Wednesday, December 22, 2010

GSL Finals

I have to admit, I was let down by finals of the GSL last weekend.

I was all excited and pumped up, I even decided to write about the GSL in my column in the Marianas Variety this week just to share even a faint engram of how excited I was. My brother's friend had GSL watching party, where we had pizza and endured the incredibly long and mind-numbing interludes between matches, only to watch TSL_Rain get completely outplayed by OGSMC. There wasn't really a lot of suspense, although there were some interesting plays.

I got the feeling that most people expected Rain to act like Bitbybit and simply all in rush every single game, but I felt like he was straining against that and trying to prove himself to be a bit more than that, and as a result a sort of cautiousness crept into his play. He made the unusual move of going siege tank against protoss in his first two games, as if to prove he wasn't one of those kaduku taisensia na all in freaks, he brought some siege, some marines and medivacs and would bunker like crazy just outside of MC's base. He wasn't rushing but trying to blockade. In both instances, his timing was a bit off. Although he had no way of actually knowing it, MC had already expanded in both games, the first to his protected natural, the second to a hidden base, and so the blockade didn't work since Rain was stuck on one base. In both cases he didn't press effectively, and so MC was allowed to come back.

This is not to say that Rain is not a great SC2 player. You don't get to the finals of the GSL by being lucky or super-cheesy. You have to have alot of skill just to play at that level. But you could definitely see Rain's newness in his play. He started off in a way that seemed to doubt himself and to doubt his style of play.

In the 3rd match, Rain was able to come back by playing with the mind of MC and tricking him into thinking he was going to go two barracks when in fact he was going for the infamous partial "Tasteless Build" to rush out cloak banshees.

In the 4th match, MC almost completely mindf-cked Rain by doing the cheesiest most despicable rush possible where you build your gateway in your opponent's main, pylon on 7, gateway on 8 and then just chronoboost out zealots to tear the base to shreds. The map was Steppes of War which is one of the smaller maps ideal for quick and brutal rushes and I like most people watching was anticipating a super fast Terran Rain rush, but MC shocked everyone (ko'lo'lo'na Si Rain) by rushing his attack before Rain had even built his supply depot.

The 5th game, was the final, although it was very close. Both players got attacks into each other's bases at the same time. Rain snuck blue flame hellions into MC's base and took out all his probes. Rain tried to defend off a zealot-immortals-stalkers-sentry force which invaded his main but could not. It was somewhat close, but ultimately Rain's command center could not escape as it was surrounded by sentries and stalkers picking it off.

OGSMC is a great player. The way he picked apart LiquidJinro in the round of four was so brutal it should have come with a warning for people watching. But I was disappointed that one of the more macro players did not make it to the final to make the last games more epic. It seemed that many players had practiced techniques to try to kill your opponent in that first timing window when they expand, or get them with some sort of blitz tinigong before they are even ready for aggression. I was glad that at least one of the final games (game 2) went to an epic level, with nearly all bases taken and so many things happening at once not even the commentators could keep up. I hope that in the next tournament however there is a good mixture, because the first layer of strategy, the mind games which take place at the very start can be fun to watch, but there is nothing more satisfying than a game which pushes the limits and endurance of both players and the audience by going far beyond what you could imagine at the game's start.

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