not a champion make - his ZvT and ZvP are so inconsistant that he's barely likely to surpass 50% in the upcoming ProLeague season. Let's not get too excited here.). by.hero makes me reconsider. He's playing well, and should be an asset in ProLeague.
First of all, let me say that SkyHigh is notoriously a player that has significant nerve problems while playing on TV. It's pretty common knowledge amongst progamers that SkyHigh is top dog on the CJ A team in practice. Has anyone else noticed how weird his style is? It's nuts, but it's effective, and with a reverse all-kill on one of the biggest stages in ProGaming, bright lights and a huge, surging crowd.. SkyHigh is getting the experience he needs. It's all gonna get better from here.
This looks odd, I know. It was a choice between Nada and Zero, and Zero just ain't cutting it.
Against Jangbi, Nada showed us what is probably the strongest TvP performance to date. I'm referring to game one, of course. One game isn't enough to justify anything, but if it's at that level, we can certainly say that Nada is on the rise for the millionth time in his career. This guy never totally fades away.
He is also conspicuously absent from WeMade's lineup in their first ProLeague match. Given his lighter load in WL, which he thanked the coaches for numerous times so he could focus on individual leagues, I think we can safely say this is more of the same. Auto-seeded into MSL thanks to a top 8 finish, things are looking up for the greatest player of all time. I can only hope that this isn't another simple flash in the pan, and that Nada is back for real. Given his series against Jangbi, I think it's a very real possibility that Nada will remind everyone who he is in the very near future.
Nada is a legend, and rightfully so. Everyone at this website should be cheering him on as he tries to resurrect his career.
Yeah, Bisu is #1. Spoiler babies beware of the text contained herein.
Let's face it - In a tight race between Bisu, Jaedong, Flash, and Jangbi for the #1 spot, Bisu has posted the strongest results, and has looked great in nearly every game he's played. He played great (notice the italics? it's different from the other great) against Jaedong, besides the 'whoops the probe at my wall died, here come the lings' travesty in game 5 that left even Jaedong feeling like he got robbed. Bisu currently has no matchup that leaves something to be desired, and it's not a stretch to say he is a large favourite over absolutely anyone, with the possible exception of Jaedong. Credit where it's due, Bisu is a monster.
This placement was pretty easy. We all wondered how Jaedong would fare against Bisu, who has been a wrecking machine. Jaedong has dropped a game here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Against Bisu, the two games he won (let's not discuss game 5) were every bit as terrifying as the games Bisu won. They were savage and poetic at the same time, as if knocked out of some celestial mould. Jaedong's play had inspiration and a driving force that everyone but these two players seems to lack these days: the true spirit of competition.
After game 5, the first thing Jaedong said in his interview was "I just got lucky, this series isn't over". That's all that needs to be said. Here's to OSL, where these two titans may meet yet again.
Now, on to the players that don't have divine intervention in their repertoire. Of everyone who isn't Jaedong or Bisu, Jangbi stands tallest. He has been crushing his foes with intense bloodlust, playing as aggressively as his conservative style allows. That sounds like an oxymoron, but it's the only way to describe Jangbi's games lately. He's been a total stud, and with Jaedong, Bisu, and Flash eliminated from MSL, there doesn't seem to be much between him and his first gold. As good as Jangbi has been over the last few months, it's rather unfortunate he had to meet Bisu in both of his finals. This guy needs a title, he is far and away the best player without one, and his play lately has been consistant as hell.
No, this isn't a mistake. Luxury is an MSL Semifinalist, and breezed through his OSL round of 16 group. In traditional Luxury style, he played like total ass in a few games, and like the bad motherfucker that he is in the rest. He battered Leta in a series of games that can only be described as 'a Zerg trying as hard as he can to lose, realizing he'd be better off winning, and staging a sick comeback out of nowhere'. Hats off to Luxury, he's been entertaining as hell lately.
Luxury's inconsistancy is well documented, but lately he's been winning the games that count, and winning them convincingly.
After an incredible 12 game win streak, Flash Crashed & Got Smashed & Bashed. Out of both leagues in just two days, playing like ass the whole time. Schedule overload, a tired little progamer, improper preparation, whatever. OSL and MSL are OSL and MSL, that shit has got to count for something or everything we do around here at TL is worthless.
Outside of those games, Flash has been his powerful self, so this position is definitely temporary. Either he'll play terrible again soon and drop, or he'll continue playing great (during appropriate games, mind you) and he'll rise. There's no question this guy is the strongest Terran of the day, and definitely in the running for 'most talented'. However, leagues are leagues, and if you aren't playing in 'em, you are doing something wrong. Better call a mechanic, the robot had a slight malfunction.
I don't want to put Stork here. Unfortunately, the Power Rank isn't about what 'I want'. It's about who's playing better StarCraft. Yeah, I decide who's playing better StarCraft, but hell, I'm motherfucking FakeSteve. I just can't go around shitting on players who are putting up results in acceptable games just because I don't like 'em.
Stork is one of only two players who is still alive in both leagues, the other being at #4 this month. Like Luxury, he's played like total ass in games that don't reeeaaaally matter, but he's given his head a shake and taken the necessary steps to ensure victory in OSL and MSL. He hasn't done it as stylishly, but when push comes to shove the Stork we expect to see has come out without fail. Savior used to lose in ProLeague all the time, too. Hell, so did Bisu. Stork's games this month when his ass is over the fire have been a well-hidden return to form, surrounded by a layer of shit and mucus and losing to Kwanro.
As much as I can't stand the guy, I can't deny he's getting the job done. Even in PvZ.
A wise man once said that Leta may run into trouble once he starts playing series games in OSL and MSL. Oh wait, that was me! Lo and behold, Leta is below 50% over his last 20 games, and is out of both leagues as fast as he entered them. The true test here is whether Leta can continue his success in ProLeague in the face of such alarming defeat once true top-level players have the opportunity to prepare against him. Leta's been his same self, slow and methodical with a penchant for unorthodox builds against Zerg. Only now, he's playing people above his station, and they are shitting in his mouse.
Hello, Light. You know there's only one MBC Terran for me, and it ain't you. If you start playing bad, not only will you disappear from this rank, but I will personally fly out to Korea and slap you in the mouth for taking up valuable Sea[Shield] practice resources.
Light has been spending his time righting the sinking MBC Hero ship. He's gone 9-3 this month, with wins over some big names. He looked great doing it, too. Yes, it's just Winner's League, but in watching the games one can see a clear difference between Light's level of play and the next guy, despite the next guy's adventures in the tournaments Light decided to flunk out of a month ago.
I kinda thought Hwasin was making a little comeback, but then Luxury punched him in the dick and took his lunch money. He played an inspired first game, and then got his fudge packed in like he's Willy Wonka and the warehouse is full. See that? No gay joke. Just harmless, delicious fudge. MMmmmmm.
Anyway, Fudgesin has been fudging up all his fudging games lately, but he's still got a fudging chance in OSL. Luxury fudged him out of FSL, but they'll fudge again in the round of fudge in OSL. If Luxury fudge fudges the fudge, Hwasin is going to take it in the pooper like a prison bitch.
....Aw, I was doing so well.
Is this the simultaneous rebirth and re-death of the red sniper? Stay tuned to OSL to find out.
This is wierd, I know. An eSTRO player on the Power Rank?
Let that sink in for a moment.
Ok, let's face reality. hyvaa has played 23 games since February 1st. When was the last time any eSTRO player had that kinda workload? Over those 23 games, hyvaa has gone 16-7, almost 70 fucking percent. He's looked strong as hell
Nobody is more terrifying than Leta at the moment. Nobody. While some may hew and cry at the level of his competition, nobody can argue with the results. Leta doesn't just win, he humiliates.
Exhibit A: Leta vs Guemchi on Tau Cross. After getting his expo shoved back in his face, Leta used a single dropship, handful of vultures, and a swig of devil juice to harass Guemchi to little pieces. Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Guemchi could have saved himself a huge headache if he had placed a couple cannons. But the fact is he didn't, Leta saw it, and by the end of the game Guemchi was so frustrated he suicided his army at Leta's tanks and quit the game before losing a nexus.
Exhibit B: Leta vs Luxury on Destination. Verses Luxury, the same Luxury I'll be talking about shortly, Leta won with 5 marines, two tanks, and a wraith. It was pure build order domination from beginning to end, where Leta knew exactly what was coming and played perfectly. Luxury was never in control of that game. Not for an instant.
With the array of weapons he has at his disposal, the results speak for themselves. The man has not lost two TV games in a row since May 2008 October 2008 (but before that was May, my bad). OSL, MSL, ProLeague, Winners League, right now Leta has it all. Fear him.
Whereas Leta is winning with the grace of an eagle, Bisu is an embattled ship on the seas. He is everyman's target, facing ridicule and scorn over his MSL picks and performance.
He looked destined to fade into the background this season, with others taking the spotlight in the two major leagues. Then irony hit BackHo with a ho, in the back, and Bisu had breathing room. He promptly went 6-0, got himself back in the spotlight, and is set up to prove himself in one of the strongest OSL groups in recent memory.
Bisu is, perhaps along with Flash, the most studied progamer around today. Through all the scrutiny, he continues to produce results. Look for him to add a hefty $40,000 payday to his wallet over Jangbi, and another badge on his shirt. Most importantly, look for him to grab the number 1 spot next month if he continues his domination.
A terran, a protoss, and now a zerg. Jaedong has done what he had to since the last PR, winning 4/5 games in the OSL to make the final 16. Other than that, he gets this spot on scariness points. He is 15-5 in his last 20 games *shiver* and the favorite against anyone in the world in a best of 5 *brrr*. He is an autopick to anchor the best team in the world, and has a foot in both major leagues, as should be expected. You can't take a game from Jaedong, you just have to hope he is feeling generous and gives you one.
Well Janbi, I hope you enjoyed your perch while it lasted. You are going to have to pull off a big upset to get back up there. Fortunately you have been given the chance in the GOM finals.
The thing about Jangbi is that he is overpowering in every single game he plays. When he wins, he wins with ease, dominating people much like Leta does. His recent MSL qualification was a walk in the park over two baffled terran players. Sunday's GOM semi-final was a 3-0 mauling of Free, a pretty good PvPer.
However when he loses, Jangbi is overpoweringly(?) bad. He looked like a timid puppy against Anytime on Tau Cross, getting smacked around the map despite Anytime's disregard for micro. Against Luxury he barely made it out of his base after being crammed in the mouth with mutas for 20 minutes.
Jangbi has the unique ability to not only beat anyone in the world, but lose to anyone as well.
Is it just me, or has the shine come off of Flash just a little bit? To be fair, he hasn't played much this month, and other than losing 2-1 to Bisu in GOM, there isn't much to go on. I am sure he is relieved that Luxury is taking some of the Winners League pressure off of him.
Also, I guess he can be forgiven for his loss to Fantasy (although it did ruin his nice 10 game TvT winning streak). Fantasy is coming up with some nice games these days, spaced in between his lousy ones.
I just can't help but feel that Flash is not so much the "Ultimate Weapon" as he is just a really good player. I just feel it in my guts, and that is definitely the appropriate yard stick here. His OSL group will be an important one to follow. If he crashes out, I'll point to this column here as proof of my genius. If he wins the OSL, well, never trust your pancreas. He is a deceitful little guy.
BOOM! Hi, how ya doing? My name is Pack Chan Soo. I've got a brother who also plays zerg, but right now I'm sitting on his head.
I'm well known for being a streaky player, which always relegates me to a notch below S-Class. However, when this new-fangled winners league format came along, and I looked at Flash, I saw a miserable kid thinking he would be playing 30 games a month.
So I said, "put me in coach!". And what's funny is that when I sat down I didn't feel like getting up again. So I decided to win all my games. Then I decided to qualify for an MSL and an OSL at the same time.
So now I'm in both major leagues, and I've won 9 of my last 11 games. I win with both cheese and straight up play. Sometimes I kill people with only mutalisks just for fun.
Stick around, and watch me play. Hold up a sign for me (but please spell my name right this time TL) and you can see me win a title GGPlay style or crash and burn out of both ro16's. Either way, it will be a blast.
July hasn't played enough games recently, but he has done what he needed to. He pounded a hapless Mujuk to advance to the OSL ro16. He was then promptly dumped in a group with Yarnc (under 50% ZvZ), Stork (whose PvZ is easily his worst matchup) and Bisu (whose MSL has left some doubters). It would be perfectly reasonable to see July get through this group. With the five terrans stacked in two groups, the road looks shiny and bright for July to make history as the first four-time OSL winner.
