In about , the Ro4 is set to start. The 4 players that made it this far (Sky, Shuttle, Killer and Mind) will face off against their respective opponents for a chance to advance to the finals and hope to claim the top prize. The series will be BO7 with maps played in the following order: Circuit Breaker, New Heartbreak Ridge, Neo Medusa, Neo Electric Circuit, Match Point, Destination and Fighting Spirit. Here's a detailed look at the players, the upcoming series and the expectations:
First series: Killer vs Sky
Both of these players are no strangers to the afreeca scene. As is common knowledge, Killer is still the best Zerg on Afreeca and his runs through the current running tournaments seem to back up this fact. In the BCTV Starleague, he's also made the Ro4 beating both Pusan and Snow on the way. He's beaten many notable players before with his current vP record sitting at 73%. His decision making skills and macro are second to none among Zerg players. Seeing as he's in the Ro4 of both tournaments, he's likely fired up and you can bet that he's looking to add another first place tournament win to his already well decorated record.
Sky on the other hand has about a 50% win rate vZ. We haven't seen much of his games against Zerg recently except in the BCTV Starleague where he was knocked out 1-3 in the Ro16 by hero but that doesn't say much since hero is a ZvP monster. He does seem to have problems with Zerg though as is evident in his game against HoGiL and he has lost to Zergs who aren't quite on Killer's caliber. He does have quite a repertoire of builds, both cheese and standard that he's used to great effect against many of his past Protoss and Terran opponents such as Pure and Hiya. His play recently has also been impressive and he's had some good unit control to top things off.
Both of these players haven't faced each other since over a year back when Killer won their only series 2-0. Even though Sky's play has seemed more solid recently, based on everything, this is Killer's series to lose. Even if Sky has managed to best his previous opponents, Killer isn't like any foe he's met so far. His builds won't work as effectively if Killer plays at his maximum potential. Looking at the maps, New Heartbreak Ridge and Destination are maps that Sky can take but Killer should be able to take the rest.
Prediction: 4-2 Killer with some nice cheese on HBR as per Sky's usual gameplay. Maybe some pylon block at the entrance.
Second series: Shuttle vs Mind
Just looking at the players, one would guess that this will be a close series and they may not be far from the truth. Mind had beaten several Protoss players in Mini and Free on his way to the Ro8. He's lost a game to Shuttle but that doesn't speak much to his vP game. In BCTV Starleague, Mind has beaten Lazy and Mini. He's also beaten Shuttle 2-0. His overall record which sits at about 53% does seem to indicate he may have a weakness to Protoss though more of his losses seem to be back in 2013 and were against respectable Protoss players.
Shuttle's vT is his best matchup at the moment with his record sitting at about 62%. Shuttle has beaten Mind once before in this tournament as indicated above and just recently came off beating Sea 3-1, a Terran player who is on Mind's level and who prior to these games has beaten Shuttle 3-0 to knock him out of BCTV Starleague. His recent games 2 and 4 against Sea showed good decision making and he's not afraid to mix in some cheese either.
Taking everything into account, it seems very likely that Shuttle will take this series. Not only is his vT solid, his recent win against Sea is likely fresh in his mind and his last tournament win was back in 18th SRT so he's hungry for another. Of course, that doesn't mean that Mind can be counted out yet seeing as he is a former MSL champion and it's still possible that he can take this series. He just has to prepare well against Shuttle.
Prediction: 4-1 Shuttle though it's possible that Mind can fight his way to win three games but Shuttle should still take this.
What do you think? Will Sky end up doing the impossible and knock out Killer or will Killer continue his rampage? Will Mind go for the upset to get revenge for Shuttle knocking him out in RO16 of the first season of 41 Starleague or will Shuttle just shut down Mind and get to the finals?