ASUS ROG Fall: Another Season Finals?It hasn't even been a week since the DreamHack Fall Finals ended, and we're about to get a tournament that's just as good. Actually, it might be even better.
No, ASUS ROG doesn't have DreamHack Masters' $50,000 prize pool (it's $15,000 total with a $6,000 first place prize), but it does have an absolutely stacked roster. Top players like Maru, Rogue, and Reynor who failed to make the qualifying cut for DHM are all competing at ASUS ROG, alongside virtually every championship contender in the StarCraft II scene.
In fact, the top eleven players on Aligulac.com are all participating in this tournament. Thus, quite literally, ASUS ROG Fall features the best players in the world.
The whole tournament could end up being a succession of dreammatches, which makes ASUS ROG Fall mandatory viewing for all fans of competitive StarCraft II.
- Stream: ROGTournament on Twitch
- All days start at 11:00 GMT (+00:00)
- September 17: Round of 16 - Groups A & B (GSL-style)
- September 18: Round of 16 - Groups C & D (GSL-style)
- September 19: Playoffs - All rounds (BO5 quarters and semis, BO7 finals)
- September 17: Round of 16 - Groups A & B (GSL-style)
Points of Focus: Following up on the Season FinalsWith basically such a stacked roster, it's impossible to hit on every single storyline at this event. So, instead, I'll focus on some of the loose ends from the Season Finals that we may see tied up at ASUS ROG Fall.
Serral's hit list: The Finnish Phenom looked utterly dominant in the DHM Fall Finals, racking up a 14-1 map record as he ended his 2021 title drought. Some fans downplayed this accomplishment, saying Serral got a lucky bracket where Trap was his only top-tier opponent.
Well, let me try to turn that argument around. What if Serral wanted Clem, Reynor, the elite Korean Zergs, and all the other players who robbed him of championships in 2021? After all, Trap was 2-0 against Serral in major tournaments this year, eliminating him from both NeXT Season 1 (RO8) and DHM Last Chance (finals). Finally given the chance to take revenge against an opponent who had caused him such grief, Serral turned things around and completely crushed Trap by a combined 6-0 map score (2-0 in the group stage and 4-0 in the grand finals). No, Serral wasn't the lucky one at DreamHack fall—it was his rivals who were fortunate not to get humiliated like Trap.
...alright, maybe that's too dramatic of an interpretation. But isn't it way more fun to think of it that way?
The usual Clem TvT/TvP problems: Much like Mvp's wrists, Trap's nerves, or soO's curse, you have to talk about Clem's TvT and TvP issues prior to a major tournament. Yes, it's repetitive. But what else can you do? Are you supposed to ignore the single biggest impediment to a player winning a championship? Indeed, TvP ended up being Clem's downfall in DHM Fall, as he lost to MaxPax in the group stages before losing to PartinG in the quarterfinals.
Personally, I'm still clinging on to the viewpoint that Clem's baseline TvP skill is championship-tier—he just has trouble performing in tournament settings. That certainly seemed to be true in his loss to MaxPax in DHM Fall. Clem went into the match with a seven match winning streak against the Danish Protoss in minor cup competitions (with a ridiculous 18-1 map score in those matches), but ended up bungling his proxy-Void Ray defense in the one match that really mattered. Clem did come back to win the decider match, but was ultimately taken out by PartinG in the playoffs after failing to capitalize on some early leads.
Still, if it truly is a mental/nerves issue for Clem, then it should be fixable. After all, if Trap can get over his RO16 wall in the GSL and soO can win an IEM Katowice, what can't be fixed?
...alright that's a lot of false equivalence. But isn't it way more fun to think of it that way?
Big Gabe's second TvP test: It seemed like HeroMarine's reputation as a TvP expert and #2 placement in the Aligulac.com TvP rankings would be put to the test at DHM Fall, as he was thrust into a three-Protoss group with PartinG, sOs, and Neeb. While HeroMarine ultimately did manage to advance, the bizarre content of his matches prevented us from drawing any big conclusions (well, I suppose all conclusions involving HeroMarine are inherently BIG). He advanced by beating sOs twice, in some strange series where the Team NV Protoss repeatedly went for failed proxy-Gateways in the Terran main. Then, five days later, sOs retired. Yeah... I don't know what to make of that.
Fortunately for people like me who like to see Aligulac's holy database put to the test, and see if HeroMarine is equal to Maru in TvP like the numbers say, he has been placed into yet another one-Terran, three-Protoss group in ASUS ROG. This time he'll be facing Trap, Zest, and herO—one of the more brutal TvP tests anyone could devise. Honestly, even Maru wouldn't be favored to advance from this group, so if Big Gabe can do it, I'm ready to crown him as the universe-spanning, infinite-mass king of TvP.
PartinG finally gets the PvZ's he wanted: One of the more curious takeaways from the interviews at DHM Fall was PartinG's confidence in PvZ. While fans tend to think of him as a PvT specialist, the Big Boy spoke up about how PvZ was the match-up he was most confident in. There was also some sense that PartinG wanted to make up for his lackluster play against Dark in the Code S Season 2 semifinals, feeling that he hadn't been able to show his fans what he can really do.
Well, it looks like PartinG will get his wish after all, as he's been drawn into a group with elite Zergs Rogue and Serral. I have to say, I don't entirely buy PartinG's swagger here—he's rather inconsistent, and thus often ends up talking a bigger game than he can actually play. However, due to his superlative micro, he occasionally plays series that make you wonder why he only has one world championship. Though it's hard to predict him to advance outright, I'm certainly hoping that he shows us the high-level PvZ he thinks he's capable of.
Statistics and records: Liquipedia