In case you missed the thread, this new OSL is called the Bacchus OSL, and is spread out over 19 weeks, culminating in an epic final on August 22nd 2009. The 28th incarnation of the world's most prestigious progaming tournament, this new Ongamenet Star League is going to bring us many entertaining games.
Of course, in our hurry to get going, let's not put the machine shop before the factory. First, there are offlines to get through, and that's exactly what this piece is about. This day, as you sit at your computer, or go to work, or go 0 – 40 on iccup, 207 of Korea's best are going to pit themselves against each other in a take no prisoners brawl that will leave 23 victorious, and send the rest back to team house chores.
The groups are divided into what Fomos calls the Ro9. The two lowest ranked players will play a 1v1, the winner of which will enter into a standard single elimination Ro8 bracket, and work their way up. Only one from each group will make the Ro36, which will feature the 23 offline qualifiers winners and the 12 seeds from the last OSL and BackHo, who had to withdraw last season due to a back injury.
Without further ado then, let's get down to analysing the groups.
(Z)Kwanro vs Isac[KaL]/Dream.t)Sungsun
(Z)Crazy-Hydra vs (T)Justin
(P)Spear vs (T)pepe
Revival[ScM] vs (T)FrOzean
Kwanro, showing where FrOzean is headed.
The group A seed, Kwanro is the name that leaps out at as you look a this group, and it would be surprising if he doesn't do the same in the qualifiers, and work his way through the relatively easy opposition with ease. FrOzean, of course, may offer some opposition, but it would be surprising if he could take the CJ Zerg, even on a good day. However, good days have been scarce for the Khan Terran, and his seven game losing streak is certainly not going to help him here. With recent wins against the likes of Stork, Best and Firebathero, Kwanro's spot in the Ro36 is all but certified.
(Z)ZerO vs Britney[gm]/Neo.G_Minam
(P)Air vs (Z)Modesty
(T)Memory vs (P)TosSLove
(Z)Falcon vs (P)Rock
One of the weaker groups, the main players here are going to be ZerO, Memory and Rock. Of these three, ZerO is certainly a favourite. If Memory doesn't dispatch Rock on his way to the top, the Protoss, who has an abysmal PvZ, will be quickly put to rest by ZerO. Memory of course does stand a chance against the zerg, making this the real battle of the group.
(T)Really vs By.Someday/Thunder[fOu]
(Z)Peace vs (P)DaezanG
(P)TT vs (T)In_Dove
Snow vs (Z)type-b
With a recent win against Jangbi in Proleague, Really is the seed, and certainly one of the favourites to make it out of this relatively weak group. DaezanG has won only two out of his last ten games, and there's little use in wondering whether the ACE player is gonna qualify for this OSL.
(Z)Calm vs (T)RumOr/Sz.Hungry
(Z)HoGiL vs (P)LuCifer
(T)Dongrae vs (P)jjonga
(Z)Rarity vs (T)Midas
Midas, seeing 3 Z in his group, can't believe his luck. If there was ever a chance to make an OSL again, it is this.
With three Zerg in the group, Midas' TvZ will certainly be useful as he tries to battle his way out of group D. The main opposition he will face is the STX Zerg Calm. However, even though the Group D seed has won 6 out of the 7 games he played in April, Midas is 8 – 2 in the last 10 ZvTs he has played, and may well make this year's Ro36, providing he picks up his game. Of course Calm is still the obvious favourite for group D.
(T)go.go vs (P)MasIo/NsP_Sharp
(T)Suny vs (P)fOru
(Z)JiHyun vs (T)yeOngJae
(Z)Sacsri vs (P)Jaehoon
With a TvT win against Firebathero in April, go.go is certainly one of the choices for group E winner. He is helped, of course by the relatively weak opposition he has to face. The main obstacle he will face on his way out of his group is of course Jaehoon, the MBC Game Protoss who recently dispatched SkyHigh. PvT being his best matchup, he should stand at least a fighting chance against go.go, whose TvP is clearly lacking.
(P)Much vs ZerG[KaL]
(T)koala vs (Z)Juni
(Z)815 vs (T)Fancy
(P)PerfectMan vs (T)PianO
"No, I shit you not, there's a dude called koala. LOL."
This is a no brainer. Much is going to pretty much tear through everyone until he meets 815 or PianO. He will stop, stomp then in the face, and cruise comfortably through to the Ro36. I'm sorry, but there's just no way that this Protoss is going to be stopped by any of the no names in his group.
(T)fOrGG vs GosI[PurpLe]
(Z)ToSky vs (T)Miracle
(P)Nbs vs (Z)Ace
(T)HistOry vs (P)Doctor.K
Yay, another no brainer. forGG will beat everyone ez kthx bye. In all seriousness though, this group is like bringing a sledgehammer to push in a thumbtack, and no, not even ToSky is gonna stand a chance, not with forGG's 70% TvZ.
