GSL Preview: Round of 8

As IEM Katowice ends, GSL is returning with the round of 8. The most prestigious Korean StarCraft 2 tournament will award the winner with a spot at blizzcon (similar to Katowice). GSL differs from tournaments like the WCS circuit and IEM events because it takes place over the course of many weeks rather than a single week (or weekend). This gives players days of time to prepare for only a few matches (or a single match in the case of ro.8+). Another difference is that the semi-final matches are bo.7 as there is enough time to play out the extra matches.

Ro.8 Zerg Contenders

Scarlett

Scarlett has had an incredible gsl run so far, the first foreigner to make the round of 8 at gsl since 2012 and the first one to make it to the round of 16 since scarlett first qualified for the gsl at the start of 2017. Since she first qualified, many other foreigners have qualified for the round of 32 and failed to make it any further, so a round of 8 performance is quite the feat.

soO

soO is a notorious GSL competitor, taking the most silver medals of any other korean at the tournament without getting the first place finish he wants. 6 Times soO has finished second at GSL and 0 times has he defeated his opponent and one in the final match. However once making it to the bracket stage (ro.8) he has yet to fail to make the final match making him a very fierce opponent (at least until the final match).

Dark

Dark has been one of the top zergs since the start of lotv and while he has been up and down since the start of lotv he has never fallen lower than the third best zerg in the world. With only one real tournament victory (1st place SSL) he will really be wanting this championship. With disappointing finishes (at least for dark’s standard) at blizzcon and IEM Katowice he has been working extra hard to perform well. His ZvT and ZvZ look unstoppable, however unfortunately for dark his ZvP is certainly the lackluster matchup and with 2 Protoss on his side of the bracket (playing zest in the first round) his road to a first place finish is going to be difficult.

Round of 8 Matches

Scarlett vs soO

Scarlett’s ZvZ has looked incredible recently, with victories over elazer, serral, rogue, Cham, zanster, leenock and losira, even defeating soO 2-1 at the iem Katowice qualifiers. She did lose in close series to TRUE and solar and lost to guru at Katowice in her first series but in general, her ZvZ looks to be one of her better matchups.

soO’s ZvZ is looking a little more shaky lately after getting stomped by Dark in the gsl 2-0 and losing to losira at IEM Katowice. With that being said, we haven’t seen too much of his ZvZ and it has always been one of his better match-ups.

Overall, the round of 8 is an excellent finish to be proud of for scarlett, but only a first place finish will satisfy soO, who is a monster in the bracket stage.

Prediction 3-2 soO

Classic vs Stats

Classic’s PvP has been near untouchable as of late despite his close 2-1 loss to stats earlier in GSL. With recent, dominating victories over dear, sOs, Trap, herO and stats he is the slight favourite going into this series. In classic’s last 8 PvP series, he has a map score of 20-3 which includes 2 wins over stats, 2 wins over sOs, single wins over herO, trap and dear and a single loss to stats.

Stats was capable enough in PvP to escape his 4 protoss GSL group, which includes a win over herO, one of the best Protoss players currently. He also defeated classic earlier in the tournament.

Prediction 3-2 Classic

Zest vs Dark

The match-up hasn’t been great to either player in recent times, with zest having recent losses to serral, rogue, impact, scarlett, elazer and cham. Dark similarly has recent losses to trap, hurricane and classic. I think Dark is favoured in the matchup, as he did defeat trap and trust in his earlier round of 32 gsl group and the matchup has historically been good for him. However it will be close and likely dependent on the players preparation and how they are feeling on the day of the match. Both of these players are very good and potential favourites to win any tournament, they are both going into this match with it as their worst match-up so it could go either way.

Prediction 3-2 Dark

sOs vs Maru

A rematch from IEM Katowice, which I personally believe will have a similar outcome. If anyone knows how sOs plays and how to beat it, it is his teammates like maru and rogue who play against him often. With that being said, you can never count sOs out and he made the series at Katowice very close. I expect maru to take the series similar to Katowice but again, the series will be close.

Prediction 3-2 Maru

TL;DR

All of these series look like they will be very close and produce great games, if any series don’t go to 5 games I expect it to be the classic stats series however I wouldn’t be surprised to see 20 games played in the quarter-finals. Going into the round of 8, each series could go either way but I would favour soO, Classic, Dark and maru to be the victors in their respective series.

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