Jaedong the first to Season 2 playoffs
- Opening match #1: Jaedong strong against Rain
After his very first minutes in the Season 2 finals, EG's Jaedong made his first steps towards escaping the ZvP nightmare he was put in and stormed Rain's fortress en force, blanking him 0-2.
For a player who's been notorious for struggling against Protoss players for a long time now, Jaedong's performance was almost surprisingly flawless. By perfectly predicting Rain's passive and economic style, Jaedong took a 3-base hydra/link army to his opponent's base and ravaged it with his trade-mark decisiveness. With his colossi caught in the open and separated from the main army and with his stargate tech completely useless, Rain watched helpless as Jaedong chewed through his structures for 1-0.
Game two turned up a longer version of the opening set. A roach/hydra timing attack hit Rain early and wounded his defenses critically, allowing Jaedong to safely initiate an immediate transition into vipers. With spellcasters in the mix, the second attack of Jaedong hit for the jugular. The abducts neutralized the colossis and the roaches and hydras drowned the rest in seconds and Jaedong opened his group with a victorious 2-0.
- Opening match #2: MC comes back against Welmu from a one game deficit
With all eyes directed at Jaedong and Rain, the second opening match between MC and Welmu was broadcasted to twice the smaller audience on the second stream.
And for a few minutes, those 14,000 viewers enjoyed the possiblity of another upset as the Fin opened the series with a point to his account, showing to MC that the brutal stomping he suffered at his hands in the WCS Europe playoffs will not happen again. Welmu's PvP win rate and his track record including a victory over Europe champion Duckdeok further instilled hopes in foreign fans' hearts.
Only the Boss Toss was still not done and an oracle opening combined with a stalker pressure bled Welmu and his fast natural dry as the Fin was forced to pull (and lose) all his probes to defend his expansion. Recovering from this beating on Planet S, Welmu went on to play a stalemate of a game on Whirlwind in which both players were dead even by the 15th minute.
Seconds thereafter came Welmu's uncalculated attack against MC's defenses resulting in the loss of precious archons, a deficit the SK Protoss was able to easily turn into a 2-1 victory for himself.
- Winners' match: Jaedong 4-1's his nightmare
Up in the winner match, two absolute legends of StarCraft met to decide the winner of Group A.
What would become a series of indescribable tension began with long game on Newkirk Precinct. The slaughterfest was given green light as Jaedong spawned a nydus worm south of MC's third and poured hydras and queens all over the gas intensive void ray/sentry army of the Protoss. MC lived but the trade had not gone well for him and Jaedong's switch to mutalisks was already on the way.
In viewers' and casters' mind, the base trade was already played out but MC's actual way of handling this particular situation would surprise everyone. The Boss Toss recalled in his base to cancel chase away the first wave of mutalisks and to turtle and tech to anti-muta army but that held Jaedong only for a little while. The second attempt at base racing developed in full and both the colossus deathball and the mutalisk flock were competing with the clock.
That was the situation until a weird recall by MC that split the Protoss army into pieces. Realizing the opportunity he's been gifted, Jaedong immediately fell back with his mutalisks and engaged the one half of MC's army, reducing it to ashes and finishing the map shortly thereafter.
While an enticing opening, what followed after Newkirk Precinct would be nothing short of spectacular and defined the series as exceptional. MC opened by cannoning Jaedong's third and forcing a cancel, immediately transitioning into what was supposed to be a killing 7-gate timing attack. What it became instead was a recoil of such intensity that it almost blew MC's face away. Reading the Protoss strategy perfectly, Jaedong threw a preemptive warren and started pumping roaches way before the Protoss army had arrived. Additionally, a ling run-by eliminated the single pylon powering six of MC's gateways. Safe from everything, Jaedong's economy exploded, he was soon seven bases to three of MC and in everyone's eyes the game was over.
Only it was not. MC's unparalleled fortitude allowed him to live through several waves of ultralisks as well as the powerful mutalisk switch by Jaedong. Through storms and archons, the Boss Toss clawed his way back into the game inch by inch. Hatcheries fell all over the map and Jaedong's economy was eventually dragged below that of MC. It was more than 40 minutes after the start of the game that Jaedong finally admitted defeat after matching MC's ferocity with determination of his own.
Game three would be shorter but no less exciting. MC kept Jaedong in an early game darkness by opening gateway expand before transitioning into a gateway timing attack. That raid would take down Jaedong's third and give start to five-minute tug-of-war, defined by the constant rallying of units from both parties. Eventually, it would be MC's overextension that would break the army stalemate and award Jaedong the 2-1 victory and the first place in the group.
- Losers' match: Rain holds on to his chances
Another PvP determined the first competitor in the Season 2 finals to go home as Finland's Welmu crumbled before the power of SKT's Rain.
The Fin did manage to nevertheless to keep his life for three games before typing his final GG. He started by dropping the first map after hopelessly charging with his 1-base blink stalkers into the powerful, hard-countering phoenix/immortal army of Rain. A quick recovery followed, however, as a sneaky DT took down an "Artosis pylon" of Rain, equalizing the series in the blink of an eye.
But the power of the Korean could not be extinguished and like in the series against MC, Welmu attempted a faster nexus into immortals opening and once he was punished by a one-base play. Through slicing force fields and impeccable targeting, Rain picked up a unit after unit until Welmu was left with nothing. Rain would live to fight tomorrow.
Current Group A standings:
|MC||vs||Welmu||2 – 1|
|Rain||vs||Jaedong||0 – 2|
|Jaedong||vs||MC||2 – 1|
|Welmu||vs||Rain||1 – 2|
|Rain||vs||MC||2 – 0|
More WCS Season 2 coverage:
Korea goes to Cologne: An overview of the WCS Korea contingent
Alone amidst the wolves: Scarlett at WCS Season 2 finals
Defending the home turf: Grubby, Naniwa and Welmu at WCS Season 2 finals