The last day of the WCS Season 1 Finals begins today. The stage is set, and the StarCraft world couldn’t have asked for four better players to compete for the $40,000 and 3,000 WCS points that today’s winner will receive. Our finalists are Mvp, INnoVation, sOs, and Soulkey. They’ve battled through their respective regions’ Premier Divisions and have given us many memorable games throughout WCS Season 1, but their hardest test stands in front of them now.
For now, let’s take a closer look at our four finalists and track their road through the tournament.
Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun’s reputation precedes him. He’s the most successful player in StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down in Heart of the Swarm. Mvp’s road through the WCS Europe Premier Division was not as easy as some would have expected, however. In the Round of 32 Group Stage, Mvp finished second behind accomplished European Zerg player DIMAGA. He even dropped a game in the advancement match to Protoss player Socke. For a brief moment, the world thought, “Can Mvp actually be knocked into Challenger Division?”
The second Group Stage in the Round of 16 wasn’t much better. Mvp once again finished second in the group behind LucifroN. However, while it wasn’t easy, Mvp still managed to make it into the single elimination playoff stage. It was there that Mvp reminded us he’s one of the absolute strongest players in the world. From the Round of 8 onward, Mvp only dropped one map en route to his WCS Europe Championship, taking out TLO, DIMAGA, and Stephano in dominating fashion.
Upon starting the WCS Season 1 Finals, Mvp was again plagued by inconsistency in the Round of 16 Group Stage. After defeating Ryung 2-1 in a very close Terran vs Terran set, Mvp narrowly lost to Alicia to fall to the advancement match of the group. There, he eliminated KangHo in yet another close 2-1 match. However, he advanced to the Round of 8 bracket and soundly defeated tournament surprise ForGG 3-1.
From here, it only gets harder. Even though Mvp excels in a bracket format, he’s tasked with taking on arguably the best Terran (if not the best player) in the world: INnoVation.
Lee “INnoVation” Shin Hyung has been widely regarded as a world class Terran for some time. Recently, though, he’s been regarded by many as one of (if not the) best players in the world. However, he’s shown some weakness lately. After making it to the WCS Korea Premier Division finals where he was widely expected to win, he fell 4-3 to another of our Season 1 semifinalists, Soulkey.
Despite finishing second in that tournament, he’s dominated his way through the group and bracket stages in the WCS Season 1 Grand Finals so far. He handily defeated Revival in the opening match and only dropped a map to preview GSL Code S champion RorO. In the Round of 8, INnoVation easily dispatched of aLive 3-0.
In his Terran vs Zerg and Terran vs Protoss matchups, INnoVation has a style that relies on consistency and aggression. He can get caught by Terran players that play either cheesy or overly aggressive, and this could give Mvp a chance to win the matchup. However, INnoVation vs Mvp is likely to be a very close match.
Kim “sOs” Yoo Jin has been a force to be reckoned with in StarCraft 2 ever since he started playing. He’s assembled an almost 70% win percentage in ProLeague and was a favorite to win WCS Korea this season. sOs dominated his Round of 32 and Round of 16 Group stages by handily defeating such favorites as MarineKing, soO, Bomber, and TaeJa. In the single elimination brackets, he defeated KangHo 3-2 before finally falling to eventual tournament champion Soulkey in the semifinals.
At the Season 1 Grand Finals, sOs advanced in a very difficult Round of 16 group. Even though he lost to ForGG in the winner’s match, he defeated Symbol and HerO to finish second in the group. In the Round of 8, he soundly defeated Alicia 3-0.
Now, sOs finds himself rematched against the man that eliminated him from WCS Korea: Soulkey. This matchup will again be difficult for sOs, but he’s had some success against Soulkey in the past including the incredibly close semifinals in WCS Korea where Soulkey narrowly won 4-3.
The last of our final four players here at the WCS Season 1 Grand Finals may very well be the favorite to take the entire tournament: Kim “Soulkey” Min Chul. Soulkey started with a bumpy start this season in WCS Korea, as he finished second place in his Round of 32 group losing 2-0 to Flash. From there, Soulkey dominated the Round of 16 group without losing a map in his matches to YoDa and Flying.
During the WCS Korea playoffs, though, Soulkey had one of the hardest roads to his eventual championship. Every single one of his matches in the playoff bracket went the distance, as he eliminated PartinG 3-2, sOs 4-3, and eventually INnoVation 4-3 where Soulkey came back after losing the first three games of the set to win four games in a row to capture the championship.
Here at the WCS Season 1 Grand Finals, Soulkey has dominated. He advanced in the Round of 16 Group Stage by defeating aLive and TLO without losing a map. During the Round of 8, he eliminated former GSL Code S champion RorO easily 3-1. Now he finds himself rematched against sOs who he defeated in the WCS Korea Season 1 semifinals 4-3.
Thoughts and Conclusion
The semifinals of the WCS Season 1 Grand Finals promises to be one to remember. All of our players are very evenly matched and have recent records that indicate they’re at the top of their games. Looking forward to the finals, we’re given a lot of potential great storylines. If Mvp advances against INnoVation, we could potentially have a matchup of the most winning StarCraft 2 player of all time against this season’s WCS Korea champion, Soulkey. If INnoVation advances, we could have a rematch of the WCS Korea Season 1 Finals. sOs is getting lost in this, but he’s been playing so strong through this season that it would not be surprising to see him standing on top of the podium after all is said and done.