Everyone is going to be talking about the sOs vs Jaedong match that happened at Blizzcon yesterday, but I think people will overlook the semi-finals between Maru and Jaedong. These games were absolutely nail-biting, from the insane holds of Maru to the aggression and pure power of The Dong.
Game one was a game that showed off Jaedong's insane tournament experience and Maru's great control and defense. The game started with a great read from Jaedong, knowing that Maru loves his Command Center first play. Instead of waiting for the game to advance to the 3 or 4 base that most players are comfortable on, The Dong opened up with a 10 pool right off the bat. Now Maru had not scouted fast enough, and creates a low ground command center on Derelict Watcher. Jaedong runs across the map with 6 zerglings and starts the attack early, though Maru had walled off at the beginning. An amazing hold, but with Jaedong taking one of his gases, it is slightly harder for Maru to tech to what he wants. He's almost forced to stick to low-gas units for the early part of the game (He also only had one guy in gas during the early parts).
He did create the expansion in his main base, and expanded just fine, however at the 6 minute mark, not the usual 4-5 minute timing. After having that unlucky opener, Maru decided it was time to put on some aggression himself, running across the map with unupgraded marines, only to find that Jaedong had not been going directly into a heavy economic follow-up. The Dong swatted the marines away like it was nothing, and then himself runs back to Maru's natural expansion. Maru has created a single bunker, but it's only got two marines, not allowing it to really defend itself from Jaedong's lings. The lings that he ran behind the mineral line then run back and start taking out workers as soon as Maru transfers his workers to the natural.
At almost 9:30, Maru moves his third CC to his third expansion, but that will be quickly denied by a small pack of lings. Because of the distance between the natural and the third on Derelict Watcher, it becomes really hard for Maru to keep defenses on the natural's ramp while also holding a third base. With Jaedong pushing to the third, Maru sends units to hold it, removing his presence from his natural! Jaedong sends a bunch of banelings and zerglings running into the natural, busting down the bunker and depot wall that Maru had set up.
And with another run up to the natural, Maru has so few units to defend that he just gets completely rolled over in his natural. But he still holds, keeps his natural landed and is still kind of mining. And as soon as he has any army to speak of, he pushes out in an attempt to even things up. Fifteen marines and two medevacs get sent, clearing up some creep tumors, but it's not enough. Maru cannot hope to accomplish anything on the ground while he is on creep, and Jaedong's creep is extending more than half way to Maru's base! Jaedong rushes in with a pack of zerglings and banelings, much more than he needs to clean up the tiny marine hit-squad, and Maru picks up into the medevacs. But Jaedong has timed this so perfectly and comes rushing to meet them with a flock of mutalisks coming from every direction! As soon as Maru sees that, he taps out, starting the series out with a victory for Jaedong.
The win was epic, but even more than the point on the board is the psychological effect on Maru. Getting completely shut down so easily, and particularly with that kind of play countering his comfortable build, is crushing for the player.
Coming soon...when I write it...