Code S RO32: Group B Recap
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Genius <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> BBoongBBoong
Genius <GSL Cloud Kingdom> BBoongBBoong
Genius <Entombed Valley> BBoongBBoong
Seed <GSL Cloud Kingdom> SuperNoVa
Seed <Daybreak> SuperNoVa
Genius <Daybreak> SuperNoVa
Genius <Entombed Valley> SuperNoVa
Genius <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> SuperNoVa
BBoongBBoong <Daybreak> Seed
BBoongBBoong <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> Seed
Genius <ESV Ohana RE> Seed
Genius <Daybreak> Seed
Genius <GSL Cloud Kingdom> Seed
SuperNoVa advances to Code S Ro16
Genius advances to Code S Ro16
Seed falls to Code A Ro32
BBoongBBoong falls to Code A Ro48
Youthful enthusiasm was no match for the veterans' experience... or something like that. Whatever the reason, thirteen combined Code S season's worth of play in Genius and SuperNoVa went on to the next round, while BBoongBBoong and Seed were sent back down to Code A.
The Comfort of Home
After some mediocre outings in the international scene, oGs.SuperNoVa came back to his old stomping grounds and took care of business. Perhaps the rapid-fire style of one day tournaments is not his style, and he is one of those players who needs prepare for specific opponents with sufficient advance notice.
In any case, SuperNoVa looked excellent as he defeated two straight opponents to advance from his group in first place. He brought his patented, aggressive style of using drops and multi-prong attacks, and neither Seed nor Genius were able to keep up amidst the chaos.
While MvPGenius got through the group, things were much harder than they should have been. After easily taking down the ZvP impaired BBoongBBoongPrime in his first match, Genius came one step away from reaching the RO16 when he walked all over SuperNoVa in a patented Genius max-out army game. In the second game, Genius held off SuperNoVa one-base all-in with ease, and looked all but confirmed for the RO16.
However, Genius made the bizarre decision to stay on one base and tried to finish SuperNoVa off, when he could have easily just expanded and played safely from an advantageous position. His failed attack lost him the second game, and then in the third game he fell to aggressive MMM play from SuperNoVa.
Genius was forced to play PvP against Seed in the final match of the night with a Code S spot on the line. Though it wasn't exactly his series against MKP from last season's RO16, Genius still had to go to the very final game before securing his Code S spot (he won his two games in maxed out colossus ball fights).
Yet Again, No Code S Protoss for IM
IMSeed was just one step away from advancing to the next round, but was stopped in his tracks by Genius. Looking at his record, PvP was a pretty decent match-up for him to draw going into the final match of the night. However, his fault may have been in trying to take Genius on in long, max-out games, where the GSL runner-up has an absurdly good record. Seed won a game where Genius failed with a one base attack against his own fast expand, but he was slaughtered by Genius' better selection of engagements and terrain when they fought each other with colossus deathballs.
Consolation for B4
BBoongBBoongPrime's personal admission that he might be a bit unready for Code S turned out to be true, as his two Protoss opponents abused him in a variety of ways. From standard 2 base timings to walking all over him with deathballs, neither Seed nor Genius did B4's poor ZvP any favors. It was a disappointment in a somewhat Zerg depleted GSL, as B4's good ZvT and ZvZ skills made him seem like a player who could make a Code S impact. If he shores up his ZvP, he should still be able to.
We may see him back yet. His Code A bracket pits him against the infamous GGanDoL, a Master League player who received multiple byes in the Code A preliminaries before facing Cella in the final round, who he defeated with cheese to take an improbably Code A spot. With GGanDoL playing Protoss, however, all bets are off.
Game(s) of the Night: While the games were decent on the whole, there was no single game that stood out as being much more entertaining than the others. Here are a few that were alright:
SuperNoVa vs Seed – Game One: Triple Prong Attacks!
Genius vs B4 – Game Two: A base race that actually wasn't that close!
Genius vs SuperNoVa – Game Two: Blowing a lead!
Code S RO32: Group D Preview
Group D: FXOGuMiho, MaruPrime, Liquid`HerO, ST_Curious
No one raised his stock quite like FXOGuMiho did last season. Not only did he achieve a high finish in the top four, but the quality of his play against far more well-known opponents made him look like a legitimate championship contender.
