Part 2 of Red Bull eSports' take on the most thrilling competitive StarCraft matches of the year.
There are good games of competitive StarCraft and then there are the sorts of games that are so dramatic, that so completely defy belief, that you know you're watching a classic even as they happen in real-time. Red Bull eSports chose the five games that made reputations, defined rivalries, and determined championships in 2013. Click the story below to see our previous picks for #6-10.
The Zerg That Would Not Die
5. Goswser vs. HyuN, DreamHack Valencia Semifinal, Game 2 (starts at 21:00)
Michael "Goswser" Dobler had a tremendous DreamHack Valencia and, for a moment, looked like he was about to become one of the major stars of the non-Korean StarCraft scene. He struggled to replicate his successes in WCS America afterwards, however, though he did establish himself as a regular Premier League competitor. But this game stands as a testament to his abilities and potential. He went into a Zerg vs. Zerg match against one of the absolute best Zerg vs. Zerg specialists that Korea has, knowing the odds were slim, and then put up one of the best fights of the year. Game 2 was the stuff of legend only halfway through as Goswser seemingly lost, then somehow found a way to keep playing.
Mvp's Last Stand
4. Mvp vs. DIMAGA, WCS EU Season 1 Semifinal, Game 2 (37 minutes)
One of the things about the best Korean players is that they don't quit. They drag out games by stalling, by harassing, by staking everything on a desperate counterattack to put things back to even. Korean pros have this ability to go "off-script," to feel their way through near-hopeless situations, and find a line of play that will take them back into the game.
Jung "Mvp" Jong Hyun has won more GSL championships than any other StarCraft 2 player, and while his decline seems undeniable at the end of this disappointing year, we still saw some real flashes of the old magic on his way to the Season 1 European championship. This game against Dmytro "DIMAGA" Filipchuk was one of his finest moments. DIMAGA keeps almost knocking him out, but Mvp keeps finding a way to come back. It's a harrowing, agonizing, and thrilling game of StarCraft.
Terran vs. Terran of the Year
3. TaeJa vs. INnoVation - Season 2 Finals, Round of 16 (55 minutes)
There were a lot of amazing series at the Season 2 Finals at Gamescom, but none as breathtaking as the master-class Terran vs. Terran on display from Yun "TaeJa" Young Seo and Lee "INnoVation" Shin Hyung. These two players probably defined Terran play this year, with two very different styles and approaches. Their clash is fascinating. Take notes.
The Tyrant's Test
2. Jaedong vs. Dear, WCS Global Finals - Round of 8, Game 5 (1:01:00)
This might also be the greatest series of the year, so feel free to watch the entire thing. But the last game featured the kind of suspense and drama you might expect from a Hollywood sports drama. You have the newly-anointed king of StarCraft, Baek "Dear" Dong Jun, playing the old warhorse, Lee Jae Dong, who is still desperate for his first tournament win. Given the strength of Protoss vs. Zerg, and Jaedong's own shakiness in high-pressure situations, this seemed like an impossible challenge for Jaedong to face so early in the Global Finals. His response was the defining moment of the WCS series.
Best of the Best
1. Scarlett vs. Bomber - Red Bull Battle Grounds - Ro8, Game 3
Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn never seemed to be able to get the better of Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung. She'd come up a game short against him at the WCS Season 2 Finals, where he cheesed her out of the championship race. When they met the first time at Red Bull Battle Grounds New York, she came up short once again.
But in their final game, Scarlett finally found the way to break Bomber's seemingly unbeatable bio play against her Baneling/Mutalisk play. With her battle against Bomber, not only did Scarlett seem to reach a new level of StarCraft play, but she also found a new way for Zerg to combat Terran in Heart of the Swarm.
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