With the tournament winding down to the final few contestants the second set of semi-finals turns out to be a match between two opposites: TaeJa and First.
On the one side we have TaeJa, a well-established Terran player who as of recent swapped to team Liquid. Since his change of teams TaeJa has seemingly had a recrudescence, establishing himself prominently as Liquid's new rising star. His results aren't anything to be ashamed of either: making it to the top 8 in two consecutive GSL Seasons as well as qualifying for the TSL without losing a single map. He now finds himself in the top 4 of this MLG facing a peculiar player, First.
First had been one of the big dark horses coming into this tournament, qualifying through the incredibly stacked Korean qualifier. First's StarCraft 2 story didn't start long before that though, only joining in on the fray a mere 2 GSL seasons ago. Although First enjoyed a somewhat successful BroodWar career so far his biggest SC2 achievement is qualifying for code A. All that though was shattered this weekend.
First, who dropped down as early as the first round to relatively unknown Swedish Zerg SortOf has since then had a nothing short of stunning run, beating ex-oGs TOP (2-0), EG's PuMa (2-0), coL. GanZi (2-0) and Fnatic's aLive (2-1) before having to team kill LosirA (2-0). Needless to say First has been destroying the opposition and quite frankly, if he beats TaeJa he will have sent half
of the Terran players out of the tournament single handedly. TaeJa better be on his guard because First's TvP is out of control.
Starting off the first map TaeJa opened up with some proxy-rax shenanigans to throw off first, who in turn was able to do an unusually long and thorough scout of TaeJa's base. Both players did relatively normal builds, with the only exception being First going early robotics bay and twilight council.
The offensive was started by TaeJa when he started dropping all over Firsts bases just as the Protoss was about to move out with an stalker, immortal and sentry army. Three dropships with a total of 24 marines kept First occupied for minutes, as he couldn't move out at all in order to be able to defend his bases. First also started teching up, rather than taking a third base, in order to continue and strengthen his forces. TaeJa's continuous aggression however started to take it's toll, sniping many high-cost units. Once TaeJa also moved out his main force from his base across the map he was able to catch First's army off guard, sniping multiple full-energy high templar and immortals using a combination of great snipes and even better EMP's. Losing his army and being too vulnerable to the drops First had to counter-attack and was shut down convincingly in doing so. First had little to no chance really.
Game two was more of the same, with TaeJa going for a marine and tank composition and somewhat awkward timings, while First tried to go for DT with a warp prism. TaeJa simply didn't fall for the strategy that First set out, and then crushed him with the follow up push. First looked nothing like his other games, and was crushed 2-0. TaeJa remains unbeaten and with only the finals in his way he is a definite force to be reckoned with, even for Alicia. For Alicia seemingly more will be at stake than for TaeJa, as losing this time will mean he's had two second placing at MLG in a row.
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