WCS World Finals preview pt. 1/4: Innovation, Duckdeok, Maru and MC

StarCraft 2 Radoslav “Nydra” Kolev




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People like to doubt Innovation’s recent performances. The would point to his Ro16 eliminations in WCS Korea Season 3 and the Season 2 finals at Gamescom and say that the Acer Machine had lost his invulnerability. Some would believe that the title of best StarCraft 2 player in the world has been transferred elsewhere, to his old rival Soulkey, or the back-to-back WCS champions Polt and Dear.

There was certainly truth to some of those statements. Innovation’s TvT win-rate plummeted after the hellbat nerf, all the way below the 40%. The presence of seven more excellent Terrans at BlizzCon worried Innovation’s fans, made them doubt his chances of advancing all the way to the finals. If that was not enough, the WCS pairings put Taeja, MVP and Maru in the same half of the bracket and further darkened the clouds above the former SouL ace.

There is one thing that goes well for Innovation, however, and that is his otherworldly non-TvT match-ups. Being placed against Duckdeok will give the Terran a chance to show what makes him so good in PvTs and why he’s lost just three matches against Protoss for the last two months to make for an 86.96% win rate in this period.

This makes Duckdeok’s Ro16 mission almost impossible. Playing in the European circuit has not given him the necessary training to beat his compatriots and for the last half year, Duckdeok’s series against Korean Terrans have been both scarce and disastrous. Taeja 2-0’d him effortlessly at the Season 2 finals. MMA disposed of him in three games at Europe Season 3 and a month later Maru did the same at the seasonal finals. While all of the three are no doubt excellent TvP-ers, none of them is able to top Innovation’s record.

That said, expect prompt end to Duckdeok’s WCS adventures unless he manages to pull something miraculous. Innovation will likely make sure this is a quick and brutal match so that he can keep his strengths for any TvT trials the bracket might offer him.  

Photos: Daily Esports (Innovation), ESL (Duckdeok) 




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Just above the Innovation-Duckdeok match-up is a classic battle between generations. On one side we have MC, the revered StarCraft 2 veteran with over $400,000 of winnings behind his back. Over the years, the SK Protoss became the paragon of consistency, managing to sneak in a high-place tournament finish every year and even steal a championship here and there. He outlived rising Protoss talents, GSL champions and KeSPA legends, actuated by the one philosophy that made him one of the greatest players of the game: never give up, endure, win.

Opposite of him is the Prime’s ace Maru, the youngest competitor on the Blizzcon stage. Maru flies to California on the wings of his Korea Season 2 championship and top four finishes at Korea S3 and the Season 3 finals and is without a doubt among the hottest Terrans at Blizzcon this weekend. His multitasking prowess and sheer mechanical speed have been the talk of the office since he trampled through the OSL and the sheer excitement surround this kid is enormous.

As it’s often with such generation clashes, it’s hard to put a finger on who’s the favorite. The two previous encounters between MC and Maru (at Code S Season 2 in April 2012 and the HSC VII qualifiers in June this year) have gone into the Terran’s favor and those were way before Maru became OSL champion. On the other hand, ever since he bester Rain for the trophy, Maru’s TvP has been shaky and he was no obstacle to top tier Korean Protosses like HerO, Dear and PartinG.

Logic dictates that this is likely to be a very close match. Maru is mechanically better than SK’s Protoss and if things go his way, he’s likely to run circles around MC, attacking him from all sides until he collapses. Then again, if there’s ever a player to proudly wear the clichéd crown of “never to be counted out” it’s good old Boss Toss.

Photos: Kevin Chang (both)

Upcoming WCS Grand Finals coverage:

Ro16 preview part 2/4: Jaedong vs Mvp, Dear vs Taeja
Ro16 preview part 3/4: Polt vs Alive, HerO vs sOs
Ro16 preview part 4/4: MMA vs Bomber, Soulkey vs Naniwa


Rotator photos: Daily Esports, SK Gaming, This is Game, ESL
Radoslav “Nydra” Kolev

Editorial veteran of GosuGamers and eSports, Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev lives a life behind a keyboard, his writing powered by obscene amounts of Earl Grey tea, sarcasm and baked potatoes.  Follow @GGNydra.