A long string of near misses in big tournaments over the last couple of years, led to plenty of questions about StarTale’s Choi “Bomber” Ji Sung coming into the finals of the second season of Blizzard's World Championship Series. But Bomber answered all of them with a spectacular win against at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.
You can’t say Bomber had it easy. The Korean Terran had to go through a previously flawless Yoon “TaeJa” Young Suh and a Lee Jae Dong who seemed to have addressed a lot of his issues with StarCraft 2. But against Bomber, they weren’t just beaten. They looked outclassed, and badly under-prepared for the exploitative aggression that brought Bomber to this final day of competition.
For a long time this looked like either Jaedong’s or TaeJa’s tournament. Jaedong crushed Kang “First” Hyun Woo in the day’s first semifinal, along with any notion that “JvP” is a bad matchup. Jaedong kept up the pressure early, refusing to allow First to enter the lategame that he desperately needed. A deadly pincer attack in their second game on Neo Planet S obliterated First’s army on what should have been a strong move-out, and seemed to send First into a spiral. For their final game, First was hopeless, missing force fields and then blinking his Stalker into a mob of slow Banelings off creep.
CLASH OF THE TERRANS
TaeJa, in the other semifinal, was in trouble from the start against Bomber. All his dominant victories from the past two days were forgotten as Bomber made him look like he was standing still. Bomber’s daring offensive pressure was too much for TaeJa, who seemed to be expecting far slower games than Bomber was offering. He got picked apart by Banshee harassment in Game 1, and overpowered by numbers in Game 2.
TaeJa managed to rally as Bomber got a bit too aggressive for his own good. Bomber lost Game 3 when he overextended and left half his army on TaeJa’s side of the map, cut-off from reinforcements. That was the opening TaeJa needed to kill it off and turn the game in his favor. Bomber tried for an even quicker decision in Game 4, which fell apart when TaeJa fended off his harassment and then punished him for his greedy expansions with a much larger army.
TaeJa undid himself in Game 5 when he threw away two early Banshees that were supposed to hamstring Bomber’s economy or kill off his Marines. Bomber exploited the miscues to place TaeJa in a chokehold, denying him any further expansion and forcing him to initiate a series of bad exchanges in an attempt to break out. When Bomber began his final push, TaeJa had nowhere near the army he needed, and it was spread across too large a front.
Halfway through Jaedong’s final series with Bomber, you had to wonder if Jaedong had bothered watching any of Scarlett’s games against the Korean Terran. Because for four games in a row, Jaedong tried to employ a similar Zergling/Baneling/Mutalisk combination that Bomber already showed he could defend with ease. In fact, Scarlett did far better than Jaedong, perhaps because today Bomber had already had five games to come to grips with the matchup.
There’s little to say about the games themselves. Jaedong got the games he wanted in Game 1 and 2, and Bomber won those anyway with superior spreads that denied Jaedong his Baneling hits, and Jaedong compounded the errors by engaging Marines with his too-few Mutalisks. By Game 3, Bomber was confident enough to cheese, plunking three bunkers down on top of Jaedong’s natural on Neo Planet S. In Game 4, again, Jaedong tried to make his composition work against Bomber’s bio, and once again failed to get his connections, giving Bomber a finals sweep.
Bomber’s style, in some ways, functioned as a trap on this final day. Both TaeJa and Jaedong seemed too confident that they had his number, that they had obvious counters in their back pocket. TaeJa seemed to trust that macro and late-game focus would get him home, while Jaedong went with a classic bio counter that couldn’t overcome Bomber’s micro. By reacting so predictably and confidently to Bomber, they gave him exactly the matchups he wanted and expected, along with the Season 2 trophy.
The win came a couple days short of the anniversary of Bomber’s last big tournament victory at MLG Raleigh 2011 and may have finally proven to fans that Bomber’s Law has been overturned.
For the latest news follow Red Bull eSports on Twitter.