March 6 - Group play continued today at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship in Hanover, Germany. Group C's six players fought to earn one of the three playoff spots available.
Matches from the group resembled a mix of the play shown in Group A and Group B yesterday. Like Group A, two strong Protoss players - Socke and MaNa - took early wins. However, viOLet, a formidable Zerg player, also claimed early victories similar to Ret's performance in Group B. All three players emerged victoriously from their first two matchups - leaving VortiX, Snute and Sting with two defeats each.
In the next match, viOLet convincingly beat Socke 2-0, ending the Protoss player's winning streak. viOLet demonstrated the power of the new viper units by abducting Socke's colossi and immortals from the army and quickly taking them down, leaving Socke's army unable to deal with the Zerg swarm. viOLet then defeated Snute 2-1, guaranteeing himself one of the three coveted playoff spots.
After his initial two defeats, Sting beat Snute and then VortiX 2-0 in both matches, climbing his way back into the group play with a 2-2 record. Although it fully depended on the outcome of several matches, these wins gave him a chance of securing a playoff spot.
Next, fans witnessed a battle between the group's two Protoss players - Socke and MaNa. These games demonstrated the diverse abilities of the mothership core, another new unit from the Heart of the Swarm expansion. After Socke won the first game, MaNa took the second and third, gaining a 4-0 group record, tying with viOLet and securing a spot in the playoffs.
Socke's loss against MaNa tied his standing with Sting's at 2-2. The winner of their match would earn the third playoff spot, and the other would be out of the tournament. After opening the first game with a proxy barracks and reapers, Sting followed up with widow mines and a strong two-base all-in to win the first game. He then successfully executed another all-in in the second game, even pulling SCVs to win the match 2-0 and secure the third spot in the playoffs.
While MaNa and viOLet were already guaranteed to continue in the tournament, the winner from their match would gain the group's coveted first place spot - a position in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. viOLet took the first game by overwhelming MaNa's supply with a large mass of hydralisks. In the second game, MaNa tried to force a base trade situation but then recalled his army back to his base to defend it. Unfortunately for him, viOLet just had too many units, so MaNa conceded the game. Both will advance to the playoffs; viOLet's win earned him a spot in the quarterfinals.
Pros in Group D will play tomorrow for three more spots in the playoffs. These games are eagerly anticipated, as several fan favorites are in the group, including Mvp, Stephano and Grubby. The tournament is once again scheduled to start at 9:30 CET (3:30 a.m. EST / 12:30 a.m. PST).
You can view VODs of today's matches online to relive the action. Be sure to check back here tomorrow for another recap of the games!