StarCraft II GSL vs. the World Round of 16 recap

GSL vs. the World is starting in just about 2 weeks (August 2-5), and the official bracket has been announced. That means it’s time to take a look at the exciting Starcraft II match-ups that await! Right off the bat, we have two very unexpected candidates winning the popularity vote: Has, after his insane run at WCS Valencia, quickly overtook MaNa’s massive lead in the Protoss poll. And Kelazhur, after initially conceding the race, was able to take a massive lead in the vote after controversial support by Brazilian League of Legends and CS:GO streamers. Amusingly, soO receives only the GSL Wildcard seed after making second place in the Zerg popularity vote behind Dark.

Now, let’s take a look at the matches that are coming up!

Image courtesy of Liquipedia

Maru vs. soO

A classic match between the almighty god of Terran and the second-best Zerg in Korea, and also a rematch from Super Tournament, where Maru won 3-1. There is no doubt Maru is the overwhelming favourite (especially looking at soO’s ZvT matches in GSL yesterday) in this match, but we can still look forward to a very high-level and exciting TvZ series!

ShoWTimE vs. Zest

While PvP might not be the most popular match-up to watch, this is definitely an interesting series in which I could see ShoWTimE winning. ShoWTimE has been recovering rapidly from his recent slump (as his performance at WCS Valencia shows), and if he reaches his peak level, he can take out Zest. It might sound crazy, but ShoWTimE is hailed as the “PvP expert” by Neeb for a reason.

Stats vs. Cyan

For this match, nobody really knows what to expect, as we barely see anything from Cyan in either WCS circuit. Cyan was eliminated in group stage in WCS Valencia qualifiers, but managed to win the WCS Montreal qualifier while almost clean sweeping (We should call it “Serraling.”) every series on his way. So there is some hope for a competitive series, but a 3-0 for Stats would be no surprise here.

SpeCial vs. Has

Without a doubt the funniest and weirdest series of the tournament, SpeCial historically has a good winning record against Has, but he did lose to him in group stages at WCS Valencia. Now we’ll have to find out if Has has enough memes for a bo5 series against SpeCial as well–just like he did against Kelazhur, Nerchio, and ShoWTimE–or if SpeCial’s insane mechanical skill can secure him the victory.

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Serral vs. Kelazhur

I am a little bit sad at the sight of a foreigner eliminating another foreigner in the first round of this tournament. Kelazhur is a great player who could take out INnoVation in a TvT, but in a TvZ against Serral, I’m afraid Serral is going to be Serraling this series.

Rogue vs. INnoVation

The undoubted best Zerg in Korea faces off against the machine himself–a historic match. I favour Rogue in this series after seeing his incredible TvZs versus Maru in the last GSL, but I’m sure it will be great a competitive series–and if INnoVation wins, he will most likely face Serral in the next round, which will make for another fantastic series!

Neeb vs. Dark

The only foreigner that has been slaying Koreans for years faces off against the “foreigner killer” Dark, who has NEVER lost an offline match to a foreigner in his career (with the small exception of Elazer at Blizzcon). The last times they faced, Dark crushed Neeb, but with Neeb making Ro16 in GSL, we can hope for a close series. Unfortunately though, Neeb’s road to Ro16 GSL involved losing 0-2 to Dark, so that does not bode well for our American Protoss. I think we cannot be too surprised to see Dark take this series.

Classic vs. Scarlett

The last match of the Ro16, and a big challenge for Scarlett. Classic is one of the very best Protosses that Korea has to offer. After he surprisingly dropped out in GSL Ro32, we can be sure that he is looking for redemption and has no other goal in mind than winning this tournament. Scarlett did, however, beat another very strong Korean Protoss in IEM Pyeonchang earlier this year when she 4-1’ed sOs. Unfortunately, many of the strategies she used were cheeses with drop overlords, which have been patched out of the game since then, so she will have to bring something new to GSL vs. the World.

Summary

Overall, there are many fantastic Starcraft II matches awaiting us, and even though we have a few “teamkills” of GSL and foreign players, there are many promising matches in the Ro8 and onwards as well. Despite it being somewhat unlikely, I would absolutely love to see Maru vs. Serral–the Korean god against the foreign god! For that to happen, both of them have to make it to the finals though, and that’s still a long way to go for both of them.

MisterL
I started playing Starcraft II days before HotS release with no prior RTS experience, but instantly fell in love with the competetive nature of the game, particularly not being reliant on teammates for victory like in other games I played previously (lots of League of Legends). I've been playing actively since LotV and am closing in on Grandmaster. I'm streaming almost daily on https://twitch.tv/misterl__

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