Liquid`SC2 in the WCS Ro16 at Poitiers

April 02 2015
[image loading]


WCS is back.

I feel as though every time I write about WCS, I write something to that effect. The stop-start nature of Starcraft's most prestigious tournament certainly can make it hard to follow along. But make no mistake, WCS is back, and that's a great thing.

The Ro16 of the [image loading] 2015 WCS Season One Premier (a mouthful) will take place this weekend at Gamers Assembly in Poitiers. In 732, Charles "The Hammer" Martel, leader of the Franks (and grandfather of Charlemagne), defeated the Moors near the city and thus blocked Muslim conquest in Europe. Today, the city is better known for its thriving universities, the oldest of which dates to 1431 and is the second oldest in the country.

It is upon this vibrant, historic town that a group of young warriors from around the world will descend. They will compete in Starcraft 2, with the winner claiming not just the crown of Europe, but of the entire world outside of Korea. And of course, a Korean may well win it all anyway.

Liquid has an unprecedented four players in the mix (no other team has more than two), and in an even more unprecedented development, they are all in different groups. Can TLO, Snute, MaNa, and Bunny take advantage of this amazing opportunity and all make their way to the Ro8? Can they go all the way? The odds are better than ever. Their fate is firmly in their own hands.


2015 WCS Season One Premier: Ro16
de [image loading] Liquid`TLO, no [image loading] Liquid`Snute, pl [image loading] Liquid`MaNa, dk [image loading] Liquid`Bunny
April 3rd, Poitiers, France

[image loading] [image loading] 2015 WCS Season One Premier



For the sake of drama, the format for the opening day of competition will be a bit strange. Only the opening two matches in each group will be played. In other words, no player will be eliminated on Friday. On Saturday, the remaining three matches in each MSL-style group will be played out, and on Sunday the bracket of eight will be completed and a winner crowned.

For today's preview, we'll be looking just at the opening bouts. It's a bit tricky to really rate many of these matches, as for the most part, all the players have been lying very low in the month of March as they prepare. Still, we have some data to go on, and we're going to make the best of it!

First on the schedule will be Group A, which features mYi.Serral (favored) vs iG.XiGua and our very own TLO vs MǂforGG.

      (1639) TLO  0-0  ForGG (2147)    
---------------------------------------
8.51% 2-0 0-2 50.18%
12.05% 2-1 1-2 29.27%
---------------------------------------
20.55% 79.45%

Median outcome: TLO 0-2 ForGG
Estimated by Aligulac. Modify.

No mistaking it, this will be a very difficult match for TLO. ForGG is one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, and the likeliest winner of this group on paper. But there's certainly plenty of hope. For one, TLO and forGG have played 13 times in competitive matches, and the results are 5-8 in favor of the Korean terran, much closer than Aligulac's scores would suggest. Both players are also hurt a bit in their ratings by a lack of recent games, but forGG's last few results vs zergs (albeit Soulkey and Life) were losses. There's something about TLO in big situations against zerg where you can never count him out. Famous wins against Bomber and MarineKing (and others) show that you should never count him out.

One other thing to placate TLO fans. ForGG is the heavy favorite in this group, but the second spot is wide open. Defeat XiGua and Serral, and TLO will be through anyway.

Meanwhile in Group B, we've got Snute vs iG.MacSed...

     (2076) Snute  0-0  MacSed (1495)    
-----------------------------------------
54.23% 2-0 0-2 6.95%
28.59% 2-1 1-2 10.23%
-----------------------------------------
82.82% 17.18%

Median outcome: Snute 2-0 MacSed
Estimated by Aligulac. Modify.

This match is hugely in Snute's favor on paper. It's no surprise why. Snute is of course one of the top players in the world, and certainly outside of Korea. In WCS Challenger, he massacred the French protoss aAa.PsiOniC 3-0. Meanwhile MacSed rarely plays outside of China, and has yet to face a zerg in WCS so far.

The other match in this group is between aTn.ShoWTimE (favored) over PiG. Without question this is Snute's group to lose. He is the most accomplished player in the group by a mile and has no Korean opposition. The wily German protoss ShoWTimE is likely to be his main obstacle, but if it comes down to it, both MacSed and PiG are opponents who Snute should comfortably defeat.

Group C is the exact opposite for MaNa, who will watch CMStorm.Polt take on ESC.FireCake, then face ROOT.Hydra in his opener...

     (1790) MaNa  0-0  Hydra (2131)    
---------------------------------------
12.48% 2-0 0-2 41.82%
16.15% 2-1 1-2 29.55%
---------------------------------------
28.63% 71.37%

Median outcome: MaNa 1-2 Hydra
Estimated by Aligulac. Modify.

Poor MaNa. He's placed in the Ro16 group of death, featuring an opening match against the tournament favorite in his worst match-up. But lest we despair too soon, we should remember our recent history. In the Ro32, he was placed in the group of death, only to stun his opponents and fight his way out unscathed. Never mind that his reward was an even harder group. We've learned that it's incorrect to say that MaNa is unfortunate to be in the group of death. It's more accurate to say that the group of death is unfortunate to be at the mercy of MaNa.

Still, the numbers are stubbornly pessimistic. These two have never played, and so it may be fair to privilege Hydra's high ranking when making predictions. Still, like forGG, Hydra has a few recent losses in the match-up (again, against top opponents) so it's possible he's suffering from a lack of confidence in ZvP. That might give an opening for our Polish protoss. And remember what happened the last time you counted him out.

The group doesn't get any easier when you consider the other two contenders. First there's Polt, who needs little introduction, but who is another Korean and another tournament favorite. Then there's FireCake, who is probably MaNa's least preferred opponent ever. While MaNa is at least favored over the French zerg, he probably won't be happy if he has to play him, and for good reason. Fans might not be so pleased either. All the more reason to beat Hydra quickly and advance 4-0 once again.

Finally, wrapping up the evening, we have Group D, which starts with Bunny facing Welmu...

    (1998) Bunny  0-0  Welmu (1791)    
---------------------------------------
34.89% 2-0 0-2 16.76%
28.56% 2-1 1-2 19.80%
---------------------------------------
63.45% 36.55%

Median outcome: Bunny 2-1 Welmu
Estimated by Aligulac. Modify.

Happily, we find Bunny to be favored here, although Welmu has a decent chance. But in their lifetime history, Bunny has an amazing 11-2 record vs the Finnish protoss, and that should give him plenty of confidence for the task ahead. Bunny's high-tempo TvP has always seemed his strongest match-up, as it is so resistant to comebacks. Welmu has always been a measured protoss player, and he may not be able to withstand Bunny's onslaught.

The other two opponents in this group are Kane and Has. The former is a strong player who has represented North America well in the past year. The latter is a player whose ingenuity in deception must be commended, but who should not cause Bunny problems provided he takes appropriate care. Either way, Bunny is the favorite of this group, and like Snute, should be reasonably confident in booking a ticket to the Ro8. All he must do is buckle down, trust in his preparation, and get to business.

The matches start tomorrow, April 3rd, at 13:00 GMT (+00:00). Don't miss a minute of the action you've been waiting over a month for!

Liquid Fighting!




Writer: tree.hugger
Graphics & Format: shiroiusagi
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