eSports Update: StarCraft II GSL Code S Finals Recap
Another Global Starcraft League tournament has come and gone, with a new set of winners, losers, and matchups we want to see. Check out our recap of the MarineKingPrime.WE vs. IMmvp series and see what the near future of Starcraft II holds.
Global Starcraft League: Code S Tournament Finals
On Friday night, we were waiting with bated breath to see whether Jung-Hoon "MarineKingPrime.WE" Lee's unorthodox Marine-heavy style could overcome Jong-Hyun "IMmvp" Jung's simple, back-to-basics Terran play and become the first Terran GSL champion.
It couldn't. Not even close, as it turned out. IMmvp had MarineKing's strategies brilliantly mapped out and countered. Every drop was stuffed, every base trade attempt beautifully denied, every early-game gambit scouted and defended.
They started on Scrap Station, with MarineKing going for an early expansion into an uncharacteristic mech-heavy Tank/Viking build, and IMmvp starting with an early three-Barracks Marine attack that temporarily shut down MarineKing's expansion and bought him time to set up his own. MarineKing tried to harass, but didn't get much out of it, while IMmvp took the gold expansion, surged ahead in resources, and prevented MarineKing from taking a third base with some brilliant tank positioning. 1-0, IMmvp. (You can watch the replay at gomtv.net for free.)
The second game was on Metalopolis, both sides starting in cross positions at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. MarineKing tried another early expansion, but hid it in the main base next to IMmvp--and IMmvp miraculously scouted it. MarineKing flew the expansion Command Center to his gold expansion, which left him open for drops in his main base and Siege Tank assaults at his expansion; IMmvp decimated MarineKing's worker count by doing both at once while stuffing each of MarineKing's harassment attempts. 2-0, IMmvp.
Their third game was on Xel'Naga Caverns. IMmvp opened with an early two-Barracks Marine attack, which MarineKing managed to defend (barely). Even though IMmvp came out behind from the attack, it let him set up his expansion earlier than MarineKing, and IMmvp continued the Marine pressure and managed to snipe MarineKing's Orbital Command at his natural expansion, crippling his economy. MarineKing had no choice but to pull all his workers and go for an all-in Marine/SCV attack, which IMmvp was more than ready for. 3-0, IMmvp.
The fourth game started out looking a bit better for MarineKing--he denied IMmvp's early Marine/Hellion attack with practically no losses, but threw his lead away by sending two groups of Marines and Marauders to try and open up IMmvp's back-door, losing both groups to IMmvp's Marines and Siege Tanks. That momentum allowed IMmvp to seize map control and prevent MarineKing from expanding, then ruthlessly move in and take out his natural expansion. MarineKing tried to counter-attack, but no luck there. IMmvp beats MarineKing 4-0, nets 50 million South Korean Won (about $45,000 USD), and takes the title of Code S tournament champion.
What's next for IMmvp: Expect big things from the first Terran champion. IMmvp didn't just win the Code S tournament, he destroyed a notorious Terran player (who'd actually dominated all his previous Terran vs. Terran matches). IMmvp's opponents can expect their timings and habits to be ruthlessly dissected--and we may just see an overall increase in quality Terran play as a result.
What's next for MarineKing: Losing twice in the GSL finals is heartbreaking--especially when one of those losses is a 4-0 blowout. MarineKing demonstrated that he has the mechanical skills and creativity to succeed in the GSL, but he needs to go back to the drawing board and refine his basics.
The State of the Game
Fresh off the publication of The Starcraft Bible, Patrick O'Neill has written a great article for sk-gaming.com called The State of the GSL--essentially a look at how the Global Starcraft League is doing in comparison to its Starcraft: Brood War-based older brother, the Ongamenet Starleague (OSL). If you're wondering how Starcraft 2 is faring as an eSport in Korea, it's an excellent read with input from a few SC2 vets (including fan favorite Jonathan "LiquidJinro" Walsh).
Coming Up Next: GSL Season 5, Code A Qualifiers
Start gearing up for a new season, Starcraft fans. In addition to the GSL Team League tournament running from 2/7 to 2/10, the GSL has run through the qualifying rounds for the next Code A tournament--and GSL color commentator Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski has posted a 75-minute video on his YouTube channel showing what it's like to be there. Check it out below: