2022 GSL Super Tournament 2 - RO16 Day Twoby Wax
Start time: Thursday, Dec 01 8:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
Day one of the Super Tournament produced some one-sided results, but day two has the potential to be much more interesting. Not only is it stacked with title contenders like herO, Bunny, and Dark, but it also features a very intriguing rematch from DreamHack Atlanta.
Round of 16 - Match #5: herO vs BunnyDay two starts with a literal grand finals caliber match as herO and Bunny face off in a rematch from the DreamHack Atlanta finals. That match was one of the most exciting finals in recent memory, with Bunny riding his underdog momentum to a 3-1 lead in the first half of the series. However, herO's experience won out in the end, as he remained calm and collected to take a 4-3 comeback victory.
A big part of Bunny's initial series lead was his use of unorthodox 2-Barracks/3-Reaper openers. Not only did Bunny use his Reapers to inflict early damage, but he also got into herO's head by forcing early Probe scouts. While I think it's a little too simplistic to say that herO was clearly the better player once he adjusted to Bunny's 3-Reaper openers, the element of surprise did seem to confer Bunny a temporary advantage.
Thus, I think this rematch will also hinge on Bunny's early game strategies. He has been excellent at crafting cheesy attacks during his rise over the last year, and he will surely have reviewed the finals games and restocked with more unexpected openers. As for herO, I think the key decision for him will be whether to keep playing his hyper-aggressive PvT style, or pivot to being more reactive against such an aggressive opponent.
Aligulac gives herO a 66% chance of winning, which roughly aligns with how I feel about this match (I think the gap is a bit narrower, but what's five percentage points here and there). I'll take herO to win after another close series.
Prediction: herO 3 - 2 Bunny
Round of 16 - Match #6: DongRaeGu vs RyungThe one-sided nature of day one threatens to carry over into this match, with DongRaeGu playing his best match-up of ZvT against Ryung's worst match-up of TvZ. The Aligulac rating margin between these two players is a hefty 500 points, which makes DRG around a 80:20 favorite according to the stats website. The head-to-head record points to a DRG victory as well, with DRG having won all four of their post-military clashes with a total 8-1 map score.
Ryung can pack a mean punch with two-base Marine-Tank all-ins or proxy-Barracks cheeses, but they have become a far too predictable move from him when facing stronger players. While Ryung might take a map with a proxy-Barracks if DRG low-rolls on his Overlord/Drone scouting directions, DRG is still overwhelmingly favored to win if he plays a standard macro game. Another potential X-factor for Ryung is late-game turtling, as DRG still struggles to manage late-game Hive armies. However, he's also so good at Lair-tech swarming that most non-Maru Terrans can't properly get into a turtle stance against him. In the end, I see DRG taking the series without too much difficulty.
Prediction: DongRaeGu 3 - 1 Ryung
Round of 16 - Match #7: Dark vs soOThis bout projects to be one-sided as well, with recent AfreecaTV Champions Cup winner Dark looking like a huge favorite against military returnee soO.
Usually, ZvZ is the match-up where I give underdogs the biggest benefit of the doubt, especially if they're a former ZvZ great like soO. The Roach-Ravager wars that form the core of ZvZ haven't changed all that much over the years compared to the rest of StarCraft II, and one could theorize that such a player would easily return to their old form in the Zerg mirror.
And that was allegedly the case during the early days of soO's return from the military, where he was said to have bounced back quickly in ZvZ while struggling to adjust to the metas in the other match-ups. However, about ten months into soO's return, things have flipped so that ZvZ is actually soO's worst match-up according to Aligulac.com. He's projected as a heavy underdog against the fearsome Dark, with only a 20% chance of winning.
As I said with Classic on day one, I think the future is wide open for military returnees who are still only around a year into their returns. But for now, I can't see soO overcoming a current top-tier player like Dark.
Prediction: Dark 3 - 1 soO
Round of 16 - Match #8: RagnaroK vs CureHopefully, the RO16 will finish with a banger as two of the top Zerg and Terran players in the world face off. I would have been reluctant to afford RagnaroK that status just a few months ago, when I wasn't entirely sure what to make of his back-to-back top six runs in the GSL. But after a run to the Code S finals, in which he largely discarded his cheeses in favor of macro play, there was no choice but to acknowledge RagnaroK as one of the best Zergs in the world. As for Cure, he has definitely come down from the Code S championship peak he hit one year ago, but he still has to be counted among the top five Terrans in the game.
RagnaroK seemed to struggle with ZvT for a few weeks after his 0-4 blowout loss to Maru in the GSL finals, dropping a number of online series to strong Terrans like Bunny, ByuN, and even Cure himself. However, he seemed to be back in shape in the two series he played in DreamHack Atlanta, beating Ryung 2-0 and taking a 3-0 sweep against HeroMarine. On the other hand, Cure had mixed results in the American event, winning 2-1 against Lambo in the group stages but ultimately being eliminated by DRG in a 1-3 loss. The trusty Aligulac calculator says RagnaroK is favored with a 62.13% chance of winning, but I think this match-up is closer to 50/50 if both players are playing in ideal conditions. However, due to Cure's tendency of underperforming in live studio/arena events, I have to give RagnaroK the edge.
Prediction: RagnaroK 3 - 2 Cure
Statistics and records: Liquipedia and Aligulac.com