NASL season two has, like the first season, had a lot of problems. That being said, in many ways, the tournament bracket is a throwback to simpler times. We haven't gotten to see very much of Morrow, Mana, TT1, and others play recently, and it will be nice to get a chance to see how they are currently doing. With the lack of many Koreans this season, great players like Hwangsin, Brat_ok, and Strelok had a better chance to make it into the finals; it's been a while since these players have gotten the spotlight, so expect them to bring their best play to the table.
The way that the seeding worked out for NASL was very strange. Players like Huk, Hero, Puma and Idra who are normally easy tournament favorites are in real danger of getting knocked out early. For example, either Huk or Hero won't advance past the round of 8, there is no way around it, and the same goes for Idra and Puma. In the meantime, oftentimes more "under-performing" players like Brat_OK, Dimaga, and TT1 have only Sen in their way for a shot at the semifinals.
The bracket can be split into two halves, the top half's "best" players are Hero, Huk, and Sen, while the bottoms are Thorzain, Idra, and Puma. I think that the bottom half of the bracket is much tougher to predict than the top. The European players in the bottom half's bracket are all very formidable foes. The thing about this bracket is that everyone has a chance to go big, most players begin on an even footing, and then have to beat one bigger name player before they are within a shot at the finals.
Although TT1, Dimaga, and Brat_OK have a chance to make a name for themselves, they don't have much of a chance of getting to the finals. Even if they manage to make it past Sen, they would (likely) run into one of the top protoss' of HerO or Huk. I think Dimaga has the best chance for an upset, because when he turns on his best play, it's amazing to watch.
The semi finals will be exciting though, with the likely scenario being Sen vs. Huk or Hero. I honestly don't know who wins that fight, but it will definitely be a great one. In the quarter finals, Huk's PvP is favored over Hero's, but I do think that Sen has a better chance against Huk than he would against Hero. All I know for sure is that the top half of the bracket's semifinals will be a good one.
Huk vs. Hero is going to be a huge match for deciding the tournament (admittedly, it is very possible for Hasu to upset Huk, he's done it before after all). They are the two players with the best hope of defeating who will likely be Idra or Puma in the finals. It's also possible that we get a Puma - HerO finals repeat, but would Huk let that happen?
On a brief note, I think that HwangSin got the worst possible position in the bracket. He would have to go through two of the world's best PvP, and then likely face Sen. Based on results that I've seen, I think that PvT is HwangSin's best matchup, and it's a real shame that he won't get the chance to show it.
The bottom half of the bracket is difficult to predict past “I guess Idra wins.” I think Idra comes out over Puma only based on history, but those games are always so close that Puma can't be counted out. In MorroW vs. Mana and Demuslim vs. Thorzain I have no idea who wins, but I do think that Idra, if he overcomes Puma, has a good chance against any of those players. I haven't seen Thorzain too recently, but I do think that he can macro right up against Idra. Mana is also very good at playing head games with Idra, and in a matchup like PvZ that is a skill that cannot be underrated.
I am almost certain that the finals will be ZvP. I think that Idra is feeling very comfortable in the lower bracket, having often stated that he does not lose games to Terran unless they cheese him. The top bracket will all come down to the semifinals though, with the likely scenario being Sen vs. Huk or Hero. While I don't think that too many of the round of 16 games are that exciting, I think that by the quarterfinals, and especially the semifinals, we'll be set up to watch some great Starcraft.
If the bracket says one thing, I think it is diversity. There is an amazing mix of players from different countries with different play-styles, all of whom have a shot to make a real name for themselves. Will we have another finals as good as last seasons? I think that a Sen Idra finals would disappoint, but HerO Idra? A man can dream.
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Bagration United States. December 03 2011 04:52. Posts 10876
Its a Catch-22. If an underdog wins the tournament (Im looking at you Brat-OK, Sen, TT1) then the tournament is considered weak that such a weak player won it. Good for the $ still, but you can expect the community backlash to be stiff and fierce.
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Sabre United Kingdom. December 03 2011 05:32. Posts 946