OtDiS: 24th January
On this Date in StarCraft
'On this Date in StarCraft' is a series that recounts the storylines of significant moments in StarCraft history that occured on the same date, but in years prior.
On this Date in StarCraft, 24th January:
- 2011/01/24 Mvp beat NesTea in the semi-final of GSL January Code S
- 2011/01/24 MarineKing beat Jinro in the semi-final of GSL January Code S
2011/01/24 - Mvp beat NesTea in the semi-final of GSL January Code S
After the first three, Open, seasons of GSL came the first Code S, in January of 2011. The top tier of Korean StarCraft2 was beginning to settle into a recognisable group of players, and this first edition of Code S would puts its stamp on that, as three of the strongest were meeting in the semi-finals.
In the first semi-final was the real clash of the titans, as team-mates Lim "NesTea" Jae Duk and Jung "Mvp" Jong Hyun met. Despite NesTea being by far the more accomplished GSL player, having been the champion of GSL Open Season 2 and placing top eight in the following season, it was Mvp who everyone looked to as the favourite going into this match-up. The two had met in the final of the Gainward StarCraft2 Tournament on the ninth of January and the result had been far from pretty, Mvp shredding his hyung in a 3:0 sweep to take the title.
That the two were team-mates also tilted the series towards his Terran junior, as their history of practice meant he was well aware of how devastatingly good Mvp was. Many considered him to be the best player in Korea, with the other GSL Open Season 2 finalist, MarineKing, even describing the IM Terran as "the perfect player". NesTea's initial concerns surrounded the maps, with him declaring "if I get maps like Steppes of War or Delta Quadrant, it's going to be very hard." The Zerg got his wish, as neither of those maps were played during their semi-final series.
Both players came into the series in peak form, neither having dropped a single map to that point. In the quarter-finals NesTea had crushed Choya 3:0 and Mvp had likewise displayed dominance against Protoss, beating TesteR 3:0. The Zerg could also, with a victory, become the first player to make two GSL finals. There was also the small side point of a Terran having never won the GSL, and with NesTea the only non-Terran semi-finalist all hopes of that remaining a statistic rested on his shoulders.
2011 GSL January semi-final - Mvp 3:1 NesTea
Set 1: NesTea < Xel'Naga Caverns > Mvp (VOD)
Set 2: NesTea < Shakuras Plateau > Mvp (VOD)
Set 3: NesTea < Blistering Sands > Mvp (VOD)
Set 4: NesTea < Jungle Basin > Mvp (VOD)
NesTea began with a win that left Mvp to remark afterward:
"I could only think 'Wow, that's NesTea-hyung for you'."
From there on out it would be Mvp who produced the winning plays though. In the second set he showed resilience in overcoming a disadvantage, explaining:
"there were many situations where I was behind. However, I knew from experience that I could still win if I focused on one area of his defense. I wasn't completely pushed back in the final engagement so I knew I had a great shot at taking the set."
In the third he turned a failed bunker-in during into a lead, saying:
"When he held it off, I thought to myself 'how did he defend so well?' I finally realised why so many other terrans were having trouble with NesTea-hyung. Still, I didn't think I would lose from that point."
Regarding how the pair had managed practice, both being members of the same team, Mvp addressed the issue for the press:
"Instead of practicing in the team-house, we split up and prepared seperately."
In the end Incredible Miracle's representative in the GSL Code S final would be Mvp. The GSL would have its first Terran champion, being as both players in the other semi-final were Terrans, and it would also play host its first mirror match final.
2011/01/24 - MarineKing beat JinrO in the semi-final of GSL January Code S
In the other semi-final of GSL January Code S the event saw a clash of two Terrans for whom the Ro4 was familiar territory: Lee "MarineKing" Jung Hoon vs. Jonathan "Jinro" Walsh. MarineKing had been the finalist of the second Open Season, making his infamous FoxeR run through both of the previous season's finalists (FruitDealer and RainBOw) en route to the championship match. There he had been bested by NesTea in a seventh map. In the third Open Season had made it all the way to the quarter-finals, there losing to eventual champion MC.
Jinro was the foreign hope, having exceeded expectations in GSL Open Season 3 by reaching the semi-finals. There he had met the same fate as the aforementioned MarineKing, being swept by eventual champion MC, who happened to be a housemate of JinrO's. If MarineKing won the semi-final he would become the first, or tied first if NesTea likewise progressed, to reach two GSL finals.
In the Ro8 MarineKing had swept BW bonjwa NaDa 3:0, while Jinro had overcome IdrA in a battle of the foreigners.
The first semi-final match-up had been a pairing of similar circumstances: the player who had been the best vs. the player who was perceived as the best now, two team-mates and the best players for each of their respective races. This semi-final would be more about the differences between the two players: foreigner vs. Korean, mech vs. bio.
2011 GSL January semi-final - MarineKing 3:1 Jinro
Set 1: Jinro < Scrap Station > MarineKing (VOD)
Set 2: Jinro < Steppes of War > MarineKing (VOD)
Set 3: Jinro < Jungle Basin > MarineKing (VOD)
Set 4: Jinro < Xel'Naga Caverns > MarineKing (VOD)
JinrO took down the first map but then MarineKing took over and never relinquished control of the series. It only took four maps in total before MarineKing had booked his second GSL finals spot, becoming the first player in history to do so. There he would have to face some unfinished business of his own, with Mvp having rolled over him 3:1 in the semi-final of the Gainward StarCraft2 Tournament.
In the first three seasons of GSL the finals had always been TvX and the Terran had always come away with the silver medal. Now the GSL would have its first ever mirror match-up final and its first ever Terran champion.
'On this date in StarCraft' will return in the future with another reminder of, or introduction to, significant moments on a specific date in StarCraft history.
All photographs courtesy of their respective owners. Thanks to TeamLiquid and Liquipedia, which was a source for much of the material contained within this article.