Proleague round one, week two in short: Carriers, Battlecruisers, TY's widow mines and more
Everything you might've missed from last week of Proleague in one place, from VODs, to results to the hot stories.
Proleague round one, week two is over and the story is the same as last week’s: SK Telecom are looking fantastic, almost unstoppable even. The win against Incredible Miracle (as well as KT’s clutch loss to Jin Air on January 5th) ensured that there’s no other team with 3-0 score and at least for now, Boxer’s team is the king of the Proleague (oh, the déjà vu). But more on that later.
After terrible first week, Terrans go 11-0 in non-mirrors
|Jin Air vs KT Rolster|
|CJ Entus vs Samsung Galaxy|
|MVP vs Prime|
|SK Telecom vs Incredible Miracle|
|CJ Entus vs Jin Air|
|KT Rolster vs Samsung Galaxy|
To no one’s surprise, or at least to those that followed the previous Proleague, week one turned out a Protoss fest with some Zerg seasoning. While the fans of those two races rejoiced at their success, the Terran admirers felt the pain of defeat: the Terrans played just six games and only won two.
Most of those losses came from Protoss players who had apparently figured out the match-up. Not even established aces like Flash could succeed in the match-up and with Proleague so heavy on Protosses, the fear that Terrans will finish with subpar win rates was very tangible.
That was until week two began. From the very first to the very last game of the week, Terrans were unstoppable. Players like Flash, TY and Maru lived up to their names and legacies. MVP’s Dream and KeeN redeemed themselves against Prime. Even names like Cure and Reality who are not really the poster boys of their races managed to win some hard matches against Zest and Hydra.
By January 7th, the Terran players became the story of the week. Against the other races they won with style or just brutal domination. In the single case one Terran faced another (TY vs Reality on January 7th), they created the most beautiful display of wartime strategy. Hats off to them.
TY's innovativeness makes him a player to watch
KT lost a lot of their depth in December when Barracks, Cacia, Crazy, Motive, PenguiN and Puzzle departed from the team. Although neither of them was what you’d call a team league powerhouse, supporters of the two-time Proleague champions were worried the thinned roster might hurt KT during the new season.
To KT’s luck, the decision to sign TY (formerly known as Baby) in September proved to be the smartest move in their SC2 history. Although TY couldn’t find his way into the top ten during the last season, he was still Team 8’s most reliable player alongside Argo and for anyone who followed Baby’s career during the BroodWar it was clear that there will be big future for the young Jun Tae Yang.
Apparently, joining an established brand like KT Rolster was what TY needed to blossom into one of the best Terrans in Proleague. TY spent his sixth anniversary in the league proxying tanks in TvP (and winning) and fighting battlecruisers with widow mines instead of the conventional anti-air (and winning again). Keep an eye on TY, something tells me there will be more cool plays coming from him before the round is over.
ByuL, IM's new weapon
For a second week in a row, Incredible Miracle decided to not put Mvp in the booth and enter the fray Terranless. While that strategy worked fine in week one and gave them victories over ex-eSF colleague Prime and MVP, it was not quite enough to overcome Proleague leaders SK Telecom.
In their loss, however, Incredible Miracle rediscovered the potential of one Han “ByuL” Ji Won, the Zerg known for his silver medal from WCS America Season 3 and top eight finish in the Season 3 finals and barely anything else.
On Proleague grounds, however, ByuL is shaping up to be among the best in the tournament. At the end of week two, ByuL sits on 4-0 record (he’s tied with Maru for first place but then again you expect Maru to be up there) and is evolving as IM’s go-to guy when there’s a Protoss to be killed.
Photo: Kevin Chang
Click on the images to watch the games
The unstoppable SK Telecom
2013 was an eventful year for SK Telecom with a lot of welcomes and a lot of goodbyes but at the end it all worked out for them. It worked out very, very well.
BroodWar fans are without a doubt sad to see the SKT they know change. Players like Bisu, s2 and BeSt are no longer part of the roster. Boxer also bid his farewells due to health difficulties and his new-found career as a poker star. Fantasy is nowhere near his BroodWar glory and neither is the Terran line-up of his team that was once feared by all.
Yes, SK Telecom changed but they remained a fearsome enemy. The Protoss duet of PartinG and Rain is working better than ever. Ridiculed in the past, SKT's Zerg line-up now features GSL champion Soulkey and GSL runner-up soO. And without the requirement to have at least one representative of each race in every match-up, SKT don't even need to fall back to their weakened Terran line-up so they can use their aces all season long. Sure, one can argue this makes them prone to enemy snipers but you can't prepare for every single powerhouse in their roster.
Prime, CJ struggle due to predictable rosters
On paper, CJ Entus should not be the worst team in the league. They have EffOrt and herO[join] who did wonders for them in the past. The boast a WCG runner-up in Sora and IEM bronze finalist Hydra and seven more players who are not too atrocious. They're led by the legendary Coach Park whose done wonders with teams like SKT in the pat.
Yet CJ are still to find a line-up that works for them. Coach Park seems to fancy the Hydra/herO/Sora trio in every game but it has proven unreliable at best. In all of the three series played, CJ managed to win just two maps. Granted, they've been playing top four teams exclusively which got them to a rough start but it's evident that something needs to change.
Prime are plagued by a similar problem where Gerrard falls back to the same players every match, going for a Jila/Creator/Terror plus another Protoss. Unsurprisingly, it's not working and we see a striking resemblance to the Prime of 2013 GSTL Season 1. Once mighty champions, Prime have gotten predictable.
Which can work when you're individual players are of SKT, Jin Air or KT caliber but backfires horribly when they're not.
KeSPA > eSF
At the end of week two, this was another lesson learned: KeSPA teams are just better than the eSF newcomers. The leaders of SKT are followed by Jin Air, KT and Samsung, all trained in the arts of Proleague, which have shoved IM, MVP and Prime in the bottom half of the table. Although the former two are not far behind in points, something tells me they'll have a very rough time adjusting to the draining Proleague season.
This is not GSTL and the former eSF 'ers will have to learn it the hard way.