MLG Spring Arena 2 Day one recap
The penultimate MLG Spring event is already under way as last night the first two rounds from the winners bracket were played. With the good intention to immerse all of you who did not get a PPV pass in the vibrant atmosphere of MLG Spring Arena 2, we take a retrospective trip to the rounds of 32 and 16 and also inspect what the next two days have in store.
The draft system is not the most commonly used practice is eSports tournaments around the world and short of the GSL nominations, we rarely get to see it in action. Coming into Spring Arena 2, there were already stories set in motion before the tournament even began.
The first and most expected one was DRG, Oz, Ganzi and Heart - the Arena top four in the absence of MarineKing - calling dibs on supposedly easy foreign prey and Bling, Grubby, Seiplo and Goody were the first ones picked. There was the case of players deciding not to pick HuK but instead go for Korean powerhouses like Losira, Leenock and Violet, the second-to-last "I guess we are stuck with each other" MMA/MC face-off and, finally and most surprisingly, the fact that no one wanted to play Polt.
Now with that in mind, let's have a look at who played a cruel jape on himself by drafting a bitter loss.
MLG SPRING ARENA RO16
| DongRaeGu||2-0|| Bling|| Bly||0-2|| Polt|| Symbol||2-0|| Dream|| Socke||2-0|| IdrA|| SeleCT||0-2|| Rain|| Tefel||0-2|| Leenock|| Alicia||1-2|| viOlet|| Oz||0-2|| Grubby|| Heart||2-0|| Seiplo|| Sleep||1-2|| HuK|| MoOk||0-2|| Losira|| ThorZaIN||1-2|| Inori|| Stephano||2-1|| Ryung|| Killer||0-2|| Ret|| MMA||1-2|| MC|| Ganzi||2-0|| GoOdy|
Out of all Ro32 matches, the foreign world should be damn proud of Grubby. The Dutchman was drafted by Oz who is one of the undisputed PvP masters in Korea but ended up falling 0-2 to Manuel. Oz tried to play it micro-oriented in the first game and after being shown that you just not beat War3 legends in their own game, he tried to switch around his playstyle. The answer to how well that went lays in the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, Grubby could not bring the momentum to a fruitful ending. In the Ro16, he stumbled onto Violet, giving us two incredibly tense and entertaining series with immortal drops and deadly assault on zerg's hatcheries but it was never enough to break the Korean. Grubby fell as he advanced - with a two-nil.
In the only foreigner versus foreigner match of the night, Socke sat on the chair, prepared his tools and played Idra like a pipe. A cannon rush into a DT play quickly shook the foundations of Idra's mentality and afte the game was won, Socke decapitated the zerg with a gateway aggression which was made even more deadly because of Idra's premature engagement. Socke tried that cannon rush play in the next round against Symbol too but that did not get him too far and the German dropped down to the losers bracket where he is to play either Mook or Thorzain.
Of course, we cannot in a thousand years not talk about MMA vs MC - the opening series that better had set the tone for the rest of the Spring Arena because if so, this will be one of the sickest events this year. Although nothing in the whole world can top today's GSL finals between Mvp and Squirtle, MMA and MC were not far behind. The SlayerS prince opened the series with his signature triple-medivac drop play, teaching MC a new meaning of the word "multitasking" but the boss toss had plans of his own. A pesky dark templar crippled MMA's economy into a tying loss and a well-hidden colossus tech in game three sent the terran to the LB. Yes, that's MMA in the losers bracket as in "but we're just getting started".
Several other storylines saw their beginning in the Ro32. Polt, the terran that apparently everybody fears, justified his somewhat unexplainable powerful presence and after thrashing Bling, he proceeded to beat the ZvT monarch DongRaeGu to the ground, taking his winners Ro8 with a smile.
Symbol and Inori also had powerful runs and while we saw Symbol's outstanding play at the Iron Squid, few feats were expected from TSL's Inori. Yet in one night, the Korean protoss ended Thorzain and Losira and is to play Complexity's Heart today.
It seems that Stephano is cursed always to be that foreigner that constantly delivers blows to the Koreans. He did it at IPL twice and now he's cruising through Spring Arena 2, while other top MLG regulars such as HuK are now on the long survival path through the losers bracket.
As day 2 of the Arena begins, Stephano finds himself as the lone non-Korean in the WBR 3. Seeing what the losers bracket looks like, he might very well be the last foreigner overall in the tournament by the end of the night. Idra and Seiplo are already out after losses to Dream and Sleep. Goody did the impossible and eliminated MMA but now he faces Grubby (meaning that there will be one less non-Korean whatever happens) and then he continues to be in the company of Rain, Killer and Ryung. And then there will be even more Koreans dropping from the winners bracket with arguably the weakest of them being a protoss that killed Thorzain and Losira.
A grim night approaches for the western world. Candles are lit to the eSports gods that western fire is not extinguished in a similar way to IPL 4.
Insightful question, Nydra, thank you for that.
Polt had nothing but TvZ thus far and him being in the quarter finals is a testament to how well he understands the match-up. He now faces Symbol in the Ro8 and should he advance, there's either Leenock or Violet waiting for him. And while every single one of those zergs is a formidable opponent, the tempo plays an important role in a short-time tournament like MLG. Polt enters his next match-up with the clear thought that he's played that before, he's won that before and he's the most dreaded opponent in this event.
Fun fact: when Violet was still playing in Korea, he was undefeated in ZvZ. Now, he "only" has 62% win rate against players like Ret, Sleep, Sheth and Destiny. His WarCraft 3 training has made him very good in controlling small packs of units which is crucial for every zerg mirror. His mastery at sim city defense has startled me not once or twice. Yet despite all this, I feel he will lose this. Leenock has always had talent but he's also had constant period of highs and lows. Since his MLG victory and GSL silver, he's not been doing too well. I'm guessing it's time for yet another peak.
Inori had a good run so far but it feels like an end will be put to it after Heart goes out there and manifests the glory of his Winter Championship top three finish in an easy victory. Heart is 22-8 in TvPs while Inori--for a lack of better word--sucks at the match-up. Expect a quick, one-sided 2-0, unless I am gravely mistaken.
Finally, we have MC against Stephano in the most anticipated winners bracket match for the night. We all know those players. We all love those players. We want the foreign hope to remain alive but we also want to see the jaunty Korean win and perform one of his goofy, dissing ceremonies. Whoever wins, we lose, so let's just f*** predictions and get set for possibly the greatest series of this night.