2020 GSL Super Tournament 2by Wax
The Super Tournament is set to wrap up this week, with quarterfinal matches being played on Wednesday, Dec 09 8:00am GMT (GMT+00:00) while the semifinals through grand finals will be held on Saturday, Dec 12 8:00am GMT (GMT+00:00). We truly have an elite eight assembled in the quarterfinal round, with seven of the top eight Aligulac.com ranked Korean players competing.
Quarterfinal #1: TY vs DarkIt's been a disappointing year for 2019 WCS Global Champion Dark, who has failed to add any new trophies to his collection. Still, a trio of year-end tournaments presented Dark an opportunity to salvage some pride before the turning of the calendar year. His first attempt was thwarted in NeXT Winter, where he narrowly lost 2-3 to Trap in the finals. Two more chances are left in Super Tournament 2 and TSL6, but the competition is looking considerably tough in both events.
Going by resume, TY might be the absolute worst opponent for Dark to face here. In contrast with Dark, 2020 has been a magnificent year for TY, as he was able to break his Code S curse and win two of Korea's most prestigious titles—all while acting as the competition's primary color commentator. On the other hand, TY has succeeded almost solely in Code S (King of Battles being a rare exception), with the yearlong trend of being awful in all other competitions being too damning to brush off as typical StarCraft II variance. TY picks and chooses his spots, and competitions like the Super Tournament haven't gotten his full focus. The way he struggled to a 3-2 victory against statistically poor TvP player Hurricane in the RO16 reinforces that notion.
While I favor Dark to win, I do think his stubborn adherence to Roach-Ravager armies in ZvT could complicate things. Though he's defeated Dream, INnoVation, and uThermal with this style in the past few weeks, he's looked vulnerable while trying to transition from Roach-Ravager into Hive-tech units. Furthermore, TY might be the Terran player who's most mindful of the question "can I drop the main?" during all phases of the game, and he could exploit the relative immobility of Roach-Ravager better than Dark's previous foes. Nonetheless, given TY's track record in non-Code S competitions, I'm still picking Dark to prevail in the end.
Prediction: Dark 3 - 1 TY
Quarterfinal #2: sOs vs TrapsOs may be a shadow of his former, world champion self, but he still possesses one of the most notable "you never know..." factors in all of StarCraft II. After three seasons of Code S where he failed to even make it out of the first round, sOs came out of nowhere to upset Zest 3-0 in the first round of the Super Tournament with the simple strategy of 'make Dark Templars.'
Alas, fellow sOs fans, I don't think Trap is going to fall for that, or similarly stupid-yet-effective strategies. Trap has been trading the #1 PvP spot on Aligulac.com's rankings for the better part of a year, and he has about a 400 point rating lead on sOs at the time of writing. If you're curious, that's about the same point differential between sOs and DreamHack Europe's ShaDoWn. Furthermore, Trap has a 4-0 series record against sOs on the year. I'll keep this prediction simple: barring the craziest of sOs magic tricks, this series should go to NeXT Winter champion.
Prediction: Trap 3 - 1 sOs
Quarterfinal #3: Stats vs INnoVationFor months now, I've been making remarks about how Stats isn't as sturdy a bulwark as he used to be, having become prone to making mistakes and throwing games. His Code S quarterfinal match against INnoVation was one of the main reasons for this, with Stats going down 0-2 due to some puzzling play. Still, Stats did end up winning 3-2, demonstrating how he's nigh unbeatable in PvT if allowed to play extended macro games.
While I think INnoVation will take a map or two with mid-game Tank pushes or SCV-assisted all-ins, five games should be enough for Stats' late-game superiority to shine through in the end. Stats is 6-1 in series against INnoVation on the year—unless INnoVation changes his approach to be much cheesier and early-game oriented, I get the feeling Stats will be improving that record to 7-1.
Prediction: Stats 3 - 1 INnoVation
Quarterfinal #4: Rogue vs MaruThe RO8 wraps up with a match between Jin Air's former Terran and Zerg aces.
Maru awoke from his summer slumber to have an awesome autumn and wondrous winter, taking second place in Code S Season 3, winning King of Battles 3, and placing runner-up in ASUS ROG Online. Maru's shocking RO16 elimination in DreamHack Winter was a sobering reminder that he's still far from being the hyper-dominant Maru of 2018, but he's definitely a championship-class player. Not only did Maru play many tremendously entertaining, high-level TvT matches over this stretch, but he also played a part in turning the tide of elite-tier TvZ by defeating Reynor in the semifinals of ASUS ROG Online. That particular match prompted the Italian Zerg to remark on Twitter that he wanted to go to Korea to train.
Conversely, Rogue was fantastic in the middle of summer, winning his second career Code S title in season 2. Then, typical Rogue fashion, he promptly fell into a slump—perhaps not one as drastic as some of his prior falls from grace, but he's found himself limited to mid-table finishes for the last few months. Rogue notably lost BO5 series against both INnoVation (DH Fall) and TY (King of Battles) over this autumn stretch, which would lead you to think that Maru has this match in the bag.
That's my gut feeling as well, but you can never really tell when Rogue has been embarrassed enough to start destroying everyone again. He certainly looked like revenge-mode Rogue in the initial rounds of Super Tournament and TSL6, sweeping Bunny and Harstem in some truly brutal series. Of course, those players are hardly equivalent comparisons for Maru—I guess we'll just have to unpack this match and see how it goes.
Prediction: Maru 3 - 2 Rogue