It comes as no surprise that Anytime is doing well. When you live in the house of the best team in StarCraft, and practice with greats like Jaedong and-
O, wait a minute. That's right. Anytime is in the AirForce now. AIR FORCE. The mats of proleague since time immemorial. Suddenly, there is hope on the bench. The players are watching the games rather than hanging their heads. There is hope!
I realize this may be premature. After all, it was just a couple good days at the office. We all have those...
But has there ever been a player more suited for the Air Force scowl than Anytime? Xellos might be close, but for now Anytime has the angry look he earned at basic training on his face and in yours 24/7.
If you are a coach, the one player you need to snipe is Anytime. Just pray he doesn't shoot back.
I stipulate that the most difficult part of the power rank is number 10. There is no clear cut criteria, and more often than not there are several players banging on the door to be let in. However, I am judging by fear, and one would be foolish to not fear Stork. His PvT matchup is still top three in the world, and he has the ability to pull out wins against almost anyone. His real test will be against his OSL group though. He ranks as #3 in my book there, and needs a great game or two to get out of things alive. He better, because his place on the PR depends on it (and what more motivation could any progamer need?)
This has caused me physical pain. I hope you're happy, teamliquid!
Now, I know this is going to put some people up in arms. Hell, I was about ready to grab my battleaxe and introduce the masses to the joy of having their heads removed. But, let's analyze a few things:
1) Of the consistantly top 5 players over the last two months, who has not dropped questionable games? Jaedong is only 6-4 in his last 10, with losses against players he shouldn't lose to, if we are to believe Jaedong is still as good as ever. Flash has been playing chumps, and while he has won against those chumps, the games were nothing impressive. Bisu + Show Spoiler [RECENT SPOILER] +
dropped every game in OSL/MSL and is already eliminated from both leagues
. Stork has been shakier and shakier.
2) While the Power Rank focuses primarily on who is playing the best, it is heavily affected by results. Not statistics, results. If a player loses a ProLeague game to a nobody who cheeses him, whatever. If a player comes crashing to the earth like a meteorite in the beginning stages of both majors, we have something that is relevant.
Now, I wouldn't say that Jangbi is the most skilled player around right now. However, he has certainly been the most consistant. Despite the fact that Bisu may be better in two matchups, a player who doesn't win a single game in OSL/MSL can't be #1.
So, Jangbi sneaks into the top spot for lack of a better alternative. No other player in the top 5 during the last six weeks or so has been performing at the level their rank dictates. While I might have a migraine for six hours, and an unsightly blemish appears at the top of the Power Rank for a while, there is no other candidate. Jangbi has been consistantly powerful. His games are top-level, his losses are close games where he himself plays well (which is incredibly important). It seems likely that a resurgence by any of the other giants of ProGaming could knock Jangbi off his post, but at the moment, the rest of the field simply does not deserve the honor.
Yes, I realize Jangbi is not in OSL. But, as a semifinalist in GOM who has showed dominant gameplay throughout, the gap is sufficiently filled.
People who followed the comments on last month's PR (and I use the term "month" loosely, sorry!) will understand this placement. For those of you who didn't, let me recap:
Leta is a player who focuses on safety above all else. He plays a slow, methodical game that should be a learning experience for every aspiring Terran. He plays by the book, and he does it well. My concern with Leta is that his game would need something more should he find himself in a series against one of the best.
So what happens when Leta continues to play well, and the rest of the field don't live up to their names? Leta passes them all by. It doesn't matter how safe and standard Leta plays, considering how well he does it. While it may not be enough to win a title (which is pure speculation right now, we shall see what happens), it's certainly enough that if the top players (who are at least more experienced and in some cases exceptionally strong in series play) don't play like top players, Leta deserves the rank more.
This placement will seem high to a lot of people, I know. The fact of the matter is that Leta's "slow and steady" approach to StarCraft has simply been more effective lately than the other top players' "maybe I'll play great today, maybe I won't" approach. Look for Leta in a semifinal soon, and we'll see what he's really made of. For now, he deserves this placement.
Flash has played two kinds of opponents recently: Good opponents, and bad opponents. Against all of the bad opponents, he simply took them for a casual stroll along the beach before pointing out some seagulls and snapping their necks while their attention was diverted. Pretty birds! Nothing any other high-ranked player couldn't do.
When Flash played good opponents, he didn't play well. The exception here, and the most relevant series to this placement, was his white-knuckled nail-biting my-mother-is-in-the-hospital-with-an-exploded-pancreas-but-I-can't-miss-these-games series against Bisu in GOM. God, what a series. Exceptional play from both sides, a clinic of how to effectively play Protoss against the best goddamned Terran you've ever seen.
Still, he lost the series, and a shot at the GOM title. His losses to other top players were nowhere near as impressive from a gameplay standpoint. That certainly hurt him. But, after qualifying for both leagues, and the colossal fuck-ups by most of his peers, Flash's spot at #3 is secure. Everyone still views this kid as a threat, and rightfully so. If the other top players fell off the train, Flash has a deathgrip on the handrail outside the last car, his legs flapping in the wind. Technically, he's still on the train.
Jaedong's been shaky, his play hasn't been what we're used to seeing. Still, he has come up with major wins at crucial moments. After a somewhat surprising loss to Canata in Survivor, Jaedong won a second game against Skyhigh, who is finally showing more than just his practice partners how good he is.
6-4 in his last 10 games may not look so hot, but if we go back six more, it turns into 12-4. That looks a little nicer, eh? With some questionable Ace match losses, something Jaedong has excelled at for years, Jaedong rises on the Power Rank, but can't claim a spot in the top 3. He's in both MSL and OSL, too. As always with this guy, Jaedong's fate is in his own hands. His success will make or break his Power Rank placement, and a high placement is deserved for overall much more consistant gameplay than the field below him.
That wise man drank from a fountain he filled with his own tears, every night, as Stork took win after win, stormed through to an OSL title, and made every Zerg he played (save Jaedong) look rather foolish.
Now, that wise man is back on top of his mountain, screaming at the clouds and whatever else will listen, hoping they don't remember that Stork played like a champion for a solid year.
As you may have guessed, that wise man is a part of me. The mountain he lives on is my pride, my glory, my reputation. And lordy, LORDY, did Stork show me what the fuck is up. I guess he couldn't play bad forever. I also guess (wow, awkward phrase eh?) that he couldn't play good forever, because most of his recent games have been trash. Garbage, refuse, compost, and so on. This guy, the guy who slew Best in OSL, lost in GOM to BACKHO.
Yeah, Stork has been playing bad. He's still Stork, he's still the most talented Protoss player around. I'm sure this is just a momentary lapse of concentration, effort, what have you. Stork's career is far from over, and I fully expect him to turn his sinking ship into a submarine and infiltrate all our gulfs.
After a dismal November, Best put together a savage win streak. Then, he lost to Skyhigh in GOM. Skyhigh played great, but there were definitely steps Best could have taken to win that series. Still, Best has been performing pretty well lately. He's been thrust into the spotlight after his very quick accustomation to the hectic lifestyle of the ProGamer, and while the road isn't without its potholes, he's been chugging along.
It was a very close call between Best and the next guy on the list for 7th, but in the end, the spot has to be given to Best.
I hope we're all over the shock of seeing FireBatHero on the PR last month.
Let's face the facts, sports fans: FBH is still playing great. He drops a bit simply because he doesn't yet deserve placement above the five players who topped last month's Rank, and there's a new face to compete with as well.
FBH's recent string of victories has landed him with an 11-4 record over his last 15 games. Those four losses were against Best (Protoss), Mind (TvT mastermind), July (Ok, maybe this one is a little funny, but July has balls the size of watermelons), and Saint (A zerg who can and will win or lose against anyone).
Seriously, FBH is playing well. It's entirely possible that his MSL run will end as soon as he finds himself in a series against a Protoss, but he is playing well. There's not many players who can handle his TvZ and TvT right now, so let's forget his antics and give credit where its due.
Yarnc hasn't been "great" per se, but since Yarnc's problem has never been an inability to play top-level Zerg, but with his inability to play even passable Zerg in every game. Yarnc really, really sucks sometimes.
However, despite the softness of his competition in OSL (910 and Rock, lord have mercy), Yarnc went 4-0 to qualify for the Round of 16. If Yarnc is winning games, he is winning them with ferocity, because there is no middle ground for this man. He is a shining star, or a puddle of goo on the sidewalk.
Was I the only one who thought we'd never see this guy's face on the Power Rank again?
Well, despite playing like an infant with no arms or eyes or cognitive ability for months on end, Hwasin has crushed a bunch of people, put together a nice little win streak, and crashed into both MSL and OSL. Well done Hwasin, we all thought you were dead!
Hello, hello Kim Taek Yong. Stork's moment at the top was short-lived, because there's a Protoss playing even better than Stork. Yes, it's Bisu.
Some may argue that his MSL was easier than Stork's OSL. That's true. However, by watching the games we can see the complete mastery Bisu currently has in all three matchups. If you watch his recent PvT, you'd be hard pressed to tell which of the top two Protoss are playing. Bisu has gained the incredible macro and aura of invincibility in PvT that Stork has enjoyed for a long time. His PvP is phenomenal, and there's major credit due to Stork for winning 2-1 against this monster. His MSL semifinal and the final itself were total blowouts against some of the strongest Protoss players of the day.
Yes, the Revolutionist is back, and if you're a Protoss fan you're undoubtedly shitting rainbows and singing tra-la-la right now. In a comparison between Bisu and Stork, Bisu edges out superiority by a small margin, but he is superior nonetheless. Viva Revolution~
Stork is, of course, the only player who is currently competing with Bisu for dominance over the professional scene. And he's making it a close race. Stork has continued the excellent play that landed him first place in last month's Rank, but with a couple of sub-par performances (which Bisu simply hasn't had recently), he is ever so slightly upstaged. People call this the 'Taek-Bang Era', and they're right. Nobody can touch these two players right now.
Of all the players around, the only one who comes anywhere near the above two players is this little man. Flash has been nigh-unbeatable in ProLeague once again, a catalyst to his team's mild success. His wins seem effortless; simply rolling over a lesser player (read: everyone but Stork and Bisu). All alone on the Terran frontlines, Flash is holding it down for the home team. Yes, Terran is the home team.
The MSL Finalist has finally developed some level of consistancy in his play. Though he was torn into messy little strips of gore by Bisu, everything else Jangbi did in his MSL was pretty good. He and Kal have a bit of a history, and Jangbi came out on top. He steamrolled Yellow[ArnC] so badly that I actually felt physically uncomfortable out of embarassment for the poor Zerg player.
In a recent interview with Stork and Bisu, Stork talked about Jangbi endlessly. He said that Jangbi was far and away the best member of samsung khan, that Jangbi literally does not lose to Stork in practice. Quite clearly the kid is doing something right, and his recent results have reflected his budding skill. I don't think we've yet seen Jangbi's limit.
Free has been playing his heart out. With the Stars gaining a new sponsor, their team is revitalized. Free has been a terror in ProLeague, winning the majority of his matches and being the critical element that allowed Stars to capture first place on the rankings for the first time since 2004. A short-lived first place, yes, but a first place all the same. Difficult task considering the strengths of Lecaf and Samsung, and the recent surge from STX Soul.
With a heavy load to bear in ProLeague, free still managed to clobber everyone in MSL up until the semifinal, where he met Bisu. There isn't a player in the world who would have beaten Bisu in that series, but free did manage a win against Bisu in ProLeague a few days later, further strengthening his team's position. We'll see how long free can keep up this hectic schedule that has been the downfall of so many players before him.
Yes, FirebatHero belongs here. Still useless in TvP, that's true. But his TvT and TvZ have become even more unbeatable. FBH is playing phenomenally, and if he ever truly learns TvP he will be the most terrifying beast Terran has to offer. I fully suspect his individual league runs will be a breeze until he runs into a Protoss. With wins over Kal and Daezang directly after his 0-3 loss to Bisu, there's hope. FBH has only lost a single game since that series, against the will-he-or-wont-he Saint. Keep an eye out, FBH is gonna cave some skulls in very soon.
Best remains something of an enigma. Touted by Bisu as the best player at T1 house and the most likely player to win the next individual league, Best's performance just hasn't been up to snuff. However, with Best more than any other Protoss, the games he plays ooze potential and intelligence. Best is still on his way, but with so many flashes of utter brilliance apparent to our eyes, he's already worthy of a lot of credit. Who knows, maybe sometime soon he'll perform properly in a semifinal or a final.
