Ro8 Bracket Stage Preview
The Ro8 (starts in )
We're getting closer to the finish line, and consequently the competition is becoming even fiercer. Now that the group stages are out of the way, we can now delve a bit deeper into the individual matchups and look at the real titans of the tournament on a one-on-one basis.
MadiNho vs g0rynich
In the Ro8, we start off with the Norwegian Terran player MadiNho against the Russian zerg g0rynich. At first glance, MadiNho might be a bit of a surprise to see this deep in the tournament. Along with OyA, they are this season's newcomers to the top echelon after never having made it past the first group stage of BSL proleague.
This lack of BSL proleague experience should not be confused for lack of overall experience though. MadiNho has been a ladder hero and consistently achieved high scores with strong records for nearly a decade after rising to prominence on iccup shortly after the release of SC2. With a 2v2 background and a dabbling with random and other race picking, he is a multifaceted player—a diamond in the rough, if you like. While he is a bit of a newcomer to tournaments of this level of prestige, he has been a long-time participant (with considerable success) in team leagues like STPL, and his performance, both in 1v1 and 2v2, was a primary reason why Norway got top 4 in the recent Titanes Del Ring nation war. Fun fact: while he went 9-4 in 1v1 matches during the TDR nation war, all four losses were against Protoss, and all four losses were against the four Protoss players that remain in the BSL—Dewalt, Bonyth, TT1, and OyA.
g0rynich on the other hand is a real veteran of the scene (he even won the World Cyber games Russia qualification back in 2007!) but is also the one with more significant and recent BSL success after getting second place in the previous season. He also got top 8 in BSL6, and for most of the Remastered era, he has held a strong claim for third best non-korean Zerg player, just behind trutaCz and Eonzerg. He is known for very strong hive-based play and tends to fare better the longer the game goes. In the previous season, he coasted hard on his strong ZvZ, going 8-1 in ZvZ games against strong competition. His lone ZvT match was against Dandy in the semi-final, where he won 3-1.
Looking at their BSL games so far this season, MadiNho doesn't leave us with much relevant information for this matchup. He got here solely off his TvT after dispatching Cryoc twice in the first group stage and beating both TerrOr and Dandy to clinch first place from the Ro16 group stage. In BSL8, his only previous BSL bout, he lost against Avi-Love in a fairly long and drawn out game on Crossing Field—to date, this is his only non-tvt game from BSL proleague.
That said, MadiNho tends to favor mech play, which makes g0rynich's Ro16 group stage play a highly relevant point of reference. That group featured g0rynich beating Casper 2-1 when Casper went for mech play in every game. If those games were any indicator, then g0rynich is likely to open with muta and amass one to two control groups of them while securing more bases and moving into hydras and “getting everything”. In one of the games, g0rynich went queens, in another he got swarm, ultras and drops, and the last one he just stayed on muta/hydra. Either way, there were no risky allins from his behalf, just safe, measured play that aims for a strong mid-late game position.
MadiNho tends towards the unpredictable though, even if he has a strong tendency to end up with mech. Two-port wraith, vulture drop openings, 1-rax CC into mech, CC first, straight up goliath build, all of these are potential openings for him depending on the map. Additionally, he is the only Terran player I've faced who actually utilized EMP against queen fleets, and in the reasonably likely event where we get a TvZ featuring massive tank counts and broodlings to counter, I expect to see some EMP action.
As far as predictions go, I expect a quality series. Both players are strong and fairly evenly matched players, and neither player tends to end games particularly early. While it pains me to bet against my fellow Norwegian, I think g0rynich's big game experience will favor him in the end, granting him a 3-2 victory.
Bonyth vs TT1
We get a repeat of BSL8's semifinal! While both players are highly skilled protoss users...that's basically where the similarities end.
Bonyth does not need much of an introduction to most followers of the scene. He won BSL8, and quite frankly, for most of the past year, he has looked like the strongest non-Korean player. He does great on ladder, great in tournaments, great in team leagues, and great in nation war games. Although he is in some ways rather predictable in his approach to every matchup, his execution and technical understanding is unparalleled outside Korea. Bonyth's micro genuinely is on a different level from that of his competition—his zealots hit faster, his reavers target more precisely, and his goons waste fewer shots compared to what you see from other top players. Frankly, I find it thoroughly impressive that he consistently excels with his style of play of highly technical aggression while relying on the performance of a few key units.
TT1 on his end, is rather characterized by nearly flawless macro. He hits his production cycles with great precision, is great at reinforcing his armies, sends probes to mine shortly after having built them, hits strong timings, and has very solid large army management. A former SC2 progamer, mechanically, TT1 is one of the strongest players on the scene.
Sadly for TT1, the PvP matchup is one where Bonyth's strengths are more prominent. How you perform in a 5 dragoon vs 5 dragoon battle matters more than how quickly you send your probes to mine. How well you target your reaver shots is more important than flawless production cycles from 10 gateways. Their BSL8 semifinal resulted in Bonyth winning 3-0 with a total game length just shy of 30 minutes. I hope the match is more even this time, but if anything, Bonyth is in better shape relative to what TT1 was at that time.
TT1 is the third place finisher from BSL8. While he has not been the tournament regular that Bonyth has been, he is still a top non-Korean player. If both players were facing a top Zerg instead of each other, I would give TT1 about an equally good chance as Bonyth to make it to the next round. But PvP is his worst matchup, and arguably, it's Bonyth's strongest.
