As the WCS Europe Premier League round of eight began yesterday, predictions about the outcome – and how it would affect BlizzCon hopes – flew around the ESL studios.
Would it be ForGG that would change the course for INnoVation, who had just beat soO in the GSL final? Would YoDa surprise us with decisive victories? Could one of the two foreigners make something monumental happen?
MC gives up the ghost
Going into the quarterfinals, the #3 ranked Protoss MC made it clear he didn’t want to play his housemate YoDa again. Despite YoDa’s 4-1 record versus the Boss Toss, the TCM Terran was not expected to defeat MC, whose PvT win rate is 82% – and MC felt sorry.
YoDa, though, executed perfect scouts and scans as the two took on Nimbus for the first map. MC simply didn’t have enough energy to fight off the Terran bio push and YoDa took the lead going into Overgrowth. There, he kept MC on the defensive throughout the game, finally storming his third with Vikings, ghosts and yes, more bio.
With one map win left to secure him a semifinal spot, YoDa scanned like a maniac while MC made some interesting build choices, opting for his consistent blink where other players might have chosen charge. With ghosts and EMPs, YoDa destroyed again, earning a decisive 3-0 win over one of the best Protoss players in the world.
So many roaches, so little happiness
Golden and Happy are a fairly even match when it comes to rank. However, the Alien Invasion Zerg’s recent play has been on point enough to scare the Russian Terran. Still, Happy’s experience (he’s been in every Premier League yet) might have been enough to take Golden out.
Beginning with a lack of scouting and failed hellion attack on King Sejong, though, Happy struggled to control the map or predict his opponent’s play. He remained on the defensive for much of the game, which Golden eventually ended at Happy’s front door with a pack of mutalisks.
Catallena saw Happy opting for a proxy bunker, toying with Golden using solid fakes, and ultimately supply blocking the Zerg multiple times, taking the map. On Merry Go Round, Golden extended his lead to 2-1 after a tough game for Happy and an unstoppable 56-roach attack. Happy had a lot of firepower, but the roach count was overwhelming.
Finally, on Overgrowth Happy’s lack of vision allowed roaches and banelings into his main. The Terran’s banshee play simply wasn’t enough to stop Golden, who expressed his feelings after the match: “Past is past. It’s time to make present and future.”
Last foreign hope
After Golden’s elimination of Happy, Bunny was the last non-Korean left in the tournament, facing San – a scary force of a Protoss. On map one, Merry Go Round, Bunny ran a great macro game on the back of bio attack after bio attack that eventually knocked down San’s colossus/archon army.
The Liquid Terran then lost to a dominant San on King Sejong Station as the yoe Flash Wolves player trapped Bunny in his own base with stalkers, oracles and some perfectly placed force fields. On Catallena, though, Bunny attacked quickly and often, pecking at San with waves of Terran, to which the Protoss eventually succumbed.
Heading into map four, Foxtrot Labs, with the lead, Bunny was unable to hold as San’s DT harassment and a multitude of colossi helped him tie the series. On Overgrowth, the foreign hope fell as his massive armies of Vikings were obliterated by San’s storms while the players traded attacks. In the end, Bunny made a small positioning mistake at San’s newly taken gold base, sealing his own fate and sending San to the semifinals.
Three GGs for ForGG
Going into the final match of the day, ForGG was a clear favorite. Despite MMA’s recent success at DreamHack Open Moscow, the Acer Terran player’s TvT record is simply not the Millenium player’s. ForGG sits proudly at a 70% mirror match win rate, and most recently beat MMA 2-0 at DreamHack Open Stockholm.
On map one, MMA surprised the crowd with a proxy barracks behind ForGG’s mineral line, followed by the instigation of a marauder/SCV fight at ForGG’s base. Perfect micro by MMA and a strange, offbeat opening gave the Acer player the game. King Sejong saw ForGG opt for a hellion attack, which led to his downfall. MMA’s raven play and overall defensive capabilities left him with an even greater lead heading into map three.
Merry Go Round found MMA overextending and moving out, while ForGG capitalized on the movement with a huge pack of hellions that kept him afloat for map four, Deadwing.
We saw both players take everything to the late game on Deadwing, after traded attacks kept them even in the mid. ForGG built 33 siege tanks, while MMA led a militant march across the map and expanded on the back. Ultimately, the siege tanks couldn’t survive MMA’s masterful air play, and he took the series in a shocking 3-1 victory to head to the semifinals.
We have our semifinalists in YoDa, Golden, San and MMA. Tomorrow, MMA will face off against San and YoDa will take on Golden. Who is your pick for Season 3 champion?
Tune in to starcraft2.com/WCS at 18:00 CEST on Sunday to see who takes the season and shakes up the ranks!