As a HUGE Jaedong fan, this pains me. But with the games he's been playing lately, even this may be too kind of a placement. Instead of setting the curve as he was a mere two months ago, Jaedong is steadily falling more and more behind it. He still doesn't make very many mistakes, but the days where he just plain gets outplayed are coming and coming with alarming frequency. Jaedong needs to reinvent himself to reach the top again, and he's certainly capable. He's not playing well enough to be any higher than this right now.
Ehhhhhh, Kal is his same old unimpressive self. He managed to beat Stork in MSL, a player who he seems to win against regardless of current form. He lost 1-3 to Jangbi, who played pretty well in the series. But Kal's games haven't been anything special, and the latter part of November (and early december) was spent beating up chobos in sloppy games. Not really what I'd call championship material. I debated putting Kal above Jaedong as well, but after re-watching all of his games from the past 30 days, he just isn't good enough.
Sea's right on schedule, playing exceptionally well with fire in his gut and a warcry on his lips right before the major leagues start. Those two games above are some of the finest StarCraft we've witnessed in this age. These games are what make people wonder why this kid doesn't have a title yet. I know, I ask myself that every day. Maybe that's not healthy. I don't care.
Sea is playing like a complete badass right now, but of course there's no sense putting him any higher when the looming failure of countless individual leagues behind him can be seen on the horizon as well. It's a shitty place to be for a progamer, and I'm sure we've all got our fingers crossed, willing him to succeed this time. The two games above are why I think Sea[Shield] is the best player in the world, and they are concrete justification for this placement. If you don't believe me, you haven't watched those games, and I strongly suggest you do so.
"It's the moment that every progamer dreams of," said Song Byung Goo with the shiny OSL trophy in his hand. The moment that has eluded for so long him has finally come. Stork defeated iloveoov's apprentice by.Fantasy in an intense series of 3-2 to overcome the infamous silver curse. Throughout the entire Incruit OSL, Stork proved to the doubters what he's all about. Many obstacles laid in his path - archrival Bisu, PvP godmode BeSt, and Fantasy, with the entire SKT1 team behind his back raging to have revenge. Yet Stork prevailed.
Although Stork did lose to Kal in MSL quarterfinals, let's not forget Stork had the OSL Finals only a couple days after. It certainly does not justify the loss, but I think it does take away some of its significance. Also note that Stork is performing superbly in Proleague, with a record of 5-1.
Congratulations Stork, you have at last claimed the gold, and the number one spot of this month's Power Rank.
REVOLUTION! REVOLUTION!! You heard it, you saw it: the Revolutionist is back in town. His 11 win-streak tells a story and strikes fear in those who fight against him. The Korean word Bisu translates into dagger; Bisu surely put that dagger in FireBatHero's hopeful heart. Although FBH's Terran verses Protoss had improved tremendously, Bisu just proved to be too much for him as the series ended in three lopsided games. The two time MSL Champion seems focused on earning that third badge, simply destroying everyone who stands in his way. He's performing just as well in the GOM Classics, defeating respectable Calm to advance to the Round of 16. Bisu has also been a revolutionary force for the rather struggling SKT1, remaining undefeated in his 4-0 record so far.
Doomed. Boned. Add other synonyms. When I saw Free and Jaedong matched up in the MSL Round of 16, I truly felt for Free. Damnit, this guy has been playing brilliantly, yet his MSL run will soon come to an end. The wrath of the Swarm will be upon him and Free will have to wait another season...Poor Free.
Free is now preparing for a semifinals match against Bisu. Against all the odds, he managed to defeat Jaedong 2-1. He then moved on to firmly deny NaDa's attempt to set a record of most semifinal appearances in history by soundly beating him 3-0. He accomplished much more than just that though; he made a statement. This guy is for reals.
Dear Jaedong, we all know you have the potential to reclaim the throne. But unfortunately, you have been under-performing and disappointing your faithful fans.
Simply put, this month was not a very fun one for Jaedong. Eliminated from both individual leagues...Unexpected losses to Roro and SangHo in Proleague...His ZvP invincibility showing signs of weakness against Free and Stork. The Legend Killer seems to be killing his own legend. Get your act together, Jaedong!
In his last 12 games, Jangbi has won all but one. He is 7-0 in ClubDay MSL so far. Man, that's hotter than Megan Fox. His matchlist includes wins over Much, Yellow[ArnC], Pure, and Midas.
I didn't think Jangbi would be as good as he is now when he first joined the progaming scene as a chubby little boy. Who would have thought he would anchor the Samsung KHAN squad right next to the big brother Stork? I believe this is Jangbi's perfect opportunity to reach the finals for the first time. Fate has led to a rematch between Jangbi and Kal in the semifinals. Kal ended up winning in a close series last time. At this very second, Jangbi is probably gritting his teeth and practicing to get his vengeance.
Flash snapped out of his "mini-slump" as quickly as..Flash! See what I did there?
After some disappointing losses across the board, Flash gathered his composure and is back in business. With a record of 9-3, he sits at the top of the individual Proleague charts. Hwasin, Boxer, and Light crumbled under Flash. Just yesterday, Flash blasted Fantasy 2-0 in GOM Classics to fully erase every doubt I had in my mind. He's hungry for more.
True, he is no longer the dictator of PvP. His unbelievable streak 16 consecutive wins was halted. After a highly anticipated match, BeSt bowed down to Stork 1-3. However, that doesn't change the fact that any progamer who does not belong to the Zerg Swarm fears him. Every player knows that with the slightest slip in macro, BeSt will run you over. His outstanding Proleague record of 8-3 is second to only that of Flash. If I were you, I would not want to play against Doh Jae Wook.
On his good days, Kal is arguably the best Protoss on planet Earth. On his bad days, Rock would beat him in a best out of 5 series. This has always been a problem for Kal. The shabby record of 4-4 in Proleague can be attributed to his inconsistency.
Luckily, the good Kal showed up to play against Stork in the MSL quarterfinals. Game sense, timing, micro, macro...everything looked nearly perfect. Now, which Kal will show up verses JangBi?
I don't know about you, but I honestly think Fantasy is overrated. I don't mean to take anything away from his great strategies and builds that earn him the W's. He did put up a good fight against Stork. However, my gut feeling tells me that he won't reach another finals for a long time. His mechanics in TvP and TvZ are certainly questionable. A mediocre record of 5-4 in Proleague doesn't help his case, either.
fOrGG is the antithesis of Kal; he is probably one of the most consistent players in the league. Even though he was exited out of both leagues earlier than expected, he always displays solid performances. His 4-1 record in Proleague includes critical wins against Mind, Canata, and the like. fOrGG has the potential to beat literally anyone on a good day.
The best Zerg player in the world secures his number one spot of the Power Ranking once again, but the gap is closing. He displayed one of the sickest comebacks in his MSL group, beating down go.go and UpMagiC..Although he failed to qualify for the OSL he is still the most feared player around. It's safe to say every player is an underdog against Jaedong.
Stork, Stork, Stork. The Dinosaur Toss has been ripping things apart in both MSL and OSL. He took down the Protoss rival Bisu on his way to OSL semifinals, while cruising to the MSL Round of 16 with ease. Stork, however, has a lot to prove. He will be tested against the PvP monster BeSt in the Incruit semifinals and forGG in the MSL. Will he actually win a gold this time? Only time will tell.
http://www.teamliquid.net/tlpd/players/16_BeSt/games/vs/P I don't think Best needs much of an explanation: how do you beat this man? Best has been playing like a madman, proving his worth in the OSL and Proleague. After smashing his teammate Midas 2-0, the battle of pride awaits. Best vs Stork, Stork vs Best. They are too good to tell apart. The pride of the Protoss king, master of PvP, legend of fall will be fought on the 24th of October.
by.Fantasy? OSL Semifinals? Err yeah, Fantasy was definitely not the player I would have picked to be in the OSL semifinals. You better believe it - this guy is for real. A potential Royal Roader, he took down Mind pretty convincingly to pass the Round of 8. He has also been putting up consistent results in Proleague.
I stopped watching GGplay vs Flash Game 3 halfway through, after deciding GGplay had no chance whatsoever. WTF! is what I said the next day. He somehow managed to beat Flash on the heavily Terran-favored Plasma to move on to the semis. Incruit gone DAUM.
Flash, what's happening! As much as I hate to say it, the Ultimate Weapon is on a bit of a "slump." He didn't know what it meant to lose, but he has been tasting some sour defeats lately. Out of MSL, out of OSL, followed by unexpected losses in Proleague. Flash must step up his game.
The face of STX soul is playing better than ever. Maybe he has a shot at the MSL gold...oh WAIT! Hwasin is playing his nemesis Bisu. Those two have quite a history. Remember when Bisu called him the "Insurance Terran" and humiliated him with Scouts? Hwasin has never beaten Bisu in a series (4-8 against him, overall). What a match this will be.
Bee Suit has been looking pretty good recently. He played an impressive set of PvPs against Stork, and then beat Backho&Much to advance in the MSL. Overall, his game seems to be coming back to shape. Another revolution sounds pretty cool.
fOrGG_V_ always shows up to play. He handled Iris and Leta fairly easily in the MSL group stage to earn himself a spot in the RO16. His opponents were tough, too. Iris is known for exceptionally strong TvT, while Leta has been on fire. fOrGG had no problem with them.
FBH BEAT A Protoss? No... TWO Protosses! That's right, the once so-terribly-awful TvPer made crushed his MSL group filled with highly skilled Protoss players. He proved a point: his TvP isn't that bad after all.
It seems after his 0-3 loss to July, BeSt is back. He may have dropped a series to the #1 Zerg in the world and was knocked out of the MSL, but there is still no doubt this man is the best Protoss in the world right now.
Flash and BeSt are so close right now skill wise and statistically that it was a difficult decision to place one above the other, but BeSt has been out performing Flash by a very small margin. Flash showed strong play in the OSL but his play was dismal in WCG. Hopefully he picks up his play.
Stork has been great lately, he crushed his opponents in the MSL and the OSL and despite losing to Jaedong in WCG he managed to take down Much and fOrGG. Stork is really hot right now but not hot enough to break the top 3 yet.
Despite Much's recent statistics he's been playing great. He took down fOrGG and Flash before hitting a rough patch but even while losing he's losing with style and showing great play all around. So he gets the 5th spot on PR.
fOrGG_V_ has hit a bit of a rough patch lately but he's not losing to any scrubs (yet). Much and Stork are amazing PvTers so dropping a series to them isn't to terrible. But he needs to pick up his play to remain on the PR. So he's at 6th for now.
Luxury's been having a rough patch lately. He was knocked out of the MSL and lost in his best MU to Jaedong. But he's still in the OSL and still has one of the best ZvZ and ZvT out there. That being said Luxury is in the 9th spot.
Leta's been on a beastly streak the past couple months. He's become OGN's star Terran in PL, he's in the MSL after taking down Shuttle twice. He's not had many games this month so I can't put him higher but he still deserves to be on the PR.
Does this look odd to you? It sure looks odd to me. Odd doesn't even begin to cover the unreal boost in play fOrGG showed in July. Results are all well and good (and with an MSL win, I'm sure no one will disagree that he's got 'em in spades), but the real matter here is that no one played better StarCraft in July than fOrGG. Breaking out of his mould in a big way, fOrGG showed the world he's capable of so much more than making thirty thousand units and throwing them away. His games were dynamic, explosive, and most importantly, they were fucking brilliant StarCraft. Gotta give credit where it's due, there isn't a player in the world that came anywhere near fOrGG in July.
Jaedong suffered a three game massacre at the hands of our new #1, but besides that, he looks just fine. His games against han in the OSL offline prelims were pretty good, definitely more a credit to han than a mark against Jaedong. Jaedong is still comfortably the best Zerg around. As sad as it makes me, I'm not sure how much longer he'll keep this up. Whether he performed up to what is expected of him during July, however, is a certainty.
Another victim of forGG, Flash looked plain vulnerable during his brief MSL Semifinal. Using a 14cc build order in every game was definitely an oversight on his part, but I won't pretend it means he's down and out, never to return. He got outplayed pretty hard, but you'll notice that the man who struck him down is a few spots above, as it should be. Flash isn't done yet, and with a berth in the round of 16 in both leagues, we'll soon get a clear indicator of where Flash is heading in the near future.
First, let me just put this out there: I LOVE JULY. I've been a fan of July for about five years now, and the fact that he overcame a grueling slump to join Nada in the Golden Mouse club says great things about his ability as a player, and his will to win. July is below the three players above him simply because his competition during OSL was relatively soft. I'd expect most Zergs to beat down Rock and Backho.
