Lee Jae Dong facing off against Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung is exactly the kind of match we've been waiting to see out of WCS America this season: two veterans near the peak of their abilities, hoping to set the tone early for their 2014 season with a win over a major rival.
It's a rematch of last year’s Season 2 Finals battle, where Bomber took the title with a dominating 4-0 against the Zerg legend. A lot has changed, however, since the summer. Jaedong is at the top of his game as the 2013 WCS runner-up, while Bomber has at times struggled to recapture the success he had in Season 2, when he could do no wrong.
This is a dangerous matchup for both players because both players are used to having the initiative and being able to dictate the pace of their games. Jaedong has sometimes squandered big leads simply because he is determined to crack unbreakable positions, while Bomber is always ready to pull his SCVs and go all-in the moment he senses weakness.
Both Bomber and Jaedong have learned to trust their micro abilities to get them out of trouble, and Bomber in particular is a master of parade-pushing through seemingly overwhelming opposition. But misreading who should be on the offensive, and who should be in a more reactive stance will be fatal here. For Bomber, the early and mid-game are probably his best windows of opportunity against Jaedong, while Jaedong's late-game tech switching could give Bomber fits. However, Jaedong has a tendency to favor Baneling and Mutalisk compositions that Bomber is very good at defeating.
Recent performance favors Jaedong, but it's impossible to erase the memories of how easily Bomber swept him out of the Season 2 Grand Final. It will doubtless loom large for Jaedong as he prepares for this rematch.
Both Bomber and Jaedong could advance from this group without a win in this first series, since either would be a favorite over Protoss players Yoon "Arthur" Myung Hyuk and Ke "Has" Yu Feng. Still, the start of the 2014 WCS season has been a bloodbath for star players, with Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi self-destructing in his group and Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn getting blindsided by Huan "TooDming" Hui Ming. Given how many fluky defeats their peers are suffering, neither Bomber nor Jaedong will want to end up in the loser's match against an unfamiliar Protoss.
Bomber and Jaedong are the opening game in WCS America Group D on Wednesday, Feb 26 at 3:00 PM PST. As always, the games will be streamed live at BattleNet.
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