Super (Hero) Tournament Preview, Part 2Thursday, Apr 18 7:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
We continue with part two of TL's comic-book themed preview of the GSL Super Tournament (Read part 1 here), a change of pace from the 'normal' previews you've come to expect and enjoy. As I ran out of ideas for these comparisons, I had to wonder if it would have been better to go with the original idea of comparing each player to a different flavor of Mountain Dew instead (once again, the presenting sponsor of the GSL).
Spoiler alert: May include plot spoilers for superhero comics and movies released to this point.
Match #5: Solar vs sOsSolar / Spider-Man
Sometimes, you get so used to a person's unassuming, friendly demeanor that you forget about the power that lays within. It's easy to get caught up in Spider-Man's origin story, his wisecracks, and his everyman persona and forget that he's insanely goddamn strong. He lifts tanks, stops moving trains, and gets into fist fights with people like the Hulk.
So it is with Solar, who we tend to visualize as that helpful dude who translates for his fellow Koreans at HomeStory Cup and occasionally tries out a galaxy-brain strategy. It's only when he does something like sweep TY at IEM Katowice that we remember he's a multiple-time tournament champion, and that he was just a single win away from reaching BlizzCon in 2018.
sOs / Doctor Strange
No one really understands how Doctor Strange's powers work—we just say it's 'magic' and call it a day. The Sorceror Supreme's StarCraft II equivalent is sOs, one of the few players who has seemingly magical powers. Whenever we see sOs topple a championship-caliber player with his bizarre strategies, all we can do is shrug and say "typical Protoss bulls***." While the mystical arts can seem unstoppable when they work, there appear to power limitations that only the wielders know of. For instance, Doctor Strange has clearly demonstrated that he knows transmogrification spells, but he for some reason he desists from just transforming all of the bad guys into confetti. Likewise, sOs can rattle a full-power Maru and eliminate him from BlizzCon, but somehow he can't just win that GSL Code S championship already.
Prediction: sOs attempts to summon the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, but Solar quickly binds sOs' hands and mouth with webbing before he can perform the mystic incantations. sOs tries to use his flying cloak to fly away, but is knocked out by a web-swinging Solar.
Solar 3 - 2 sOs
Match #6: Dear vs ZestDear / Hawkeye
Remember when the first Avengers movie came out and we were introduced to Hawkeye the bad-ass? You know, that guy who infiltrated secret bases, raided flying aircraft carriers, and fought off an alien invasion. Then, they he started having to share screen time with a bunch of other heroes like Falcon, Scarlett Witch, Vision, Black Panther, some guy called f***ing "Ant-Man" ... the list goes on and on. Eventually Hawkeye got so crowded out of an ensemble cast that he had to skip an entire movie.
Anyway, about Dear. A long time ago, back when he was winning back-to-back GSL/WCS championships, Dear seemed like the most awesome Protoss player on the planet. Then sOs came along and won BlizzCon. Then herO came along and won three IEMs. Then Zest came along and became the best Protoss player of HotS. Then Stats powered up in Legacy of the Void. The point is, you can be a great player and still be overshadowed by an influx of new talent. Welp, at least Dear got to enjoy that amazing twenty-match PvT streak before it was ended by Maru, much like Hawkeye got to enjoy having a loving family before... uhhh, that thing happened. Presumably.
Zest / Iron Man
If you take away all of Tony Stark's high tech weapons, all that's left is a handsome man with a lot of money. Why, that sounds kind of like Zest! At this point, Zest is almost more famous for his good looks than his championship-winning resume—after all, he's still prominently featured in IEM's marketing and media materials, long after StarCraft II has been replaced by CS:GO as their marquee game. He's also got riches a plenty, having earned over $400,000 in prize money in addition to what we assume was a handsome salary during his five year stint on KT. But more than anything, we've come to know Zest for his wealth INSIDE the game, where he always seems to have more minerals and gas than he knows what to do with.
Yes, making a Zest-bank joke was the entire point of this comparison.
Prediction: Though Zest's armored-suit is damaged by some ridiculously specific 'anti-Zest's armor suit arrows,' he survives with just enough power to take out Dear with an energy blast.
Zest 3 - 2 Dear
Match #7: herO vs PatienceherO / Domino
During heyday of Blink-upgraded Stalkers in Heart of the Swarm, we might have called herO Nightcrawler for his ability to vex his opponents with his nimble teleportation skill. Nowadays, he seems more like the probability-bending Domino, whose power is to manipulate luck to make everything go her way. If you watched herO's top four run at IEM and his series against Dear and Trap, you'd have to assume that herO used that exact same power to make his opponents play at their worst possible level for six consecutive games.
Perhaps this ability will avail him again in this upcoming match against Patience, whether it be hallucinated Phoenixes failing to scout a key building by an inch, a missed Pylon block on a ramp, or just a complete and utter brain fart.
Patience / Baby Groot
Patience and Baby Groot are hardly intimidating at first glance. Baby Groot is an tiny, adorable, anthropomorphic tree, while the equally adorable Patience bears the same aura of harmlessness due to qualifying for just one of three Code S tournaments in 2018. Just when we think we've got them figured out, things takes a macabre turn. Baby Groot is suddenly involved in a gruesome massacre of a bunch of space pirates (I don't care what Marvel says, that was not justified self-defense), and Patience is single-handedly eliminating Zest from the GSL RO32. What the hell? Anyway, the lesson is: Groot may not be the one to slay Thanos, and Patience may not be a championship contender in the Super Tournament, but don't count them out to play a key role in the outcome when it's all said and done.
Prediction: Patience wraps herO in a tangle of vines and is about to choke the life out of him, but suddenly falls dead after suffering a fatal allergic reaction to herO's coconut-oil based lotion.
herO 3 - 2 Patience
Match #8: soO vs ClassicsoO / The Silver Surfer
Sometimes the obvious comparison is the right one, as eight-time major tournament runner-up soO has been called the Silver Surfer since long before anyone decided to write a gimmicky tournament preview. What people may not know is that the Silver Surfer is an awesome character to be compared to. To be brief, the Silver Surfer is an alien demi-god who flies around the universe searching for life-rich planets for his nigh-omnipotent master to devour. In terms of power level, Silver Surfer is one of the strongest characters who makes regularly appearances in the comics, which is fitting considering that soO's six Code S finals appearances makes him one of the most accomplished players in the GSL. And just as the Surfer eventually escaped his bondage to Galactus, soO shed his silver-shackles to win a career-affirming championship at IEM Katowice.
Classic / Old Man Logan
No, this isn't the familiar version of Wolverine we're comparing Classic to. Instead of the clawed warrior in yellow spandex, we're talking about his worn-down, aged re-imagining in Old Man Logan. This version of Logan finds his powers of perpetual regeneration diminished, baring him to the ravages of both physical harm and old age. Despite having spent years buried underneath cynicism and hopelessness, a ferocious berserker still lurks within, waiting for the right cause...
At twenty-seven years of age, Classic is practically ancient by pro-StarCraft II standards. His near-championship run in the previous season of Code S was perhaps a more captivating story than even Maru's fourth consecutive title, as the old veteran had to use every ounce of his resourcefulness to fight his way through the playoffs. Now we must wonder if that second-place campaign was Classic's last flame, or if this blaze of glory will continue until the end of the year.
Prediction: soO laments having to kill such a noble warrior, but nonetheless vaporizes Classic with the power cosmic.
soO 3 - 1 Classic