The semi finals were set, the four remaining players were four professionals, one of them the Chinese Legend. As good as Legend was and still is (he still plays in China), he was no match for Iloveoov, he couldn’t perform nearly as good as Draco did. His preparation wasn’t enough.
The other Semi Final was a lot more interesting, as one of the best TvZ Snipers of his time faced the first truely dominant Zerg: JulyZerg vs. Midas. Again the masses in the forums raged, since there was no live coverage of the event. The news were refreshed time and time again, people hoped that, against all odds, one or more reporters at Monza could at least write a text based battle reports. Nothing. The fanatics had to wait for hours only to hear that the replays would be released „somewhen after the event was concluded“.
In retrospect it wasn’t too bad that the games were not streamed live. The series started with a game on Gaia, the four player map shown in the previous VODs. July opened with a fast Pool and Speedlings, trying to find Midas on a close position. However, Midas spawned on cross position and could easily defend his fast expansion against the incoming Zerglings without losing anything. July expanded and prepared a Three Hatchery Mutalisk mid game transition, with more Zerglings than usual. He tried to bait the Terran, showing a few of his Zerglings, hopeing Midas would follow them into the open map. He did so, but with more Marines and Medics than Zerg could handle. July thus had to add more Sunkens and hurt his already low worker count even more. Just like Mondragon did against Draco, he tried to build more Zerglings to crush the opponent’s bio force – which he later did, but it took him too long. Midas had the same army, a lot of Siege Tanks and turrets at his base. However, the following Mutalisk harass was enough to keep him there until July’s third went up. Midas mid game attack followed, which July tried to clean up with more Zerglings, Lurkers and Mutalisks, but eventually had to type out, once he realized he didn’t match the Terran’s army.
The second game wasn’t that great either. Midas tried to build a fast expansion on Paranoid Android right away, with his Barracks being below his ramp. He used the building smartly to shield his handful of Marines against July’s Speedlings and the game seemed like a copy of the opening match on Gaia. July added even more Zerglings, again trying to bait his opponent. However, this time Midas scouting SCV was intercepted and two Zerglings blocked July’s ramp. What looked like a two Hatch Mutalisk Build actually turned out to be an aggressive Three Hatch Zergling bust. Midas tried to follow the ordinary timing of his last game, only to realize a few seconds too late that July had two control groups of Zerglings – which sourrounded him perfectly and broke his weak defense. The score was even.
The last game on Azalea made up for the stale games before. The third time in a row July opened with Speedlings, but this time the fact that both spawned on cross positions wasn’t in favour of Midas. This time the strategy made a lot more sense. July spawned on the bottom left, whereas Midas spawned top right. Azalea promotes fast expansion builds, due to its long walking distances and the small choke points leading to the center of the map. However, the top positions can not be walled off by Terran easily. If they do, the Barrack’s exit point will automatically spawn the Marines on the outside, making the wall ineffective. July knew that and he also knew that he had a chance of 66% that Midas would spawn on a top position. Hence, the Zerglings now were a real threat, he did not need to sourround, or have the Marines walking into the open before taking them out. Midas knew this as well and opened with a conservative two Barracks Build. He slowly expanded to his natural, while July had more time to take not only his natural but also his mineral only.
Nonetheless, the Terran was able to somewhat hit an early timing attack and could at least force Zerg to build five Sunkens, thus neutralizing the mineral only Drone bonus July had. In the next minutes July harassed with Mutalisks and stalled, while taking almost all of the bottom half of the map. Thanks to Midas’ superior micromanagement, he could overcome his disadvantage of having a lesser economy for a few minutes, pushing the Zerg back meter for meter. July was in desperate need of high tech units, namely Defiler and Dark Swarm. Once he knew he could defend his main base, he added an expansion Hatchery in the top left – forcing the Terran to run around the map. Everytime July tried to backstab or kill Midas army, Midas came out victorious, clearly so. Fifteen minutes into the game, JulyZerg sacrificed his bottom right expansions and went for a large counter attack with Defilers. Midas couldn’t hold and lost.