Code S RO16: Group B Recap
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Mvp <ESV Ohana RE> July
Mvp <Atlantis Spaceship> July
Mvp <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> July
HerO <Metropolis> Leenock
HerO <Atlantis Spaceship> Leenock
HerO <Entombed Valley> Leenock
Mvp <GSL Cloud Kingdom> HerO
Mvp <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> HerO
Mvp <Daybreak> HerO
July <GSL Cloud Kingdom> Leenock
July <Atlantis Spaceship> Leenock
Mvp <Entombed Valley> Leenock
Mvp <Antiga Shipyard 1.2> Leenock
Mvp <Dual Sight 1.1> Leenock
HerO advances to Code S Ro8
Mvp advances to Code S Ro8
Leenock falls to Code A Ro24
July falls to Code A Ro24
Holding Out for a HerO
It's been over a year since Jinro reached the semi-finals of Code S, but soon, TeamLiquid might see two of its members reach the final stages of the most prestigious tournament in the world. Coming into the group,
Liquid`HerO had to like his chances against two Zergs who haven't been doing so well lately against Protoss, and IMMvp, a player whose TvP never lived up to his three time champion reputation even when his wrists were whole. With the momentum of having defeated the formidable Zerg player Curious twice in the RO32, Hero came into his opening series against FXOLeenock with the confidence of a player who very well might become a GSL champion in the near future.
With some cute sentry drop play that made every Zerg player in the world curse at home (or feel a mysterious pain in their kidneys, if they were not watching), HerO was able to take a series lead with the unique, harassment based style that had been his original claim to fame. Leenock was able to climb back to even footing by pummeling HerO with burrow roaches on Atlantis Spaceship, but HerO came back even stronger in the third and final set. In a highly entertaining game on Entombed Valley, all of the familiar cast members of late-game PvZ – brood lords, infestors, archons and the mothership – featured in an epic engagement towards the end. However, it was HerO's hectic harassment around the map with warp prisms and zealots that gave him the advantage, and eventually the victory.
Facing off against Mvp, HerO had to battle to a third set once again, dropping the second map against Mvp's hidden expansion and overwhelming resource advantage. But in the end, Liquid's star could not be stopped on the night. With Mvp going all-in with a proxy factory and siege tanks against a cannon-based fast expansion, HerO's probe scout proved to be his own personal hero by discovering the factory before the attack could commence. HerO was able to rush out an immortal before the attack came, thwarting the all-in and forcing a quick GG from Mvp.
Adapting to the GOM studio, settling his nerves and finally playing up to the potential he's had for years, HerO is a scary prospect for quarter-final opponent SuperNova and whoever might come after. Having taken another big step in not only Code S but his career on the whole, there's more on the line than just a semi-final berth. HerO could become the first Royal Roader in the history of the GSL, and the first Protoss champion in over a year.
Never Say Die
At the start of the season, IMmvp's future was dim. With his wrist problems getting so bad that he had to skip IPL4 in favor of saving his wrists for Code S, things didn't look like they would be getting better any time soon. MarineKing, the player that Mvp used to toy with, for the lack of a better way to put it, had improbably become considered a better player with his two consecutive MLG titles.
The script handed to the three time champion for Code S Season Two seemed clear: the old king, stricken with injuries and the weight of his years, would nonetheless fight valiantly through the pain against warriors who still had the strength of youth. He would fight hard, but inevitably, he would die.
Things were going according to script in Mvp's first match of the season. In his best match-up of TvT, Mvp was obliterated 0 – 2 by Ryung. Once invincible, Mvp looked like a mere shell of his former self. He hadn't lost just because of the speed his wrists had taken from him, but the decision making ability that made him a three time champion was failing him as well. One loss away from elimination, Mvp had to pull out a victory against the back-to-back quarter-finalist Puzzle in his weakest match-up. Everything was set. Mvp would have one last fight against Puzzle, fall, and meet his grim reaper down in Code A.
Well, hurt as his wrists may be, Mvp still had the strength to tear the 500 page script in half with his bare hands. Not only was he able to defeat Puzzle, but he took it in a decisive 2 – 0 series and prolonged his life in Code S for another match. Going up against Ryung for the second time that night, Mvp didn't let his chance slip by and was able to take revenge with a 2 – 0 victory of his own.
Last night, it was a lot more of the same. Bruised, bloodied, and battered, Mvp still had the perseverance to come through in the end. Mvp looked fairly good against ST_July, though a lot of it was due to July's determination to live and die by the sword. In the second set, July was able to pierce Mvp's armor, but in the first and third, his waves of baneling broke on Mvp's entrenched positions. After that victory, Mvp moved on to face HerO, who after a lengthy series, was able to bring Mvp to the edge of death's door once more.
In the final series of the night against FXOLeenock, Mvp was pushed to his limit in ways never seen before. Leenock came into the match-up as the first player in GSL history to actually beat MVP in a semi-final all the way back in Code S November, and also with a convincing curbstomp victory over MMA in the RO32. After going down 0 – 1, it looked like it would finally be the end of the road for Mvp.
However, with everything on the line and in desperate need of two wins, Mvp reached deep inside himself and brought forth his best play in over half a year. In two of the best TvZ's the GSL had seen since the Blizzard Cup finals, Mvp was able to barely triumph over his opponent. Leenock fought tooth and nail to remain as the only Zerg in the tournament, but the Mvp of old had briefly reawakened, and no Zerg player in the world would have had a chance in the final two games.
There's still a feeling that Mvp is living on borrowed time, but somehow it is making him all the more dangerous. In the next round, he can look forward to a battle that the community will be eagerly hyping up for the next few weeks. The rejuvenated Mvp will be taking on Sweden's Naniwa in the quarterfinals.
Let us now observe a moment of silence for the fallen Zerg.
Leenock played amazingly well in both of his series and pushed both of his opponents to their limits. In any other group on any other day, if he played the same way he did last night, there is a very high chance that he would have made it through. Even with his bases going down left and right to Mvp's drop harass and left with a rag tag group of units, Leenock showed admirable resiliency to hold out until the bitter end. After seeing his play against MMA and MVP in this season's tournament, you have to admit that, alongside DRG, Leenock is the best ZvT player in the world. The other thing to take away is that when MVP plays like his self of old, then there's no way to stop him.
For July, it was a rough night. He was able to take an very impressive victory off Mvp on Atlantis Spaceship, but faltered in his other two maps against the former Terran king. His aggressive tendencies were all too predictable in the two sets he lost, and Mvp simply waited until July defeated himself. As for his ZvZ's against Leenock... Let's all pretend that July just got the stomach flu and had to leave the studio before the games were played.
Game(s) of the Night: Mvp vs. Leenock - Check out the entire series
Usually you want to recommend only one game, but this series needs to be watched in full. Both players gave it their all, and it's sad to think that we won't be seeing any more TvZ's this season. But, if TvZ had to end for a season, it certainly went out with a bang.
Bañe-ata by shiroiusagi.
Graphics and Art: Meko and shiroiusagi.