Week 1 Recap
16 out, 16 survive
Week 2 Preview
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
VODs on Twitch
16 out, 16 survive
Week 2 Preview
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
VODs on Twitch
TeamLiquid Starleague 6by Wax
The single elimination round of TSL6 is over, leaving us with sixteen relieved survivors as we head into week two. The tournament changes to a standard double-elimination format at this stage, with all the remaining matches being best-of-five until the best-of-seven grand finals.
Week 1 Recap: Mostly ChalkThe EPT standings based seeding seemed to work out for the most part, with hardly any upsets occurring in the RO32. While you had to feel bad for players like MaxPax and Cham who were eliminated in a single BO5 after an arduous qualifying process, competitively speaking, fans should be quite pleased with the sixteen players who survived.
View Full Bracket (Liquipedia)
+ Show Spoiler [View Full Bracket (embed)] +
The Biggest Upset: Ragnarok Beats TrapThe only major surprise of the first round was the early exit of Trap, who come into TSL6 after winning NeXT Winter with wins over the likes of Stats, Dark, and Zest. In general, Trap had been one of the best (if not the best) Protoss players of the year, placing runner-up in two DH Season Finals. RagnaroK, on the other hand, hadn't even made it out of the group stages of Code S all year.
How did RagnaroK do it? Well, as is often the case with upsets, all-ins were the key to victory for the underdog. It was certainly a disappointing way for Trap to go out, and even RagnaroK seemed a bit sheepish about his tactics in the post-match interview. Well, RagnaroK, there's nothing to be ashamed about there. Cheese has powered many a noble player to a big upset in a major tournament—just ask Has and Bly. How could you possibly be ashamed when you're keeping company with such majestic players?
The Most Entertaining Series: Cure vs LamboSometimes, the scoreline hardly tells the entire tale of a match, as was the case in Cure's 3-1 victory over Lambo in the first round. Lambo put up respectable fight against the online monster Cure—a player who even beat Serral and Reynor on his way to a second place finish in October's King of Battles.
The TSL6 series featured all the hits from the game's most popular match-up, from Bio vs Muta-Bane-Ling battles in the mid-game, to Ghosts holding off Zerg's fearsome Hive armies in the late-game. While Cure proved to be the better player on the day, Lambo gave a great account of himself and proved why he belongs in the chase for Europe's final IEM Katowice spot.
As an aside, while fans have been enjoying late-game TvZ as of late, I get the feeling that the scales may soon tip to the point where we see more complaints about 'Terran OP' than actual enjoyment of the games. So, you better enjoy this series now before the market corrects.
The Most Painful Loss: Clem loses to ByuNThe only 'victim' of EPT point seeding was Clem, as he was eliminated after drawing ASUS ROG Online champion ByuN in the RO32. Despite his top-tier skills, ByuN came in with a low seed due to his military service forcing him to miss most of the competitive year.
It was a shame to lose Clem so early once more, coming off the back of a group stage elimination in ASUS ROG Online. After Clem toppled the Zerg duo of Reynor and Serral to win DreamHack Europe, it seemed like the entire world would be his oyster. Yet, he's constantly been hamstrung again by his inability to overcome the top Protoss and Terran players from Korea, despite the French Terran looking to be almost equal to them in terms of in-game performances. Given Clem's steady and constant growth, it seems inevitable that he'll find a way to overcome this obstacle. Unfortunately for Clem and the viewers of TSL6, it just won't be in this tournament.
Week 2 PreviewAll matches begin at 16:00 GMT (+00:00).
December 12th: Winners' bracket - Round 1
December 13th: Losers' bracket - Round 1 & Winners' Bracket - Round 2
Most Epic Match Potential: ByuN vs CureTvT has been delivering some of the best StarCraft II matches lately. First and foremost, we had the historic finals between Maru and TY, which emphatically broke the 'Code S finals suck' stigma. King of Battles had great TvT matches all throughout the playoff bracket, and also delivered a strong TvT finals between Maru and Cure. Most recently, ASUS ROG gave us yet another exciting all-Terran finals, where ByuN triumphed over Maru. If this is indeed the #EternalTerranPatch, then at least Blizzard left us in a place where we're guaranteed to see a lot of great games.
ByuN vs. Cure is the only TvT we'll see in week two, and thus I'm singling it out as the must-watch match of the week. The two players are infamous online tournament grinders, and they've met in a number of best-of-three matches since ByuN's return. However, TSL6 will mark their first best-of-five clash. Since both players favor being active with Marine-Tank armies in the mid-game compared to more methodical TvT players like TY or Maru, I'm looking forward to seeing high-tempo matches with constant action. Sure, one or two games are bound to be one-sided snowballs decided by an early gambit, but I'm predicting that this series will deliver at least one amazing game that will leave everyone's jaws on the floor.
