The first day of the Round 1 playoffs came to an abrupt end as Startale-yoe Flash Wolves failed to show up in time for check-in and were disqualified. Jin Air Green Wings received a walkover victory against the Korean-Taiwanese alliance and move on to face CJ Entus in Match 2.
According to tweets made by Startale staff and various officials, Startale-yoe were stuck due to a car accident in the tunnel (ST-yoe were not involved in the accident) they were passing through, leaving the car stuck until the situation was resolved. When the team couldn't make the check-in time, they were disqualified and the match was called off.
Startale_Legend said the following in a Facebook post:
We couldn't have known the traffic would be this bad with the snow. Being late for the match is our fault and we admit our defeat. We are sorry to the fans.
With this, we move on to the second match of the round playoffs, where Jin Air will face off against CJ.
Hush <Overgrowth> Rogue
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10:00 GMT (+00:00)
Match 2 Preview: CJ Entus
The Mainstays: herO, Bbyong, ByuL
With the by far most individual league and team league success, herO has been the ace on CJ Entus for more than a year. His playstyle is diverse and his mechanics are superb. However, Round 1 was not too kind to the Koan Toss, and he finished with a 4-3 record. Perhaps more surprising, herO was chosen for not one of CJ's three ace matches. It could have been for any number of reasons, so here is a rough idea of what Coach Park might have had in mind. herO's biggest weakness by a mile is his mediocre PvP, and against both MVP and Prime there was a decent chance he could faced another protoss in the ace. herO might prefer only PvT, as it is the sole matchup in which he has shown excellence in Proleague - going 3-0 - and not Prime, Samsung, nor MVP were guaranteed to field a terran in the ace. Despite herO's demonstrated prowess in PvT, Maru picked him apart with relative ease in IEM Taipei, and it might not bode well to have experienced such a beatdown and the replays released to the public.
Furthermore, Park's choice to send out Bbyong twice and ByuL once in the ace instead of herO indicates a confidence in them he might not actually have in herO. It is anyone's guess how impactful the loss to Rain last year was to him, and what has transpired so far in Proleague might indicate a shift in the hierarchy. Given the trend, it would not be surprising to see herO fielded earlier than later. If anyone should be the last ditch, it's Bbyong. Overall 5-4 but 2-0 in ace matches, Bbyong has exhibited inconsistent but respectable TvT, strong TvZ, but subpar TvP. He has a propensity for aggressive openings, almost always with hellions or mines, but shows no preference for either greedy or allin followups. His unpredictable (as long as it's not on
Statistically, ByuL the best-performing player on CJ with his 5-3 record. After an abysmal showing in NSSL Challenger against Super, his ZvP has improved drastically. His ZvT remains a question mark, but what is available to assess does not look particularly good. He has played more ZvZ than any other matchup, and at 2-2 looks to be solid at worst in the mirror. Considering that he was sent out as ace against Prime, who were more than likely to send out a protoss, it seems that will be his preferred matchup, which will make him a valuable sniper against the remaining teams.
The Fourth Men: sKyHigh, Hush
sKyHigh made a name for himself mostly off the back of phenomenal TvT, beating Flash's and Bbyong's faces in at the Hot6ix Cup. However, in his three matches, only one was against terran. He was straight outplayed by Cure, which is hard to read into, other than that he is probably not among the top in Korea when it comes to the matchup. He is 1-1 in TvP, and continues to prefer marine-mine drop-oriented play. MyuNgSiK fell under that pressure, but Zest stood strong, so sKyHigh will likely need a new bag of tricks if he wants to see any success in the all-kill format.
Hush held a consistent spot last year as mostly a PvP expert, and he has picked up right where he left off. Although eMotion and Seed are not the greatest of PvP wins, he absolutely appears to have a strong understanding of the matchup. He has also played one PvT. Although losing to INnoVation is nothing to be ashamed of, Hush was not without opportunities to capitalize on advantages. Definitively the inferior player, he came up short in the end, but it is not out of the realms to see him fielded against terrans. Neither Hush nor sKyHigh have played a televised match versus Zerg in a while, nor did they look particularly good when they were last tested. It is probably safe to say those are still matchups CJ will try to avoid with the two.
The Other Guys Who Could Either Be Randomly Good Or Just Not Play: Sora Trust Bunny
By now everyone knows Sora's story of being good in tournaments that include the abbreviation "WCG" somewhere. In the WECG South Korean qualifiers, he tore through Cure, YongHwa, and Zest without dropping map, but then lost to teammate herO. Since then he's done nothing but online qualifiers. The enigmatic protoss probably won't earn an appearance, but if he does, don't be surprised if he randomly destroys someone in PvP or something.
Bunny was second among surprises from CJ during the playoffs last year, as he took out Rogue and TRUE with outstanding TvZ in a time when zergs had a slight advantage. Since then, he too has done absolutely nothing but play online tournaments and qualifiers. He lost once to the final obscure player on CJ, Trust, in a Leifeng Cup.
Trust made a good run in the Redbull Global online qualifiers over the summer, but then ended up not going, and instead went to Redbull Detroit where he lost to viOLet in the Ro16. Once again, all that is known is that he has been active in the online Leifeng Cups and other qualifiers. Once upon a time he expressed confidence in PvT, so perhaps that is still the case.
As a Whole
CJ are not as well suited as other teams for the all-kill format, but they have historically had a high productivity rate out of their bench players in the playoffs. It is entirely possible a few underdogs will have their chance to shine against more proven players, and that's the most exciting thing about getting to see them play against a team like Jin Air Green Wings.
Darkhorse: Jin Air Green Wings 4-2 CJ Entus
banjoetheredskin: Jin Air Green Wings 2-4 CJ Entus
Zealously: Jin Air Green Wings 1-4 CJ Entus