WCS Season 2: Foreigners triumph at last
Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev 15 weeks, 1 day ago
The pairing for the WCS Season 2 playoffs are done as the Ro16 comes to an end. Two regional breakdown is two foreigners and six Koreans and the racial - two Zerg, three Terran and three Protoss.
More WCS Season 2 coverage
Rain shuts out MC from the $400,000
As the new day broke over Cologne, the WCS Season 2 finals picked up where they left off last night - the deciding matches of each of the four groups.
Victims of Jaedong's outstanding ZvP, MC and Rain met in the fifth match of Group A to fight for the fifth spot in the playoffs and winning meant playing Taeja and his TvP in the quater finals. And so the battle commenced, spearheaded by Rain's thirst for blood. Usually known for his passive playstyle and flawless defense, there was now a different Rain, eager to bring aggression to the enemy. Gracefully executed 1-base blink stalker overwhelmed MC's immortals to give the KeSPA player an early advantage. "I found a little trink to micro blink stalkers and I think I am the best in the world in that now," later said Rain in his post-game interview.
Even more uncharacteristic aggression came from Rain in game two. Microing just a couple of stalkers and a mothership core, Rain was able to trade most efficiently in the early game, giving himself a nice advantage right at the start of the match. A rangeless colossus timing followed from Rain as he committed to take down MC early but that only backfired horribly and gunned down by photo overcharge and immortals, Rain was chased away tail between legs.
It would only be for a short while that Rain would be on the defensive, however. Upping his colossus count to three and finishing thermal lance triggered a second push and this time MC was in deep trouble. Babysitting his colossi and microing them with uncanny precision and diligence, Rain pushed the Boss Toss further into his base and kept pressing despite the zealot warp-ins thrashing his base. A decision that paid out with a GG from MC for the 2-0.
First negates Polt's revenge
Beating Polt 2-0 yesterday, First had not even the slightest intention of giving the Terran a chance to return the favor and in two games, the IM Protoss yet again showed why he is the recipient of PvT praises.
First opened game one with a very bold triple nexus play into robotics facility and emphasis on upgrades, creating thus a large enough window for Polt to hit. Weirdly, the Terran would not take advantage of this particular situation and let First get his tech up.
Polt's offense still came but a few minutes later, which made the result of it even more impressive. Despite the units First was pumping out, Polt was able to assault multiple locations at once, kill a nexus and escape relatively unbruised. The manic plays continued and soon the Protoss was spread so thin that he was living by the skin of his teeth.
Yet amidst all the madness, there was two things going right for First: a) he wasn't dead yet and b) Polt had not taken a fourth base. Put together, it meant better economy and better upgrades for the Protoss and once this advantage finally kicked in, Polt was helpless. Chargelots and storms withered down his army to nothing and the game had to be conceded.
While the second game would for almost as long, it was decided quite early in its development. After catching and killing the initial reaper of Polt, First immediately threw down a third nexus under the unsuspecting nose of the Terran. Sitting on two bases without any idea he's getting more behind by the second, Polt continued to play it standard without reacting to First's play. When finally Polt came to see the full picture, it was already a bit too late for a comeback. His do-or-die bio attacks - although successfully taking down First's natural - could not turn the game around and with a singular punch of his immortal/archon deathball, First was able to secure a playoffs spot for himself.
Foreign triumph at last
In the final match of Group C, two Protosses met each other for the third time this month. Naniwa, the foreign hope of team Alliance, challenged yet again Europe's champion Duckdeok in attempt to break his losing streak against the MVP player.
Competing against the odds and his 1-5 record against Duckdeok, Naniwa tasted trouble right from the start of the series. Opening with a stargate, the Swede had no adequate defenses to repel Duckdeok's early stalker pressure and only by the power of a last second photon overcharge preceding the death of his MSC was he able to stay alive.
It was then that the ingenuity of Naniwa kicked in to solve the game in his favor. Warping zealots through a forward pylon and combining them with his astray oracle, Naniwa assaulted Duckdeok's mineral like, kill five probes and force a recall from the Korean, lifting the siege at his natural. A gateway/void ray attack followed from the Alliance player and for the first time in his rivalry with Duckdeok he was ahead in maps.
That 1-0 lead would be doubled into full triumph just minutes later on Star Station. Being all sneaky, Duckdeok opened with a proxy gate only to have it immediately scouted and negated, allowing Naniwa to simply a-move with his stalkers and overwhelm the Korean for a 2-0.
"See here? This is where Naniwa wins it!"
Another champion down
At the very end of the Ro16, the sole North American representative Scarlett faced Korea's champion Maru for the eighth quarter final spot. With the countdown ticking, StarCraft 2 fans set their eyes on the Canadian who was also competing to be the second foreigner to make playoffs after the elimination of Welmu and Grubby and the success of Naniwa before her.
Game one opened with both players being on equal footing for the majority of the mid game. The tug-of-war between the 4M composition of Maru and the muta/bling swarms of Scarlett saw no clear victory with the two players doing exactly what they needed to - Maru keeping the creep off of his side of the map and Scarlett not allowing the Terran army to bloom into unstoppable wave.
The balance of power changed abruptly as the thick flock of mutalisks caught and erased a sizeable chunk of Maru's army, finally allowing Scarlett to take the supply lead. Snowballing into unsurmountable numbers was easy from that point and a few minutes later Maru had to tap out as every details of his play was being picked apart by mutalisk raids.
Game two saw the swift demise of Maru as his double proxy rax was promptly scouted and cancelled, leaving the Terran is a scrappy position. Trying to make something of the few tech he had, Maru went for reactor hellions into mech but neither of those steps worked particularly well for him. Hellions were taken down by drones and his mech was easily overrun by an unstopping roach stream and Scarlett advanced to the playoffs to represent the whole of North America.
Final group 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|