SSL Ro.16 - Group C
Last week, Stats made it out, as expected, while Bomber had a poor showing, as expected. Dear and GuMiho were the ones to duke it out, but with identical map scores, it was Dear who stepped up to the plate when it mattered, and made it to the quarterfinals. Samsung’s Protoss took down MVP’s Terran twice, making sure no doubts lingered about who’s better.
This week’s top story will also be about The Last Zerg. Solar is the only who’s still able to carry the Zerg banner onwards in the league. If he falls here, everything will be on Dark’s (admittedly mighty) shoulders for the entirety of the rest of the tournament. Unfortunately for him, Solar will be up against players like ByuN and Classic.
If Christmas were to come early this year, Solar would surely ask for a time machine. Using this new invention, the Samsung Galaxy Time Displacement Device™, he’d switch places with his own self from the past. That is to say, from back when Solar was actually winning tournaments. Granted, he did reach the semifinals of the first season of SSL, but aeons have passed since then, and Solar just hasn’t been able to maintain his former level of play. It’s looking more and more likely that the Samsung Zerg is in a huge slump.
And as mentioned earlier, he’s the only other Zerg player left in the league. Dark made it out of Group A quite comfortably, only dropping a single map against Zest, but Solar will face a much tougher road. Simply put, his recent offline are but a shadow of his former glory. He dropped out from the first group of Code S, losing to both Zest and GuMiho, and in Proleague he’s been fairly average. However, he has been playing in a ton of online cups, and his performance against Protoss is clearly an ace up his sleeve. A win against both Super and Classic would ensure his survival in the league, and with the seedings, there’s a sliver of an upset.
Credit where credit’s due. Super took down Zest 2-0 in his Challenge group, and tied with every other player. That was more than enough to propel him forward, and here we are. On the other hand, he was trounced by Impact and sOs in Code S. His offline results aren’t exactly great in Proleague, especially against Protoss, so it’s difficult to gauge how he’s going to do today. While his results in the individual leagues are really nothing to scoff at (Code S and the round of 16 in SSL are not bad), Super’s problem is that once again he’s against players with more results under their belt.
All previews about ByuN seem to start by mentioning that he’s participating in every single online cup, and for good reason. Even though Solar and Super have both been pretty active, it’s ByuN’s sheer number of games throughout the year that boggles the mind (535 and counting so far in 2016). He seems to find an online cup every single day of the week, no matter how small or obscure. Not only that, he’s usually an unstoppable force of nature, and now he has the offline results to back him up. He finished second in his Challenge group after aLive, losing a map to jjakji and both maps against Dear. He’s already in the round of 16 in Code S, finishing second in his group after Classic. This time around the two will actually meet head to head.
Realistically, it’s unlikely that ByuN won’t advance, so the only real question is whether he’ll beat Classic or not. Offline, his weak point has been TvP, and Classic is certainly a formidable opponent. Since both of them have a very good chance of advancing here, it’s very possible we’ll see them face off again in the playoffs, no matter how their face-off ends up. What must loom in ByuN’s mind is also the chance to make a real comeback in the scene. Securing a spot in the playoffs of both starleagues would certainly go a long way.
SKT’s Protoss is the outlier of this group in that he’s the only one without extensive online play this year. He’s also the one with the most prestigious results during his long career. He advanced in the first place of his Challenger group, his result almost mirroring that of TY from Group A. He’s in the round of 16 in Code S, qualifying from the same group as ByuN, even though the two didn’t get a chance to meet.
Maybe he dodged a bullet there, because there are cracks in his play. He’s recently lost against Maru, GuMiho, Patience, and Stats in Proleague. He’s still not the invincible legend that he seemed to be at the height of his power, but there are signs that he could be returning to form. Another trait he shares with ByuN is that he should be able to eat Solar and Super for breakfast, no matter which one of the two triumphs .
Interestingly, knowing the seeds for the quarterfinals will add an extra layer of tension for the players. Whoever takes Group C’s first place will face against Dear, while the second will face against Stats. All the players today will then have an incentive to take the top spot, because they will for sure wish to face Dear over Stats.
The first two matches are both extremely intriguing. Solar and Super both have nearly identical offline win rates in this matchup in 2016. Solar did take down Zest last May, and lately he’s been an absolute monster online. His ZvP was on another level to anyone else we saw in early Legacy—undefeated until the Losers' Final of SSL Season 1 in late March against Stats (97-15 in maps), and if he’s managed to adjust to the recent changes in the matchup, he has a chance. Super, on the other hand, has been a solid contender against Terran in the online cups, but now he’ll potentially go up against ByuN, not to mention Classic. If he manages to take down Solar, he’s more than likely to just fall to either of the two powerhouses in the next two matches.
The second match will then pit the two favorites against each other. ByuN will again be perfectly aware of the stakes going into the group, and Classic has been struggling against some high level Terran players. However, for ByuN, TvP is also his worst matchup when playing offline, and while the two haven’t yet met this year, Classic should be the one to take this. Of course, with ByuN, almost anything is possible, and a different result wouldn't exactly be an upset.
In both of the two matches, the outcome is really difficult to predict. However, no matter which way the first two showdowns go, eventually the same two players should advance to the quarterfinals. ByuN and Classic are, quite frankly, in another league compared to Solar and Super.
Solar > Super
ByuN < Classic
Classic > Solar
Super < ByuN
ByuN > Solar
Classic and ByuN advance to the quarterfinals.