2021 GSL Code S Season 2 - RO16 Previewby Wax
This group may not be a consensus group of death, but it is damn hard to predict nonetheless. Well, at least when it comes to the second place. There is an obvious favorite in Maru—who had demonstrated his impeccable TvP against Zest in the DH Summer Finals at the time of writing—and may very well have won the championship by the time you read this. But for the other three players, they’ve all put in strong recent performances as of late, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of them reach the Code S playoffs.
RO16 Group C: Maru, RagnaroK, Zoun, sOsStart time: [unparsable timestamp format]
Maru has arranged a very good group for himself, picking one of his favored prey in RagnaroK. RagnaroK has played a lot of competitive matches against Maru throughout the years, and not surprisingly, he’s lost the vast majority of them. Although RagnaroK has played very close games where he looked very competent in defeat, he’s ultimately 1-15 (5-29 in map score) in all time matches. Their latest match was in May’s Super Tournament 2, where Maru brutalized RagnaroK with a 3-0 victory. While a BO3 gives RagnaroK a better chance to pull off an upset, he may be better served preparing for the ZvP’s. The real challenge for Maru probably begins in the winner’s match, but the PvP is a lot harder to predict than the opening TvZ.
The other opening pairing of the night is Zoun versus sOs, with the upstart Zoun having recently triumphed over sOs in the semifinals of GSL Super Tournament 2. Yet again, Zoun proved his clutch skills by pulling off a reverse sweep against the legendary sOs, furthering his reputation as the next big Protoss hope. However, since he was down 0-2 before completing the reverse-sweep, I wonder if his reverse sweep power also works in a BO3…
While both Zoun and sOs have PvP as their worst match-up statistically, Zoun has similar ratings in the three match-ups, whereas sOs’s PvP is notably inferior to his other match-ups. Since the latter doesn’t play much outside of GSL and the World Team League, he doesn’t necessarily get the chance to play enough matches to reach his best rating at any given time, and I think he is far more dangerous in the match-up than his rating suggests. I will give him the edge in this first bo3, if only because of personal bias toward wanting to see another high-stakes Maru vs sOs match. Regardless of their overall form, sOs always seems to be able to trouble Maru when they face, as most famously seen during their BlizzCon 2018 duel.
Even though Jin Air is no more, they are still teammates, so the team NV Protoss might still have Maru’s number. Aligulac has them surprisingly close, with Maru slightly favored by 56 to 44 at the time of writing. sOs’s rating in PvT got a huge bump from theSuper Tournament, where he destroyed every Terran he encountered. He didn’t lose a single PvT match since March 2021 at the hands of INnoVation during Code S season 1, but he didn’t play that many either. When you factor in that Protoss is very often stronger in GSL Super Tournaments than regular GSL, I think that Maru will handle sOs rather comfortably. I expect rather short and cheesy games,, where we probably won’t get to see Maru’s infamous late game turtle play. However, considering how well sOs played in long games vs TY, such scenarios may not be a foregone conclusion in favor of Maru.
It seems likely there will be a RagnaroK vs Zoun team-kill match at some point, and such a match would allow us to appreciate some of the peculiarities of the vaunted community resource Aligulac.com. RagnaroK is favored on nearly every metric, be it head-to-head, match-up form, or overall form, but Zoun is still deemed the slight favorite. The explanation lies in the fact that you can be in form against a certain race, but facing lower level players than your opponent on average. RagnaroK is one of the best representatives of the adage “close but no cigar’, coming very close but ultimately failing to do any deep run. I do not think this match will be the exception, but he might take a map.
The decider’s match will be a rematch of the first PvP of the group, and I am a fervent follower of the rematch curse church, thus having no doubts about the eventual winner of this match.
RagnaroK is a tough opponent for either protoss, but I still don’t see him capable of stopping a rising Zoun that managed to beat both Dark and Rogue in bo5 with a week of preparation. This will allow Zoun to get good momentum, and pull off a reverse rematch sweep, if that’s a thing, by winning the rematch against sOs. He seems to be pretty good at adapting, and the decider’s matches are often very hard for the loser of the winner's match, unless they are far above their opponent.
Maru > RagnaroK
sOs > Zoun
Maru > sOs
RagnaroK < Zoun
Zoun > sOs
Maru and Zoun to advance.