Luxury's had a slow month. He's only played two games, and he split them. His spot this month is more a result of other players moving around. Luxury is still "the other best Zerg", the man who fills the void when Jaedong is having a bad week. He's been great for months, and I don't see any change from the two games he played in July. Is Luxury destined to be middleground for the rest of his career?
Middleground or not, Luxury is a damn good player. It wouldn't be right to just drop him for only playing two games in a month, because he's been playing his ass off for quite a while now.
This little guy was terrible six months ago. We all remember his single shining moment, a ridiculous game against Stork from last ProLeague season.
Okay, picture that game. Now picture that happening six times in six different games during July. Impressed yet? You should be. Leta is playing some of the finest StarCraft I've seen lately. If looking at his string of victories isn't enough for you, watch the games. He's seamless and powerful, smart and confident. Leta has become a very good player, and unlike his most often comparison, Ruby, he's managed to find the groove and perform consistently. The birth of a Terran superstar, or a flash in the pan? I honestly have no idea, but Leta's games during the month have been something to behold. Good for you, kid.
Seems like the beast has been bitten back. After being completely dismantled by July, Best was the latest victim of the new dynamo above him. It can certainly be expected that a relatively inexperienced player such as Best would take the loss he suffered against July to heart, and the effects seem to have been drastic. This spot is something of a compromise, because while Best played horribly during and after his OSL finals loss, the games he played leading up to that incident were still the best Protoss I've seen in a loooooooong time. Best has certainly got the talent to bounce back from his misery, and that's why he preserves this particular spot. Get your shit together, come back and see me.
Kal's had a rough month, but he's still a damn good player. His losses have been numerous, but nothing significant has changed. In every situation, Kal has lost through his opponent playing well, rather than he himself playing poorly. And in most cases, they were damn fine games.
Kal is something of an oddity. He's the last person I'd have expected to go toe-to-toe with fOrGG. Even old, shitty fOrGG, much less new-and-improved badass motherfucker fOrGG. But he did, and their series contained some really cool games. Kal isn't going anywhere, he'll still be around, he'll still win a ton of games. If he doesn't do it quick, however, he's off next month. There are too many good players for one good player to get away with losing for very long.
These next two spots will cause some bitching in the comments, I'm sure. I don't give a shit. If you've seen Iris's most recent games, you know he's playing like a savage again. I got chills watching him dismantle the chumps in his OSL prelim group. It spoke of one thing: The goddamn Berserker is BACK. Don't prove me wrong, Iris. The Rank is yours to climb.
Another fallen hero, Midas has been playing very well as of late. A recent interview showed him positively bursting with confidence, assuring his fans that the slump is over. Well, for now, his game has backed up the trash his mouth been spewin'. Midas looks like a great player once again, and something about the world just feels a little more... right. Midas gets the same warning Iris does. Don't taunt me with strong play if you aren't going to keep the ball rolling.
Sometimes, the definition of "Power" changes so drastically that weird things happen.
Weird indeed, that Sea[Shield] is at the top of the Power Rank without a title to his name. Friends, Power can means a lot of things. A Powerful build order can win you a StarLeague. A Powerful mind can keep your career long and properous. A Powerful heart can endear you to the masses, and create a wave of fanatics frothing at the mouth just for a chance to cheer you on.
Yum BoSung has the most Powerful heart of any progamer on the scene. For the last several days, Sea has graciously spent time between practice with his adoring english-speaking fans, playing all manner of games. That includes a brutal 2-0 of your hero, sMi.FakeSteve, that consisted of utterly flawless (and I do mean flawless) control over the growth and prowess of his armed forces. Sea's TvT is perfection wielded as a weapon of unimaginable power, something I have never been on the receiving end of before.
Sea's TvZ is a sinister love affair between Casy's aggressiveness and iloveoov's macromanagement. You think you've seen TvZ? Watch Sea vs Hyuk on Othello, a game that transcends build order and mechanics and settles promptly down to raw, unrelenting will to win.
You think you're familiar with TvP timings? Sea frequently screams out of his base with a massive amalgamation of units and delivers his Protoss foe into the eager hands of the Devil himself. Sea is the reckoning and judgment itself for the hapless children who choose the race that carrier rushes.
Yum BoSung has captivated the entirety of TeamLiquid.net with but a few days of generous (by his schedule) interaction. A fresh crop of fans have seen the light, have snapped out of a dreamy sleep of ignorance during which they cheer for... *scoff*... other players. Sea is the single greatest StarCraft player to ever walk the earth, for reasons that go above and beyond the game itself, and certainly beyond the call of duty for a ProGamer.
Sea[Shield] is #1 on the Power Rank this month, and #1 in our hearts, this day and forevermore.
So, there's been talk that Jaedong's ZvT is "shaky". There's been whispers here and there in gutters and back alleys that Jaedong isn't quite what he used to be. Well citizens, there's a reason those opinions are found in the sewers and backstreets: they're completely unfounded.
After the savage beating Jaedong laid upon Hwasin this MSL those doubts are washed away. Those three simple wins gave Jaedong's reputation a hose-down, and the strongest zerg on planet Earth is looking fresh and devastating as ever. Jaedong is a lock for the MSL final, where he will undoubtedly meet the next fellow on this list.
Flash and Jaedong have been trading this spot for a while now, and usually the difference is a single game or series. The competition between these two really is that close.
In June, both these players faced essentially their strongest competition besides each other; Jaedong faced Hwasin, Flash faced Luxury. The difference here, is that Flash LOST to Luxury. However, Flash is obliterating MSL and is fresh off an impressive series with an upstart named Lomo.
Like Jaedong, Flash is looking toward the MSL final, and only fOrGG remains in his way. While he has technically been overthrown from the top spot on this ranking, he's certainly still the Flash we've grown accustomed to.
Best is still great, not much has changed from last month. He came out of a grueling series with Luxury with a berth in the OSL final, where this Royal Road-walking phenom will face a two-time OSL champion. With these three players tearing everything up, it'd be real nice to have a monstrous clash in the near future so we can properly sort out what's what. For now, it has occurred to me from watching all of his games that Best is not quite at the level of Flash and Jaedong, but he's certainly closest.
Let me say right up front: This is not a position earned through bias. I don't even like fOrGG. He certainly has been playing some fine StarCraft, though. His series against Kal was one of the most entertaining TvP series we've seen in quite a while, and in my eyes this spot is unquestionably earned. fOrGG is in for the hardest series of his professional career as he tries to crash the MSL Final party this season.
fOrGG is kind of an odd player. Most of the decisions he makes are merely common ProGamer sense. His micro is laughable at times. He has always made more units than anyone on earth (besides iloveoov of course), and therein lies his strength. fOrGG is very hit-or-miss, but he displayed a surprising amount of flair against Kal. Enough for me to publicly acknowledge that he is really, REALLY fucking good at making units.
Kal is hangin' around. He doesn't seem to be a one-hit wonder as many (myself included) suspected he might be after he was outclassed by Jaedong an MSL past. He's still one of the better players out there, teetering on the verge of S class. There isn't a whole lot to say about Kal, and there won't be until he does something impressive or unexpected. Until then, he'll cruise the middle of the PR and everyone will agree that his PvZ is much, much better than Stork's.
Luxury made a hell of a run for the OSL title this season, crown among his achievements a 2-0 slaughter of Flash. Luxury is a monster in every single Zerg matchup when he's playing well, and he certainly has been lately. His series against Best was a nail-biter, and I'm certain we haven't seen the last of Luxury in OSL/MSL this year.
July is in the OSL FINAL. THE FINALS OF THE OSL FOR A FIFTH TIME. This Golden Mouse candidate has been slaughtering second-rate Protoss players with style and grace lately. The only reason he isn't higher is that his opponents have been, well, terrible. As any strong player should win a series against a lesser player, so has July defeated Rock and BackHo. What remains to be seen is whether this is Tushin returned in earnest, or merely a hand extended longingly toward an unattainable goal. We shall see, or at least I will, because I'll be watching every goddamned July game live from now until he slumps again. It makes me very, VERY happy to put a player that held my 'favourite player' title until Sea came around on the Power Rank.
Like his teammate fOrGG, I don't particularly like Lomo. But, this ain't about feelings, it's about StarCraft, and Lomo's been doing that pretty well lately.
Lomo has brought a unique style to MSL, and took Flash to five games before succumbing to a superior player. This is definitely a kid to watch out for. He's on his way up, and I don't see him going any other direction in the near future.
Hwasin got completely totalled by Jaedong. But Jaedong is Jaedong, and if anything the existence of the series itself proves that Hwasin hasn't hung up his hat yet. How many times can I fit the letter H in a sentence? Let's hope Hwasin plays well in July as well so we can find out.
Yes, Flash is still unquestionably the best player on earth. This kid has utterly exploded since his GSI win over Stork. Between that time and now, Flash has gone 23-3, a stretch of dominance that is unheard of in today's field. He has no weak matchups. His games aren't just victories, but sad, one-sided affairs that leave his opponent laying on the floor in the fetal position, weeping and wondering why they ever picked up a copy of StarCraft.
Jaedong is still unquestionably the 'other best player in the world'. He went 8-2 in May, dropping games to Hwasin and Mind. Jaedong will cruise through MSL until he meets Flash, and if he doesn't meet Flash, he'll win it again. I'll admit that Jaedong doesn't really look as good as he has in the past, but he's damn sure still better than everyone below him on this list.
Quietly and quickly, Best became the strongest Protoss in the world. Best played nine games in May, and won every single fucking one. That includes a win over Flash, making him the only Protoss since march 15th to defeat the young phenom. Best is playing with mechanics and game sense that eclipse the abilities of the rest of the Protoss tribe right now. Though there are players with marginally comparable performances, no other Protoss has been winning the way Best has, and that's any damn way he feels like winning.
Here's a familiar face! After a brief hiatus, Hwasin is playing great once again. 7-3 in May against all manner of opponents, Hwasin is showing games that match his previous calibre, when he was consistantly the second or third best Terran on earth. Personally, I couldn't be called a Hwasin fan, but I can't deny that he's been handily outperforming certain Terrans of whom I am a fan (cough cough). Hwasin is an immediate and alarming threat to everyone's MSL run. Yes, that includes Jaedong and Flash.
Kal is still playing very well. Despite a few oddball losses in ProLeague (Come on, who can predict when lil' Ruby will just up and rape a sucker?), Kal looks to be in the same form he's been in for the last two months. He cemented this spot by taking a lead in his MSL series against Canata. Though Kal may not pose a threat to the four monsters above him, everyone else had better watch the fuck out.
You know, watching Much's games over the last month has been kinda boring. It's also important to recognize that during the last month, Much has lost more games than he's won. So, why is Much in the sixth spot?
Well, he's the only player besides Flash (OSL tiebreakers pending) who has qualified for the round of 8 in both major leagues. It certainly hasn't been pretty, and he's been utter dogshit everywhere else, but Much is winning when it counts, and some proleague games don't mean shit in comparison.
Nada made it to the round of 16 in both major leagues. And though he lost to Hwasin in a close series in MSL, and though his advancement in OSL is in jeopardy, Nada has managed to once again look like a strong overall contendor. For the winningest player of all time, coming out of a slump is neither impossible nor a new experience. By watching Nada play, I see entirely modern trains of thought that show me he is still adapting and learning new things. Things are looking up for the original golden boy.
Mind has been doing the same thing for the last couple of months. It is completely impossible to predict whether Mind will win a specific game, and even harder to predict whether he'll take a series. Mind loses almost as much as he wins, yet he remains a player who can utterly destroy every single player on the planet, and that includes Flash. But, how long are we to tolerate a lack of results? Mind is now out of both leagues, and though he certainly hasn't gotten worse since last month, a player with his errant fluctuation needs results.
Luxury is still better than people give him credit for. Yes, he lost two games to Sea in a fast exit from MSL. But he's also through to the round of 8 in OSL and currently on a 7 game winning streak. Luxury may not be an S class player at this moment, which is why he's so low on the PR. But Luxury still completely wrecks almost everyone who isn't on this list, and he's advancing in OSL. Good enough for me!
Here's a new face for you all to ponder. Sea.Pure is FUCKING GOOD. His schedule hasn't been the most impressive line of opponents, but he has certainly showed some really sick play. I wouldn't dream of putting Pure anywhere above 10th before he shows me something in OSL or MSL, but for now his excellent play in ProLeague is sufficient. This guy is the real deal, and excellent player mechanically with great game sense. We'll see more from him soon, but for now he gets a polite nod for being such a great player.
Yes, Flash is still the best player. He's destroying everyone he comes across right now, there is no question that he's the current number one. Its looking like someone will have to dethrone this kid for him to move.
