After a month of non-stop Starcraft II action, we're down to the last two players in the Global Starcraft League's third Open season.
GSL 3 Round of 4 Recap
While everyone was hoping for a finals match between Jonathan "LiquidJinro" Walsh (Terran) and Min-Chul "oGsMC" Jang (Protoss), sadly, it wasn't to be. Instead, they met in the semi-finals--and Jinro was destroyed in four straight games on Steppes of War, Xel'Naga Caverns, Shakuras Plateau, and Jungle Basin.
oGsMC set the tone from the first game with some early Zealot/Stalker pressure that sliced up Jinro's Marines, stopped his Bunker from completing, and stopped his SCVs from mining long enough to take the lead. While Jinro had an intriguing proxy Factory play that led to some Hellion pressure, it was too little, too late. Jinro's macro-heavy Terran play simply couldn't measure up to oGsMC's impeccable timing pushes and consistent pressure.
Meanwhile, Seo-Yong "TSL_Rain" Park (Terran) took out Hong-Wook "HongUnPrime" Ahn (Protoss) in a 4-2 series full of back-and-forth action. Perhaps the highlight of this series was simply seeing TSL_Rain deviate from his characteristic all-in infantry pushes (including his workers) and mix up his game with more macro-oriented early expansion strategies.
What's next for Jinro: Lots of practice with the oGs team, since Team Liquid is staying with them in Korea. While he didn't make it all the way this time, he managed to get himself a Code S ranking, so he'll be in Korea for the near future--which means he'll be surrounded by great players. Expect good things from Jinro once MLG starts its 2011 season, if it doesn't conflict with the GSL.
What's next for HongUnPrime: His stalwart Protoss play has certainly earned him a handful of fans, although he's not quite as flashy as Chris "LiquidHuK" Loranger. What's more, he's shown that he's willing to use every tool in the Protoss arsenal, including rarely-seen spells like Hallucination, so he'll do well in the upcoming Code S tournament--especially if Protoss gets a buff in the next big patch.
GSL 3 Finals Predictions
"Any Given Sunday" applies just as much to Starcraft II as it does to football, and this GSL season is no exception. No matter how much prediction or analysis I write, the winner will always simply be whoever managed to play the better game that day. Nevertheless, here's my pick for the GSL Season 3 champion.
TSL_Rain has demonstrated excellent mechanics, solid game-sense, and a willingness to fully commit to an attack when his opponent is ever so slightly vulnerable. His gameplay style has taken him far, and it's perfectly suited to Terran play, which rewards players who attack early and often.
However, oGsMC has an impeccable stable of Terran players to train before the GSL 3 finals next Friday. His goal during practice will be to defend and mask his vulnerable timings and drag TSL_Rain into a longer, drawn-out macro slugfest--a game which TSL_Rain seems particularly uncomfortable in.
Of course, Terran vs. Protoss matches already favor the Protoss in longer games, because High Templar can shut down Terran infantry attacks across the map with Feedback and Psionic Storm. In short, TSL_Rain will be playing to win for the first 12 minutes or so of each match, while oGsMC simply has to not lose. As much as this Terran player hates to say it, I'm picking oGsMC to win it 4-2.
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