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NASL Grand Finals: Round of 16 Predictions

NASL Grand Finals July 8-10

The first NASL Grand Final is nearly upon us! Despite the somewhat tumultuous first season, there are some great match-ups. I, for one, look forward to watching each and every game. What’s more, the field is a rather evenly distributed mix of Americans, Koreans, and Europeans. Typically, tournaments tend to be either heavily Korean with a dash of foreigners (GSL) or vice versa (MLG). The long winded season format has, if nothing else, yielded a diverse group of sixteen excellent players.

The finals will take place in Ontario, CA, and feature casting from InControl, Gretorp, Day9, Tasteless, and Artosis. A lineup like that may justify the pre-season hype the organization managed to generate. You can find more information about the event here and a bracket screenshot (with an incorrect date for the event) here.

Let’s get the predictions started!‬


Boxer vs MC

Oh boy, it’s a bummer that only one of these guys gets to win this match because both have a huge chance of winning it all this year. That said, it is simply impossible for me to pick against Boxer. Even though he hasn’t steamrolled his way to great placing recently (while MC has), Boxer has had time to really get used to his opponents (he was 8-1 during the season). The bravado of his legend leads me to believe he clearly has the tools to beat anyone, even if it is the deadly MC. It will be a great game no matter what, as both player’s best match-ups during the season were TvP and PvT respectively.


WhiteRa vs SeleCT

This too will be a close match, with both player doing similarly well during the course of the season and both doing well against each other’s races. Look for SelecT’s early gameplay to dictate the course of the match. The battle may come down to White-Ra’s ability keep his composure, stick his game plan, and execute while holding off SelecT’s typically aggressive harassment. I like SelecT to be able to keep his White-Ra on his back-foot and overwhelm with bases in the mid-late game


Strelok vs Darkforce

First off, DarkForce’s run to get here has been a story of grit and under-doggery. He proved many people wrong with his ability to pull out wins when they mattered most. That being said, I cannot see him beating Strelok, who has only dropped one Bo3 this entire season. I see Strelok shutting down the map and countering that large marco play that DarkForce relies on so much with serious harassment and aggression.

EDIT: Strelok has been replaced by TSL_aLive.


Zenio vs Sen

Both of these players are extremely malleable in their gameplay and it will be very interesting to see who will dictate the style and the speed of the match. They had good seasons, so both will be eager to make it to the later rounds. However, despite knocking IdrA out during the playoffs, Zenio’s ZvZ was only at 50% during the regular season while Sen hovered up at 80%. Knowing that both players will be preparing feverishly for this match up, I wouldn’t count Zenio out, but I give Sen the edge.


Moon vs HasuObs

Should this be a playoff about momentum and the regular season carrying over, then Moon has this game pretty solidly. While both players are great, look for Moon’s superior macro to come into play in the mid-late game to run away with the game. HasuObs’s best chance is to end the game quickly with strong sentry play and micro finesse, but a WC3 legend like Moon is no stranger to micro. I see Moon taking this series.


July vs Morrow

Now this is going to be another great match! Both players were bit weak in their ZvZ during the season, but against each other that will come out in a wash. July may be a legend, but Morrow is no spring chicken. He’s played well in more than his fair share of tournaments to keep things interesting. That said, I look for July to take this series, placing him back on top with his other teammates of Star Tale. This will be one of the closest match-ups in the first round, with MorroW hoping to defeat “The God of War” before the late game.


Sheth vs Squirtle

Both players are coming off similar seasons and both players should be confident in their ability to take this game . However, Squirtle definitely has more “big stage” experience than Sheth, despite his recent GSL play. Both players are capable of winning, but I think Squritle will be more comfortable sticking to a game plan. In a match-up this close, one mistake is all it takes.


Ret vs LeeHoJoon

Ah, the open tournament: The player than comes out of it could be one of the fiercest in the whole playoff or some fodder for the #1 seed to advance. Either way, this “16 seed” could make for a tougher match than a 15 seed would be for one major reason. The #1 seed is pretty much flying blind as to the style and tendencies of the other player. Lee Ho-Joon (TSL’s PuMa) had a path to the tournament didn’t include any big names, so it is difficult to gauge his skill level aside from his few GSTL games. Ret will have to stick to his plan and control the pace of the game. He should take the win if his NASL season is any indicator, but because his style of play is so dependent on forecasting his opponent’s tactics, ineffective scouting or a wrong guess could land him in trouble. The chance of an upset is possible. In a way, the #1 seed is kind of a disadvantage. It’s like, “Here Ret, play against this TSL guy, you’ve earned it.”

  • Jeff

    I’m not so sure about Boxer beating MC. I mean, I know he’s the emperor and all, but…

  • MXG

    Wouldn’t Morrow be playing Terran against July?

    • Jeff

      Not positive, but I think Morrow has played exclusively Zerg in his NASL games. I haven’t seen all of them, but the website seems to indicate all his stats are as Zerg.

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