Last week's Group A showed us just how unpredictable GSL Code S can be, with #1 seed INnoVation suffering shock elimination at the hands of Scarlett and Zest. Perhaps that result gave Group B's two Terran underdogs hope that they might pull through in a series of upsets ... or perhaps it made them despair upon seeing the #1 Terran player in the world drop out in the Ro16.
With Scarlett’s surprise triumph in the Group A, the power balance of this GSL has definitively shifted. And while all the players will be looking to take advantage of the chaos, they must first contend with the strange power plays they've already made among themselves.
After the circus that was the GSL group nomination, soO must have felt down on his luck. Not only would he have to face at least one Terran on his way to the GSL RO8, he’d also run the real risk of facing INnoVation once he got there. Then, inexplicably, INnoVation reverted back to RoBogus of 2013 and died as a victim of his own greed. He was unable to hold against early attacks in TvZ and could not beat the clock with his aggressive style in TvP. While that gives soO a better chance going forward, he still has his Ro16 group to attend to.
Given his recent form in the match-up, ZvT is not ideal for soO as an initial match, but at least he'll have plenty of VODs of aLive to study ahead of game day. soO has also defeated TY in the recent RavenZ Cup online tournament, which should boost his TvZ confidence. ZvZ has always been a strength for soO, which puts him in a rare spot in the StarCraft II world where Dark isn't an absolutely terrifying opponent. soO should feel great, IF he can make it out. If he advances in first place, he'll face Zest who he already soundly defeated in the RO32. Even if he makes it out in second place, he'll have his sturdy ZvZ to rely on against Scarlett.
At face value, aLive should have been happy that he was swapped between groups by INnoVation. He dodged his worst match-up of TvP entirely, allowing him to lean on his 62.96% win-rate TvZ and solid 58.62% win rate TvT (win rates over the past 2 months). The caliber of opponents, however, won’t allow aLive to make any mistakes. soO should be even more motivated given his relatively favorable RO8 road, and he's had two weeks to shore up his ailing ZvT (he's already proven he's a ZvT threat in recent online competitions). Even if aLive beats soO, Terran-killers Dark and TY are waiting in the wings. While aLive has proven he can defeat Zergs with enough preparation—as Rogue and Scarlett can attest—he will absolutely want to avoid TY at all costs given his recent win over INnoVation.
In term of pure win rate, Dark should be feeling the most at ease in this group. INnoVation’s machinations meant the only Protoss in the group was removed. While Dark has a winning record against Dear, having his worst win rate match-up (56.52% in the last two months) eliminated should have put his mind even more at ease. His recent victories over the past few months against TY, ByuN and Bunny certainly prove he hasn’t lost his ZvT edge. His greatest worry will be soO, against whom he has a 12-20 record in games and 3-8 in series.
TY was one of the last players chosen in the group nominations and his recent results prove why: he has recent victories against INnoVation, Rogue, TRUE, soO and GuMiho. In terms of stats, his TvT and TvZ forms in the past 2 months have soared to frightening 70% and 66.67% win rates. His unorthodox-yet-sturdy style has always made him a difficult opponent to prepare for, especially in important tournaments where he's liable to pull out entirely new builds. TY’s one real weakness, though, is Dark, his first opponent against whom he has a miserable 4-12 record in matches. With all these variables taken into account, TY might realistically be eyeing a second place escape from the group.
The weird yet wonderful aspect of Group B is how each player has another opponent in the group they would want to avoid at all costs, while being relatively comfortable against the others. It means that one weird upset could throw the entire group in for a loop. Overall I am tempted to give it to soO on the back of his legendary consistency, provided he gets past aLive. This will, in turn, set up a closely contested sequence of matches out of which Dark should survive to fight another day.
soO 2 – 1 aLive
Dark 2 – 1 TY
soO 2 – 1 Dark
aLive 0 – 2 TY
Dark 2 – 1 TY
soO and Dark advance