Maru Sweeps GSL Code S Finals

StarCraft 2 was elevated to new heights this evening with Cho “Maru” Sung Choo winning his second consecutive code S GSL title. Maru not only surpassed other terrans in this era with his dominance from a young age but became a towering figure in the world of Starcraft. Maru’s now can now be mentioned among the greats.

Maru

The win over Joo”Zest Sung Wook puts Maru on a path that only a few Starcraft professionals have been able to conquer. A third win in Code S would far-surpass any player in the era. The player who started as a young 16-yeard old is now on the brink of accomplishing feats few players have before him.

In light of this, Maru’s sweep over Zest will go down as one of the more lopsided victories in history. From start-to-finish, Maru had the upper hand. It was evident from Darkness Sanctuary on that this was Maru’s game to win and no one would be able to stop the onslaught. On most maps, it was a landslide victory, with Maru having a constant advantage in the economy and having the bigger numbers.

The 4-0 sweep will mark one of the largest margins of victory in GSL history. Maru’s separating himself from the pack, and putting himself on a path toward Starcraft glory. Maru can already be mentioned among the likes of Lee”Flash” Young Ho and other legends of the game. His sweeps confirm his dominance over this era.

 

Advertisements

Overwatch League Going the Distance

 

AOOOOOIn the past two weeks, 12 games have gone to a game five. That’s the most in a two-week span this season. Three of the four teams currently sitting in the stage three playoff spots didn’t make stage one or two playoffs. The London Spitfire are two games under .500, San Francisco Shock are in a playoff spot, and the Boston Uprising are now unbeatable.

What the **** is going on in the Overwatch League?

Uprising Industries

The Boston Uprising is the biggest story of stage three for many different reasons. Obviously, the team dismissal of talented projectile-DPS player Jonathon “DreamKazper” Sanchez due to inappropriate behavior with a minor, left a major void on the Uprising starting lineup. Despite a good start to the stage, it felt like the inevitable doom was coming for the Uprising.

Enter Stanislov “Mistakes” Danilov, a Russian-born player with many considerable functions in-game as the projectile-DPS alongside star Tracer-main, Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon. Since Mistakes took over the DreamKazper role, the Uprising haven’t missed a beat. He’s not only filled a need, but has in some ways excelled in areas DreamKazper wasn’t as proficient in.

The most improved team from bottom-to-top is the Uprising. Even before the DreamKazper release, Lucas “NotE” Meissner was starting to drastically improve, and a tank line that went under the radar began to make big impacts on games. Same goes for the support line Kristian “Kellex” Keller and Park “Neko” Se-hyeon, who are both producing more healing stats (mainly Kellex) and contributing extra damage and final blows (mainly Neko). And of course, the play of Striker has put his name right near the top of any MVP discussion.

Overall, the transition has been seamless for coach Da-hee “Crusty” Park and the Uprising staff. It’s been a combination of the rest of the team stepping up in his absence and the coaching staff finding ways to put Mistakes in the best position to produce. The Uprising is not only 6-0 in stage three with wins over the top three Korean-dominated teams (Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior), but bring in a 10 game winning streak from stage two, and are only four games back of New York for the first overall seed.

Shocking the Overwatch world

The Shock is a great feel-good story. Sitting at 10-16, six games behind the Philadelphia Fusion, their chances of a playoff run are rather slim. However, this is a new roster and they still have the stage playoffs. The Shock dropped eight games against the Dynasty and Valiant in the stage three matchups, but also have wins over the Gladiators and Fusion. It’s still a work in progress.

Signing Jay “Sinatraa” Won, Matthew “super” DeLisi, Min-ho “Architect” Park, and Grant “Moth” Espe added talent to an already talented player base. The early return on these players is looking great, and as teams like the Uprising, Fusion, and Valiant have shown, if the talent is there, it will only take time before they catch up to the rest of the league. It’s still uncertain what this new rosters ceiling is, but the way it’s constructed feels as if it can adjust to any meta-swings and has players still learning the pro-game.

Furthermore, it will allow Dante “Danteh” Cruz to be unleashed on the league. Adding Sinatraa will allow Danteh to flex onto other roles besides Tracer, mainly getting to play Sombra. The Sombra usage in the league is still being played with, but the advantages of having Danteh lets the Shock run it on most maps. The other signing of Architect is the Widowmaker this team has been looking for, and Super’s the space creating main-tank that Danteh has been looking for.

The strange results of the Dynasty, Spitfire and Excelsior

Lastly, the oddities associated with these three teams continue in stage three. The New York Excelsior continue to start bad and end with a smile, reversing sweep their last two games. The London Spitfire keep losing that game five, and the Dynasty can’t beat teams over the .500 mark anymore.

Expectations and reality are reaching a breaking point with these teams. The Seoul Dynasty and London Spitfire are only two games ahead of the seventh-seeded Houston Outlaws. The New York Excelsior have only dropped three games, but it’s clear that teams are catching up with them too. It’s a mad scramble among the Overwatch League playoff teams.

Nevertheless, these teams will be big players at the end of the season, and this is more than likely a bump in the road. It’s the world of Overwatch balancing itself, as the non-Apex players have finally caught up with the level of competition being so high. The results clearly show that it’s not a three-team race. Any of the six playoff teams can beat anyone at any time. That includes the NYXL, who struggled in both stage finals as the favorite.

the great thing is the that the fans are getting one helluva show every single night in the Overwatch League. The margins of player skill are razor thin from top-to-bottom. Seemingly every team has a few sleepers ready to have a breakout performance, and that’s going to make stage four and the run towards the playoffs unbelievable.

Overwatch JJoNak Steals Show at All-Star Game

Jabsusus

The evolution of Widowmaker play in the Overwatch League is rather interesting. Pick rates still sit around 30% for all maps, but her presence league-wide is felt. Teams with strong Widowmakers almost seemingly have a leg up over the rest of the competition due to how dangerous of a character she is at the hands of Overwatch professionals

Consider this, according to Winston Lab, Widowmaker currently sits as the sixth most picked hero in the Overwatch League. Of the top six heroes, Widowmaker is the only one with a positive rating overall and has the highest percentage of team kills. Even if she’s a map dependent hero, the threat of a strong Widow on the opposing team changes the entirety of a teams gameplan.

The power of Surefour’s mother is taking him over the top. Photo via Los Angeles Gladiators twitter

However, it helps to have players like Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim or Lane “Surefour” Roberts. Two players who are known for their pure aiming skill and put that to good use on Widow. For both players, it was a struggle to find playing time when trying to find a role on their teams. It wasn’t until Widow became a more frequent pick that both broke out and earned more playing time.

Looking back, the uptick in Surefour’s Widow picks has shown steady improvement in his play and the play of his teammates (well that and having Fissure boop everyone with primal rage). In the Gladiator wins, Surefour is successful at finding the backline and making teams pay for leaving supports exposed. Surefour’s got the most player of the match titles on the Gladiators and most of those of his Widow play.

So what do Surefour and Pine getting more run on Widowmaker mean for the rest of the league? It means coaching staffs are finding new ways to incorporate Widow. She’s becoming more of a threat through better positioning and the constant improvement on players landing critical shots. Fans knew Florida Mayhem’s Jeong-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha had incredible aim, but sitting on a 33% critical hit percentage is shocking. It’s the best in the league by a wide margin.

Bananas