Two more days of Code A to go after aLive, DeParture and Classic secured themselves Code S spots on Wednesday. The first two series went pretty much as expected with aLive cutting through Billowy in solid manner and DeParture coming out ahead after five wacky games against Armani. BrAvO also looked like he would roll over and die against Classic, but he managed to stage a comeback and even out the series to 2-2 with a couple of great performances. However the protoss decided the matter with dark templar play in the end and eliminated the Samsung terran.
Three more series await us now, before Code A heads into the final day of matches next week!
The favourite for this opening match should be pretty clear: Workaholic ByuN is given a 97.58% chance to win this series by Aligulac at the time of writing this article. The terran is teamless once more now, and is basically playing every competitive game he can lay a hand on, resulting in him having already played 21 TvT series since the beginning of June. Of these he only lost a single Bo5 against GuMiho—and even that was a close 2-3 loss. As always this sheer mass of games gives his opponent a good amount of material to look at. Then again, it seems like ByuN is a player who doesn’t really mind his games being out there: He just continues doing what he always does, regardless of his opponents’ preparations. Maybe the terran is flooding the world with his games as to keep his foes confused—there is so much material of him out there, that you can’t possibly analyse everything and make useful conclusions.
Let’s say Forte learns his lessons from the mountain of footage and goes into this prepared. Even with this advantage, can he defeat ByuN? The MVP player has been in similar situations before in Proleague, but couldn’t really capitalize on preparation there. Overall his TvT is quite underwhelming, with Forte losing three out his four series last month—and the sole victory came from a Taiwanese terran. Forte does have Code A experience of course. He did beat BrAvO last season, but the Samsung player didn’t have as good a start into Legacy of the Void as Forte had. Even in this department Forte can’t ace out ByuN however: His opponent has been competing in the GSL since 2010.
ByuN is in excellent form and should be able to deal with anything Forte might throw at him at Choya’s behest. Of course ByuN isn’t always on point offline, but so early in the tournament season his mind should be fresh and his nerves shouldn’t trouble him. I honestly can’t think of any advantage that goes in favour of Forte in this one.
ByuN 3 - 1 Forte
Looking up the records for both players one thing stands out quite strongly: DongRaeGu hasn’t played a lot of ZvT games this year. In fact he only played two official series, in which he lost to Ryung and aLive. Of course the zerg is still teamless, so he’s lacking opportunities to show his play offline, and he doesn’t seem to be a big fan of online competitions. From the limited amount of info we have on DRG's ZvT in LotV we can say one thing for sure: He hasn’t found a way to play comfortably. His record this year is negative, his record overall in LotV is exactly 50:50. Like many zergs in Korea he still has difficulty adapting and finding his way.
His opponent will probably thank him for that after being done with him. GuMiho is by no means an unstoppable force—he is being beaten online by players such as Pet and TRUE, who might very well be similar to DRGs level at the moment. Overall the MVP terran is playing quite solidly though, using his trademark aggression to harass his opponents and hit the golden timing before anything dangerous can come out of the zerg's bases, as is the way of TvZ in Korea at the moment. Both players are connected by a long history, having played games against each other since 2011, but this one might become a sad example of a reunion.
GuMiho holds all the cards in his hand. He’s doing better overall, in the match-up and he’s in a more comfortable situation. He has a team and a secure Proleague spot. DRG is with his back against the wall. And even though that might make his willpower stronger, his flesh seems too weak to follow through.
DongRaeGu 1 - 3 GuMiho
After his successful Proleague comeback MC looks to complete his return to professional play after his short lived retirement by qualifying for Code S. The protoss is hard to judge as always. Everyone knows the wide variety of builds and general styles the President can pull out of his hat, be it his trademark never ending aggression, or a surprisingly strong macro transition. MC hasn’t been with CJ Entus for a very long time now, but one exciting thing about him joining this team in particular is his possible cooperation with Hush. The protoss is often credited by herO for his clever strategies and ideas (and indeed MC, in an interview after joining CJ), so having him work together with the crazy mind that is MC should give their opponents headaches. MC's PvT looked decent as ever prior to joining CJ, with an overall positive ratio—and victims such as Polt and KeeN. Recently MC lost to BrAvO however, so there might be holes in his PvT that Journey might look to exploit.
Especially as BrAvO and him are team mates, making analysis of the series that much more rewarding. That said, MC's unpredictability makes preparation against him a very delicate affair, which could very well backfire, as a totally different MC than the one you prepared for might show up on the day of your matches. The Samsung terran did beat Patience in a close Bo5 last month, but other than that he has not won a single TvP series this year yet.
Both opponents have shown weakness in the match-up they are about to play against each other. Adding in MC's capabilities and Journeys long experience in online play we might be in for a crazy ride, because these are two players who know how to create and how to deal with uncommon scenarios. Journey might not have the reputation and the name MC has, but he is very well capable of taking the President of Protoss out and claim the Code S spot for himself.
Journey 2 - 3 MC