WCS Season Three
WCS EU Challenger
MarineLorD vs DmC
MaNa vs Happy
Snute vs Serral
Ret vs HeRoMaRinE
ShoWTimE vs NaNiwa
ForGG vs Dayshi
Bunny vs Starbuck
TLO vs Bly
Lilbow vs SortOf
elfi vs uThermal
Elazer vs Welmu
GunGFuBanDa vs DnS
Harstem vs Nerchio
FireCake vs Zanster
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
WCS EU Challenger League
Match: MarineLorD vs DmC
Matchup Stats: MarineLorD - 61% | DmC - 55%
Score Prediction: MarineLorD 3 - 1 DmC
Match Prediction: DmC gives MarineLorD a scare but falls short at the end
Outlook: On the one hand, seeing new names like DmC reach Challenger gives us a chance to get to know more players. On the other hand, there's really no information around. Aside from the fact that he's played in a hell of a lot of online cups we don't really have anything on the Russian. With a few more appearances maybe we'll get to know more, but it's hard to see him getting one series over MarineLorD, the guy that made the Ro8 in his first ever WCS Premier run last season.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: MarineLorD builds 1 tank the whole series
Match: MaNa vs Happy
Matchup Stats: MaNa - 54% | Happy - 67%
Score Prediction: MaNa 3 - 2 Happy, in a 3.5 hr series
Match Prediction: Oh God WHY
Outlook: Yup, it just had to happen. Two players that just love to play the late game end up against each other. There's a good chance this ends up being a very long series, but both players are also keen to punish openings that are too enticing to resist. If both players buckle up and play defensively, we could be in for a long night. Hopefully, one of them is more inclined to take a few risks and this gets settled sooner rather than later.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: MaNa never attacks first
Match: Snute vs Serral
Matchup Stats: Snute - 65% | Serral - 61%
Score Prediction: Snute 3 - 1 Serral
Match Prediction: Snute builds a swarmhost in the series, because why not
Outlook: Just when you thought Snute was on the slide, he beats the GSL and SSL champions back to back. That just doesn't happen with players who aren't elite, and it's difficult to argue that Snute isn't one of the best when he's motivated. He was supposed to be struggling in ZvP when he deftly managed that monumental group, but his great sense for the game allowed him to advance unscathed. Planning is similarly important in ZvZ, and it has traditionally been Snute's strong matchup. We've been touting Serral's potential for a while now, but until he gives us a reason to believe in him again, it looks like he's set for another stint in qualifiers.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Serral loses every game that's roach vs roach, because I guess roaches look like hamsters if you're a zerg
Match: Ret vs HeRoMaRinE
Matchup Stats: Ret - 49% | HeRoMaRinE - 67%
Score Prediction: Ret 2 - 3 HeRoMaRinE
Match Prediction: Ret dies to a 2rax or early cheese at least once in the series
Outlook: It pains me whenever I see Ret die to a 2rax, yet it has been his bane since the dawn of SC2. The results have been lean from him over the past two years, but he managed to upstage Mystery and viOLet to reach the Ro16 last season. It was a confidence building result for him, and we're glad to see him back in good shape. His opponent HeRoMaRinE has traditionally had a good time against zergs in HotS, but a Ret undisturbed is a scary thing. If HeRoMaRinE can keep the zerg economy from blossoming, he has a good chance of making his Premier league debut.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Three hatch before pool or die trying
Match: ShoWTimE vs NaNiwa
Matchup Stats: ShoWTimE - 67% | NaNiwa - 64%
Score Prediction: ShoWTimE 3 - 2 NaNiwa
Match Prediction: At least 2 "tactical pauses" in the series
Outlook: When ShoWTimE reached the semi finals of WCS Season 1, he was supposed to be anointed the next big hope. Then, he bombed out in Challenger Season 2 against Elazer. Likewise, Nani's comeback to competitive Starcraft was supposed to be the return of one of the greatest foreign players ever. Instead, he lost in the Ro32 of S1 and in Challenger S2 against GunGFuBanDa. This season offers redemption for one of these players, and this could be the most anticipated match of Challenger league.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: NaNiwa loses a game and blames it on desRow
Match: ForGG vs Dayshi
Matchup Stats: ForGG - 75% | Dayshi - 53%
Score Prediction: ForGG 3 - 1 Dayshi
Match Prediction: Dayshi makes things close and ForGG is on the edge, but he finds a way out of the series
Outlook: Ask anyone who the favorites for WCS are and you are likely to get three names: Polt, Hydra and ForGG. While the former two have already won a title, ForGG has disappointed each season. He hasn't even reached the semi finals once this year. That's damning for a man that should be conquering the tournament, not languishing in the Ro16. His reputation as a challenger has been tarnished, and only a routine dismissal of Dayshi will make us think he has what it takes to salvage his year in S3.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Dayshi is proud of ForGG for advancing
Match: Bunny vs Starbuck
Matchup Stats: Bunny 62% | Starbuck - 64%
Score Prediction: Bunny 3 - 1 Starbuck
Match Prediction: Bunny plays a Dream-esque TvZ on the way to victory
Outlook: I guess you could say that we've done Bunny wrong by not believing in him in Season 2 even with our TL Bias. He defeated ForGG and GunGFuBanDa to escape a tough group and then mauled StarDust (who has yet to recover from it) in the Ro8. Bunny is the only player other than Polt and Hydra, the two champions of WCS, to have made it to the semi finals in both seasons. Yes, Lilbow did surprise everyone by reaching the finals—the first foreigner since Stephano in 2013 to do so—but Bunny's consistency cannot be underestimated. He's on the fringes of qualifying for BlizzCon; another semi final place could lock in his spot for the grand occasion. As much as I enjoy Starbuck's off the wall style, Bunny is destined for greatness.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Starbuck uses some dastardly all ins but Bunny wakes up just in time to hold