Jaedong is still #2, even though his play lately has been a liiiiiiiiiiittle shaky. Missing out on OSL is pretty bad, but as far as I'm concerned, forgivable. Especially considering that this is the only 'bad' performance Jaedong has had in months. He's still a strong contendor for another MSL title, and as always, a proleague monster.
Mind rises because there are no candidates more worthy of this spot. Mind is in both leagues, getting there by the skin of his teeth as is apparently customary. Mind is a great player, a genuine threat in any league he's in right now.
Kal's spot this month isnt really 'undeserved', but it wouldn't be fair to say he got this high this month completely by his own hand. A certain other protoss playing like TOTAL ASS has significantly changed the makeup of the top slots. Regardless, Kal is playing pretty good. We'll probably see him go decently far in one of the leagues, but I still don't see a champion.
Sea advanced through his OSL group, qualified for MSL easily, and is currently 3-1 in ProLeague. What more can you ask for? Sea is playing great right now. I wish his TvP would be a little more stable, but Sea is a heavy favourite against any Terran or Zerg that he plays right now, regardless of play style. Can he advance past the round of 16 in the individual leagues? Tune in next month to find out!
Look who it is! The worst Protoss in the world! Jangbi is a scumbag and a liar, but I GUESS he is playing pretty good. UGH. SIGH.
Really though, Jangbi had something of a breakout last MSL and he's at the top of his game right now. He can be classified as a 'dangerous opponent', and all signs indicate that we haven't seen the best Jangbi will put out.
Despite Luxury's massive, massive failure against Stork last OSL, I'm not ready to give up on him just yet. He's 2-0 in ProLeague and currently in both OSL and MSL. We'll see how he performs in the individual leagues again, and then I can move him in either direction accordingly. Right now, all thats evident is that he's playing worse than everyone above him, but with only two games since his awful performance against Stork, its impossible to give him the boot completely.
Have you checked out this character? Turns out he's pretty damn good. Best is the sort of sleeper that will surprise people in the coming months. He is definitely, at worst, a hazard for anyone in his OSL group. I really like Best's play, he's intuitive and vicious. Welcome to the Power Rank, kiddo. Someone thinks you're good! Hurray!
Maybe if Bisu had MADE IT OUT OF HIS FUCKING MSL GROUP WITH A ZERG AND TWO INSURANCE TERRANS, he'd have a better spot on the PR. Maybe if he wasn't PLAYING LIKE HE BROKE ALL HIS FINGERS WITH A HAMMER, he would have gone farther in MSL. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Bisu sucks right now, but only worse than the eight people above him. The Protoss revolutionist isn't completely out of gas yet, but damn he needs a refuel.
This spot actually goes to Stork, but it makes me infinitely happier to put some fat dummy on the list instead.
Let me break it down real easy: STORK SUCKS. Stork has sucked for AGES, but apparently only I had noticed. Stork's games the last few months have basically been nothing but a shitstorm of terrible games against Terran. Every game he either gets completely worked, or he does some retarded proxy robo carrier rush extreme dt bullshit that doesn't even work half the time, whether the terran scouts it or not. YOU SUCK STORK. I can't wait for him to get rolled in OSL (but not in MSL because he didn't qualify!) so I can actually drop him for real.
Holy hell, Flash has been fucking incredible this past month. Flash and Jaedong have played ten games in the last little while, in three different leagues. The total score of all those games is 5-5. Flash is the only player currently capable of consistantly hanging with Jaedong, and unlike most other Terrans, Flash is currently nigh unbeatable TvP. I don't think anyone can really argue this one, and personally I'd prefer Jaedong in the top slot, but I just can't deny Flash's performance. Despite being knocked out of MSL by Jaedong, Flash won the GSI over Stork, and has secured his first ever OSL Final.
Jaedong is still unstoppable, unless you're Flash. Jaedong's dead-even combat with Flash has been a real treat for StarCraft fans everywhere, barring maybe the exchange of tired cheeses in the GSI. With both players playing better than everyone else by such a large margin, the simple turning point of Jaedong and Flash's placement was Jaedong's poor decisions against Flash's metal build on Katrina. Such a small detail, but entirely important in seperating number one from number two. In every other respect, Jaedong has looked as fiesty as ever
Though he's had fewer televised games, Luxury has been looking strong as hell. In his first OSL, he is yet to lose a single game. This placement may look a little high, but if you watch his OSL games and read my comments about a certain Protoss, I think you'll agree.
Stork is still winning, I guess. My problem with Stork is that his latest games have absolutely nothing that would set him apart from every other Protoss out there. His series in the GSI final against Flash was solid, but every other game Stork has played recently is either a proxy something or a carrier rush. Just like every other Protoss. Stork's incredible macro has not shined once in recent weeks, because instead of showing his skill he has been taking easy wins on easy maps with the same bullshit much shittier Protoss players use. With Luxury on the warpath, I would wager that Stork will not make it to the OSL final alive. As with Flash, Luxury is currently playing at a level that transcends proxies, and you can't carrier rush in PvZ. We'll see what happens in the OSL semifinal, but with Stork's uninspired, lazy games, I feel this placement is completely justified.
All right, good job. Any second-tier player trying to break into first-tier status should be expected to win handily over weak opponents on favourable maps, and that's exactly what Kal has done. Kal is, admittedly, pretty damn good at PvZ, which will make this MSL final somewhat interesting. Kal will need to beat Jaedong in order to preserve this spot on the Power Rank, which, considering his relatively easy path through MSL, is really nothing more than a courtesy. Now is the time to man up, and we'll have to wait and see what Kal brings to see if he really belongs up here.
Mind got his skull caved in by Jaedong. He's still on the Rank because he's only really lost that one series lately, and his GSI performance wasn't too tragic. I mean, his performance was better than everyone below him, so how would it be fair to give him a different spot?
Bisu has been doing all right. Not phenomenal, not terrible. He did make it through groups in GSI, and to the OSL semifinal, but along the way he got completely manhandled by Flash, Iris, and Sea. He hasn't been playing at either extreme of the spectrum, just right in the middle. A middle spot on the Power Rank is a good fit for him, and his progression one direction or another is completely up to him.
Anytime is currently doing something Anytime has never done before. He's playing better than most, but not dominating. Anytime has always been a big hit or a terrible miss. Currently, he has qualified for the upcoming OSL and MSL, destroyed Stork in the ProLeague Grand Final, and put on a respectable showing at the GSI. No league titles, but nothing to frown at.
Much is being demoted to the 9th spot due to his poor performance past the group stages of GSI and OSL. It's like the steamrolling, badass motherfucker that slaughtered his OSL and GSI groups took a vacation, and left a confused old man on his own, trying to figure out what all these moving colors on the screen are. He played BAD. But, there are new leagues coming, and he's already qualified for one of them. If he makes it through ODT, he's got another chance at the big time.
Well, I didn't want to put Sea back on the rank until he did something better than what he usually does. Unfortunately, there is just no one more deserving of this spot. Sea destroyed his GSI group and qualified for the next MSL in two completely one-sided games. He looked fucking good while he did it, too. When he got to the GSI round of 8, however, he ran into Stork. Stork promptly proxy robo'd him on Blue Storm, and then carrier rushed on Katrina, and Sea was back out on the street. We watched Flash walk all over Stork later in the tournament, so no forgiveness here. Still, there are new leagues coming, and another season of ProLeague is bound to begin soon. We'll see what happens!
Lordy, lordy, the new king is still on his throne. Jaedong is looking incredible right now. His only loss in his entire OSL and MSL run so far has been a single game to Best in which he tried some wierd all-in on the terrible map Demon's Forest. Every other game Jaedong has played has been complete domination from start to finish, the likes of which we haven't seen since the heyday of the Maestro.
Stork didn't make MSL, but that happened months ago. He went 3-0 in his OSL group with apparent ease, though, looking strong as ever. Stork is still a force to be reckoned with, and he'll need to show some form of weakness besides his PvZ to make him fall, because his PvZ doesn't seem to be holding him back right now. Maybe its fortunate that the only Zerg Stork has had to play recently is Rumble. Nevertheless, his PvP and PvT are the best around.
Mind is doing very well. His win percentage isn't stellar, but he isn't crashing and burning in his MSL title defense, and he bulldozed the offline qualifiers on his way to OSC. Everyone should be watching this guy, because I get the distinct impression that he ain't done yet.
Speaking of bulldozers, you might as well paint Much yellow and put a fat lazy union worker on his back. Every one of Much's matchups look solid as hell right now, and he's on a 5-game winning streak. He has a tough road ahead of him in OSL, so we'll be able to see exactly where Much fits in with the three players above him.
Flash is looking strong too. Since dropping off the rank months ago and reappearing in January, Flash has done nothing but win. Win, Win, Win. Awkward losses to Stork and Rock in his OSL group were quickly rectified by the utter mutilation of the tiebreaker. Flash is now in the round of 8 in BOTH leagues, though his opponent is Jaedong in either case. This will be yet another massive test for the little man, who's had quite an unfortunate list of opponents in his short individual league career.
Damn, where the hell did Luxury come from? He slaughtered his MSL round of 32 group, he massacred his OSL group 3-0. The only black mark on Luxury's resume for the last month is his loss in MSL to Jaedong, but since it seems apparent that EVERYONE loses to Jaedong right now, we can hardly hold it against him. Luxury has finally outshone his brother somewhere other than ProLeague, and with a shmuck for an opponent in the OSL Round of 8, things are looking up.
Bisu ain't dead yet - but he sure pissed me off. Bisu lost two consecutive PvZs in an MSL Round of 32 group of his own creation. On top of that, he got destroyed by Luxury and July in his OSL group. What saved him was the complete domination of Xellos and July in the group's tiebreaker matches. Bisu still has the gumption to make it out of groups, and with Much as his first opponent, he certainly has his work cut out for him. Resurgence? Failure? Tune in next month to find out!
All right! What started off as a joke in the ProLeague updates I wrote can now be laid to rest. Here's the deal: I don't hate Kal. I never have. At this moment in time, Kal is showing that he desperately wants to be something more than an average, second-rate protoss. He's made the semifinal of the current MSL in convincing fashion, so now my unfair hatred has a new target. FUCK YOU, JANGBI. YOU SUCK.
Anytime's ridiculous loss to Nada in MSL is what kept him from being placed any higher than this spot. Aside from that, Anytime has looked pretty good. He hasn't lost a single game in the ProLeague playoffs this season, and he easily qualified for OSC. Anytime seems to have the puzzle almost put together, but until he finds the last few pieces he won't be hefting any trophies.
The last spot goes to Light because Light has been... well... he's been all right. He was on the rank last month, and with a passable performance in January, he preserves his Power Rank prowess for another month. I've got my eye on Light, because he seems to play really well one moment and then just terribly the next. Maybe some consistancy will follow with these repeated league qualifications he's gathering.
The only thing keeping Jaedong down these last few months was his hapless ZvP. He's unquestionably the strongest ZvZ and ZvT player around, and during games 3 and 4 of his OSL final victory over Stork, he looked damn good at ZvP too. Jaedong has fewer medals, but right now he's playing a more complete game than Bisu. Jaedong is the best goddamned player in the world.
Bisu lost to Stork in the OSL Semifinal, but the two of them are still neck-and-neck in the race for the Best Protoss crown. Bisu may have lost to Stork, but the list of players that dominate Bisu is very short. He still seems incapable of losing to Zerg, and with his MSL group containing nothing but, he's in good position. Bisu's high finishes in both OSL and MSL trump Stork this month, because Bisu is still just playing better.
Oh, Stork. Stork is STILL completely useless against Zerg. His performance against Jaedong was abysmal; he wasn't even in control of the single game he won. To top that off, Stork didn't make MSL. He got stomped by Ruby and Luxury. Is that any way to finish the month? A terrible performance on the biggest stage, and then losses to second-rate chumps in Survivor? Stork's opportunity to prove himself a champion and not just a grinning nerd is slowly slipping through his fingers.
Mind hasn't had a busy month. He's played nothing but ProLeague, and has won more than he's lost. Mind's real test will be his performance in the new MSL, but for now I can't credit or discredit him with anything I didn't already know, so he'll stay put this month. Mind's games are still very entertaining, and he still seems always on the verge of getting his face stomped in before he wins. He reminds me a lot of Iris, and if he can borrow some of Iris' execution finesse he'll be a major Terran force.
