‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
Today I’ll write about herO and Classic. Both of them were historically two of the strongest Protosses (Classic still is). In this particular case I’ll focus specifically on their 2015 career as this is an argument that Olli, another TL writer, used to bring up all of the time, namely that Classic is a better Protoss player than herO was at the time and that Classic, not herO, should have won the Protoss of the Year award. It’s an interesting argument in the sense that it parallels a video that Thorin made about skill and luck in esports, but more specifically the scoring system of StarCraft 2, namely that the only thing that is counted for how skillful you play is the win on the board. You get the same amount of points for winning a grueling macro game against INnoVation as you do just roach-bane all-ining INnoVation, so to speak.
If you look purely at herO’s results, I think it’s pretty clear herO was the better Protoss that year. Top 4 GSL 1, Top 8 IEM Taipei, Top 8 IEM WC, Top 4 SSL S2, 1st KeSPA Cup, 1st SSL S3, Top 4 IEM Shenzhen, Top 8 Blizzcon.
Whereas Classic had: Top 8 IEM Taipei, 1st SSL S2, 1st IEM Shenzhen, Top 8 GSL S3, Top 8 KeSPA Cup S2, Top 4 Blizzcon.
They both won a Starleague and both won a strong tournament as well. But overall, just looking at placings, herO’s results outweigh Classic’s both in consistency and amount. So then what about players beaten?
herO: FanTasy (Top 10 T) Blizzcon, TaeJa (non factor at this point), Curious (Top 10 Z), MC (Top 10 P), Maru (Top 5 T), Rogue (Top 5 Z) GSL S1. Polt (Top 10 T), HyuN (Top 10 Z, though not as good as the title implies) IEM Taipei. Cure (Top 10 T) IEM WC. Parting twice (Top 5P), Maru (Top 3T) SSL S2. Dear (Top 10 P), Soulkey (Top 10 Z), ByuL (Top 5 Z), Dark (Top 1 Z) KeSPa Cup S1. Inno (Top 1 T), Life (Top 5 Z), Myungsik (Top 10 P), Rain (Top 5 P), ByuL (Top 1 Z) SSL S3. Jjakji, doesn’t break in to top 10, KeSPA Cup S2. herO got top 4 at IEM Shenzhen, but beat no one in the top 10 of their race.
Classic: ByuL (Top 1 Z), herO (Top 3P) Blizzcon, Check and Harstem at IEM Taipei, neither could break into top 10 of their race. Soulkey/HyuN (Top 10 Z, both on the bubble), ByuL (Top 5 Z), Stats (Top 6 P), Dream (Top 2 T) SSL S2. Rogue (Top 10 Z) KeSPa Cup S2. Yonghwa (bordering on top 10), Rain (Top 5 P), Losira (Top 10 Z), herO (Top 5 P), Parting (Top 5 P) IEM Shenzhen. Trust (not in my top 10 P), Bomber (Top 10 T), sOs (Top 10 P, closer to Top 5), herO (Top 5 P) GSL S3.
In total then you have herO beating 20 players that range from top 10 of their race to the best or among the best in their race. For Classic you have 14-15 depending on how you want to count Trust. Over the entire breadth of players they played against, herO also beat the players I considered to be better more times across the year.
So what is the argument for Classic being a better player than herO in 2015? It’s purely based on how he played the game. herO had a defined style that was based on his strong fundamentals and very strong blink Stalker micro (I contend the second best ever seen in SC2 after Parting). He was the best at his specific style.
Classic was a much more versatile player and for my money a smarter player than herO. Arguably among the smartest Protosses in the game at that point in time (Among Protoss players, I think only Zest, Rain and sOs were smarter than him, but in different ways). What made Classic such a good player was the fact that he could play all styles of Protoss to a top 5 Protoss level. He combined this with generally good preparation and had much better decision making. Specifically he reacted to and tried to counter his opponents, whereas herO only had a hammer so to speak so he treated all problems like they were nails.
Overall I think the depth of herO’s achievements and resume that year exceed Classic’s. But if you were to ask me who understood Protoss at a higher level and understood the way it was played and asked who could play all styles of Protoss at the highest level that year, I’d pick Classic. But if you were to ask me which Protoss was better at winning, I’d pick herO.