The long wait is over and we are back with the 14th edition of the ASL, once again featuring a cast of all our familiar faces and top contenders, legends who got good qualifier brackets and a new face too.
All The Makings Of The Curse
ASL fans will note that in most seasons, Group A of the Ro24 usually presents itself with the most obvious choices with who the winners would be, in this case most fans would be backing Mini and BeSt over PianO and Sacsri, what usually ends up happening is that a fan favourite or both of them end up not qualifying at all. Will the Inauguration Curse strike again or will the group be as predictable as it seems.
BeSt is easily someone who’d succumb to such a “curse”, after all for every piece of improvement he’s had since his professional days, especially being on the forefront of the PvZ much like his former teammate Bisu while also never letting up his macro beast playstyle in PvT, he’s always struggled with making the right plays at the right time aka the ability to be clutch still eludes him, that said even in a Bo1 situation of this group, looking at the field of opponents, there exists only one challenge that honestly he can more just rise to but would not be a surprise if he beat, which is Mini.
Mini is most likely the one to make it out of the group 1st, he already has a crisp PvT and going up against PianO who has historically struggled in the matchup is a great start. He’s also probably the BeSt PvZ right now after Bisu since Rain has once again taken himself out of the picture to recover and if you don’t believe that you certainly believe at the very least that he’s good enough to beat Sacsri if he falls to BeSt in the winner’s set, which could go either way.
PianO today is what most fans believed late stage Light would become, while somewhat inconsistent overall, PianO is a very innovative player, at least when it comes to TvZ, his TvP however is pretty lacking considering his control of factory units nowhere close to his MnM, which in TvZ he usually supplements with Battlecruisers in the late game, most likely how he’ll beat Sacsri.
Sacsri pretty much got the short end of the stick once again, though not nearly as bad as last season when he was in a group with Light and Bisu, but just as bad when you consider the protoss threat, especially since he’s opening on an unfriendly map like butter against BeSt, he’s likely to meet PianO in the loser’s game and dip out of the tournament once more.
BeSt and Mini Advance To The Ro16!
STX SouL’d Out
Its always good to see the possibility of hero and Shuttle facing off, when two players know each other as well as they do, you are going to see several layers of mind games coming out from both of them, couple that with the return of ggaemo who made an unlikely run into the Ro16 last season and BarrackS who is another solid Ro16 contender, this has the makings of a fun group.
hero didn't have a run last season, having been seeded directly into the Ro16 and lost to JyJ and Soulkey in his group without taking a single set. Now hero's come in with something to prove, especially with his zvz skills that were always his weakest point, starting up against ggaemo is probably the shot in confidence he needs especially if he wants to face Shuttle in the winner's game, which will be the most troublesome match for him even if ZvP is his best matchup. His ZvT more than good enough to beat BarrackS if he has to face him.
Everything seems to be coming around for Shuttle in this group, last season he faced and beat BarrackS in the Ro24 last season only to face him again in the Ro24, his only win in his Ro16 group last season? Against ggaemo. Even online he has a good record against both of them while only a sLight disadvantage against hero, it's likely he'll lose to him but should still be able to advance through the group over ggaemo and BarrackS.
Regardless what I've said so far with regards to ggaemo he did reach the Ro16 last season beating Snow twice, of course the reason why he's not in serious contention to the group is that it's only his ZvP thas worth mentioning and facing Shuttle seems to be the least likely thing based on the initial draw of the group, it's very unlikely he'll beat hero in the opening and it's not likely that he'd beat BarrackS either with his sub 30% win rate in ZvT.
BarrackS is the only one in the group to not make the Ro16 last season, losing to Shuttle and then beast in the Ro24. Tough luck to him he has to face Shuttle again in his opening match, the result seems more or less going to be the same considering its on Butter which is a protoss friendly map, it's likely he'd beat ggaemo in the loser's set only to face Shuttle or hero in the final set, both are bad options but if he is to make it out of the group he better hope for hero since TvZ is a better matchup for BarrackS right now over TvP.
Shuttle And hero Advance To The Ro16!
this might be a one of the most lucky group for ZerO with several questions on ZerO’s competitive form since his dominant 2020, Royal rising up the ranks as probably the #2/#3 Terran in the ASL right now along with Sharp and MIsO making their ASL return.
The quickest way to explain ZerO’s last season in the ASL is that he got Bisu’d, twice(he did win one set but still) in the Ro16 where he was seeded, now back to the bottom of the totem pole and things haven’t looked great from him even online with sub 40% winrate against Terran and 30% winrate against Protoss, especially his ZvT where the only players he has a winning record against are Sharp and Mind who at this point are mostly seen as mid tier Terran players. Luck does seem to be on his side though, while a confrontation against Royal won’t pan out for a win for him, MIsO and Sharp however are still totally doable, especially MIsO with his ZvZ being the only solid matchup at least online. ZerO’s form and ASL future may be in doubt but at least his Ro24 feels like it will be safe.
Royal is poised to win the whole group and probably make a deep run this season, His TvT style is one that completely counters Sharp’s hyper aggressive plays and his TvZ while not as unstoppable as Light’s still is good enough to put ZerO down in the Winners game, I’m not even going to consider MIsO because I do not see him facing Royal, not unless Royal wants to 3-0 the group to establish dominance or something.
MIsO returns to the ASL after missing out on the last season, unfortunately placed in not a very doable group, after all the points and tier system pretty much locks players away like this into extremely unfavourable groups, he could possibly get lucky by beating Sharp and ZerO but its a long shot.
Sharp fell off, hard, at one time he used to be a consistent top 8 player but now he’s reached a point where he’s failed to even qualify in the ASL, although he did manage to make it past the qualifiers, there is a lot that remains to be seen in the rest of his run, its unlikely he’ll beat ZerO or Royal, he has a shot against MIsO at best.
Royal and ZerO Advance To The Ro16!