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With the RO36 play-ins concluded on Wednesday, IEM Katowice 2023 commenced with the 24-player group stage featuring all the heavy hitters and elite players. Unlike previous tournaments where entire groups were finished in a day, the 2023 edition of the tournament introduced a new format where all four groups played two rounds of games on the first day (three total days for the group stage). While the schedule has changed, the stakes in the group stage remain the same: The top three players from each group advance to the playoffs, and the #1 player from each group receives a first round bye.

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Day one of the RO24 saw the title contenders get off to contrasting starts across the four groups. herO was the only one to kick things off without a hitch, taking 2-0’s over DongRaeGu and Solar to tentatively take first place in Group C. Top Zergs Dark (Group A) and Reynor (Group B) won their two initial matches, but couldn’t manage perfect map records like herO as they dropped games to feisty underdogs Oliveira (aka TIME) and Astrea.

The big surprises came in the latter two groups, with both reigning Katowice champion Serral (Group C) and G5L winner Maru (Group D) starting off 1-1. While Serral defeated SpeCial as expected, he gave up a shocking 0-2 upset to DongRaeGu. The veteran Korean Zerg didn’t need to rely on the volatility of ZvZ to get the job done, outplaying the Finnish Phenom in two

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macro games.
As for Maru, he stumbled out the gates by losing to HeroMarine for the first time ever (previously 6-0 against him), with Big Gabe clinically snowballing an early lead in game two and hitting the mark with a 2-Factory Tank push in game three. While Maru recovered by taking down ByuN in the following match, it was certainly an unideal start for the consensus strongest Terran in the tournament.

Thanks to this career-best showing against Maru, HeroMarine concluded the day on top of a chaotic Group D (winning his other match against RO36 survivor Classic). With four players tied below him at 1-1, HeroMarine might even contemplate the possibility of clinching the #1 seed for good in the following days.

Alongside HeroMarine, GuMiho was another surprise Terran who claimed a temporary perch on top of his group. As mentioned above, Reynor dropped a map to Astrea to make his total map score 4-1. On the other hand, GuMiho went perfect on the day, scoring 2-0’s against both Astrea and ShoWTimE with a hyper-aggressive and creative TvP style.

The RO24 will continue on Friday, Feb 10 11:00am GMT (GMT+00:00) with rounds 4 and 5 of the groups. herO vs Serral looks to be the feature match, with ESL scheduling it as the final bout of the day.

Games of interest (VODs)

HeroMarine vs Maru and DRG vs Serral: These two games are definitely worth a watch, if only to see why the two heavy favorites are started 1-1.

Reynor vs Astrea: While Astrea’s reputation as a clowny zany NA Protoss gets overblown at times, he really brought a spark to IEM Katowice with his outside-the-box build orders in this series.

Dark vs Oliveira, Gresvan: This game was a late-game slog, so perhaps you don’t need to watch ALL of it. Mostly, it served as a reminder of Oliveira’s sneaky-strong late-game TvZ skill, which gives him a fighting chance against elite Zergs in this macro-friendly map pool.

TL+ Member
Blargh

United States1980 Posts

Game 1 of Maru vs Byun was so exciting. Tense from beginning to end.
Where is the Clem hype now lul?
Vision_

581 Posts

On February 10 2023 16:51 hku wrote:
Where is the Clem hype now lul?

You would say : why commentators hype so much the game ?

Because it s a part of their job… The hype about a player doesn t depend so much of what you think.

Drfilip

Sweden585 Posts

There were some great games yesterday. herO played very well and dismantled his opponents. Solar had a high level of play. Most of them brought their A game so even the losers looked good. However, there was one set of games that stood out. The Maru vs Byun match was too intense. Every second from Byun’s initial reaper aggression was fighting and positioning in game one. Had game 2 been before game 1 I would have been impressed with how much multitasking both players could handle. They rivalled Clem and GuMiho in intensity, but they kept it up all game.

