When you come down to it, there was just one thing between Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn and a shot at WCS glory this year: Protoss. With her upcoming match against 2012 Battle.net World Championship winner Won "PartinG" Lee Sak at Red Bull Battle Grounds, Scarlett must once again face down her most hated matchup and show that no more Protoss will force her out of major tournaments.
PartinG, meanwhile, comes into Battle Grounds after an anticlimactic post-championship year. He’s gone from standing at the top of the world’s pro StarCraft community to struggling in the Korean Premier League’s round of 8. This tournament is PartinG’s best shot at a major victory all year, and starting against a Protoss-phobe like Scarlett could be just the way to pick up some momentum.
What’s really exciting about this matchup, however, is that both players and the game around them are very much in flux. Zerg vs. Protoss has become problematic for Zerg players at the top level, but Lee Jae Dong showed at the WCS Global Finals that there are still a number of ways for Zerg to beat even the most aggressive of Protoss timings, especially if Zerg have good map presence.
Scarlett has gone from a regional star to emerging as one of the best Zerg players in the world - strong on two of the three matchups and only really struggling with Protoss at this point. Her Zergling-Baneling play and perfectly timed switches into Mutalisk, combined with a fantastic game sense, have given her an arsenal of weapons to draw from.
PartinG, on the other hand, plays a great Protoss game… but not necessarily the most current Protoss game. He’s not a timing wizard like Baek "Dear" Dong Jun, nor is he as aggressive and borderline cheesy as WCS champion Kim "sOs" Yoo Jin. PartinG, at his best, plays an elegant game of StarCraft, winning through smart maneuvering with good compositions, and avoiding risky all-ins. His game against Flash in WCS Korea this last season is a testament both to PartinG’s classical style and his cool head under fire.
Scarlett shouldn’t count too much on a straight fight, however. PartinG, asked about the new balance changes, indicated that he might be ready to consider some more early game pressure, though he mostly focused on Terrans.
Yes, I like the Oracle patch,” he said. “I think so many Terran tears [will now] flow.
With Choi “Bomber” Ji Sung in their group, both players will especially want to start off with a win and avoid a trip to the losers’ match. This will be a hard enough group to survive without having to play the extra set while staring elimination in the face.