And so we were down to eight players. Moon and Lyn were considered the sure favorites to prevail over second places, Fly100% and FoCuS, in their respective matches on Wednesday.
Colorful / Infi and LawLiet / Foggy were viewed as much more indecisive, with the NE mirror being the most hyped encounter of the Quarter Finals.
The show started with the presentation of the eight quarter-finalists. And in this, Sok seems to have inspired his co-competitors after his break-dance entrance in group B.
After Sonik's impersonation of the Keeper of the Grove, the Korean delegation decided to imitate the Ginyu Force's 'dance' on stage!
Foggy, as the sole representative of his country, had the honor of a solo entrance. Known as the "Boxing Champion" in China, he used his signature Rocky moves and did some push ups!
Infi and Colorful's entrance was more casual. Fly100% was in the casting booth ready to commentate the upcoming Orc mirror and so did not appear on stage.
1/4 Finals - Lyn v FoCuS
The Orc hierarchy in Korea is well established for years with Lyn as the uncontested leader of the horde while FoCuS is the second in command.
Lyn had stayed undefeated against FoCuS for two years, until very recently, but then, FoCuS won their last encounter [2-1] during W-League. He is still down [3-16] in maps since last July, so the task of defeating Lyn would not be an easy one. In a BO5, FoCuS hasn't beat Lyn in recent history.
An upset could open many doors to him. After eliminating 120 in the previous round, he had the chance to take down another Newbee player. And a WGL semi-finalist would certainly attract the interest of several teams, with a few other signatures appearing already during WGL this year.
FoCuS surprised and impressed all in attendance by winning the first map. He looked behind early on, then, started to win skirmishes and moved onto winning battles.
However, after starting down a map at [1-0], Lyn's show began. His near perfect micro was back, always healing and using Spirit Link at the perfect time. Eventually, FoCuS was overwhelmed and was defeated [3-1].
A highlight in game 2, FoCuS killed his opponent's BM very early on but was it worth spending 200 gold, scanning from the laboratory? In his opinion, Cash thought it was not worth the loss of time and resources.
1/4 Finals - Moon v Fly100%
Moon's match-up against Orcs was traditionally his weakest. Fly100% used to be his nemesis, eliminating the NE legend twice in previous GCS/WGL tournaments.
This was before patch 1.30 however. Nowadays the Orc v NE balance has shifted noticeably. Since July, Moon has a [5-0] winning streak over Fly, while the Chinese Orc has lost many series against NE recently, even here at the group stage against Colorful [0-2].
Thus, Moon was the heavy favorite!
We started with another uupset, Fly100% leading [1-0] and putting pressure on Moon early in the series. Was Fly100% on his way to eliminate Moon once again in Shanghai?
Then, just like during the first series between Lyn and FoCuS, the favorite, Moon, bulldozed his way to the semifinals. Fly tried to be innovative and chose to go SH first on Terenas Stand, then was forced to add a Tinker second to push over Moon's expansion.
This attempt failed and so did the following two in the remaining maps. I have to admit that I felt uncomfortable seeing how easy it was for Moon to outplay and toy with Fly during those games.
No disrespect to Fly neither, but Moon just expanded, massed Tier 1 units and there was seemingly nothing Fly could do about it.
1/4 Finals - Colorful v Infi
Colorful is a huge underdog on paper. Infi won 80% of their encounters and Colorful hadn't qualified for WGL playoffs in the past.
This time though, he had taken first place in an easy group that consisted of three Orc players - his best matchup. I had my doubts that he could defeat Infi in a BO5.
The winner of the match would be the only Chinese player qualified for the semis. Maybe for the first time, the GCS/WGL title could slip away from China's domination here in Shanghai.
Nothing we should not have expected, in the end. Currently, I do not think any patch could make this match even. Colorful is a decent player, but Infi had all the good timings and showed his knowledge and experience with conviction.
It was just a very one sided and dull [3-0]. Next!
1/4 Finals - LawLiet v Foggy
Foggy was the only NE who seemed to struggle in 1.30. While he won his last offline encounter with LawLiet at Master's Coliseum, he lost three series in a row since then during Rus_Brain Cup and W-League.
Foggy is even about to be relegated from the Super League, while LawLiet is assured to participate in the offline playoffs with his current second place.
Overall I'd say that LawLiet was a 60-40 favorite in this, most anticipated match in the Round of 8.
LawLiet really dominated his group in the previous stage, getting the better of both FoCuS and 120.
Team Newbee enrolled him earlier in the tournament in their seemingly unstoppable team with Lyn and 120, but wait a minute, only Lyn will play the Semi Finals!
After being outclassed [1-0] in the first match, Foggy battled uphill and won the next 3 maps much like Lyn and Moon did before him. We end the comparison here as each maps were fiercely fought.
The clip below shows the incredible turning point of game 2. Foggy seemed to be behind before he started harassing LawLiet with his Glaive Throwers. He first took the expansion down before killing LawLiet's Tree of Ages in dramatic fashion.
Foggy was back on his feet and had gained the upper hand. He just reached his fourth WGL semifinal in six participations. I am pretty sure that this is some kind of record.
Now, obviously, we really wish him well in achieving his dream of being crowned World Champion. Rest assured that many teams are lining up to recruit Foggy.
Epic Semi Finals
Taking a look then at the coming matches:
Moon vs Lyn : I cannot picture any orc beating Moon under this patch, even the greatest of all times, Lyn. I am sure we will see some great tricks from him, he has not been pushed to his limits yet in this tournament.
Infi vs Foggy : Foggy never has taken a series against Infi in GCS/WGL, not even a BO3. The Chinese Human has eliminated him several times from WGL. This will certainly be hard and I fear that we will have another short final with Infi against Moon. Prove me wrong once again Foggy! Please!
A few personal messages. I would like to thank Netease and VSPN for their great organization and express how honored I am to have been invited. Thank you for supporting Warcraft 3 in Europe and America!
I was personally both happy for Foggy and sad for LawLiet. Mirror matches are often won or loss on details and I wish them both well.
Foggy, thank you for the many presents. He usually offers me deodorants and toothbrushes but swore my hygiene was not in question. He also thought about giving birthday presents to my daughters, as a father that is really touching.
Remo, I enjoyed the beers and the good discussions. DanGer had some great stories to share as well, let's make it a special interview next time. Sonik's KotG, Cash's hat, Hundredkg and Neytpoh's sense of humor, Sok's breakdance (...) there are too many great people to name, and great moments to enumerate. These people are the reason Warcraft 3 is so special to us.
One last thing, Hunter please be careful, do not get arrested and try not to end up in an hospital. You will be back stronger next time, hopefully under better conditions.