Maybe his wins aren't the prettiest, and maybe he doesn't have the greatest win:loss ratio, but Much is on fire. He played 18 games in December. He won OSC through a difficult bracket, with a 3-2 win over Sea to cap it off. He might be 10-8 for the month, but numbers lie. Much is getting the job done, and is looking like a strong contendor wherever he plays right now.
Sea is on fire too. Like Much, he played 18 games in December. Sea went 12-6, with half of his losses coming from his 2-3 loss to Much. On his way to the OSC final he even wrecked poor UpMagic in a strong display of dropship chess and veteran patience. Sea is in MSL and has favorable matchups in his ODT group. Sea deserves this spot for his great play this month, but a strong performance in at least one of the major tournaments will be needed to maintain position.
Savior is standing on his last legs in this Power Rank. He only had 3 games in December, so I'm wary of moving him any further. He's a seed in MSL and if he can conquer his difficult ODT group, he'll look a lot stronger in my eyes. Right now, Savior is definitely slipping. What I can't tell right now is how far, and whether its permanent. Savior is hard to put my finger on, and hopefully the coming month will give us some definitive answers about the future of Ma Jae Yoon.
I don't like him, you don't like him... Maybe some of you like him, I dunno. That doesn't matter. What matters is that Flash is playing really, really good. Straight wins, too. No cheese from the kid in quite a while. Flash cruised easily into both leagues this season, so we'll see what he can do. Gotta give credit where it's due, even if Flash does look vaguely like a confused fish.
Light is still looking pretty good. His loss to Jaedong in OSL is the only game in recent memory where he looked completely outclassed. he's only 2-2 in December, but the games were decent. He's in MSL and ODT, so he has ample chances to prove himself. He's already one of the strongest Terrans around, but he'll need some results to back that up pretty quick.
Hello, old friend! Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Seo Ji Hoon. Motherfucking XELLOS. Xellos is in both leagues with a Semifinal MSL appearance and a quick 2-0 of his ODT group. Xellos is starting to look fucking good again and it gives me warm, happy feelings down in my gut. And a little farther down, if you know what I mean. We can only hope this isn't yet another flash-in-the-pan veteran resurgence, like the ones poor rA has been pulling out lately. If Xellos is getting his game back, the whole world is in trouble.
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. Bisu wears his crown so fashionably. Yes, he lost to Mind, but that is the only series in the last three months wherein he didn't play like the best goddamned player on earth. His heroic comeback in game 2 of his series against Savior and his brutal domination of the third knocked the wind out of any doubt that Bisu is anything but the reigning world champ.
Savior lost to Mind too, but he also pushed Bisu farther than Bisu has ever been pushed in a PvZ series. Watch the second and third games of the Savior/Bisu series and honestly tell me that any other Protoss in the world could have won those games. You can't, because no other Protoss could. Savior's ZvT remains suspect only because he used to be untouchable, but had he sealed up the series against Bisu, we'd have seen a Savior OSL Final appearance without a shadow of a doubt. There's no player that has performed as consistantly this month, besides Bisu of course.
Stork grabs the third spot because he's had a good month. He breezed through his OSL group and dismantled the little babyface Flash once again. After bringing Bisu so close to destruction in their MSL final meeting, it's ridiculous to think Stork stands no chance in their upcoming OSL semifinal match. Like the players above him, Stork will have to be knocked off in order to fall significantly.
Ahhh, Jaedong. This is Jaedong's OSL breakout. He creamed Light, and with Hwasin gone, he's basically a lock for the OSL final. This is the draw we've been waiting to see this little man mangle. If he can step up his ZvP and if Stork takes out Bisu, Jaedong has a legitimate chance at the OSL title. A loss or two in ProLeague amidst preparation for OSL doesn't fool me.
Last month I said I had my eye on Mania and Mind. I called for them to step up and show me something incredible. Mind answered that call. His macro isn't earth-shattering, his micro isn't mind-boggling, but Mind's game sense is top fucking notch. He proved to me (and everyone else) that he's a force to be reckoned with, and if he can show me this isn't just a flash in the pan, Mind has nowhere to go but up. For now he sits below Jaedong, because there's very little that suggests Mind would be capable of standing in his way.
Hwasin hasn't been playing as well as we're accustomed to. Still, you'd be a fool to think he isn't going to wreck everyone that stands in the way of another MSL/OSL double berth. It's too early to tell if this is a bump in the road or the beginning of a downfall, and while it sure ain't pretty, Hwasin is still currently one of the best Terrans on the planet.
UpMagic, like Mind, needed to show something special to break into the Power Rank. He certainly did just that. Not only did he beat Hwasin, but he beat Hwasin with solid, standard play. Game 3 of their series is the best TvT I've ever seen UpMagic play. However, Hwasin would fare a much better chance against Jaedong than UpMagic can hope for, and he's still useless against Protoss. Since this is Power Rank, not Who-Won-The-Series Rank, UpMagic sits lower than Hwasin because Hwasin's TvZ and TvP are fearsome. Credit is due, however. UpMagic's elevated play against Hwasin in an OSL round of 8 earns him his spot on the Power Rank. Only time will tell if his success is fleeting.
All right, let's face it. Light got mangled by Jaedong. His saving grace is that any Terran would probably get mangled by Jaedong. This was a fairly successful OSL run on Light's part, and with a different draw its entirely possible that he would have advanced further. A loss against impossible odds won't make me give up on Light just yet, though he'll have to remain competitive to retain this spot.
I said Sea would mangle his OSC group, and he did. There isn't a single player left in OSC that could sensibly be called a favorite over Sea, because his play right now is devastating. Sea's ProLeague presence isn't as big this season, which leads me to believe there is much more preparation going into his individual league performances. He'll need results to climb the Rank, but a Power Rank without Sea would just be foolish with how good he's playing right now.
I loathe using TLPD stats to enforce Power Rank spots, but I feel this is worth mentioning: Much is on a ten game winning streak, dating back to early October. 5-0 in November, Much is playing like he's hungry for OSL group stages once again. His games were agaisnt Chalrenge, GoGo, free, Stork, and GoRush. Not the best of the best, but hardly third-rate chumps. The most important thing to note is that Much's overall play is better than everyone except the nine players above him. It wouldn't be fair to give the tenth spot to anyone else.
Hwasin was another easy choice. I keep waiting for Hwasin to plateau, but it just hasn't happened yet. Hwasin even had Bisu's back against the wall in MSL. He's the only player currently capable of giving Bisu so much hell in a series, and for that he's a lock in the second spot.
The word 'slump' gets thrown around a lot at TL, but the simple fact remains that Savior is still playing great. It's very likely he'll make a sixth MSL finals appearance this season, and he's 2-0 in his OSL group. For performing so well in both leagues, I can't give him any worse than spot #3.
Stork in spot 4 is logical. The top four on this Power Rank are a cut above everyone else in ProGaming right now, but Stork's loss to Savior in MSL means he stays a spot below him. Stork's PvZ still plagues him, but his other matchups are still top-notch. Regardless of his early MSL exit, Stork is qualified to the OSL round of 8, and still looks strong as ever.
Through the month of October, Jaedong went 5-0. That's right, he didn't lose a single game. On top of that he's on a ZvT hot streak that dates back to July, amassing 13 consecutive wins. Jaedong's ZvP is still a concern, but his ZvT and ZvZ are so untouchable right now that anything lower than top 5 is an insult to his ability.
Iris hasn't done anything to show me that he's not in top shape. Despite a loss to SangHo on Protoss-friendly maps in the MSL qualifications, Iris is still baring his teeth. His OSL group is the 'group of death', containing Light, Hwasin, and July. If he fails to make it out of the group, he'll have to really turn it on in November to maintain his spot on December's Power Rank, but right now no one can find a legitimate fault in his play. All signs still point to Yes on Iris' OSL road.
Light gains a few spots because of his relative MSL success and his 2-0 status in his OSL group. Though he'll be hard-pressed to escape his group over Iris or Hwasin, he's playing very well. I'll admit his losses to Kwanro looked bad, but let's not forget he beat GoRush and Lucifer to get there in the first place. Besides the hiccup against Kwanro (that's what we're calling it, for now), Light has elevated his play since last month. Moreso than the next guy on the list.
I can hear you asking, "FakeSteve, why isn't Free higher than Light? Free beat his MSL Round of 16 opponent!" Yeah, he did. He beat Lomo, but it took three games, and he looked like shit while he did it. Game 1 was such a drubbing that we should be able to expect Free to take Lomo out in a similar manner in game 2. Instead he played like he'd lost his fingers in a threshing accident. Afterwards, he was thoroughly embarassed by Savior. Free is under Light because despite his statistically better MSL performance, Light was in both leagues, and is still playing great in OSL. Gotta give some credit though, which is why Free climbs to spot #8.
I can hear even more people saying, "Oh FakeSteve, why is Sea on the Power Rank? He lost in MSL Round of 32!" Yeah, he did. However, he played an amazing game against July, and performed exponentially better against Kwanro's slick ZvT build order than Light did. On top of that, Sea is 5-1 in the current ProLeague, and everything in his game says he'll destroy OSC with ease. Sea has a lower spot than free and Light because they admittedly went farther in MSL, but no one with a lick of sense can say that Sea isn't playing exceptionally well right now.
Ohhhh, this one is going to ring some alarms. Anytime is 8-1 in ProLeague right now, and is the largest reason his team Lecaf has a perfect 8-0 record. Anytime is playing fantastically; he's destroying everyone he comes across with style and grace. If you aren't clear on why Anytime gets this spot over GGPlay, watch Anytime's ProLeague wins, and then watch GGPlay's game against Shudder. That ought to clear it up for you. Anytime will have an easy run qualifying for OSL, and if he keeps the form he showed through October, he'll go very far in the next tournament. Remember, this is Power Rank, not The List Of People Who Qualified For OSL/MSL Two Months Ago.
As excited as everyone likes to get over a stray loss or two, the fact remains that Bisu is still the best player in the world. Beyond being the two-time, defending MSL champion, he is into the Ro16 of the MSL and started off the OSL with an embarrassingly one-sided win over GGPlay.
Hwasin is 18-6 since August, with huge wins over huge opponents and a WCG Korea title. But WCG Korea is not a Starleague, and Hwasin has yet to prove himself as a player who can take down the best of the best when the stakes are at their highest. That caveat aside, Hwasin is playing better than he ever has. He’s even showing the stylistic flickers of intense brilliance that define a star, moments like his “goliath bomb” against Light in their epic TvT.
Savior’s suffered some difficult losses as of late, but they’re been against the cream of the crop, players like Sea, Hwasin, Light, and Flash. Looking at the big picture, Savior is into the MSL Ro16 and 1-0 in the OSL, to say nothing of his third-place finish at WCG Korea. It’s hard to fault a player over a few losses when he’s posting such consistent results.
Iris is a huge question mark for me this month. He’s only played six major games since his OSL loss to GGPlay, but I can’t help but remark upon the fact that he missed the MSL with an 0-2 loss to SangHo[Shield] in the very first round of the offline qualifiers. Losses like that don’t inspire much in the way of confidence. I don’t mean to slight SangHo—he’s very good, to be honest—but Iris is a perennial Starleague contender; we have to hold him to a higher standard.
Putting GGPlay at the #6 slot this month feels like an insult to him, but in reality, it’s a testament to how good the top four look at the moment. If GGPlay wants to retain such a high slot in the Power Rank, however, he’s going to have to show stronger play than he did against Bisu. GGPlay has never been a strong ZvP player, but a domination of that magnitude is bound to raise some eyebrows.
With his staggering Proleague record, respectable WCG performance, and spot in the MSL, Sea was an easy choice for the #7 slot this month. What concerns me about Sea, however, is that his MSL group consists of three hyper-aggressive Zergs. Sea could find himself in trouble if he continues to rely upon his fast expansion builds.
Jaedong is ZvT. If someone asked me to define ZvT while I was watching Jaedong play, I would simply point to the screen and say, “That’s it right there. That’s the definition of the matchup.” Jaedong is 10-0 in his last ten ZvTs, with wins over Boxer, Xellos, Light, and Hwasin. He executes in a way that no other Zerg has managed to mimic. Jaedong’s problem, however, is that his ZvP is atrocious. But he’s in luck! There are only three Protosses in the OSL, and neither Stork nor Rock is known for his PvZ prowness. As long as he manages to avoid Bisu, Jaedong could make an enormous splash this season.
Light has looked amazing since July, going 11-6 with losses only to Savior, Bisu, Hwasin, Jaedong… and Rock. And in that same frame of time, Light has beaten Savior, Bisu, and Hwasin. He's also in both Starleagues. Could this be the season in which Light realizes his full potential?
