Stacked to the Heavens
Tensions ride high in the last two groups of the Ro16 as viewers look on in anticipation. No one can look away from the highest stacked groups of BSL history which threaten to topple over with explosive results. Here the fate of an early exit will befall many top names as their lofty hopes crash down to earth.
Group C (starts in )
Group D (starts in )
Group C Preview
It Comes In a Shuttle
Group C opens with top Polish Protoss Bonyth vs the spunky Peruvian, Terror. In the next match, BSL5 GosuLeague champion Naugrim hopes to continue his rise up the rankings. His first obstacle is Spx, who has his work cut out for him.
Bonyth vs Terror
Bonyth's game sense, micro, and decision making is unparalleled in PvT among foreigners. With his unique take on the matchup, he churns out twitch highlight clips by the dozen all thanks to his great reaver micro and comeback carrier control. Don't expect Terror to easily be another victim for the highlight reel though.
Terror has a knack for heavily specialized builds for his opponents. The more riskier they are though, the less they can stand on their own legs against more resilient players. Bonyth is certainly no exception having come back from the depths of near-defeat only to rise up in a hail of scarabs and interceptors.
That vivid scenery is what throws Terrans into fear, apathy, and then resignation. That's exactly what Bonyth's carriers compel in his opponents. They are the ultimate end-game piece that Bonyth wields with a high degree of competence and domination. At times, his proficiency of the unit might inspire some to say that the game winning move is when a stargate is made.
By all means, Terror will want to avoid this end game scenario, and assuredly has plans to exploit the many pre-Carrier windows of pressure there are. The latest trends of range upgraded goliaths to deflect reaver openers will also surely dent Bonyth's style. I expect Terror to opt for many dropship openers, which would compliment the map pool. That spirited creativity and whimsy tactical charm is up Terror's alley. Wraith openers are especially good to shut down reaver play and do counter-drop play.
Now, with all of this talk of Terror being a many-trick type of pony, that's not to say Terror is incapable of a macro game. Terror can pull off a strong macro opener into his typical brand of 2-base pressure, or a strong 3-base economy.
That could be risky versus Bonyth though, whose keen eye for reaver harass and army movement has dismantled Terrans before. In addition, no foreign Terran has consistently managed to deflect Bonyth's late game Carriers on even ground. All in all, I see Bonyth taking this match.
Naugrim vs Spx
Naugrim is a mechanically consistent and knowledgeable player who shows his understanding well through his sublime play. Spx on the other hand has a habit of fumbling the ball and performing subpar timings. Especially under the pressure of competition, Spx likely won't shoot far.
There's not much to be said other than that Naugrim will undoubtedly win in a straight forward and standard game. That's why Spx needs to throw Naugrim off, who too easily thrives off of the cookie-cutter flow of games.
That said, Spx hasn't been known to vary his style often, so an unorthodox play is doubtful. If Spx were to take the leap, then an 8-rax, or 14 CC opener would work great. In addition, abusive plays, that can range from factory openers, proxies, or a variety of other plays will be sure to throw Naugrim off. However, Spx's usual 2-Starport is ill-advised just because it's not very good.
There is also the off-chance that Naugrim just plays underwhelmingly which I would not put past him. He's noted his lack of time to practice, and his confidence leading into the games can play a significant factor. Either way, I expect a clean Naugrim victory.
Winners' Match: Naugrim vs Bonyth
ZvP is Naugrim's forte matchup, but unfortunately Bonyth might just be his kryptonite. Bonyth brings a unique skillset unlike other tosses of a high-micro style. We've seen such plays derail Naugrim's usual macro and timing-based ZvP before.
Accordingly, we can expect Bonth's signature 1-base reaver build, and of course, his trademark 1-Gate FE. Subsequently, Bonyth's hawk-like plays that strike suddenly will put Naugrim's leisurely style at odds.
In a competition of game sense and sharpened nerves people can predict Bonyth will prevail over the less-prepared Naugrim.
Losers' Match: Spx vs Terror
Spx vs Terror presents an appetizing match for viewers in our possibly most back-and-forth series yet. Spx's TvT presents a decent handle on the heavy positioning and tactical plays the matchup requires. At the same time though the brunt of Terror's piercing competitive sense may well end the games early.
We saw in Group B an unorthodox, early pressure brand of TvT by Dandy that Terror has shown similarly. Spx's lack of comfort and adaptation to such play in a competitive setting proves a prime choice for Terror. Especially in the early game Terror has been known to be aggressive and Spx can commit blunders. I'd expect no less of Terror to concoct such a crafty play on a map pool as promising as BSL6's.
Conversely, Terror may just be confident playing a straight-up macro game. Mechanically and tactically Terror comes across as more resolute and confident. Just by a smidge Terror's speed and mechanical edge may outdo Spx in the longer game.That's not to put Spx behind though who has showcased very strong plays before.
At any rate, in a group as stacked as heavily as group C there should be no surprise a player like Spx is the first to be eliminated.
