Mvp or Squirtle GSL S2
GSL 2012 Season 2's Code S grand final (Saturday 4:10 AM EST) represents a classic clash of the old and new guard as four-time champ Jong-Hyun 'Mvp' Jung takes on Code S first-timer Hyun-Woo 'Squirtle' Park.
Since late last year, most have noticed the slow decline of the old stalwarts of Korea. This season, Mvp was the first of the "big three" to make it to a GSL finals since last October at BlizzCon, where he lost 1-4 in a surprise upset to MMA. That would turn out to be the last time time the fall of an old powerhouse would be considered an upset.
The next season in November was the first Code S final to feature two new faces, and the season following that marked the first time the "big three" were completely absent from a Code S top four. Mvp was the only former GSL finalist to even make the round-of-8 this season, while Squirtle advanced past MMA, NaDa, and MC to become just the second Code S neophyte to ever make it to a final (the other was July, who lost to MC back in March).
Jong-Hyun 'Mvp' Jung
Mvp Name Jong-Hyun Jung
Country South Korea
Team Incredible Miracle
Hyun-Woo 'Squirtle' Park
Mvp Name Hyun-Woo Park
Country South Korea
While Squirtle has technically been around since the Open seasons of the GSL when he was known as GgoBooGie, he had always been a team league hero who could not seem to convert in individual leagues. His meteoric rise to the top of Code S and TeamLiquid's ELO rankings is indicative of the past few months in which hitherto unknown or disregarded Korean Protosses have suddenly been finding traction.
After having just one player in the round of sixteen back in Code S October, Protoss took up five of the quarterfinalists spots this season. All five, along with TaeJa, had in fact only obtained Code S status in the three seasons since Mvp's October loss.
On another level, this could be the Code S finals that ends up delineating a huge paradigm shift in what is considered new or old guard at all. As the Brood War players and leagues get ready to make the jump, Squirtle has to be thinking that it might be the last big tournament before a flood of new talent starts to make a finals run almost unthinkable. And if Squirtle is in danger of becoming old news, the fight to remain relevant is more pressing for Mvp as the only old powerhouse to have even avoided the Up-and-Down matches this season.
Ignoring the future, though, both players have been playing superbly as of late, and a 4-3 match is certainly a possibility. Squirtle has dropped just a single map all tournament long and has been nearly unstoppable in PvT. Mvp has been predicted to lose in nearly every round so far, but he managed to wallop NaNiwa and PartinG, two of the top PvTers in the world, in the later stages.
Mvp is the first Code S finalist to have won less than two thirds of his games at 15-8 (65%).
This is the first PvT Code S final. The only other PvT GSL final was the third Open, in which MC beat Rain.
HerO v Squirtle was just the fourth of 28 GSL semifinal matches to not feature a Terran player, and was only the second PvP semifinal.
Squirtle is StarTale's third player to make it to a GSL final, and would be the first to win it.
This is the 15th GSL finals berth taken by a Terran, and just the fourth for Protoss. Squirtle would be just the second Protoss ever to win a GSL title.
Who Will Win?
Squirtle is just the second player to win both his groups and make it to the final. The only other player to do so has been Mvp, when he won his first GSL title last January.
The average GSL round of eight has had 2.6 Protoss players. This season had five.
The only two other seasons of GSL in which Protoss had a winning percentage against both Zerg and Terran were the two seasons MC won.
Squirtle went well over a year without winning a PvT in the GSL. His victory over MMA snapped a 3-15 losing streak that had begun in Open Season 3.
Mvp is the second player to get second in both of his groups and make a final. The other was Jjakji last November.
This was Mvp's fourth top four appearance in five consecutive seasons of Code S, a feat only he has accomplished.
This Saturday morning (1:10 AM PST / 4:10 AM EST on GOMTV), we'll find out if Mvp still has what it takes to be a champion, and whether it is possible for a player to go from the status of year-long Code A fodder to GSL victor over the course of a single season.