The first Super Tournament of 2019 crowned its Champion yesterday, so lets take a look at what happened during this fantastic marathon in a slightly different format than what I usually use.
The "rules" are pretty simple – I'll go over the key moments of the tournament that made a lasting impression on me & give them an "Up" if they were amazing or a "Down" if they were the exact opposite of that.
Note: this is not an original idea by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it has some potential when used to give a very concise and straightforward overview of an event. Let me know what you think, in any case I love to try out new shit, I think it's fun. (:
Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously
Stats in the TvP of the Year | Massive Up
This one isn't even a matter of opinion, the first match of the tournament ironically ended up being the best series we got to watch during this marathon – lack of actual seeding at its finest – where the 4x Consecutive Code S Champion brought TvP mech back to life while the Protoss Silver Surfer somehow managed to go blow for blow with the undisputed best player in Korea to finally give some push-back in the matchup after everyone else in his shoes had failed. Incredible nailbiter match that had everything, if for some inexplicable reason you missed it do yourself a favor and give it a go, this series definitely over-delivered aside from the criminal fact it took place in the Ro16.
2. GuMiho's Resurgence | Up
Adding another winning chapter to his incredibly long rivalry with Dark must have already felt amazing for the Towel Terran after a grueling first
, but the fact GuMiho then followed it up by
Stats – who had just eliminated the best player at the tournament – in basically record time without a doubt should have made it clear to everyone the Terran hadn't come to take part in this tournament, he had come to win it. Although he didn't get to add another elite player to his hit list for the rest of the run, GuMiho still made it all the way to the Final and showed he was as good as ever, especially considering how many top players got upset or were damn near close to that throughout the ST while the Towel Terran stayed ice cold for the majority of it.
3. Rogue in 2019 | Massive Down
Choking the tournament away in the Ro8 of Code S yet again had been the best result for Rogue in the entire year so far, meaning this match was a great opportunity to style on his opponent and start a run that would make up for his lackluster 2019 by potentially lifting another trophy. Hurricane even did him a massive favor in taking TY's place, who should have been able to present significantly more problems to the Jin Air Zerg had he figured out how to TvP already, especially considering how hard of a stomp their previous clash had been. I don't think it's an over-exaggeration to say that not even Hurricane's parents probably believed their eyes when instead of that we had to watch the Protoss shitstomp Rogue in three out of the four games.
I'm not sure whether this is just a slump or if the Jin Air Zerg has finally been broken after failing in yet another Code S Ro8 against an opponent he is more than capable of taking down, but in any case it's simply inexcusable to lose in such an abysmal fashion against one of the worst players at the tournament. People will be much more eager to make excuses for you when the monsters in your way are the likes of Maru, Serral or INnoVation but when you fall to "Code A" Hurricane it's either time for a reality check or to pack your bags & move on.
4. The IEM Katowice Champion fails to deliver on his end of the bargain | Down
I legitimately can't believe how underwhelming this match ended up being through no fault of Classic's, because he was never forced to truly turn up due to soO's disappointingly weak play. This could have been considered an "Up" if we were only looking through the Protoss Champion's lens – considering he basically just unlocked an achievement IRL, by beating the three best Zerg players in Korea back to back, in his weakest matchup of course – but I really can't give him as much credit as I'd like, since it takes two to tango. I hope this isn't the last time these legends meet, because otherwise soO will be kicking himself for not bringing his A game in a match that kind of decided the winner of the entire tournament, taking into account what happened on the other side of the bracket.
5. Patience makes perfect, until it doesn't | Down
As the age old saying goes, practice is irrelevant when your opponent does whatever the hell he wants. Against all odds, Patience took out his nemesis herO convincingly but then had to answer for his crime against an extremely overwhelming opponent in Classic. I wouldn't mind if you thought it was a bit harsh of me to put this as a "Down", considering he was clearly the underdog in this match, but Patience really could have pulled off the upset of the tournament here, the eventual Champion literally was at his mercy but instead the unconventional Protoss didn't have it in him to seal the deal. While it was still an impressive overall showing, the "could have been" once again left me more than a little disappointed with the steadily gaining popularity wildcard.
