The Players: Genius, NaNiwa, SuperNoVa, Virus
What a treat to open up the Ro16 for Season 2. For most of the foreign GSL audience, the current “Foreign Hope” in Korea, Quantic Gaming’s NaNiwa, makes Group A extremely interesting. I admit to being a doubter of non-Koreans in the GSL, especially of NaNiwa. Until recently he hasn’t found much success in GOM’s studio. However, his recent victories against Puzzle and Ryung have proven him a force to be reckoned with, even in Korea. He is the lead story in this group, no doubt, and must be given strong consideration as a prospect for the round of 8.
NaNiwa isn’t this group’s only story, though. MVP’s Genius, runner up to last season’s winner DongRaeGu, should not be forgotten. He’s an example of yet another Protoss that I feel more confident in knowing he doesn’t have to concern himself with playing against any Zergs (an advantage shared by 3/4 of remaining Code S players). Genius is a personal favorite and a feared player since the beta days. Despite being relatively “oldschool”, he had his greatest GSL success just last season. He is the clear favorite to move on from this group with his strong PvP and straightforward but dominating PvT.
While Genius’s recent success is worth noting, so is his single televised loss to a Terran in the last 2 months, and the only Terran besides MarineKing to take him down in the GSL since last October. That Terran is SuperNoVa, who defeated Genius in one set in the ro32. While SuperNoVa was knocked out of last season in the ro16 by Oz and Puzzle, he does have a strong record against Protoss overall, and specifically seems to be a thorn in the paw of Genius’s PvT.
Virus, the least voted for player to advance from his ro32 group, rounds out Group A. He isn’t particularly well known, but that’s hardly damning when you play Terran in the GSL. His lack of star power may be based on the fact that he plays a strong macro style that eventually overwhelms his opponents. He doesn’t have the micro-flair of a MarineKing or Mvp. In this group, though, even his solid play may not be enough. His three opponents are equally strong in a long game, Genius in particular.
*note, all sets after 2 are based on predictions.
Set 1: Genius vs. NaNiwa
This might be the hardest set to predict. Both players have excellent PvP, and it’s such a volatile match-up that that it’s almost like a dice roll. It’s also worth noting that while NaNiwa won a PvP to get through the ro32, it was against Puzzle, who is weak in the match-up. It was also close. I am going to take Genius’ multitasking over NaNiwa’s consistency here, but I don’t think it will be a rollover.
Genius 2 -1 over NaNiwa
Set 2: SuperNoVa vs. Virus
These two met once way back in November and Virus took the series. However given the time between then and now and Virus’ overall weak TvT (sub 50%) I feel confident in SuperNoVa’s ability to take this series cleanly.
SuperNoVa 2-0 over Virus
Set 3: Genius vs. SuperNoVa
For all of Genius’ success, his style of PvT seems susceptible to SuperNoVa’s approach to the match-up. As hard as it is to predict a loss for Genius after his stellar performance last season, I think SuperNoVa will pull this one out in a brutal series.
SuperNoVa 2-1 over Genius
Set 4: NaNiwa vs. Virus
This is where it gets scary for our foreign hope. I normally would say that Protoss has an advantage in the type of long game that Virus tends towards, but that is Virus bread and butter for a reason. I might be letting my heart dictate this choice, but I think that when all is said and done the apparent improvements in NaNiwa’s play will help him to prevail over the strong macro Terran.
NaNiwa 2-1 over Virus
Set 5: Genius vs. NaNiwa
And so we come to a rematch of the first set. My hope is that NaNiwa will be able to adapt his solid PvP to Genius’ stylistic approach and turn the tides in the later series. However my feeling is that Genius’ straight up ability will be enough to trump NaNiwa, but once again it won’t be without a battle.
Genius 2-1 over NaNiwa
SuperNova and Genius advance to the ro8 and NaNiwa falls to Code A along with Virus.