With his strong showing at WCG and easy move into the Ro16 of the MSL, Free is deserving of the #10 slot this month. My problem with Free is his consistency. Though I shudder at the thought, Free reminds me of a Protoss version of Midas; he’s as likely to beat himself as he is the other player.
By this point, I sincerely hope that all doubts regarding Bisu have been put to rest. Yes, his PvT could use a tweaking. Okay, his Proleague record isn’t great. Alright, Flash managed to eke out a 2-0, cheese win against him. But is he the best player in the world right now? Without question.
Iris has shown that he is among the very best in the world in all three Terran matchups, something that no one, aside from oov and Nada, has ever been able to claim (you could make a case for Xellos and Boxer, but I wouldn’t). Beyond putting Iris in truly elite company, that puts him at the #2 slot for this month.
Time and time again, I’ve been the person championing GGPlay’s skills. It’s no secret that I think highly of his play or that I’ve thought highly of it for a very long time. This month would have been the perfect excuse to put GGPlay in the #2 slot if I’d wanted to. I mean, he won an OSL! He beat Iris! But when I look at GGPlay in relation to the players above him, there’s no doubt in my mind that Bisu and Iris are the better-rounded, stronger players at the moment.
Stork has really disappointed me in these past months. His record is astonishing, to be sure, but when the stakes have been at their highest, Stork has crumbled—twice. I still view Stork as a top-tier player with the world’s best PvT, but is he a championship player? I used to think so. I’m not so sure anymore.
Savior is still a very strong player. I don’t see many people arguing that point. What needs to be mentioned, however, is that Savior is no longer the Jesus Zerg. He no longer has a sixth, anti-cheese sense. If you nail him to a cross (metaphorically speaking, of course), he might not come back faster, stronger, and more alive than ever. He’s still strong, though, and I don’t want to see any more people screaming “SLUMP!” when “all” he’s done lately is make both Starleagues—again.
Even with his horrible, horrible series against Rock, Jaedong is 21-6 since June, and he just made his first OSL. Remembering his games of past and looking at his games of present has led me to two conclusions: his ZvT is world-class, and his ZvP needs work. And for once, the statistics support my opinion! Jaedong’s winning percentages by matchup are as follows: 66.67% ZvT, 78.26% ZvZ, and a mere 50% ZvP. Does Jaedong have what it takes to overcome an OSL-caliber Protoss? Or with only two Protosses currently in the OSL (and the potential for only two more), will he even have to worry about them?
After his uninspired performances against GGPlay and Stork, one might have thought that Flash was nothing but hype. I, for one, don’t think much of his late-game management—or even his mid-game management. But given Flash’s age and the fact that he just cruised into both Starleagues, he deserves a low slot in the Power Rank.
Sea’s recent performances have been too strong to ignore. He’s a staggering 16-5 in the Proleague, and his OSC run was stopped by a 1-2 loss to Jaedong, who’s looked practically unbeatable ZvT as of late (he’s 9-1, losing only that single game to Sea, in his last 10 ZvTs). Even with strong ODT and Survivor groups standing in his way, Sea is a heavy favorite to advance into both Starleagues.
After watching his series against oov and Savior (and GGPlay in the 2006 ShinHan 3 OSL), I am convinced that FirebatHero has two legitimate matchups, though TvT is clearly his best. Watching Stork and Rock disrespect him, however, caused me to review both his TvP and his career TvP record, and neither is pretty. With few exceptions, FirebatHero only wins against weak opponents or on advantageous maps. Then there’s his recent 0-2 performance in the ODT to consider. This #10 slot is a gift to honor the memory of his consistent, strong play. If FirebatHero wants to stick around next month, he’s going to have to turn things around.
After he trounced GoRush, I knew I had to keep Bisu at the #1 slot for this month. And the reason for that—I’ll go into even more depth later—is that I don’t think Stork would have stood a chance against GoRush in that series. Both Bisu and Stork are hot right now, and I’ll even admit that Stork is on more of a tear; his record’s a little better, anyway. (Stork is 36-16 since March. Bisu is 31-15 in that same span of time). But a strong Zerg could have derailed Stork’s tear at any point, and that’s exactly what happened. At this point in time, Bisu would be the favorite, or at least be given relatively even odds, against just about any player in the world. That’s not something you can say about Stork; his PvZ doesn’t allow it.
I had an incredibly difficult time choosing whether Bisu or Stork should hold the #1 slot this month, and it came down to this: Stork got lucky. Bisu didn’t. By all rights, Stork should not still be in the MSL. He lost 0-2 to Savior in the Ro16, and at no point in those two games did he show any degree of feel for PvZ; he looked bad. But Oversky joined the military, and Stork managed to wriggle his way back into the Ro8.
Bisu didn’t get that chance. He lost to two cheese builds in a row, and just like that, he was out of the OSL. Stork’s record as of late is beastly, but I can’t in good conscience bump Bisu, the reigning MSL champion and most well-rounded Protoss player in the world, from his perch until he starts to falter in his play or someone clearly better rears his head, and neither has happened—not yet, anyway.
I’ll come out and say it: Iris looked unimpressive in the group stages of this OSL. Reach demolished him, and he looked sloppy in his win against Shark. It’s as if, when he arrived in the Ro8 and saw Savior attempting to block his path, he screamed, “NEVER AGAIN,” and immediately started practicing 20 hours a day. He underwent a complete transformation in the course of a single week.
Iris is 15-3 since May, but more than that, he eliminated Savior and Stork from the OSL. Respectively—and there’s not much room for debate on this—those two are the strongest ZvT and PvT players in the world. And the craziest part is that Iris is best-known for his TvT.
Even with his loss to Stork in one of the uglier Bo5s I’ve ever seen, FirebatHero is on such an amazing tear that denying him his rightful slot in the Power Rank would be criminal. FirebatHero is 22-9 since April, advancing to the semifinals of the MSL and holding a 9-1 Proleague record in that time.
After watching Savior’s recent performances and discussing the matter with Hot_Bid, I’ve come to the following conclusion: while Savior might not have “it” anymore (Hot_Bid called it “the magic”), he’s still the best Zerg in the world. Losing to FirebatHero in that fashion and dropping a couple games against the new, methamphetamine-charged Iris doesn’t change that, even if those games eliminated him from both Starleagues. Savior is still 13-10 since May against the stiffest possible competition, and he made the quarterfinals of both Starleagues.
Like Savior, Hwasin lost in the quarterfinals of both Starleagues, but unlike some people, he lost each series by only a single game and looked pretty darn strong regardless of the result. Hwasin is 22-12 since April, and he recently triumped over the new Terran golden boy, Flash, in the Proleague.
Trying to place Flash in this month’s Power Rank was a frustrating experience for me. On the one hand, his record is incredible, but on the other hand, I can make an “excuse” for every one of his wins. Many of his wins are against players who are weak vT. Others involve favorable maps or cheese builds. Then there was his recent Bo3 against Bisu, which didn’t reflect much in the way of confidence despite his 2-0 win. Still, with an unprecedented career record of 15-3 and losses to only Savior, Boxer, and Hwasin, Flash is getting results. I know he has some skill, but Flash isn't making it easy for me to figure out just how much.
Although GGPlay’s Proleague record is a less than spectacular 5-10, he looked good against Hwasin, who’s one of the premier TvZ players in the world. GGPlay is 10-4 ZvT since April, which doesn’t bode well for Flash, his opponent in the OSL semifinals.
Sea confounds me. His career record of 74-42 puts him among the elite of StarCraft (with his recent wins, Sea now has the highest career winning percentage of any player with 50 or more televised games), and yet he hasn’t managed to advance past the quarterfinals of a Starleague. Still, with a 15-5 Proleague record and his easy victories in the OSC, Sea is deserving of a low slot in the Power Rank.
Bisu’s recent Proleague results have been abysmal, especially for a player of his caliber. But then there are his Starleague results, which have been impressive. Until Bisu starts looking like a player who doesn’t have the potential to win both Starleagues, I have no choice but to keep him in the top slot.
If Savior’s “slump” ever really existed, it’s over now. Savior looks like he could cruise through the MSL Ro16 and is 2-0 in the OSL. Like Bisu, a few losses in the Proleague aren’t enough to keep me from calling these two anything but the best.
Stork’s streak of domination just keeps going. He’s 18-5 since April. My only concern with Stork is his PvZ. Like Reach, it’s just never been his strongest matchup, and Stork is stuck facing, of all Zerg players, Savior in the MSL Ro16—and he’s currently down 0-1 in their Bo3. Luckily for Stork, the only thing keeping him from advancing from his OSL group—or being in a good position to advance, anyway—is a game against Casy, whose career record of 13-25 TvP is enough to make Boxer look like an ace in the matchup.
Manifesto7 put it best when he said, “Hwasin basically shit all over your last ranking.” And it’s true. Hwasin is 16-3 since April, and even worse, he’s managed to beat several Protoss players. I’ve been studying his games in an effort to figure out how he is posting such amazing statistics, and I’ve come to a startling conclusion: he’s really playing well.
Oov is still looking good. Though he’s lost a few tough games as of late, none of them—at least not yet—have kept him from advancing in the OSL and MSL. He’s currently 1-0 against Firebathero in the MSL Ro16, and he will advance to the OSL Ro8 if he manages to beat Flash. To top that off, oov is 3-1 in the Proleague.
Since we’re already talking about people who are 8-3 in the Proleague, it makes sense to discuss Sea. Beyond his Proleague results, however, Sea’s MSL performance has been impressive, and his loss to GoRush on the three-geyser, ZvT paradise that is Loki doesn’t change that; he is still the favorite to win that Bo3. As I noted last month, the only reason Sea missed the OSL was because of Reach pulling his now-typical heroics.
July’s recent play has been reminiscent of the July that we all remember, that hyper-aggressive, ultra-entertaining, chubby-cheeked little man. He hasn’t lost a game since his defeat in the ODT, and I have high hopes that his recent move to SKT1 will reinvigorate him even further.
GGPlay’s record as of late has been scattered—he’s only 10-8 since April—but his play in general has just looked good; it usually does. Add that to his 2-0 record in the OSL, and I’m willing to award him the #9 slot despite my reservations regarding his consistency.
I love Reach. I love him. But I didn’t want to put him in the Power Rank—not this month. Reach has looked untouchable in his PvTs as of late, but his other matchups have looked very… uh… touchable. He’s lost to Jy, Soo, and Nal_Rock in recent memory, which is enough to warrant severe reservations regarding his placement. But looking at the other candidates for this slot—and really, this applies to all of the bottom slots—there’s just not anyone who deserves it more.
Bisu is still the man—not in the same sense as Reach, but more in the sense of “he’s kicking everyone’s asses.” It’s unholy to actually look at: he’s 19-6 since he started his MSL tear by beating Light. Five of those losses were in PvT, but they’re been, except for Casy on Arcadia, against tough opponents on tough maps. Is PvT really Bisu’s Achilles’ heel, or is the evidence circumstantial?
As with Nada, Savior has played very few games lately—two, to be exact. He lost both of them, but they consisted of a ZvZ and a cannon rush from Nal_Ra. Ordinarily I’d overlook both of those losses, but Savior’s response to Ra’s cannon rush was sub-par. It took him too long to recognize and react to Ra’s initial pylon placement; he didn’t look like himself. He looked, dare I say, mortal. But again as with Nada, already being in both Starleagues earns you a lot of leniency in PR placement. Savior’s string of losses—which is being over-exaggerated by many, many people, by the way—would ordinarily bump a person down to Iris’ current spot, but it’s Savior; I’m going to give him the respect he deserves—but only this month.
It looks as if Boxer’s prophecy could finally come true: Stork is in both Starleagues and is an amazing 12-2 since March, beating, for the most part, top-tier competition in the form of Nada, Iris, GoodFriend, Reach, Yellow[Name], Anytime, and Jaedong. Beyond that, the maps this season look as if they might have some tiny degree of balance. All this bodes well for the big bird.
You’ve probably noticed: oov is on a tear. He went 7-2 in April, cruising into both Starleagues, and his 2v2 against MBC was impressive, to say the least. When someone is looking as strong as oov and getting results, my job suddenly becomes a very easy one.
Light has once again made both Starleagues, advancing to the OSL by way of the ODT and the MSL in light of—ha!—his performance last season. Although he is a Terran, I find his odd combination of TvZ and TvP skill intoxicating. Light is 9-4 since his loss to Hwasin in what will go down as the ugliest Bo3 to ever grace a Starleague, but there might be hope yet for his TvT; he beat oov and ForGG to advance to this OSL, and he’s 5-1 in his last six TvTs, all of which took place in April.
