Code A RO48: Week Two Recap
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Not a chance
– Nada eliminated by GhostKing
After easily dealing with MaruPrime and CreatorPrime to recover Code S status, coL.NaDa looked like he had regained the impressive form of his early Starcraft II career. However, Nada was subsequently eliminated after some poor performances that made him look out of place in Code S, and last night, GhostKingPrime made the Brood War legend look inadequate in Code A as well. GhostKing outplayed Nada in every sense of the word in two straight up, macro-style Terran vs Terran games, whether it was strategy selection, decision making, or army positioning,
Nada could have been considered unlucky to face such a formidable opponent in the first round. Formerly a Code S player, GhostKing could have been a later round Code A opponent or completely removed from the tournament by being in Code S, if not for his prior, months long GSL exile due to his involvement in the ESV weekly scandal. However, GhostKing was not alone in being a dangerous, possibly Code S level player coming up from Code B, and Nada's elimination was a reflection of the viciously competitive Korean scene.
Out with the old, in with the new
– Lucky, Brown, and InCa to Code B
Nada was not the only former Code S player to be sent straight back to Code B. FXOLucky was defeated by oGs late-bloomer VINES, GSL finalist oGs.InCa fell to his lesser known teammate in oGs.Lure, and flash in the pan SlayerS_Brown had his fire put out by FXO's Tree.
With Brown and Inca's recent play being less than impressive, it was not a huge upset when they lost to a pair of plucky newcomers. Tree was fearless in his debut, using cheesy attacks and complicated drop tactics to pick apart Brown, making the former Code S player look more flustered than a new arrival from Code B. As for InCa, he continued to live and die by the sword – or in this case by the warp blade – as his failed dark templar rushed allowed Lure to come back and take the series from 0 – 1 down.
However, it was a slight surprise to see Lucky go back down into Code B, as his solid play for FXO in the GSTL suggested he was a player who could be competitive in Code S. His opponent, VINES, had shown some glimpses of brilliance in the GSTL. Though oGs did not deploy him as a regular, and twice chose to play Liquid`HerO ahead of him, VINES impressed when given the opportunity by taking down the SlayerS front line in Ryung, YuGiOh, Alicia, and MMA. By achieving his first solo league victory since GSL Open Season 3, VINES has come up as a new dark horse in Code A.
– YuGiOh, Bomber, and Gumiho advance
Though Lucky made a fatal slip, the other favored veterans advanced as expected. While SlayerS_YuGiOh, the King of Code A, did not look particularly regal, his management of the late game situations was still far better in comparison to MvPVampire's, and it saw him through to the next round. By winning in the first round of Code A and securing a spot in next season's Code A, YuGiOh has guaranteed himself a record eleven consecutive Code A appearances, being the only player to compete in every single Code A tournament.
There did happen to be a blown lead in true Bomber style, but Startale Bomber's overall plan of "have more stuff and micro it better" was enough to batter SlayerS_Alicia into submission. Finally, FXOGuMiho continued to look either incredibly hot or frigidly cold in TvT, beating IMdreamertt in an up and down series.
More misery for ZeNEX
– Sniper defeats Avenge
ZeNEX furthered its reputation as the least fortunate team in the world, as one of their better players in ZeNEXAvenge dropped out to the relatively anonymous MvPSniper in the first round. ZeNEX is left with only one player in the entire GSL, Line, who faces a massively favored MMA in his first match.
Code S RO16: Group C Preview
The Storm Toss
Something very unusual happened at the group selections. When a player has been able to show extreme dominance in a certain match-up in Code S, it's almost impossible for that player to even get two players of that particular match-up in his group. Amazingly, through some luck and an interesting choice by another player in the group, ST_PartinG was able to get not just two, but three Terran players in his RO16 group.
After taking down one of the best TvP'ers there is in Polt and then beating another good player in Fin, the likelihood of Parting getting a group filled with Terran seemed to be almost 0%. But due to TheStC's confidence in his TvT that led to his choice of MarineKing, and MKP's own choice of Taeja rather than forcing a Startale team-kill by picking Squirtle, the whole group hinges on whether or not anyone can take down Parting in PvT. On the outside, you could very well say there should be zero doubt that Parting gets through, but when you look closer, it might not be a surprise to see him finish even fourth in the group.
