Code S RO32: Group H Recap
Results from Live Report Thread by Seeker.+ Show Spoiler [Results] +
PartinG <Entombed Valley> Polt
PartinG <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> Polt
PartinG <Daybreak> Polt
fOrGG <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> Oz
fOrGG <Daybreak> Oz
PartinG <Daybreak> fOrGG
PartinG <Dual Sight 1.1> fOrGG
Polt <Daybreak> Oz
Polt <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> Oz
fOrGG <Atlantis Spaceship> Oz
fOrGG <Entombed Valley> Oz
PartinG advances to Code S Ro16
Oz advances to Code S Ro16
fOrGG falls to Code A Ro32
Polt falls to Code A Ro48
P vs. T_T
If the eleven games in Code S's Group H were an accurate representation of modern TvP, then Terran players might have a right to complain. With a stroke of match-making chance turning every single match into a TvP battle, Group H was a veritable TvP bonanza – one that Protoss won convincingly. ST_PartinG and FXOz not only advanced from the group, but managed to make the match-up look downright imbalanced in the process.
For some time, Terran players have been pointing out that Protoss becomes more and more powerful as their deathball grows, until the point they become nearly unbeatable in the late-game with their massive splash damage and superior upgrades.
PartinG and Oz seemed to agree, and brought several build orders that were precisely tuned towards reaching a strong late-game state. PartinG once again used his two base, fast templar build that he showed against MarineKing at the GSTL finals, while it was actually Oz who used the old 'PartinG build' from the previous season, taking two fast expansions into seven gate pressure. Oz also debuted a build that was entirely new to the GSL, an unintuitive but effective forge fast expansion into three bases with fast upgrades.
Whatever path they took to get there, PartinG and Oz proved the Terran players correct by being downright unstoppable once they had multiple bases, storm, and mass upgrades. Every single game that went long, the two Protoss players were able to take in the end. The three games the Protoss players did lose were due to a failed one-base all-in from PartinG and two sloppily microed early game engagements from Oz.
With Group G, containing SlayerS_Puzzle, Quantic.NaNiwa, SlayerS_Ryung, and IMmvp coming up in a few days, it will be interesting to see if things go any different.
Further validation for PartinG, redemption for Oz
Part of the reason PvT looked imbalanced may have been because PartinG – widely considered the best PvT player in the world – was playing. He furthered that reputation by making his group look like a cakewalk, taking down a fearsome TvP player in TSL_Polt, and claiming oGS.fOrGG's difficult-to-value head as well. PartinG can now look forward to the RO16 group selections where the fans, at least, are eagerly anticipating a PartinG vs. MKP rematch.
Oz looked poor in his initial series loss to ForGG (making force-field mistakes and poor engagement decisions that were reminiscent of his series against MMA last season), but he showed solid defense and strong late game play in his last two series to help shore up his recently faltering PvT reputation. At least from his two winning series, he looked like a player who definitely should have played ahead of Choya in the GSTL series against Prime. For now, Oz's PvT looks like a very hot and cold affair, which is still an improvement from its ice cold state a few days ago.
Up to now, ForGG's SC II career has panned out in the most uninteresting way possible. If he had dominated like he initially boasted, then the Elephant theory would have been given much credence. If he had bombed and disappointed heavily, it would have been in turn, a strong blow against the Elephant. Instead, ForGG is settling at almost exactly the same point he was at when he retired from Brood War: a Ro32-16 individual league player, and a decent but not particularly fearsome team league player. From that, we can deduce that BW skill translates reasonably well to SC II, which is a boring bit of information we could have derived from a few dozen other pros. Though things could change in the future, ForGG will be stuck in this zone for a few months unless he gets a foreign tournament opportunity.
As for Polt, he showed that even the Super Tournament champion couldn't do anything to make GomTV's Code S seeds look credible. With NaNiwa – a player who even admitted himself that he didn't quite deserve a Code S seed (but that he would be stupid not to take the opportunity) – up soon, the seeded players are in danger of going 0 – 4 in 2012. If seeded players continue to perform poorly, GomTV might not be able to ignore that particular elephant much longer.
1/1/1 is dead? and Other Peculiar Patterns
There were some notable differences between Group H's eleven games and the TvPs in GSL Season One. Just like any balance arguments, it's hard to reach a solid conclusion off a small sample size, and the strategies used might have more to do with the four players' individual styles than overall trends in the match-up. Still, the following points were interesting to note.
To begin, the once infamous 1/1/1 didn't rear its head even once. In fact, neither did the 2-rax reactor/tech lab build, with every single game seeing the Terran players go with a gasless fast-expansion variant. Considering Polt has been one of the best players at using both builds in the past, and ForGG's happily all-in on stream nature, it was a bit of a surprise. Even PuMa seems to be losing faith in his 1/1/1 mind games, so perhaps the once feared build will soon be a relic of the past.
Two base timing attacks were a frequent sight in GSL Season One (hi Puzzle and MC!), and even this weekend at IPL4 (hi Squirtle!) but neither PartinG nor Oz were inclined to try. Parting did use a pair of one-base all-in builds in his growingly predictable pattern of "all-in game two if you win game one," but once he had two nexuses down, he seemed determined to play out a long game. Perhaps PartinG and Oz were confident enough in their late game abilities that they saw no need to risk anything off two bases.
