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September 18, 2012

2012 Global StarCraft League - Season 4 – Round of 16 – Groups A & B

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Written by: GoSuMali

This season of GSL has been without a doubt one giant tournament of death. Every single group in the round of 32 has seen upsets with new blood triumphing over the established monuments of previous seasons. Winning the toughest GSL to date will certainly be a huge staple in a player's career. Will it be a GSL veteran like Polt, Mvp, DRG, MKP, and TaeJa? Or, will the young bloods Life, Rain, and Heart find victory lays at the end of the road? GSL Round of 16 kicks off with Groups A and B.


Group A:

Player: Park “DongRaeGu” Soo Ho
Team: MVP
Race: Zerg
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 4-1 Overall, 2-1 Bomber (T), 2-0 Polt (T)
Match-ups: T - 43-26 (62.32%), Z – 18-10 (64.29%), P – 36-22 (62.07%)

Often hailed as  one of the best Zergs in the world, it is no question that DongRaeGu has the potential to win every GSL, even this one. However, his recent slump of “not winning everything” has left some fans wondering when their powerhouse Zerg will claim another title. Absent from the foreign tournament scene in the last few months, DRG did not make appearances at the most recent MLG nor Dreamhack championships, and his lack of presence in the WCS has been noted by many community members. With all this in mind, DRG is still a huge favorite to win the group. His incredibly stable, macro-oriented style paired with his distinguished decision making will always keep the MVP player on the map. His first opponent will be Polt who he crushed 2-0 in the round of 32. If Polt hasn’t been preparing diligently for the rematch (and you know he has), DRG will just stomp him all over again. DongRaeGu is not without his weaknesses, but it is his durability that players should be afraid of and it is this same endurance that DRG prides himself on.


Player: Choi “Polt” Seong Hoon
Team: Team SCV Life
Race: Terran
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 4-4 Overall, 2-1 GuMiho (T), 0-2 DRG (Z), 2-1 GuMiho (T)
Match-ups: T – 55-51 (51.89%), Z – 24-24 (50.00%), P – 30-20 (60.00%)

Polt has participated in nearly every single GSL tournament to date. Missing only the World Championship back in early 2011. He’s also only been in Code A for the entirety of 2 seasons, both which were this year, when competition has grown to be the fiercest. He spent the rest of his time in Code S making deep runs and even winning the 64-player Super Tournament over MMA. Unlike his first opponent DRG, the former Prime player – who is the only player to date to officially be dubbed Optimus – has achieved an indisputable veteran status. And although Polt was obliterated 0-2 in the round of 32, he fought on, only to wind up in the same group as DRG again. But, Polt is an experienced player and it would be a trifle matter for him to study up on the pillar of Zerg power. Do not: expect the score to be the same. Do: expect some ridiculously high-level TvZ out of TSL.Polt.


Player: Jung “Rain” Yoon Jong
Team: SK Telecom T1 (KeSPA)
Race: Protoss
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 5-2 Overall, 2-0 ByuN (T), 1-2 Happy (T), 2-0 ByuN (T)
Match-ups: T – 8-2 (80.00%), Z – 14-6 (70.00%), P 8-10 (44.44%)

The KeSPA hope – SK Telecom T1’s Rain (formerly known as By.Sun) was the only KeSPA contracted player to make it through to the round of 16. Not much is known of the Protoss player as the majority of his results have come from the KeSPA-only tournaments and his Brood War career. However, the OnGametNet Starleague (OSL) and now the GSL has given some insight into the potential of Rain. The GSL showed Rain taking ByuN out twice to advance and in the OSL he most recently defeated DRG and MKP, putting himself into the round of 8. Although the series were mere best of 1s, it at least shows that Rain’s skill is on par with his opponents and has the potential to go very deep in the tournament. The first test will be Liquid.TaeJa; the Terran player who has been a complete terror for the better part of 3 months. The T1 player boasts an awe inspiring 80% winrate versus Terran but it is only from a total of 10 games. Regardless, prepare for a ridiculous second match of Group A and make sure to count the number of times Artosis says he’s getting nerd chills because he is going to say it, and he is going to say it a lot


Player:  Yoon “TaeJa” Young Suh
Team: Team Liquid
Race: Terran
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 4-1 Overall, 2-1 MaNa (P), 2-0 MVP (T)
Match-ups: T – 78-46 (62.90%), Z – 87-37 (70.16%), P – 74-39 (65.49%)

TaeJa is half the reason why the Raven hasn't been buffed and Zerg hasn't been nerfed. This monstrous young Terran player (just 17 years old) has put up a ridiculous slew of results in the last few months and it seems he has no intention of slowing down. Making short work of Polish Protoss MaNa and 4-time GSL champion MVP in the round of 32 has demonstrated that TaeJa's accomplishments are truly on the merit of skill and hard work. His first opponent will be Rain who does not have many official games under his belt but has found great success against Terran players. By experience alone, the odds weigh in on TaeJa but there is always a possibility that the unknown variable in the form of Rain, catches the could-be bonjwa off guard. Jinro was the only other Liquid Terran to make it to Round of 4 in the GSL and TaeJa is on course to not only make it that far, but take home the title and the first ever GSL win for Liquid.