The first thing going against Parting is the travel. Starting with the March's Red Bull LAN in Orlando, Parting traveled back and forth between America and Korea for weeks on end, just finishing up another trip to the States last weekend where he competed at MLG Arena. This was also a big concern in his first Code S group of the season, when he played only a few days after competing in IPL4 at Las Vegas, but he was able to make it out of a tough group by flexing his PvT muscles by taking down Polt and Fin in consecutive series.
Secondly, his PvT, which has been so amazing in the GOM Studios, hasn't transferred over to the international scene. He hasn't once been able to show the same play he has shown in Code S and has had trouble beating people that he was heavily favored against. Though it was understandable when he lost to MKP by a score of 1 - 2, it was a shock to see him lose to Complexity's Heart by a score of 0 - 3.
However, I plead that no one factors in MLG Spring Arena too seriously when predicting how PartinG will do tonight. PartinG went for several one-base builds and preferred to go for colossi in several games, seemingly sealing away his powerful psi-storms for a more important occasion. Even Code S caster Artosis speculated that PartinG was saving his very best builds for Code S. Was it worth a 7th place finish at Spring Arena? We will see tonight.
Bad news for oGs.TheStC: He has to play against Parting first. If there was one player that TheStC did not want to face in the Ro16, Parting was probably that guy. His TvP is the weakest in the group and could put him in the unfortunate position of having to win two straight series to get into the quarterfinals.
Good news for TheStC: Out of the three Terrans in the group, he might very well have the best TvT. Taeja has shown that he can beat some big names in online tournaments, but he had a surprising amount of trouble with Jjakji in the first round (despite being very confident against him), while TheStC crushed Jjakji and his other Terran opponents in GSL with ease. While MarineKing's TvT has vastly improved, it is still the match-up where he looks the most vulnerable.
Overall, oGsTheStC is the underdog in this group, but it's no knock against him. Drawing the consensus best PvT player in the world, a guy who has been in the finals of three straight MLG's and won two of them, and the #1 ranked ELO player in Korea who went second to last in the group selections is a tough order for any player in the world.
Still, you can't count him out. He was in a group with the defending GSL champion, the GSL November champion and the very same Taeja in the first round of this season, and he was able to advance in first place by beating both former champions consecutively. Now, things are stacked up against him once more. Facing Parting in the first match, just like facing DRG in the Ro32, will be a huge challenge. DongRaeGu didn't play his best against TheStC, and the oGs veteran was able to capitalize on his opponent's mistakes, but if Parting plays the same way he did against Polt and Fin in the first round, TheStC is going to have to play the best he's ever played in TvP to get the victory.
For our oGs player, this group will more than likely come down to if he can beat Taeja and MarineKing in TvT. He was able to show against Jjakji in Code S and Fin in Code A that his mech play is nothing to scoff at and should be put up right alongside Alive and MVP's as the best in the world. With his patient play and exceptional decision making, TheStC shouldn't be counted out against either MarineKing or Taeja. He was confident enough in picking MarineKing into his group and with the role of underdog fitting him so well last round, TheStC could very well knock out two more fan favorites tonight on his path down the Royal Road.
The group selections are disregarded as boring and tedious by some, but this season, there was one pivotal moment that could have changed the landscape of the entire season. With Startale's Squirtle and LiquidTaeJa left to choose from, MarineKingPrime opted to take a dangerous rising star in TaeJa.
When you think about it, the logical choice for MarineKing was Squirtle. MKP's TvP is the best in the world, and even though he lost to Squirtle at IPL4 in the championship bracket, it was mainly due to two base colossi pushes that MarineKing would have more than a week to prepare for. Squirtle might have been able to take down some of the best Terrans during IPL4, but it's still statistically his worst match-up, and his late game play has been known to be fairly mediocre. Taeja, on the other hand, has been showing great results in TvT and more importantly, MKP is weakest at TvT.
But, in the end, MarineKing picked Taeja. Why? Because he wanted to avoid putting Squirtle in the same group as his teammate Parting and offer an olive branch to Startale after the controversial finals in Vegas. July mentioned in the group selections that the two teams hadn't been on the best terms since that night, and MarineKing even mentioned that the Startale players had been cold to him after they used to be friendly. Trying to ease the relations between the two teams, MarineKing made the choice to face Taeja in his weakest match-up instead of Squirtle in his strongest.