One Year Too Late: Dark vs Serral:We all know what the finale to WCS 2019 was supposed to be: Dark vs Serral. The Korean challenger would look to slay his country's most bitter nemesis and redeem the honor of StarCraft's adopted homeland. The Finnish Phenom would try to retain his BlizzCon title, solidify his place as one of the all-time greats, and further entrench his new world order.
But, as we all know, Serral ended up losing to Reynor in the semifinals, leaving Dark to go on and defeat Reynor in the grand finals. While Dark fans rejoiced, it wasn't the most satisfactory ending. Whether you were a Korean elitist, foreigner fan, or a neutral follower of StarCraft II, you had to feel that this twist ending just wasn't the satisfying, definitive conclusion you had waited for.
One year later, Dark vs Serral is still a highly anticipated match. Both players are top two Zergs in their respective regions, and strong candidates to go all the way and win TSL6. But they're also not who they were back in 2019, when you could have said they were the top two players in the entire world. Nor has the ideological rivalry between the Korea and European schools of ZvZ been highlighted much in 2020, taking away that intriguing dimension of international Zerg mirrors in 2019 (though a few tweets from renowned fight promoter Lambo could help sell this match).
But hey, how does that old saying go? Better late than never.
Best/Worst Case Scenario: Maru vs SerralThe line-up of Saturday games is confirmed, but we'll have to wait for those results to come in to know what Sunday's card will be.
One of the best and worst possible matches we could have is Maru vs Serral. We saw this elusive, much-meme'd match come to fruition in King of Battles, but it was only a BO3 match in the group stage (Serral won 2-1). If this match were to occur on Sunday, it would be a full BO5—and potentially even an elimination match. Serral is set to take on Dark while Maru takes on PartinG on Saturday—definitely not matches where they can take victory for granted.
While a winners' bracket clash would put out hearts at ease, a losers' bracket clash would prove to be a very compelling tragedy. What a monkey's paw-like situation it would be! After years of waiting, we'd finally get our wish of seeing Maru and Serral face off in BO5 with elimination on the line—only, it would be all too soon in the first losers' round.
Korean Terrans are on a hot streak as of late, handing the EU Zerg duo of Serral and Reynor losses across a number of tournaments. Maru notably took out Reynor in the semifinals of ASUS ROG Online, while Serral lost 2-3 to ByuN in the quarterfinals of the same tournament. Considering how agonizingly close Serral's loss was, how hard he beat himself up over his Mutalisk micro mistakes, and how much time he's had to observe and digest the late-game style of Korean Terrans, I'm sure he's very eager to get some revenge. As for Maru, he's already eliminated Reynor in a major tournament best of five—a victory against Serral would further solidify the new Terran reign.
Alas, this potential match would be played in the shadow of Team NV's recent announcement about Maru's deteriorating shoulder health. As of now, it seems unclear whether Maru will be able to play on Sunday at all.
Foreigner Upset Potential: Elazer and ShoWTimEMost of the RO16 matches look to be fairly even, but ShoWTimE vs. TY and Elazer vs. Stats stand out as matches that seem unbalanced on paper. Still, there's plenty of upset potential in these lower rounds. TSL5 might have ended up with an all-Korean top four, but we also saw MaNa defeat PartinG, uThermal beat Zest, and SpeCial take out Cure in the early going. (We've already seen HeroMarine eliminated Armani in TSL6, but it's hard to count that as an unexpected result. In fact, the TSL6 casters actually favored HeroMarine to win.)
TY might be a two-time Code S champion in 2020, but he's been notably poorer in other competitions. On the other hand, ShoWTimE is actually the 4th highest-rated PvT player according to Aligulac.com, and the #1 PvT player outside of Korea. Moreover, ShoWTimE forced a five-game series out of TY in TSL5, though he ended up losing 2-3. While I believe TY still has the edge, I think ShoWTimE can once again make this series close, and maybe even pull off the upset with a bit of luck. Of course—depending on when you read this preview, all of that might sound awfully dumb—TY could have already smashed Trap and Stats to win the Super Tournament 2 trophy.
Harstem is eyeing some subterranean shenanigans in Elazer vs Stats, predicting that "Elazer will use Nydus Networks in exactly two matches against Stats." in the True or False contest (participate for a chance to win Team Liquid store credit!). Fans with a long memory will recall that Elazer's Nydus Networks have been a recurring theme at multiple IEM Katowice tournaments, letting the Polish Zerg takes maps and series off top Korean Protosses like Classic and Trap (Rogue notably copied and tweaked Elazer's Nydus all-in to beat Classic in the 2018 finals). If Elazer carefully analyzes Stats' Super Tournament match against Rogue, he's sure to find some blind spots that he can exploit with nasty all-ins.