Norway vs South Korea
Canada vs USA
Netherlands vs Poland
Mexico vs Germany
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
NationWars IV - Quarterfinals
Previously on NationWars...
Eight nations have survived, but there is no time to breath, as Nation Wars IV continues with the quarterfinals only a day after the last teams have survived the group stage. We’ve seen some huge stories develop over the last couple of days, with Scarlett leading Canada out of Group Korea on the first place, triumphing against the juggernaut from Asia, and MajOr proving the existence of Mexican overperformance for Nation Wars events once more by securing victories against the European superpowers France and Poland.
Speaking of the tournament hosts: France was eliminated by the Polish in a do or die scenario—so much for Napoleonic friendship. Favourites had a hard time to prove their positions in general in the group stage: Only Norway as a group favourite was able to actually advance on first place, while Germany, Poland and South Korea could only achieve this feat in their second attempt.
Germany got all killed by none other than uThermal (Netherlands), the Polish couldn’t overcome MajOr (Mexico) and the Koreans were unable to deal with Scarlett (Canada), proving just how crucial and important it is in the Nation Wars format to have at least a single star player on the roster, who is in excellent shape at the right time, almost negating the team aspect of the tournament.
The United States can also vouch for this fact: They are mostly dependant on Neeb to bring them victory, which almost fired back in the group stage against a ferocious Ukrainian team lead by Bly.
The number of teams will be reduced even further tonight, as the quarterfinals are going to be played out: The last remaining Scandinavians face a wounded South Korea, a great North American duel will ensue between Canada and the United States, the Netherlands will test their merit against Poland and last but not least the ever surprising Mexicans face an ever unsteady Germany.
The table is set and the pieces are in place.
Norway vs South Korea
Team Norway: Snute | Scythe | Evire
Team South Korea: ByuN | INnoVation | Zest
Snute has always been one the spearheads of foreign StarCraft 2, beating even the greatest Koreans during the heights of their careers with a mixture of his excellent mechanics and intellect. After Scarlett has shown the path to victory, can Snute follow his colleague and achieve an equal success, or will the Koreans be solid enough this time?
It is hard to say. Zest certainly is not on top of his game at the moment, as shown at several instances in the last days. Things are different with ByuN and INnoVation. The Terrans are not really out of shape, but nevertheless they have shown their vulnerability against top Zerg play—which would fall right into Snute’s metier. Against Zest I would go so far as to call him a favourite, citing historical records of Snute against Korean Protoss players, against the Terrans it’s at least a quite equal match-up, even though Snute has shown some weakness against Terran himself.
Can Scythe and Evire influence the outcome of this match? Certainly! Semper took a map against the Koreans for Canada, so this should also be a possibility for the two Norwegians. In the end, it will be on Snute to deliver some decisive bombshells though.
Prediction: Korea 4 - 2 Norway
Canada vs USA
Team Canada: Scarlett | Semper | NoRegreT
Team USA: Neeb | puCK | Nathanias
The pressure is on for the United States: Not only have the Canadians once more shown, that they are better at playing StarCraft 2 than the US-Americans by triumphing against the Koreans, NoRegreT also stole the showmanship superiority from Canada’s southern neighbours—having someone more big-mouthed than the United States truly is a rarity, and I imagine this is something the US players will want to correct tonight.
But to prove their ceremonial prowess, they first have to win a battlefield victory, and let’s be honest: This is going to turn into Scarlett against Neeb in no time. Semper showed his worth by taking a map against the Koreans and probably will be a great help to Scarlett in this quarterfinal as well, but eventually the two ace players will meet.
Scarlett and Neeb connects a friendship, but also a deep rivalry: Last year they played an enormous amount of matches against each other, with Neeb narrowly coming out ahead by winning 29 maps against the Canadian Zerg, who was able to take 26 maps. It’s equally close in series, where Neeb is ahead 7 to 6. We’ll have to wait and see who can score the first points in 2017, but it is likely that the fate—and pride—of their nations are depending on it.
Prediction: Canada 4 - 3 USA
Netherlands vs Poland
Team Netherlands: Harstem | uThermal | Optimus
Team Poland: Nerchio | MaNa | Elazer
The Dutch, or rather uThermal, marched through the group stage almost unscathed—there was this draw against Taiwan’s Nice, of course—staying the only team, which hasn’t lost a map yet. With such momentum behind them, even a dangerous foe such as the Polish must seem easily beatable. And with Mexico’s triumph over Poland, there is the argument to be made, that the Netherlands might actually fare very well against their European brothers.
MajOr proved decisive in that duel, so uThermal will once more be in the spotlight. He has come a long way in becoming the best European Terran, now he has to show it against some of the finest of Europe’s Zerg players in Nerchio and Elazer. So, somehow, this has become an uphill battle for Poland, especially with Harstem in play as well—his decade is still going strong, and he’s never to be underestimated. To be fair, so is MaNa. Poland may have the stronger team, but as we’ve seen so many times by now: One man is enough to turn the tide.
Oh, and keep an eye on Twitter as well while this series is going on, because not only are the Netherlands and Poland excellent StarCraft 2 nations, they have also produced some of the greatest trash talkers—this should be an explosive duel in many ways.
Prediction: Netherlands 3 - 4 Poland
Mexico vs Germany
Team Mexico: MajOr | Cham | JimRising
Team Germany: ShoWTimE | TLO | HeRoMaRinE
Ah yes, Mexico. You don’t see them for an entire, and suddenly they show up for another edition of Nation Wars and make it seem like they are the greatest StarCraft 2 power on the planet. What is it with the Mexicans and Nation Wars? It’s hard to say, really. But defeating two of the best European teams takes a lot of force, and especially MajOr showed once more what he’s capable of. That also makes him target number one in the match against Germany.
The Germans are a bit of an anti-Mexico in regards to Nation Wars. One would think they’d have to do well, but then they fall short against much more unsuspecting nations. However, they have assembled their best line-up ever and hopefully won’t underestimate their opponents from the New World. Comparing ace players, ShoWTimE and MajOr are quite evenly matched. In fact, the Terran has beaten the German Protoss powerhouse at two occasions in December and is in excellent shape against the Protoss race.
Again, while Germany certainly has the more balanced team, with TLO and HeRoMaRinE most likely being able to overcome Cham and JimRising, all Mexico needs is another brilliant performance by MajOr. The objective for Germany has to be to bring him down and to advance into the top 4 for the first time since the inaugural edition of Nation Wars. Should this not work out, it’s going to be another disappointing run for the Germans, while Mexico once more is putting together a sheer impossible streak.
Prediction: Mexico 3 - 4 Germany