The fact of the matter is, Bonyth's PvP win rate from BSL games (not just matches, but individual games) is 100%. Now, he did lose against Dewalt in a Bo1 during the recent Jeez weekly final, but for Bonyth to lose a Bo5 PvP series would be a fairly big upset. So, while the aforementioned match between MadiNho and g0rynich has all the ingredients required for an epic, long slugfest, this one might just unfortunately point the other direction. I predict a 3-0 for Bonyth.
OyA vs TerrOr
This is another solid matchup between two players that should be fairly evenly matched even if their respective marks on the foreign scene significantly differ.
OyA is a swedish Protoss player who has been rising through the ranks lately, and looking at his BSL performance over time, we see a very clear upward trajectory. In BSL5, he played in choboleague (equivalent of gosuleague now) but was eliminated during the Ro64 group stage. In BSL6, he did not play, but in BSL7, he won gosuleague, and then in BSL8, he was eliminated in third place from his Ro24 group after losing 1-2 against TerrOr in the elimination match. And now in BSL9, he is top 8 with a fair shot at reaching the semifinals. OyA has been practicing hard and has become a much more complete player than he used to be.
The Peruvian Terran TerrOr has had a different trajectory. He had his best BSL performance in BSL3, where he got second place, and following that, he got top 8 in BSL4, BSL5, BSL6, and BSL7 before he was eliminated in the Ro16 in BSL8. Now we're in BSL9, and he is back where he apparently belongs: in the top 8.
While OyA's results reflect his growth as a player, TerrOr's results mostly just reflect great consistency. The fact that he had his best result earlier and his worst result most recently can be attributed to randomness since he has had numerous good performances and tournament results during the entire time period.
As for how the games are likely to play out, they should be fun. Both of these players are highly aggressive players. OyA tends to be aggressive from the first zealot without ever letting up while TerrOr tends to utilize strong one or two-base timing attacks. OyA's PvT is a bit Bonyth-esque and includes proxy gateway zealot/dragoon harassment, good reaver play, sometimes carriers, but the reaver into carrier style isn't a given the way it is with Bonyth. TerrOr, while he tends to avoid slow three base styles, still shouldn’t be predictable. He has many different build orders up his sleeve and has sometimes even successfully utilized bio.
Despite TerrOr knocking OyA out of the previous BSL, I'm inclined to give OyA a better shot this time, and I predict him emerging victorious with a 3-2 win. I think he is a bit sharper now than he was the previous time around, and I think TerrOr's style is a bit better against reactive Protoss players than against aggressive ones like OyA. Either way, it should be a great match, so tune in!
trutaCz vs Dewalt
Arguably the most anticipated match of the Ro8 comes in the final set. Here, we have two powerhouses. Both players have been among the top 4 non-Korean players for a majority of Starcraft:Remastered.
We are looking at trutaCz against Dewalt.
To give a short history of the BSL, it started back in 2013 as a tournament for Polish players. Afterwards, trutaCz won both BSL1 and BSL2 before a five year hiatus of the league until 2018 when it became a tournament for the entire non-Korean community. BSL3, in turn, was won by Dewalt. Since then, Dewalt got fourth place in BSL4, top 8 (losing 2-3 against trutaCz) in BSL5, third place in BSL6 (losing 0-3 against trutaCz in the semifinal), Ro16 in BSL7, and Ro16 in BSL8.
trutaCz got top 8 in BSL4, third place in BSL5, won BSL6, won BSL7, and got top 8 after losing to Bonyth in BSL8. While both these players are contenders for top non-Korean of the SC:R era, trutaCz is so far the best performer of the BSL, but Dewalt has overall had better performances in other tournaments.
Looking at BSL in isolation, you might get the impression that Dewalt is on a decline. Not so. While the BSL has been the most prestigious tournament series outside Korea during the Remastered era, the Jeez weekly has given players a weekly chance at proving their mettle against Korean opponents, and so far in 2020, Dewalt has won this tournament four times and reached the semifinal 11 out of 16 times, which is by far the best result of any non-Korean player. (trutaCz is the only other non-Korean with a tournament win in 2020 with a single win).
In terms of styles, both players have few obvious weaknesses but are overall very well rounded players. Dewalt has some variation to his openings but tends to favor safe FFE openings and is unlikely to employ two gate or proxy openings. He can utilize fast robo openings, but even if he does go some sair-reaver variation, he’s likely to transition into a gateway army fairly quickly.
trutaCz, however, is more likely to commit to an allin, but he does this backed by the threat of very solid macro play and great mechanics as well, meaning that overcommitting to defense is likely to kill you just as much as undercommitting is. Any Protoss can attest to this being a dangerous combination and something truly difficult to face.
At the same time, if trutaCz does have one weakness, it’s a tendency to perhaps pounce too hard once he notices an opportunity to secure an early win. In his Ro16 games, he committed to allins both games against TT1, and while he won both times, you can argue that he won due to mistakes made by TT1. If Dewalt can exploit this by, for example, being highly aggressive with a gateway expand while building faster cannons than expected, he might secure a quick win, which will be key in a series expected to be this tight.
This matchup could have been the final of the tournament and nobody would bat an eye. When they have met in previous editions of the BSL, trutaCz has emerged victorious, and frankly, I think he is likely to win this time, too. But I think it will be close. I predict a 3-2 victory for trutaCz.