After losing two matches in a row to fOrGG in the DreamHack Valencia final, Team Liquid’s TaeJa rallied to win three consecutives games and take the tournament victory and a $10,400 prize.
It was a dramatic ending to a final that briefly seemed like it would a foregone conclusion, like a number of the matches in the last half day of DreamHack Valencia. Both TaeJa (Yoon Young Suh, Korean Terran) and fOrGG (Park Ji Soo, Korean Terran) got the final following decisive 2-0 semifinal victories over TargA (Kristoffer Marthinsen, Norwegian Zerg) and TheStC (Choi Yun Sik, Korean Terran), respectively.
The final initially looked like it would go the way of the semifinals. None of TaeJa’s early game decisions seemed to work out, and Game 1 got away from him following the loss of center map control and a number of Medivacs and their cargo. Game 2 was never really in doubt, and then Game 3 got off to a rough start for TaeJa when fOrGG sniffed out his early gas expand.
However, he managed to gain control of the game following a close fight between closely mirrored forces of Marines, Vikings, and Siege Tanks. That exchange gave him a narrow lead that he steadily build into a victory.
From there, TaeJa was much more in control and luck turned against fOrGG. fOrGG’s attempt at a proxy barracks rush on Antiga Shipyard fizzled when TaeJa’s thorough scouting uncovered the constrction at his natural expansion, and later, a well-timed Marine push against the front of TaeJa’s base came apart when the Marine force just clipped the edge of a high-ground supply depot’s vision. Instead of a lone bunker, fOrGG’s infantry ran into most of TaeJa’s army. That led to a slow but steady progression across the map for TaeJa and a crippling siege for fOrGG.
Game 5 was closely contested from beginning to end, and it briefly looked like fOrGG might be able to close the deal. He had TaeJa’s tank and Marauder force hemmed all the way in the southwest corner of Metropolis, and a huge ball of Hellions and Siege Tanks that looked poised to storm through the open center of the map and bust TaeJa’s base. But he hesitated, facing a stronger defensive position than it initially seemed, and TaeJa’s next wave of reinforcements drove fOrGG out of the center with losses, and allowed TaeJa to deliver the killing blow.
The results qualify both players for the Grand Final at DreamHack Winter on November 22nd, where first prize is $35,000. It is TaeJa’s third tournament victory this year, after his victory at the MLG Summer Arena and the ASUS ROG tournament at Assembly in August.