Day 2 was another great day of Code A. Stats demonstrated his dominance of PvZ against his teammate Leenock, SpeeD scraped through in a messy 3-2 against Trust, while soO brushed past HyuN with ease. Tonight, it’s the turn of the underperformers—6 players with spotty records in Legacy so far.
Jin Air Trap
Jin Air sOs
Teamkills are undoubtedly a major theme throughout this season of Code A, and after the KT massacre on Day 2, it’s time for Jin Air to start their own civil war. Trap’s a player who gone under the radar a bit in Legacy so far. A top 12 finish in GSL was probably generous given how easy his run had been (3-0 over Observer Shine in Code A; wins over DeParture and Super (who has struggled against protoss in LotV) in the Ro.32; losing to herO and TaeJa in the Ro.16), while his Proleague Round 2 4-0 record has been somewhat ignored (Reality, TY, horror, Dream).
Season 2 is his time to stamp his authority on the scene then, coming off that impressive Proleague run. His SSL performance last night though was disappointing—losing to TY and Bomber, drawing to Cure and soO, and beating Hush. That PvP win is hardly instructive—Hush has been poor for a while now—and indeed Trap's entire PvP record this year has been deceptive. A 12-9 record sounds passable, but his wins have come over Hush, MacSed, Super and Choya—none of whom are even average players in the matchup.
Unfortunately for him, he’s going up against a true savant of PvP. Throughout 2014-15, sOs was always a top player in the matchup. Zest and Rain might have dominated 2014 PvP, and Stats and Classic for parts of 2015, but sOs was a constant threat. His mindgames are legendary by now, whether it’s proxying gateways or hiding bases, and if this was still HotS, I’d call this as an easy win right here. Thing is though, this is Legacy, and sOs has been struggling. Dear dumped him out of Code A in Season 1, and until recently, his PvP performances in Proleague have been poor. A 2-5 record, with his only wins coming against Zoun and Patience, is hardly what we expect from him. Of course, there is the recent 3K over KT in the Proleague Round 2 Finals to take into account. Importantly for today, it featured an impressive win over Stats, as well as over TY and Losira, before a loss to Zest. Only time will tell if that’s the start of another run for sOs, or simply another blip in an inconsistent year.
There’s no doubt for me that if sOs turns up in the same form as for the Proleague finals, he should easily take the win here. Trap has been unimpressive in all his matches against decent protoss opposition, and with how well he played against Stats last month, I have to go for sOs.
Trap 1 - 3 sOs
Jin Air Rogue
After his dodgy start to Legacy, Rogue’s started to return to his old level in the past couple months. While he’s definitely not the Ro.8 monster of 2015 just yet, he’ll definitely be looking to record better results this time round than in Season 1. His Proleague form has been a bit weird—he’s unbeaten in ZvT and ZvZ, while he’s only won 1 of his 7 ZvPs (against Zest of all people in the Round 1 Playoffs). While his list of conquerors is certainly impressive (Stats, herO, Zest, MyuNgSiK, Stats, Super), it’s still a worrying record. That said, while he’s had no other offline matches worth mentioning, he won the BaseTrade TV Ting Open back in March, rolling his way through the competition, including a 5-0 over MaNa in the Finals.
His opponent Hurricane should certainly be ranked below all of those protosses mentioned earlier, at least with respect to PvZ. He’s only been fielded twice for Samsung in Proleague (two losses to RagnaroK and DeParture), while his Season 1 campaigns ended almost at the first hurdle. A 2-3 loss to Soulkey dumped him out of Code A, while losses to Stats and ByuN sealed his fate in the SSL. Hurricane has always been a player with ‘potential’—hyped up ever since his GSTL heyday with FXO and fOu. For all those impressive single results though, he’s never made it far in the big competitions. He’s made Code S three times in his career, falling out of the Ro.32 on each occasion, although admittedly he’s managed to make the top 12 of SSL twice now. Still though, it’s a resumé that’s not quite held up. When he made his debut, ‘potential’ was something we could be excited by. Four years on, it’s time to deliver.
While Hurricane 2-0’d Rogue in the SSL qualifiers last month (unstreamed), I don’t think he’s got what it takes to repeat the feat when it matters.
Rogue 3 - 1 Hurricane
Frankly, it’s difficult to know where Stork stands at the moment. The Samsung coach has cut out nearly all of his individual commitments to focus on his full-time job, and we’ve only seen one broadcasted game from him in the past couple months (a close loss to Losira in the final stage of the SSL qualifiers). Obviously, we shouldn’t really expect much from him—he first retired from full time gaming in 2014, after all. But there’s still the same old competitive desire burning within him, and he’s still shown himself to be remarkably relevant in the lower tiers of the Korean scene. His win over INnoVation in Code A last time round is of course his standout achievement, but beating WCS champion Harstem in the GPL showmatches in Shanghai, as well as DRG and MarineKing in the most recent SSL qualifiers shows that he’s not completely washed up just yet.
While Stork’s gone a bit under the radar recently, RagnaroK is perhaps the greatest question mark in the whole Korean scene. His top 6 finish in the first season of the SSL is a big outlier when compared to the rest of his career—a litany of Ro32 Code S / Code A exits—and only his top 6 finish at MLG Anaheim in 2014 stands up in comparison. What’s more, his path through the season wasn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds. 2-0 INnoVation and 3-1 ByuN (nydus and roach/ravager rushes for the most part), before losing 2-3 to Solar and 1-3 to Patience is hardly the greatest run we’ve ever seen, and doesn’t bode well for an age where fast zerg rushes against terran have more or less died out. That said, he’s shown a bit more variety in Proleague, and in particular his 30 minute macro war with Dream is worth checking out.
RagnaroK’s ZvP has been poor in 2016 (7-10 overall record), and the only three wins he’s recorded all year have come against Hurricane (1-0 in Proleague, 2-0 in GSL qualifiers) and amateur Adun (2-0). He’s had issues with both the current chargelot-archon compositions as well as with more aggressive gateway pressures. Stork might not be the championship contender of his Brood War days, but I think he’s still got enough to win here.
Stork 3 - 2 RagnaroK