HSC is almost over, with just the finals to go before the winner will be crowned. Duking it out will be Acer's Nerchio, the Polish Zerg who has been more than on-point in his games, taking out the likes of MC to get to the finals, and IM's YongHwa, the Korean qualifier who had the question marks surrounding him, as he was a quite unknown player to date.
Once again a finals which isn't all-Korean, something which seems to happen more often lately, and I can't say I dislike it. The European contender for the win, Nerchio, had to battle through the previous champion MC to earn his spot, while YongHwa 3-1'd up and comer Zerg Golden to advance. Being used to Korean competition, would YongHwa be able to take down Nerchio, or will Nerchio finally silence the haters and win the tournament?
The first game was characterized by YongHwa's favorite and go-to build. He did some early aggression to keep the Zerg occupied while he built up a blink-stalker and colossus force. YongHwa's build is specifically designed to punish the Zerg before he'd get a greater spire, checking for the hive every so often. As soon as Nerchio did tech to his hive YongHwa sprung into action, amassed an army and attacked. The zerg army was relatively weak as Nerchio was preparing for Brood Lords, while YongHwa had committed all of his resources to killing the Zerg before Brood Lords came out. Even though YongHwa had poor execution he was able to reel in the win, taking the advantage over Nerchio 1-0.
Nerchio, smart as he is, went into the second game preparing somewhat differently than he did in the first game. He read the strategy that YongHwa has used throughout the tournament and countered it by building a lot of defensive spine crawlers and building up an army of zerlings and infestors to back it up. YongHwa's early aggression was also held off easier this game, preventing it from doing any impressive damage. This time when YongHwa tried to hit his timing he was quite simply put destroyed. With his favorite build figured out and the match all tied up, YongHwa was back at the drawing board.
In game three the Korean Protoss came up with the quite uncommon one-base Dark Templar rush build. Nerchio felt something was up and started building spores, but cancelled them when YongHwa did a fake expand to his natural. The game looked pretty grim when YongHwa warped in multiple DT's while Nerchio had no clue, but incredibly he defended and maneuvered his drones to the point where he only lost 9 drones to the DT's. YongHwa botched it, and would now be severely behind in the game, if it weren't for Nerchio's seeming impatience.
As the Pole macroed up after the failed cheese he kept throwing groups of units at YongHwa to keep him occupied, but in doing so he forced the Korean to build units time and time again to cope with the harassment. The death ball that emerged because of the aggression came back to bite Nerchio when he tried to finish the game, as he lost all of his infestors and more. Nerchio messed up and was now back on the retreat.
Luckily for him YongHwa suffered from the exact same impatience, and counter-attacked almost straight after the erroneous Zerg attack. Nerchio was able to stop the attack dead in it's tracks by fungaling the forces as they came up the ramp. Nerchio was once again in the drivers seat, and this time around he capitalized on his position by taking out YongHwa for a 2-1 advantage.
In the fourth game YongHwa once again pulled a range of unusual strategies out of his sleeve, going for a cannon rush harass followed up by double stargate aggression. Nerchio unknowingly countered this by building as many tech buildings he could support. YongHwa's build turned into a void-ray and stalker all in, with 6 void-rays and 6 stalkers running towards nerchio. Nerchio caught the units early, crushed them with a roach and queen composition, and straight out won the game. YongHwa's seeming reliance on his one go-to build was stinging him and with one game away from elimination YongHwa was running out of options.
In an all or nothing attempt the Korean once again went for a Dark Templar build to surprise Nerchio, but in a miraculous manner Nerchio once again took minimal damage. In short, YongHwa was fucked, he had no expansion to go to and Nerchio played this one out slowly and methodically. YongHwa came a long end but eventually had to give in to the experienced side of Nerchio, who is now your HomeStory Cup champion.