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GSL 2012 Season 1: Previewing the Code S Round of 16

GSL logoThe introductory season of the GSL 2012 showed promise long before Sen and Jjakji kicked off Group A.  A host of intriguing story lines were embedded in the round of 32. IdrA’s return from the West, Fin’s (aka FOrGG) Code S debut, a reinvigorated MC’s acsent from Code A (this time without the help of MLG), and yet another new format. With every group match now converted to a best of three, players would have a better opportunity to display longer-term strategic thinking as opposed to tactical prowess. Diversity of play style is more valuable than ever for players hoping to advance. 

The round of 32 included several fantastic games. In Group B, Leenock and Fin put on an extremely creative show in their first match; in Group C, Lucky put on a fantastic display of the power of Zerg air units on Bel’Shir Beach in his final Bo3 with MVP; and in Group F, Genius and sC showed us what happens when two evenly matched players reach the extreme late game of TvP.

It also showed us that some of the players were not quite ready to compete amongst the best. Sad to say it, but IdrA looked shaky. He was uncharacteristically unable to capitalize on a lead during one match against Lucky. Whatever the cause of his erratic play, he must overcome it in Code A. EG’s latest acquisition JYP also seemed outmatched. I can’t really blame him, though, as he was in a group of three studs from team MVP.

He also wasn’t alone in his difficulty. To put it in perspective, 7 of 8 new Code S players were knocked out of their groups, PartinG being the only exception.

Now that the round of 32 has ended, the remaining 16 players must prepare for a far more difficult group stage starting Wednesday, Feb 1st.

Group A

The Players: Mvp, GuMiho, Curious, aLive

The Story: There are a lot of intriguing things about this group. It’s a regular circle of aLive has beaten Curious who’s beaten GuMiho who’s shown he can hang in there with talented Terrans (Bomber comes to mind). The clear favorite is Mvp, but if history has shown that he’s susceptible to bouts of bad play. It’s interesting enough alone to see if he’ll maintain his reputation as the world’s premiere Terran.

As for the other three, Curious entered Code S last year with a chip on his shoulder. He’d massacred his way through Code A (smashing opponents including GuMiho) only to get knocked out in the round of 32 by Marine King and aLive. Now that he’s returned, he may have the most to prove. Then again, aLive is currently without a team, and may want to strut his stuff to potential buyers following his exit from TSL. GuMiho is definitely the weak link here, but upsets are possible.

Mvp
Curious
aLive
GuMiho

Group B

The Players: MMA, Oz, Puzzle, SuperNoVa

The Story: MMA has a bone to pick with Oz. The two met head on in the Ro8 in GSL November and Oz barely pulled out the win. A rematch between the two holds epic promise. Oz is coming in off a third place finish in Code S, but may fall victim to the dreaded “Runner up” curse (a common thread amongst some of the GSL’s finest players). Puzzle may have the PvP skills to overcome the crafty Oz, but he will be trying to overcome his history of being knocked out of Code S by strong Terrans. He’ll have his hands full with MMA and SuperNoVa, two of the best. After a recent drop to Code A, SuperNoVa will have a lot to prove, but a recent victory over MC shows he can handle a top Protoss (or two).

I’m on the fence about Oz, but I think this will be the group of the Terrans.

MMA
SuperNoVa

Oz
Puzzle

Group C

The Players: MC, GanZi, Jjakji, PartinG

The Story: It’s been a long climb for MC. After becoming the first and only champion ever to be demoted to Code B, the Kratos Protoss has adapted his timing-based play to be even more precise and deadly. He found his way back into Code S in November, making full use of the MLG/GSL partnership. After falling to Code A once more, he redeemed himself after defeating Bomber. His recent victory at Home Story Cup may not have involved top opposition, but it came with casual ease, like it was a forgone conclusion. Now that he’s exclusively representing SK, he has the extra motivation to prove that leaving oGs wasn’t a mistake.

He’ll have his hands full with reigning champion Jjakji, GanZi, and a surprisingly potent PartinG. While Jjakji has shown no signs that he’s deteriorated from last season, GanZi managed to defeat him handily in the Ro32. On the other hand, GanZi has a history of playing gatekeeper, of being “almost there” but never there. Then there’s PartinG. Raise your hand if you thought PartinG would go 2-0 in his group? No hands up? That’s what I thought. This guy probably feels like a million bucks, and could harness his momentum in the coming matches.

MC
PartinG (UPSET ALERT!)
GanZi
Jjakji

Group D

The Players: NesTea, DongRaeGu, MarineKing, Genius

The Story: “D” certainly stands for “Death” in this round of 16. Holy moly, two of the best Zergs? The perennial runner up? That guy who won BlizzCon that one time? Yikes. NesTea doesn’t need much of an introduction. He’s the winningest Zerg in the history of the game. DRG has a metric ton of hype surrounding him, but is as of yet an unproven commodity in the individual leagues. I honestly don’t agree with the constant assertion that he’s one of the top 3 Zergs in the world, but I will certainly grant him top 10. MKP is still trying to prove he can actually win a GSL. Someday he may, but with a group like this it won’t be today.

Which leaves us with Genius… Outside of last season, Genius has never dropped out of Code S. When he did finally fall to Code A, what did he do? He immediately went mass phoenix into carrier/mothership and WON. That’s the kind of awesome dude we’re dealing with. I hope he manages to surprise everyone this year, and I think he can do it.

NesTea
Genius
MarineKing
DongRaeGu

  • World8

    Jjakji in 4th? Are you kidding?

    • http://gosu.com Jeff

      Something about his play-style coupled with a champion’s curse hunch makes me think he’s going to underperform. I think it may have been the games he lost to GanZi in the Ro32…

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