The Kratos and the Emperor
MC Meets BoxeR in the NASL Finals
It is a storyline as old and cliché as they come. The grizzled vet against the brash up and comer; a legend attempting to take back his throne from the present-day champion; knowledge and experience on one side, cocksure skill and youth on the other. Fantasy will become reality in the first round of the NASL finals, as MC with face off with BoxeR in round 1. Fans will be treated to a player attempting to secure his immortal status in the world of Starcraft against one who has more than secured his own. Though BoxeR claimed the #2 seed with a stellar regular season, MC will surely be the favorite after advancing through the playoffs to take the #15 seed.
The Protoss President
Considered one of the pre-season favorites, MC struggled out of the gate. After suffering a walkover loss to BRAT_OK, subsequent losses to Ret and ACE left him in a very difficult position at 0-3. However, MC won his remaining matches to finish at 6-3 and earn a spot in the playoffs. The playoff bracket played directly into his hands, being matched up against two Protoss players in CrunCher and KiWiKaKi. Both players were easily dispatched, earning the GSL Champion a trip to the finals to play BoxeR.
Widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, MC’s accolades speak for themselves. 2 GSL championships, Dreamhack and Copenhagen Games titles, and several other top 3 finishes in the international scene have turned him into a superstar and potentially a legend in the making. MC promises to be even more confident than usual against BoxeR, facing off with a player who has not shown nearly the results in Starcraft II as he did in its predecessor. If one were to only look at Starcraft II statistics and ignore the name, Min Chul’s Terran opponent would likely not be considered a major threat.
But this isn’t a no-name Terran player. This is the first bonjwa. This is BoxeR. The same BoxeR who turned a game into a passion, a hobby into a career, and secured Starcraft’s place as a sport in Korea. The man who created SKT1 and mentored another bonjwa in iloveoov. The BoxeR who started SlayerS, winning back to back GSTL championships with a group of relative unknowns. And the player who changed the game by doing things like this and this (1:35). True, the Emperor has struggled as of late. After falling from Code S in March, he lost his first round matchup in Code A July to drop out of the GSL entirely. Still, if there is one player who can overcome the odds and find a way to win, it’s BoxeR
Claiming the #2 seed with a sole lost to Zenio and wins over players such as IdrA and Sen, BoxeR looked very impressive during the regular season. He showed an ability to win by utilizing a variety of different styles. While he would often opt to play standard macro games, his repertoire also includes very aggressive builds such as those showcased against IdrA. BoxeR will need to use everything in his extensive book of tricks if he hopes to be victorious against MC.
Both players have a tendency to be very aggressive in the early game, sometimes relying on borderline all-in tactics. MC and BoxeR’s builds are meticulously refined to the minutest of details, from perfect scouting paths and proxy locations to hitting the narrowest of timing windows. MC may decide to back off the aggression and play a macro oriented style due to BoxeR’s relatively weaker late game. BoxeR on the other hand may come up with specific builds based on MC’s play to attempt to exploit any early weaknesses and rely on the element of surprise. The Protoss player holds a 67% win rate against Terran in Korean events at 29-14, while his opponent comes in at 50% in TvP with a 5-5 mark.
The MC vs. BoxeR matchup is sure to be one of the most anticipated of the first round, if not the entire final bracket. American fans are sure to swarm BoxeR with picture and autograph requests as he attempts to rekindle the flame that made him a bonjwa, while MC tries to one day claim that title as well. When youth meets experience, the results are not always predictable and the games are not always close. But no matter what happens, the event itself will surely be a memorable one.