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?
After two weeks of slowly trudging through VODs, I have finally finished watching Intel Extreme Masters Cologne! This one took particularly long to finish because there were so many of my personal favorites playing, including Rain, Classic, Jaedong, and Polt. I don’t even know if I will get around to watching the qualifiers that preceded them. If this is any sign of the games to come in 2014, I am extremely excited for the future of Starcraft 2.
I am now speeding through Round 2 of Proleague. Thankfully, due to the best-of-1 format, there are far fewer games to watch, and many more quick all-ins that I can brush over if necessary. It’s “bite sized” Starcraft 2, if you will.
Next will be GSL Code S. Fewer Protoss players than expected in the round of 16, with many of my favorites smushed together into all-Protoss Group C, which will be both tragic and god awfully boring to watch.
Hey everyone, I am doing my personal analysis of games from the Korean scene and I decided I would write this one up for you, its my first time doing something like this so let me know if you find this helpful :)!
What we are looking at today is KTStats game from the GSL. He is playing against…
“In SC2 I want to emulate Liquid`HerO’s style. […] Actually in practice I just attack constantly, and lose like there is no tomorrow. But in SC2 Protoss is required to defend first, so maybe that is why I lose.”—
Stork recently pulled out a gutsy Nexus first strategy against SKT1_PartinG in their Proleague playoff match. Here are the rough build order notes. (Sorry, I unfortunately don’t have much chronoboost information due to the observing.)
Please note: this is not a build opener for the faint of heart. It will rely strongly on your initial scouting information and some luck with your opponent’s opener. Not guaranteed success! But might be useful to pull out on large ladder maps such as Alterzim Stronghold (or in this case, Frost).
“Personally I think that while builds are important in PvP, the way you read the situation and react after both players have revealed their ‘hands’ is even more important, so I thought a lot about that.”—Bromance for the ASUS: San and TaeJa
Most of us have never met you, but the impact you’ve had on our community transcends the games you played or the championship teams you were a part of.
Too often, we StarCraft fans live in a bubble; your fight against leukemia was an important reminder of the value of life to a community that tends to focus on the trivial and the abstract. The game we play is about attaining perfection, and as a progamer you fought for that standard in every match.
Life is not like that, and that was something your struggle taught us.
CJ Entus’s herO set two new titles this past weekend as both the first two-time Intel Extreme Masters champion and the first player to win the tournament back-to-back.
A true virtuoso of the PvP match up with absolutely razor sharp play, impeccable decision making and flawless micro, herO is in my opinion the Protoss player to watch right now. Not to mention, he has some personality and showmanship to boot with his smiles and trademark victory cartwheels.
Although CJ’s playoff contentions have been snuffed out, despite being helmed by the newly-appointed Coach Park, herO will hopefully continue to make a splash abroad in foreign competition.
SK Telecom has unquestionably the strongest Protoss line up in Proleague — an important consideration given the tournament’s “PvProleague” reputation and proven by the team’s 3rd place finish in Round 1.
Overshadowed by his teammates Rain and PartinG, Classic has consistently demonstrated superb Protoss play since switching races from Terran in the middle of last year’s Proleague season and continues to impress me time and time again.
He is not a pretty boy like Bisu, a showman like PartinG or a proven champion like Rain, but dammit, you would be a fool not to watch this amazing player in action.
Few words need to be said about this player. Always safe and solid, Rain is an Ace player and anchor for SK Telecom, and the best player from whom to learn intelligent build orders that translate well into every day play on the ladder.
PartinG’s plays like a ninja wielding a katana — swift, sharp, and deadly. A colorful personality and a player not afraid to put his own unique flourishes on the safe and refined play style honed in the SKT1 house with his teammates Rain and Classic. PartinG dominated the early parts of Round 1 before running into a series of unlucky PvP performances.
Sora captured my heartfelt support with his meteoric annus mirabilis, claiming 2nd in both in the 2013 World Cyber Games and the WCG Korea Nationals lead up event — falling only to Soulkey and PartinG, which is nothing to ashamed as a relatively unknown B-teamer for CJ Entus.
Now fielded often and confidently in Proleague, Sora unfortunately has run into some tough luck in his matches, especially against Zerg, but continues to play extremely consistently and has qualified for the upcoming 2014 Season 1 of GSL Code S.
Kal (aka Jila)_Prime
Kal is well known to Brood War fans as one of the six “Protoss Dragons” who played for the now-defunct STX Soul team before his draft into South Korean military service.
Since his return to professional play and Starcraft 2, Kal opened the season with two exciting upsets over Liquid-IM_HerO and SKT1_Soulkey, with a swift Phoenix attack and proxy Gateway/Forge cheese, respectively.
He has played admirably since but has been unable to emulate his early success in the season. However, he plays the important role of spiritually carrying the very trimmed down Prime team.
With a propensity for charge Zealots and Phoenix, MyuNgSiK’s play style reminds me a lot of Chinese player iG_Jim. While he has been somewhat inconsistent in Proleague, he is doing things with the Protoss race we do not often see, and is for that reason worth watching.
KT_Stats / KT_Zest
In my mind I often mistake or lump these two KT Protoss players together, which is understandable — both have a very vanilla style that is not always exciting to watch, but great to learn from if you are a player starting out, much like SKT1_Rain.
Many have blamed HerO’s nerves for his lack of results in Proleague. If this were ever the case, they seem to be very much under control this 2014 season, as he has demonstrated in typical HerO fashion how to dismantle players with beautiful micro and multitasking. While HerO’s play is somewhat unrefined, it is always artful and a wonder to behold.
Back on SKT, and CJ right now, I would be excited to go to the practice house every morning. On SKT I was always filled with thoughts that our team could be the best. Right now on CJ, it’s a team where things roll along well without having to do any foundation work.
In contrast with that, EG-TL was a team with skilled players, [but] they were not in a good place mentally. So thinking of the work needed to be done to bring them to a place where they could reach their potential, it was just tough waking up and thinking about whether I could really get the job done.
But still, I told myself I’d take them as far as I could, and that’s how it went.