6. The ever present sOs magic on full display | Up
This run was basically fan service for sOs supporters worldwide. First, the Magician proves he's still living rent free in Solar's head to start off the tournament, then goes up against Zest and bullshits his way to the Ro4 in typical sOs fashion, at which point he only loses to Classic – who has consistently proven he has the Jin Air Protoss Champion figured out – which is literally the easiest "out" imaginable i.e. no one can blame you for losing to the best player left in the tournament (imagine if he'd lost to Hurricane instead, people would be doing Olympic level mental gymnastics to excuse it away). In any case, everything went pretty much as good as sOs could have hoped for, he had his fun and made it significantly further than both Maru and Rogue (which I'm sure he pointed out to them at the Jin Air house to extend said fun).
7. Choking it away at the finish line | Down
I love consistency and that's why I would be a complete hypocrite if I didn't give GuMiho a "Down" for his showing in the Final the same way I did when talking about Patience's attempt on Classic's tournament life.
The people who just opened a Liquipedia page, saw the 4-1 in the Final and thought to themselves "lol, what a stomp" really need to watch these games more than anyone else. The Towel Terran put himself in prime position to lock down the first two maps and then even had a window of opportunity to steal away the third, instead I literally don't recall what his single win of the series looked like, I just remember the terrifying force Classic used to seal the deal in the final game of the match immediately after that, where he busted GuMiho's defense open like it was nothing (very reminiscent of what he did to Maru in the Code S Final on Port Alexander against an even better setup).
Choking is the worst way you could possibly lose, since it has nothing to do with your skill, but it's a very real issue that each player needs to overcome on their own. I feel very sorry for GuMiho because this could have been such an amazing moment for him – he was his own architect of this incredible run, because while most of the other players at the tournament were getting upset left and right even starting from the Qualifiers, the Towel Terran held his composure and played to the best of his ability for so much of it – alas there can only be one winner, one Champion and by the end of the Final it looked like this particular trophy was destined to have someone else's name inscribed on it
8. The Champion | Up
With every step Classic marches ever closer to the end of his road, yet regardless he keeps pushing eagerly forward, unable or unwilling to give up on the pursuit for greatness.
What should have been a soul crushing defeat at the hands of Maru in the Code S Final has seemingly ended up adding more fuel to this Champion's fire. The clash with soO wasn't even a contest, his will was then tested in the bizarre close call against Patience and finally he had to hold his mental together again versus the trickiest player to touch this game in sOs. Unflinching and unstoppable, Classic made it all the way back to the Final basically a week after his failed attempt and now had to face the Towel Terran, who prior to this match looked to be completely unleashed.
By the end of the series it looked like a foregone conclusion, but the fact Classic somehow found a way to keep his cool on the edge of defeat so many games in a row was what gave him an insurmountable buffer that would make his victory inevitable. For what could possible be one last time, Classic got to lift a trophy and reclaim the title of Champion.
Having now earned more than enough WCS points to make it to BlizzCon, here's hoping life doesn't get in the way of what's starting to look like the best year in his storied career. Phenomenal showing from Classic to both extend his legacy and cement it even further.
Like I already mentioned, I wanted to keep things more compact, so I decided to stick with the moments that were the most significant for me while watching this great tournament.
As always, if you feel differently, let everyone know why in the comments below.
I can't believe how incredibly exciting this marathon ended up being, if you were someone who just looked at the results and thought "this ain't it, chief" I urge you to give it a shot. Key series worth watching for me were:
Stats | The best match of the tournament, if you're not going to watch anything else definitely don't miss out on this one
GuMiho | The rivalry lives on, stylistic mess that always delivers
PartinG | "This is an island of garbage surrounded by oil spills on fire" was what this series felt like, as Tasteless eloquently put it.
GuMiho | Putting on a Terran clinic in TvP by not Maru (Bunny, INnoVation and TY apologists nowhere to be found by the end of it)
sOs | No chill was had in the making of this PvP roller-coaster ride
Patience | If you enjoy the underdog teasing you with the ability to win and then stumbling over right before the climax
GuMiho | The closest 4-1 you'll ever get to experience
With the first Super Tournament now behind us, I can't wait for the second season of Code S – literally all 16 players from this event have qualified, all we need now is the Groups to be announced – be sure to check out exact countdowns here.
Thanks as always for reading & later! (:
I accept full responsibility for tempting fate into fucking over almost everyone's predictions for this tournament.
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