Speaking of GuMiho, why did the casters say that the most GuMiho game of the day didn’t look like a GuMiho game? A majority of his games are multitasking bio games with 10/10 aggression. A minority are the slower mech games. GuMiho’s style is about making the opponent uncomfortable. GuMiho has been meching kind of consistently for his entire career. He was not known as a mech player before supernova went to the military (he is the currently highest ranked mech player on KR ladder and streams a lot). Neither was GuMiho known as a mech player when self confessed match fixer Bbyong was the first player to win a mech TvP against a multiple starleague champion (Classic), nor when Reality played hour long mech games on the regular.
The top mech players disappeared and the occasional mecher GuMiho somehow inherited the title “mech Terran” and lost his “unconventional” adjective.

Random Platinum EU

Vindicare605

United States14609 Posts

Dark vs Cure Game 2 is worth watching to see another drawn out split map TvZ, where the full range of the patch’s balance changes can be observed.

Watching that game all the way through and how close Cure fought the entire time, makes it pretty hard to argue that had the patch changes not been in effect that Dark would have won.

Game is also important for showcasing just how difficult it is to play late game vs Zerg on the new maps, as the sheer number of bases on the map is also on display.

@KTVindicare:twitch.tv/ktvindicare youtube.com/ktvindicare Host of the Geeky Bartender podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/37cUiMLwFIZ4fNz6qLGxjZ?si=LhiiC08lRgCGjs4Muoma3g&dl_branch=1

Acrofales

Spain16444 Posts

On February 10 2023 16:51 hku wrote:
Where is the Clem hype now lul?

Eh, Clem still has plenty of chance to make it out of the group. But yeah, by losing to TIME he (probably) has to beat either Dark or Cure. Neither are easy, but also not impossible. He wins both, he’s first or second seed. He does one of the two, he almost certainly clinches the 2nd or 3rd spot.

Vindicare605

United States14609 Posts

It seems to me like even the casters are FINALLY acknowledging that Clem has major weaknesses especially in TvT. In previous tournaments certain casters with a heavy European bias (you know which ones I mean) would just gloss over this fact while endlessly hyping up how he’s going to be the next Serral or Reynor.

They’re not doing that as much anymore. The reality has set in even for the hypest of Clem fans that as long as he has this massive weakness against non-European Terran players his chances of winning an international tournament are slim. He’ll go as far as the brackets allow him to go.

That said. He’s still REALLY young, so there’s more than enough time for him to grow and develop a TvT that’s capable of knocking out the Korean and Chinese Terrans. But as convincingly as he got trounced by TIME in his first match it’s clear that he has’t reached that level yet for this tournament. It’s not his time yet.

@KTVindicare:twitch.tv/ktvindicare youtube.com/ktvindicare Host of the Geeky Bartender podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/37cUiMLwFIZ4fNz6qLGxjZ?si=LhiiC08lRgCGjs4Muoma3g&dl_branch=1

Acrofales

Spain16444 Posts

On February 10 2023 19:03 Vindicare605 wrote:
It seems to me like even the casters are FINALLY acknowledging that Clem has major weaknesses especially in TvT. In previous tournaments certain casters with a heavy European bias (you know which ones I mean) would just gloss over this fact while endlessly hyping up how he’s going to be the next Serral or Reynor.

They’re not doing that as much anymore. The reality has set in even for the hypest of Clem fans that as long as he has this massive weakness against non-European Terran players his chances of winning an international tournament are slim. He’ll go as far as the brackets allow him to go.

That said. He’s still REALLY young, so there’s more than enough time for him to grow and develop a TvT that’s capable of knocking out the Korean and Chinese Terrans. But as convincingly as he got trounced by TIME in his first match it’s clear that he has’t reached that level yet for this tournament. It’s not his time yet.

I don’t disagree with this. His TvT has always been his Achilles heel and it doesn’t look solved.

Argonauta

Spain4370 Posts

my 2 takehomes of day 1:

Maru vs ByuN game 1 was a banger!
herO vs Solar was a wit display vby herO

Rogue | Maru | Scarlett | Trap

TL+ Member
mintyminmus

Australia40 Posts

ya know, clem may be still young but the game is not

Source: https://tl.net/forum/starcraft-2/606910-iem-katowice-2023-ro24-day-1-results