Match: TLO vs Bly
Matchup Stats: TLO - 56% | 59%
Score Prediction: TLO 3 - 2 Bly
Match Prediction: TLO doesn't settle for roach vs roach
Outlook: It's probably flown under most people's radars that TLO has reached the Ro8 in both seasons of WCS. The only other foreigner to do so is Bunny, and only Hydra and Polt have managed it out of the Koreans. That means that, based on results alone, TLO is around the fourth best player in WCS 2015. There is something tenuous about his position though. Even though he has impressed mightily throughout the year, there's that feeling that his good form could end in a snap. Yet TLO seems more motivated than ever. Bly should represent a stern challenge, but there must be a reason why most of the TL guys chose to play against zerg.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Too bad TLO doesn't play terran anymore, otherwise we could predict hellbats
Match: Lilbow vs SortOf
Matchup Stats: Lilbow - 72% | SortOf - 57%
Score Prediction: Lilbow 3 - 1 SortOf
Match Prediction: Lilbow crushes SortOf in 3 games but dies to a weird all in in 1 game
Outlook: There's a good chance that Lilbow's exploits in Season 2 become the norm, as he displayed an understanding of timing and pressure that few foreign protoss have really mastered. However there's also a chance that he becomes San on a shorter life span. While his play is strong and fundamentally sound, matchup players often get figured out eventually. His win over Bunny was impressive, but it will take a few more of those to convince he's figured out other matchups just as well. SortOf is a good, mostly standard zerg, but it will likely take someone with a keener sense of counterplay in order to stop Lilbow's PvZ rampage.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Lilbow snipes at least 1 hatchery per game
Match: elfi vs uThermal
Matchup Stats: elfi - 66% | uThermal - 64%
Score Prediction: elfi 2 - 3 uThermal
Match Prediction: elfigod is good in the first 4 games but falls asleep in the 5th
Outlook: By now elfi is more a myth than a player. Yes, he still qualifies for things and competes when it's convenient, but it's hard to tell whether he's still taking the game seriously or he's just doing this for fun. Somehow, he's still pretty good, and he came within a game of unseating GunGFuBanDa for a place in the Ro16. uThermal, on the other hand, should be pretty good, but has so far found it difficult to make an impression. He has excited at times, who could forget his 2-0 of Mvp, but has failed to go further than the Ro32. We might have to scratch him off the "potential" list if he fails to make something of this season again.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: uThermal opens with hellion/mine drop
Match: Elazer vs Welmu
Matchup Stats: Elazer - 61% | Welmu - 58%
Score Prediction: Elazer 2 - 3 Welmu
Match Prediction: We all watch but have no idea what's going on
Outlook: What ever happened to Welmu? After a very strong stint in WCS EU, he was supposed to be one of the staples of a revamped WCS 2015. Instead he has only managed one mild Ro16 place and a season ended in Challenger. We expect more from the guy that looked like Europe's best protoss at the start of 2014. His opponent, Elazer, defeated who should have been one of this year's breakout protoss, ShoWTimE, in Challenger last season. Was it a fluke, or will Elazer drop another strong protoss back into qualifiers?
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: I have no idea what's going on here
Match: GunGFuBanDa vs DnS
Matchup Stats: GunGFuBanDa - 65% | DnS - 50%
Score Prediction: GunGFuBanDa 3 - 1 DnS
Match Prediction: GunGFuBanDa continues his rise as one of the hottest new players
Outlook: When GunGFuBanDa annihilated NaNiwa in Challenger Season 2, it was met with tepid boos and a lot of chuckles. NaNiwa lost to some random protoss? Yet as the season progressed, GunGFuBanDa proved that he wasn't just some nameless ladder hero. He's actually the next big protoss wunderkind. The highlight of his season was a 2-1 victory over ForGG, and he came within a hair of reaching the Ro8. Eyes are going to be on him this season, though it would be funny if someone like DnS knocked him out at the first hurdle.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Nope.
Match: Harstem vs Nerchio
Matchup Stats: Harstem - 56% | Nerchio - 63%
Score Prediction: Harstem 3 - 0 Nerchio
Match Prediction: Harstem all ins a bunch and Nerchio gets mad
Outlook: Season 2 was the season of foreign protoss, and it looked like Harstem would finally reach a Ro8. Unfortunately, Polt and FireCake proved too much, ending his season with a whimper. While Harstem's form often wavers, he's currently in the Liquid boot camp busting his ass, suggesting that he's more driven than ever to improve his results. Nerchio is a very crafty zerg player, but he's been out of the limelight for a while now. Practicing with Snute and TLO should give the Selfie Toss an advantage, and #seasonofHarstem doesn't sound half bad.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: Harstem bops Nerchio because I promised him I'd predict that
Match: FireCake vs Zanster
Matchup Stats: FireCake - 56% | Zanster - 60%
Score Prediction: FireCake 3 - 1 Zanster
Match Prediction: Lots and lots of roaches to end Challenger league
Outlook: It's quite possible that Zanster is the most decorated player that has never reached Premier. Actually, he's probably the most decorated player that people don't really notice. He has three major titles to his name (Svenska E-sportcupen 2013: Jönköping, E-Sports SM 2014 and E-Sports SM 2015) and he finished second to Zest at IeSF 2014. That's a fairly impressive resume, yet he's somehow never reached the pinnacle of foreign competition. He now has to run into FireCake, the man everyone loves to hate. It would be a slightly less exciting season without the antihero, but Zanster surely deserves his shot.
The Match in an out-of-context Tweet: FireCake plays a really sexy ZvZ. Okay, probably not.