(P)JangBi vs MvPZerg[gm]/onlytoday[gm]
(Z)Flower vs (T)PuMa
(Z)OversKy vs (P)Crank
(T)ToSsGirL vs (Z)Shine[kaL]
Finally, an interesting group. As much as I'd like to suggest that either OversKy, Shine or ToSsGirL stand a chance, the truth is, they don't. Fifth on the power rank, second in the last MSL, Jangbi is gonna get out of there before anyone knows what hit them.
(T)NaDa vs ToSic[KaL]/KT.MGW)Grape
(T)Special vs (Z)s2
(Z)HyuN vs (P)Brave
(T)BByong vs (Z)FireFist
NaDa, NaDa, NaDa, you joined us for Incruit, then left during Batoo. Now, you have the chance to come back. Please do? The OGN people have been nice and given you a bunch of noobs to walk through as well. If Lost Saga was practice, now's the time to step up the game, mmmkay? Be wary of Hyun, his ZvT is good, but your TvZ is better imo. Please don't mess up, and see you in the Ro36. XOXO.
(Z)RorO vs GGMaN[Name]/If.Classic
(T)Major vs (Z)Shark
(P)SoO vs (Z)Hydra
(T)Firebat vs (P)Anytime
No, the Firebat is not the crotch dancing Khan Terran, and that leaves just one big name in this group. Anytime, of course, is not going to win anything big anytime soon, as is seen by him going 1 – 7 in April. As much as we'd like to see the So1 champion back in form, it must be said that despite a relatively weak group, there is little chance that he's going to make it out alive. SoO made the Ro36 last time, and RorO of course was looking very hot towards the end of last year. Despite a MBC Survivor loss in April, the Wemade Zerg should be good to go today.
(Z)sAviOr vs NsP_DoO/hwata[saM]
(P)Index vs (T)Bogus
(Z)Clay vs (T)CuteBOy
(P)CoRea vs (T)Lomo
CJ Zerv vs Oz Terran, this is one group that fanboys are going to get really rabid over. Both sAviOr and Lomo are 3 – 7 in their last ten games. Both have similar ZvT and TvZ percentages, and both are eager as ever to make an OSL. When it comes to this group, it's pretty much down to these two, with the new STX Zerg Bogus being the wildcard to lookout for.
(Z)hyvaa vs (T)IdrA/Smile[WHITE]
(P)Trap vs (T)MVP
(T)BoxeR vs (P)herb
(P)ASuka-Jr vs (Z)Saint
"Maybe if this noob left me alone I could practice more."
BOXER! OK, now that we're over that, let's focus on the nitty gritties. In case the hype hasn't reached you yet, TL's own IdrA is here and as much as we'd like to see him get out of his group, the chances are pretty slim for the Terran. Hyvaa, the eSTRO Zerg, was performing quite well in Proleague in February, and despite losing a few games in March and April, seems to pretty solid overall. The seed, he is a definite favourite to make it out of this group. It's tempting to call Saint a contender as well, but he has played only seven games in 2009, and only won one. With recent wins against Stork and Pure, MVP is the wildcard here, and may be able to cause an upset or two.
Of course, the big question is whether Lim Yo Hwan is going to make it. Since returing to SKT T1 last semester, BoxeR has played only one televised game, and that too against Anytime. It would have been ok if he won, but he didn't, and statistically, his chances in this group are thereby low. Of course, months have passed since that last game, and there's a chance that The Emperor will make a mighty comeback. For most Starcraft fans though, it would be nice to even see him the Ro36, a feat he can probably manage if he just takes care of Hyvaa.
(T)Sea vs Hero[jOin]
(Z)YellOw vs (P)Rage
(P)Young vs (T)Favian
(P)By.Heng vs (Z)Thezerg
Sea shows off his passport to the Ro36.
YellOw fans, as excited as you are, let's just call a spade, a spade. Sea is going to ez mode him and there's no two words about that. Despite a string of recent TvZ losses, our MBC hero still boasts a 64.89% win ratio in the matchup, and there's basically no hope for YellOw or even Thezerg. Sea is going to waltz out of this group and enter the Ro36.
(Z)EffOrt vs (T)Link/By.Rage
(Z)eagle vs (P)yoOn
(T)BaBy vs (Z)AnomiA
(T)tiny vs (P)Reach
Reach went 3 – 3 in April, and it makes you want to give him a chance. The thing is, that even if he gets through Baby, who recently dispatched Jangbi, he will have to go face to face with EffOrt, who is currently on a four game winning streak. Things don't look good for the ACE Protoss, and unless there is a major upset, EffOrt is going to take this group pretty comfortably.
(T)firebathero vs hon_sin/n.Die_JaewOo
(Z)Killer vs (P)Violet
(P)YoonJoong vs (T)Mong
(Z)Devil vs (P)Pusan
Love him or hate him, there's no dance that Firebathero is going to dance his way out of this group. Sorry Plexa, but Pusan has played seven games this year and lost all of them. Despite going 2 – 5 in April, Firebathero is still in way better shape than the MBC Protoss, and there's little doubt that he's going to enter the Ro36.
