SSL Losers' Finals
Only one set remains before the StarCraft 2 StarLeague grand finals. Only one set before the most prestigious title of the year so far. There’s been a good number of tournaments since the release of Legacy, plenty of prize money to go around, but now we’re standing on the cutting edge of the StarCraft 2 competitive scene. As the first season of the StarLeague nears completion, the losers’ bracket’s last match will have Solar facing Stats. By a twist of fate, both players were knocked out of the upper bracket by the same player, and certainly both are itching for a re-match. The winner of the losers’ finals will get to pit themselves against the fearsome Dark once more, while the loser has to go home for the last time.
Let’s be clear here. Solar's win rate against protoss in Legacy is a jaw-dropping 86.3%, making him a truly frightening opponent. Now, granted, that includes online tournaments against less-than-stellar players, but his performance still sets Solar as the clear favorite of the losers’ finals. Even in offline tournaments, he stands at a very respectable 68.4%, which should have any protoss opponent running for the hills. Curiously enough, so far in the tournament he’s faced nothing but zerg players, eventually being knocked down to the losers’ bracket by a dominating Dark. Straying just once from the ZvZ path of the tournament, he's looking to finally make himself a household name.
Stats has had a good run through the lower bracket. Should he manage to pull through here, he is granted another shot at taking down Dark, who trounced the protoss 3-0 in the upper bracket. In order to do that, he first has to take down Solar. Stat’s performance against zerg has been abysmal these past few months, his win rate hovering well below 50%. However, and this is crucial, the two haven’t played each other in ages, and in their previous matches it was Stats who was the winner, giving him a theoretical psychological advantage over Solar.
Much to the protoss’s dismay, Solar has proven to be one of the strongest players in the nearly five months that Legacy has been out. Stats will need have figured out a way to make PvZ work for him again, or there will be a foregone conclusion. The one shining ray of hope was in Proleague, where Stats managed to beat Afreeca’s Curious (eventually falling to KeeN). If Stats manages to win the mind games, and by doing so keep Solar on the back foot, he might still have a chance at the title. For his part, Solar will see Stats as nothing more than a speed bump, another notch on his unbeaten ZvP record, and maybe, just maybe, overconfidence will be his tragic undoing.
ZvP is Solar’s strongest match-up by far, and he’s the one looking to create the perfect narrative here. Taken down, bouncing back again, and reaching for the trophy against all odds. He’s hungry for the big Korean title, and while Stats’s run through the lower bracket is nothing to scoff at, it’s unlikely that his ambition will match that of the zerg player. Stats will need to rely on his past victories to gain an edge over Solar, because at the moment his play just isn’t cut out against zerg.
Solar 4-1 Stats