Going into this season of GSL and GSTL, StarTale was on top of the world. Life was a multi-time champion, Bomber was resurging, and their roster looked deep. Things went as expected to start, as Bomber advanced to the Round of 16 while the team went up 2-0 in GSTL. The honeymoon can't last forever, of course, and the team was brought back down to earth with a tough 1-4 loss to AZUBU – on the back of strong performances from Symbol and San. Then, even though he advanced to the Round of 16 solidly, Life was unable to scrape through the Group of Death and fell to Challenger League. Bomber made it through to the Ro8, so it's not to say that things suddenly fell apart for StarTale. They're just not looking quite as invincible as they were before.
Even so, tonight is a good chance to get things back on track. Taking down MVP, a team with a roster of comparable depth and helmed by champion-tier players of their own, would do quite a bit to restore StarTale's momentum. If they can claim a victory here, they'll be guaranteed to reclaim first place, as AZUBU fell last night in a close match to LG-IM.
This won't be an easy task, of course. MVP is another one of the league's deepest teams, with DongRaeGu and Sniper headlining the roster. Life has expressed discomfort in ZvZ as of late, and so we'll likely be counting on Bomber to fill that ace role this time around. The supporting cast of KeeN, Noblesse, TAiLS, and Super can all also threaten to take matches in a team league situation. If StarTale wants to win tonight, it'll be about preventing any of MVP's players from gaining momentum. In particular, their starter needs to be shut down immediately.
MVP decided to lead off swinging, sending out DongRaeGu first. Until Sniper's rise to fame in 2012, DRG was team MVP: as their super-ace, he led them to GSTL championships and elevated their team to one of the strongest in the world. Recently, however, he's had trouble finding his footing in Heart of the Swarm. MVP sends him out here, in the starter position, looking to give their star confidence and momentum right off the bat.
Facing him is StarTale's Avenge, one of the team's more unsung players. A consistent contributor to the team's successes nonetheless, Avenge has begun to pick up momentum for himself by advancing to the third round of the WCS Korea Challenger League with a 2-1 victory over SKT T1's FanTaSy. Honestly, though, this first match comes down to whether DongRaeGu shows up or not. Avenge is good, and certainly not a player MVP can afford to underestimate. And he can handle the DRG that we've been seeing recently. But DRG is a champion. If he finds his champion's form, it will take StarTale's own champions to take him down. And even then, there's quite a roster waiting behind him. This match is likely going to be hard-fought and close. And it's definitely one you don't want to miss.
The match will start at 9:10 PM PDT and can be viewed over at www.gomtv.net.
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