Old Swarms, new Swarms: Code S Ro16 Group A
Minutes away from the first Korea S3 Ro16 matches, we examine Group A and its two biggest names - Woongjin's Soulkey and MVP's DongRaeGu
|Soulkey||1 – 2||Sleep|
|Dear||2 – 1||DongRaeGu|
|Sleep||0 – 2||Dear|
|Soulkey||2 – 1||DongRaeGu|
|Soulkey||2 – 1||Sleep|
Korean Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Chuseok, is over. After almost an entire week of no StarCraft 2, the scene wakes up this Monday as the three Premier leagues resume, WCS Korea the first to do that.
Breaking the normal Wednesday-to-Friday schedule, Code S has lined-up Soulkey, DongRaeGu, Sleep and Dear for Group A and eyes are set on two of the most notable Zerg players in the history of the game, who are likely to dictate the top two.
On the very forefront is MVP’s DongRaeGu, a champion with a long list of achievements, who’s trying to crawl back into relevance. Looking back at the start of 2013, we see how DongRaeGu disappeared shortly after taking second at Iron Squid II and spent time not only winning nothing but not getting any playoffs spots as well. Once the face of all Zerg, DongRaeGu was now on the outside looking in, watching sadly as successors of the race like Symbol, HyuN and Soulkey stole the headlines.
Not giving up on the dream to lift a gold trophy once again, however, DongRaeGu stuck around and with the coming of the summer, fans of the MVP ace saw him vacuum the dust off his record as top eight finishes at IEM Shanghai and Assembly Summer were achieved. Yet the doubts were still there. DRG’s Shanghai run saw him top a relatively easy group of Revival, Titan and Myungsik before falling badly 1-3 to Oz. Assembly was arguably tougher having to play through two group stages, meeting Alicia and Welmu in the second, but once again it wasn’t all too convincing of a performance. Especially when an embarrassing 0-3 loss to San put a stick in DRG’s wheels in the first round of playoffs.
Those are the reasons DongRaeGu’s showing in the Ro32 of this season’s Code S – and particularly the 2-1 against Innovation – aren’t blowing the hype bomb. Fans of DRG are careful, scared that a premature announcement of how the old champion has returned will jinx Mr. Park. Their worries are further supported by the heavy Zerg presence in Group A: ZvZ has never been DRG’s strongest match-up while this is exactly the opposite for Soulkey and partially for Sleep, who qualified for Code S on the back of a 6-1 ZvZ run. DRG’s first match against Dear is also going to be tough, considering how the Protoss is holding the not too shabby 60% PvZ win-rate. The emblem of the WoL Swarm is in danger and the audience knows it.
Standing opposite of the MVP player is Soulkey, the Woongjin ace who with Korea Season 1 was unanimously crowned as Korea’s best Zerg, taking the throne from the 2012 DongRaeGu. Despite him experiencing a small gap in results after Korea S1 and the Season one finals “only” finishing top eight in Korea S2, Soulkey is again the focal point of attention in the wake of the Ro16.
It truly is very hard not to consider the KeSPA powerhouse the favorite for Group A. Soulkey is playing his two best matches (his ZvZ in HotS at 79% and his ZvP at near 63%). His Ro32 group was not among the toughest but the decisiveness with which he broke it was admirable. He hasn’t failed to make the playoffs of Code S/WCS Korea since his break-out in late 2012 and so far as Korean tournaments are considered, he’s been the paragon of consistency, never showing a true decline in form. DongRaeGu might be in trouble, but his successor is definitely not.
This brings us to the end of the article where a couple of words for the other two players are due. Sleep comes in as the definite underdog in terms of results, number of televised games, renown and pretty much everything else you can think of. Still, he’s playing ZvZ as opening matches and those can often be decided with a single baneling detonation, a lucky fungal or a millimeter of an opening in one’s sim city. And if only this wasn’t Sleep’s first Code S match in his career, we could actually bring up his challenger league record to testify for his chances to make it through. As is, the chances for the AZUBU player are slim but at least they’re not nonexistent.
Finally, we arrive at Dear, the SouL Protoss known to be one of his team’s go-to guys for Proleague but a player lacking any individual achievements outside his top six at MLG Spring ’13. What comes to his aid is the need to only practice and train for one match-up but his most recent PvZ ended up a brutal brawl at the hands of Life and the StarTale Zerg isn’t even considered to be in his prime anymore. That said, Dear needs to open with a win against DRG lest he risks finishing fourth in Group A.
Rotator photo: Kevin Chang / Team Liquid
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