After a month and a half of intense gaming we have whittled the competition to 8 of it's finest players. The upsets in the Ro16 have shown us that $5000 is enough incentive for players to take their game to levels thought unreachable and create fantastic games in the process. The players who are left answered the challenge and upped their game to the next level and have moved on as a result. The players now have the luxury of a Bo5 to weave their art onto our screens and that's going to result in some of the best games all tournament. Some of the Razer TSL staff have taken the time to give their opinion on the upcoming matches and how they see these games turning out.
But before we continue, a huge thank you to our sponsor Razer for their support. I know we've been saying it a lot, but these guys are bringing life into our beloved game through the TSL and even though BroodWar is in its twilight years, it's still pulling in the viewers. Thanks to their support, foreign gaming is being broadcast to new audiences and I for one have never been so excited about a foreign tournament. I'm finding myself more interested in the results and games of the Razer TSL than the OSL or MSL - a first for myself and many others! Also a shoutout to the Razer TSL casters, tech crew and graphics team - you guys are making this superb! Now let's take a look at our upcoming games.
MYM.White_Ra vs Retired_Draco
FrozenArbiter Fun Fact!
Historically White-Ra has never beaten draco in an official game/series (1-7 in individual games)
PvP is a brutal matchup where the victor is generally the player with the cleaner mechanics than the other. However, as with any mirror matchup, when you have two evenly matched Protoss brawling it out for $5000 it simply comes down to the player who is better prepared. At this stage in the tournament, both White-Ra and Draco are heavy favorites to win - pending the result of this tough encounter.
There is no doubt in my mind that White-Ra will be practicing as hard as he can for this series - both for the cash and to avenge his fallen comrade Strelok. Draco on the other hand has such immense talent that he can coast from game to game with minimal time investment. Should Draco practice substantially for this series (unlikely) he should be able to clean out White-Ra 3-1; but given his reluctance to practice i see White-Ra taking it in 5 in an extremely close match. As much as I feel White-Ra is the favorite, I just can't bring myself to vote against Draco, a player who always manages to pull out great results - even when he says he's not practicing. Hence I'm calling Draco taking this in 4.
As a graphics staff member, I'm too lazy to take sides. However I feel obligated to mention that anyone featured on such a banner has not had the best TSL tournament. Incontrol, ToT)XiaoZi(, ToT)Cloud(, ToT)Mondragon(... Just saying... Also the only two players remaining drawn by Sigrun are Dreiven and Draco for a little more gfx superstition
Draco looked incredibly impressive against Strelok, and the games were very one-sided, but on the other hand, Draco's macro looked circumspect on more than one occasion. White-ra in comparison looked solid throughout his games, and in fact, looked very close to being unstoppable in his games.
Furthermore, I think White-ra is probably very well practised on the two older maps (Blue Storm and Zodiac) so I can't see him dropping a game there either. Because of this, I thik Draco might win one of the first two matches, but I think White-ra will take the series 3-1.
RoX.BRAT_OK vs MYM.Dreiven
FrozenArbiter Fun Fact!
BRAT_OK went a staggering 62-29 against Protoss in the TSL Ladder
Statistics tell us that this is Brat's best match-up, and I don't think this is Dreiven's best. Because of this, I'm voting 3-1 for Brat. In contrast with Chill, I believe Wuthering favours Terran in the TvP matchup, so I expect Brat to take that match. In the second game I think a fast Tank push onto the natural will be very difficult to stop by Dreiven, so I think Brat will go 2-0 up before losing his first game.
Othello is a very open map, and while there are cliffs that make harassing very difficult, I think a Protoss with good troop movement can always flank a Terran force successfully. Because of that, I'm voting for Dreiven to take the third game. Finally, Zodiac seems to offer both players a good chance, but I think Brat can take it with a strong macro oriented game.
Following on from his victory over Mondragon, Dreiven faces the Army Terran BRAT_OK. With his confidence riding high after a landmark victory, Dreiven should be able to handle this match without too much difficulty. BRAT_OK has been impressive thus far in the TSL, but the defining factor in this series is going to be how a player copes under pressure. Being an ex-military man I'm sure BRAT_OK can handle it sufficiently, but Dreiven takes that to the next level. The pressure and difficulty of his last round shows that he has nerves of steel which is going to be an extremely valuable asset in this tournament.
Breaking this series down map by map, Dreiven should be able to win 3-1. Wuthering is a great map for Dreiven to start off on. A common theme in his play is that he needs some time to warm up and Wuthering gives him a safe macro map to progress into an easy midgame giving plenty of time for him to warm up. On top of that Terran's haven't figured out how to play Wuthering against Protoss yet which definitely works in Dreiven's favor. Blue Storm is a good map for BRAT_OK. Blue Storm gives around 50% winrate for Terran against Protoss and combine that with Dreiven's "Blue Storm Phobia" and you get a win for BRAT_OK. Despite things getting to 1-1, everything goes downhill for BRAT_OK, Othello and Zodiac are great maps for Dreiven. He should be able to edge out BRAT_OK on Othello, while the 7-2 stats in favor of Protoss on Zodiac speak for themselves. Even if BRAT manages to take Othello, Dreiven has Wuthering to fall back on in the final set. Thus i arrive at the conclusion that Dreiven should be taking this 3-1.
MYM.DinOt vs Excello.IefNaij
FrozenArbiter Fun Fact!
According to the GosuGamers database, DinOt has career stats of 10-3 against Protoss
After a number of impressive and entertaining games from DinOt this series looks more promising than if you had shown me this 2 months ago. DinOt is on a roll - taking down Idra in the qualifiers 2-0 and generating some very entertaining games against Rondo in the Ro16. On the other hand we have the great Canadian Protoss IefNaij. JF has been constantly impressive for a long time now - even participating in TL's own Liquibition where he cleaned up Ret 4-0. The strength of his play is really quite formidable. However, he did claim to feel really nervous once he was 0-1 down against Cloud in his Ro16 match. His nerves may become his greatest weakness in the tournament - and we may see an upset here.