Final Match: Terror vs Naugrim
The match can go either way between the two players. There's a certain feeling though that Naugrim will lack the stomach for Terror's particular brand of Terran spice. A hefty amount of tenacity and unorthodox plays is certainly enough to tilt Naugrim. Skills of improvisation, fast thinking, and quality decision making will have to be shown for whatever Terror throws at him.
On the off chance that Terror opts for a completely standard series, then favor shifts to Naugrim. Naugrim may also just be unnerved and go for some unorthodox play himself. That's a style which he has shown to not be particularly great at executing. At the end of a long day though Terror's resilience may just be what wins him the game versus Naugrim. Especially considering there's a TvT, that day may be very, very long.
Bonyth and Terror advance to the Ro8
Group D Preview
A Stormy End
In the final group of the Ro16 there remain only two spots left to be fought over by too many deserving players. In the first inning Eonzerg will predictably advance. Then viewers can anticipate the real suspense of the group in the closing matches. Watch as Nyoken, Gorynich, and Kenzy - all incredibly passionate players - fight tooth and nail in our closest matchups to conclude the Ro16.
Eonzerg vs Gorynich
Eonzerg, a top foreign Zerg, has been on a long winning streak vs Gorynich. There's really not much to say or hope to hold for Gorynich who has shown his lack of grace in ZvZ. In an infamously volatile and at times frustrating matchup, Gorynich has repeatedly shown his rough edges. Less than Gorynich's A-game won't be enough to beat Eonzerg save for great mind games and Eonzerg having a bad day.
Nyoken vs Kenzy
Kenzy in the last group showcased great competitive sense with the mechanics to match. Versus Nyoken though he'll be on a different playing field that'll truly stretch his repertoire.
Kenzy's latest challenge here is besting the fickle and mechanically intensive game of ZvT. Dealing with hordes of +1 5-Rax marines with mutas is not up Kenzy's alley though. A less traditional approach, namely Kenzy's hydra lurker drop play is what catches the eye. That's the play that brought Julia much success, despite losing that game vs Nyoken.
The style successfully bogged down Nyoken giving Julia a resource lead unseen in BSL6 ZvT history. With Kenzy's better mechanics and motivation to stay in the game, Kenzy's chances look great.
In the case Kenzy does opt for a standard 3-Hatch Muta there is doubt that Kenzy will do a traditional save-the-third midgame. More aggressive variants are more likely especially to throw off cookie-cutter Terran, Nyoken.
Overall, signs lead to Kenzy knocking Nyoken's socks off.
Winners' Match: Eonzerg vs Kenzy
In a battle of wills people can predict Kenzy to falter before the fierce bonfire of Eonzerg. Kenzy's play, while solid, is not as clutch nor as tenacious in competitive bite as Eonzerg's. The mechanical difference here will push Kenzy's Protoss to go for a sneaky play that is akin to Mini vs Effort.
Otherwise, expect a straightforward and flat series. Still, there is always a chance Eonzerg falls behind through a botched all-in. The game's fate will then rely on Kenzy to seize the momentum of the game for an unexpected win. ABut alas, outdoing a top Zerg in a bo3 is just too tall an order for Kenzy.
Losers' Match: Nyoken vs Gorynich
Gorynich is at a severe disadvantage playing in his worst matchup against Nyoken who has an all Zerg group. Luckily, BSL6's diverse map pool leaves just enough room for Gorynich to dance and somersault over Nyoken.
Any frequent watcher of Gorynich will know his affinity for specialized builds. They're his act of defiance over typical ZvT in his hopes to outwit Terrans. However, they often fall short of their creative endeavors against a brick wall of good Terran macro. Perhaps Gorynich can concoct a more practical strategy this time around.
Previously, we saw Gorynich unveil a fast-drop play vs Dandy on Heartbeat to grab an easy island third. The play was quickly muddled down in its slow growth economy as Dandy simply took over the whole map. With a second chance, Gorynich can introduce some more refinements and use this on Kiseyras too with its isolated edge bases. His hydra guardian play can also make a possible rebound.
Whatever the case, expect Gorynich to try a unique and stylized strategy to circumvent Nyoken's rock solid standard game. However, Nyoken just looks too committed and practiced to fall to Gorynich making for an early exit for our Russian Zerg.
Final Match: Nyoken vs Kenzy
In the final fated match of the Ro16 only one player can move on. Going forward, Nyoken will adjust and simply play more solid after losing to Kenzy the first time around. For Kenzy, the biggest challenge here is to outwit Nyoken whether that be through mind games or a truly ingenious strategy. Such a play would prove potent by taking advantage of Nyoken's fears of an early loss in such a high stakes game.
However, if Nyoken steers the game straight then almost all hope is lost for Kenzy. Kenzy will be taken for the voyage of his life as he is tied to the bow of a ship. Braving the final storm of the Ro16, Kenzy must endure the endless rain of marine fire and dropships.
Or, in a monotonous repeat of the first games Kenzy will again lurker drop. There is a chance that Nyoken has simply failed to adapt to the drop play. Regardless, you can expect the coming storm to be one of the most neck-and-neck games to conclude the Ro16. And in the end, the one to survive the wreckage will be Kenzy.
Eonzerg and Kenzy advance to the Ro8!