Saturday April 16th 18:00 GMT (+00:00)
Sunday April 17th 18:00 GMT (+00:00)
Sunday April 17th 18:00 GMT (+00:00)
By Xxio and tree.hugger
The last matches of the round of 16 are right around the corner. On Saturday, Day9 and DjWheat will kick things off with the biggest match of the weekend, Boxer vs. Sen, first out of the gate. Sick and missed at DreamHack, Boxer has a long road ahead of him. Now down in Code A, he will be working to climb out of his slump and prove that, like WhiteRa, he's still got what it takes. To beat Sen, he is going to have to work harder than ever. Saturday will also be host to the two Liquid` killers HasuObs and Morrow as they fight for a spot in the quarterfinals. Morrow has a lot of momentum going into this match, and the expectations for him to succeed are high.
On Sunday, Day9 and Husky will be commentating Goody vs the 2011 MLG Dallas champion Naniwa and the Brood War mastermind Mondragon vs TSL dark horse Cruncher. Naniwa and Cruncher are top contenders in the international scene who have recently started showing consistent results. They are tough opponents but what Mondragon and Goody showed us in the round of 32 is sure to have even the most stalwart Protoss fans a trifle worried. After last week's games it seems that anything is possible.
It's hard to preface this match-up with anything but a statement on how ridiculously awesome this is. Sen has been in a stunning form recently, showing his prodigious skill in the GSL World Championship Team Match, the GCPL, and his Round of 32 stomping of teammate Fenix. His opponent is—of course—BoxeR; the Emperor of Starcraft, the Destroyer of Worlds, etc, etc.
This match means a little something extra for both players. Boxer is one of only two Koreans remaining in a draw that saw fellow BW bonjwa NaDa fall out last weekend. At the tournament's beginning many people predicted Boxer would be the first Korean to drop out, but he survived his initial test against NightEnd, and will look to prove that the pre-tournament prognostications were wrong here. For Sen, the last round brought an unfortunate teamkill against Fenix. As the only member of FnaticMSI in the Ro16, Sen bears the weight of his team as the tournament goes deeper.
Bracket Contest: Anyone watching Sen's recent games would be hard pressed to deny that he is one of the world's elite Zergs. BoxeR, for all of his legend, is not one of the world's elite terrans. That holds true especially in TvZ, where he holds a 2-8 record (admittedly his 0-6 record against NesTea makes this seem worse than it is) and has never shown truly impressive form. Sen, who recently went toe to toe against MarineKing, should win this series in three or most likely four games.
Liquibet Stat: Boxer: 3331, Sen: 5713.
Another tragic teamkill of the TSL, this one at least occurs in the Ro16 after both players have had a chance to demonstrate their skill. Indeed, both players delivered some of the more memorable (or tragic, depending on your allegiances) upsets of the opening round, with HasuObs taking out the newly Code S HuK, and MorroW felling foreigner poster-boy and fellow countryman Jinro.
Both players are now looking to be the only Mousesports representative in the Ro8. Of the two, MorroW certainly has the larger international reputation, having been invited to the World All-Stars team in Korea last month, and having a series of impressive tournament performances under his belt. HasuObs, meanwhile, has been not nearly as prolific, but has been around just as long, and boasts impressive win percentages as well as a considerable trophy case of smaller tournaments.
Bracket Contest: For his incredible skill in ZvT, MorroW has struggled against protoss, a trait shared by nearly all top-level zerg players. HasuObs, somewhat predictably, has buoyed the protoss wave and now counts PvZ as his best match-up statistically. That said, I don't think that this series is at cut and dry as that. MorroW has long been considered on a different level than has HasuObs, and this series may go some way towards proving whether that reputation is deserved. My feeling is that it is; MorroW's extensive Korean and European experience will serve him well in what should be a close series. MorroW 3-2
Liquibet Stat: HasuObs: 2791, MorroW: 6236.
Since MLG, Naniwa has been considered a top contender for the title of #1 foreign Protoss. A strong, 26-2 first place finish at MLG Dallas shows that he is without a doubt one of the most dangerous players around. Undefeated against Pokebunny, Drewbie and Select at MLG, the man who defeated Fenix and Idra in the GCPL is looking to make the round of 8 in the TSL, and maybe just take the whole thing. Goody on the other hand sits in the limelight due his 2-1 victory over IM.NesTea. People still doubt his skill, and with good reason – unlike Naniwa, he has not yet shown consistency. It should also be noted that Naniwa has been playing and defeating players like Strelok, Fenix, and Select while Goody's Protoss opponents range from recognizable to obscure. After seeing his series against NesTea, I'm confident that Goody will have more than one good build order for Saturday. What I'm wondering is if Naniwa will find them far too predictable.
Bracket Contest: Naniwa is known for his highly refined build orders and perfect unit compositions. He recently beat Goody 2-1 in the Black Dragon League and I think we will see the same result in the TSL.
Liquibet Stat: Naniwa: 8012, Goody: 1334.
Mondragon the Brood War titan versus Cruncher, TSL's dark horse. When Cruncher beat Idra in the round of 32 he showed the world that he can defeat the best Zerg players in the world. When he beat CheckPrime.WE 2-0 in the FXO Invitational that same weekend, he showed that it wasn't a fluke. This week he defeated DarkForce in the NASL. I think Mondragon should be worried. But he probably isn't. Mondragon was so good at Brood War that it's almost hard to wrap your head around it. In StarCraft 2 it might turn out to be the same. As we saw in his games against ZeeRax, the man is a genius and his mechanics are top notch. Yet, at the same time, that's all we know. His mysteriously humble and joking interviews leave us wondering if he even knows when his next match is. Cruncher looks to be the favorite here, and yet, the liquibet stats show otherwise.
Bracket Contest: If I didn't know Mondragon from Brood War, I would probably bet on Cruncher. He has proven himself more than once now against top players and looks to be a serious competitor. I did, however, know Mondragon from Brood War and I believe he will continue make the same magic happen in StarCraft 2. Mondragon made it to the finals in the last TSL. He is going to make it to the round of 8 in this one.
Liquibet Stat: Mondragon: 5490, Cruncher: 3789.
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