This Week in StarCraft II eSports

Former champion Mvp's struggles continue and Axiom faces EG in the SC2L regular season finale.

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Is it officially time to start panicking about Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun? The “King of Wings," who earned an elimination last week in the European WCS Round of 32, has won just a single major championship since the release of Heart of the Swarm. That’s despite the fact that many of StarCraft’s hottest players are leading Marines and Medivacs into battle, yet this rising tide hasn’t floated Mvp’s boat.

Admittedly, he won WCS EU Season 1, finished fourth in the Season 1 Finals, and placed well at the last IEM World Championship, but recently he lost in the round of 16 elimination for Season 2, and just earned a round of 32 elimination this past week. He’s still tied for the sixth in WCS standings, and perhaps this only seems like a slump because he spent years being the most accomplished StarCraft 2 pro in the world, but the current trend is not a good one.

Admittedly, Premier League’s format means that one bad day can have shockingly dramatic results, and there is no denying that Tobias “ShoWTimE” Sieber turned in a terrifically strong performance against the Korean legend. They were both close series, so perhaps Mvp just had the misfortune of running into a player who had his number. It does, however, mean that he heads into the fall with a lot of doubts to silence.

It may have been a disastrous week for Mvp and NaNiwa, but it was good one for TargA, Happy, and ShoWTimE, all of whom surpassed expectations to advance to the round of 16. Dmitry “Happy” Kostin, in particular, looked dominant in his games against Kim “duckdeok” Kyeung Deok. In Game 1 he proved that his aggression is to be feared, and in game 2 he demonstrated an uncanny game sense that exploded duckdeok’s entire plan.

In the end, duckdeok still advanced alongside Happy after defeating Dario “TLO” Wünsch in their final meeting in the decider match. But it was an awkward start for his European title defense, one that follows on the heels of a lackluster showing at the Season 2 Finals. He’ll have to be better, while Happy can really just focus on doing more of the same. This is a good time for a Terran to be on top of Terran versus Protoss, and Happy clearly has it it well in hand.

SC2L

The SC2L finished its regular season play this week with a final series between Axiom and Evil Geniuses. EG’s playoff berth was already in the bag, but for Axiom it was do-or-die time thanks to mousesports holding the tie-breaker between them.

After a dominant start from EG’s aLive, beating both Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen and Kim ‘Ryung’ Dong Won, Axiom battled back to even the series at 3-3. The ace match came down to Axiom’s Alicia versus EG’s Jaedong. It was the perfect ending to a dramatic series, one that was a testament to how exciting team leagues can be.

The most surprising thing about this game is that Yang ‘Alicia’ Joon Sik survived the early game at all. Jaedong’s early aggression put the Protoss on the back foot right from the start, and he seemed to be ahead of all of Alicia’s attempts to fight his way back to even. His scouting was impeccable, but Alicia showed why he’s such a resilient player.

He didn’t overextend trying to turn the game in a single fight, chose his moment, and then relied on his usual stunning micro control and positioning to break through what should have been a manageable defense for Jaedong. Jaedong had a ramp, a choke, and spine-crawlers to fend Alicia off, but it turns out that Stalkers are nigh-unkillable if the Protoss player can consistently pull them off the front line before they get taken down. Jaedong inflicted a massive amount of damage, but barely dented Alicia’s firepower thanks to Alicia virtuoso control.

EG will have a chance to get revenge this week in the SC2L semifinal. They play Axiom again on Monday, 11 AM PDT over on www.sc2l.gg, right after Team Liquid takes on Acer at 9 AM. The top two teams will settle things at DreamHack Bucharest next week, which should be a great addition to an already stacked tournament.

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