All out attack was the order of the day for ForGG and Polt, who rallied troops to their opponents bases and tried to pressure whenever they could. A few blunders from Oz in his initial match against ForGG saw him lose the series to such aggression, but in the end both PartinG and Oz were more than capable of holding off the attacks until their war machines got going.
Game of the Night: PartinG vs Polt - Game One
The first game of the night neatly captured the spirit of all eleven games in a single action-packed, furiously paced package.
After securing his expansion, Polt battered PartinG non-stop, hoping to crack his defenses and hurt him before he could stabilize and assemble his army of death. Polt expanded freely during his aggression and his macro was mostly on point, giving him what looked to be a large advantage as he headed into the late game.
At several points, Polt looked like he was just one round of reinforcements from breaking through, but PartinG always found a way to survive. Once his upgrades and high templars kicked in, PartinG showed that nothing the Terran player had done up to then, or could do from that point on, really mattered at all. Engagements started going from being even trades to slightly beneficial trades for Protoss, and then eventually they became landslide victories. PartinG made TvP look like a match-up that is played on a time limit, with Terran facing a certain game over if they cannot win in time.
Code S RO32: Group F Preview
In what could be called the Group of Death in this season's GSL (with Squirtle's evolution, it's very plausible), the top seeded player in this pool, Slayers_MMA, will try to get back to his championship winning ways by making a statement in his starting group. MMA sat at home while other players were off winning foreign titles and then lost MarineKing 0 – 2 at IPL4, casting doubt on whether or not he was truly the best Terran in the world. With MarineKing absolutely killing every tournament he is a part of, the bare minimum MMA can do to keep pace is to make it out of this group.
The biggest weakness in MMA's game has been his Terran versus Protoss. Other top players like MarineKing and DongRaeGu struggle against specific races as well, but nowhere near to the degree as MMA does against Protoss. With a 47% win rate in the match-up, and recent losses to Choya in both the GSTL, and a best-of-three series in the MLG Spring Arena online qualifier, it doesn't look like he has improved much between Season One and Two. With Protoss players looking particularly strong lately, this could mean trouble. Needless to be said, MMA's TvZ is still the best in the world and his TvT has enough variety to beat any Terran, but for him to get first in this group, he is going to have to overcome his Achilles heel.
The only Protoss player in this group, Startale_Squirtle comes in with much recently gained popularity from his near miracle run at IPL4. Starting from the absolutely stacked open bracket, Squirtle beat ToD, Byun, SaSe, Ace, PuMa, Creator, MC, Bomber, MKP, MMA, and Nestea to make it to the grand finals. Though he suffered a heartbreaking loss at the final hurdle, losing a second Bo5 series to aLive after winning the first, he had made an incredible statement. With the most impressive three day stretch in Starcraft II history, he showed that he belongs among the elite players of the world.
Having already beaten MMA this past weekend, you would have to favor him over the SlayerS ace going into their series. He did use some trickery and aggressive colossus play to beat MMA, but as he showed later on in the tournament that his late-game PvT is right up there with his teammate Parting's. His PvP is statistically is his strongest match-up, but he's still strong against Zerg, and with an opponent who hasn't been doing so well against Toss recently, this group could be Squirtle's for the taking.
FXOLeenock won Providence and made the GSL November finals five months ago, and since then has been on a bit of a slump. That's not to say that he still isn't one of the best Zergs in the world, but while DongRaeGu was getting his first GSL win and Nestea was coming back from the dead on Easter, Leenock has been getting knocked out in the early stages of foreign tournaments, unable to recapture the magic of his run at Providence. Even so, Leenock is a player that has all the tools to make it out of the group in first and his ZvT is still something that every Terran, even MMA, should be fearful of.
His ZvP, a lot like MMA's TvP, is the bane of his existence and one of the main reasons why he hasn't been doing so well lately. With it also being 47% currently, just like MMA's vP, a match against Squirtle isn't something Leenock will be looking forward to. If he can stay clear of Squirtle and maybe pull off a minor upset against MMA, he could get out of this group first, but it will be a dog fight to even get out of such a difficult draw.
Last but not least, coL.NaDa has returned to his rightful spot in Code S and with a year left before mandatory military service, will be trying to make his first ever GSL finals this season. Many fans pegged him for dead after he went on a dreadful slump before last season's Code S, but after dropping down to Code A, Nada battled back with two highly impressive wins against Creator and Maru. Looking back at those wins now, with Maru steamrolling into the round of sixteen of Code S and Creator already one of the better Protoss players in the world, it's even more impressive how Nada was able to hold off the young rookies to make it back into Code S.
It's not going to be an easy group as Leenock is dynamite in ZvT, MMA is no slouch in TvT and Squirtle has shown deadly PvT at Las Vegas. However, it's still very possible that the Tornado Terran will get through. Squirtle might have been stellar at IPL4, but he, like the other three in the group, will no doubt be fatigued from his long flight from Las Vegas back to Korea. MMA's TvT does have a lot of variety to it, but it hasn't looked nearly as good as it was when he topped Mvp. With TvT being Nada's strongest match-up, it could be the match he's looking for. Leenock will be the toughest nut to crack of the three for Nada, but with some luck and the heavy experience advantage he holds over all three, there is no doubt that Nada can get out of this group if he plays his cards right.
Squirtle > MMA
Leenock > Nada
Squirtle > Leenock
MMA > Nada
MMA > Leenock
Squirtle and MMA advance.
Bañe-ata by shiroiusagi.
Writers: Fionn and Waxangel.
Graphics and Art: Meko and shiroiusagi.