The Ro16 concluded rather emotionally as we saw the final games of Stork in competition in a fantastic group of games from Group C and we saw just how good Rush and Soulkey came to be in Group D, now its time for Soulkey to step up to the plate again, against an opponent he's all too familair with, just not as much as an opponent but a teammate. On the other side we have sOrry making the plunge to become the a true Royal that he calls himself while Mini plays Refugee-Toss for this season and hopes to fulfill The Legend of the Fall.
It is a bit surprising that outside of some one off online events, that we have not seen Soulkey and ZerO face off against each other much, this would only be their 3rd encounter against each other in the last 10 years considering thats almost how much long ago they were teammates in Woongjin Stars. Their first offline one since their first encounter in the ZvZ filled PDPop MSL 2010-11.
Brothers in Swarm
Their match 10 years ago was a team kill, Soulkey and ZerO were the zerg 1-2 punch of Woongjin Stars in proleague. They've lived and trained together in the team house for years at that point, the match itself ended up being a very close fought and tense, of course this was also early 2011 during the period we saw a lot of hive tech ZvZ and expected ZerO and Soulkey, the forerunners of that style to actually have a match that goes to hive tech, unfortunately it didn’t happen.
Going over their stats in the matchup from sponbbang, ZerO sits at a 55.6% while Soulkey is on a 45% win rate. However, Soulkey has the advantage on their personal head to head at 4-3, with the last 2 games played during this month right before their match, because fans of both players like to see them play against each other all the time due to their shared history and are more than willing to pay for it.
ZvZ is not really a long matchup, while I do hold out some hope for hive tech in this series, the fact that I’ve mentioned it means that it's unlikely to happen. That being said Soulkey definitely has the better zergling control and micro between the two and ZerO has the best Mutalisk micro among all the pros.
This series is going to be about soulkey trying to get as much advantage as he can early before mutalisks come into play, keeping that in mind I think its more likely that ZerO will be the one to come out on top.
ZerO to advance to the Ro4 3-1 !
Mini debuted in the ASL during Season 3. He was eliminated immediately in the round of 24 by Bisu (who had an 88% winrate in PvP at the time) and by Light. He then participated in the following 9 seasons. To this point, Mini has never won a best of X series against a Terran player. He’s suffered from a 3-0 elimination to Flash in the round of 8, Light has knocked him out of brackets twice, Last defeated Mini 3-1 in ASL7 finals, and he’s been eliminated by rush in Season 9. Despite a record that could be made to look bad, Mini has a lot of great talking points.
Road in the Fall
First off, Mini ranks top 3 in spon matches since ASL12 started. Across 335 games played, he maintains a 55% winrate and 58% versus Terran. On top of that, Mini comes into this round as a seasoned finalist. Mini holds two ASL silvers and a KSL silver since his debut in 2017. He has not only earned himself a reputation as a top contender, but he is a jack of all trades Protoss. He excels in every matchup and has top tier macro and micro.
While BeSt remains the only Protoss ranked above him, BeSt plays like an old man gamer while Mini still plays with youthful exuberance. That makes his playstyle one of the most electrifying for viewers to experience. Mini has the aggression of a bulldog in early game PvT, but also has the patience of a Komodo Dragon. The Komodo Dragon stalking technique involves biting a prey, allowing sepsis to set in, and stalks the prey over the next several hours as the animal weakens and dies. Mini knows how to bite hard early and then get ahead while waiting for his opponent to wither and die.
All is not well for Sorry. Incredible hype cannot out tell his story against top Protoss players. Sorry has only won 36% of his games against BeSt, Mini, Snow, Stork. Even worse, Sorry is 9-19 against Mini in their last 28 games. Sorry was also eliminated by Mini losing to him twice in the round of 24 of ASL 10. The wound is deeper however, as Sorry was eliminated twice in the round of 24 of ASL 9 by BeSt.
That being said, Sorry that played in Season 11(and before) is not the same Sorry who will be playing against Mini. He is so much better than he has ever been. This has been accomplished through in insane amount of practice and spon matches. He has fought in 394 matches since August winning 55% of his games. Compared to the first half of the year. Sorry is winning 13% more of his TvP matches bringing his win percentage up an astounding 57.2%. Even better against the 10 other Protoss players he battled, he won 69% of his games. Sorry still has to prove himself against the very best of the Protoss race, but without a doubt, he has a solid understanding of the matchup and will make it competitive.
The toughest part about determining this series is trying to predict nerves. Mini has really shown his mental improvement over the past several seasons, but also has a tough time swallowing losses. Meanwhile, Sorry really doesn’t have nearly the same stage experience as Mini and could completely fall apart if he loses the first game. Given the amount of times these two have played in spon matches, Sorry will come out as prepared as he has been all tournament. This is going to be Mini’s first series PvT win, but it will be a tough one determined by an ace match.
Mini will Advance 3-2!
Writers: BisuDagger, BLinD-RawR