I don’t like keeping Ra on the list, well, in general, but it’s especially irritating when he hasn’t shown me any results. He only played three televised games in April, and while he won them all, two of those games were against Bifrost and Frozean[Name]—not exactly the cream of the crop. Then there’s his cannon rush against Savior, which doesn’t exactly show whether or not he’s still in top form. Beyond the above ambiguity, he’s not in the OSL. But like I’ve done for other players in the past, I’m giving Ra the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he will continue to disappoint me.
My feelings on Hwasin are well-documented, but I won’t fight with results for too long. He keeps winning, and as much as I might spout off about how Hwasin is a one-matchup wonder who keeps advancing sheerly because of advantageous maps, he is still advancing. He’s 7-1 since his 2-3 loss to Savior, losing only to Bisu.
Much not making it out of the ODT group of death was disappointing, to be sure, but when you’re a Protoss faced with the task of beating one of the best TvP trios in the world (Light, oov, and ForGG) on Arkanoid and/or Hitchhiker, chances are you’re going to come away disappointed. Much will, however, be present in the upcoming MSL. Similar to his teammate, Savior, I’m keeping a very close eye on Much. If he suffers any more losses, I’m not going to be so forgiving, especially not with the extensive list of worthy contenders outlined in the “close, but no cigar” section.
Since his 1-3 loss to Nada, Iris is 2-5, losing three TvTs—his ace matchup—in the process. And he’s not in the MSL. I try to avoid jumping on performance bandwagons whenever possible, but if Iris keeps this up, he’s going to be out of the Power Rank as quickly as he cruised into it.
Well, it happened: someone knocked Savior from his perch. I’m just not happy to do it under these circumstances. Bisu’s MSL victory came after the post-OSL slump of Savior, and the Superfight is a nothing tournament. So the piece of evidence that ultimately swayed my opinion was Bisu tearing through the OSL preliminaries. The guy isn’t losing—not to anyone—and when that’s the case, I don’t have much choice in placement. I just wish things were a little more clean-cut at this point. One thing I can conclusively say is that the trio of Nada, Bisu, and Savior is a notch above everyone else at the moment—a big notch.
I can already hear the Nada fans crying, but let me assure you that this was an incredibly difficult decision. Savior beat Nada on unfavorable maps in a prestigious tournament. Nada beat Savior on favorable maps in a less prestigious tournament. Savior lost to Bisu in the MSL finals. Nada didn’t make the MSL in the first place. And both players blew it in the Superfight. It was a tough call, but I think all but the most rabid fans can agree that it was probably the right one.
What really impressed me about Nada this past month, to be honest, wasn’t that he beat Savior. Hell, I was actually surprised, given the maps, that Savior beat Casy. No, what impressed me was Nada beating Iris in such stellar fashion. That win alone cemented him the #3 slot.
It’s a stale refrain, but there’s just not any evidence to suggest that Midas isn’t his usual, beastly self. Yeah, he lost to Iris, but what Terran—aside from Nada, apparently—doesn’t? The loss to Anytime was disappointing, but like I said above, the Superfight is really a nothing tournament.
Light is going to have a chance to show off his hopefully new and improved TvT against Shine, and he’s already in the MSL. I’m still holding out hope for Light to reach the whole of his potential, but my patience is not limitless.
Jangbi was one of the very first players to qualify for the upcoming MSL, and he cruised through the PSL on his way to the ODT. I’ve had an eye on him ever since he dismantled Chojja in the Survivor League, and he looks like another Bisu: no nonsense, huge skill. While he hasn’t accomplished enough in the major leagues to warrant this slot, he’s showing such potential that I’m willing to give him a low slot in this month of utter stagnation.
I’m taking a leap of faith on Jaedong. The guy has, as a said a long time ago, top-tier talent, and now that he’s in the MSL and has cruised into the ODT, I’m willing to take the plunge. Yes, I know that he made the MSL and the ODT last season and accomplished, well, nothing, but I have a feeling about his performance this season. It’s a vague and terrible thing to say, I know, but I’d rather go with a feeling than with Hwasin. Looking at Hwasin’s ODT group (three Zergs with weak ZvT and only one Protoss), though, I’ll probably have to make room for him next month. iloveoov was the smarter, safer call, but I'm tired of the older generation of players getting all the attention.
I know the 0-3 loss to Bisu looks bad—-and it was—-but if anyone can overcome the OGN Curse, it’s Savior. Given all that he’s achieved in recent memory, I’d be doing him and the PR an incredible disservice if I put him at anywhere but #1.
I’ll go ahead and say what everyone is thinking: Savior’s play was terrible. But that doesn’t change the fact that Bisu played really well, curb-stomping Savior 3-0 in a final, of all places. The 3-0 over Ra was a slightly different story. Bisu won the build order battle twice and outplayed Ra once. It’s not particularly compelling to watch, but it sure does look good. Still, results are results, and Bisu has proven that he can hang with the very best players in the world.
Ironically, it took a loss to get Iris into the PR. Before, he was always the standard, go-to Terran who would win when he was supposed to win and lose when he was supposed to lose. There were never any surprises with Iris, except how surprisingly bad his TvZ was. But when the stakes were at their highest, Iris showed everyone just how skilled he can be. Unlike the man below him, Iris brought his very best to the final game of his series against Savior; the only choking that occurred was me on my own tongue. Iris’ 3-0 drubbing of Casy was just a bit of icing on an already-sweet cake.
Midas was a bit of a problem child for me this month, but I’m satisfied with his position. As a member of SKT1, he’s disallowed from participating in more than one individual league, which means his results lately have been non-existent. So there’s nothing to prove that he belongs up here, but there’s nothing to disprove it, either. Being dumb and being without skill are different things: it was dumb to choose Savior twice, but it was skilled to go 2-2, overall, against him. I’m giving Midas the benefit of the doubt this month.
Like I’ve said in the past, I’ll only argue with results for so long, and Nada has been getting results. But I still stand by my refrain from last month: Nada isn’t playing as well as he was when he won the 2006 ShinHan 2 OSL. The 3-1 dismantling that Savior handed him on a set of really good TvZ maps went a long way towards proving that, but winning and being the runner-up in consecutive OSLs is an impressive achievement, definitely worthy of a high slot in the PR.
It’s a shame that ShinHan is doing their Masters Tournament; I’d really like to see more of Much, who’s shown, despite his, well, interesting play, that he is capable of consistent—-and positive-—results. It took Savior to remove him from the OSL, and he just made the MSL—-again—-with an easy win over Nal_Keke.
As I said above, the 0-3 loss to Bisu looked bad, but it really wasn’t quite the beating that it appeared to be. Beyond that, I’m confident that Ra would have demolished Hwasin in a third place match, had there been one.
Hwasin is here for the same reason as last month: he made it relatively far into both Starleagues. Managing to take Savior to a fifth game was nice, too, but their game on Desert Fox was a pretty clear display of the disparity in skill between the two.
Honestly, I’d rather not have Light in the PR—-I’d prefer Yarnc in his place-—but the maps in both Starleagues are so terrible for ZvT that Zergs just aren’t able to post solid results. Anyway, despite his semi-disappointing Starleague performances last season, Light just cruised back into the MSL, though he’s going to miss the OSL Masters Tournament. Unless something has changed, Light is still a force to be reckoned with in everything but TvT.
Results, style, and arrogance—Savior has it all, and his recent win over Midas was a big “fuck you” to all the fanboys who thought Midas’ group stage win over Savior was anything more than a tough loss on a tough map.
I’m angry at Midas. As the second best player in the world, I give him good odds against any player but Savior, and yet Midas was dumb enough to choose Savior twice. The decision was both stupid and disrespectful to the fans, all of whom, I imagine, were hoping to see Savior and Midas duke it out in a Bo5 final. I hope the Dual Tournament is as unpleasant as it sounds.
If Casy were a mixed drink—work with the analogy, please—his recipe would go something like this: layer two parts skill (TvZ and TvT) over one part luck (TvP), being careful not to break the surface tension on the luck. All it takes for Casy to get eliminated from a tournament, no matter how strong his TvZ and TvT are looking, is to run into a single Protoss during the single-elimination stage. But luckily for Casy, it’s not even possible for that to happen until the finals, meaning that we get to enjoy his sublime TvZ and TvT for at least a little while longer. As I stated last month, Casy is my pick to win the OSL.
Despite an early MSL exit, Much is still in the OSL, and he’s looking as strong as ever. His games against GoRush were both stylish and dominant, but I give him no more than a Twinkie’s chance in July’s hands against Savior.
He just won’t lose, and that’s more than I can say for everyone below him. Ra’s had some really good luck lately, though, with a list of cream-puff opponents in the MSL (Bifrost sucks and Xellos is slumping—again) and no Proleague matches for which to practice. That said, he’ll probably make the MSL finals; Hwasin and Bisu are both pretty weak vP.
I wanted to drop Hwasin off the list entirely after his loss to Zergman, but then he managed to beat Light in what was probably the ugliest TvT series ever. I still don’t think he’s as good as the statistics imply (and the 0-2 against Zergman has gone a long way towards proving that notion), but making it relatively deep into both Starleagues has to be worthy of some degree of preferential treatment.
There’s only one reason Yarnc is on this list, and it’s because of his win against oov. Both games in that series were virtuoso performances. In the second game, he demonstrated the only way to win a ZvT on HitchHiker: completely and totally outclass your opponent. Also of note is that Yarnc has somehow managed to get both his ZvZ and ZvP winning percentages above 50% (for 2006, anyway), indicating that he might not be quite the pushover in those matchups that he used to be, and he’s climbed to #10 on the KeSPA rankings as of February. Time will tell if he belongs, but for now, I’m content to put him at the #7 slot.
Just like Casy has had great luck lately, Light has had horrible luck. Five TvTs in a row—five. He’s 1-4 during those games, and they managed to get him eliminated from both Starleagues. But that doesn’t change the fact that he made both Starleagues in the first place and has absolutely amazing TvZ and TvP. He’s still one of the hottest players out there—in the right matchups.
This was by far the most frustrating slot for me to award. Despite trudging forward in both the OSL and Survivor League, Nada just isn’t playing very well—at all. His only bright spot lately is his TvT—which is all he’s really needed to play—and a combination of maps and good luck might be enough for him to continue advancing, but his skill is much, much lower than it was last season.
I’m still not willing to give up on GGPlay. He had the second highest winning percentage of 2006 (behind only Savior), and after watching each and every one of his games from this OSL, I’m convinced that he’s as good as ever. His losses have been a combination of bad luck, bad maps, and tiny mistakes. He was literally one attack away from going 2-0 against FirebatHero. Once the maps improve and the Proleague returns, GGPlay should be back in force. His recent games would ordinarily be enough to get him booted from the Power Rankings, but there isn’t anyone more deserving. Everyone else who might deserve this spot has shown some degree of really unimpressive play recently.
I suppose winning an OSL, despite his cream puff list of opponents until the finals, warrants a reward of this magnitude. But if he loses any more games to people like Mingu, you know where his ranking is going.
He’d make a great girlfriend, given that he’s a choker, but alas, I can’t give out spots based upon probable skill at fellatio. If I did that, TossGirl would be #1 every month, and that would be no fun at all. So Midas gets the #4 spot, despite his dubious semifinal performances as of late.
We all know Sea’s MO: get into the OSL, dominate everyone, and then run into a strong ZvT player and lose 1-2. He’s done it twice now. One of these days, however, he’ll beat that Zerg, and that day is the day that I pronounce him—finally—a man. Until then, he’ll have to be content with the #5 spot.
GGPlay is one of the only bright spots on the Hanbit Proleague roster, providing his team with numerous victories in what would have otherwise been dismal performances. It took Anytime to derail him this OSL. Before that, many Koreans had, apparently, proclaimed the OSL his for the winning. I, of course, knew better, which is why he is #6 on my list.
As with the young man above, it took the ever-sexy Anytime to knock GoRush out of the OSL. While his play this OSL showed promise, overall, I was unimpressed. Combine that with SKT1’s abysmal Proleague results, and you have a #7 spot for the Zerg who, oddly enough, never fucking rushes.
I really wanted to put Bisu higher; he’s shown such amazing growth and potential lately. But then he lost to Good-fucking-Friend. I wish I could give him something better than #8, I really do, but it’s GoodFriend. I can’t condone that sort of conduct.
I hate Ra. He gives Protoss players everywhere a bad name. But damn it, he keeps winning. So I’m throwing him a bone and giving him my coveted #9 spot, thus allowing him to boast that “One person is ranked lower than me!”