DinOt gets full advantage out of the map pool here, Othello is reportedly a great Zerg map, and it's not hard to see why. The myriad of opportunities and styles Zerg can adapt to against Protoss on this map is staggering. This gives DinOt a full pallet to work with against JF - who is reduced to reactionary based play. DinOt should take this set and then be very happy with Blue Storm coming up second. Blue Storm has a 10-6 record in favor of Zerg which equates to a 62% winrate - and indeed results from Korea coincide with these numbers. Zergs definitely have an easy time here and thus JF will be hard pressed to keep up with DinOt and i expect DinOt to go up 2-0. With Wuthering as the third set things look better for JF, but I don't know if it will be enough.
Wuthering is still being worked out amongst the Zerg and Mondragon seemed to have the right idea (until he stopped expanding) so we could see DinOt come out with a nice strategy against JF. But the biggest factor working against JF here is that if he is down 0-2, his nerves might kick in and send him packing 0-3. Here's hoping that doesn't happen, but its a very real possibility. Zodiac should be a easy game for JF to take. If it comes to the final set, i think JF will be able to take it - seeing as he will be a position of power after taking Zodiac. I don't know if DinOt can handle the pressure of the 5th set, especially if he's coming off two consecutive losses and JF might just be able to comeback and win 3-2. However, as it stands I'm fairly confident in DinOt taking this 3-0 with a possibility of JF coming back to win 3-2.
This is the most difficult game for me to call. Iefnaij is a clear favourite for the tournament, while Dinot is a relative unknown, but Dinot's two games on Othello were amazingly played. His troop movements were perfect, he never slipped up with his macro, and he was effective with his pressure. Because of this, I'm going to take a risk and say Dinot will win both his games on Othello.
This leaves us with three remaining games, of which I will say Iefnaij will win only two, and Dinot will take the win on Blue Storm. Blue Storm is very comfortable for a mobile Zerg, and I believe Dinot will make it count by taking that game from Iefnaij.
I feel that this bet is a very risky bet on my side, but from what I've seen of Dinot, I think he can take this match.
ToT)GOsia( vs Excello.NonY
FrozenArbiter Fun Fact!
Nony just beat Gosia 3-0 in MYM KOTH a couple of weeks ago.
3-0 Nony. Gosia, while winning his previous two games, looked very inconsistent. Nony on the other hand just powered his way over Ret. Gosia himself said that he didn't play well against Kr, and that he would have to practise hard to improve on those games, but I just don't think he can improve fast enough.
I think this will be a very straightforward macro-based game for Nony, and I can't see what Gosia can do to stop him. Perhaps the most interesting game will be on Blue Storm, where we'll have to see how the players cope with the layout of the map. The longer the game goes on on Blue Storm, the bigger I feel Gosia's chances will be, but if Nony can pull of two attacks like those he did against Ret, I can't see Gosia expanding past his mineral only.
GOsia stated that he believes that he is the worst player in the Ro8 - and to some extent he may be right. His company in the Ro8 are formidable to say the least. I beleive it is this attitude that will lead GOsia to the upset victory over NonY. NonY is one of the strongest pillars of the foreign community and one of the best players in the tournament - but if this tournament has taught us nothing else it is that anything can happen on the day. As much as I love and respect NonY as a player and an asset to foreign Starcraft, GOsia's spirit, playstyle and persona have converted me into a believer.
Blue Storm and Othello are two great maps for GOsia to open up on. Blue Storm favors his macro intensive ztyle - and he has the option of using the "Mondragon" build which achieved phenomenal success on the ladder. NonY seems to like this map though, which means that he's prepared for this encounter. This set will be one of the most epic of the tournament in my opinion because both players are suited to this map. I am going to say that GOsia will take this set, but it will be close. Othello should fall into a similar category - it's a great map for Zerg as they have a plethora of options but it's also a decent map for Protoss if they can stick around long enough. But i will say that GOsia's chances are the best on this map and hence i think he'll be going 2-0 up.
GOsia then runs into Wuthering - and i really think that NonY will take this set. Not because of the imbalance, but because GOsia looked somewhat shaky against Kr on this map. NonY is significantly better than Kr in all areas of his play and thus should be able to take GOsia here. NonY should also be happy with Zodiac as Protoss have a 75% winrate over Zerg. GOsia may simply try a hydra break here or a similar cheesy build - but ultimately i think NonY will level off 2-2. And then we come to Blue Storm once again. I beleive that this game will be brilliant, both players will be giving it there all and the result will be amazing. From his interview, GOsia seems to know how to get the most out his body and mind while playing starcraft - and that, i think, is going to work in his favor here. I think GOsia will upset NonY 3-2.
Although we disagree on the results and outcomes of these matches one thing we can all agree on is that this weekend is going to be intense. We have 4 great series lined up this weekend and it'd be a shame if you missed it These games are going to be the buzz of the community for weeks to come so make sure you get to see them live! Just as a small reminder Draco/White-Ra and BRAT_OK/Dreiven will be played Saturday, May 17 16:30 EST / 22:30 CET and IefNaij/DinOt and GOsia/NonY will be palyed on Sunday, May 18 16:30 EST / 22:30 CET so make sure you cancel your BBQs (or work youself around them) and tune in for another great week of the Razer TSL!
- TSL Staff
Day One VODs
Day Two VODs
Schedule for the Ro8
Official Razer TSL Website