It’s been a month since Flash was crowned Bacchus OSL Champion. While it was a depressing OSL at best, it was nonetheless monumental. #1 ratings and the youngest champion ever is definitely a landmark in Starcraft history. To kick off the 2008 Season OGN have decided to expand the OSL into 32 players – much like MSL. Simply put, the first round of the OSL is ODT from earlier seasons and then the OSL is the same from there on.
To kick off the festivities for what promises to be arguably the best season yet OGN have kindly delivered us some of the best ODT brackets in a long time. This week we have Groups A and B which are just full of potential. And as readers you will be treated to some *ahem* expert analysis by the current Liquibet Number 1.
- Wednesday 16th April 19:30 KST on Daum Player
This group can justifiably be labeled “stacked”. You have three former Starleague Champions, one kid with sick TvZ, two with ridiculous ZvT, and the current number one in KeSPA. All I can say is, poor BackHo… poor poor BackHo
What a nice treat to start us off in this competition? This should be the most anticipated match of the night for very good reason. Casy is hot after a slick performance in OSC involving Nuclear Missiles – yes we all know how awesome that was. Jaedong on the other hand has just devoured MSL. Nuke rush or MSL champion? I’m going to have to side with the Nuke on this one.
Hwarangdo isn’t exactly the friendliest ZvT map; the gasless nat along with the low mineral count at the nat and Terrain which favors strategical play all work against Jaedong here. Casy is not one to mess up in TvZ and seems to have recovered most of his former self. The map screams Casy, my inner fanboy screams
After the visual orgasm that will be Casy vs Jaedong, we get an A-Level Protoss against an S-Class Zerg. Okay, I’m probably not being fair to BackHo – he did just win a 1v2 in Proleauge after all. But at the end of the day, GGplay is the sane a rational bet here. I honestly believe that this map will produce relatively balanced ZvP as things revert somewhat back to one base play for the Protoss and 2~3 base play for the Zerg; perhaps even seeing the revival of Lurker contains.
GGplay’s form could be questioned, he’s looked shakey in Proleague and any time a player switches team you never can tell how it’s going to affect their performance. But, come on, it’s BackHo who is only in this OSL by virtue of Katrina (there’s a reason he’s given the 2v2 duties). Thus GGplay should take this set with no worries.
So if everything goes to plan we’ll be seeing Casy and GGplay go head to head for the first spot for the OSL. And what can I say, this is a great map for these two to be playing on. GGplay’s lategame Zerg style should flourish on this map which encourages heavy macro, but should he overextend himself Casy will punish him. There is so much room here for Casy to disrupt GGplay’s plans – and no doubt Casy will be the aggressor trying to take him down before those defilers come out and wreck havoc. If the game isn’t over before the midgame, this should be an epic fight.
However, it is quite likely that we will see Jaedong vs GGplay here, in which case we will see a rather easy match for Jaedong. Jaedong has shown that he is willing to play the low econ game on such a macro friendly map, and its paid off so far. GGplay no doubt will come equipped ready with a 12 pool to counter; the question is how Jaedong will react to that. Should be fairly straightforward for him, but if he’s not careful GGplay has the talent to steal the game off him.
So I’m betting we see Jaedong and Backho end up here. And well, this should be a non-game really. Andromeda is a friendly map for any Zerg who’s happy to play a macro style and Jaedong is versatile enough to suit himself well to this map. He should easily be able to crush BackHo – he is the best ZvP in the world after all.
If Casy and Backho wind up duelling it out for survival then I have no clue who to give the advantage to. BackHo, while no stellar player, occasionally flashes brilliance in PvT and other times he is completely off. If he is on his game, which recent games suggest he is, then we could see Casy make an early exit. Casy qualified by beating an unimpressive Free, which didn’t say much about his current TvP state. With Nada and Mind on his side, however, I’m hoping that some of their wisdom has passed to him and he should be able to clear this minor hurdle…. I hope…
|Set 5: Tie-Breaker|
In the final match of the night we should see Jaedong and GGplay duke it out for the final place. As many of the staff know, I am a huge fan of Troy and I have big hopes for this game. The unique reverse-island concept makes for interesting Mirror matches (if nothing else). How one side will make use of the Assimilators is a huge question to ask in this set. I can see this game extending into a 15~ minute ZvZ with some Hive Tech making an appearance – just due to the nature of the map. However, at the end of the day, Jaedong is just a beast when it comes to this matchup and I seriously doubt that GGplay can topple him. However, if it does drag on it really could go either way.
