With a myriad of upsets and mind-blowing games, day one of WCS Season 2 set the bar for excitement way high but the quarter final fiesta would have no trouble beating it by the end of the day.
The prelude to the unforgettable entertainment was a five-map series between once-but-no-more underdog aLive and IM's PvT master First. The EG Terran hailed from an impressive 4-0 showing in his group yesterday and was eager to conquer another high-profile scalp and after an impressive showing of skills in game one, he certainly hinted that might be a possible scenario.
What followed were arguably the two best PvT games for the entire tournament. Game two started with a proxy robo by First but quickly escalated into a hectic army trades which covered the battlefield with thunders for solid half an hour. Amidst the insanity of the war, aLive was able to secure an advantage for himself and push in for what seemed to be the killing move but was stopped by the cheer-worthy clutch storms of First.
It got even more grand from there and game three saw an equally longer game, featuring a colossus/tempest armada against the unorthodox viking/ghost compostion of aLive. Two more maps followed after that particular win for First and although neither could get close to the excitement of matches two and three, there was little doubt that this had been a PvT of highest quality
Jaedong gets his revenge
The biggest story of the quarter final was easily the third interation of the Naniwa-Jaedong conflict. Up until the Season 2 finals, the Tyrant had been known for his ZvP struggles and his games against the Alliance Protoss in the past had been particularly hard and for the EG Zerg it was of utmost importance to get a win here. For Jaedong, it was more than just making to the semi-finals but more like defeating the demon that has been haunting him since DreamHack Stockholm.
As his ZvPs thus far in the tournament showed, however, Jaedong had experienced a personal reincarnation in the match-up. Having defeated Rain 2-0 and MC 2-1, the BroodWar legend projected confidence even in the face of Naniwa's 3-0 prediction. He took the first two games with ease, employing a standard roach/hydra mix against Nani's early forge cannon rush and a proxy hatchery in game two to delay the Protoss expansion to the point of poverty.
The Swede did manage to eventually take a map off Jaedong - and on the tough for the Protoss Star Station to that - and made fans believe in his comeback but the Zerg was quick to shut down any hopes of that form.
Taeja shatters Rain on zero
The only series that would not get people excited beyong the point of "Look how f***ing good Taeja is" was the latter's face off against Rain. Although the SKT Protoss did look like he's not in his best shape judging from the group stage games, his performances in the quarter finals was on even lower level.
Even if one is to consider Taeja's magnificence in PvT (and one should), it was obvious that Rain wasn't himself, despite also being known for his skill in this match-up. The Protoss struggled on every turn to make plays against Taeja but was ultimately ran over without providing any real resistance to the Terran in blue. After the shortest quarter final (and the one with a record number of observers killed), Taeja advanced to Ro4 to await the victor of Scarlett and Bomber.
Foreigners bombed out
At the very end of the day, the last hope of the Western world Scarlett went out to face StarTale's Bomber. Although the Korean had been playing arguably the best StarCraft 2 of his career and was enjoying a flawless streak from the group stages, Scarlett came into the match-up full of confidence in her ZvT and so a clear favorite could not be determined right from the get-go.
It was Scarlett that first showed she might be the only foreigner in the semi-finals as Bomber was foolish enough to challenger her to a standard macro game. Suffering the same muta/ling/baneling death like the Terrans before him, the Korean prepared for the next game with the realization that he has to differentiate his playstyle.
And so he did. From multi-point drop play, through 4M compositions backed-up by his trademark and all the way to proxy reaper rushes into hellion/banshee transitions, Bomber tested every aspect of Scarlett's play. The Canadian did manage to take another map in the process - namely game four on Whirlwind which would be praised as one of the highlights of the tournament - but in the end the Korean stood victorious with 3-2, securing the Korean purity of the playoffs.