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TSL3 Round of 4 Preview

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With all the talk of recent European players’ performance, particularly how they stack up against Korean competition, I doubt anyone could have predicted the Ro4 we’ll be watching come this weekend. While not all of the results of the Ro8 were surprising, at least one stands out as an incredible upset.

It began with a battle between Mill. Adelscott (P) and Empire.Kas (T), which Kas swept in 4 games.

Then we saw what was likely the biggest upset in TSL’s brief but robust history. Prae.Thorzain (T) overcame oGs.MC (P), one of the most feared players in Starcraft 2’s history, in a phenomenal 3-2 series. The use of the word “upset” isn’t meant to take anything away from Thorzain, an accomplished player in his own right. MC is just so good that any victory over him must be viewed as an upset.

The next day began with a PvP between coL.CrunCher and dignitas.Naniwa. Naniwa continued his trend of impressive play and took the series.

The final bout was between SlayerS_BoxeR(T), who has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in the last month, and mouz.HasuObs (P). HasuObs put any Korean hopes to rest with a clean sweep, bringing us to the unexpected all Euro semis.

Four incredible players remain, two Terran and two Protoss, ready to duke it out in two mirror matches for a chance at the finals.

Upcoming Match: Thorzain vs. Kas

Recently Kas was defeated 4-0 by MC at the Copenhagen games; an interesting fact given Thorzain had to go through MC to get to Kas in the TSL3. TvT is no TvP, however, and as impressive as beating MC is, it doesn’t guarantee success against a competent Terran opponent. What we do know about these players recent TvTs is that Kas had what it took to take oGs.NaDa out of the running. He swept their best of five series. This is no small feat as NaDa is regarded as one of the best players of all time, and certainly the most consistent (his APM remains among the highest of any player despite the length of his career).

While we can’t take any TvT specific data from TSL3 for Thorzain, his defeats of TSL_Fruitdealer, Liquid’Tyler, and oGs.MC are nothing to write off. We are talking about the winner of GSL season 1, the winner of TSL2, and the winner of 2 GSL titles, respectively. Anyone who can not only compete on the same level as these players but also take them out (some in dominating fashion) deserves respect (and fear).

Gosu.com prediction: Kas wins 4-2 over Thorzain. Even factoring in Thorzain’s absolutely incredible play vP and vZ, I don’t believe he has what it takes to knock down Kas’ TvT. Though I must emphasize how incredibly well Thorzain played against oGs.MC in their series (seriously, this is THE one to watch thus far), I think Kas will be thanking Thorzain for eliminating oGs.MC as he takes his seat in the finals.

Upcoming Match: mouz.HasuObs vs dignitas.NaNiwa

Once again we have a mirror matchup, and once again we can look to a previous round for a strong showing from these players.

In the opening round, HasuObs defeated Liquid’Huk 2-1. Huk is a premier Protoss player, currently competing in GSL Code S and training in Korea. As volatile a matchup as PvP is, such a victory yields some certainty of HasuObs’s abilities. In the second round he faced the extreme challenge of battling his teammate, mouz.Morrow, known for some pretty incredible Zerg play. Morrow performed quite well, but was ultimately defeated 3-2. After these two stressful rounds, HasuObs found himself up against the legend himself, the Emperor Lim Yo-Hwan, BoxeR. Despite the pressure, HasuObs managed to 3-0 BoxeR for a spot in the semis.

NaNiwa’s path, for my money, has been a little less challenging. He faced Liquid’Ret (Z) in the opening round, winning 2-1. He then defeated ESC.GoOdy (T) in 4 games, 3-1. Neither of these, however, are as consequential as his round of 8 showing against coL.CrunCher. That PvP series went to 5 games, showing truly dynamic play from both sides. The victory ultimately went to NaNiwa, earning him a place in the final 4.

Gosu.com prediction: NaNiwa wins 4-3. This is a very difficult decision in a very difficult matchup, but I have to give the edge to Naniwa. Both players have had victories over notable Protoss players in the TSL3, but the play from NaNiwa recently (both in TSL3 and outside) has impressed me more than HasuObs’s. If you need evidence check out his round of 8 PvP, specifically the final game. It showcases NaNiwa’s incredible control in 4gate battles (which, until the patch comes out, is likely to make up a majority of these matches).

TSL3 showcases some of the best players in the entire world along with top notch casters and really beautiful production. I can’t wait to see who takes the crown, and whether our predictions prove right or wrong, the finals should be fantastic.

You can find out more about the TSL here.

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