The third season of the Global Starcraft League has come down to the final four players, setting up some epic semi-finals matches and eliminating some big names. Also, GSL's Code S rankings have been released, which will set the stage for the next season of Starcraft 2 competition.
Global Starcraft League: Round of 8 Recap
You can't mention GSL 3 without talking about Jonathan "LiquidJinro" Walsh (Terran) from Team Liquid. While he was somewhat slow to emerge in the professional SC2 scene, he has rallied in an amazing fashion over the last month, winning MLG Dallas and powering through several high-level Korean opponents in the GSL to make it all the way to the round of 4.
This has guaranteed him Code S ranking (explained later) and marks the furthest that any non-Korean player has made it in the GSL. With crushing wins over Seong-Hun "PoltPrime" Choi (Terran) and Hyung-Sup "choyafOu" Lee (Protoss) in the round of 16 and round of 8, respectively, there's no doubt that Jinro has caught the world's eye going into the semi-finals. Watch his first round of 8 match here.
The rest of the round of 8 matches were no less momentous, however. Fan favorite Jung-Hoon "MarineKingPrime" Lee (Terran, formerly known as "Boxer") was beaten handily by Min-Chul "oGsMC" Jang in four games (watch the game), while Season 1 champion Won-Ki "FruitDealer" Kim (Zerg) and season 2 champion Jae-Duck "IMNesTea" Lim (Zerg) were both eliminated by Hong-Wook "HongUnPrime" Ahn (Protoss) and Seo-Yong "TSL_Rain" Park (Terran), respectively.
Not only were both champions eliminated, they were the last Zerg players remaining, which is particularly impressive considering Zerg were over-represented in the round of 64 (40% of the round of 64 players were Zerg). With the last Zerg out of the way, the GSL throne is up for grabs between two Protoss and two Terran players. (Watch the FruitDealer/HongUnPrime and NesTea/Rain games.)
The most interesting finals matchup out of these four is LiquidJinro vs. oGsMC, since Jinro is staying at the oGs clan house for his stay in Korea. By all accounts, Jinro and MC are good friends with plenty of practice against each other--but you can't practice for the GSL finals, with $87,000 and the championship title at stake.
Code S Rankings Released
While the last three GSL seasons have been "Open" tournaments, with no seeding and a qualifying tournament that's open to everyone, the format will change once we start up in 2011. As players have progressed in the GSL, they've been accumulating points which can either rank them as Code S (top 32) or Code A (33 and below), which will determine their placement in the next few tournament brackets.
The difference between the two is largely structural: Code S players will be playing among themselves in longer round-robin matchups, while Code A players will be playing best-of-one matches until the round of 16, so we'll see more games between the Code S players than we will in the Code A tournaments. Also, later in 2011 we'll probably see a tournament between the lower Code S and the higher Code A players where the Code S players have to preserve their top 32 ranking.
The preliminary Code S listings are at GOMTV, although they're still subject to change since GSL 3 is still in progress. At the moment, there are 14 Terran, 9 Zerg, and 9 Protoss players in the Code S rankings, including MarineKingPrime, Yo-Hwan "SlayerSBoxer" Lim, Yoon-Yeol "NaDa" Lee, and both Kyu-Jong "Clide" Han and Dong-Nyung "LeenockfOu" Lee from their epic round of 64 match earlier this season. Meanwhile, Greg "EGIdrA" Fields and Jonathan "LiquidJinro" Walsh are no doubt marked men in the top 32 as the only non-Korean Code S players.
For more info, read the rankings at GOMTV or check out this Team Liquid forum thread that further explains the GSL ranking system.
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