WCS World Finals preview pt. 4/4: MMA, Bomber, sOs and HerO
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Of the two TvTs in the first round - the second being Polt/aLive - the tournament opening series between MMA and Bomber is bound to attract greater attention. Throughout the StarCraft 2 history, both players forged their unique stories and legacies, universally recognized across the SC2 society.
The "son of the Emperor" MMA comes to Blizzcon fresh off his triumph at WCS Europe, the tournament that finally, after long months of slumping, rocketed him back to the heights of professional StarCraft 2. He went through hellfire's flames and competed against the best of the scene in some of world's biggest tournaments before he could be crowned king again. "MMA is back" wrote every eSports media, all with good reason.
Similar was the story of Bomber. After two years of struggles and fighting the infamous "Bomber law", on August 25th the StarTale Terran defied his curse and took the $40,000 of the Season 2 finals. The long awaited success ignited the entourage of Bomber fans and like in MMA's case the phrase "he is back" was uttered.
Then came the follow-up failures for both. MMA backed up his Europe trophy with a disappointing Ro32 elimination from the Season 3 finals while "the law" caught up to Bomber in Korea Season 3 and sent him first down to challenger where he had to give Effort a walkover due to health issues.
That said, this is as close a match-up as they come. While MMA's and Bomber's characteristic strengths lie in other match-ups, their TvT's are still close to the 60%. While the numbers predict an MMA victory, three of the four previous encounters went into Bomber's favor and even though those were all WoL matches, the psychological advantage cannot be neglected.
In short, if we're to pick the most likely match to go into five games tonight, it'd be that one.
Photos: Helena Kristiansson (MMA), Kevin Chang (Bomber)
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Speaking of close matches, the other opening series between sOs and HerO also shapes to be one. And as it is ever the case with PvPs, one can never predict anything for sure.
Statistically speaking, sOs is the better PvP'er. His whacky and unpredictable style fits the volatile mirror match perfectly. His innovations and out-of-the-box thinking brought him the silver medal from the Season 1 finals and the top four finish in same season's GSL. For a long time he was the new face of the Protoss, the player who was going to show all the conceivable and inconceivable ways the race could be played.
Eventually the world caught up to the Woongjin Protoss' playstyle and sOs' popularity slowly faded away as other KeSPA talents like Trap and Dear pushed him out but this only makes him all the more dangerous. If sOs was a considerable when he was occupying the spotlights, he's an even greater one now that everyone has lowered their guard against him.
Opposite of him we have Liquid's Protoss ace HerO who, like sOs, disappeared from the radar after the first season of WCS. Since then, HerO traveled the globe and tried his luck everywhere but outside his top 4 finish at IEM Shanghai he couldn't do much. While he maintained a good overall record, his PvP plummeted to 50% in the last six months. Statistics-wise, HerO's current chances are not strictly speaking promising.
What one must not forget, however, is that there is more to every StarCraft than statistics. For HerO that's his seasonal power and guess what, it's winter again. It's that time of the year that brings out the best of the Liquid Protoss and rewards him generously for that. This tendency has been spotless for the last two years and if HerO is to make something at Blizzcon it needs to be repeated for a third time.
Photos: Kevin Chang (HerO), Helena Kristiansson (sOs)
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