SSL Ro.16 - Group A
What a tumultuous month June was. The SSL Challenge is finally over, and we can move on to the main event. The four groups of six saw some unexpected upsets, unorthodox (not always in a good way) plays, and a whole slew of matches, (almost too many to bear). Now we’re returning to some semblance of normalcy. The group stage follows the traditional GSL style: Stats, Dark, Solar, and Patience have been seeded directly owing to their success last season, and twelve players battled through the grueling Challenge process.Group A starts with one clear favorite, but the fiercest matches will be over second place.
By all accounts Zest should’ve been the favorite to advance out of his Code S group, but he surprisingly lost the first match against MC. Not to be deterred, the Last Titan took down the BossToss in a rematch that very same day, making it to the Ro16. In the other individual Korean league he topped his Challenge group, losing to Losira once and Super twice. In ProLeague Rogue defeated him twice a few weeks ago. While Zest is not undefeatable, he remains the target others clamor to beat. While aLive should go down effortlessly, Zest’s weakest matchup is PvZ (and Dark’s strongest matchup happens to be ZvP) so there’s definitely potential for an upset. It remains to be seen if Zest will yield, but all signs point to him standing firm.
The league is afraid of Dark. He has seen its true face. And when the bloody Challenge battlefield is cleared, the casualties are taken away, the fans will look upon the racial distribution in horror, and shout “Save our Zerg!” … and Dark will whisper “Maybe.”
One of only two Zerg players in SSL’s Main Event, all hopes rest on Dark’s shoulders. Solar has been a shadow of his former self so it’s up to the Season 1 winner to keep the dream alive. In order to advance, he will absolutely have to take down aLive, a match that might prove to be one of the the biggest challenges of his career. Dark has been struggling in ProLeague lately and aLive’s strongest matchup is TvZ by a large margin. Dark’s season 1 run was almost entirely based on playing against Zergs and Protosses. However recent trophies count for a whole lot, so Dark will just need to reach deep within himself to find that champion once again.
In almost any other group aLive would fare much higher in the predictions, but here he has to face against both Zest and Dark. He must take down at least one of the winners of this year’s individual leagues if he’s to advance. Taking down both sounds insurmountable so maybe it’s best to settle for one. In the meantime, he can have Trust for a light snack. aLive has been playing many, many online games, and his win rate against Zerg is intimidating to say the least. Now he only has to provide that same level of consistency in an offline environment. He did advance as the best player of his Challenge group, not surprisingly losing to ByuN, and surprisingly losing to Impact.
Trust’s access to the Main Event came down to a single tiebreaker game against sOs. While most would’ve predicted against him, he’s earned his place (as fairly as a best-of-one could ever be). His biggest problem is that the group contains players more experienced, more skilled, and with better results under their belts.
There’s an ancient saying in the world of StarCraft. On sunless days, if you take to the high seas by yourself and quiet down, you might be able to hear a whisper on the wind, and legend has it the whisper will reveal a certain indisputable truth about the game: “Zest is Best.”
On the other hand, the sad truth is Trust will most likely be devoured whole by the contemporaries. The mid-tier Protoss has a small chance to prove us wrong, since this is SSL after all, but more than likely all eyes will be on the last match of the day. Dark will play against aLive, and both will be ravenous for a victory.
Dark > Trust
aLive < Zest
Dark < Zest
Dark > aLive
Dark and Zest advance to the Quarterfinals!