2008 Club Day Online MSL
(≃ $78,073 USD)
The Club Day Online MSL was marked by the dominance of the Six Dragons. The semi-finals consisted entirely of players representing this Protoss formation, namely free, Kal, JangBi, and Bisu. It also marked the third MSL victory for Bisu and cemented JangBi's reputation as a "Silver King".
A brief preview of stats:
Bisu has already won 2 MSL golds and is looking for his third medal at this point. Sealing this victory would crown him as the leader of the six dragoons. Boasting a vs Protoss: 30 wins - 9 losses (76.92%) record makes him quite a fiercesome opponent. At this point, Bisu's kill record in the MSL consists of Hwasin, Firebathero, and Free. He only lost one set to Free proving that it is incredibly hard for him to lose a single game in any match up. This is the height of Bisu's prime and this crown would set him as #1 protoss for a very long time.
JangBi on the other hand is 4th on the list of dragons during this reign of protoss. However he had the second best PvP record "vs Protoss: 18 wins - 8 losses (69.23%) " setting him only second to the Dragon leader, Bisu. His run consisted of taking down Memory, YellOw[ArnC], and Kal. In a final 4 bracket consisting of all protoss JangBi was able to prove his PvP accordingly and challenge Bisu in the final showdown.
This year had not been kind to Kim Taek Yong. He was slumping heavily, was traded from the team he loved, and also suffered injury and sickness. We had seen this happen so many times before, when a once dominant player just can't win anymore. It seemed inevitable that Bisu would fade from relevance, that he would go from a legitimate championship threat to a washed up veteran who was cheered by fans from his golden years. From January to September, Bisu was a pedestrian 34-32, barely over .500 and headed in the wrong direction. Bisu had barely qualified for the Club Day MSL, beating BaBy in the final match of his Survivor Group. In the Round of 32, Bisu overcame a loss to FireBatHero to advance past BackHo and Much.
Then, something unexpected happened. Bisu defied all modern progaming logic and went on a ridiculous tear, going 13-3 in Club Day and 20-4 overall, including a 12 game win streak. He went on to win the MSL without ever facing an elimination game. The Club Day MSL began with a mediocre TvT between fOrGG and Leta. Eighty-six games, thirty two players, and two months later, Bisu became the first Protoss to win three major individual league titles, joining the ranks of Nada, iloveoov, sAviOr, and July.
What is it about the autumn? The leaves turn shades of red, yellow, and gold, and two more Protoss champions are crowned. For those keeping score, Stork and Bisu won the 12th and 13th Protoss major individual league titles, boosting them into a tie with Zerg. Terrans lead with 21, but are 2-4 against Protoss in the fall.
"Two influential Protoss figures, yet completely different from each other—one that emphasized strength, the other that demonstrated fluency; one that was orthodox, a high templar born of royalty, the other unorthodox, a dark templar born from the darkness." —Marencielo, "Duality" translation from Sense of Star
Game One @ Athena 2
Both players opened gate-robo, with Bisu delaying range to get faster shuttle speed. Perhaps due to his nerves or his manner pylon attempt in JangBi's main, Bisu misplaced the zealot on his ramp, allowing JangBi's probe to sneak in and see the fast robotics. While this may not have made a huge impact on the game, it did allow JangBi to expand slightly earlier and more easily deflect Bisu's initial reaver harass.
Bisu didn't get any probes, but managed to fire off a few shots at JangBi's defending goons. Meanwhile, JangBi's first shuttle snuck into Bisu's main and sniped two probes, barely escaping under goon fire.
Bisu then lost his shuttle to goon fire in front of JangBi's natural. Losing a speed shuttle with two reavers for nothing at this stage of the game was a horrifyingly costly mistake. In a match-up often decided by a handful of units, Bisu not only gave JangBi an 800 mineral, 400 gas lead, but also would be down two reavers in the next battle. Barring your opponent also losing a shuttle similarly, the game was essentially over.
JangBi massed and attacked Bisu's natural. Bisu held with a terrific flank, which would lead many to believe he could come back, but if you paid attention to nexus lights and mineral line saturation, Bisu cut massive amounts of probes to pump out the units necessary to survive the attack.
Consequently, JangBi's second army was considerably larger than Bisu's, and was being reinforced by more gateways. Bisu made a mistake by clumping his four reavers, but JangBi already too far ahead, and won the fight with two groups of units and two reavers left over.
This game was terrifying for Bisu fans. Absent mindedly losing a shuttle was just something that Bisu never did, and it meant that Bisu was probably crumbling under the pressure. The next game would be critical. If Bisu did not take game two, JangBi would win 3-0.
Game Two @ Destination
The bridges of Destination became Bisu's Rubicon. While the MSL observer focused on zealots chasing a probe in JangBi's base, an astute fan instead watched the minimap, where a little yellow square appeared at Bisu's natural. When Bisu put that nexus down, the die was cast. His MSL title hopes rested on those bridges.
Bisu had opened one gate core expo, traditionally a sin in PvP that usually led to a quick, unceremonious loss. He even added his robo before adding his second and third gates. JangBi went two gate range robo, and on a normal map would just roll Bisu's fast nexus with superior dragoon numbers.
JangBi attacked, with six goons and a zealot against five goons. However, Bisu defended brilliantly, using probes and the bridges to his advantage. He suffered some probe losses but since his natural nexus warped in before JangBi's was even started, he secured a huge advantage.
Bisu opted for reavers while JangBi went templar. Boosted by his econ advantage, Bisu took his third and attacked, crushing JangBi's army and taking down JangBi's third even after again losing a shuttle with two reavers in it.
Up one base and with a much larger army, Bisu's next attack ended it.
Bisu's shuttle carelessness was worrisome, but luckily for him it did not matter this game. The series was now tied.
Game Three @ Byzantium 2
Bisu opened proxy 9 9 gate at a slightly off-center spot, which prevented JangBi from discovering it until too late. JangBi scouted the center position where he proxied against Kal, but Bisu's gates were hidden perfectly.
When Bisu's first zealot arrived in JangBi's base and started engaging, JangBi knew immediately it was a proxy 2-gate and put down a second gate of his own.
Both players proceeded to lay shield batteries. Bisu was consistently ahead two zealots, and JangBi was forced to pull probes and take extra hits to prevent his buildings from being destroyed.
When they finally engaged, Bisu's army was larger and he had healthier zealots.
With excellent planning and solid micro, a calculated gamble by Bisu pays off. Bisu would later credit the gate positioning to coach Kingdom.
Game Four @ Medusa
Bisu was now one win away from his third MSL title. History was on his side: Bisu was 10-3 in Bo5 series overall, but was 10-0 once he secured two wins.
Both players opened gate rage robo gate. Bisu opted for a shuttle while JangBi got a nexus defended by ground reavers. This gave Bisu a small but significant timing window to attack. Bisu mentioned in interviews that he had practiced this exact situation many times, and that he could win if he controlled his reaver well.
Bisu attacked. The zealot goon numbers were roughly equal, and Jangbi's second ground reaver joined the fight halfway through, but Bisu had a shuttle.
Bisu's reaver fired eight scarabs, killing one of JangBi's reavers and damaging the second. JangBi's two reavers combined for ten scarabs, but two were wasted on a zealot and two were negated by shuttle popping.
Bisu's reaver lived, and the result was an overwhelming win for his army.
At the most critical moment in this MSL, Bisu's execution and reaver control were flawless.
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