(T)Iris vs Rani[sC]/45[Name]
(Z)GoRush vs (P)by.han
(T)Shine vs (P)GoZip
(Z)Chavi vs (T)Notice
Iris went 4 – 2 in April, and should have no problem dispatching the majority of this group. It would be nice to think that GoRush is a threat, but the truth is, he isn't. The SKT T1 Zerg has played only one game this year, and that too against Thezerg, and a loss at that. Iris will find Shine more of a problem. The KTF Terran is 4 – 0 in April, and with a strong TvT may well be able to take out Iris and take the group.
(T)Light vs haha[Shield]/NsP_Moon
(P)Stats vs (T)DarkElf
(P)Horang2 vs (Z)NeeL
(T)ReaL vs (Z)Hyuk
With recent wins against Hwasin and Much in Proleague, Light is definitely one of the contenders in Group Q. Though CJ fans will no doubt be rooting for DarkElf, his TvT is below 40%, and there's no doubt that Light will make a light meal of him.
(Z)great vs (T)trOt/1z2z3z[KaL]
(T)kkong vs (P)Tazza
(T)Casy vs (Z)Orion
(Z)Neo.G_Soulkey vs (P)Tempest
Casy has been out of the limelight for so long that it's easy to forget that he is a Starleague winner. With two recent wins against Hwasin and Firefist, the ACE Terran just may be able to carry through on this momentum for a win or two. Even if he takes down Orion and Tempest, however, he will most probably hit great and stop there. With wins in April against free, Bisu and Nada, there is little doubt that Group R is in the bag for the Khan Zerg.
(T)Mind vs (Z)MIsO_Lt/(P)Classic
(P)by.mingu vs (Z)ggaemo
(Z)HoeJJa vs (P)Chalrenge
(Z)n.die_soo vs (T)RuBy
Despite getting a wildcard chance to get into the Batoo OSL Ro16, Mind lost it to Bisu, and we all know that must have hurt. This time, the Wemade Terran is looking to make a comeback, and really, there's no better group he could have hoped for. No, neither HoeJJa, Chalrenge or Ruby are going to stop Mind. Group S is his.
(T)sKyHigh vs WarYong[saM]/Sea.Bee
(P)M18M vs (Z)Child
(T)SaiR vs (P)HakSoo
(P)Say vs (T)Canata
sKyHigh practicing the patented CJ stare. -_-
sKyHigh will take this group. He's gone 5 – 2 in April, 5 – 0 in March, and there's very little anyone can do to stop him. It would be nice to think Canata can break him though, but he's 2 – 8 TvT and the CJ Terran is 8 – 2. sKyHigh is going to the Ro36.
(T)HiyA vs Invade[fOu]/(Z)Lake[Shield]
(T)910 vs (Z)ZergBong
(P)MuJuK vs (Z)Action
(T)ClouD vs (P)GuemChi
A group with no big names, HiyA, Mujuk and ClouD are the three major contenders for the title here. Having played more televised games this year than ClouD, HiyA should be able to take the group fairly easily. Mujuk, a Batoo OSL Ro32er, may also be able to pull off a win against Cloud, but will then face HiyA's 66.67% TvP, under which he will most probably crumble.
(P)free vs Ever)T(Reality/NsP_Rudy
(T)Last vs (Z)Haran
(P)Movie vs (Z)LaKe[Name]
(T)Desire vs (P)Pure
Free went 4 – 3 in April, and has been performing consistently in Proleague throughout the year. The face of Woongjin Stars, the Protoss should move out of his group fairly easily. Although the Jaedong destroying Movie might pose a threat, even free's worst matchup should be able to survive a challenge from the CJ Protoss. A more pressing PvP challenge may be found in the form of Pure, who in April dispatched both Luxury and Firebathero, but free should still manage to enter the Ro36.
(P)SangHo vs Rush[WHITE]/(P)IrOn
(T)GanZi vs (Z)Rumble
(Z)oDin vs (T)Barracks
(T)1988 vs (Z)keke
Although SangHo is the seed in Group W, Rumble's ZvP might pose a problem for him. Keke, on the other hand is the wildcard here, and is definitely capable of an upset or two, as seen in his February wins against Stork and Jangbi. Of course, keke and SangHo are both playing Proleague at the moment, and Rumble hasn't played a televised game since mid April, a fact that could play against the SKT T1 Zerg.
Edit: Group D was originally a miscalculation on my part (thanks Crunchums and 7mk), so thanks for pointing that out. I know there are other differences of opinion, but I pretty much stand by the rest of my predictions. As GTR and LR pointed out, predicting offlines from TLPD stats doesn't really work, but at present, it's the best we've got. Of course, this thread is open for speculation, so please go ahead!