Without that many notable TvZs or TvPs to see in recent days, I'm just going to assume he's still awesomely chaotic at TvZ and also pretty good at TvP. The real interesting thing here is his TvT, which was once considered his weakness until he annihilated IMMvp in the group stages of the previous tournament. Since then, he's had to play that match-up a lot, getting many opportunities to prove that it wasn't a fluke against Mvp, and show that he will be able to beat another strong TvT player in Maru.
The signs are very mixed. On one hand, Gumiho managed to beat a mech favoring Nada in IPL Tournament of Champions, the same mech favoring Nada that took out Maru in Code A. And then on the other hand, he lost to the little known Quantic.Apocalypse in the same tournament by a score of 0 – 3, also to mech. For the guy who became famous for completely nullifying Mvp's mech play, this is a pretty bizarre record. It really puts him in a strange spot in his first game against MaruPrime, with any result seeming possible.
MarU is definitely the most interesting player in this group, being fourteen years old and all. He looked nervous and ridiculously sloppy in his initial GSL Open debut in 2010, but he's come back looking like he has the mental faculties of a veteran player. He wasn't afraid at all to bring all-ins and cheesy builds in the Up-Downs, and used them to good effect to qualify for Code S. He could have been confident enough in his standard play and his good mechanics to see him through, but he took calculated gamble that paid off for him.
I would say he's ready for Code S, if not for a history of players who looked good in Code A and Up/Downs coming into Code S and looking much worse (exhibit A: Taeja). Whether it's because of the even further heightened level of pressure, or because the amount of preparation is even greater, it seems risky to bet on players who haven’t experienced Code S before.
That's also why Liquid`HerO will be an even greater mystery in Code S, despite having played on huge stages across the world (his finals at DreamHack Winter had him play in front of a crowd that only a handful of players in Code S have ever seen). He's overcome his nervousness in a lot of ways, but he's still never played Code S before.
Outside the mental factor, he's probably the all-around best player in the group. His micro, macro, and decision making in a standard 'macro' PvT are pretty close to flawless, and only Polt really seems to reliably beat him in those type of games. In terms of dealing with the various mix-ups and mind games Terran players can use, HerO has played evenly with skillful build-order contortionists like PuMa, Jjakji and ThorZaIN, so he should be able to deal with whatever Maru and Gumiho throw his way.
Needless to say, HerO's PvZ is also excellent, being the match-up he first became famous for. He played for long macro games with frequent warp prism harassment before pretty much anyone else who was notable, and recently he's been enjoying the occasional all-in as well.
Despite this, I was still planning to say he is the underdog against his first opponent, but there's been a curious development....
ST_Curious came to power in a day and age where Protoss were first learning to deal with mutalisks and infinite zergling harassment, and he looked pretty damn invincible in ZvP at that time. Things have changed though, and Protoss players have gotten better at dealing with both tactics after getting whipped a few hundred times. Curious doesn't seem to have adjusted that well to a new ZvP world that revolves more around killing the Protoss third with ground units, and has recently dropped quite a few games in the match-up. If HerO keeps his composure and doesn't start getting shaken by mutas (because once you're shook, there is no end), then Curious could have a hard time.
On the other hand, Curious has somehow turned his worst match-up around, and has pulled off a string of really impressive wins in ZvT. He beat MarineKing, so according to faulty logic, Curious > MKP > DRG > Gumiho. On a more serious note, a 4 game win streak stream + a narrow loss to Jjakji might look really nice on paper, but there are still some uncertainties about how well Curious will play the match-up in a Code S situation. His last Code S TvZ win was a messy, scrappy affair where he barely defeated Bomber, and a repeat of that definitely won't see him through.
Overall outlook and prediction
With two players who are Code S newbies, and two whose match-ups are in some kind of limbo, this is one unpredictable group. It's really hard to count out the guy who came in fourth last season (with straight up play!), so Gumiho is probably the favorite to claw through somehow. MaRu's composure and strong play in the pressure cooker known as the up-downs was impressive, but so is HerO's own progress towards overcoming his GSL fear. Since I like HerO's chances to beat Curious a little better than I like Maru's to beat Gumiho, I'll take HerO as the other player to advance. As for Curious, it's really hard to tell where he's at right now, and he could definitely surprise people (as much as multiple time Code S participants can surprise people).
Gumiho > Maru
HerO > Curious
Hero > Gumiho
Curious > Maru
Gumiho > Curious
HerO and Gumiho advance.
Bañe-ata by shiroiusagi.
Graphics and Art: Meko and shiroiusagi.