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The soso column #2: Losing like Balboa

Posted by Woody "soso" Favinger 3 years, 38 weeks ago

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GosuGamers columnist Woody "soso" Favinger returns with another column, this time he dissects the final of the GOMTV Sony Ericsson Global StarCraft II League.
- "MKP was more like the hot dogs that Joey Chestnut devoured in the hot dog eating contest. While they’re technically in the same competition, the hot dogs aren’t a contender, they’re just something for Joey to plow through on his way to the trophy," writes Favinger.


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Takeru Kobayashi, six years of domination at the World Hot Dog Eating Contest.


"Like when I watch cricket: I’ve had the sport explained to me before, but as an American I still see it as some weird form of baseball and can’t quite wrap my head around it."

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IMMvp, reigning GSL champion and Apollo Creed incarnate.



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Rocky Balboa, what MarineKingPrime did not lose like.
There are a lot of ways to lose. You can be like Rocky Balboa in the first Rocky movie: You’re a massive underdog with no realistic chance of winning. But you put up and admirable fight and even though you ultimately lose, you still walk away a hero who stars the greatest sports movie series in history. Or you can be like Takeru Kobayashi, who after six years of domination at the World Hot Dog Eating Contest finally fell to new comer Joey Chestnut in 2007. There’s no shame in that, it’s a passing of the torch from one champion to another. You could also be New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII where, despite a spectacular season and hard a fought battle against the Giants, you come up a just a little short in the end. When MarineKingPrime lost to IMMvp in the GSL finals, he was none of these. He was more like the hot dogs that Joey Chestnut devoured in the hot dog eating contest. While they’re technically in the same competition, the hot dogs aren’t a contender, they’re just something for Joey to plow through on his way to the trophy. MarineKingPrime looked remarkably like a hot dog that IMMvp spread some mustard on and ate for lunch.

Mvp played phenomenally well the entire series, but MKP contributed to his own demise. Rather than stick with the aggressive early marine pressure that got him to the championship, MKP looked nothing like himself - trying random hidden expansions, silly futile viking harass, suiciding into siege tank lines, etc. Sadly, it was kind of like Rocky V. I know I already dubbed the Rocky movies “the greatest sports movie series in history”, but Rocky V almost ruined it. They had a proven formula for success - Rocky gets matched up against a seemingly unstoppable opponent, he has to overcome some kind of tragedy or hardship and eventually manages to win (or at least win in our hearts). In Rocky V, they threw out the formula and instead decided to make Rocky an absentee father and mildly successful coach; they never even put him in the ring. It’s questionable whether MKP could have won even if he looked like his usual self and stuck to his style of play, but he could have at least pulled a Rocky I.

We have to give Mvp his due though, his play was virtually flawless. In game two, when MKP tried to hide an expansion (granted it was hidden in the most obvious proxy location on the map), Mvp not only scouted it right away, he responded perfectly when MKP floated the command center to the gold expansion - the multi-pronged attack of dropping MKP’s main while pushing the gold base, sieging tanks at the Xel’Naga towers and even preparing for the last ditch counter attack was awesome. It was not only a demonstration of world class multi-tasking skills, but it showed that he did his homework - he knew MKP would attempt a counter attack like he had in the previous few series. He showed his preparedness again in game four on blistering sands: the game was basically wrapped up, he had just destroyed MKP’s expansion and much of his main. But he knew MKP still had a bit of an army so he floated his expansion back into his main and stopped sending reinforcements to his attacking army in order to defend against any kind of counter attack. It was way more cautious than he needed to be, but it also eliminated any possibility for MKP to pull out a miraculous come back. Mvp played beautifully the entire series and it was a blast to watch. It’s going to be exciting to see if anyone can challenge his superiority in future seasons.

IMMvp was not only our first Terran GSL champion, he was also our first champion of the regular season - the Code S format. I was probably like most people at the start of the season. I had read the explanations of how the new format worked, I had seen the cool pictures that detailed how the groups work and how people move up and down from Code A to Code S. In theory it all made sense, but when the season actually started, I found it hard to follow at first. Like when I watch cricket: I’ve had the sport explained to me before, but as an American I still see it as some weird form of baseball and can’t quite wrap my head around it. The difference is that I actually stuck with the GSL whereas I only watch cricket when I have a layover at an airport in Europe. And once I experienced how the format worked, I as completely on board. Insuring that the best players stick around season to season will not only promote consistently high level play, it will help to build stories, create rivalries, and generate fan bases. Player histories will add intriguing contexts to future matches.

iNcontrol already tweeted about MKP becoming the Buffalo Bills of the GSL (the Bills lost four straight super bowls) - I think my Joey Chestnut/hot dog analogy is more fitting, but he has a point. We also saw redemption for Jinro when he avenged his semifinal loss to MC from season three. If it wasn’t for Mvp’s completely dominating performance, we could even have seen an exact NesTea-MKP rematch in the finals. These kind of cool rematch scenarios will only become more likely in seasons moving forward. Just like when the Bears and Packers met in the NFC Championship game and ESPN spent a full week detailing the bitter rivalry, soon we’ll have Tasteless and Artosis explaining the storied past of each player.
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