WCS World Finals preview pt. 2/4: Jaedong, Mvp, Dear and Taeja

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev 40 weeks, 5 days ago

Our BlizzCon Ro16 preview series continues with the grand ZvT clash between Jaedong and Mvp and the PvT between back-to-back WCS champion Dear and Liquid`s ace Taeja.




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The Tyrant versus the King is likely one of the round’s most expected matches. In a way, this face-off is another generation clash but unlike the Maru/MC one where young meets old, here it’s a clash of entire legacies built across two games and more than five years.

While Jaedong ruled BroodWar with iron fist, eventually becoming a bonjwa of the game, his efforts in StarCraft 2 are yet to yield a gold medal. The EG Zerg has been travelling the globe in search for his first championships but he always met a brick wall at the very end. His early days of weak ZvP made him lose to Naniwa and StarDust in two consecutive DreamHacks and otherwise flawless ZvZ betrayed him in the third as HyuN trampled him 3-1. In time, Jaedong would solve his ZvP struggles but where one wound was patched, another one opened.

The America Season 2 finals set off the worrisome tendency of Jaedong losing ZvTs with dreadful scores. After Polt 4-0’d him in a quick manner, Bomber did the same in the Season 2 finals and fighting Terrans became Jaedong’s new pain. Even though he managed to rebalance his record in the match-up since – defeating Taeja, ForGG, Heart, Hack and TheSTC in various tournaments and showing great games against MMA in the Season 3 finals – it’s still not where it should be for a player of his caliber.

This is where Mvp comes in. The King of StarCraft 2 has been dwelling in the shadows since his Europe Season 1 victory and the follow-up top four at the seasonal finals. For the last half a year, he’s accumulated a 75% win-rate against Zergs but most of those wins are against foreigners or lower tier Koreans. Whenever he encountered serious championship pretenders like Symbol or DongRaeGu, the loss was inevitable. Now paired against Jaedong, one of StarCraft’s current hottest players, the veteran’s future looks dark.

What but not be forgotten, however, is that Mvp lives for those kind of match-ups. Ever since his first slump midway into 2011, Mvp has been doubted and often written off but in fact he feeds on being underestimated. Since said slump, Mvp has taken seven gold medals, two silver medals and five top four finishes. He’s very, very ready to ruin Jaedong’s day.

Photos: GosuGamers (Jaedong), Kevin Chang (MVP) 




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The last few weeks had a total makeover effect on Dear. From being just a cogwheel in SouL’s team league machine, Dear became the best Protoss in the world within one week, winning GSL and the Season 3 finals. He climbed 116 spots in the WCS rankings and broke the record for the fastest ascending player in the league. His evolution affected our own GosuRankings, too, where Dear is now third with 81% win-rate in individual leagues. One will have to search long and hard before finding a Protoss player with bigger chances at a BlizzCon championship.

Taeja, on the other hand, has been cooling off. His traditionally strong summer period is over and after three gold medals and three top four finishes, he tasted Ro16 defeat in WCS America S3 and had to climb back through Challengers’ group stage. His play is no longer flawless and he was seen losing to lesser players in team and individual leagues alike, even getting defeated by North American no-names such as Sunny in the Red Bull NYC qualifiers.

Although dropping a game here and there is not usually indicative of an incoming disaster, it is somewhat of a trend as far as Taeja is concerned. His 2012 gold medal hat-trick between July and September was also followed by disappointing results, including Ro32 elimination from Iron Squid II and a top 24 finish at IPL 5. His silver medal at DreamHack Winter was a sort of an isolated incident but it, too, came to leave a bitter taste in Taeja’s mouth after the crushing 0-4 loss to HerO in the finals. If history is bound to follow a strict paradigm as far as Liquid’s ace is concerned, Taeja will be in a lot of trouble this weekend.

All said, expect Dear to be favored for the match-up. SouL’s Protoss is currently playing the best StarCraft 2 of his life. His PvT in the past two months have been scarce but the two series against Maru in the GSL and the Season 3 finals speak loudly for Dear’s top form. Taeja will need to play like he does in the summertime lest risking a Ro16 elimination.

Photos: This Is Game (Dear), Helena Kristiansson (Taeja)

Previous WCS Grand Finals coverage:

Ro16 preview part 1/4: Innovation vs Duckdeok, MC vs Maru


Upcoming WCS Grand Finals coverage:

Ro16 preview part 3/4: Polt vs Alive, HerO vs sOs
Ro16 preview part 4/4: MMA vs Bomber, Soulkey vs Naniwa


Rotator photos: DailyEsports, This Is Game, Red Bull, TL
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