Now, on one hand, that's a really gracious thing to do. Letting Squirtle go to the group that he wanted to go to with a bunch of Protoss and avoid the team kill with Parting was very nice. But was it smart? There was a reason that no one wanted Taeja in their group and it's because he's been on fire lately. Not only has he won countless online tournaments, but he was able to perform masterfully against Jjakji and DongRaeGu in his first round group. Taeja plays a very similar style to MarineKing in TvT and might very well be better at it.
This is MarineKing's tournament. If he doesn't at least make it to the finals, it should be considered a failure for the King of Marines. He's considered the best player in the world. He's been dominating the foreign tournament scene, and with DRG and Nestea already out and MVP injured, three of his biggest obstacles are either already out or not in the best shape. He's been able to beat Parting regularly at international tournaments and just crushed him en route to a second place finish at MLG Spring Arena. But going out in the round of sixteen would mean that MarineKing hasn't gotten to a GSL quarterfinal since the Super Tournament almost a year ago.
In a perfect world for MarineKing, both him and Parting make it out of the group, and the Prime and Startale teams become best friends once again. The decision to pick Taeja instead of Squirtle would end up being forgotten, and he would go into the quarterfinals with the fence partially mended.
However, there's a very grim worst case scenario: He gets destroyed by Taeja and then ends up getting eliminated from the tournament in last place. The tournament that people expected him to win is now the tournament known for him picking Taeja instead of Squirtle. His incredible success abroad is overshadowed by his inability to win at home. The Kong reputation slowly begins to seep back into the community.
This tournament is MarineKing's chance to 100%, truly, and finally dispel all doubts for now and evermore. Hopefully, once it's all said and done, he will be able to look back, and know he made the right decision.
The Prince of Liquid
After being signed by one of the most popular teams in the world, there was a lot of pressure on Liquid`TaeJa. He went from being just one of the dozen amazing Terrans on the Slayers roster to being hyped up as a player who could bring a GSL title home to Liquid. In a group with DongRaeGu, Jjakji, and TheStC, it could have very well have been a disastrous debut with Taeja not only getting eliminated, but being destroyed by some of the best players in the world. Taeja might have become another one of those players who could do very well in online tournaments, but vanishing when it really mattered.
Fortunately for Liquid, Taeja is the real deal. After losing an extremely close series to Jjakji in the first round, he fought back by banishing the reigning champion DongRaeGu to Code A, and then got revenge against the November champion Jjakji by defeating him 2 - 0 in the final match. If anyone was doubtful about the signing before, they ended up wondering instead how Liquid could have landed such an amazing young player.
Now, it's the second test for Liquid's new superstar. He was shown great respect in the group selections by being one of the last two people selected, and due to MarineKing's decision to not put Startale in a team kill situation, should have been the final person picked overall. With Hero already making it to the quarterfinals, Taeja should also have the motivation to match his new teammate and make it to his first final eight.
In terms of match-ups, Taeja really hasn't shown any real weaknesses so far. He did lose to Jjakji in his TvT last round, but he looked impressive in all five games he played, and came back to win in the second series without dropping a game. MarineKing, the favorite to win the whole tournament, will have his hands full against Taeja. MarineKing likes to play marine-tank and so does Taeja, so we might very well see who is better at position and decision making when the two face off in the second match of the night.
None of his matches will be easy as TheStC and Parting are both strong in their TvT and TvP respectively, but if there was ever a time to prove he deserves his #1 ELO ranking, this is the time. Taeja has shown unlimited potential so far in his career and this will be truly a test to see if he is ready to be considered a threat for a GSL championship.
Outlook and Predictions:
Parting should be a heavy favorite against TheStC, but after that, it's anyone's guess. Taeja and MarineKing both have the talent to give Parting a run for his money in PvT, and MarineKing, who everyone is favoring to get out of the group, will have his hands full with two players who are great at TvT. While MKP and Taeja prefer to play a marine-tank or bionic style, TheStC loves to go mech, and if Artosis' saying that great mech should always beat anything else, we might very well see one of the favorites to take the overall tournament fall tonight.
All I know is that this is a group filled with storylines and great potential match-ups, so if there is one group you have to watch in the Ro16, this is the one to stay up for.
Parting > TheStC
Taeja > MarineKing
Parting > Taeja
MarineKing > TheStC
Taeja > MarineKing
PartinG and TaeJa advance.
Bañe-ata by shiroiusagi.
Writers: Fionn and Waxangel
Graphics and Art: Meko.