INnoVation. My dear INnoVation. The player who entered WCS Season 2 Final with the title of being the best player get knocked out with a 0-2 (1-4) in the group state. Surprise. Surprise.
Interestingly, if you were to look closely, his “state of the game” deems him not succeed this weekend in Germany.
INnoVation vs. Zerg
Mirror mirror, who is the best TvZ player in the world?
The answer is obvious.
It is easy to remember who did INnoVation lose to in this match, simply because there are few since Heart of the Swarm. The fact that Team Liquid’s recent comprehensive TvZ guide is filled with his name just sums it all up. He does his usual three command centre oriented builds better than anyone.
Statistically, he is impressive. TLPD: 36-10 (78.26%). Out of these ten defeats, four came from SoulKey and two came from Symbol in WCS Korea Season 1. This season he has not lost a TvZ (because he didn’t really get to play it anyway).
TvZ is by far his best match up. The low number of Zergs in the Season Final makes it harder for INnoVation to do well.
INnoVation vs. Terran
Look at his post-patch result.
Then look at his pre-patch result.
The difference is obvious.
It’s Hellbat vs. Hellbat before the patch, and INnoVation is best in the world. When INnoVation won FanTaSy so convincingly in SPL playoff just after the patch, everyone thought he is fine with the patch. Perhaps, it was simply FanTaSy had not get used to it either.
His 4-0 defeat against Maru sums up how relatively poor INnoVation is in TvT. He seems lost in his builds and decisions.
INnoVation would have come into the Season Final as the undisputed favorite if only his TvT was as good as his TvZ. I was expecting him to bring something worthy on the table against TaeJa yesterday, and he didn’t disappoint. He went for mech with mass Hellion in the opening, which caught TaeJa off guard to take game 1. TaeJa adapted well and won game 2. Game 3 is the talking point. It is the best game I have watched in Heart of the Swarm. 50 minutes Terran mirror. No stand still situaion. Action and exchanges all over the map for 40 minutes.
Although INnoVation’s openings for the three games are different, his general strategy is the same. In the early to mid stage, get a bunch of Hellions early on and get Raven with Vikings. Then, get a third command centre and play mech. In these three games, INnoVation showed that he has no problem in the mid and late stage of the game. Perhaps his opening warrants some attention as late Siege Tank is vulnerable to stim timing.
Time will tell if this will become his general approach to Terran mirror. But I doubt so as it does not fit his aggressive standard style.
INnoVation vs. Protoss
His TvP is weaker than many think. It only gets less attention because of his recent TvT.
He is one player that sticks to Reaper opening into 1-1-1 Widow Mine attack. Even though he mixes in quick three command centre builds into his Reaper opening (especially in Newkirk Precinct), his play has not evolved as much as others. I’m not saying it is a bad thing. If it is not broken, why fix it? Just look at his TvZ for example.
His Widow Mine aggression no longer deals damage. It hardly kills a unit nowadays as Protoss players start to figure it out. PartinG won INnoVation convincingly in WCG Korea semi final with a 2-0. PartinG clearly has studied this style of play. His choice of build and timing countered INnoVation well.
In the mid game, INnoVation will then start to poke around with his MMM. Once he has a sizable army to split up, he does a two-pronged attack by dropping in the main and attack the third. PartinG and NaNiwa demonstrated how to play against this conventional TvP style and smack INnoVation down without a single loss.
Youtube video time (in game time)
INnoVation opens up with Reaper then 1-1-1.
9:40 (6:30) – INnoVation does his Marine Widow Mine attack and killed a Stalker using Widow Mine. No photon overcharge was forced.
10:20 (7:30) – A subsequent drop does more harm to himself than the opponent. This is partly because he was not able to force a photon overcharge early on.
13:00 (11:00) – Start mid game aggression when stim is done.
13:30 (11:50) – Did a two-pronged attack and got shut down. NaNiwa splits his army up well, and photon overcharge is extremely effective.
15:00 (14:00) – INnoVation continues to be aggressive at opponent’s third even though he did not deal damage early on to set that up. NaNiwa shut it down again and counter push with the charge upgrade.
17:20 (17:15) – NaNiwa pushed across with storm. GG.
INnoVation opens up with Reaper into three command centre then 1-1-1.
30:00 (10:10) – Attempt a drop with two Medivacs. Observer spotted it. Defended.
31:10 (11:30) – Move out with MMM. NaNiwa has charge and storm. Cannot achieve much.
32:00 (12:45) – Attempt to do a drop in the main since the main Protoss force is at the third. NaNiwa warped in units in main to anticipate the drop. Defended.
33:15 (14:30) – There is no place to attack. Both side try to get a good composition.
34:40 (16:30) – Protoss has a slightly better composition and engages better.
A 1-1-1 opening emphasizes on dealing damage with timing. Protoss players are defending well against INnoVation’s timing now. A tradeoff for such build is getting late upgrade. Without upgrade advantage window, late game Protoss deathball is inevitable.
Bomber and Polt are the best TvP players and they have very different style.
Bomber is more macro oriented and nails timing with overwhelming force. He makes Scv pull looks easy due to his precise timing.
Polt is a very tactical player. He does not go for a one time big battle like Bomber, and tends to move around the map and find gaps to attack.
INnoVation is still one of the best out there.
His TvT is actually fine and I expect him to come up with new approach in the future. This is because he does not like passive builds that he is using now.
The main problem is his TvP. His style is not working now. If he manages to find a new way, he will be Terran’s savior again.