As the year’s final star leagues wind down, the most crucial question still remains. Who’s going to make it to BlizzCon, and who’s going to be left out?
With only two matches coming up, the week is admittedly going to be slower than what we’re used to. SSL Challenge is on a break, but they still have one round of matches to go. The division will be returning in about a week’s time. SSL Premier will see only a single match, but it’s going to be among the most important ones for both players. Dark and Classic will face off against each other to decide who’s going to advance to the grand finals. And last, but not least, GSL’s season 3 will conclude with a bang this coming Saturday, with INnoVation going up against sOs in the grand finals. As is fitting for a star league, we’re going to have a separate preview for the finals later in the week. This Weekly is then going to be somewhat shorter than usual, owing to what could be considered the end times for the two star leagues.
Two former teammates, both with a single SSL title under their belt, both vying for the chance to meet one of their archenemies in the finals and gain another title for themselves. Dark’s rise to the forefront of the Zerg race in 2016 was nothing short of phenomenal. Back-to-back SSL finals and a second place at BlizzCon, his incredible performance was almost just as quickly followed by a lackluster 2017. He’s been struggling to gain traction ever since the Global Finals in Anaheim, and the player that was heralded as the first Olympian to follow the old Titans has yet to really make his mark this year.
After the narrow loss against INnoVation in the semifinals of GSL, it’s now do or die for Dark. He’s been famously open about his ambitions, and if he wants to regain the title of the best Zerg in the world, he needs to step up. He built his success last year on his monstrous ZvP prowess, and it’s still his best match up this year. After the reverse sweep against Dear in the 4th place match, maybe Dark once again has the stars aligned in his favor. A semifinals finish and an SSL title would be just the boost he needs if he wants to make another deep run in Anaheim in November.
Unlike his old counterpart on SKT T1, Classic has been going for a different strategy altogether. He’s been tearing through online cups while preparing for the match. The two have met several times this year, and Classic’s only victory against Dark is from February. Dark was the winner when the two met in Group C of GSL’s Ro16, and likewise in SSL’s pennant race, not to mention a plethora of other times over the year. The prognosis isn’t good for Classic, who’s still arguably the second best Protoss player in the world. He was victorious against Solar and ByuL in the pennant race, but that’s damning with faint praise. Everyone loves a good underdog story, and it’s now up to Classic to step up to the plate and exceed our expectations.