CODE S AUGUST!!!!
GSL July has recently concluded, and let me just say that NesTea is a GOD! He has taken three GSL championships now and is not going to let anything step in the way of him getting his fourth. That being said, there are some notable players that are looking to upset him in GSL August. Here's a breakdown of the Code S pools (I will hopefully do Code A, sometime soon).
GSL works similarly to MLG in that it has a pool play system. It is different however in that it has no losers bracket, if you lose, you lose. In pool play, each player plays the player right next to them (see picture above) first. The winners of each game then play a game to determine the first place spot of the group. The losers of the first games then play each other. Finally, the winner of the losers game and the loser of the winner's game play each other to see who else gets out of the group. Essentially, the player who 2-0's and 2-1's goes on in the tournament. If a player 0-2's, he is knocked down into up-down matches, where players must compete in order to earn/keep their spot in Code S. Finally, the player who 1-2's stays in Code S, but does not advance. Afterwards, it's a standard 16 player tournament with Bo3's in the round of 16, Bo5's in the round of 8 and 4, and a Bo7 in the Finals.
Breakdown of the Big Three
In Starcraft 2, there are three Korean players that have consistently shown their skill in their respective races. They have competed in each GSL and each has won at least 2 titles, they are:
In my opinion, the best showman of the three. OGsMC is the Protoss player that everyone wants to be, he is the most badass (showmanship-wise) player in the GSL. His signature thumbs down strikes fear into the hearts of the nerds he is destroying. In addition to this, MC has the largest foreigner fan base, having traveled to many foreign events to compete. His showmanship and solid Protoss player make him one of the best,
P.S. One of his many nicknames is KratosToss, and NesTea is the God of Zerg... and we all know what Kratos does to Gods...
I've already talked about him in my MLG Anaheim post. IMMVP may not show off as much as MC or be as recognized as NesTea, but one cannot deny his solid play of the Terran race. The KISS principle dictates his play, controlling the game with raw mechanics. Winner of 2 GSL championships and the recent MLG Anaheim, look for MVP to be riding high on some momentum in this GSL.
The best player in the world, hands down. I hate to say it, but if you can show me a better player who has been more consistent in play, I will eat my hat. IMNesTea won the GSL convincingly, winning with a PERFECT record, he didn't drop a single game, he beat the best Koreans in the world without losing a single game. Winner of three GSL's and also on some great momentum, all eyes are on NesTea to see if he can become the first bonjwa of Starcraft 2.
Obviously, IMNestea is the favorite. He has won three GSL's and is a favorite even to take the tournament. However, the other player to watch in the pool, SlayerSMMA has earned quite the reputation himself. If anyone can upset NesTea, it would be him (high-five if you know what I'm referencing). IMHappy is known for his convenient alias/team initials and is a solid Terran Player and ZeNexKyrix has solid Zerg play. But in the end, it should be MMA/NesTea out of the group.
OGsMC has a master plan in this group, he picked MVP knowing MVP's worst match-up is his PvT. Doing so ensures that he comes out 2-0 in the group. If everything goes to plan, MVP will come up 2-1 and NesTea will go 2-0. With the way the brackets work, this means MVP will face NesTea in the Round of Sixteen, eliminating one of MC's biggest threats almost immediately. However, MC did not count on MVP (or rather his teammate NesTea :) ) to pick OptimusPrime for the group. Optimus(formally known as Polt) is renowned for the greatest TvP in the world, and has defeated MC on numerous occasions. If the group plays out the way Incredible Miracle wants it, Optimus and MVP will advance with MC knocked out. Needless to say, this is the group to watch in the GSL.
Let's face it, if you can read English, your rooting for Huk. The only foreigner in GSL currently and actually not a bad bet for coming out strong. That being said, there is some tough competition for him in this group. StarTale Bomber is just another one of the many great Korean Players who is a favorite going into the tournament, and TSLKiller is nothing to cough at either. As a matter of fact, Huk picked Killer thinking it would be easy, but Killer responded with two words (in english)... "you... die." Boy am I looking forward to that game. Ultimately, my heart wants Huk and Bomber to come out on top, and there is a good chance for it, but if I had to put money, I would put it on Bomber and Killer.
I'll open Group D up with interesting coincidence. There are two zodiacs that people are familiar with. The Chinese Zodiac that cycles every twelve years, and the English one that cycles every twelve monthes. OGsNada was born the exact same day as me, twelve years before I was born. Coincidentally, he has always been my favorite player, and for good reason. Him, along with TSLClide, are the only two players to ever make it out of every group stage in GSL. This is because of NaDa's incredibly solid an consistent play. Hopefully this means that I will also be like NaDa someday... But any rate, the other player in the pool to look out for is Alicia, a SlayerS Protoss who is reknowned for his PvT. He stinks at PvP, but just his luck, there are no Protoss' in his group. Look for NaDa and Alicia to come out of the pool
Group E features quite a few lesser known, but still quite solid players. ZeNexPuzzle and oGsZenio are my favorites for the pool. Puzzle is one of the best Protoss I've seen in any play and Zenio has unpredictable Zerg play to back him up. However, ZeNexByun made it to the round of four in the last GSL, and has very solid Terran play, but that because of his team telling him if he made it to the Round of Four, he would get a pet dog... If you ever want your player to succeed, just tell him you'll buy him a dog. However with no dog incentive this time, Zenio and Puzzle are my picks for this Group.
As you can see with Group A and B being full of talent, other pools have seemingly suffered. Don't get me wrong, everyone in this Group is good, just none of them have shown me they're great. StartaleTrickster is probably the best player of the four, Trickster has very good Protoss play that simply hasn't gotten him where he wants to be. The other three Terrans are just an example of the overwhelming Terran talent in Korea, as the three are good players, but pale in comparision to the rest of the players. It will be Trickster along with (flips consulting three-sided coin)... TSLAlive, but it could be any of the three.
TSLClide is regarded by English commentator Artosis, one of the best players in GSL. The reason is that Clide was never the All-inner, he never made a bad decision in play, he had solid macro, played safely and defensively and won games with better play. However, Clide does have a little competition with the first game with oGsSupernova, this game is crucial in determining the brackets for later competition . However, the other players are not too good, HongUn, though he made it to the round of four last GSL, has had wrist pains for quite some time now, and Virus has not put on any big wins/results, meaning there's a good chance Supernova and Clide will come out of the groups.
Group H is interesting, none of the players are bad and some of them are players that were big early in the game, but have since fallen off a bit. For example, MVPGenius is just that, a Genius at Protoss play who just hasn't had to best luck in tournaments. IMLosira on the other hand, is the protege of NesTea. If you get confused, MMA is to Boxer as Losira is to NesTea, and in the last GSL Finals, it was Losira vs. NesTea, of course, the one-sided slaughter that was the final was not indicative of Losira's play, as, it is actually quite good. Ultimately, the story of every player here is I know I'm good, I just haven't shown it yet. My bet is a toss up, it should be Losira and the winner of the Genius/July game.
So there you have it. Code S broken down. The games start on August 8th on GomTV. You can watch the SD stream free on the Gom Streamer, however, you will have to pay for HD and complete access to the VoD's. In my opinion, it's entirely worth the money, you guys, Starcraft 2 is a fantastic game not only to play, but to watch and if we keep supporting it, it will take off even more.