IPL 5 - Code S Finals Recap with Comments from the Champion

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Sniper Wins Code S

In a close grand finals series of the 2012 GSL Season 5 Code S, MVP.Sniper was able to outlast TSL.HyuN in a full length, seven game showcase of ZvZ. Sniper becomes the second champion from Team MVP, following in the footsteps of his teammate DongRaeGu. Hyun falls short in his campaign to become the second royal roader in the GSL after Life pulled off the feat last season.

image Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime was on hand to present Sniper with his trophy

The series started out well for HyuN, as he grabbed a lead within minutes using a very early pool with gas to decimate a greedy build from Sniper with a Ling/Baneling force. However, Sniper bounced back in the next two maps, deflecting early aggression from HyuN, allowing his superior macro play to kick in throughout the mid-game, seizing a 2-1 series lead.

However, Hyun replied with some stellar decision making on the next map, forcing a cancel of Sniper’s third base with Lings, and then cutting off the retreat of Sniper’s counter-pressuring Roaches with a small group of Lings and killing them with his own Roaches, a move that won him the game in the next few minutes.

With the series tied 2-2, both players set up for a macro game on Whirlwind. Throughout the series, HyuN had teched more quickly to Hydralisks and maintaining a lower Infestor count than is typical in ZvZ, while Sniper used a more standard Infestor/Roach composition with a few Hydralisks. They both had the freedom to build their army of choice, but HyuN was able to out-position Sniper in key battles to put himself one win from the title.

The next two games did not go HyuN’s way, though. His heavy reliance on Hydralisks and a small number of Infestors gave Sniper the ability to land more fungal growths and infested Terrans to zone out battles, and Sniper’s higher Roach count allowed him to catch the slower Hydralisks out of position. Also, in game seven, Sniper mined from a hidden base that went unscouted until the damage was already done to HyuN.

It was a close series, but in the end, Sniper’s ability to out-macro his opponent and HyuN’s reliance on Hydralisks as opposed to high counts of Infestors led to the MVP Zerg taking most of the longer macro games, giving him just enough of an edge to secure his first GSL championship.

Comments from Sniper

We were a part of the post-match press conference with our new GSL champion. Big thanks to GOMTV and IPL for facilitating the interview, and to John the translator as well. Here is what Sniper had to say after his victory:

Do you believe you are the best Zerg in the world with your championship tonight?

I don’t think that way at all, but I think that I have gained a lot of confidence.

This was your first time winning the GSL. What are your thoughts?

I’ve never been more happy than today. Normally when I win, I do not show much emotion, but today in the last set, it was so close and there was a lot of tension. But I think that today was the best day of my gaming life.

Do you believe you can win another Code S championship?

Right now, I am so confident, and I feel that I could make it again. After seeing many champions before not do so well after their win, I will have to put in a lot of work to make it through the rounds.

In the last two seasons, you were knocked out in the round of 32. What changed this season?

I think the biggest difference was that I was able to believe in myself. Our team captain Sang Ho [Killer, former TSL and Complexity player] gave me a lot of confidence, and I think that mindset was key.

In the first set, you played very greedily and lost to an all-in, but despite that you continued to use the same strategy. Were you not worried you would lose again the same way?

The all-in from my opponent, I thought it was something he can only pull off once, and I thought he would not do it again, so I continued to use the same strategy.

When Hyun came back to take the lead, did you begin to lose confidence when you saw him recover from his defeats?

I was very anxious, because I lost not only in all-ins, but in macro games, which I pride myself in, but despite all of that I did not lose all my hope.

What was going through your mind when you lost all of your Infestors in game seven?

Up to that moment, I was confident I had won the game, but I made some mistakes in the engagement and lost badly. I had almost given up at the moment.

Now that you have won a Code S, what is your next goal in your career, or was this your only goal?

Of course I would like to win more championships in the future. I do not have any specific goals in the moment, but I will focus on myself to do better.

Do you think because Zerg is doing so well that this will just be looked at as “It’s just another Zerg doing well,” as opposed to “Sniper is the Code S champion for this season?”

I agree with the idea, and think that Zerg is slightly OP at the moment. Yesterday during the interview, I mentioned that Terran players do not know their shame [I assume Sniper meant Terrans do not know what they are doing/talking about, hard to tell even with translation], and I was severely criticized for that. I think that was a mistake, it was only a slight joke, and I hope fans do not take it seriously.

In today’s match, only one set involved Mutalisks. What was the reasoning behind that?

I have used Mutalisks before against HyuN, and I mentioned that Mutalisks were very good in ZvZ, so I thought he would expect me to use Mutalisks. That’s why I tried not to use them as much as possible.

Championship winning Zergs seem to have different styles. You and DRG use macro strategies, while Life is known for aggression. Is it best for a Zerg player to use many styles, or focus on one approach?

Obviously, it is better to be good at all styles, but realistically it is very difficult, so I have focused on playing a specific strategy.

DongRaeGu gave you a lot of help in the booth today, and you are now the second Zerg champion on the team. Do you think you can replace DRG as the ace of MVP?

I remember my coach and DRG giving me a lot of advice in the booth, but I curiously cannot remember any of it, but I do know it was helpful. As for replacing DRG, I’ve seen him play in the IPL, and he is on a different level than me. It will be very hard to replace him.

Before every set, the fans called out your name. You do not usually see that in Korea. Did it help you or boost your confidence?

I’ve never had an experience like that. I know I am not a popular player, and of course I felt really good.

Did playing in IPL 5 help your play going into the Code S match? Normally, you would have a whole week to prepare, but here you had to play the day after the semifinals. Do you think that helped you going in?

I prefer playing this way, because I am not very good at analyzing, and I prefer to play to my opponents strength, so this way was definitely better.

By winning here, you earned a seed in the GSL Tour Final for 2012; how do you think you will do in that event?

I am not fully aware of what other players are participating in the event, but I’m sure if I put in enough practice that I can go far.

Any last comments?

First of all, thanks to my coach for coming all the way here and supporting me. Thanks to my teammates, for motivating me and helping me practice. Thanks to my family who always watch my games, and thanks to GOMTV for giving me the opportunity to travel overseas for the first time in my life. Thanks to all my sponsors; Razer, GOMTV, and our partner MYM.

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