The other likely combination we’ll see here is Casy vs GGplay. Last time Casy played a Zerg here the Zerg quit progaming due to the trauma – which isn’t exactly reassuring for GGplay. Casy should easily walk away victorious here, everything is in his favour. There is a large amount of creativity possibly in addition to relatively favourable terrain for Terran. Thus he should be able to beat GGplay before the game drags on into the late game.
So there you have it, the safe bet here is Casy/Jaedong and they really should have little difficulty advancing from this group together. After all, it would be a tragedy if they didn’t (sorry GGplay).
- Friday 18th April 18:30 KST on Daum Player
Like Group A, this group is off the hook. Once again we are treated to the possibility of Nada vs Savior, which always makes for epic games. But on a larger scale, you have one of the great up and coming Protoss for 2008 and another fairly promising Protoss mixed amongst some of the legends of Starcraft.
Personally, this is my most anticipated match of the night. Sure, Savior vs Nada will be great, sure Best vs Savior would be awesome as well – but this my favorite matchup, with my favorite new star against one of the legends of TvP. ‘The Devil’s Apprentice’ has his work cut out for him against Nada – and I’m certain the product will be nothing short of brilliant.
Best’s style however doesn’t matchup well with this map thus my confidence in him is a little less than it would normally be, but it should be good enough for him. Best loves to play an aggressive macro game (tending to prefer arbiters) very similar to Pusan which means that some bizarre strategy is not out of the question. Nada should be comfortable on this map, he was dominating the scene back in the days when Nostalgia was the map the play and should be well versed on how to play this map. Nada’s stylistic advantage on this map is a huge factor, but Best’s raw talent and skill is pretty phenomenal. I give this set to Best by a whisper.
Like BackHo, Spear is here by virtue of Katrina (where he managed to defeat Iris). Now that the map pool is not so favorable for Protoss any longer it is only a matter of time before he crawls back into the offline qualifiers. That’s all pretty damning evidence against Spear, but then you look at his opponent… Savior. There was once a time where you would just auto-vote Savior against anyone other than perhaps Midas – that time has long gone. But the question is – can Savior still bash a mediocre Protoss?
This won’t even be close. Savior will terrorize, trounce and tear him asunder. Hwarangdo is a map where the “Bisu” build isn’t the best weapon against Zerg – which adds points in Saviors column. Every sign points to Savior walking away victorious by a huge margin – here’s hoping that this isn’t just some pipe dream instilled on me by Hot_Bid
We have two possibilities for this set – Best vs Savior and Nada vs Savior. The former would provide a very interesting clash between two macro giants. While Savior is not at his peak anymore, he can still churn out a pretty mean ZvP (whether he can finish the match is a different story). Andromeda should be a map which Best should feel right at home in, as it complements his style perfectly. Savior too should bee comfortable on this map – as it provides very good macro opportunities for both sides. However, Best’s advantage lies in the fact that he youthful and riding momentum – this coupled with his already sick mechanics should be enough for him to overrun Savior.
The alternative is Nada vs Savior, which I’m sure everyone would love. Not being well versed in TvZ, I have no idea how this map is going to play out. I’m tempted to say Savior could possibly take this off Nada – given his awesome performance against Flash – but ultimately Nada seems like the stronger candidate. Nada is still performing at a top 16 level, whereas Savior has definitely seen better days. Thus I have to tip my hat at Nada and give him the nudge over Savior here.
While there are two possible matchups here, there is only 1 possible outcome. That outcome is Spear losing. He is simply not the caliber of player that Best or Nada is – in both cases he should be pummeled into a bloody corpse. As much as I like young talent, this kid has to go home and grab some more experience if he wants to play with gamers like Nada.
|Set 5: Tie-Breaker|
This final set will either be between Best and Savior or Savior and Nada. In both cases things look grim for the maestro. Troy is a very lame map for ZvP and ZvT – and I expect Savior to loser here. Best should be able to pull off a decent FE and once that is up, I don’t see him losing – there’s just too many options for him to pursue. Nada should also have an easy time here, that map is terrible for Savior’s ZvT style while Nada should be able to cope fairly easily. So sorry Savior, see you next OSL.
Thus, my picks for Group B are Best/Savior with Best/Nada advancing.
So sit tight for a week full of sheer class from OnGameNet. If the recent Proleague games are anything to go by, these games are going to be so awesome you'd have to be mad to miss them. After a drought of top teir games, we are finally being rewarded. So tune in Wednesday at 19:30 KST and Friday at 18:30 KST and enjoy the second best Starcraft Tournament on Earth (TSL > OSL by far)