Last week sOs showed his dominance over his Jin Air protoss colleague Trap with a clear 3-0 victory in their civil war, while Rogue was able to advance over Samsung's Hurricane with his typical cerebral flair. RagnaroK defeated the beloved veteran Stork in the last match of the week in heartbreaking manner, resulting in a 3-2 victory for the zerg player. Code A was no country for the old man that day. However the circle begins anew this week with three exciting series coming to a stream near you this Wednesday!
Ever since 2013, Symbol has gone practically unnoticed. He doesn't show up big in foreign tournaments (a Ro.32 exit at DH Valencia to Arium, for example); he doesn't really get fielded in Proleague (4 appearances on Jin Air in 2015 before being cut from the tiny roster); he fails to make many runs in Korea (it’s coming up to 3 years since his last Ro.16 appearance). It's a sad time for someone who was once a paragon of consistency. However, he does have a couple things to keep him above water. His most recent big match was a victory against Cure in the SSL qualifiers, which is no small feat considering Cure is one of the best TvZers right now. He also has wins against players such as MC, Jim and StarDust online who might match Patience's penchant for weirdness, albeit without as many results to back it up. However, his failure against Patience in the WCA Spring Asia Qualifiers definitely stands out and keeps him in the underdog position.
Who even knows about Patience anymore. Who knew about Patience in the first place? Who could've predicted that he would thrive in SSL's chaos to take a top 4 finish, or that he’d then flip the switch to barely qualify for Code A over NaTuRal and NightMare. His World Cyber Arena Qualifiers run online has been quite good on the other hand, including wins over GuMiho, ByuN and his opponent here, Symbol. Looking at Patience's results and trying to guess his future off of them is a hard thing to do as he seems to waver between 'legitimately solid' and 'mediocre', and he hasn't played in much outside of the GSL qualifiers (against amateur opposition) and WCA (against terrans) recently. Viewers should definitely expect odd strategies and questionable form from the protoss player, but it's hard to predict if it'll be enough to get him into Code S.
This is a teamkill that’s gone under the radar—seriously, did anyone really remember that Symbol’s actually on Afreeca now? It was already a clash with ‘weird’ written all over it beforehand, but now, it’s probably going to be even more awkward. This seems like a battle of inconsistency, although Patience's highs are miles above Symbol's. Still, the Jin Air zerg came out fairly strong in the SSL qualifiers, and last time he was in Code A he definitely surprised (E/N: If winning 3-2 in one of the ugliest series of the year counts as a surprise). Expect this series to be close, and expect nothing from the winner.
Symbol 2 - 3 Patience
One of the biggest disappointments of the past couple years has to be Soulkey. From his unbelievable consistency in 2013, you’d have thought that he’d be nailed on to be an all time great of the game. It was, after all, a year without a single LAN finish outside the top 8, in both weekenders and starleagues alike. His fall hasn’t been as spectacular as past ‘one and done’ champions though; it’s been more of a subtle slide into mediocrity. Hell, he’s probably had the most low profile ‘retirement’ and return to pro Starcraft of any big name player. It’s a slide that started with him on top of the world, and has currently dumped him out of the SSL Qualifiers at the hands of NoRegreT and Hush. Even his once-godlike ZvT has suffered, as he's gone 0-8 to KeeN in the past few weeks! Last time he met Ryung it did produce a tight win for the TCM Zerg, but that shouldn't give fans solace considering it was a few months ago and Soulkey has only looked worse since.
On the other hand, Ryung has amassed a quiet series of impressive victories against the likes of soO and herO, and managed to win a TvT against GuMiho in the recent WCA qualifiers. He's certainly been more silent of late, with a few disappointing TvPs in Proleague and sad qualifier losses to INnoVation and Dear. Still, this match against Soulkey is a chance for Ryung to reclaim the sparks of hype seen in some of his Proleague upsets and prove himself as a terran with legitimate skill going forward into Code S.
This set could either be surprisingly high level - if Soulkey gets his act together and Ryung shows up in good form - or another damp squib. Neither of these players are particularly promising right now, but at least Ryung has shown sparks of something in LotV.
Soulkey 1 - 3 Ryung
Part of the pack of Starcraft players who’ve decided to put random capitals in their name for no particular reason, MyuNgSiK has yet to capitalize on the early-LotV form that saw him win one of the GSL Preseason events. Since then he's been fairly middle of the road, 2-4 in Proleague (wins over Rogue and Cure) and similarly average in individual leagues. His height came at a top 12 finish in GSL over Soulkey and Bunny twice- not the best run, but not the worst either. His only games since then have been PvP struggles against sOs, Trap and Dear alongside a PvT win over SpeeD in the SSL Qualifiers. In other words, his form's a mystery but he's historically middle-tier. One thing that’s particularly notable about the PvPs is that once again, they show up MyuNgSiK as a player with poor multitask / mechanical capabilities. He’s always been a player more reliant on out-thinking / out-weirding his opponents; it’s telling that his peak came in 2015 HotS, when the game was as mapped out as possible. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll be able to use the uncertainty surrounding Legacy to make a run in Season 2, or whether his reduction in game knowledge will be detrimental to his typically aggressive playstyle.
jjakji beat INnoVation in 2016. Think about that for a second (E/N: He also beat him in 2013, for what it’s worth). Big TvT wins aside, jjakji's TvP is a complete mystery. While he's found some TvT success against Bunny and INno to qualify for SSL, and his TvZ has seemed at least passable with online stomps against Symbol and TRUE, he's only played two TvP sets since his routing by Classic back in last season’s Code A; one of which was a 2-0 against caster JYP and the other was a 2-1 against perennial qualifier-stompee eMotion. Not exactly the biggest wins, but at the same time it's not a loss either. With his lack of Proleague exposure for KT, jjakji’s another on the long list of players from whom we need more evidence. As such, this match is another chance to determine whether jjakji has any real chance going forward or if he's just a player who seperates the legitimate from the frauds.
jjakji's chances in this series depend largely on how much one values his TvP. If you believe it's in similar form to his TvT, it's not hard to see him making this match close. On the other hand, if it's a real weakness he should just get routed. Regardless, MyuNgSiK's PvT is likely his best matchup and he's shown a level of consistency that makes it hard to see him losing here.
MyuNgSiK 3-1 jjakji