2011 GSTL Season 1 - Playoffs, Ro4, Match 2 Set 7
Classic Wings of Liberty match between MVP_Genius and NSH_Sage, showcasing a new and innovative style of PvP involving speed Warp Prism plus Immortal drops. PvP was mainly focused around 3- / 4-Warp Gate rushes and 1-base Blink play. This style was exciting, new, and unlike anything ever seen at the time.
Incredibly back and forth PvZ between SKT1_Rain and JinAir_Rogue. Frost is seemingly becoming the new “Daybreak” in terms of producing lengthy, epic games.
Great effort from Rain to hold on and stay alive in the game despite some unusually sloppy early mistakes with his wall-off, allowing Zerglings into his main base multiple times. Beautiful Mutalisk plus Viper control from Rogue, pulling individual Protoss units into his cloud of fliers to pick them off.
[SPL2014] MarineKing(PRIME) vs Rain(SKT1) Set5 Out-Boxer -Esports, SPL2014
Another PvT clinic put on by SKT1_Rain, this time versus the relentless aggression of MarineKing_Prime.
- Rain varies his usual PvT opener, likely familiar with MKP’s propensity for early aggression. Rain opens 1-Gate expand into Robotics and 2 more gateways, and builds only 1 Stalker and then immediately starts production of 2 Sentries.
- This is incredibly safe compared to Rain’s usual corner-cutting, tech-heavy opener that involves 1 Gateway producing 3 Stalkers, a Robotics, Forge with quick +1 armor, Robotics Support Bay, and then finally the +2 Gateways.
- This proves to be a slight but important variation, as MarineKing’s aggression constantly washes up against Rain’s defenses — the constant attacker versus the constant defender, as the casters accurately describe them.
- Observer placement also plays an important role in this game, as Rain is able to setup a blink Stalker trap to deny a full Medivac drop into his main base, and perfectly see MKP’s army positioning when he attempts a “Lazy Boy” SCV push.
- Also worth noting, because of the absence of Psi Storm research, Rain delays Forge upgrades and warps in additional Sentries to stop MKP’s SCV pull timing, relying on pivotal Stalker positioning to snipe Vikings, force fields to deny the advance of MKP’s army, and a large number of Colossus to supply the necessary splash damage. This is one of the rare cases where additional Sentries were a worth while late-game investment.
Times looked promising for STX SouL after winning last year’s 2012-2013 SK Planet Proleague finals versus Woongjin Stars. While SouL’s Dear was narrowly shutout by powerhouse sOs in yet another “PvProleague” match, both Trap and Classic were able to take wins and help carry their team to the championship. It looked like the beginning of a meteoric rise for SouL.
The STX Protoss trio in particular seemed to draw perfectly from one other’s unique strengths — Trap’s aggressive, micro-intensive openers, Classic’s technical proficiency, and Dear top-notch decision making that would later make him a GSL champion.
However, their star quickly fell as both finalist teams, STX SouL and Woongjin Stars, suffered sudden economic hardship and collapsed. It was shocking and heartbreaking news for fans of Brood War and Starcraft 2, as many Brood War greats retired in the wake of this news, including Flying, free, Mini, hyvaa, ZerO, Light, and Last. A raucous chorus of “dead game” discussions flooded TeamLiquid and Reddit forums.
The sad reality was simply that many of these players were considering retirement well before their teams disbanded. Perhaps because of Starcraft 2, or perhaps because of age and impending military service.
Thankfully, the STX Protoss trio continued on. Classic was swiftly picked up SK Telecom, while Dear and Trap played under the new SouL flag for 2013 GSTL Season 2. Unfortunately, SouL posted abysmal results and disbanded with little fanfare. From here, each player took very different paths.
Following in the footsteps of other Korean players like Jjakji, ForGG or his teammate Innovation, Dear left the South Korean promise land to join a European foreign team. As a recent GSL and WCS champion, Mouz_Dear was Mousesport’s highest profile acquisition to date and perhaps one of the biggest Korean names to join foreign ranks since SK_MC.
While Dear has continued to show his prowess abroad, I feel like he has lost some of the sharpness in his play since leaving the regimented practice style of KeSPA. He has confirmed this in interviews and hopefully we will continue to see the Dear who won back-to-back WCS tournaments.
Trap broke away from KeSPA by joining ESF team Incredible Miracle, but was quickly brought back into the fold when IM joined Proleague this past season.
I feel Trap’s play was always the least refined of the three and probably benefited most from an environment where all three players of the STX trio could train and discuss the game together. However, he continues to post strong results including 2014 GSL Code S Round of 16 and wins in Proleague for his new team.
Finally we have Classic, the least glamorous of the trio but the only player who stayed the course and was able to be picked up by another KeSPA team immediately after SouL’s disbandment through the posting process, and by SK Telecom T1 no less.
Classic had an identity crisis early in his Starcraft 2 career, switching races from Terran to Protoss midway through the 2012-2013 SK Planet Proleague season. I’ve always found this particularly impressive and a testament to the amount he must practice, which is reflected in his results and fantastic play. I’ve said it a hundred times in recent months, but Classic continues to be a player to watch.
NA, EU, KR - Who to Watch?
For a very long time now, I’ve found myself watching almost exclusively Korean-based events (namely, GSL Code S and Proleague), and very rarely will I watch a North American or European event unless it contains personal favorites of mine like Naniwa, or has a long list of strong Korean Protoss players.
For me, I want to see the best in the world play and learn the latest builds, strategies, and trends. While I am saddened by the recent news of North American Star League closing its doors, I have to wonder — has the era of North American SC2 come to an end, as it did in Brood War, and been overtaken by more dominant Korean talents?
Liquid_HerO plays a beautiful tempo-based PvZ against MVP_Sniper, as Wolf so eloquently describes it, HerO’s strength does not lie in technical builds or superior mechanics, but rather his creative, tactical, and micro intensive play.