Innovation falls as Jjakji, soO take Group C
Despite the hype around him, Innovation did not have success in today's GSL matches and was sent down to Code A.
Coming into today’s group, Jjakji’s chances of making it out – let alone in first place – weren’t that high. He did manage to survive a group with Flash, First and Hyvaa but it was no secret to anybody that the once NSH captain and now a mYi member was no longer in his prime. Ever since his 2011 Code S championship, Jjakji has been performing increasingly worse in Korean tournaments and as a result spent an entire year down in Code A.
Seeing him get his first Ro16 Code S appearance since forever was thus a bit surprising but two series later, Jjakji would prove his success was not a fluke and he might be returning to his previous form, at least partially. His opening series was against SKT’s soO, the first game of which he won through reapers alone. Game two ended up a titanic ZvT on Frost which had soO getting a mid-game supply lead by consecutively destroying armies of Jjakji which happened to be a pinch too small to fight off the initial muta/ling platoons of the Zerg.
As the game entered the later stages, however, things started turning around for Jjakji as soO started cracking under the 4M pressure. Suffering widow mine hits all over the map was only one of soO’s problems as Jjakji had set his eyes on several key tech structures of the Zerg and through medivac drops managed to snipe down first the spawning pool and then the ultralisk cavern. With the production of his core units shut down, soO was in a no-win scenario and a GG was typed.
By the 40th minute, soO is running out of steam before Jjakji's unrelenting 4M
Defeating soO’s ZvT late game and his ridiculous win percentages was an impressive feat but Jjakji did not stop there. Qualifying for the winner’s match placed him face to face with the scariest player in his group, the Season 1 champion Innovation. Losing game one was quick for Jjakji: Polar Night’s topography allowed Innovation to put himself in a better position and slice Jjakji’s jugular while he was away on the map, trying to harass his enemy’s natural.
The former champion was quick on the recovery, though, and a marine drop dealt good SCV damage early on. Although Innovation managed to stabilize and make up for the economic disadvantage, having his army out of position allowed Jjakji to rush in, snipe the tanks guarding his natural and tie the score.
Game three began with mirroring banshee openings and once again Jjakji made good use of his early aggression. Constantly pressuring Innovation and not allowing him to survive till late game where he is most comfortable, Jjakji laid a deadly siege around his opponent’s natural, using his banshee to keep Innovation’s tank count lower. Once Jjakji’s tanks reached critical mass, Innovation was done for.
Innovation drops game two after carelessly losing his tanks
Accurately pinpointing soO’s actual power level before playing his Ro16 matches was a difficult task. He lacked any big individual results but on the other hand he had shown prowess in both late-game and early-game scenarios, varying between roach-centric compositions to swarming macro armies. He was an SKT Zerg that was actually good (not really what the team has been known for) but always was he overshadowed by the Zerg players with actual results, and understandably so.
Playing Jjakji in the opening match was supposed to be something to go well for soO considering ZvT was his best match-up but as we now know, this didn’t go so well. Not winning a single game against the mYi Terran sent soO down to the loser’s match where Super was already waiting and there his climb to the top began.
Game one went to the Protoss after soO failed to make good use of his mutalisks (despite Super failing to scout the tech) and neglected the production of ground army needed to fight the death ball. As Super move out, soO fell back to meet him instead of opting for a base race and the game was decided there and then.
soO’s recovery in the next two games came in the form of his signature late game explosion. Although allowing a few mistakes like forgetting to sync his +1 melee upgrade, soO conquered Derelict Watcher through waves and waves of ultras, mutas and lings. Akilon Wastes developed similarly with Super finding it impossible to deny soO’s fifth base and allowing the Zerg to swarm him over and show him the stairs to Code A.
Ultras and mutas surround and kill Super's army. There would be much more of that later
Besting Super qualified soO for another round of StarCraft and the SKT Zerg moved on to meet Innovation who had just lost 1:2 to Jjakji. Familiar with Innovation’s early-game weakness, soO went straight for a roach/bane all-in in game one and by hiding it till the very last minute secured his lead in the series.
As game two went into the late game the odds sided with Innovation but he, too, would experience the power of soO’s macro. Playing very similarly to how he did against Jjakji, soO kept equal in the mid-game tug-of-war and never let Innovation to take too big an economic advantage. A successful switch into ultras came to compliment the muta/ling composition and that spelled the end for Innovation: the new Acer weapon and the most formidable Group C player was out of Code S.
Innovation's bloody remains mark the end of Group C
|INnoVation||2 – 0||Super.|
|Jjakji||2 – 0||soO|
|Jjakji||2 – 1||INnoVation|
|Super.||1 – 2||soO|
|INnoVation||0 – 2||soO|
Rotator photo: Kevin Chang / Team Liquid
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