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WCS Season 1 Finals Recap and Review

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Over the past few months in StarCraft, we saw the American, European, and GSL regional WCS events. This weekend, we saw the best 16 players from the three regional events compete in Seoul, South Korea in the WCS Season 1 Finals. Four groups competed in typical Korean group play to narrow it down to eight players in a single elimination bracket. The event was streamed by both OGN and GomTV, which split the viewership, but provided variety in casters and stream options. OGN production was top notch aside from the occasional bad Twitch ad timing. To fill in downtime, the broadcast had great interviews in the lounge done by the casters not on stage. OGN’s Korean translator Chobra received many positive remarks from the community for his great translation and casual attitude in the lounge.

Day[9] asks Soulkey if he would rather be a duck or a goose.

Day[9] asks Soulkey if he would rather be a duck or a goose.


**WARNING: SPOILERS**

For a list of beautifully labeled VoDs, head here to the WCS page VoDs.

Recommended games: Soulkey vs sOs game 4, Mvp vs INnoVation game 2, INnoVation vs sOs game 4

Day 1
Day 1 was group play of all four groups. This was the longest day of the weekend with the games lasting all night.

Group A: Soulkey, aLive, TLO, Stephano
Unfortunately, TLO and Stephano, two of the three foreigners in the finals, were placed in the same group. Soulkey won both matches easily without dropping a map. TLO beat Stephano in their first match, but both Stephano and TLO would fall to aLive as they were unable to deal with aLive’s strong marine, mine combo.
Soulkey and aLive advance.

Group B: Alicia, Mvp, KangHo, Ryung
This was the closest group with each series ending 2-1. Alicia showed his proclaimed air play using void rays and oracles to win vs KangHo and Mvp finishing first in the group. Interestingly, KangHo used some early game roach, baneling pushes to exploit terran’s lack of tanks nowadays to eliminate Ryung. However, Mvp with some mech play was able to take out his teammate KangHo.
Alicia and Mvp advance.

Group C: ForGG, sOs, HerO, Symbol
HerO, the American regional champion, was expected to perform well in this group, but he had a shaky start against ForGG, making many mistakes. Symbol had a hard time against this powerhouse group and was eliminated by ForGG and HerO. sOs showed some clever PvP play and took out HerO to advance.
ForGG and sOs advance.

D: INnoVation, RorO, Revival, DIMAGA
This group was a cake walk for INnoVation. His superior TvZ made this group of 3 zergs an easy pass for him. RorO was able to win out the rest of the ZvZ battles to also advance. DIMAGA, the last foreigner was eliminated along with Revival.
INnoVation and RorO advance.

Day 2
Day 2 was mirror madness, as all four matches were mirrors. Despite this, we saw some decent games due to the HotS changes.

Soulkey vs RorO
This ZvZ was fairly evenly matched between RorO, the last WoL GSL champion, and Soulkey, the first HotS GSL champion. The games were longer than the previous ZvZ games, and we got to see some nice macro battles. Soulkey was able to win 3-1, but we saw an epic roach hydra into swarm host battle in game 4.
Soulkey wins 3-1.

Alicia vs sOs
Alicia opened up with his usual stargate play, but was unable to do much damage to sOs with oracles. Game 1 and 3 ended fairly early with gateway pushes by sOs before the natural could get up. In game 2 we saw an interesting zealot, immortal, archon, tempest composition from sOs, and he was able to win with superior numbers in a large fight.
sOs wins 3-0.

Mvp vs ForGG
We got to see the matchup that might have happened if ForGG didn’t lose his medivacs to his own mines vs Stephano back in WCS Europe. We saw some usual hellbat harass from both players in the first few games. Game 3 saw a crazy scenario where both players lost tons of SCVs, and Mvp was able to hold off a hellion viking push from ForGG. In game 4, Mvp surprised ForGG with an early bio stim timing push that caught the meching player off guard. Throughout the series, Mvp was always able to find the right time to attack when ForGG was vulnerable.
Mvp wins 3-1.

INnoVation vs aLive
Unfortunately for aLive, he had to face off against the terran in the world, and INnoVation was able to slaughter aLive in a one-sided 3-0. INnoVation did huge damage every game with hellbat drops and was able to defend all of aLive’s drops. In game 3 on Whirlwind, both players opened with CC first, but aLive, attempting to go bio, had his marines and SCVs roasted by an 8 hellbat drop early on.
INnoVation wins 3-0.

Day 3
Day 3 was both the semi-finals and the finals. Soulkey, sOs, Mvp, INnoVation. Who could ask for a better final four, with a guarenteed TvZ or TvP finals?

Soulkey vs sOs
We saw a rematch of the GSL semi-finals here with these teammates. Soulkey was the favorite in this matchup, but sOs proved crafty enough to take the first 2 games off of him. In game 2, sOs used some DT and air play that almost reminded us of corsair-DT from the Brood War days. However, Soulkey was able to come back strong with mass air in games 3 and 4. Game 4 ended with huge push from sOs completely stopped by Soulkey with a swarm hosts and fungals to root. sOs was able to win the decider game 5 using a cannon rush at the natural on Bel’Shir vestige. Soulkey took way too much damage and couldn’t win out after that.
sOs wins 3-2.

Mvp vs INnoVation
If you haven’t seen game 2 of this series, you should do so right away in the VoDs. INnoVation decimated Mvp’s SCVs with an initial marine-hellion elevator drop and then decided to transition to bio. Mvp was behind the entire game, but was able to hang on with a strong mech army. INnoVation switched to BC’s, but was halted by a push with turrets and tanks outside his base by Mvp. Thirty minutes in, Mvp takes an amazing giant engagement mid-map and takes out INnoVation’s mixed army. Mvp played very well this series and also took game 3 after perfectly holding off a marauder rush. However, INnoVation seemed dominant the rest of the series and took the series 3-2 which marked a semi-finals that went to game 5 for both.
INnoVation wins 3-2.

sOs vs INnoVation
This was finally INnoVation’s time to shine after suffering a horrible defeat in the GSL finals. INnoVation took game 1 fairly convincingly. sOs almost won game 2 with a stargate proxy and oracle + gateway push. However, INnoVation was able to stablize after taking many losses, and he somehow managed to take the win. Game 3 was a decent game with sOs using excellent use of feedback and storms from his templar against INnoVation’s bio-hellbat-medivac army. However, INnoVation’s medivac harass ketp sOs’s army at a supply disadvantage all game, and INnoVation won yet again. Game 4 was an epic 40 minute back-and-forth game with sOs making a creative mass Tempest army with templars. It almost looked like it was working at many times, as his tempests destroyed any vikings, and his storms held off marines. However, after many battles, INnoVation was still able to pull through by getting all of his marines under the tempests and obliterating them. INnoVation wins 4-0, but sOs was definitely a worthy opponent that made every game close and entertaining.
INnoVation wins 4-0.

STX SouL INnoVation wins WCS Season 1 Finals.

STX SouL INnoVation wins WCS Season 1 Finals.


In my eyes, the event was a huge success and clearly showcased the best players currently in Heart of the Swarm. The games were entertaining to watch with diverse playstyles as people are figuring out new ways to play Heart of the Swarm. The lounge chat with translation done by Chobra that really brought out the personalities of the Korean players. Finally, OGN listened to the feedback of the community and provided free VoDs of the event to all on Twitch. Imagine what season 2 and 3 and the grand finals at Blizzcon will be like.

Here’s the VoD link again on the WCS page VoDs.

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