The newest SC2Improve tournament - the SC2I Winter Series - is now fully underway after today saw the first group of the competition take place. Impact, jjakji, Patience and aLive came into the group to battle over who would take home a share of the $200 up for grabs alongside the qualification spots to the main tournament. Below we have compiled a list of the match VODs (spoiler-free) in case you couldn't catch the games live! Below the links is a recap of the matches which will contain spoilers, so don't look if you want to watch the games first!
Impact vs jjakji
Patience vs aLive
Recap - spoilers beyond this point!
The evening started off pretty much as we all expected. Coming into the group the favorite for most to win the group was Impact. The Axiom zerg player has been pretty hot lately, with strong performances in online cups. Most recently he placed second in the OlimoLeague #17, losing only to Hydra in the finals. His first opponent of the night, jjakji, didn't give him much trouble. Jjakji tried some aggressive openings but fell short of the mark as Impact played a two-base mutalisk opening two games in a row. Impact defended and slowly picked jjakji apart to put himself into the winners match.
Patience against aLive was a slightly harder match to predict at the start of the evening. The two players had played just two days earlier in the IEM Taipei qualifier, which saw aLive take a 2-1 victory. The terran player looked very strong in game 1 - initially proxying a factory and starport and trying to do damage with a combination of hellions and widow mines. Patience held without taking much damage, but as the mid-game began aLive picked up the pace with an insane amount of multi-tasking and keeping Patience on the back-foot with drops. After pushing into a win in game 1 he looked to be in a strong position again in game 2 - but he didn't make it easy for himself. Multiple times he had an opportunity to close out the game but took far from ideal engagements, allowing Patience to stay in it. After a bit of back and forth he finally came out ahead as Patience pulled his probes for one final attack.
Patience fought back well in his next PvT against jjakji. The series was rather one-sided and there isn't much to really mention - Patience built up a standard protoss army and jjakji just found himself with the wrong unit composition. Patience took the two games quite quickly.
Series of the evening - Impact vs aLive was something better than we could have asked for. What happens when a terran player is ahead in two sets of upgrades, up by 20 army supply and pushing towards an abusive position next to the zergs third base? He dies! Well, that's what this series taught us at least. aLive was probably kicking himself after a couple of these games because he was ahead in every single one of them. Impact showed great patience however and over countless battles he was often able to find himself hanging on thanks to well-picked engagements. This series simply showed the beauty of TvZ. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing watch game 3 - Foxtrot Labs - and try to keep track of how many drops there were through the entire game. Then watch game 4 afterwards, on Nimbus, to see an incredible battle which just never seemed to end. There's no point trying to describe these games in great detail - all I can really say is it was beautiful to watch and it was possibly the best series I have ever casted. aLive came out ahead after the series went to all five games.
The downside of having such a great winners match was that it took a long time. By the time Impact vs aLive was over it was getting very late for the players - but the show had to go on. The final series of the night saw Impact mix in a couple of baneling busts alongside some strong macro play. In the games he won he simply outplayed Patience, forcing him to change his build due to losing third bases and more. Patience fought hard and managed to come back from an 0-2 deficit to even up the series 2-2, but it was Impact who was able to close out game 5 with a basetrade after forcing Patience to all-in from two bases by cancelling his third base twice with a 1-1 melee upgrade build. Patience tapped out and Impact went through the group in second place, securing himself $50 and the important qualifier position.
Impact 2 - 0 jjakji
aLive 2 - 0 Patience
jjakji 0 - 2 Patience
Impact 2 - 3 aLive
Patience 2 - 3 Impact