The Predictions:

Match 1: DongRaeGu 2 : 1 Polt
Match 2: TaeJa 2 : 0 Rain
Match 3: TaeJa 2 : 1 DongRaeGu
Match 4: Polt 2 : 1 Rain
Match 5: DongRaeGu 2 : 1 Polt

TaeJa and DongRaeGu advance to the Round of 8.


Group B:

Player: Park “Squirtle” Hyun Woo
Team: StarTale
Race: Protoss
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 4-1 Overall, 2-1 Sniper (Z), 2-0 Heart (T)
Match-ups: T – 58-44 (56.86%), Z – 49-27 (64.47%), P – 36-15 (70.59%)

It is clear that attacks of the same type being “not very effective” has not been a concern for PvP master, Squirtle. Fortunately for him, there is another Protoss in his group; unfortunately for him, it's Liquid.HerO, another player with a ridiculously good PvP. But before Squirtle gets the opportunity to possibly put his mirror match-up to the test, he will have to go against Complexity's Heart once again. He dominated Heart in the first group stage but rest assured that Heart has been learning some electric moves to fry the water-type. It is unquestionable that Squirtle has evolved into Wartortle with his appearance in the finals in Season 2 and success in the GSTL, but will he finally reach his stage 3 evolution and take on the moniker of Blastoise in this season? It only gets tougher for Squirtle from here on out.


Player: Kim “Heart” Min Hyuk
Team: Complexity Gaming
Race: Terran
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 4-4 Ovearll, 2-1 Naniwa (P), 0-2 Squirtle (P), 2-1 Sniper (Z)
Match-ups: T – 11-14 (44.00%) Z – 14-12 (53.85%), P – 9-6 (60.00%)

Similar to SK Telecom T1's Rain, Heart is a bit of an underdog in his group.  Moreover, not many official Korean League games have been recorded from the player and it is also his first appearance in Code S. However, unlike Rain,  Heart has seen some decent success at MLG tournaments taking at least top 8 in 3 tournaments and top 28 in the recent Summer Championship. It is obvious that Heart is a contender, but he is known for his cheeky (sometimes cheesy) style of play and that could cause his opponent's pulse to race (you're enjoying the puns, I know it).  On the other hand, cheeses are often one-trick ponies and will only work a handful of times before they're figured out. Heart will need to really establish his macro-oriented playstyle in order to progress and avoid being knocked back down into Code A.


Player:  Song “HerO” Hyeon Deok
Team: Team Liquid
Race: Protoss
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 4-1 Overall, 2-1 Ryung (T), 2-0 Symbol (Z)
Match-ups: T – 24-21 (53.33%), Z – 33-17 (66.00%), P – 9-15 (37.50%)

The dreamiest of the dreamy, the Handsome Toss, Liquid.Hero has found himself in another Round of 16 in Code S squaring off against the recent MLG champion, FXO.Leenock. When these two titans first met, HerO took down the series 2-1 and eventually progressed on to the Round of 4, whereas Leenock dropped down to Code A. However, in light of Leenock's victory over the Incredible Miracle Protoss, First (where he was pulled apart by the many arms of the Leenoctopus), things may not be the same this time around. Still, HerO's best match-up appears to be PvZ and he certainly intends to sever off Leenock's tentacles and send him back to the murky depths of Code A once more. If HerO were to succeed he would most likely be playing StarTale.Squirtle in the PvP of his life. They have not met before and although the stats show that HerO's it is currently his weakest match-up, numbers rarely ever tell the whole tale (see HerO vs CranK at the same MLG). 


Player:  Lee “Leenock” Dong Nyoung
Team: FXOpen e-Sports
Race: Zerg
Country: South Korea
Round of 32: 5-2 Overall, 1-2 Parting (P), 2-0 SuHoSin (Z), 2-0 Parting (P)
Match-ups: T – 80-51 (61.07%), Z – 28-16 (63.64%), P – 33-37 (47.14%)

Coming off his recent victory at the MLG Summer Championship over IM.First, and defeating Parting 2-0 after initially falling 1-2 to him in the round of 32, Leenock has to be feeling great about his current ZvP results. Yet, it historically remains his weakest limb at just 47%. Ironically enough though, it seems that Terran has been the race to knock Leenock out of the GSL more so than Protoss. Aside from Season 1 with MC, Season 2 with HerO, Terrans have been the main reason Leenock has not made it past the Round of 16 since GSL November where he took second to jjakji. Despite the major victories over other Protoss players inside and outside of Korea, Leenock must refine his ZvP in order to overwhelm HerO. And if he can get passed the Liquid player, it will be on to another Protoss with a wicked PvZ, Squirtle.


The Predictions:

Match 1: Squirtle 2 : 0 Heart
Match 2: HerO 2 : 1 Leenock
Match 3: Squirtle 2 : 1 : HerO
Match 4: Leenock 2 : 0 Heart
Match 5: HerO 2 : 1 Leenock

Squirtle and Hero advance to the round of 8!


*All stats taken from TLPD-Korea on September 17, 2012. 


Written by Rj “windy” Gladysiewicz

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